Senate Income Inequality in the U.S.: Causes, Effects, Solutions

Discussion in 'Community' started by Jedi Merkurian, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Merk, you're missing the entire point. It's not that you said anything biased. We all have biases. It's that you didn't say anything at all...

    You're missing the why, as there was no discussion at all. The extent of it was "I don't want to start a partisan debate, BUT...." (and then posted one of the most un-factual, partisan links we've had in a while.) At least it would have been honest if you just came out and said "Hey, all you demmie guys...!" and then did the political version of Beyonce's "put a ring on it" dance. Or alternately, it would have been productive if you added any kind of factual support or opinion to build on the topic. Your post was neither honest nor productive. If that's the standard you want in the forum, then you won't mind when the forum becomes clogged with daily links from Rush Limbaugh, no matter if they're inaccurate or not, and the exchanges degenerate into name calling.

    This is what you, and Jabba, and DS are missing in this thread. None of you guys have actually examined any policy. What policies are you referring to? How do those policies differ from party to party? Or region to region? How do you account for a state like Mississippi, that actually has a healthy mixture of politicians from both parties? If the majority of the state legislature is (D), then which policies are the "good" ones, and which ones are the "bad" ones in your eyes? How do such policies compare to other states which may have a much higher unemployment rate or other weakness? What criteria was used in the original blog? I have to hand it to you guys, you have certainly managed to force feed your perception and then not deviate at all when pressed about it, pesky facts be damned. It's a phenomenon that's completely opposite of what takes place in other threads. Imagine if in a solar energy discussion-or similar- thread, someone just posted "solar energy is stupid..." Jabba, for example, would rationally use facts to show how energy conservation is important, and what costs are associated with the topic, and so on...It would be interesting if the fictional other guy just kept posting "eh, none of that matters, solar energy is stupid..." and then posted it over and over without saying anything else.

    Personally, my own thought is that Obama has thrown the traditional democratic party into disarray. His administration has certainly been a disappointment (which isn't a surprise, considering his "below the radar" past) But for all intents and purposes, those former voters are now stuck, so there is a high degree of defensiveness tied to his Presidency. A traditional defense mechanism used to counter the discomfort of cognitive dissonance is deflection. Deflection attempts to blame an outside source for one's unease, instead of directly acknowledging the issue.

    As this article explores though, self survival may require that at least the politicians distance themselves from Obama:

    NO CAMPAIGN OBAMA

    We'll have to see if the voters do the same thing....


    (and as an aside, see how this post certainly has a bias, but it has some discussion, which can be countered or supported, along with the link? )
  2. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    44: Alright, let's start by looking at the linked article, your response with Census data on the poorest states, and I'll add a few notes:

    44's list followed by Red/Blue state stats courtesy of wikipedia

    10)South Carolina voted Republican in the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators and 5 out of 6 Congressmen are Republican, Republican governor and lieutenant governor
    9)Texas voted Republican in the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators and 23 out of 34 Congressmen are Republican, Republican governor and lieutenant governor
    8)Louisiana voted Republican in 3 of the last 4 Presidential races, one Republican Senator and 6 out of 7 Congressmen are Republican, Republican governor and lieutenant governor
    7)Alabama voted Republican in the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators and 6 out of 7 Congressmen are Republican, Republican governor and lieutenant governor
    6)West Virginia voted Republican in 3 of the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators are Democrats, and 3 out of 5 Congressmen are Democrats, Democrat governor (lieutenant governor post currently vacant)
    5)New Mexico voted Democrat in 3 of the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators are Democrat and 4 out of 5 Congressmen are Democrat, Republican governor and lieutenant governor
    4)Washington DC (which isn't exactly a state, so Cafferty may get a technicality here for not even mentioning it) but for sake of discussion, the Mayor is a Democrat
    3)Kentucky voted Republican in 3 of the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators and 4 out of 6 Congressmen are Republican, Democrat governor and lieutenant governor
    2)Arkansas voted Republican in 3 of the last 4 Presidential races, 1 Democrat and 1 Republican Senator, and 3 out of 4 Congressmen are Republican, Democrat governor and Republican lieutenant governor
    1)Mississippi voted Republican in the last 4 Presidential races, both Senators and 3 out of 4 Congressmen are Republican, Republican governor and lieutenant governor

