Income Inequality Goes Viral

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Over the weekend, a YouTube video breaking down income inequality in America went viral. As a reader of BillMoyers.com, you may have been aware that the disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

The gap is a lot larger than many informed Americans realize.

Watch the video.

The video drew on statistics also discussed in a 2011 Mother Jones article, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid.

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  • Jane Johann

    yes…it is amazing…I think many people work extremely hard — but “spare change” is what many of us live on…Greed has taken over the minds of the wealthy…it is very disturbing…sad….and will lead to a revolution in this country

  • Jane Johann

    People are too busy working to probably even view this video and then there are the people who do *not* want to see it or hear the facts…it is too frightening to them

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.mclaughlin.948 Michael McLaughlin
  • Kathie Brobeck

    I wanted to see it broken down, state by state, also

  • DaveG

    If you ever wonder where numbers like ’50 trillion’ come from just go to the Federal reserve website and look for ‘Z1 Flow Of Funds’. The reports list total income, total net worth, total financial wealth and many other things.

    I wish Mr Moyers would have a guest on that would run through some of these online repositories of data and how to use them to find out the TRUTH about this country.

    We need TRUTH and He will surely return soon. AMEN.

  • evershed

    One People’s Public Trust has foreclosed on all banks and corporations.

  • Cheryl

    I am one of the invisible people on that chart . I truly know how this feels and so so so the other. That is what we voted to have some changes on in the last 2 elections . So why are we not being heard?

  • K

    Things would be a lot more fair if the top 1 percent would leave the country.

  • J

    I’M SURE HAITI OR EVEN ICE LAND’S CHART LOOKS PRETTY FAIR. Very equal there. Lots of government control. Is that what you want? The US allows people to get rich. You want to change that because you are jealous??? To the rest of the world, we are the 1 percent? WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THAT? Should we have our wealth confiscated and given to other countries? The rich getting richer does not make me poorer.

  • tommyknows

    In 2008 the 1% stole 1/3 to 1/2 of the little the middle class had. Yesterday I got an Iphone, used, but functional and it’s nice. Lots of free stuff quickly. But just like my wealth, this can be taken away in a heart beat.

  • Jon

    That I phone was created by rich people. You’re welcome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.goetz.56 Eric Goetz

    Jon’s right. Rich people invent cool things, so we lowly surfs should just shut up and be happy with the crumbs that trickle down from them. When the crumbs run out, we shouldn’t fret. We can eat cake!

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.goetz.56 Eric Goetz

    You’ve been lied to.

  • PAP

    Why does anyone need that much money? Why did companies like Nike not drop the prices of their products when they shifted from paying American wages to paying Chinese wages? What is it that makes these corporate people want to squeeze every penny from the hands of those who buy their products? It’s Wall Street and the love of money and power. Americans should pull their money out of the stock market and stop buying goods made in other countries as much as possible. That would be our austerity program, our sequestration, and we would be helping ourselves unlike Congress’s sequestration.

  • andrew956

    well, we could always revert to the tax and labor policies that we had from about 1940 through 1980, when the chart looked more like what people thought income and wealth distribution looks like…. when the US had it’s fastest economic growth in the 20th century. Do you really want to live in a country that looks like a typical 3rd world country?

  • S.A. McClellan

    It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that this is unsustainable “growth”.
    Nobody’s working to put money in those Billionaire’s pockets…and I just saw where the woman and her husband, in China, who were among the uber-wealthy of the world, now, were still building skyscrapers…in the midst of empty office & apartment complexes..what they referred to as “Ghost Cities”…looked like some futuristic scene, where, contrary to what was thought…they built it, but nobody came. And, yet, they continue to build; so, who’s funding it…& who’s paying the bills..?

  • Anonymous

    Dear Lord, this is the kind of ignorance that allows more money to be hoovered up from the middle class to those who don’t need it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.leaf.16 Matthew Leaf

    Wow. How is it not a form of theft when such a small number of people control such a large percentage of a nation’s wealth?

  • http://twitter.com/djdawkins36 Hassan Snap

    Coming down to basic human fundamentals; there are those few with power and the masses without. When the top are too powerful and not looking out for the poor, we have a revolution. The revolution will be just and work for some years, but then the powerful will get too greedy and everything will repeat itself. We in America are getting completley screwed. However, you would become apathetic if you went to some third world country because we live large compared to them. It would make you thankful for what you have and not always fret about what you don’t. So do we acknowledge that we are probably the most well off human generation (when it comes to comfort of living) throughout history and be content with what we have, or will we simply not allow someone to screw us this badly and risk our lives for possible better equality? I guess that’s for the people to decide.

  • http://twitter.com/djdawkins36 Hassan Snap

    lol we aint the one percent to the rest of the world.

  • Hard working

    My wife and me came to US about 20 yrs ago as adults and spoke limited English. Now with years of college and hard work we are in the top 5 percent in income. We haven’t taken a cent of goverment help and pay over 20 grand in taxes every year. There is something very wrong in the mindset of many Americans when most of their misfortune is based on the goverment and the rich. We came from a socialist country, but it seem to me, socialism is what a lot of people here want.

  • http://twitter.com/jubaldee Marilyn Bostrack

    The democracy will cease to exist when yoou take away from those who are willing to work and gaive to those who would not.” Thomas Jefferson

  • Mike

    Nobody wants to be rich easy unless you r lazy …. I work so hard every month 14/hrs a day and make $2000 a month .so tell why me and my 50 coworkers got laid off and the CEO got a raise? So nobody is jealous its your luck but don’t take my hard earn money and take my house … Let me just feed my family that’s all. The rich gets richer we get poorer

  • http://www.facebook.com/ottertruth.boxworth Ottertruth Boxworth

    Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner who was content to take from those hard-working slaves. Therefore, I would not consider every word out of Jefferson’s mouth regarding democracy to be gospel.

  • lucrob

    What is the crime and what are you proposing to do about it? Somebody needs to shut this website down. Or is this just entertainment for the one percent crowd?

  • lucrob

    Is it any of your business?

  • lucrob

    Say, didn’t I see you in Walmart the other day? Yeah, you want the wealth spread around alright, but don’t like it when it’s your wealth given in the form of jobs to the less fortunate Chinees, who enjoy wealth one tenth that of their US counter parts. You are a simple minded child with no understanding what you can control and what you’re powerless to do anything about. And that’s really what this is all about, who get to call the shots, because after $75k a year income, happiness levels off. So don’t fret about it, Bury your nose in your iPhony and leave the world to people that have their feet planted in reality and know how to run it .

  • SRAM

    We need to distinguish between people that worked hard, earned their wealth and those that inherited it. For a society to be fair, as well as beneficial to the next generation, first generation earners deserve all the wealth they can earn. But their offspring shouldn’t inherit everything. In fact lesser it is the better it is for the offspring as well as the society as a whole. You deserve whatever you can earn but not your kids. Very hard to do, but the right thing to do.

  • Jacob Marley

    Maybe we should reinvent the guillotine–what was the distribution of wealth in France before the revolution?

  • Mcmike

    The phone was built by poor peopke

  • Shatzy

    I agree. Americans want Socialism… but they want it called something else.

  • tigerfisch

    Wealth inequality is one of the strongest indicators of societal discontent and coming revolutionary upheavals. It drove the Arab uprisings, and if we don’t like the look of today’s Syria, we need to do something about this situation.

  • Jon

    Yes a task that will be replaced by a simple robot one day. The business idea, vision, plan, and execution were done by rich people.

  • Jon

    How many jobs do poor people create? NONE! Rich people create jobs when they expand their businesses. People act as though if one person gets rich, that there is a smaller piece of pie left for everyone else. That is not true. The rich aren’t dividing pie, they are baking more. And with every new pie they bake, some of that goes to their workers in the form of jobs.

  • Anarcissie

    Socialism is the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers. If the workers wanted it, they could get it — they could buy it or build it. But instead they prefer to have their economic and thus political lives run by an elite class. As recent wars, financial crashes, celebrity culture, and other disasters show, the elites are not very good at the job. But thus far that is what people want, so that is what they have.

  • Anarcissie

    Well, when the Chinese real estate bubble explodes, it will probably have global consequences. Governments often concoct wars to distract the people from domestic problems, for instance.

  • Anarcissie

    I think you’re deluded. Rich people are good at getting rich, which is different from inventing or building things. Sometimes these talents intersect, more often they don’t.

  • Jon

    If people think income inequality is important nation wide, isn’t it important worldwide too? In the name of humanity? Should our income be distributed fairly to those around the world? The median income worldwide is $850 per year. If you make $41k you are in the top 3% worldwide. Do you want half of your income to go to them?

  • jneric

    this is a graph of collapse

  • Jon

    That is BS. The first day Socialism takes effect, I get money taken from me and given to someone else. I lose control of my own destingy.

  • http://twitter.com/charlesduran charlesduran

    In that case all the talk of income disparity comes from ignorance and maybe envy. What planet are you from?

  • Anonymous

    In the fantasy-based world, what you believe may be true, but in our reality-based world, decades of evidence prove you wrong.

  • carolyn

    They have. They’ve outsourced their wealth to the Cayman Islands, manufacturing to China.

  • Anonymous

    So, do you work for the Heritage foundation or AEI? That’s a nice modification of the Horatio Alger story you’ve told there. Your anecdotal story is in complete contradiction to the reality which is demonstrated in the video. Eventually these thieves at the top will get to you. Count on it.

  • Ok

    Really? Millions of people have computers now. The people that founded those companies became rich. Three decades ago none of those computers existed. Should we have asked the entrepreneurs to stop trying to get rich building their businesses. Should we have just divided up the number of typewriters. NO. Capitalism allowed those people to get rich with their ideas and we have all benefited from it.

  • allis

    Not when the new pies are being baked in China by Chinese workers

  • tonyg11510

    You are using wealth, which could be generational. Then, you use income. It would be a better analysis if you stuck with income. We should not care about what has happened in the past, but only learn from the data.

  • thomas russo

    Most of these dollars that are supposed to represent “wealth” are actually claims on presumed future economic production (which will most likely never materialize). That makes them a liability, not an asset. They were created to continually roll over the vast debt that can never really be repaid since real economic growth is becoming increasingly resource-limited (for example, world oil production has been essentially flat for more than 5 years) So the FED has been creating trillions of dollars out of thin air, and basically parking them in the accounts of the big banks and the super-rich. Since they don’t need any more these dollars to buy things, and therefore won’t spend them, it creates an artificially high value for the dollar, and this is a good thing for ALL holders of US dollars, rich and poor. If you took all these dollars and put them into the hands of people who want to spend them, there would be an overnight hyper-inflationary collapse, because the amount of things out there to buy will not have changed, but *everyone* will be able to afford them. Bottom line: Americans (and anyone else holding a dollar) are wealthier (in terms of global purchasing power) because of this extreme inequality. (This is why Americans, as 5% of the world population, can continue to consume 20% of the worlds resources.) If/when all these dollars come out of hiding it will be game over for the US economy, the true value of the dollar will be exposed, and ALL dollar-holders (individuals, corporations, government) will be denied access to credit without “real” collateral.

  • Keith Morton

    1. I wonder how many of the commenters here actually watched the video?
    2. Would they actually argue that CEOs deserve to make 380 times their average employee or that one percenters should make 40% of America’s wealth when 90% of American’s polled disagree with them.
    3. Computer makers made their wealth by making PCs affordable. Henry Ford figured out a hundred years ago to not only make his cars affordable but to pay his employees well so they could also buy his cars. Did you know today that Walmart’s sales are dropping? Probably because now even their own employees are having a hard time buying their products.

  • N/A

    If you really believe that a wealthy people create jobs you have some kind of ignorance. First why would wealthy individuals need money to create jobs if they are already wealthy? Tax cuts for wealthy individuals is irresponsible and only benefits high-ranking employees. Who is to say that the wealthly will even create the jobs if they get the tax decrease? What you are says is that you would trust a person with a million or even billion dollar gun to our economy.

  • Anonymous
  • Name

    1. I did

    2. Was Steve Jobs worth 380 times his employees? YES. He made the decisions that made the company successful. You can take away any one employee and Apple would have been fine. You take away Steve Jobs and Apple would have never been successful. Besides, its not about deserving. You are not entitled to success. If you don’t like the business that you are working for, see if you can do it better. See how easy it is. It is more than 380 times harder. If it wasn’t, everyone would start their own successful companies and be successful CEO’s .

    Walmart’s sales started dropping at the same time the payroll tax went up. Hmmm coincendence? Obama raises taxes and sales go down. Weird…

  • agree

    THIS IS CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jon

    So, you think poor people create jobs? Tax cuts for the wealthy? You mean letting them keep more of the money they earned? The wealthy pay most of the taxes anyway. The bottom 40+% have almost no skin in the game. Yeah … the bottom 40% want to raise taxes, what to they care, they aren’t paying them anyway. Tax cuts benefit those how pay taxes!
    By the way. Robin Hood was a THIEF!

