Donald Trump's supporters frequently point to all that he has accomplished to make up for his other bad characteristics (false statements and lying being the most frequent). But the question is, what has he really done?
I define "accomplish" as some significant action or policy that was 1) good for America and 2) wasn't a continuation of previous administration's accomplishments.
For example, pulling out of the Iran deal was, in my opinion, very bad for America. It has led to Iran threatening to begin accumulating nuclear material where before they had stopped doing so as well as leading to higher gas prices.
Another example is claiming Trump is responsible for low unemployment. America was at full employment (less than 5% unemployment) when he took office and it was falling. Under Trump, it has simply continued to fall.
With those caveats, I open up the forum.
And now we have Trump declaring he will stop being president while his crimes are being investigated by the Democrats.
That never stopped Nixon or Clinton. Why is it stopping Trump?
Here are some things he's done that most people either don't know about, have forgotten or simply are ignoring:
He opened up several of our national parks to mining and drilling operations, thus breaking an age old tradition that said these parks were to be left as is so that generations of Americans could enjoy them.
He has placed countless unqualified people in important positions who are causing serious damage within our country..aka, Betsy Devoss a great supporter (and investor) in charter schools.
He has had us on the brink of war several times due to his inability to negotiate with world leaders.
He has ruined our country's reputation with many of our allies.
His trade agreement is damaging farmers financially and will financially damage every citizen before he's finished.
For me arguments against him have never been about his political affiliation. He's a horrible, mentally unstable human being who is as corrupt as one can be and cares nothing about America. This we do not need running the US, and I really hope he does not get elected again because if he does, God help us all!
It is obvious that anything good that has happened since he took office is due to Obama. Anything bad is due to Trump.
Obvious...to those that hate Trump and will say anything to demonize him. A good example is a tax cut that produced the lowest employment in decades...obviously something Obama was doing with all HIS tax cuts and reduced regulation for business.
And it didn't add to the deficit one bit! Now everyone can have two jobs.
"A good example is a tax cut that produced the lowest employment in decades." - Not true, the tax cut did no such thing since most of it was used to buy back stock and pay higher executive salaries. Very little went to rank-and-file workers or investment.
What it did do was add 2+ Trillion additional dollars to the national debt and is ballooning the deficit. How is that good for America?
The tax cut was good for the rich and corporations. It basically did nothing for everybody else. Try again.
His reduced regulations, while good for business in the short-term, they are killing competition and the environment. - Try Again.
5 million Jobs in the last 20+ months
GDP 3.5 to 4 on average during his Admin
Taking on China, its theft of techno, genetic and AI advances
African American unemployment lowest in recorded history (under 6%).
Unemployment claims have reached record lows
And so much more:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-st … in-office/
The 5 million jobs is a continuation of the better record that Obama had. Trump's accomplishment in that regard is he didn't screw it up yet.
All of your unemployment numbers are just a continuation of the trend set by Obama.
Taking China on is an accomplishment, but dimmed by the way he did it with destructive tariffs. He has had to put farmers on welfare to pay for their lost business (some of it permanently) and he has increased taxes big time (latest estimate is over $700 per person) on individuals and businesses in America.
Average GDP growth under Trump is somewhat better than Obama's but it is still less than 3% for the 9 quarters he has been in office.
..and let's not forget that many of those jobs are for unskilled workers who only get minimum wage, which is not enough for them to live on.
Unskilled labor or jobs which require little to no skill are typically not high-paying. This means that one must live within those means, until they gain the required skills to improve their job options. So if someone is unskilled, then of course they will have to be very mindful of the income that they are able to receive.
But, "many of these jobs" are not for unskilled laborers...They are jobs which lean more towards trade skill education, instead of college education...These types of jobs are not considered unskilled jobs...
I understand that. I was referring to people like those who work in fast food restaurants, etc.
Those are considered unskilled jobs...although one can move up to supervisor positions and higher if the time and effort is put in...
Those types of jobs have moved from a job that may have supported a single person or small family at one time, into the area of starter jobs for younger folks to begin learning how the workforce works and having "weekend money"...
I do know of a few folks personally, who work minimum wage and slightly higher jobs and manage to live a minimalist lifestyle, which they are very happy with. So, I suppose it comes down to... what does one want out of life? And what does one need to do to accomplish that goal?
Good points, but the issue here is employment numbers. If those numbers reflected a wide range of salaried positions, then they would have meaning, but if most represent minimum wage jobs, they have very little meaning. To survive, a society must have a majority of workers who earn truly livable incomes.
Well...if we look at the states median salary...we can get an idea of what is or isn't a majority of workers making a livable wage...but even these numbers are skewed as a few extremely high earners can offset the numbers of lower earners.
Although I must say that a livable wage can very state to state and even city to city within a state. What is considered a livable wage in Podunk, Kentucky, is poverty in say...NYC...
