The Republican-caused income gap

Not that the Democrats are innocent in all this, but our massive income gap lies primarily at the feet of the party of big business.

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Anyone who denies that an ever-widening income gap somehow isn’t a problem is an ideological chump. Weaken the middle class and you weaken the economy. Thanks Reagan!

Just take a look at the facts. The rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer.

Ooo! I know, I know! Let’s give the rich more tax breaks! That will fix things right up! Ya know. If you ignore facts and junk.

20 Responses

  1. “Anyone who denies that an ever-widening income gap somehow isn’t a problem is an ideological chump. Weaken the middle class and you weaken the economy.”

    “The rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer.”

    “Ooo! I know, I know! Let’s give the rich more tax breaks! That will fix things right up! Ya know. If you ignore facts and junk.”

    Those are some pretty specific macroeconomical statements. Perhaps you could spend some time saying why you believe them as independent posts.

    The “poor get poorer” is the low-hanging fruit. The graph you paired that comment with is the “share” of income, that is to say, monetary wages as a percent of GDP. It ignores a few things – comparisons in regional cost of living, real wage rates and increases in non-monetary forms of compensation.

    I can’t help but notice that graph starts in the 1970s when non-monetary compensation really took off.

    If you want to show the poor are poorer, why not demonstate with some cost-of-living calculations? Clearly poverty is in having fewer resources, or lower quality goods – a tough argument to make when cheap smartphones are the new personal computer.

  2. We should also remember who carries the lions share of the tax burden.

    What about the bottom 50% of people who pay no taxes what-so-ever? Not one cent, who is responsible for the tax-gap? Surely everyone should pay something.

    Also Mr. Hawkins, didn’t you make a post about getting a bunch of tax credits, ie, more back than you paid in? Who do you think paid for those? Not the near majority of “taxpayers”.

  3. ” I can’t help but notice that gracph starts in the 1970’s when non-monetary compensation really took off”

    Could that be because that’s when we began a tax policy that reduced taxes of the very rich? Following WW11 up until the 70’s, the lowest tax rates for the very rich was never less than 70%…in fact it was once 90%.

    I am not an economist, but I am told by a business man during this time that instead of paying these high taxes, his profits went back into his business,,,instead of paying the government, he plowed money back into his business which created Jobs, income, product expansion and improvement. Our rax policy did indeed have the effect of creating jobs .

    Our tax policy now, instead of creating wealth for the many, creats it only for the few. Lower taxes for the rich motivate greed for the few instead of the common good.

    If you think regonal cost of living, real wage rates. and increases in non-monetary compensation make up the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, is like saying the only reason we have colds is that we have noses.

  4. It’s not a question of whether there is or isn’t an income gap or whether or not that’s a good or bad thing.

    There is no battle between rich and poor, because it doesn’t matter. People are free to make what they can at their job. The problem we are really talking about here is the poor aren’t getting any less poor.

    If everyone made plenty of money no one would care about how much money the people at the top made. It’s simply propaganda. No has ever shown me that the two things are even related. That is rising wages for the top and, to be honest, rather level ones for the bottom.

  5. “the poor aren’t getting less poor”…..The poor are not getting their fair share of the “common good”.

    They are struggling to hold onto jobs with less benefits, for their homes (foreclosures are going up), the educated can’t get a job that compensates them for their education. While hedge funds are siphoning off excess profits, the poor are paying a greater percentage of their income for gas. While bankers get millions in bonuses from taxpayers monies, we are laying off school teachers because we can’t afford any more taxpayers monies.
    Forty thousand poor people die every year because they can’t afford health insurance .

    The relative disparity between the rich and poor is growing. The rising tide is floating yachts while dinghy’s are sinking.

    This is not the type of world I have worked to create. All of us, from the immigrant janitor to the Ivy League banker have contributed to the “common good”, the” Commonwealth”. Of course the very rich should have more because they have earned it ( well, some of them). The very poor” will always be with us” as someone once said and they will always place a burden on society.