  • Keith Morton

    NO CEO is worth 380 times the average employee. If Steve Jobs was responsible for making Apple a success he was then equally responsible for almost driving the company into the ground in its earlier days. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS, or the iPhone. Others did. And others made Apple successful by buying their products. Companies are successful if they reward the largest number of stakeholders. They are built to last. Corporate graveyards are filled with companies that were lead by supposedly brilliant CEOs.

  • Jon

    VERY CURIOUS ON THIS ONE… Please answer if you can!
    If people think income inequality is important nation wide, isn’t it important worldwide too? In the name of humanity? Should our income be distributed fairly to those around the world? The median income worldwide is $850 per year. If you make $41k you are in the top 3% worldwide. Do you want half of your income to go to them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1673580520 Shawna Jackson Wilde

    If the rich were truly creating jobs, corporations would not be earning record profits, tons of money would not be parked off shore as a tax haven, instead of buying more luxury toys, rich people would update their businesses and hire people, and corporations like GE would be paying their fair share of taxes or creating jobs rather than paying stockholders. It is not the size of the pie, but rather the need for them to do as much as everyday workers. I heard an interview with the man who came up with the slogan “job creaters.” Even he had a nice chuckle over how popular the words had become.

  • germ

    Where and who are the people who should tell us what happened in this economy of ours that so changed the proportions of wealth???. Was it lower taxes, weaker unions, accelerated automation, off shoring, out sourcing, downsizing, world trade agreements, empty paper money, or all of those and other tweaking of that has assaulted a Capitalist System.we could believe in

  • Anarcissie

    I don’t see how having ownership and control of your means of production causes you to be deprived of money.

  • Keith Morton

    NO CEO is worth 380 times the average employee. If Steve Jobs was responsible for making Apple a success he was then equally responsible for almost driving the company into the ground in its earlier days. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS, or the iPhone. Others did. And others made Apple successful by buying their products. Companies are successful if they reward the largest number of stakeholders. They are built to last. Corporate graveyards are filled with companies that were lead by supposedly brilliant CEOs. In fact, graveyards are filled with indispensable men.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-E-Hawkins/1810641406 Jane E. Hawkins

    Most of those people believe that wealth is rightfully theirs. I think that’s an example of how humans tend not to look closely at systems which benefit them. Throw around names like “Steve Jobs” and maybe you’re talking someone who deserved to get rich. However, salary.com says the median salary + bonus for a CEO is the US is $1.2m. That’s an amount per year that would be a significant personal fortune for most of the US. Are ALL of those people really worth that much more than a first grade school teacher?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-E-Hawkins/1810641406 Jane E. Hawkins

    I think (hope?) that our 1% isn’t as stupid as the French nobility of that time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DaveMaciel David MySky

    I think we should start dealing with income inequality at home first, and then worry about the rest of the world, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/DaveMaciel David MySky

    Rich people do NOT create jobs! The rest of us, the 99% create jobs by virtue of where we decide to spend our money!

  • Sarah Paulson

    You mean like taking it from trust fund babies who have no sense of self motivation and giving it to a hard working low income person who works 70 hours a week?

  • Sarah Paulson

    Each area is different. Income equality is important, but based on many factors like cost of living in different areas. If you gave $850 to some humans, it would be more than they’d see in a lifetime based on their need for and use of money in their societies, and other people in other places would not even be able to pay a week of rent with that amount. Equality is the ratio of top earners to bottom earners, not a dollar amount.

  • jon

    You people are insane. How do you think we should deal with income inequality in either place? Steal their money and give it to people who didn’t earn it? Isn’t that morally wrong? Stealing! Humans were born into poverty (see caveman). Some of them chose to sacrafice and CREATE wealth, and help develop products for our society while getting wealthy. Just because your neighbor creates wealth, that doesn’t mean you are entitled to it. If you want it, go EARN it. They owe you NOTHING. Society owes you nothing. You are not my problem. You did not share my sacrafices with me. I don’t want to share my wealth with you. I don’t care if I make 1000 times as much as you. You are not entitled to my money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.franzoeclipse Jim Eclipse

    According to this myth, poverty is a root cause of theft, violence, falsehood, etc. The Buddhist solution has nothing to do with accepting our (or others’) “poverty karma.” The problem begins when the king does not give property to the needy — in modern terms, when the state neglects its responsibility to maintain a minimum of what we call distributive justice. Social breakdown cannot be separated from broader questions about the benevolence of the social order. The solution to poverty-induced crime is not to punish severely but to enable people to provide for their basic needs. (Commentary on Digha-Nikaya iii 65 ff, from The Long Discourses, 396-405)

  • Jon

    Its called personal property rights. There is a direct correlation between personal property rights and wealth of a nation. Look at Haiti. No matter how hard they work they are not allowed to keep the fruits of thier labor. The government owns all. Its not the most incentivizing system, is it? If you build a business, its still not yours, so people do nothing. There isn’t much income inequality there, is there. Everyone is poor. Is that the type of equality you want? Where there is capitalism people can work as hard as they want and keep thier wealth. They are allowed to have personal property rights and ownership of their wealth. Start taking more of people’s personal property, and production will go down.

  • Anarcissie

    I still don’t see why you think owning and controlling your means of production is to your disadvantage. You’ve insisted on it but you haven’t explained it.

    It’s not relevant here, but in fact there are lots of property rights in Haiti, but they are only for the rich and foreign investors. At least, that what Haitians tell me. Haiti is not an example of socialism — it’s an example of kleptocracy.

    Also, if you think working hard makes you rich in a capitalist system, check out ‘I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave’ which I just happened to see today.

  • Scott

    What happens in the game Monopoly when one player gets all the money? Thats right…game over. It isn’t capitalism anymore. We have a plutocracy. A system that wholly supports the interests of the wealthy. The game has been rigged and now no one can afford to pay the rent even on Baltic. But hey, its only empirical evidence and math. Wonder how much more money those “job creators” need before they will start creating some jobs….here.

  • scott

    You are right Jon. Poor people do not create jobs. But they used to when they were called the middle class. The wealthy pay most of the taxes because they have more than most of the money and the bottom 40% have no skin in the game because they have no skin left. Actually, watch the video and stop trolling.

  • lyo

    Right, and you see in the video exactly how much of the pie goes to the workers. In fact, that’s the point of the video.

  • lyo

    Actually, you are poorer than you would be if the rules of the game allowed workers to earn a fair wage. (Assuming you are a worker.) Whose wealth are you talking about?

  • lyo

    Really, I thought we lived in a democracy where we all get a say in the way the country is run? Guess not, according to you.

  • John

    Its also worth mentioning how much of the rich’s wealth comes from other people’s work and innovation:
    http://prosperityforthepeople.typepad.com/blog/2011/03/the-undeserving-rich.html

  • lyo

    You earned your money all by your own effort? Did you not have parents? Did you not have teachers? Do you not drive on roads? Benefit from your local fire and police department? Do you never go to a public park? How about the publicly funded ball fields? Never stepped foot on them? Are there any dam projects where you live that protect your home from flooding? No street lights where you live? Ever used public transportation? Ever take medication developed through publicly funded research?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-E-Hawkins/1810641406 Jane E. Hawkins

    Maybe some people really do contribute so much to our economy that they are worth 1000 times as much as me and thee. However, I think there are a lot of people collecting that kind of money who just plain aren’t that special.

  • johnny

    What I find missing in this entire conversation, and in society in general, is the concept of responsibility. No one has said that word, I think. We all have it though. And the way I see it, the more you make the more you have. Corporate responsibility, that is non-existant. They make all the money but don’t think they have any responsibility. They don’t realize that we all breathe the same air and that if it isn’t good for everyone then it ultimately isn’t good for anyone. This boom of the last 30 years is quickly coming to an end and we are facing a reckoning. The sooner the rich realize it the better because as the poor get poorer and angrier about it the walls of their precious gated communities will never be enough to keep out the revolt.

  • SRAM

    I agree with you. You mention others are not entitled to your hard earned money. How about your kids. Are they entitled to it, successive generation?

  • jon

    Yes, (besideds parents, which are by far the most important) I have used those things equally as poor people, but have contributed 1000 times more for those roads, parks, and schools. I HAVE pulled my weight.

  • Jon

    My kids are not entitled to my money. I chose (not the government) to use it to benefit them. I earned it. Its my choice.

  • SRAM

    Yes it holds water in your case. But is your choice beneficial to the society as a whole. Your kids cannot say they earned it, and they become the group of people that inherit something without working for it. Now assuming we all do this, successive generation is at a severe disadvantage than the ones that inherit. Question is do we allow individuals making decisions for the welfare of the society or an (supposed to be) impartial government. For example I have worked hard and I am quite comfortable now, but I received help along the way like a scholarship (albeit partial), help starting my small business, from people not related to me. So I do think we owe a debt to the society for it to be a level playing field for the next generation. Otherwise communism and socialism are justified to rear their ugly head.

  • Jon

    That’s just it. In Socialism you don’t own or control your means. The government does. Is it a coincidence that the US is the most successful country in the history of the world (Capitalism!). We have done more for humanity than any other Socialist country.

  • Anarcissie

    Well, if you don’t call the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers ‘socialism’, what do you call it? It’s not capitalism, which is the ownership and control of the means of production by a private elite. I’ll use any vocabulary you like, but it seems to me yours has a pretty big gap in it.

  • Jon

    I’m sorry, but I believe in Freedom. If someone else inherits money. Good for them. Their windfall does not hurt me. Regulations and restrictions put on my life hurt me.

    The root of the problem with income inequality is JEALOUSY! No one is starving in the US. If everyone was making $40k per year, the liberals would be happy. When some people start getting rich and they are still making $40k, they get jealous. Nothing changed in their life, but they will not tolerate someone else seperating themselves from the pack. They feel the need to hold them back.

  • mandoholic

    Many of the bottom 40% would LOVE to have an opportunity to have skin in the game. A certain percentage of the top 2% raped the system and robbed from the poor/middle class (how did your 401K/investments fare between 2007 and 2009?). On top of that… as a percentage of their income, the super wealthy pay less than the middle class… and you think that’s fair? I’ve got skin in the game… I’ve been gainfully employed almost non-stop since I was 13 years old… coming up on 40 years of employment. I pay taxes. I’d like to see our country’s wealth more equally distributed, and if the super wealthy won’t do that out of their own sense of equity and charity then the government needs to step in with regulation and taxation. Many of us contributed to the financial mess… lower class, middle class, and upper class alike. The difference is that the rapists walked away with huge piles of cash at the rest of our expense and there were no laws in place to hold them accountable.

  • http://www.im-jus-sayin.com/ Robert Bostick

    The Federal Government taxes to maintain the value of the dollar, guard against inflation. It doesn’t need revenue when it is the sole issuer of the currency. It simply issues more currency.

    Today, the Federal government faces high unemployment, low consumer demand and under utilized capacity in industry and manufacturing, all of which represent an enormous output gap. Government could deficit spend to the tune of $2-$4 trillion over the next two years and there would be not a single bump in inflation since demand is suppressed by inadequate levels of disposable income.

    We cannot grow the economy by becoming anorexic through austerity policies. Growth eliminates debt.

  • Anonymous

    The revolution has already begun.

  • Jon

    No Anarcissie, you are wrong. I am an individual. I am not Society. I do not want society to own my stuff. I want to own it. I want to decide my OWN destiny. Other workers can suceed or fail on their own. I am OK with that. We don’t share equal sacrafices. We shouldn’t get equal rewards.

  • Jon

    Actually you are. Or at least close. $41k will put you in the top 3% of the world. The median icome woldwide is $850 per year. Remeber all the third world countries where the government has full control.

  • K

    Yeah, because high levels of debt worked out great for those who bough houses they couldn’t afford…Stupid Economics here!

  • Anarcissie

    I don’t think Society owns things. The comparison I was making was between an elite owning and controlling the means of production and hiring and directing workers, and the workers themselves owning and controlling their means of production. The first case used to be called ‘capitalism’ and the second ‘socialism’, but if you don’t like these words, you can suggest others. In industrial societies, most productive work is social (that is, people cooperate to do it, rather than work completely on their own) so that there is not a lot of space for absolute individualism, and so the question of how we are going to manage the work arises. It seems to me that having a share of the ownership and control of the means of production beats having nothing.

  • Jon

    Wealth is created, NOT distributed. This is where liberals get it wrong. Liberals seem to want to steal this money, but call it taxes in the name of fairness. Our government is sending people checks not to work. They call it welfare. Oh, my knee hurts, I need disability (abusing the system). Our system was set up with a safety net to catch people, but instead people fall on the net and just lay there, expecting others to carry their weight. Only roughlly half of Americans contribute to the system in the form of income taxes. Why wouldn’t they want the rich to pay more. Hell, lets have kick their door in day. Once a year we can kick the door in of rich people and take 10% of their stuff. I bet we could get half of the people to vote for that. After all, they are entitled right?