    Wellllll...lookie there...[face_whistling]
  3. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Continuing...
    I wasn't actually examining policy because policy is only tangentially connected to my point. To wit:
    That's in addition to almost-frontrunner Herman Cain's simultaneous "I don't have facts to back this up, you should blame yourselves, except when you should blame liberals in the government" bit. Yes, it's a link from the Daily Show. Deal with it. It's a video where Cain's relevant words were all in the same clip.

    So it's not so much about policy but rhetoric.
  4. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Cries of liburl media bias in 3...2...

    I'm kidding! Everyone knows there's no such thing as a liberal media bias and that the GOP made it all up to appear under attack in an attempt for the media to placate them by giving 'equal' time to their views.

    Re: Herman Cain, looks like black walnut is going to be the flavor of the month for the GOP and I foresee his fall in much the same way Rick Perry has fallen, he'll say something really stupid (outside of his usual rhetoric) and then plummet in the polls and then say something even dumber and crazier than the one before that. In which case black walnut's shell will crack and he'll fade into the background. As to his class warfare stuff...yeah...I don't quite see anyone who pays any attention to politics and who is unemployed wanting to vote for the jerk who said it was their fault they were fired.

  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    "When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, the devil is in the details." lol. Indeed.

    Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan is like watching Linda Blair spit pea soup in The Exorcist. It makes my stomach lurch. If you're looking for a guaranteed, ironclad plan to increase income inequality in the United States, this is exactly, precisely, perfectly tailored to achieve it.

    Median household income - $49k. The average family is going to spend something like $16,178 on basic necessities. What you're looking at then is a 14% tax on the income of the median household. For families living at the poverty level, Cain's plan could amount to an tax of 30% or more of the family's income.

    On the flip side, sales tax for basic necessities for a wealthy family is likely no more than a tiny blip in their household budget. For the richest Americans, sales tax on basic necessities doesn't amount to a rounding error. This is fundamental unfairness, and I can't believe any middle class Republican would fall for it.

    More tax breaks for the rich and a deliberate shifting of the nation's tax burden onto the poor and bottom tiers of the middle class. Is this really what we want?
  6. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    I recall coming across an article where a tax preparer applied the 9-9-9 plan to real returns. A low income family saw a net increase of almost $9000 in taxes; while a wealthy family, even if they took their tax savings and blew it all on shoes (and thus paid sales taxes), saw their taxes drop by about $80,000.
  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Yeah, I don't think a new national sales tax is possible or wanted, even among Republicans. We do need bold tax reform. 9-9-9 is bold and simple and easy to remember and understand, but it's just not the solution.
  8. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Soooo...the "Occupy Wall Street" movement has hit the 2 month mark and shows no signs of slowing down; although I wonder how much steam they?ll muster during a New York winter. Thoughts?

    As an aside, I came across some un-aired (AFAIK) footage which contradicts the narrative that OWS protesters are an incoherent mass.
  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Given how many cities the OWS movement has spread to, I don't see it slowing down.

    There's an "Occupy Charlotte" movement here, and we don't have a winter. We do, however, have wusses who think that below 60 degrees is "cold." :p
  10. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    You raise several interesting points. First off, I wonder if the "Occupy" movements will have generated enough support that by winter, "Occupy (someplace warm)" will be in full effect. Secondly, if winter weather does have an effect on OWS, I wonder if mass media will depict the movement as consisting of either "fair weather protestors" (if numbers are down) or stark-howling barmies who don't have enough sense to come in out of the cold (if they're not). Thirdly, I wonder if such depictions -if they do happen, of course- would be used to demoralize and further denigrate protestors.

