Attention, Protestors: You're Probably Part of the 1%

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    Oct 31, 2011 1:54 AM GMT
    Finally, some context.

    http://news.yahoo.com/attention-protestors-youre-probably-part-1-153806044.html

    Attention, Protestors: You're Probably Part of the 1%
    By Morgan Housel | Motley Fool – Fri, Oct 28, 2011

    About a year ago, The Wall Street Journal ran an article describing the plight of Americans struggling to rebuild after bankruptcy. The article highlighted Linda Frakes, who filed for bankruptcy after accumulating over $300,000 in credit card debt.

    "Ms. Frakes is now unemployed, living on $330 a week of unemployment benefits and odd jobs," the Journal wrote. Frakes "struggled to rent a home and buy a car after bankruptcy. A used-car dealer ultimately gave her financing on a Jaguar."

    No one's hardship should be belittled. Becoming unemployed or losing a home aren't just financial problems. They're social and emotional problems that strike at people's sense of being.

    But things always need to be kept in perspective. Only in America, I thought to myself after reading the article, can someone be driving a Jaguar and portrayed as living in an impoverished underclass. Context is crucial with these issues.

    The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have aimed their message at the income disparity between the 1% richest Americans and the rest of the country. But what happens when you expand that and look at the 1% richest of the entire world? Some really interesting numbers emerge. If there were a global Occupy Wall Street protest, people as well off as Linda Frakes might actually be the target.

    In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?
    $34,000.

    That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.

    Of course, goods and services cost different amounts in different countries. These numbers only apply to those living in the U.S. To adjust for purchasing power parity, those living in Western Europe should discount their dollar-denominated incomes by 10%-20%, Milanovic says. Those in China and Africa should increase their incomes by 2.5-fold. India, by threefold.

    The global distribution figures may seem incomprehensibly low, but consider a couple of statistics you're likely familiar with: According to the U.N., "Nearly half the world's population, 2.8 billion people, earn less than $2 a day." According to the World Bank, 95% of those living in the developing world earn less than $10 a day.

    Those numbers are so shocking that you might only think about them in the abstract. But when you consider them in the context of the entire globe, including yourself, the skewing effects they have on the distribution of income is simply massive. It means that Americans we consider poor are among some of the world's most well-off. As Milanovic notes, "the poorest [5%] of Americans are better off than more than two-thirds of the world population." Furthermore, "only about 3 percent of the Indian population have incomes higher than the bottom (the very poorest) U.S. percentile."

    In short, most of those protesting in the Occupy Wall Street movement would be considered wealthy -- perhaps extraordinarily wealthy -- by much of the world. Many of those protesting the 1% are, ironically, the 1%.
    This isn't to disparage the Occupiers' message. Protestors are, I think, upset because so many of America's top 1% are perceived to have earned their income unjustifiably -- think bankers and bailouts. Most are not against inequality of wealth; they're against inequality of opportunity. As they should be.

    But take a step back and put things in perspective. As Milanovic notes, "One's income ... crucially depends on citizenship, which in turn ... means place of birth. All people born in rich countries thus receive a location premium ... all those born in poor countries get a location penalty. It is easy to see that in such a world, most of one's lifetime income will be determined at birth." He continues, "it turns out that place of birth explains more than 60 percent of variability in global incomes." And there are few better places to be born than America -- even if you end up poor by American standards. If there is inequality in opportunity, those born in America are the ones with the unfair advantage.

    As author Matt Ridley put it, "Today, of Americans officially designated as 'poor,' 99 percent have electricity, running water, flush toilets, and a refrigerator; 95 percent have a television, 88 percent a telephone, 71 percent a car and 70 percent air conditioning. Cornelius Vanderbilt had none of these." Nor does much of the world.

    Food for thought.
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Oct 31, 2011 2:01 AM GMT
    redherring.jpg
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    dancedancekj saidredherring.jpg


    To say it is a red herring is unfair Dancdance. The OWS complains about the disparity of wealth yet they live much wealthier than most of the world. They need to step outside of their bubble and into the real world (not the United States) for a change.
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:10 AM GMT
    [quote]people in most of the world are less well-off than even poor Americans, so it's best if we ignore overpaid CEOs with golden parachutes, reckless operation of unregulated derivatives markets, speculators in commodities markets, lack of accountability among financial institutions, 200+% wealth growth for the top 1% over the last 30 years while the rest remained stagnant at "better than most of the world" [/quote]

    TL;DR
    You're better off than 3rd world shitholes so don't complain about the looters robbing everyone blind.
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:11 AM GMT
    Chainers said
    dancedancekj saidredherring.jpg


    To say it is a red herring is unfair Dancdance. The OWS complains about the disparity of wealth yet they live much wealthier than most of the world. They need to step outside of their bubble and into the real world (not the United States) for a change.