  • jon

    I watched the video. What is the solution? Steal peoples money and give it to the poor? Government control? Re-write the constitution? Honestly, how do you fix it? Some people aren’t willing to work hard. Do they deserve to be taken care of? Fariness like Cuba, Russia, China?
    No trolling here. This is important stuff and someone needs to break through the BS to show the truth. Put up a video showing the income inequality of the world. The US has all the wealth. We certainly don’t want it taken from us to be given to the rest of the world.

  • jon

    We live in a Republic, not a democracy. In a Democracy there is mob rule. Meaning that if 51% of people get jealous of the other 49%, they have vote in a law to take their stuff. Sort of like what liberals want to do with income inequality.

  • mandoholic

    You and Mitt are correct… only about half of Americans pay income tax. Shame on the rest of the lazy, greedy bastards… people like my parents, who worked all their lives and are now collecting SS and Medicaid they paid for, or the portion of the military who are not taxed on their income, or people who are working crappy 1 or 2 or 3 crappy jobs so they can keep the lights on and food on the table. What a bunch of entitled scum! Or those slackers who have worked all their lives but now are unable to find work because of the economy (I know, blame that on Obama!). Yep, they’re all lazy, abusive, entitled… their knee hurts so they can’t work. The ones who are abusing welfare are a subset of the 47% who are not paying income tax, and I suspect what they’re taking is a pretty small fraction compared to what the super rich dodge in taxes through one manipulation or another every year. Obviously the stock speculators who helped usher in the economic collapse of the Western world are entitled to the money they earned in the process… the multiple houses, expensive cars, etc, etc.

    I know a fix for the Social Security, Medicaid, VA Benefits, Gov’t pension, and other gov’t give away programs deficits: if everyone who espouses the belief that 47% of Americans are freeloading signs away their right to any of these so-called entitlements, I suspect we’d be in the black within the first few years. Are you up for that? Make sure you get your parents and any other slacker relatives on board while you’re at it. Me… I paid into those “entitlement programs” and I will take advantage of them when I retire. I’m going to need to… the investment rapists did a pretty big number on the 25 or 30 years worth of retirement money I had put away. But of course… they earned it.

  • Patrick Rogne

    It would be interesting to see the % of the groups income they need to spend on living. I think some people just assume that the rich have to pay a lot more but I think the reality is that its flipped. The middle has to pay 80 to 90 to live and is able to only save around 10% but the top only spends 10% and is able to save the larger portion. This stand in the face of the trickle down theory. Whats going to trickle down if they are not spending a very large portion of thier income.

  • mandoholic

    You’re right, Jon, it is important stuff. As much as I hate gov’t bureaucracies, I’ll take your “gov’t control” option as the only reasonable one. It had to be done after the Guilded Age of the late 1800s when workers finally rallied to stop the abuse by the industrialists who felt entitled to grab all they could for themselves at the expense of the workers (back then, it was just a production problem if we lost a bunch of immigrants laying down railroad track or making steel). I think the unions have gotten out of control too… there’s a sense that they’re entitled to unsustainable wages for minimal work in a lot of cases, but many of the wealthiest Americans also have a sense that they’re entitlement because they got an MBA at Harvard or wherever.

    In a previous post you said “wealth is created, not distributed.” Unfortunately the system is out of balance; most of the highly compensated heads of our companies do not add the value to their companies that they take out. There are a lot of companies which are managed for short term gain of senior execs and share holders, and when the bottom drops out they walk away with their golden parachutes and the rank and file are sent to the unemployment line. There are a lot of very proud people who have worked their entire lives, who would love to continue working, and who are ashamed and despondent over the fact that there are no jobs for them. Then they get labelled as entitled and lazy because they have to collect unemployment and other assistance.

    These wealthy execs don’t want tax loopholes closed (Obama’s latest request, and something Romney campaigned on) and they don’t want interference in the way they do business. I would welcome legislation (regulation) that requires a vesting period on excessive executive compensation packages until ten years or more after they’re supposedly earned. I think it would result in a lot more management for the long term, which would also result in “job creation” or at least fewer collapsing companies. The companies that do fail could use un-vested compensation as a first line of compensation to the laid off employees who had little to no control over the strategies that led to the collapse. I don’t believe in a socialistic solution… just as the video says, we know that doesn’t work, but the middle and lower class also need protection from the actions of the greedy.

  • Jon

    Those programs won’t be there. You may have fairly contributed, but not everyone does. That is the problem. Take a look at the charts that show the trajectory of those programs. When someone can make $20k on welfare or $22k working full time. Many of them are taking the $22. I If they wanted to make much more. The sacrafice would be great. But…they have enough to eat, and would lose their benefits if they tried. When Obama says, hey I’ll give you $20k to stay home and not work. Guess who they vote for…Not a self reliant guy, thats for sure.

  • Jon

    Good post, but it is up to those companies to deal with poor performing or over paid exectives. I am for certain regulations (no monopolies). I also don’t see the value in the three letters; M B A.. I see value in great ideas, hard work, and leadership. MBA’s can have the feeling that they are entitled to things all they want, but there are no laws that take my money and give it to them.

  • Jon

    How many people work for Apple? Trickle trickle. How many people use Apple prodcuts to help their businesses? Trickle trickle. If you take away the carrot, there is nothing to chase.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sasha.suvorkov Sasha Suvorkov

    Despite the propaganda, rich people in this country no longer create jobs. They create them in China, India or any other place where human labor has the least value. In fact, the rich bleed these jobs right out of this this country!

  • http://twitter.com/sixemkay Chantie

    Not many rich people create jobs either, actually.

  • http://twitter.com/sixemkay Chantie

    They pay most of the taxes because they have most of the money.

  • http://twitter.com/sixemkay Chantie

    The states that take the largest share of entitlement dollars and contribute the least amount of tax revenue are all Republican states. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

  • http://twitter.com/sixemkay Chantie

    Seriously! I guess we need to be louder…. The majority is supposed to win in a democracy and I believe that majority has clearly called for change. I’m still waiting for this country to shrug of the last traces of Bush.

  • Mikeguru

    I have stock, as one of the 20% wealthiest who own 92% of ALL stock on Wall Street. While the bottom 80% own about 8% of all Stock (you have to make enough money above paying for housing, food, and transportation to have enough left over to buy a share of stock). Wage Suppression for 30 years has lessened the 80% from buying stock or save money).

    I read annual reports of Corporations and noticed that the Executive Compensation listed in the Corporations annual report did Not match what other sources like Forbes and Fortune listed. Only the CEO and Five Executive Vice Presidents were listed by law but the Corporation had 1% of the Company under the same standard, paid 90% annually with Stock Awards and Options that they “cashed in for greenbacks” as soon as the 15% tax rate qualified for the stock sale.

    I will give you an example.

    IBM listed their CEO as having $2 million in Salary in their annual report to shareholders. However, Forbes and Fortune listed the CEO at $20 million. So where was the $18 million coming from? I tried to figure out in the Annual Report, where the $18 million was being paid to the CEO. It was not apparent except for “Stock Awards and Stock Options” with no “cash value” estimated.

    The CEO and the 1% of the total employee workforce (Executives) were being paid 90% in Stock, taxed at 15%. Only $2 million was paid and taxed at Ordinary Income. The Stock Compensation applied to the 1% of the Company or 4,000 Executives at IBM.

    A typical Corporate Executive would Sell the Stock under the guise of “Capital Gains” and receive the Special Treatment of a 15% Tax Rate. I think this “Trick” of paying in stock to the 1% of all major Corporations started around 1980.

    Over the years, I noticed that employees of Companies, the 99%, were Not receiving increases in compensation matching Productivity improvements with their hours increasing and benefits grew less and less. In fact, over 30 years the increase of employees not paid with Stock Awards was a measily 3% compared to 400% of Corporate Executives. The Corporate Board of Directors(who are the Executives tools) were using Cash from Profit to “:Buy Back Shares of Stock” that resulted in “Boosting the Stock Share Price, artificially” that would not have occured had the Executives not being paid 90% in stock.

    Recently I read a book, that listed the Richest Point 1% of the USA. About 140,000 Households. About 49% of those Richest 140,000 Households are Former and Current Corporate Executives. The figure varies from 35% to 49% depending. However, it is apparent, Paying Executives in Stock, taxed at 15% made Corporate Executives very, very, wealthy while 99% were carrying the taxation load taxed at 39% ordinary income rates for the Country, not only with Revenue, but with their kids as the Corporate Executives kids escaped Military Service with no mandary Military Service for all. (As a Veteran, the “Thanks for your Service comment from a Corporate Executive is insulting as his kids, never serve, only the Middle Class and Poor”.

    The next highest of the 140,000 wealthiest households were 19% Financial – Wall Street and Hedge Fund Managers, again – paid in Stock taxed at 15%.

    I chuckle when I hear “We are making this buyback, not giving employees raises” to “return value to Shareholders” at the Corporate Boards reports at Annual meetings (they loath to hold public meetings) where the “Shareholders they are speaking of are Them, the 1% Executives, the managers paid 90% at a 15% tax rate.

    Another fact is the employees are “Contributing to their 401K” taxed at 39% when withdrawn and at least 75% are being poured into Stock that the 1% Corporate Executives “sell for Cash” taxed at 15% every year.

    With the “Hyper Computer buy and sell every “microsecond” and no Transaction fee, Wall Street, Corporate Execuitves, and the Wealty are “skimming the 401K and IRA;s” of employees and retirees every year and also benefit from 15% tax rates while returns overall a decade are “lost” (the Recent returns can be “washed away” in a few days with a “pull the trigger” of those “in the Know”.

    The Billions paid to Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs are with schemes like “hyper Stock Trading” and with Compensation being taxed at 15%.

    As Leona Helmsly stated “Only the Little People pay Taxes”.

    So, Look no further than Washington, DC for how the Wealth Disparity happened. Wall Street (paid at a 15% tax rate), Corporate Executives (paid at a 15% tax rate) and the “Investment in Bribery from Lobbyists from Wall Street and Corporations” pulled off the greatest “Financial Coup” in the history of the World that caused this disparity of wealth. Check out the disclosure of long term US Senators, stock investments on http://www.opensecrets.com .

    How do we fix it? It is certainly Not keeping this Corporate “Compensation Loophole” in place of Corporate Executives and the “the Loophole Scheme of being paid in Stock taxed at 15% must be addressed” and the Republicans are Not the solution, they are enablers of this huge tax revenue loss to run the country unless, of course, they are pressured by the 99% who pay taxes at ordinary income rates of 39% and more.
    Remember, just becasue you have a 401K that is comprised of Stock, when you cash in the 401K the tax rate is 39%, Not 15%.

    Our Country is in trouble tax wise from the shift of paying Corporate Executives and Wall Street Bankers with the “Pseudo Cash of Stock” taxed at 15%. This “Loophole” needs to be plugged.

    THINK about it.

  • Jon

    How do you suggest they do that? Confiscate wealth from the rich and give it away?

  • Jon

    So, neither you, your friends, or your family work for rich people?

  • Ross Daisomont

    Yes it is time for salary caps . Just like the 1% do to the pro sports players .

  • Philip Andolina

    The class war is over and we have lost. May a just economic insurrection follow and prevail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577909792 Carol Wright

    From what I gathered, this is NOT an INCOME chart, it is a WEALTH chart….assets, property, minus what is owed. That sort of thing. You could have a large income and be burdened by debt, underwater mortgage, etc…so the chart is misleading. someone like me who gets by on SS only, in many cases I am more wealthy…cause i also do not owe much. However other charts comparing such things as actual income, taxes paid, etc show similar..with bulk being over with the top few percent.

  • macats22

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for including this link. This review brilliantly names the fallacies that the rich independently create their own wealth and therefore deserve to keep it. Warren Buffett’s statements are gems!

    I was reminded of a story about the long-term consequences to African- Americans in a Southern town after whites stole land that was owned by their ancestors in the 60+ years after the Civil War. Today the white descendants are landowners, with all the benefits of inherited wealth. The African-American descendants certainly deserve reparations! I went to the internet and found a link to a documentary that may have been where I first heard about this, although I haven’t seen the film: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/banished/film.html

    Of course, I thank all of you that I am able to visit this website and share the link to this film — since our collective intention (aka government) created the internet in the first place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.dolan Kayla Dolan

    yes! That is why this situation needs to be addressed. What about the 1800-1930′s taxes were double what they are now. However, entrepeneurs excelled and new inventions abounded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.dolan Kayla Dolan

    yes

  • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.dolan Kayla Dolan

    Wow, this is an excellent…. Unargueable point! Simple and perfect! Thank you Scott

  • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.dolan Kayla Dolan

    there are bad people everywhere. You want to penalize the poor because of a handful of people. That’s what we want to do to the rich??? ! Also, if it was back in the beginning of this country WE would have already marched into rich peoples homes and DEMANDED and recieved Equity. Lawyers and rich men, found ways… The Armed forces (controlled by the same men) to keep that from happening ever again. Go read a history book

  • Duh

    Wealth is created, not divided. In Monopoly it is divided. This is very simple minded.