I would opinion, that there are a majority that do earn a livable wage (i.e. are able to buy a home, own a car, bills are paid, limited debt, with a little extra in savings), but attempt to live a lifestyle that is above those means such as buying a home and/or car at the top end of their budget or having multiple CC's with high balances. Trying to keep up with the Jones's...I have a daughter (22) who does things like this, she has to have the Michael Kors purses, $150 sunglasses, etc...but settled for a job that pays just over $10 an hour, instead of seeking a job that fits her degree and would pay $22-$28 an hour (and is always asking her mom and I for money for gas or help with her car payment or car insurance payment)...she is living outside of her means due to her choice of adornments.
I have a hub where I ask the question "what is a living wage". The scenario is a family of 3 living in the middle of America (Omaha, specifically). https://hubpages.com/politics/Poverty-W … erica-2351
I ask two question, 1) what do you think is the minimum needed AFTER taxes to "just" survive and 2) how much is needed to be spent on various categories of purchases. The definition of "just getting by" is a little stricter, I think, than the one above " able to buy a home, own a car, bills are paid, limited debt, with a little extra in savings), "
The answer, after 88 opinions (I see I have four more, so I need to update my numbers) is at the top level, a living wage for a family of 3 is $36,238.
If you sum up the various components, you get $40,949. Those figures translate to hour wages of between $16.19 and $18.21, AFTER taxes. Estimated BEFORE tax wages would be between $20.23 and $22.76
The last time I checked, the Median wage in America was $16.87 BEFORE Taxes. That means half of Americans earn more than $16.87 and 50% of Americans earn Less than $16.87.
Bottom line, significantly more than 50% of Americans make a basic living wage or less.
And THAT is a crying Shame!!!
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for workers in the United States in the first quarter of 2019 was $905 per week or $47,060 per year for a 40-hour workweek." Median household income was in the 60's.
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/avera … rs-2060808
I believe you're a little out of date...by at least a decade or two. Beyond that I have a really hard time believing a family of 3 with $35,000 income will be paying 25% in taxes. I suppose if you include property taxes, car tags, gas taxes, state, county and city sales tax, irrigation tax, personal property taxes and all the rest of the myriad taxes and fees imposed on us it is possible. But I assume you mean federal income tax.
In any case it is a crying shame. If we quit telling people "We will give you a comfortable life, but if your income rises we will take away more than it rose" it might help? Or if we just quit rewarding people for not working - do you think we would have 100 million dead within the month...or will they do what is necessary to produce an income?
The stats you cite are for full-time workers. Mine are for all workers and are probably from 2016. The current 2018 figure is $18.58/hr. Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
Actually, I use 20% of which about 8% is payroll taxes. Not sure where you got 25%, although it may get that high when you add in the rest that you mentioned, which makes things that much worse.
Why do you keep believing in the right-wing myth that "We will give you a comfortable life, but if your income rises we will take away more than it rose" ? You know that is False and I know that is False and is only right-wing propaganda.
I bet anything you think that the welfare Tromp is giving farmers because his tariffs are bankrupting them is a good thing.
And of course you missed what is a crying shame, but to be clearer - what is a crying shame is that a family can earn $35,000/yr in the richest country in the world and be just one paycheck away from being in poverty.
But then we know you, Wilderness, as your handle implies, are a social Darwinist.
I got the 25% figure from you post: earning 20,000 but only get to keep 16.000. That's about 25%.
"You know that is False and I know that is False and is only right-wing propaganda."
No, I do not know that is false, not when I have watched it happening, more than once, to a struggling couple trying desperately to improve their life with education, night jobs, etc. Whatever their earnings rose they lost more than that in entitlements; a wonderful, liberal method of tying them forever to Democratic welfare programs and the largesse of politicians wanting their votes.
"I bet anything you think that the welfare Tromp is giving farmers because his tariffs are bankrupting them is a good thing. "
You can bet all you wish, but you are completely wrong in what I think. You always are; when you attempt to put thoughts into my head it is always with the underlying assumption that I am evil and wish harm to people. I don't.
What is a crying shame is that that is all they have trained themselves to do; bottom of the line (or near it) skills and thus jobs. As long as we provide FOR them they will seldom do any better, but then if they are not dependent of politicians they might not vote Democratic. That would be a very bad thing, wouldn't it?
As I said, I used 20%, meaning I divided by 0.8.
Then you think the farmers should go bankrupt then because of Trump's tariffs. Is that what you are saying, because it can only be one or the other?
Actually, at least in Red states, most of the low income earners vote Republican against their own best interests. It is Republican policy that keeps a foot on their neck and keeps them subservient.
The main demographics of the right are the poor and uneducated. That is why they are so easily fooled and led by demagogues like Trump.
"Although I must say that a livable wage can very state to state and even city to city within a state."
Not only that, but a "livable wage" depends on who is defining it. My state recently spent a hundred grand to go out looking for more people to put on the welfare rolls. Not surprisingly, they found them - people who were "living" every month and had been for years. But they didn't have that mythical "living wage"...as defined by those wishing ever more wealth redistribution.