    Personally, I think the most powerful weapon that could be brought to bear by the "Occupy" movements is a clearly non-partisan voter registration drive.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    The movement has the potential to shift Obama slightly to the left, but also the potential to shift Wall Street campaign donations even more dramatically to the right than they've already shifted.

    I would love to see the permanent repeal of the Bush era tax cuts and a higher marginal tax rate for the upper range of income earners, including an increase in capital gains taxes. Some simplification of the tax code would be great, but not so long as "simplification" remains a euphemism for soaking the poor.
  12. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    An accountant friend of mine says that during the last attempt at simplification during the Reagan years became jokingly known in the industry as "the Accountant Job Creation Act."

    Meanwhile, in a bit of overlap with the "Presidential Election Thread," Herman Cain wants to abolish minimum wage. Granted, the link is from FOX News, so it's being spun there as an "anti-union" measure. Thats in addition to the fact that the 9-9-9 plan, when plugged into real 2010 tax returns, has a net tax increase of almost $9000 on the $20k earner (i.e., someone likely earning minimum wage), and that's before factoring in the 9% national sales tax. On the other hand, an $800K earner would see their tax bill drop by $156K, or $70K if they took their entire year's income and spent it all on new stuff.

    And this is being touted as his "Opportunity Zones - Revitalizing America" plan. Doublespeak at it's finest [face_plain]
  13. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Well, don't worry. Cain's 999 plan has become the 909 plan. I was watching Real Time last night and one of the panelists brought up the fact that Herman Cain has no team in Iowa or...New Hampshire, he'a selling lots of books, though. The guy's job is as a motivational speaker. His whole 'blame yourself' mentality makes total sense now. Of course you're going to tell people to blame themselves for not having a job.

    So, all in all I don't think he seriously intended to be a front-runner. And now that he is he doesn't know what to do with it. His view on abortion is totally messed up, 'I believe that it's the woman's choice to have an abortion, but I think it should be illegal.' I wouldn't worry about 'Black Walnut' (his nickname, not mine) staying around too much longer until the profitability of running a half-hearted campaign goes down.
  14. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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  15. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

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    Of course. How else are you going to keep all of the campaign donations?
  16. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    On a lighter note, the OWS/I am the 99% movement has inspired some pretty funny parodies. Here are two of my favorites, especially the bit about having to join an extinct cult in order to survive.

    [image=http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/2011/10/occupy-mordor.jpg]

    [image=http://imgace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/luke-i-am-the-99-percent.jpg]
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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  18. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
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    HALF of Americans make less than $27k/year

    Link



    Fifty percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 last year, reflecting a growing income gap between the nation's rich and poor, the government reported Thursday.

    There were fewer jobs, and overall pay was trending down ? except for the nation's wealthiest. The number of people making $1 million or more soared by over 18 percent from 2009, the Social Security Administration said, citing payroll data based on W-2 forms submitted by employers to the Internal Revenue Service.

    Despite population growth, the number of Americans with jobs fell again last year, with total employment of just under 150.4 million ? down from 150.9 million in 2009 and 155.4 million in 2008. In all, there were 5.2 million fewer jobs than in 2007, when the deep recession began, according to the IRS data.

    The figures are just one more indication of the toll that the worst downturn since the Great Depression has taken on the U.S. economy. They were published as demonstrations rage on Wall Street and in cities across the nation protesting a widening income gulf between average wage earners and the nation's wealthiest.

    The unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.1 percent, with more than 14 million out of work and 11 million other discouraged people who have stopped looking for work or are stuck in part-time jobs. Since 1980, roughly 5 percent of annual national income has shifted from the middle class to the nation's richest households, according to the Census Bureau.

    While the average U.S income last year was $39,959, the median income ? the figure where half earn more and half earn less ? was much lower, $26,364. This disparity reflects the fact that "the distribution of workers by wage level is highly skewed," according to Social Security.

