Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 49 (9179 total)
6 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,227 Year: 5,484/9,624 Month: 509/323 Week: 6/143 Day: 6/13 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Wealth Distribution in the USA
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(1)
Message 9 of 531 (699337)
05-17-2013 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tangle
05-15-2013 11:49 AM


I don’t have any answers to your question but I do have a few extraneous thoughts.
1/ Firstly money can’t buy happiness and often when we look at those in our societies who have the most they are also the most unhappy and the most discontented. I can honestly say that if someone handed me a million dollars tomorrow I wouldn’t be any happier or more content than I am today. No, I wouldn’t refuse it but it might even take away from the life I enjoy by having to deal with it. The one thing that money could do for me is give me the ability to do a small bit towards balancing that chart so that the bottom end is raised at least in terms of being sheltered and fed.
2/ Frankly I don’t care how rich the top 1% are, but I do care about how poor the bottom 1% are. We should be looking towards a society where the poorest have a roof over their heads, food on the table and clothes on their backs.
3/ I believe that a society we should be helping those in need. The best way is that those that are able to help do so voluntarily and anonymously, but let’s face it that doesn’t happen enough, partly because the need is so overwhelming and also the human tendency of greed is often too great, so we are reduced to having it forced on us by government.
4/ The biggest thing that the poorest in our society need is self respect. It is pretty hard to gain and maintain self respect if you spend your whole life on welfare, so other than those who have a handicap that prevents it, our social programs should be aimed at supporting people as they gain or regain the ability to support themselves. It seems to me however, that is becoming increasingly difficult as there are fewer and fewer jobs that don’t require specialized education. Even fifty years ago a kid could drop out of school and get a job at the local mill or some similar work. That has all been automated or shipped overseas. Still, that should be the goal. I have the opinion that our welfare systems are too often far too bureaucratic and instead helping people out of the welfare system it is trapping them in it.
5/ One thing that wasn’t mentioned in that presentation is that the poorest people in our countries are better off than the majority of people in the third world, and while we are trying to look after the poor in our own societies we should never forget that there are those in even much worse condition in other societies.
I don't have any answers except to suggest that we should all be doing what we can without always turning to government to do what we should be doing voluntarily on our own. As I said however, it doesn't seem to be happening so government action is a necessary result of our own human failings.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tangle, posted 05-15-2013 11:49 AM Tangle has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Jon, posted 05-19-2013 11:47 PM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(3)
Message 52 of 531 (699463)
05-20-2013 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Jon
05-19-2013 11:47 PM


Jon writes:
Well, yes; those rich people should be giving some back. But they aren't.
So now what?
Well there is Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
I did point out in my post that I don't have any answers but a few suggestions would be to simplify our income tax forms so that the average schmuck can fill them out partly so the top 1% can't find a ton of loopholes and to increase the exemption for charitable donations.
Simplify the process for starting small businesses.
There should be ways of encouraging businesses large and small, possibly through tax incentives, of being more involved in the communities in which they operate.
The problem still remains though that what people really need is a job giving them a sense of self-worth. Welfare can be a trap that is extremely difficult to break free from.
I wish there were better solutions however I do agree that the salaries paid to many of the CEO's, top executives, boards etc of corporations is obscene. In many cases they are simply old boys networks. The idea that they should be paid huge bonuses while they lay people off is something that certainly bothers me.
When it comes to functioning in this world we aren't all created equal. I grew up in a home where I was loved, valued and encouraged. Not everyone has that and sometimes I marvel at the resilliency of the human spirit that some people who grow up in abusive situations are able to function as well as they do.
As I said though there aren't any easy answers, (for that matter I'm not sure there are any answers at all), but those are a few thoughts off the top of my head.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Jon, posted 05-19-2013 11:47 PM Jon has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-20-2013 2:24 PM GDR has replied
 Message 56 by Jon, posted 05-20-2013 4:23 PM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 55 of 531 (699496)
05-20-2013 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Dr Adequate
05-20-2013 2:24 PM