Wealth distribution is certainly very real, but the data shows it is from the poor to the rich and NOT the other way around.
Yes, wealth distribution is very real - we call it "welfare" and do a tremendous amount of it. As a society we appear to have decided that it is "fair" and "right" to forcibly take from one to give to another; after all, we know better than the owner how it should be spent. I could be mistaken, but I believe President Obama even made that exact statement; that he knew better than the owners what should be done with their wealth.
We have always allowed that Wilderness, the rich steal from the poor all the time, and our laws support it. I look at public assistance as giving back some of what the rich have gotten unethically and immorally.
There is a reason why the saying "the rich get richer while the poor get poorer" is true, you know.
I am unaware of any theft by the rich, at least not on a common basis. Some are surely thieves, but as you say the large majority are not or they would be in jail. You might check the definition of "theft" or "steal", for there is nothing in there about legitimately gaining wealth...unless MyEsoteric thinks it is unethical. While you may look at welfare as giving back what was taken unethically and immorally (stealing according to you), that is not your call to make for you are not the moral judge of the country. "Theft" refers to taking wealth (or possessions) without permission or illegally.
Of course the rich get richer - they not only work but they put their wealth to work instead of blowing it all. Being smart is neither unethical nor immoral; it is making the system work rather than depending on someone else to force yet a third person to provide what you want but do not wish to or cannot pay for yourself.
There are two ways to prove that. One is straight forward. If wealth wasn't transferred from the poor to the rich, then over time, the percentage of wealth each quintile has would remain constant. For example, if in 1950 the distribution of wealth (or income, it works the same) 80% for the top 20%; 10% for the next 20%; 5% for the next 20%, 3% for the next 20%; and 2% for the bottom 20% (those are very rough approximations of what it was then)
In a society with no transfer of wealth, those percentages would be the same in 2019. They aren't. Instead, today, they are 90% for the top quintile, 8% for the 2nd, 2% for the 3rd, 0% for the 4th, and -.1% for the bottom quintile. (those are real numbers).
That is wealth distribution from the bottom to the top over time no matter how you want to but it.
The other way of to tell if wealth is being distributed upward is look at the GINI index. If that is increasing, and it is, then the rich are retaining more and more of the whole pie as time goes on.
The lack of wage growth in the labor force when compared to the massive increase in wages for the executive class is another indicator.
I may not be the moral judge of the country, but my elected representative is. And it is their accumulated wisdom that, until recently, to have a just society, the wealthy need to 1) pay for the extra benefits they get and 2) give back what they have taken (like by paying substandard wages to their workers and unearned wages to themselves.)
"If wealth wasn't transferred from the poor to the rich, then over time, the percentage of wealth each quintile has would remain constant. "
Sounds like you are assuming there is no creation of new wealth; something that is false on the face of it. But even if there were not, there is still the small matter of claiming theft when there were no laws broken. And, of course, the removal of that wealth from the rich to re-distribute to the poor that did not earn it.
Just what "benefits" do the wealthy get? Certainly not low tax rates, nor entitlement programs. Who are you to decide sub-standard wages are being paid when it is standard throughout the industry or that the wealthy are paying excessive wages to themselves (how does that work? Again, the morality police of the country?
Do you think an "executive" should earn less than an entertainer? The person running a company of tens of thousands should be paid less than an actor or someone catching a football? I don't - when the outrageous income of entertainers is reined in it will be time to take a hard look at the income of those "executives".
"Sounds like you are assuming there is no creation of new wealth; " - Since I am dealing with percentages, Wilderness, "new wealth" factors out of the equation.
What is important is the relative wealth between quintiles regardless of the magnitude of the wealth (or income). See my explanation to GA.
Choicer obviously plays a huge role when it comes to determining the value of earnings. However, many people have little or no choice because they either did not complete their basic educations (40% basic high school dropout rate nationwide on average), or do not have the mental or physical capacity that would enable them to get jobs that pay well enough to meet their basic needs. Another factor is the cost of living. Prices for everything continue to rise, but salaries stagnate. Even those who make good choices find it difficult to save, and mot people are in debt, which only makes things worse. It cannot go on this way, but only businesses and government working together will be able to fix it. If they don't, the future will be quite grim.
There are some economically challenged individuals, and die-hard political zealots that would believe that.
For the rest, they know there would be no economic upturn if what Trump was doing was bad for the economy. Almost everything Trump has done is GREAT for the AMERICAN economy.
Taking on NAFTA and making changes, twisting the arms of corporations to keep them here in America rather than moving to Mexico, China, or wherever, tax reform making America competitive in the corporate world rather than the worst taxed nation on earth, removing many of Obama's restrictive business crippling regulations, it all will lead to the economy continuing to get better... and it has nothing to do with Obama who understood less about economics and business than almost any other President, literally he had no experience and no background in anything related to budgeting or business.