    Median compensation last year was just 66 percent of the average income, compared with nearly 72 percent in 1980.

  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Contrast that with

    Infographic: A Historical Look at CEO Pay


    In 1965, CEO pay was x26 that of their company's average worker. In 2010 it was x343.

    It would only take the combined pay of 300 CEOs to support more than 100,000 median income jobs.

    Did the CEO of Countrywide, Angelo Mozilo, really deserve to be the 6th best compensated CEO of the decade with more than $500 million in total compensation? Countrywide?

    This time last year, Mozilo paid back less than 5% of that--$22.5-million--to settle SEC fraud charges.

    That's what income inequality buys us in this country.

  20. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    I read somewhere that the CEO of Wal-Mart makes ~$25,000 per hour. And considering the whole family, there are multiple billionares from that business. If true, most of the executive board would make more in an hour than a typical employee does per year.

    And that isn't nearly as frightening as the fact that the GOP embraces that fact.
  21. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Don't be fooled, so does the Democratic party. Or at least the senate flunkies do. I think, besides the bankers on Wall St. the other problem in this nation is that we've allowed our government representatives to become rich or come from rich backgrounds. So of course they're going to support measures that benefit the wealthy. I'd suggest voting in some poor people, but when money is all that matters in a society then it becomes very tough to break it. Just look at the sycophants who defend this system in here.
  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Anyone else seen this video yet:

    How economic inequality harms societies

    Incredible. The chart showing an index of life expectancy, math competency and literacy rates, infant mortality, homicides, imprisonment, teen pregnancy, obesity, mental illness, addiction mapped against income inequality was pretty startling. Japan on one side, and the U.S. the most income-inequal nation on earth now alongside Singapore, in a league of its own.

    Aside from having the world's largest economy and the world's biggest military, our claim to being the "greatest nation on earth" doesn't have a lot of empirical backing. And soon we won't have the world's largest economy either.

    In a crowd of 10,000 income earners,

    9,000 make an average of $31,000 (bottom 90%) ($1 - $109,061)

    500 earn an average of $127,000 (5%) ($109,062 - $152,725)

    400 earn an average of $211,000 (4%) ($152,726 - $368,237)

    50 earn an average of $443,000 (.5%) ($367,238 - $558,725)

    40 earn an average of $880,000 (.4%) ($558,726 - $1,695,135)

    9 earn an average of $3.2 million (.09%) ($1,695,136 - $9.1 million)

    1 earns $27 million (.01%). (>$9.1 million)


    I should probably point out here the difference between incomes and households. I imagine the most reliable path into the top 10% of households is to be a married working couple both with college degrees.

    But for household income levels above $60,000, two earner households outnumber one earner households by an increasing margin as income level increases, and this is true at all education levels. The average household income in the U.S. is $67,000. The median is much lower.

    For households earning close to $200,000, two income households outnumber one income households 5 to 1. It's only above $200,000 that it drops back to about 2 to 1. If I make $100,000 and my wife can earn $100,000, then my income is a big deal. If my wife can earn $1 million and I can earn $100,000, then I might as well stay at home.
  23. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
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    DG, Jabba

    Those that are earning less than 27k and the bottom 90% should just get better jobs. And have their income taxes raised.
  24. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Yeah, it's their fault that they didn't choose a better field. [/sarcasm]

    I have been told more than once that educational professionals don't deserve to make decent money because if they wanted a decent salary, they should have chosen to go into a field that pays one.

    "The gap between the rich and the poor is the greatest threat to world peace that we have." --Hubert Humphrey
  25. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    A question I've posed several places is this: If the conservative narrative is that the high unemployment rate is the fault of the Obama Administration and liberals in Congress, then how can the conservative narrative also be that the OWS/We Are the 99% movements consist of whiny, lazy, jobless losers?

    [image=http://content.usatoday.com/life/_photos/2006/08/03/chat-mrrogers-ap.jpg]
    "Can you say 'cognitive dissonance' boys & girls? I think you can."