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Old 02-11-2014, 08:19 PM  
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At War with Economic Reality

The title of this article pins this phenomena on the left, but as we know, there are populists on the conservative side, like petegz28, who fall in this category as well.
The Tyranny of Winter
The Left is at war with economic reality.
By Kevin D. Williamson

The Left is at war with economic reality. The intellectual poverty of the Left — which is also a moral poverty — is evident in the fact that its leaders are much more intensely interested in incomes at the top than those at the bottom. Examples are not difficult to come by: Senator Elizabeth Warren is visibly agitated by Jamie Dimon’s recent raise, the AFL-CIO maintains a website dedicated to executive compensation, Barack Obama avows that “at a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” et cetera ad nauseam. The entire rhetoric of inequality is simply an excuse to rage about incomes at the top, a generation’s worth of progressive shenanigans having failed to do much about those at the bottom.

It is the case that incomes at the top have gone up while those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined in real terms. It is not the case that incomes at the top have gone up because those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined, nor is it the case that incomes in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined because incomes at the top have gone up.
There is a relationship between the two phenomena, but it is not the relationship that progressives imagine it to be.

Neither the American tax code nor other features of our economic policy are notably generous to high-income and high-wealth people by the standards of the developed world. American businesses labor under the highest business income-tax rate in the world and one of the business tax codes most riddled with political favoritism. At 40 percent — compared with an OECD average of 25 percent — our business income-tax rate is nearly double that of Sweden, and more than twice that of Switzerland, which does not tax capital gains. Our top personal income-tax rate is higher than that of New Zealand, which manages to finance an effective national government out of the proceeds, and much higher than that of very competitive countries such as Singapore. Taken together, our tax and entitlement systems are about as redistributive as typical European welfare states. What is unusual about the United States is not that the rich are taxed so lightly but that the middle class is taxed so lightly, at least relative to European practice.

Which is to say, those who endorse policies such as higher taxes on the wealthy as an antidote to income inequality are missing the picture. The American rich are not getting richer because of the American tax code. Income inequality in the United States is increasing. It is also increasing in Sweden. And Norway. And Finland. And the Netherlands. And Canada. And Germany. Pick your European welfare state and throw in Japan, too, and you’ll find much the same story.

Incomes are up at the top, stagnating or down elsewhere — but there is no “because” between those two facts. The cause is what some people call “globalization,” but is rightly called “progress,” which is of course what so-called progressives oppose. Nearly 1 billion people were lifted out of extreme poverty in 20 years. We have not abolished war and disease, but we have made great — what’s that word? — progress. (A sobering fact for foreign-policy thinkers: There are seven ongoing conflicts in the world in which more than 1,000 people a year are killed. One — the second-deadliest — involves Mexican drug cartels, the other six involve Islam.) That progress has been made possible by human cooperation on an unprecedented scale in the form of the integration of worldwide markets and worldwide supply chains. Bigger markets mean bigger opportunities, which means bigger rewards, not just for executives like Mr. Dimon but for line workers at successful firms. Integrated markets mean more competition, too, which puts pressure on wages in rich countries, especially on the wages of less-skilled labor. Thus the divergence in wages.

The Starbucks-vandalism faction of the Left likes to rail against globalization, but to do so is like railing against the fact that it is cold in the winter. Winter is an important part of the natural cycle, but it can be unpleasant — even deadly. It is something that must be prepared for, and instead of Ned Stark to warn us that winter is coming, we had Lyndon Johnson, a vicious and corrupt man who presided over the building of a vicious and corrupt welfare state. There are things we should have done to prepare for the future that is now our present, reforming the education system and our labor practices, among other things. (GM went bankrupt paying its workers half of what their German counterparts make: the worst of both worlds.) But we did not do those things. We can rail against the tyranny of winter, or we can start gathering firewood.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:17 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
No he doesn't.
Yes, he does.


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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
How high do you need to jack up capital gains tax rates and top marginal income tax rates to achieve the level of income equality you're looking for? How is that going to impact incomes at the bottom end of the scale?
Passive income should be taxed at he same rates as regular income at least.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:28 AM   #32
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Yes, he does.
I guess if you don't understand how tax systems work, it might appear that way.

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Passive income should be taxed at he same rates as regular income at least.
It doesn't sound like you really care about income inequality as much as you care about some feel-good level of taxation. How does that change anything about income stagnation at the bottom? What level of income equality does that achieve?
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:42 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I guess if you don't understand how tax systems work, it might appear that way.
This is humorous. Your clueless schtick in full effect.