So anybody who disagrees with you is economically challenged or is a political zealot? Why don't you take the time to look at ALL of the facts, not just the ones you choose to cherry pick. Economics are just part of the problem with Trump, but you haven't addressed any of those that have been mentioned. Interesting.
Then why did does his new NAFTA look very much like the old NAFTA? There is very little change to the two documents when you read the fine print.
What is "everything" that you are referring to that isn't a continuation of Obama or was BAD for America (like the tariffs)? That is what the question is. Almost all that you offered was just an extension of Obama's policies.
One thing bad that Trump has accomplished is reverse the downward trend of America's carbon footprint; it is not growing again as of 2018.
America's corporations are no more competitive than they were because there Effective tax rate was already at 20%. All the GOP tax plan did was make the rich a lot richer, corporations a lot richer which was NOT proportionately put back into new investment and hiring. The middle class saw a tiny benefit which is being wiped out by the Trump tariff.
As to Trump's business acumen, it doesn't exist. People like Bloomberg are great businessmen and know how to translate that into national policy, Trump is a successful con man who knew how to sell his name. Most of the actual businesses Trump tried starting, failed. Those that have managed to live on aren't doing so well. To those properties he sold his name to, many of them turned out to be losers who left their investors and buyer broke.
"As to Trump's business acumen, it doesn't exist."
Shall we put his pocketbook, representing a lifetime of effort, against yours? Wonder who would win - just who has the "acumen" to build wealth.
His pocketbook may hold nothing but IOUs, Dan. Unless you can prove otherwise, you're simply speculating as usual.
"representing a lifetime of effort" means using his dad's wealth to get him out of all sorts of bad business decisions and to promote the Donald's Forbes ranking. But you already knew that, didn't you?
Another "accomplishment" of Donald Trump - putting MORE TAXES on Americans with his illegal Mexico tariffs
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/31/business … index.html
Remember, Bernie Madoff had a large pocketbook and he was a con man too.
Trump's biggest success is selling his name and The Apprentice. That will become very evident when his financials get released. He is a phony billionaire and he is a phony president
OK - he is a master at selling his name. But of course he knows nothing about selling anything at all - just another loser in the business world in spite of having built one of the country's largest fortunes.
You guys kill me - any spin and stretch to demonize and degrade Trump. True or not, if it degrades the man you'll say it.
Sure - when his financials are released (now I see we want complete financial records and bank statements, not just tax forms) we'll see what a thief he is...just as we saw how he colluded with Russia to throw the election.
Give it up! There is nothing there, and pretending that "if we can just weasel more information out of him, surely we'll find wrongdoing!" isn't working. And isn't ethical or, in spite of liberal comments to the contrary, legal. It certainly isn't what the law contemplated when it was formed.
How do you know "there is nothing there". All of the real evidence, testimony, and anecdotes points to "there being a lot there" - which is why he is hiding his taxes.
From that bastion of liberal media - FORBES - https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenni … c66153a187
From this extreme liberal - John Dean - https://thehill.com/homenews/administra … -the-white
How do you know what was contemplated when the law was formed? Didn't Trump say he'd be glad to show his taxes?
The unemployment rate is around 18%. Too much debt, lack of industry, too much stock market, lack of honest protection, farmers bankrupted, pollutions and so on and etc....The US Empire is going down, no matter how much BS numbers they present. As soon as the rest of the world weans off the US dollar, they can't fake it anymore.
Best president to do pro wrestling and comedy at the same time.
Tax cut for the rich. Like we didn't see that one coming?
I hope you don't mind if I jump in My Esoteric, but a couple of your statements triggered my 'that ain't quite right' sensor.
One was your reference to the wealth pie. Your inference was that it is a static pie, (rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, one benefitting at the detriment of the other?). I think your point about what the percentages mean--one is increasing while the other is decreasing is correct, but I don't think that has to equate to meaning the poor are getting poorer. Your percentages relate to income distribution -- not individual income.
You may have a different thought, but I don't think that wealth pie is static. I think it is ever increasing in size. Because of that view, I think the wealthy getting a larger percentage of the total income does not have to mean the poor are getting poorer. They may be getting a smaller percentage of the total income but still be increasing their income.
One piece of data behind that thought was in a Prof. Davies video you can see in this thread: https://hubpages.com/politics/forum/343 … ost4075727
*One caveat; The Prof. Davis source is a biased one, and there are many "right-wing" mantras throughout the video, but I don't think either of those negates the truth of the data of the two points I highlighted. However, since I only took a shallow dive into the numbers and method behind those points, I may have missed something you might find.
One graph shows that even while the inequality gap is increasing, the individual quintile's income, (by household), is increasing, with historical data, (1970--2010), showing an upward migration from lower to higher quintiles of income.
(If you happen to follow that link and look at the video, jump to about 11:15 to see the chart discussion)
So while the poor may be getting and holding a lower percentage of the total income of that wealth pie, because it, (the wealth pie), is ever increasing, those realities don't automatically mean the poor are getting poorer. Meaning, I think the "rich getting richer while the poor get poorer" is an incorrect statement.