  • Duh

    How much should we pay people not to work? $40k per year? It has to be a sad existance to be a liberal. Having to rely on other people to take care of you. Oh poor me. The man is getting me down. How about self reliance?

  • Duh

    This is insane. People want to be rich for security. Those 50 people should go start some businesses and create jobs for other people. They they can listen to their ungrateful employees complain about the man keeping them down.

  • Bonnie

    Jon..go watch the video….obviously you haven’t

  • Bonnie

    I would refer to the top 7% of this country as “slave owners”…that should leave a nasty taste in everyones mouth

  • t Yo

    Production caps to go along with it right? Job creation caps too?

  • Bonnie

    I dont think you even have a clue what you say.. …go to you tube look up birth certificate and Federal Reserve….not a pretty sight…do some research about our wonderful govt’..and the rich and powerful….while you are at it..look up “Agenda 21″……

  • JJC

    You are so buying into the corporate media lies. Sad that greed rots minds. But of course blaming the poor helps the greedy sleep I suppose.

  • Marx

    If pro athletes have salary caps why don’t CEOs?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001013185760 Andre Salcido

    LET THEM EAT CAKE!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.simkoweaver Stephanie Simko-Weaver

    Or the end of another Empire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.simkoweaver Stephanie Simko-Weaver

    When I can keep 85% of my income then we can talk. As long as Corporations (non persons) and billionaires do not pay the same % percentage as I do that is inequality. Unconstitutional! They have loop holes and rebates and owned Congressmen that allow these Aholes to keep all of their money. Tyranny and BS!

  • Nuit

    Not only do the rich get richer in pay scale, through our corrupt systems they skew everything so they can get richer! Corporations are humping our politicians and don’t pay taxes! Wake up!

  • Nuit

    Hey — I’m in the bottom and I pay taxes! Let me know how anyone [except the corrupt corporations] don’t pay taxes.

  • http://twitter.com/KOEHFM KOEH 108.3 FM

    Whether you agree on disagree that this situation is unjust, one thing is certain: it is unsustainable. A revolution will happen. We can choose to manage the revolution by actively fixing this inequity or we can sit back and wait for the revolution to overwhelm us and bring about social upheaval, bloodshed, and anarchy. If history teaches us anything it is that we are headed down the Anarchy St.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1468678354 David Kerley

    When I saw this video I was shocked, then disgusted. If all facts bear out, this is the most damning of videos. It should be broadcast again and again so folks finally get the message. Corporate greed will KILL us as individuals and as a nation.

  • Nuit

    I sure would like to create wealth but money makes money and I have NONE! I am struggling to get by each day! Try losing your job and your house and your car and all your belongings and your retirement and see how positioned YOU are to create wealth. I did everything “right” my whole life but because of our economic system I GOT SCREWED TO THE WALL. I make barely enough to buy food and keep going and I PAY TAXES! How many of the richest corporations pay next to NOTHING.

  • super12@gmail.com

    Who do you think buys what gets sold so companies have money to create jobs in the first place?

  • nuit

    You just have no idea what it is like to be poor and no idea the impact of a barely educated population means to this country. Or do you and you just DON’T CARE?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tritonpsh Triton Scott

    Most people would think buying a home for $10 million sounds super wealthy. But in the new 21st-century Gilded Age the 1% have gone far past that. Have a look at this website and see where all those tax breaks for the ultra-moneyed elite are going to .. http://www.boatinternational.com/yacht-sales/search/

  • SUPER12@GMAIL.COM

    Who makes the computers? The CEO?

  • super12@gmail.com

    No, that’s a stupid assumption. Most people in this country want to work hard and make enough money to pay their bills. Millions can’t and end up homeless or in debt.

  • super12@gmail.com

    The solution is for companies to use the money they would spend on bonuses and pensions for their CEO’s on increasing employee salaries.

  • super12@gmail.com

    Who are these liberals that are taking advantage of people? It’s hard to be self reliant for millions of people when they can’t get a job. It’s not about laziness for most people, it’s about fewer jobs and more people who need them.

  • Trish Henry

    Wowzers. I remember reading in a social studies class in the seventh grade how people who are oppressed often aren’t even aware of it. That they participate in the oppression because that is the accepted social order and at least they know, or think they know, their place. But here we are instead in a biology textbook where they put a frog in a pan of cool water and heat it on a stove. Because the change is so gradual, the frog never realizes it’s being boiled to death. So too the income gap has come upon us until we blame ourselves for our inability to manage money when in reality we don’t have any money to manage.

  • pgobrien

    Robin Hood was NOT a thief. You don’t even know the story. Robin Hood took the TAX MONEY back from the evil TAX COLLECTORS and gave it back to the people who earned it. You have no clue.

  • Anonymous

    Are you for real? Still touting “trickle down” theory?! Watch the video dude! All the way until the bitter end.

  • Larry M4

    Obama raises taxes and the stock market hit a new high. Weird….

    Congress lets the Obama payroll tax cut expire. Weird…

    Obama raises taxes and Walmart’s sales go up this month. Weird…

    Poster has a problem understanding causality. Apparent

  • Anonymous

    That’s just it. The wealthy create NOTHING! They receive money simply from the benefit of already having money, many more times than they need. What do you do with it? Invest! Slippers on. Feet up. NY Times open. Wait. Surprise! Something from NOTHING.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if you’d tried recently, Jon, but an individual surviving on $22,000 a year, and actually paying for their own food, transportation, and roof over their head is a stretch. This is “below poverty” level for a reason.

  • Scott G.

    Jon, like many of the 1%, has his head in the sand. The wealth that is being concentraited at the top was made on the backs of those in the middle and bottom of the graph. They are the produces and the consumers, and without them, there would be no wealth for the privilaged few to covet. The wealth distribution that is going on now is from the bottom to the top. The Government is still giving banks money to lend to the average americans in hopes of getting our econmy going again. But instead of lending it they are holding it and investing it in the stock market. That is why we have a DOW of 14,000+ right now. Wall street is the only area that is making money at the moment, Construction, real estate, and the mom and pop bussiness are still limping along and going out of bussiness because there is less and less money to go around. Eventually, some have commented in the news, that Wall Street will also fail again because this is not a realistic gain in the market. If you want to look at wealth disribution, look at the tax rates in the 30′s through the 70′s for the wealthy. 80%, 70%,50% for the 1%. FDR feared a revolution by the people who had lost their jobs, homes, money, and dignity! This is why wealty Americans were asked to pay a greatershare of their income. If the people revolted, Democracy would be over. The wealty had made their wealth off the backs of those people who now lived on the streets. It was time for them to pay their share and help the country to stabilize and get back on its feet. They had gone through a time of very low taxes as they have now, during the roaring 20′s,and in 29 the bubble burst as it did in 2007 real estate bubble and again in 2008 with the crash of the market. Obamas administration has only asked that their tax rate be raise from 16% before tax deductions to 37%+/-. They would start on a par with everyone else in the US. That is not outrageous or job killing, it is fair. Besides they are not creating jobs anyway or more people would be going back to work. The jobs are created in a solid middle class where people hope to move up the income ladder and build their bussiness. Construction, which was devastated in ’07 is the backbone of this country employing Millions of people across the country. I am a contractor, self employed before the crash and still self employed now. In 2000 to 2003 I was making well over 100,000 a year. Diesel for my truck was $1.70. I could have worked 7 days a week, and I had several part time employees or Subs, as well as other subs for Plumbing, Electrical, Masonry,… After the bust in ’07 I could not give these people anymore work. I had to keep myself busy to pay my bills, and even doing that was not sufficient to pay them without going into my saving’s, and my wife’s. To add to it my second son had a brain tumor at one. Eleven years later he is still alive and in need of constant medical care of one sort or another. This has also been a huge drain on my homes income. Today, in 2013, I have maintained the homes that I purchase in the good times by renting them and putting all my incme towards them ahead of food, clothing, and heat. My son is on MA health with his chronic condition, and we have had to take assistace from time to time to get through. I drive the same truck 202,000 miles and 12 years later. Diesel costs $4.25 a gallon now, and I make about a third of what I made in 2003. The reason that there are so may people on social programs now is because they cannot make what they did before. The jobs are gone, and the hourly rate has dropped in half. If they cannot get a job. If the social programes were to be eliminated many people who have been able to hang on would finally fall through the crack and be homeless and starving on the street. I am sure it would be a short trip to a revolt if that were to happen. I am sure that there has not been as much social unrest as there could have been because Like me most people are Mortgage slaves, or slave to some other bill, so that they have to work and cannot be activists. The poor and the middle class are not living off of the system, (not that some don’t but they were in good times also.) There would be nothing better than to be back at work with a living wage and paying all of our bills, and taxes, without the help of the social programs. If that could happen the governmnets deficit would not be so great if it even existed. More than 50% of the people on social programs would have left them. The economy would start to hum again. Jon, to think that the 47%’s just want to live off of the government is just not accurate, to say we all want to be socialists is also not accurate. We the people do need help from time to time, and we should also be able to learn the good and bad from Europe and apply it as possible. We do need Universal healthcare. It is unaffordable for individuals and bussinesses to pay upwards of $2,000.00/ month for health insuurance per household. If fuel prices are to stay this high we need more green energy solutions, and better MPGs in our trucks as well as our cars. WE should also learn that the Austerity that the GOP wants has not worked in Europe and will not work here. Austerity will be a job killing plan. We should learn from them. Socialist or socialism cannotes the idea of Communisim. It is a term of disdain that the GOP uses to put down social activism, that helps the many but does not threaten capitalism or democracy. It only helps to enhance it. But it does not serve their special intersts, who contribute to their re-election. With all of the money concentraited at the top, and no middle class, it will not take long for Capitlism to falter without people to purchase product. Instead following the same failed path, money should not continue to go to the banks and investment houses it need to go to the people to restructure the debt of those who are still standing, and go to create jobs for all. That is what will rebuild our economy.

  • Anonymous

    And the creation of jobs by the wealthiest 10 percent is a myth. If you are in the ten percent and are a business owner or exec, you made your money at least partly by hiring overseas, not by creating jobs here.

    What Jon and others seem to miss is the fact that the video shows — that we now live in a plutocracy. The folks at the way top, paid 380 times what the average person is paid, are pulling the strings, setting the taxation legislation, creating the loopholes to pay less, and not paying their FAIR share into a system that could work if they did.

    “Trickle down” works only when the people at the top know it’s there responsibility to trickle it down. If not, taxes need to do that work. The alternative is letting people die in poverty, which I feel that some of the people here are advocating, some sort of “survival of the fittest”. Well, may you relive this karma in the next life.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. This is the most basic question that is not being addressed.

  • Warren in NC

    I think the best thing about this video is starting a conversation about ‘why’ these inequities exist. Personally, I’m not one who advocates stealing from the rich and give to the poor via the government. I am, however, one who wants a serious examination of what capitalism does to people across the spectrum of different incomes. For the longest time we’ve gotten the sermon saying when the wealthy can hold on to more of their money, jobs happen. And when the government tax the rich and corporations, they are responsible for screwing the middle class out of jobs because the wealthy have less money to create jobs.

    That sermon is no longer valid. It may have been valid somewhere in history, but it’s not valid now. There is no proof that trickle down economics creates jobs…well, I take that back. Trickle down does create jobs when wealthy corporations (like Apple) send their jobs to China.

  • Anonymous

    If Americans truly “want” Socialism, then according to the myth of American “democracy”, we should be able to choose that. The problem is we can’t choose what we really want, because the 1 percent chooses for us what suits them best, which is essentially to steal from the already poor and give it back to themselves. What else would you call what happened with the bailout?

  • Anonymous

    Right. Some people think anything other than our capitalist democracy is “Socialism”; even if it’s just some controls against the rampant greed, it’s “Socialism”.

  • Anonymous

    I would say that people worldwide need to be paid fairly for their work. That may mean that those living way above the standard may need to sacrifice. We may all need to live a little more simply. That’s the reality on more than just economic levels.