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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
It doesn't sound like you really care about income inequality as much as you care about some feel-good level of taxation. How does that change anything about income stagnation at the bottom? What level of income equality does that achieve?
What I care about is irrelevant. We do have to acknowledge the reality that we have a significant deficit that must be addressed and that has nothing to do with a feel good level of taxation. We do have to acknowledge that when wealth distribution is as tilted towards the top as it is that economic growth is limited.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:56 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
This is humorous. Your clueless schtick in full effect.
This ridiculous mini-meme makes absolutely no sense here.

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Originally Posted by KC native View Post
What I care about is irrelevant. We do have to acknowledge the reality that we have a significant deficit that must be addressed and that has nothing to do with a feel good level of taxation. We do have to acknowledge that when wealth distribution is as tilted towards the top as it is that economic growth is limited.
So you're not concerned about stagnation of income at the bottom, but instead about economic growth? I consider that a step in the right direction. Growth is critical to many of the economic problems we face and to the other problem you mentioned, the deficit. But your assertion that income inequality hinders growth is, let me use your word, unsubstantiated. Even in an analysis where a connection between income inequality and growth is being sought, from Jared Bernstein of the left wing Center for American Progress, we're told:

Quote:
Again, all of this research is relatively new, and while it makes suggestive connections, there is not enough concrete proof to lead objective observers to unequivocally conclude that inequality has held back growth.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:36 AM   #35
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We can rail against the tyranny of winter, or we can start gathering firewood.
I for one think we need to elect a man of the people who will demand that summer and those other profligate seasons share the wealth.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:22 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
This ridiculous mini-meme makes absolutely no sense here.


So you're not concerned about stagnation of income at the bottom, but instead about economic growth? I consider that a step in the right direction. Growth is critical to many of the economic problems we face and to the other problem you mentioned, the deficit. But your assertion that income inequality hinders growth is, let me use your word, unsubstantiated. Even in an analysis where a connection between income inequality and growth is being sought, from Jared Bernstein of the left wing Center for American Progress, we're told:
The IMF and World Bank disagree with him.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:32 AM   #37
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The IMF and World Bank disagree with him.
I presented a left wing analyst who tried to find objective proof of a connection but who admits he couldn't. Let me know when you find the opposite.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:36 AM   #38
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I presented a left wing analyst who tried to find objective proof of a connection but who admits he couldn't. Let me know when you find the opposite.
Google it yourself.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:49 AM   #39
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Incomes are up at the top, stagnating or down elsewhere — but there is no “because” between those two facts.
That's about as credible as "if you like your plan you can keep it"
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:51 AM   #40
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Google it yourself.
I've done an exhaustive search and found that it doesn't exist.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:52 AM   #41
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That's about as credible as "if you like your plan you can keep it"
Shocking that you want protection from the bright lights of global competition.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:54 AM   #42
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Shocking that you want protection from the bright lights of global competition.
I never said that at all. I just simply called the statement what it is, a flat out lie.

What isn't shocking is your blind support of the growing corporatism movement.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:58 AM   #43
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I never said that at all. I just simply called the statement what it is, a flat out lie.

What isn't shocking is your blind support of the growing corporatism movement.
Yeah, you're right. That didn't really make any sense. I just wanted to get the bright light thing in there.

You'll have to do better than calling it a lie to convince me though. But what I'd really like to hear from you is an explanation for why the middle class is indespensible to a successful economy (or however you put it in that other thread).
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:13 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Yeah, you're right. That didn't really make any sense. I just wanted to get the bright light thing in there.

You'll have to do better than calling it a lie to convince me though. But what I'd really like to hear from you is an explanation for why the middle class is indespensible to a successful economy (or however you put it in that other thread).
It's a zero sum game: If incomes at the top are rising but incomes in the middle and bottom are stagnant or down then basic math is all you need to figure out why that statement is a lie.

Let me ask you a question so basic I think even you will have a hard time playing your game...

Did JP Morgan see a 74% increase in revenues or earnings? No
Did the CEO of JP Morgan get a 74% raise? Yes

So the question is, where did the money for the 74% raise come from?
Could it possibly be at the expense of not increasing pay for the workers of JP Morgan?
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:18 PM   #45
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It's a zero sum game: If incomes at the top are rising but incomes in the middle and bottom are stagnant or down then basic math is all you need to figure out why that statement is a lie.

Let me ask you a question so basic I think even you will have a hard time playing your game...

Did JP Morgan see a 74% increase in revenues or earnings? No
Did the CEO of JP Morgan get a 74% raise? Yes

So the question is, where did the money for the 74% raise come from?
Could it possibly be at the expense of not increasing pay for the workers of JP Morgan?
It's only a zero sum game moment to moment. It's not a zero sum game over any length of time. A quick look at income growth at all levels for various periods of our history shows that pretty clearly. You're trapped by your envy of the wealthy, petegz28. You should ignore them and think about what's good for the country.

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