Perhaps there is another metric measure that can validate that statement, but I don't think it is the inequality of the wealth pie or the GINI index that can do it.
Speaking of the GINI index, I think it too fails to make your point because it is also primarily referenced as an income distribution metric. There are GINI indexes of wealth rather than income but since they are much harder to support with empirical data, it is almost always the income metric that is referenced by them. Was your use of the GINI index numbers of the income or wealth metric? I am betting it was income.
Another example might more starkly show the fallacy of the GINI index, (income), as an indicator of individual wealth. The Global GINI index has been pegged at around .70 and the U.S. index at around .41. Globally speaking, that index includes 3rd world and 1st world comparisons. That doesn't seem like an equitable comparison to me, so I would be hesitant to draw any "wealth" assumptions from it.
And even though that .41 U.S. number shows an increase in distribution inequality, historical data firmly shows an increase in individual income at the same time the distribution numbers have widened.
That Davies video also spoke of this point at about the 9:50 point. It illustrated its premise with a comparison; Sweden and Afghanistan have comparable GINI index numbers; Sweden .25, and Afghanistan .28. The individual's wealth, (per capita income) of these two nations are radically different. Surely this shows that the GINI reference you make does not support the statement that the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor getting poorer, does it?
GA, good points, but you make too much of the "rich get richer while the poor get poorer" saying. It may make more sense when you make it a relative saying by adding "relative to the rich". It has the same meaning without the drawback of implying the poor end up with less money than they had previously (although that apparently is true when speaking of wealth given that in 1950, the bottom percentile had a positive percentage of the total wealth, while in 2018 they apparently have negative wealth or said the other way, are in debt (where once they weren't.
Somewhere in there I said that income works the same way as wealth, but since I started with wealth, I stuck with it. But, I could have made exactly the same point using income.
Your chart is interesting, but misses the point. The point being that even though income or wealth maybe rising in all quintiles, it is rising at a faster rate in the higher quintiles. Since, at any point in time, it is a zero-sum game, if one group is getting more, then the other is getting less, if only in relative terms. If there wasn't a distribution from low to high going on, then the percentages would remain constant.
If, on the other hand, wealth or income are being distributed from the top down as Wilderness claims is happening, then the lower quintiles would be gaining as a share of the total over those at the top. Clearly, reality is the other way around.
Bottom line, the lower income classes are giving up some of their share, year-over-year, so that the top brackets can have more. That is the only way to make sense of the data.
With the GINI index, Davies is comparing apples with rocks. The GINI index only has meaning within the context of the environment in which it is calculated. The only inference you can draw between Sweden and Afghanistan is that the distribution of per capita income (which isn't wealth, btw) is the nearly the same. What that means is that the relationship between those considered rich in each country and those considered less so in that country has the same graph. What is different is the scale. I hope that makes sense.
That said, the point about the GINI index was missed. What is relevant is that IF the GINI index is increasing over time, that means, relatively speaking, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor.
Statistics, etc. aside, all one has to do is pay attention to what is going on, and what has been going on for many years, which is that rich people get many more benefits than poor people. There are many things they don't have to pay for either because they receive them as gifts or bribes or because they find loopholes in the tax system that allow them to write them off. Poor people don't have these options. They have to pay for everything, and even though many get government assistance, it really is not enough. Their quality of life sucks, but the rich enjoy great lives. Many earn their money on the backs of their workers who they often underpay so they can make more.
You might be right My Esoteric, I may be making too much of that "Rich get richer..." statement. However, given the context of the message that I perceive it is intended to convey; that the rich are getting rich at the expense, (ie. taking money from), of the poor, when I see it used, I still think it is intentionally misleading. Even more so when the extreme version is used: "The rich are getting richer on the backs of the poor."
Using a simplistic example with representative numbers, ((not statistically perfect), and using a singular as representing the plural, and using GDP as the "wealth pie;
*primary sources: CBPP.org A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality and thebalance.com US GDP by Year Compared to Recessions and Events
In 1970 that pie was approx. $5 Trillion. That poor person, (bottom 20% quintile), had about 12% of that pie, or about $600 Billion.
In 2015 that pie was approx. $17.25 Trillion, (more than 3 times the size of 1970's pie), and that poor person had about 7% of that, or about $1.2 Trillion.
Of course, all numbers show the wealthy quintile, (top 20%), have much greater increases, but if the poor doubled their income it seems incorrect to say that the wealthy folk's increases came at the expense of the poor. And that seems to almost always be the message when I see that "Rich get richer..." statement used.
I think you are right that adding "relative to..." would be more clarifying, but I don't think that is relevant to the intent of the message of that statement.
Referring back to that extreme version "... on the backs of the poor," it is informative to look at how the rich are getting richer - primarily through investments and capital ventures. How is that increase detrimental to the poor?
To your point that included the "zero-sum" mention, I think it makes a difference that the total-sum that your zero-sum rational applies to is not static. So while the percentages do support your thought, the numbers those percentages represent--relative to the genesis of this exchange--do not.