    The problem with our current disparity between rich and poor is our economic and political system
    is causing a rush to the bottom and a trickle to the top…That my friend is an injustice,,,and injustice calling for changes in our political and economic system leading toward the “general welfare” (i.e. “The Common Good ” The Commonwealth” promoted by our constitution.

  6. And your solution to imagined injustice is what?

    State controlled profits? State regulated wages? They already regulate minimum wage, something that has probably led more into poverty than out. Perhaps the state should set a maximum wage as well, 70,000$ ought to be enough.

  7. Paul K., let me pay you the respect of a civil response.

    As one of America’s poor, I don’t like being told I’m some burden you’re stuck with forever and have to depend on you. Instead, poor people like me have a lot of valuable skills and potential to offer our world and we need better opportunities to do so.

    Lucky for us food prices have only risen in nominal terms. America has some of the most affordable food in the world when given as a percent of income:

    It’s not the only thing that’s gotten more affordable either

    Now I ask you, what difference on the macroeconomic scale is it if that businessman you mentioned hadn’t put his money in his business and “created” jobs. This is the classic broken window fallacy – he probably wouldn’t have burned it – he would have spent it or saved it.

    If he spent it – well you know where this is going – he would have created jobs. It’s not millionaires who spend all day building yachts.

    If he invested it or put it in the bank, it would have gone to OTHER COMPANIES to expand and “create jobs.”

    You have to look beyond what is there in front of you and look for the invisible, the potential or in this case, the inevitable.

    As for high tax brackets – you’re taking advantage of the ignorance of the general public on how tax brackets work. Listen to Paul Krugman on it. The rich didn’t have 90% of their income taxed; it was 90% of what they made after a cerain threshhold. The first $100,000 or so were taxed at the same rates as the rest of us. If you’re going to request progressive taxes structures, you should learn more about their execution. Hardly anyone was in the 90% bracket back in the day.

  8. Thank you for respecting civility. You are also talking to a “poor” person. I don’t demean myself or any other poor person like yourself. A definition of “poor” is obviously needed.

    I did not intend to disrespect with the statement the poor will always be with us.. and …it represents a burden on society. That’s a truth, as stark as it may seem, there is a level of poverty that will always be true. We are not all born with equal access for a good life or an equal capability of achieving it. In this country, the opportunity is equal, It stops there.

    I need not link you to the many biological, social, ,psychological, economical , physiological and religious factors which are the combined determinants of personal achievement. We will always have a level of poverty because of this. I stand on my statement.

    I happily and non-begrudgingly pay the “burden” of this reality through my limited charitable donations and through my tax monies spent for welfare, food stamps, medicaid, women and infant programs, etc etc etc. I don’t call it a burden but society does.

    Income disparity is caused by all the above factors and it can be heightened or diminished by any one factor…including economic. When we had a progressive tax structure, it was diminished with the rise of the middle class. I didn’t have to read Krugman ( with whom I have a lot of disagrements) to understand the effects of tax structures, My knowledge of economics are not limited by the “ignorance of the general public” I lived through a more progressive tax structure and rose to higher pay brackets because of it.

    Our lack of a progressive tax structure diminishes opportunities when 90% of our collective wealth is hoarded by 1% of the very rich.

    Finally, you have got it wrong when you said if the business man I mentioned hadn’t put his money back in business, or invested it , spent it, or saved it.
    It is TAXES we’re talking about….if he didn’t turn it back into his business (and thus saving or creating jobs) he would have lost it!!! It would have gone help open the doors of opportuntiy to others.

  9. Milton Friedman is dancing in hell with delight as Keynesian economics are trampled into the earth right along with fair trade and human rights. Under siege are the labor unions whose collective bargaining power ensures safe work environments, fair wages and equitable benefits for millions of workers across this great land of ours. The military-industrial complex which Eisenhower warned of is a frightening reality today. It sucks up trillions of dollars as it offends and abuses, making countless new enemies of the USA around the globe each and every day. The Koch brothers, Haliburton, John A. Paulson and other such greed-driven individuals and corporations are working diligently to fulfill their dreams of plutarchy in the Americas and abroad. They are aided by liars like Governor Scott Walker and talking heads and politicians including Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Boehner and Bachmann. Last but not least are the self-righteous, uneducated teapawns who pride themselves in trolling the internet with maddening singularity of purpose like mindless teabots spreading their poison in cyberspace — when they aren’t busy packing heat at political rallies and voting polls. There’s a lot of blame to go around. It’s time for the level-headed and what’s left of the middle class to rise up and put things right before it’s too late.