  • Anonymous

    Using Haiti as an example of socialism gone wrong is a great fallacy. As has been stated before, Haiti is more of a “kleptocracy” than socialist. We are headed in the direction of Haiti, possibly the most devastated by poverty in the world, because any money that the country has is held in the hands of the very wealthy. Here’s a link about Haiti’s economics —
    http://books.google.com/books?id=TvaWSPsTQPAC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=haiti+distribution+of+income&source=bl&ots=uh-NPXwsAo&sig=Hg_c5On0RYoOHwhR079pbdsGWHU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wsY7UcvFC8nTqAH_qoFo&ved=0CI0BEOgBMAk4Cg#v=onepage&q=haiti%20distribution%20of%20income&f=false

  • Anonymous

    Right. It’s much better that 1% tell everyone, “We’ve got your stuff and we’re keeping it, so the heck with the rest of you. If you’re nice to us and tow the line, we’ll let a little trickle down to you through meaningless jobs at McDonalds and Starbucks. If not, it’s poverty all the way, baby!”

  • Anonymous

    Look at the ways in which you have stolen. Theft by the rich of the poor and middle class is legal under the current system. Get over yourself!

  • Charlotte Connelly

    I’d love to hear more about maximum wage laws.

  • Anonymous

    No one is starving? Not even any of those people at the bottom who don’t even register on the scale? Who eat the crumbs that you pass down to food banks (reluctantly of course)? I challenge you to spend a week working for a food bank or public service organization. It would do you a lot of good to really see how other people live.

  • Brad

    How do we fix this this without getting the government involved? After all, the only thing the government is good for is taking EVERYONE’s money, taking a cut for themselves, then blowing the rest on useless programs. The only way we can fix this is with humanitarian efforts on the part of the 1% or with honest politicians (I almost died laughing when I said honest politicians).

    Also, the top 1% are not evil monster’s, take anyone from the bottom 1% and give them what the top 1% has and they will do the same thing.

  • Dave

    Labor creates all wealth.

  • Roger

    It’s imminent due to the fact that it’s impossible to have a third party in this country. Austerity America-will it be violent Greece or a tame version of Spain. After watching Occupy, I think it could get very violent in spite of police having many new weapons in their arsenal for crowd control.

  • Anarcissie

    Well, they can use language as they please, and define socialism as the care and feeding of calico cats if they want. I just need a word to denote what I think socialism is supposed to mean. It doesn’t look like I’m going to get one, though.

  • Anonymous

    Go ahead! Neglect the very inconvenient fact that it is the government (via DARPA and NASA) that gave the crucially important initial impulse to create the personal computer.

    Also neglect the historical fact that entrepreneurship existed in this country before such a skewed distribution of wealth took place. Moreover, many more breakthrough innovations took place precisely during the period where income inequality ws much less than today.

    Try to explain away these facts with your Faith&Fox based mythology.

  • Anonymous

    “Walmart’s sales started dropping at the same time the payroll tax went up.”
    Yeah! And a city of 100,000 residents has 10 times the number of churches and brothels than a city of 10,000 residents: We can then conclude that the 100K city is 10 times more religious AND depraved…right?

  • http://twitter.com/DivestNow Divest Now

    Economic Slavery, simply stated. There will aways be a push by those who ‘have’ to get more at the expense of others. The fact is that the top 10% have been quietly funding politicians (or, call it lobbying) and using their influence to rig the system to skim more and pay back less into the system. Even if we forget for a moment how much these people are making, I’m curious to see how much they’re paying back to support the common services we all share. I bet the graph would look inverted, with the bottom 40% paying multitudes more in per dollar than the top 10%, if you take into account all taxes (fed, state, real estate, sales, business, etc.) as well as service fees and fines, such as parking tickets, insurance (auto, health), registration fees, etc. that all add up to increase the disparity even more. The lower 40% does not even get to keep any of what they do take in because they are paying into a system that subsidizes the wealthy individuals and corporations.

  • http://twitter.com/DivestNow Divest Now

    Your argument is bullsh*t. The rich (and the corporations they control) are enslaving people to enrich themselves further.

  • http://twitter.com/DivestNow Divest Now

    No one is arguing with capitalism. You obviously don’t get that a symbiotic system needs to support its parts or it won’t survive. Your argument, and capitalism left unchecked, quickly becomes an oligarchy, wich will quickly turn totalitarian once the oppressed truly rebel. A fair and just system that allows for the happiness and enrichment of all who choose to work hard is the best system, and one that won’t self destruct. What is your view of balance? Does that even enter into your equation?

  • LucienP

    Please prove that last statement without a quote from Rush.

  • http://twitter.com/LaViedeMere Mimi

    I lost over half of my 401K, NOW it is finally back to where it was in 2008, NOW I would like to retire at pushing 70 and NOW the government will take it’s share from that and NOW I am NOW an angry American!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000357460804 Nora Edwards

    I don’t know where you live, but poor people are always creating jobs. Mostly to supplement their meager incomes. They are artists, laborers, cooks, caretakers, traders, teachers, and a thousand other enterprises. Poor people are always trying out different ways of making ends meet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/obie.hanson Obie Hanson

    Revolution has been coming… we have the information, now a plan is desperatly needed. HOWEVER.. Judicial Reform is top priority… We MUST regain our system of law… This branch of government needs to be looked at closely because these are the RULES… Please, Bill, lets get to know our courts better…

  • Michael Olneck

    Over the last several decades, less and less has trickled down, as the wealthy have pocketed more and more of the fruits of increased productivity. Now, firms have little incentive to expand because Americans have less purchasing power than in the past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.lavalley.7 Sharon LaValley

    Scott, you are an astute man. Jon,however, still reads and comprehends on a 3rd grade level.The job offerings do not reflect the cost of living. Fair wages? Equal pay? No. Golden parachuetts and bonuses that could feed a small country, yes

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.lavalley.7 Sharon LaValley

    Let me put it this way: The rich have a financial obesity disease. We the people, are putting them on our shoulders and keeping them on life support by sacrificing ou hopes and dreams.So i am coining a new phrase here”Capitalistic Obesity”,A disease only the rich can get.

  • Jenjen Menmen

    OK well then let’s just replace the word “money” for resources. Resources are what people with money own. Resources are limited like monopoly money. You’re now the simple minded one.

  • Jenjen Menmen

    That’s true. In the 1980 a computer cost a little less than $2900 from IBM. I recently located a receipt for a computer at that price that wouldn’t accomodate an 8th graders needs now. 25+ years later with inflation that would be around $7000 dollars. How many of us would upgrade every two years at that price? The majority of us couldn’t. We’d have to choose between a high end car or a home computer.

  • Anonymous

    There is capitalism and then there is corporate capitalism. It was rapacious capitalism that cranked out the computers, not social capitalism as exits in Europe. Workers in China with low pay, polluted work places, and no bathroom breaks made those computers and iphones. Exploited workers made the products and the 1% got the profits of the labor of those workers. US tax payers funded the research that resulted in computer technology but the 1% get the profits from producing them.

  • Eve L Hazard

    It’s funny when someone of the 99% argues in favor of the 1% to continue to rig the rules that only benefit the 1%.

  • BrotherDonald

    The stock market reached record highs this week. Rich people are richer than they’ve ever been before. Most rich people are not creating jobs. If they were, unemployment would be at record low levels. Most rich people are sequestering their money in off shore accounts.

  • Jon

    The stock market went up because of inflation. Its like taking a bag of chips and doubling the number of chips in it. It sounds great right? I can double your chips. Except that I am stomping on the bag, breaking them in half to double the number. The Fed is pumping billions into the system. Once the double the dollars in circulation, your dollars buy half as much.

  • Bill

    People for now. Until it is more cost effective to have robots do it.

  • Jon

    Apples and Oranges. If someone makes $50k per year and dedicates $45k to essential living expenses and then they get a 2% increase in taxes, now the go from having $5k of disposable income to $4k. A 20% reduction. Hope this isn’t too comlicated…

  • Name

    Nice try. But… You are WRONG. The tax rates were high, but NOBODY paid the rate. The effective rate after deductions was much lower that tne printed rate. Also, most people had skin in the game. Less people pay taxes and contribute to our society than ever before.

  • Name

    My view is: I kill it, I drag it home, I get to eat it. (figuratively, I know libs are very sensitive, so I had to explain)

  • Jon

    Obama and GE. Haha The epitome of crony capitalism. This is what gives capitalism a bad name. Obama gave our tax dollars to companies that are buddy buddy with him. Jeffery Immelt (CEO of GE) was put on the Jobs board after his company paid 0 taxes. Yeah give the power to government. They won’t waste it or abuse it.

  • Jon

    Mow some lawns, deliver some pizzas. Use it as a stepping stone. Work hard. Work 2 or 3 jobs. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Try for 12 hours per day 6 days per week. Stop blaming eveyone else. Look in the mirror. You are responsible for your own destiny. Stop looking at your neighbor’s lawn.

  • Jon

    NO NUIT. Thats just it. I understand completely. I have been dirt poor. All the neighbor kids and their families were on government assistance. The government would send thier families checks, but if you try to work, you lose the check. So…The government paid them not to work. My parents worked 2 jobs each while I grew up. They made me work from a very young age. They demaned that I didn’t have the same life as they did. The safety net was pulled out from under me. I had no choice, but to be successful. I failed many times, but NEVER gave up. No time for TV and video games, but plenty of time for extra homework, jobs, and more jobs. I thank god every day that I had someone tell me that it was up to me. No one was going to take care of me. Had I received a check and had everyone telling me that I was a victim, then I may be where many of these liberals are at. Hoping someone would save me.
    WE DON’T SHARE THE SAME SACRAFICES. WHY SHOULD WE SHARE THE REWARDS???

  • Jon

    Probably got a nice return this year huh? Yeah, you paid no net taxes.

  • Jon@yahoo.com

    Uhhhhh. Yeaahhh. The business owners created those jobs for those peole to work at.

  • Jon

    Why in the $%#@ would you want socialim. Which country can you point to that is socialist that has done more for humanity that the US??????? Name only ONE! The reason you can’t is because it doesn’t work. When your neighbor is only making 10% less than you do, and they don’t work at all, it is pretty tough to me motivated to work your life away for that extra 10%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508885357 William R. James

    That’s true. But it’s at the individual level. If you have a dollar you are free to choose how spend your dollar. It’s no one else’s business. And that doesn’t change of you have a billion dollars. If you choose to buy a CEO’s time at a billion dollars, so what? It’s your money. It’s no one else’s business. The video is just a whine over some people making a lot of money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508885357 William R. James

    So you think it’s a zero sum game? Must be tough now that all the wealth of the Mayflower’s crew is now divided up among 300 million people, huh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508885357 William R. James

    The CEO is no different from anyone else. Your labor is worth exactly whatever price you can get someone wanting it to pay. And what makes you imagine yourself to be so far above us all that you believe it’s your business to decide how much someone else is allowed to charge for their labor or someone else is allowed to pay for labor they want? What makes it your business? What makes it the business of anyone other than the two parties in the trade? I don’t care what 90% think, or even 99%! Unless they are involved in the trade, it’s none of their business. That’s the beauty of a free nation, people actually have rights regardless of the majority opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508885357 William R. James

    Then why didn’t you buy 51% of Apple stock so it would be your business to decide what the CEO is worth? You seem to think you are fit to decide what others consider valuable. I doubt that you are.

  • Jon

    Nailed it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheRealWendyBuell Wendy Buell

    But the payroll tax didn’t go up .. it went back to what it was… it was a temporary reduction that we knew wasn’t permanent when it went into effect that PROVED the working and middle class have a huge impact, unfortunately while we.. the working and middle class played our part… we started shopping again, the wealthiest didn’t do theirs by creating more jobs at better wages in order to get the economic boost moving… they just took the extra profits and when those ended they cut hours, benefits and jobs …

  • Jon

    You are ignorant. Over the past 150 year an abundance of wealth was CREATED. Not divided. If it was divided, we would be fighting over horses and old crappy grass houses. But, we are not. Some chose to build very successful businesses. We don’t care if you are nice to us or mean to us. If you want to do business with us, you are welcome, but if not that is OK too. Its up to you. You have FREE WILL. You can also start your own business and create jobs and products for all.

  • duh

    Steve Jobs told Obama that he couldn’t have the plants built in the US because of all the regulations. It would take him years. It took him a couple days in China to get them started.

  • Jon

    Poor people are probably the most obese people in our country. (no offense intended).

  • k

    If some poor guy in the intercity sits at home, collects his check and never works, but I bust my butt, sacrafice time from my family friends, sacrafice health, get rich, create jobs, and helpful products; how did I steal from him? He had nothing to do with my success. I had nothing to do with is failure.

  • Jon

    Because the Yankees would monopolize Baseball. We have laws for monopolies in business. CEO’s are paid on value. It is worth it to pay them $10 million if they make decisions that cause your company to make $100 million.

  • Bill

    Wendy please do your part by creating a good product, creating jobs, and then paying hundreds of thousands in taxes when you become rich.