So while they may be losing percentage points, the share represented by those percentage points has increased. As shown; the value of that 2015 7% share is double the value of the 1970 12% share.
I know I may be making a big deal out of this, but when an unqualified statement conveys a misleading message it should be noted as such. It taints the discussion it is involved in.
Sorry for not being more precise and thorough in addressing the entirety of your points, but I am short on time and will have to come back to it tonight.
You are correct, GA, when you say "given the context of the message that I perceive it is intended to convey; that the rich are getting rich at the expense, (ie. taking money from), of the poor, " But let me give you a hypothetical example.
Let's say in two consecutive years, growth was such that the total economy increased by $1,000 and $2,000, respectively (you can read that as income because GDP is equivalent to total income).
Let's further say that in year one, the top 20% received $600 (60%) of it and $100 (10%) for the bottom 20%.
What I am saying is that in year 2, the top 20% will receive, as income inequality increases, 61% ($1,220) while the bottom 20% will get 9% ($180).
Had income inequality remained constant, then the top would have gotten $1200 and the bottom $200.
In both cases, the magnitude each received increased, but the rich got $20 more and it came from the poor's share of the pie. This is how my analysis differs from yours using large numbers.
I understand your analysis Scott, and it is that analysis, (and all that use it, not just yours), that I am contesting.
Speaking only of percentages you are correct, and that original "Rich get ..." is also correct, but that is a "technically" correct, not realistically correct as the statement clearly says the poor get poorer when in fact, as illustrated in your example, the poor nearly doubled their income.
Do you think the percentage aspect is the intended message when that statement is used? Do you suppose those that absorb that message are understanding that it only refers to a smaller piece of a larger pie that is still bigger than their previous piece of the pie?
Could it legitimately be considered that the true situation is that the poor's percentage simply represents a different number relative to a different pie? That rather than losing 1%, (as your percentage analysis shows), of their income, they really increased their income by 80%?
I think the statement can only be said to be realistically true if you were talking about the same pie.
In my previous restaurant industry work, we referred to these percentage as being secondary to contributory dollars. You don't put percentages in the bank, you put dollars in the bank. The poor don't pay bills with percentages they pay with dollars. And even as the income disparity grows, the poor are still getting richer too.
But then of course you forget about adjusting for inflation. So what if the poor get an extra dollar to put in the bank when it costs two extra dollars to buy something.
And then you have the subjective case (which has led to a revolution or two) of why should I work my butt off for a pittance while the guy next door, simply because he can, receives much more than he actually earns.
It sounds like your argument is something like "those ingrates! Look we let them have a couple of extra bucks and yet they complain."
A decent society is all about social justice while a Darwinist society is one about "let the strongest stomp all over everybody else because they can"
The Right cares not for social justice. They care only for the bottom line. When the rich have 99% of the money--which won't be long if things keep favoring the rich--we'll all be lower class, including those who favor the present inequality in wages.
It appears we have deviated to a morality tangent. None of my comments have been in that vein, and you have misread my comments if you think they amounted to a "those ingrates" sentiment.
My point has been and is that the "Rich get richer..." statement is misleading, and in some cases, I believe intentionally so.
I also believe I have supported that contention with real numbers and not potentially misleading percentages.
I can change gears and address this new tangent of morality and social justice, although rather than social justice I would discuss it as social necessity.
I agree with you that a "decent" society is preferable to a Darwinian one. I can also agree there are subjective parameters that must be considered more important in a society than the freedom of a completely free Free Market system. I do not hold a 'might makes right' outlook, but I also do not support what I see as a the commonly intended agenda of "social justice."
I don't think a Darwinian society can be a long-lived one, but I also don't see a social justice driven society as enduring either. History has shown us examples of both.
I think the middle ground must be a society where individual liberty is supreme, but the individual understands that liberty involves a compact with their society.
All of the available data suggests that the rich do get richer at the expense of the the poor. There is no other explanation for the transfer of wealth or income that you see in the increasing share of wealth or income that the rich control that is being seen over time or the increasing GINI index year after year.
It took to world wars and a great depression to being things back into order. And ever since the end of WWII, the rich have been clawing back to their unreasonably dominate position that existed in 1909.
I absolutely agree with "I think the middle ground must be a society where individual liberty is supreme, but the individual understands that liberty involves a compact with their society." but I argue that today, those that control the politics and the money and the power want total liberty without a nod to the rest of society.
We have hit a wall My Esoteric. You say that because data shows the poor are getting a smaller percentage of a larger pie that the rich are getting rich at the expense of the poor - when compared to the percentages of that other smaller pie. On that I can only agree that the percentage is smaller and it is technically correct that loss can be viewed as an "expense."
I do not think that is the "rich's fault or that it is at the poor's expense--which bears on my contention about the implication and inference of the original statement.