  10. Teapawn and Teabots. Thats good. I hadn’t heard those before.

    Have you heard of paragraphs?

  11. Paul, as much as I may disagree with you on issues, may I never fail to notice your reply is lightyears above the generic leftist internet rant #35 that came after it.

    For the businessman you mentioned. I understand what you mean by he chose to spend it on his business instead of paying it in taxes, but as I’m gunning for lower taxes, the alternative I advise is that he can keep the money if he doesn’t put it into the business.

    To be crystal clear, I wasn’t accusing you of believing in the same ignorance as the general public on tax brackets – both political sides place to this detail. Righties say how awful it was to have a bracket so high, and lefties pine for it to return.

    I don’t think poverty is inevitable. If you define it as people having a lot less than others, than yes it will be there – but if you define it as being deprived of day-to-day wealth, then no, we can destroy it.

    If given the choice, I would not trade places with a medieval king. Sure, I would have access to servents, but I would lose so much – air conditioning, Google, Chemotherapy (not that I would live long enough to need it), owning multiple pairs of pants, access to music of any volume on short notice – all these things were out of reach to people of the past, but you and I have the luxery of taking them for granted.
    I would rather be poor in 2011 America than in any other place, ever.

  12. I don’t know….haven’t disagreed with him so far….I like his style and what he has to say…He’s smart …speaks to my issues….so I would disagree with you that his last posting was a left wing generic rant..

    Everything is life is relative,,,,realtive poverty is no exception…..it still hurts.

  13. Thank you, Michael. You certainly aren’t generic, but neither are you as hip or savvy as you seem to think you are. Not every poor person in the USA today has the luxury of owning multiple pairs of pants and access to music of any volume on short notice.

    My neighbor works multiple jobs and is barely able to make ends meet. She and her son live without cable television, telephone or internet access. Her thermostat is kept low despite this winter’s bitter cold temperatures. Air conditioning in the summer is completely out of the question, and neither of them have health insurance coverage.

    Being poor in the USA today for my neighbor and her son is no cup of tea. It’s an especially sad situation when taking into account the fact that she is a college graduate.

    I hope you approve of my paragraphs, Nate, especially since I made a point of not allowing any of them to contain only one sentence. I hope this will also allow Michael to see that my opinions are anything but generic even though I do agree with Paul K on the issue of progressive tax structure.

  14. I do approve. Excellent work.

  15. Also Mr. Hawkins, didn’t you make a post about getting a bunch of tax credits, ie, more back than you paid in? Who do you think paid for those?

    China, mostly.

  16. That not really true, we have to pay that money back… at least in theory.

    You were really paid with money that hasn’t been made yet. The same way people buy cars and houses and high end prostitutes, they borrow against future earnings.

  17. I guess it’s good that I’ll be able to get out of all my debt more quickly, thus resulting in more borrowing, thus doing my little bit to generate economic activity.

    But maybe someone with a few million dollars could use that money better in the forms of tax breaks. They could, um. Huh. I guess it would be exactly the same for them (and the economy). Never mind.

  18. Well debt does drive everything economic.

    Of course the government has a bit to much debt.

    Surely it would be better to do something to reduce the cost of higher education.

  19. If it wasn’t for your sarcasm I’d say we finally see eye to eye

  20. I’m just interested in seeing a strong middle class. Giving money to corporations so they can hoard it and do absolutely nothing to increase jobs (’cause, ya know, the middle class doesn’t have the extra money to spend, thus giving businesses a reason to hire) just doesn’t seem like the best idea.

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