  • Jon

    If you send me a $100k check, I’ll cash it. What is your point?

  • marty scanlan

    Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan (and their successors today) don’t want to pay taxes and they don’t have to because they’re filthy rich and they the politicians in their pocket.

  • NoDicePacMan

    What you get out of SS depends directly on what you put into it, thus people who didn’t contribute to SS don’t receive the same benefits (entitlements?) as those who did.

  • Boognish

    You are a Moron.

  • forfucsake!

    Beautifully stated, but I’ve learned long ago you won’t move that rock(Jon’s of the world) till it’s rolled down the hill and experienced the view from the bottom.

  • forfucsake!

    Steal peoples money, really? You know how my community is addressing all the latest shortfalls from the financial collapse? By giving tax deferments to try and attract new businesses, while raise the sales tax by 2 cents as well. How’s that working you may ask? we’ve seen no new development and the poor Blue collar sap is paying more for his dinner of mac and cheese. As George says,”the game is fixed”.

  • Julie

    But as we know, rich people aren’t creating jobs. They’re hoarding profits. More and more of the profits go to the few at the top. The workers wages are stagnant.

  • anonymiss

    Yeah, okay, you’ve described reality. If 80 percent of Americans don’t like it, what can they do? Where are your proposed solutions?

  • zurdalinda

    As I understand it, the chart shows the distribution of WEALTH. Yet even in the video, the discussion quickly turns to INCOME. They are not the same. Of course, those with the highest incomes are most likely to have the highest wealth, but it’s important not to confuse the two. Just as it’s important not to confuse Deficit and Debt.

    The video and graphs were well done and offered a variety of ways to see and understand the disparity/inequality. I couldn’t give it 5 stars, though, due to its blurring of the lines between wealth and income.

  • jlno114

    While many CEO’s may find themselves in the upper brackets. what this chart does not reveal is the inordinate amount of the top percentile made up of two groups, politicians and entertainers who are, coincidentally, the ones who are shouting the loudest about inequity. “Me thinks thou doest protest too much.” And if you don’t think politicians are not in that higher group, check out the incomes of our long time senate members!

  • grayfox

    When you say already having money, are you suggesting all those folks were born holding a big sack of money?? Where did their “already having money” come from?? Maybe work, perhaps inheritance , gambling, illegal income??

  • grayfox

    I agree, just as no quarterback is worth $20mil+/year or actors worth $20mil+/movie. We focus on CEO’s but forget about those folks we prefer to like.

  • Anonymous

    What I mean is that people who make money from money, at one point made a lot more than they needed. If you’re able to save money, that’s great. Most Americans aren’t able to. At a certain point, people who invest money, in stocks, bonds, you-name-it, or simply a good money market account, have an edge on accumulation. The more they have, the more they can make. But the exchange ISN’T REAL! They no longer work for their money. In fact, they receive money for not working. I’d recommend reading “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein. It outlines a new way of thinking about money that’s not about pilfering from anyone, rich from poor, or poor from rich. I simply don’t believe that a teacher, for example, who works a 50 hour week deserves so much less than someone who supposedly contributed to society years ago and retired at 40 with enough money to live off the interest.

  • Anonymous

    It makes no difference to me… CEO, quarterback, or actor.

  • Glass Half-Empty

    Ahh, the good ol’ Trickle-Down Economics makes it’s regularly scheduled appearance. There are ceilings which are problematic to this long-claimed view of a beneficial corporate welfare program.

    Businesspeople know there is no sense whatever in hiring more people if the business is already able to meet demand. One could argue additional outside investment could allow hiring more people who could then create more demand through a larger market (sales & marketing) or through greater efficiencies brought about by inovation (R&D). This can indeed happen; witness all the second and subsequent rounds of VC cash pumped into companies (crucial difference: there is at least some business oversight!).

    As anyone who’s played a pyramid/mlm scheme could tell you, there is this small issue of the saturated market where, after a certain point, additional sales or market-size enhancing activities produce a net loss once the costs are factored in. As well, innovation in general is quite hard to come by. Most R&D departments spend the vast majority of their time sucking money out of a company; that money being an investment and hedge against competitors and unknown future risk. In random-time x the investment will be paid back in spades, maybe.

    Also, as any businessperson knows, success at scale is often predicated on efficiency and since people are pretty much working as productively as they can, money is spent on machines to replace them (hint: “Computer” at one time not terribly long ago was a job title). It is true, some jobs are created, producing, installing, and supporting the machines, but those gains are far outweighed by the swaths of people who all lost their job as a result of the automation.

    Knowing this, it is easy to see why, if you give tax breaks to already successful business owners, they will simply pocket it and save for a rainy day that never comes. At a certain point, well before becoming a member of the 1%’er club, there’s just not much more worth buying. They are people just like the rest of us, in it for themselves and their family, maybe some of their friends. They are not in it to help you, me, or the economy outside of their own little piece of it.

    Meanwhile, incentivizing a business that is failing or on the margins of success might appear to be successful since the taxpayer funded “gifts” are propping up the poor efficiency, bad management, or other negative factors. Take away the money iv tube and bammo, they fail like they should have in the first place.

    Anecdotally, many with a broadly conservative bent have had recent awareness of the trickle-down lie of voodoo reaganomics (may the gipper rest in peace as a diplomatic soul since that’s pretty much what he was good at). Some of these people have brought new and popular attention to the Libertarian party; unfortunately, they seem to have missed a new problem within the sphere of fiscal (non) governance.

    The fact is, libertarian policies staunchly advocated for by the Federal Reserve Bank over the last 30-40 years were directly responsible for the 2008 meltdown and subsequent recession/depression (juries still out here! :). Earlier there was the S&L crises and others, those small enough to be patched over somewhat while directing attention away from the root cause.

    A Democratic administration presiding over a Republican congress allowed the worst of those policies to flourish. One might read-up on the Brooksley Born story, including watching the excellent Frontline dramatization to inform themselves more on what’s been really going on. Incredably, the current administration has also failed so far to enact meaningful expansion of financial industry governance. Call it gridlock if you want; I think of it as yet another design-by-commitee race-to-the-bottom excercise, as successful as the rest. In the end, the Libertarians are right in that the market will correct its self; what they’re real quiet about is the manner with which the corrections occur and who gets hurt the most.

    People have mentioned a revolution and my view is it’s unlikely, with anything going on now in that space, for anything of consequence to be accomplished until it gets to the same scale of violence as we’ve witnessed overseas with the Arab Spring. Believe me I’m not inciting, merely stating my view of the odds. I’m sorry, camping in a park, picketing, and voting are not going to unseat those in power AND prevent a repeat with new players. A reboot/pivot of our entire societal system is neccessary and that includes all of us too with our many demands and expectations.

    Signed,

    Just-as-pissed-at-government-as-you-but-not-propping-anyone-up-either

  • consumer

    Disregarding what people may think is “right” or “fair” I
    think the more important thing to consider is whether or not the current income
    disparity is at all good for our economy, and based on the current state of our
    economy I think the answer is a resounding no.

    The service sector makes up nearly 80% of GDP and is driven
    by consumer spending.

    Consumer spending is driven by the huge amount of lower and
    middle income people in this nation.

    Do you honestly think that the richest 1% of Americans are
    responsible for driving consumer spending?

    They do not spend the same proportion of their wealth as the
    average American does. Bill Gates does
    not live paycheck-to-paycheck because he is spending millions of dollars on living
    expenses every day.

    So what we have is a situation where the vast majority of
    people in this country no longer have the wealth to contribute in a meaningful
    way to consumer spending. The decrease
    in consumer spending slows growth in the service sector which is the most important
    part of our economy.

    In short: The bottom 99% drive the economy through consumer
    spending. As their spending power
    decreases, our economy slows down.

  • soundsteve

    The computer industry is an excellent example of there being no institutional memory; The home computer revolution came about when some entrepreneurial types decided to take the billions of dollars in taxpayers money (the PEOPLE’s money) that had been spent for decades by the military and to try to create a product for non-military application. The computer industry was built on the people’s money. The fact that a few clever folks have made money by continuing to evolve these technologies speaks more the the government/social investment in the ‘start-up’ before they were out of diapers.

  • soundsteve

    Gee, there must be an obvious connection here. You should ask one of these big companies to hire you to do their metrics as you are clearly brilliant. I am sure there are no other factors at play. You’re as autistic as a Chicago School economist.

  • soundsteve

    News Bulletin: The rich don’t really pay taxes, they get George Bush to advise them on how to hide their money in offshore Caymans accounts. Silly peasant, they didn’t tell you that?

  • soundsteve

    How about not bailing them out when the gamble their money recklessly? The bank bailout was the largest welfare cheque in world history –written to a bunch of billionaire bankers. It would have been better to let the banks fail and deal with the consequences. Instead, we wrote them a cheque so the banksters coup d’etat could be complete and morons on here could blame the poor for an unjust system rife with crony capitalism, greed and criminality. Welcome to the totalitarian state folks, pretty soon there won’t even be forums like this to discuss the issue and anyone posting things like I am posting will be sent to the FEMA detention and ‘retraining’ centers.

  • soundsteve

    I would wager that most Americans just want a real market economy. Sadly, what we have is a cartel oligarchy. No one wants Soviet era socialism but in a ‘black and white’ world no one seems to understand all the possible economic and social options that are available on the spectrum so it gets boiled down to ‘commie’ versus ‘capitalist’. I think most people know a rat when they smell it and the USA smells pretty ratty these days, especially if you hang around Wall Street.

  • James McMillin

    IF they got rich ON THEIR OWN, then they got no incentives from government like tax breaks or investment loopholes like non-taxed interest on overseas investments that allowed them to make those profits. RIGHT? Not likely.

    The more money one makes, the more likely they are able to ‘buy’ their way to paying less taxes, whether it is the ability to pay someone else to find the exemptions or loopholes or possessing the $$ to pay others (Lobbyists or Legislators) to influence legislation that favors their ‘industry’ and create even more tax breaks, start up grants or a “too big to fail” or “too big to prosecute” decision by the ‘law enforcement’ officials of government. They may even have enough $$$ to pay enormous fines as a substitute for incarceration…

    but then THEY EARNED IT!! RIGHT?? Not likely.

  • James McMillin

    Get a clue, Obama only recommends budgets. Your buddies in Congress actually make the final cuts and loopholes.

  • moderator

    Please follow the comment policy and refrain from personal attacks.

    Thanks
    Sean @ Moyers

  • http://www.facebook.com/harold.rhodes.56 Harold Rhodes

    Jon – You sound like a stale sound bite right out of Glen Beck’s mouth. The problem with people like you is you aren’t willing to work with facts. You rely on the false propaganda that is shoved down your throat from the right wing media, which is designed to cover up the smoke and mirrors of Wall Street, hedge fund mgrs., derivatives, the entire banking system and the wealthy.

    If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the cost of living has exponentially risen while income has stayed stagnant over the last 30 years.

    My father was born 1910, lived through the great depression, taught piano and invented the electric piano, fought through world war II, was a republican his entire life, voted for Ronald Regan and said to me one day: “Son, you are in for a very rough ride ahead with this guy. He made a shambles of California as governor for 8 years as a democrat, thought he learned his lesson when running for president as a republican, so I voted for him. Now I know, this man will single handedly transform and redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich without anyone noticing. He will change the face and brand of the Republican Party forever. This country will return to the way it was when I was growing up…HELL! The theory of trickle-down economics is voodoo and will never work for the majority of the country”

    My dad was a genius. He hit the nail on the head. The top tax rate was over 60% from 1932 to 1942 and 90% from 42-63 and 70% from 63-80. In the Reagan years it was cut almost in half from 70% to 38.6% and then Bush senior brought it down to 25%. It has been too low for too long not to mention the biased tax code that was written by the rich to favor the rich. I don’t think that the rate needs to be as high as it was in the 30’s and 40’s, but it was high then because it took decades to recover from a plutocratic society on the brink of disaster around the turn of the last century.

    By the way, I’m not against the rich; my dad became rich from the fruits of his labor. Although he would disagree, he was always proud to be in the 70% tax bracket and felt it was his duty to give back to the less fortunate. Besides, in most cases, it was the less fortunate that bought his piano and who paid to learn how to play from him.

    The economic system is gamed and needs to be adjusted to benefit everyone more equally. You can’t have the majority of the country working insanely hard to never get ahead, and those are the fortunate ones. This wonderful country has run for many years, throughout different times of history in complete harmony or close to it. We have history on our side to know exactly how to adjust our economic architecture to work well for all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.cataldo1 Stephen Cataldo

    Liberals need to stop passing around inequality information that
    doesn’t address this. I think it can be addressed, rather easily and in
    many ways, but if we pass around inequality information without
    answering this first, then the real crux of the question for
    conservatives is left to a few scattered comments.