Dr Adequate writes:
But the trouble is that you can't do both. You can't at once simplify the tax forms, and introduce an extra section in them that gives tax breaks for community involvement.
I know what you mean. I guess I'm suggesting a major revamp. My wife is dual so I have to fill our both US and Cdn. tax forms fro her. I do fing the Cdn. forms simpler but they are reasonably complex partly because I'm retired and have investment income.
It seems to me that if we simply recorded earned income plus investment income, inherited income over a million, eliminate capital gains and then tax that on a progressive scale allowing for deductions for charity and health costs and let it go at that, it would be simpler.
After that I would have one welfare program based on minimum income. People would receive assistance to bring them to a designated minimum level and then reduce it gradually until it becomes zero at another designated level.
All things being equal I prefer the Cdn health care service but I disagree with our almost exclusive public ownership of health care facilities. I am in favour of a universal health care insurance plan that covers necessary health care that allows for people to buy additional insurance for things like elective surgeries, private rooms etc.
I don't have sufficient knowledge of business taxes to even comment but I have to believe that the bureaucracy could be made less bureaucratic and more supportive of small business and maybe give them a tax free year on start up.
Dr Adequate writes:
In any case, how complicated are tax forms? I've filled 'em out, they don't take that long. They're a few pages, but most of what I have to do is tick the boxes that say "this doesn't apply to me, I am not a self-employed farmer", and "this doesn't apply to me, I am not a disabled veteran" ... and so on, I can't actually remember what the boxes are. Once a year one has to look through a few pages, tick a few boxes, fill in a few figures, and sign one's name a few times. And yet every time there's a discussion of tax reform, there's always someone who'll imply that it would be a significant boon to the life of the nation if, once a year, we each had to cope with ten minutes of bureaucratic tedium rather than fifteen.
I don't know your circumstances but I think they are simple if you only have employment income. It gets progressively more complicated after that.
I do know that any time I have called the IRS requesting information on my wife's taxes as a non-resident. I have never received a direct answer to any specific question. If the people who are hired to answer these questions can't answer them then there has to be a problem somewhere.
AbE I thought after posting this that I should add that I realize my proposal is extremely simplistic and I realize that it isn't all that simple. My thinking is that would be the basic structure with which to base a whole new tax code.
Edited by GDR, : No reason given.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-20-2013 2:24 PM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 59 of 531 (699502)
05-20-2013 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Jon
05-20-2013 4:23 PM


Jon writes:
Why?
What about a hobby that gives them a sense of self-worth?
If there is enough wealthand there is, then what is wrong with letting the people who want to get paid for 'working' get paid for 'working' and the people who want to get paid for 'hobbies' get paid for 'hobbies'?
What happens to the wealth if everyone does that? A lot of people work very hard just to keep a roof over their head and food on the table and nothing more. Do you want them to have some of that taken away for those who want to spend their days organizing a stamp collection?
I also suggest that our sense of self worth comes from contributing to our world and not through self gratification for its own sake, and from feeling that we have worked for and earned what self gratification we enjoy.
I suggest that doing what you suggest would bring short term satisfaction but in the long term it just leads to a pit of misery.
We only have to look at the issues surrounding our First Nations in Canada. Our ancestors saw them as a problem. The answer was to give them tracts of land and pay them to live there with no strings attached. We now have living conditions on those reserves that make most of the third world look good. Canadians as a whole want to resolve the issue and help make a better life but nobody has any idea how to go about it. As usual the answer is to pump in more money but we do that and nothing changes. Our European ancestors have essentially robbed them of their self worth and it becomes intergenerational. People who have low or no self esteem raise children with low or no self esteem. They have the time and money to indulge their hobbies but more often than not the hobby becomes self destructive habits such as substance abuse. IMHO what you are suggesting would do this to our whole society.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Jon, posted 05-20-2013 4:23 PM Jon has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by Jon, posted 05-20-2013 6:27 PM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 64 of 531 (699507)
05-20-2013 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Jon
05-20-2013 6:27 PM


Jon writes:
It gets distributed, obviously.
My point was that there wouldn't be any wealth to distribute. Our countries would just become two more impoverished nations.
Jon writes:
I don't think this example scales.
It is an example of doing what you suggest only on a smaller scale.
Jon writes:
I never recommended taking from the dirt poor to give to the rest of the dirt poor.
But the folks whose wealth is so vast?
Do you think they have a little to spare?
Where do you think their wealth comes from?
The wealth comes from people who work and innovate. Yes, there are those who accumulate a lot of wealth from being particularly innovative and hard working, and some who are just plain fortunate but their wealth is still dependant on others working hard. I agree that the outcomes very often aren't fair and often the wealthy do take advantage of their situation but what you propose would only exacerbate the problem.
The most prosperous nations are the nations that have a working class with a strong work ethic. And certainly I agree that there will always be those that need assistance and we should work towards the best available method of providing that assistance but your method would turn out countries into massive ghettoes.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Jon, posted 05-20-2013 6:27 PM Jon has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Jon, posted 05-20-2013 8:01 PM GDR has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024