I say that same data shows that rather than losing income, (the expense imposed by the rich), the poor's income had nearly doubled - a 100% increase. Which refutes the inference of that originating question when it is used as we both know it is used.
Same data two perspectives. I will go with what can be used for life's needs and leave the percentages to you.
I think the fact that the percentages are of two different amounts makes the genesis statement misleading. You don't. So we will just have to leave it there.
Maybe a new direction of thought might be an investigation of why this percentage thing is happening. Why the divisions of the larger wealth pie are skewing to appear to be at the detriment of the poor might offer a better understanding.
This is an uninvestigated shoot-from-the-hip thought, but maybe it has something to do with a paradigm shift in income generation from a manufacturing/production based economy to a financial/services market-based economy.
Most sources point to the 70s or 80s as the starting point of the equality divergence. I think that timeframe might also be found to coincide with the paradigm change mentioned.
Regarding your 1909 reference, It may be viewed that the recovery of the late 1930s might be said to be the result of a similar paradigm shift--only in reverse; from the financial/investments economy to an expanded manufacturing, (national consumption and war preparation) based, economy.
I have seen those years, the late 1930s to mid-1960s mentioned as the years when your GINI index numbers were more equitable to wealth distribution.
This thought might be worth pursuing. I think we have drained the original thought.
I do agree with your statement that "Maybe a new direction of thought might be an investigation of why this percentage thing is happening. Why the divisions of the larger wealth pie are skewing to appear to be at the detriment of the poor might offer a better understanding."
I suspect this is also true "This is an uninvestigated shoot-from-the-hip thought, but maybe it has something to do with a paradigm shift in income generation from a manufacturing/production based economy to a financial/services market-based economy." BUT ---
--- in reading Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" I came away believing that the Reagan tax cuts had as much to with the faster rise in the GINI index as anything else. Along with ending what was keeping the relative relationship between quintiles stable over time, it incentivized the rich to pay themselves more and more because of the lower tax rates. That money can only come from one place (assuming profits rates remained more or less constant) and that is the slowing down of wage growth of the labor force - and that is exactly what happened.
Piketty presents a lot of data and logic showing how and why this occurred beginning in the mid-1980s.
It looks like I have some homework to do. What was Piketty's rationalization that it was the Reagan tax cuts that initiated the paradigm change?
What was it he saw as the factor keeping the income relationship stable?
Not knowing his thoughts, I am at a loss understanding how--whatever it was--incentivizing the rich to pay themselves more bears on quintile income stabilization.
Even without understanding your Piketty reference, I have a problem with your assumption that profit rates remain stable. I think that is the point of the paradigm-shift thought, the profits did not remain stable, they soared due to the new paradigm of emphasizing the gain of wealth by using wealth.
I will do some Piketty reading, but perhaps you can guide my efforts with some Piketty examples?
It will take me awhile to find specific references.
The profit margins listed in this article are typical http://www.aei.org/publication/the-publ … -too-high/
Here is another take on profit margins over time. Don't get too excited when you read the FRED chart. Go to the bottom to see the corrected chart.
https://www.philosophicaleconomics.com/ … foreignpm/
My response about profits was in error. I was addressing profits as a volume. I did not mean to include "rate," or address rate, my intent was to comment as to why profits were soaring in amount, not rate.
My point was relative to the wealthy making their wealth work for them. More wealth working equals more profits.
In looking at the S&P 500, at least back to 1990, the profit growth rate has been relatively constant, save for 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2011.
So long as GDP keeps growing, one would expect the raw numbers to grow with it so that doesn't help provide us any information regarding change over time.
"... it is informative to look at how the rich are getting richer - primarily through investments and capital ventures. How is that increase detrimental to the poor?" - I disagree, in part, with that.
Certainly they are doing such but to the degree those activities generate income to the nation, they are reaping an unjust percentage of the reward, stiffing, in the process, those who actually make those activities generate cash.
I think I tried to be clear that "zero-sum" referred to any given year.
This is why you see GDP growing at say 2.5% a year, but wages growing at maybe 1% a year.
Keep in mind that GDP = GDI and that GDP's components are Domestic Spending (~69%), Gov't Spending (~17%), Net Trade (~ -5%), and finally Investment (~18%, some of which is foreign investment in American business).
You can see from this, "investments and capital ventures." is only a small part of GDP-GDI, yet the rich get the lions share of all of it which is ever increasing in terms of percentage.
"Certainly they are doing such but to the degree those activities generate income to the nation, they are reaping an unjust percentage of the reward, stiffing, in the process, those who actually make those activities generate cash. "
How is the investment of capital, whether to build a new factory or to outfit it with robots (as an example - it could be computers or better hand tools), "reaping an unjust percentage of the reward", or "stiffing" those who make those activities generate cash? In either case there will be a lower amount of cash generated - how is it "unfair" that the capital generates a larger income for the person investing it?
Simple. There is profit and salary resulting from the investment of capital. While executives get most of the profit and increased salaries, the labor force who actually make the things or provide the service see their wages stagnate or at least not increase in proportion to the new income.