    The modern
    economy has figured out how to produce far more than we need … big
    profits these days come from controlling production, from stock
    manipulations. It’s not hard to find people ready to be teachers,
    healers, to work creating the things we need, to farm the food we want:
    so why isn’t there abundance? Free market theory says there should be
    no unemployment — if you say that rich people create jobs, you’re
    talking about an economic system besides free market capitalism. The
    modern American economy has changed from increasing the total
    contribution (like Henry Ford’s team coordinating how workers could
    create much more and also get paid much more) to finding ways to cut our
    pay or outsource our work — those are not contributions. The rise of
    Wall Street and fall of Main Street is the end of the story of ordinary
    people being paid close to what they contribute.

    Another key
    point, often assumed by liberals but usually not in the facebook posts
    we share, is that we don’t actually need the government to repeatedly
    take lots of wealth and redistribute it over and over. It’s much more
    important to break monopolies and market distortions that benefit the
    wealthy, than it is to change the tax rates a couple percent (though
    that would be fair, ethical, appropriate and important too.) Walmart
    has too much power over its employees and they get far to small a share
    of the profits from the work that are doing. Fix the bs in the economy,
    have another round of trust-busting just like the one that preceded the
    rise of the American economy, micro-taxes on financial games, forcing
    competition into the boardroom so CEOs can’t pay their buddies with the
    profits made by the workers … and ordinary people will earn enough not
    to be so dependent; the billionaires won’t be earning billions without
    market distortions, it’s very hard to actually contribute a billion
    dollars worth of value.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harold.rhodes.56 Harold Rhodes

    My father was born 1910, lived through the great depression, taught piano and invented the electric piano, fought through world war II, was a republican his entire life, voted for Ronald Regan and said to me one day: “Son, you are in for a very rough ride ahead with this guy. He made a shambles of California as governor for 8 years as a democrat, thought he learned his lesson when running for president as a republican, so I voted for him. Now I know, this man will single handedly transform and redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich without anyone noticing. He will change the face and brand of the Republican Party forever. This country will return to the way it was when I was growing up…HELL! The theory of trickle-down economics is voodoo and will never work for the majority of the country”

    My dad was a genius. He hit the nail on the head. The top tax rate was over 60% from 1932 to 1942 and 90% from 42-63 and 70% from 63-80. In the Reagan years it was cut almost in half from 70% to 38.6% and then Bush senior brought it down to 25%. It has been too low for too long not to mention the biased tax code that was written by the rich to favor the rich. I don’t think that the rate needs to be as high as it was in the 30’s and 40’s, but it was high then because it took decades to recover from a plutocratic society on the brink of disaster around the turn of the last century.

    By the way, I’m not against the rich; my dad became rich from the fruits of his labor. Although he would disagree, he was always proud to be in the 70% tax bracket and felt it was his duty to give back to the less fortunate. Besides, in most cases, it was the less fortunate that bought his piano and who paid to learn how to play from him.

    The economic system is gamed and needs to be adjusted to benefit everyone more equally. You can’t have the majority of the country working insanely hard to never get
    ahead, and those are the fortunate ones. This wonderful country has run for many years, throughout different times of history in complete harmony or close to it. We have history on our side to know exactly how to adjust our economic architecture to work well for all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.cataldo1 Stephen Cataldo

    I think computers are one of the examples of capitalism at its best. Walmart got rich by paying people less. Wall Street gets rich without creating value (the recent crash proves that they were overall *never* investing money with a lot of attentiveness to make investments more efficient, they were always games and short-term). Silicon Valley got very rich related to something real that people want. What would have happened without Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? The next year, all those nerds with ordinary non-CEO jobs would have pushed the technology to make it even easier to do what they did, and someone else would have done it and gotten rich. Capitalism is an ecosystem: you can only have so many computer giants, and you have plenty of people good enough and excited to be CEOs. Some might be a smidge better, Steve Jobs an exception who was more than a smidge better, from the ones who would just love their jobs but don’t get them. Ordinary people doing their jobs, especially including lots of creative people who aren’t in charge, create the vast bulk of value; a few people get to be CEOs and sit at the top of the pyramid working hard but reaping ten or one hundred times more than they contribute. We have so much capital we don’t know what to do with it, but somehow that capital still earns very high returns while workers don’t: market distortions favoring the powerful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.cataldo1 Stephen Cataldo

    Very, very few CEOs are Steve Jobs. He probably did add that kind of value. Of course another creative genius ordinary-worker who isn’t CEO could create one hundred times their value and be lucky to get a 2% bonus. And ordinary CEOs — someone else approximately equally qualified would just love their job; if a company disappears lots of people would love to jump in. It’s market distortions: just like having a job where a strike would be damaging tends to mean you get paid a little more, companies can only have one CEO and they have tremendous power; plus their largely friends deciding how much to pay each other. I play around in the startup world: it’s an ecosystem with only so much space at the top. There are a ton of people who want to start their own companies, or have started mildly successful companies: if the top company falters, it will be replaced in no time. Ordinary working people create most of the wealth, being a CEO is an exciting job with no lack of applicants. People don’t start their own successful companies because the competition stops them from succeeding, not because there are no people willing and capable to lead companies. The successful are just a smidge better and paid 100 times too much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.cataldo1 Stephen Cataldo

    So, what is the inflation rate, or is that scary question? I think if your current economic beliefs depend on blaming things on inflation, you’ve got some rethinking to do. If the Fed is pumping billions into the system, and your dollar is still buying as much as it did, change your economics beliefs. Someone is absorbing those billions, and it isn’t me, and probably isn’t you — I bet no one who contributes something clear, like making a product with their own hands or teaching a kid or healing a sick person is absorbing those billions — so we should probably figure out who it is and be on the same side in dealing with them. ( Inflation <2% in the US, it's been very low since the crash despite a very loose Fed. )

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.cataldo1 Stephen Cataldo

    Can you explain why CEOs are paid so vastly much more in the US than in Europe, or why they are paid so vastly much more now than in the past when the US was thriving (compared to worker’s pay)? It seems like market distortions to me: people have to have jobs, they don’t get paid according to what they contribute, they get paid according to what the market will pay, and that can be manipulated. Plus CEOs don’t get just paid for their labor: a company needs one CEO, and once they have the job they have tremendous, tremendous power over that company. CEOs know each other and look out for each other; there is tons of capital out there yet it is always paid as if it’s scarce. Do you believe that a union capable of shutting down a company that gets paid more because if they go on strike it’s too costly — do you believe they earn more? Because broadly similar market distortions are 100 times stronger for the CEO and capital.

  • Wildman

    Jon,
    You are obviously a 1% either in reality or wish for that status. I am fully retired and worked hard for 56 years. I am not wealthy but able to live well.I don’t know that many very rich folks but the ones I know have no intention of baking more pies because they might have to give up a little of their wealth. The Bill Gates and Warren Buffets are in a very small minority.

  • http://www.facebook.com/trey.pollard.73 Trey Pollard

    You are not always free to choose how to spend your dollar. For many, food, shelter, transportation, and basic creature comforts must be paid first with that dollar, and that dollar is about all they have. These expenditures are not things you can just choose not to do or pay for and some are even local or regional monopolies with little to no competition.
    What most people miss when discussing this topic is that we are entering another age of wage slavery and only those in the top 20% actually have any real choices. So your statement about everyone being able to choose how they spend their money is, at best, a little antiquated.

  • Andy

    With the divide in the economy that we have been witnessing between the “real” economy and the “fictitious” economy in recent decades, it is hard to agree with your point about rich people baking more pie. Sometimes they do, for instance Warren Buffet creates many jobs. However, many other “rich people”, or corporations, simply create fictitious wealth by speculating on the activities in the real economy. The danger in this type of activity is apparent in the housing bubble an its aftermath. The lesson that we should have learned is that we ought to be putting more oversight on Wall Street and reigning in dangerous speculative capital movements. The reality is that very little effort has been made to accomplish this. So at best, I think we can say that some rich people create jobs while others destroy jobs. I would be willing to bet that the amount of suffering caused by the Housing Bubble far outstrips any “excess Pie” created by the economic elite.

  • Vadodra

    Greed hasn’t taken over the minds of the wealthy…history shows that they have been ‘greedy’ for centuries. One only needs to read about the trade union movement to see how they had to fight to get decent wages, decent hours, a shorter work week, benefits, holidays, safe working conditions, no child labour, etc., etc., etc…

    Russian author, Maxim Gorky, wrote a book called ‘Mother’. Worth the read. He describes the life of a Russian factory worker in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Powerful and eye opening! A few years ago I visited a slate mine in Wales that had been turned into a museum. Men…and children, worked in terrible and dangerous conditions in mines, just as many work in terrible and dangerous conditions in places like China, India and Bangladesh today.
    The corporations go where they can make the most profit and where the regulations are the least restrictive…nothing new, just history repeating itself! The rich have grown richer because they have followed the cheap labour. Manufacturing has moved from the west to the east, where labour is cheap, working conditions like they were in the west in the 1900′s and where they can exploit the poverty and corruption that is rampant in many developing nations.

    Take a moment and listen to Tony Benn, 51 year veteran of the British parliament interviewed by Michael Moore, and speaking about ‘democracy’ and the power of the corporations…and our power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1bYcJoDgw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37wkX2gklzo .

    In Canada the national anthem has the phrase, “Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee…” This video shows how we have forgotten to ‘stand on guard’ for our rights and freedom…and inequality is the result!

  • dwain

    One thing I wonder when reading about the income inequality is what should the average income be today if the income gap had remained the same over time.

    I’m curious about that would the average income be $50,000, 70,000, 100,000?

  • kizzme

    It would be great to take this chart one step further and add in annual incomes in dollars to the graph.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000772675492 Andrew Barber

    you want to know how to get rich. The rich don’t get rich off of getting paid 10 or 20 million a year. They do It by investing. Having a mindset that your only source of income shouldn’t be a paycheck.

  • http://twitter.com/Talok85 Kurt Teates
  • joshua

    I like how all these broke people commenting have it all figured out. As if they had any clue on how to create wealth.

  • The Independent Whig

    “There are probably a hundred ways the video is wrong, but here are twelve:”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/344021/wealth-and-inequality-youtube-dustin-siggins

  • Chuck Kottke

    When Citizen’s United was decidied, it was decided of, by, and for the plutocrats; once the politicians worked for us, now they race around almost solely for those big donors and further increase the inequities – who cuts the checks behind the white curtains? Who writes the law and sets the economic policies? How bad must it get before we declare our right to fair elections, and take back our democracy? Maybe a second shoe must drop as a wake-up call, but I certainly hope we can turn things around before that happens. Amend the Constitution to make clear our basic right, for without fair elections, all other rights slip away as our government entrusted with protecting those rights becomes more and more a tool of the powerful to take all the wealth created by We the People, control us, and subvert our cherished rights. I think a Constitutional Convention is in order, we could use 12 or more amendments to buttress and include rights the 9th amendment is ineffective at protecting.

  • Bodie

    ..and these are the top 1-5% who say they cannot afford to pay any more taxes? Give me a break…What ever happened to our concern for others in America? Is capitalism that selfish? The greatest generation didn’t think so after World War II..we were so much better then(Marshall Plan, GI Bill, etc.)..other advanced countries can’t believe our lack of concern for basic human rights like health care for everyone..I’ve never taken a dime for unemployment, have been a teacher for almost 50 years and am still barely making it. But I understand the need to share our good fortune with many of the hard-working poor who are not lazy, just less fortunate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brownmegacorporation Thomas Brown

    Say whatever you want about who earned what-when-how-why-where, but without a healthy middle class buffer zone, there’s nothing between a mass of hundreds of millions of angry poor and the uber-wealthy. So, it pays for the uber wealthy to invest in their own security by helping to create and maintain a nice fully employed, cultured, educated, understanding, sympathetic population. Otherwise, it’s just going to get way uglier. I guess our uber wealthy overlords do not think we are worthy enough to invest in.

  • Pewp

    No matter how hard you work, you never earn enough money to keep up with rising costs.

    Republicans always say “Less is More”, now imagine how much more that “More” would be.

  • Pewp

    Does that you mean you support the rights to have an abortion, hire a prostitute and shoot heroin? because its nobodies business how you fund your money? is it okay to fund a terrorist group or the KKK?

  • Pewp

    Not work, no fetus has a job.

    It comes from “Old Money” (inheritance), and illegal income.

  • Indy

    There are so many things wrong with this whole train of thought
    but I’ll go off on the top two . 1st is the suggestion being made then
    that the money should be stolen from this wealthy people? I assume you
    socialists want the government to cap income? or tax it at a rate of 90%.
    As a few here have already mentioned Apple…I’ll run with that.
    Steve Jobs created an empire, and made a “filthy amount” of
    money. That’s true. Do you also realize that he risked everything
    he had to do it? He Struggled for years before he became successful. Do
    you think he would have risked all that, and put all his energy into what he
    did if he knew, against all odds that he might be successful, it would simply
    be taken away? When his hard work and risk paid off… do you know how
    many people he employed? How many families depended on him? “Based on a study by Analysis Group in February 2012, Apple
    has directly or indirectly created 307,250 U.S. jobs.* These jobs — spread across all 50 states — include thousands of
    jobs in numerous industries, from the people who create components for our
    products to the people who build the planes and trucks that carry them to our
    customers. For example, this figure also includes workers in Texas who
    manufacture processors for iOS products, Corning employees in Kentucky and New
    York who create the majority of the glass for iPhone, and FedEx and UPS
    employees. Together with the 291,250 iOS jobs generated by the app economy,
    these 307,250 jobs make a total of 598,500 U.S. jobs created or supported by
    Apple “… Do
    you know how much taxes were generated at federal, state & local levels by
    all of these incomes?. Do you know how much he gave to charity, gave out
    in scholar ships & fund raisers.

    2nd Do you somehow think the government would use this
    money to better purpose!? The waste fraud and abuse in our Government
    accounts for more money than Steve could have ever hoped to make. I
    think Steve Jobs should have given himself a raise!

    2nd Do you somehow
    think the government would use this money to better purpose!? The waste
    fraud and abuse in our Government accounts for more money than Steve could have
    ever hoped to make. I think Steve Jobs should have given himself a raise

  • Anonymous

    Who said money should be ‘stolen’ from anyone? I saw or heard no policy suggestions in the video. It elegantly illustrates the facts on the ground. Does this disturb you?

    There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the “whole train of thought” in the video. It is exposing the truth. Is there something wrong with the numbers? Then use facts to make a correction.

    I’ll tell you what IS wrong…it’s the inability of so many in this country to join the reality-based community.

  • Anonymous

    Whig, that National Review piece was just pitiful. One argument for why we should pay not attention to the man behind the curtain is that…seriously…the wealth disparity in the US today is Not Nearly As Bad as in ancient Rome! Wow! When comparing Caesar and his slaves — we in the US today look pretty good, no worries. That would be funny if it weren’t just sick. Whig, do you ever rely on independent thinking, or are your thoughts manufactured for you by the National Review?

  • Anonymous

    No, You have misunderstood the video. It uses wealth only, not income. It shows wealth in the color bars and it shows the same data set – wealth – in the people and dollars graph. The narrator says he ‘finds it hard to wrap my head around’ the color bars, so he shows the same data in a different way. Please watch again.

  • Indy

    I was not reffering to the video’s train of thought…though it’s clear it’s author disapproves of this “truth”. It was more the on going discussion below the video that i was more pointedly frustrated with because you are correct….very few people are among the reality-based community.

  • http://twitter.com/whthfu ajnd jdns

    Income inequality has always existed in the world and for a good reason.. some professions will continue to pay a lot more than others..

    however, its the governments job to generate more money for public infrastructure by taxing progressively.. not sure what the hullabaloo is all about

  • Anonymous

    The problem (and complaint from others) isn’t so much about a small amount of people making way more than the rest but it’s what they do with it. We hear some much about job creators and taxes but not how they address worker pay. Many small and medium sized businesses probably pay their workers what they can. It’s the larger businesses that can and don’t. I saw a story recently that said Wal Mart could have paid all of their hourly and salaried workers $5,000 more last year than they did and still would have cleared 17 billion in profits. Heck, they probably could have even paid ten or fifteen thousand more and still would have made a healthy profit. It’s not just Wal Mart but other large business. Also, it’s not just income disparity but those in the banking and investment fields who game and manipulate the markets that affect working class people. They make billions and we loose money. The system is broken and that’s the place to start if we want to fix this mess.

  • Anonymous

    Not everyone wants to get into investing, own a business or has a great idea that make them millions. Some of us enjoy teaching, working in law enforcement, medicine and so on. If everyone started a business or relied on investments, nothing would be produced or grown or maintained. Most jobs in this country have some sort of salary cap. It’s funny that many argue against salary caps for CEO’s. Why not? I will hit a cap on my current job, What makes them anymore special or important?

  • BG

    You ignore so many important points. The simple problem is what the American worker is paid, compared to what the executives and CEO’s of companies are paid. There are companies who pay their CEO’s and executives “obscene” salaries (which are ever increasing), while not paying a living wage to many of their employees. Raising the minimum wage (and if that doesn’t happen, be prepared to see unions surge forward) would allow these employees to make ends meet, while still leaving a ridiculous amount of money at the top…….

  • sukafish

    Good thing apple pays so much in taxes..wait oops

  • Murasaki

    Would have been more believable if your comment had not been so ear the top. Be that as it may, I simply do not get this bootlicker to the wealthy mentality;
    Fact: One cannot make more than a certain amount of money on one’s own labor. To reach a certain level you must manage and leverage the labor and production of others. What I’m saying is that yes, Steve Jobs created Apple and risked a lot to bring it to life, HOWEVER, he could not have made enough computers and software all on his own to propel him to billionaire class. He needed employees to write, develop, build, and innovate. One man cannot build enough computers by himself to become a billionaire.
    Same with Walmart; Sam may have started the business but if he just had one store in Bentonville, his kids would not be 6 of the wealthiest 10 people in the country. They need the people who run the registers, clean the floors, stock the shelves.
    So no one is “stealing” from the wealthy; we are demanding that they face the reality of their position and pay a living wage to those people who made it possible for them to become wealthy in the first place.
    If you won’t face that truth then you’re just hoping one day to be on the exploiting end of that equation and don’t want to treat your employees like humans either.

  • cam

    no we know how to do it we just don’t like stealing!

  • cam

    How true invest in businesses that in turn make more money by paying the average worker less, cutting there benefits, or better yet sending there job across the border all together. ya that’s the stuff!??

  • cam

    Very good, there’s plenty of demand but no real paycheck to satisfy it.

  • cam

    Tell me about it, they really have not hashed over the numbers or they want to be a money junkie! can’t figure it out?!

  • cam

    half truth’s and skewed data, national review at it’s best..

  • cam

    even under the most desirable curve showed in video Steve Jobs still would be one of the wealthiest people in the world and still have that empire.
    How little you think of Steve Jobs and how much you think of his money, sad.

  • cam

    In this country i have no freedom i cannot negotiate my wages, my electric bill, food prices, my water bill, etc etc. for if i try with polite persistence i will be fired, thrown out of a store or my utilities will be shut off, this is not capitalism but communism. How is this freedom?

    Maybe my government will help by taking money from the rich and giving it to me
    aka socialism “TAX THE RICH”. Sorry no i would rather work for my money pay my own way if you please.

    Maybe i can join some sort of group, labor union for starters maybe a low income
    advocacy group. No they have no real strength anymore and the people get
    distracted by things like abortion, gun rights, gay marriage, important sure but not
    on topic.

    Maybe start a face book page or tweet about it. Na forget that, you get loads of misinformation and people wanting to do nothing but rant and stroke there ideology.

    So what do i need to do: 1. do not live in fear, i might lose what little i have but at least i am standing up and doing some thing about it. 2. Don’t listen to the skewed propaganda from the right or left, get the facts. 3. Get organized most of the people
    in this country are on the side of more jobs better pay and pay equality. 4. Don’t get
    distracted by your own ideology or the ideology of others important as they may be
    stay on topic focus 5. And this is most important, demand from our government the freedom to negotiate our position, support the whole not the few that can pay for it.

    One last point no one is worth the amount of money that the top 1% make,
    ” NO ONE”.

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  • gonexpat

    this is not news. the wealthy have been becoming the wealthiest for decades. so i dont pay taxes to any government currently. dont work most of the year. live outside the u.s. at least half the year. the american dream never happened for me although i have worked 2 40 hour jobs a week for years. i got some cash and moved! i feel it will take a revolution or major economitic depression to reset america! thanks for reading.

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  • Gene Ogorodov

    One’s private property is defined by what one can protect. 290 Million Americans
    are worse off that they would be if the Top 6% had had the relative
    wealth that they had in 1970. How long can one really expect a system
    that is that inequitable? It is not like the 96% need the 40,000
    Plutocrats that have enslaved this country.

  • Ryan John Smith

    This is exactly the kind of simple ‘thinking’ that supports income inequality.

    “for a good reason” – I wish you would actually mention that reason.

    “some professions will continue to pay a lot more than others” – Yeah, we all gathered that income inequality has to occur through some sort of process. You haven’t explained WHY this should happen. What scientific principle proves that a CEO should be paid more than a janitor per hour of work for the same company?

  • ajnd jdns

    I am afraid its not my thinking but yours which is overtly simplistic (if not scarily leftist).

    The “good reason” why inequality exists in a working economy is because people need “incentive” to do more challenging work. That competitiveness and ambition is the bedrock of a successful economy.

    If a janitor and a CEO were paid the same amount of money, I ‘d rather work as a janitor which much less headache associated with running a company as a CEO. Get it ?

    Guess which group of countries tried to pay the CEO and janitor the “same/similar wages” ? that’s right (Soviet Union) and that landed them in an economic dump

  • Ryan John Smith

    If the janitor and CEO were paid the same, I would rather be the CEO since I have a high IQ and enjoy thinking. I would be so bored as a janitor. I would also prefer that the company within which I work has someone intelligent as the CEO, since my role as a janitor would soon become pointless and irritating anyway if there were to be a moron running the company. (I don’t mean to imply that you are a moron)

    I would also rather be the programmer since we don’t need more faulty software out there. I would also prefer for someone less intelligent or analytical to be the phone operator since they would not get bored by that job so easily, as well as have better social skills, and thus perhaps do a better job than me.

    If you need another incentive to do “challenging” work then perhaps the work is too “challenging” for you to begin with. Making decisions which end up by making everyone else’s lives/jobs more efficient/effective/etc (which makes your life/job better) should be all the incentive you need.

    I don’t prefer government involvement like the soviets. I would just prefer that within each company the salaries are equalised so that you get the right people taking up the right positions and you don’t end up with rich people being extremely idle with money/energy.

  • ajnd jdns

    “Making decisions which end up by making everyone else’s lives/jobs more
    efficient/effective/etc (which makes your life/job better) should be all
    the incentive you need.”

    That will work if the whole world thinks like you. For better or for worse, the world doesn’t think in your terms. The basic instinct in people to think is how much profit/loss is available in doing a job v/s effort & money involved in achieving capabilities in doing the Job. The same decision making process is involved with some students preferring not to go for being a surgeon to avoid the extra schooling and costs involved which they can’t afford. Some however do (and land up in 6 figure college tuition debt) which they make up easily for after graduation since surgeons make 200k+ a year easily.

    It boils down to the return on investment (ROI) on anything. In an ideal socialist world everyone would do stuff they liked (and assuming equal % of people did equal amounts of stuff, all work would get done) But the practical world doesn’t work based on just “liking” and “interest” or “betterment”. It works for the “incentive” to live a life with more and more purchasing power.

  • Chixsngr

    If that we’re true, two things: We wouldn’t need laws making it easier for the wealthy to amass fortunes in spite of how badly they screw up. (And Americans who cannot win no matter how hard they work). And two, heirs would not inherit money they never earned themselves. No, the system is gamed. Hard work has very little to do with it. i think, instinctively, you know that.

    Adam Smith, father of American Capitalism said ” Whenever the disparity between rich and poor becomes too great, you have an empire in decline.”

  • Sean Moore

    Don’t worry… a much better alternative to communism is on it’s way – Oligarchs and Plutocrats will be gnashing their teeth very soon.

  • Sean Moore

    Only one solution – a revolt of crushing economic reality. Time to remind the “Owner’s” of this country without workers there would be nothing to own. This will be a multi-tiered approach and the “owner’s” will have very little choice in the matter.

  • Sean Moore

    The left needs to learn the art of realpolitik.

  • cam

    You have hit the economic nail on the head so to speak,not necessarily with politicians, even though they make good money the ones that are really rich
    made that money outside politics. But lets look at entertainers, they possibly without knowing in some cases realize that there income derives from disposable income. That is to say income that is not used for bill’s. Income
    that may be used for entertainment. Same thing for every other aspect vital
    for economic growth, the more money we have to spend the more we buy the more jobs are created and so on. This is what creates wealth for everyone.
    although the system is more complex then this, the majority of this complexity
    is by design to favor the wealthy.

  • johnny99

    How interestingly that the “income gap” has widened so dramatically even during the past six years under the very president who promised to narrow it. Also interesting that although Obama rails against the “greedy one percent” is also part of that one percent, as is the woman who wants to be our next president, as are so many of their close allies such as Warren Buffet, George Soros, etc. And their so-called love of the poor hasn’t prompted any of them to cough up much of their own money as they greedily demand more of ours.