Also, no one is saying that the person who did the investing shouldn't get a larger piece of the resulting pie than others. What is unfair is that the investor is trying to keep 100% of it even though their effort didn't generate 100% of it.
Why was it "fair" in the 1950s to have CEOs of successful major corporations earn say 50 times more than the average line worker. Nobody complained. But how is it still fair that the same CEO, adding no more additional value than they use to, now earns 500 times more than the average line worker?
Other than "because they are powerful enough to demand and get it" what makes them worth that much more? IMO - nothing. It is just pure greed and power and unearned benefits the wealthy have that the less wealthy don't.
"the labor force who actually make the things or provide the service see their wages stagnate" using what the capital has provided without going to any more effort or training.
Now, with that small addition, completing the picture, is it still somehow "unfair" that the worker doing the same job as before should receive a giant raise, commensurate with the capital that actually produced the raise in productivity?
You would have to ask the CEO, and who hired them. I don't see "fair" as entering the picture; only supply and demand, coupled with market forces. You keep harping on that "fair" thing, but isn't it based on your concept of ethics and morality without regard to actual value in the marketplace? Same thing I've said forever; what two people decide is an equitable wage, without coercion from either, is what the value is...to those people. What you think the value is is irrelevant at best.
Your opinion that they are not worth that much more is completely irrelevant then; that "worth" is set by the two involved without your interference, advice or demands. You are not part of the agreement and have no place interjecting opinions into it. Just as my opinion isn't worth a hill of beans when it comes to negotiating a salary for a top football athlete or top actor. I am not a part of that negotiation and my part is limited to purchasing, or not, the product being produced.
It forever boggles my mind that the liberal thinks they are the end all and be all of morality, justified in interjecting their demands into freely entered into contracts and decisions of others.
Heck no! We don't want those ultra rich businessmen/women losing vast profits to the benefit of the lowly peasants. Where do you think we're from, America?
"You would have to ask the CEO, and who hired them. I don't see "fair" as entering the picture; only supply and demand, coupled with market forces. " - if you truly believe that Wilderness, then you are extremely naive. The world does not work, and never has, by pure supply and demand and market forces, that is a myth.
Greed rules the roost and must be mitigated. Are you telling me that CEOs and captains of industry are altruistic and not out to take everything they possibly can regardless of who it hurts? If you are, then get real
There are many more Bernie Madoffs and Donald Trumps in the world than Mother Theresas. It is the former who must be regulated.
"Certainly they are doing such but to the degree those activities generate income to the nation, they are reaping an unjust percentage of the reward, stiffing, in the process, those who actually make those activities generate cash. "
Come on My Esoteric, "unjust"? What makes their earnings unjust?
We have been using reported numbers, so we are at least talking about declared numbers. And as such, any actions taken to obtain or retain those numbers have been legal. (ill-gotten numbers certainly aren't going to be run through the IRS)
Which means those rich earners of this discussion played by the rules, so what makes their earnings unjust?
And stiffed the workers ,,, geesh. Have we switched from analytical judgments to moral ones?
If a worker is paid for his production, how are they "stiffed" when the buyer of their production makes a profit on it? Surely you aren't indicating a desire for price controls?
Thanks for the explanation, but I am familiar with the concept of GDP and what it is. Even as you say that investments etc. are a small part of the GDP, how can you complain that the rich get the lion's share of its benefits when reality dictates that they are also the lion's share of its participants? It sounds as if the poor should reap some of those benefits even though they most probably aren't participants.
Of course, that same activity's percentages are increasing - the rich are making their money work for them, and since they are getting more money they are investing more.
"If there wasn't a distribution from low to high going on, then the percentages would remain constant."
That simply isn't true. If the poor have 20% of the wealth (made up figures) and the rich 80%, but new wealth goes to the rich at 90% there is NO transference of wealth from the poor to the rich. They got 10% of the new wealth, after all, without giving any of what they already had to the wealthy. Given that some of that 90% the wealthy got is then taken and given to the poor it is clear that the transference is from the wealthy to the poor. I have to wonder, as well, if you are including the wealth re-distributed from the rich to the poor via entitlement programs in the "income" the poor receive. It isn't earned, but it is certainly wealth coming into the household.
That the wealthy get wealthier faster than the poor - that "relative" you mention, has nothing to do with transference of wealth. Any transference is one way - from the wealthy to the poor - and trying to spin it any other way doesn't work.
On top of all that, it is extremely clear that the poor are not nearly as poor as they used to be; what they earn buys more today than it did 50 years ago. They may be "relatively" poorer than the rich, but the simple fact remains they have gained.
If history has established that an 80/20 split is equitable, then how can a 90/10 split remain equitable. The rich get more of the new wealth than they use to and the poor get less than they use to. Pretty soon we get to the point where it will be like just prior to the French Revolution where the rich got 110% and the poor got negative 10% because the system always kept them in debt. In America, that was called the "company store".
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