    Actually, this just makes a hedge fund manager whining about having to pay 39% versus 15% on his billions seems even more callous and unjust.
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:17 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    Chainers said
    dancedancekj saidredherring.jpg


    To say it is a red herring is unfair Dancdance. The OWS complains about the disparity of wealth yet they live much wealthier than most of the world. They need to step outside of their bubble and into the real world (not the United States) for a change.


    Actually, this just makes a hedge fund manager whining about having to pay 39% versus 15% on his billions seems even more callous and unjust.


    I wish they only paid 15%. Fact of the matter is income taxes are at 35%, granted you have LTCG rates and so forth, but that hedge fund manager doesnt really pay 15% in taxes.

    Then again, these are facts, and we know how much you like to avoid those!
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:21 AM GMT
    It may be food for thought but nobody really wants to eat bullshit.

    Cornelius didn't need electicity, he had servants.

    And while it is true that poor Americans, even those entirely on welfare, have more money than most of the world's poor, there's also a little factor called "cost of living". Try living in a mud & straw shack in south Florida and see if code doesn't cite you for not having proper hurricane shutters.

    I would write more examples but I've got to get the Publix supermarket before they close...

    6a00e553d9b7f288340105371fe3c3970b-800wi

    http://globalrichlist.com/

    http://www.worldsalaries.org/cost-of-living.shtml

    International Average Cost of Living Comparison (US=1.000).
    Country year 2005

    Switzerland 1.505
    Norway 1.487
    Sweden 1.293 ...
    UK 1.240 ...
    Netherlands 1.224
    Finland 1.184
    Ireland 1.177
    France 1.161
    Japan 1.150
    Belgium 1.132
    Germany 1.130
    Austria 1.095
    New Zealand 1.069
    Australia 1.062
    Italy 1.042
    Spain 1.019
    Canada 1.006
    U.S. 1.000
    Singapore 0.933
    Greece 0.894
    Portugal 0.890
    Israel 0.810
    Korea 0.780
    Hong Kong 0.751
    Mexico 0.640
    Hungary 0.635
    Czech Republic 0.622
    Poland 0.604
    Taiwan 0.554
    Slovakia 0.543
    Romania 0.513
    Lithuania 0.505
    Brazil 0.493
    Russia 0.480
    Peru 0.459
    Latvia 0.444
    Thailand 0.319
    Philippines 0.226
    China 0.217

    http://www.worldsalaries.org/generalphysician.shtml
    Untitled-1-1.jpg
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    Oct 31, 2011 2:48 AM GMT
    Worldwide, this granny on a powerscooter is in the 1%
    I0D3w.jpg
    Should she stop complaining?
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Oct 31, 2011 2:54 AM GMT
    intentsman said[quote]people in most of the world are less well-off than even poor Americans, so it's best if we ignore overpaid CEOs with golden parachutes, reckless operation of unregulated derivatives markets, speculators in commodities markets, lack of accountability among financial institutions, 200+% wealth growth for the top 1% over the last 30 years while the rest remained stagnant at "better than most of the world"


    TL;DR
    You're better off than 3rd world shitholes so don't complain about the looters robbing everyone blind. [/quote]

    I think we have the new slogan for the Republican Party! icon_biggrin.gif

    I really hope they use this, I think it's even better than Herman Cain's "Unemployed? Blame Yourself!"
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Oct 31, 2011 2:59 AM GMT
    While I'm not arguing that many of the things we all deal with on a day to day basis are #firstworldproblems, and that I hope openly armed revolutions like the Arab Spring do not become commonplace in the US, I would argue that my use of the red herring argument in this case is not misplaced due to the context of this article.

    Sure, Americans are in the top 1% of the world in terms of wealth. Wealth is all relative, sure. And happiness is all relative as well. And we may be squabbling over a relatively unfair part of the pie. Yet, why are people still dying of conditions like an abscessed tooth in the richest, most developed country in the world? Why do we still have people going hungry in America every day?

    Sure, we can say how good we have it. We're not dying of malnutrition, there's little danger of being caught in a firefight because of a civil war, I live in a house that is not made out of corrugated metal, and I can afford access to the internet and electricity. But saying that we have it good doesn't mean it can't be taken away by policies or companies headed by greedy evil people. It doesn't mean that we don't have the right to ensure that our ability to have a good life for ourselves and our children. Conceivably, one could argue that the average American's quality of life is declining, comparatively speaking. Education levels are dropping, and this generation of children are currently likely to have shorter lifespans than their parents.

    I just think it's ironic that the OWS is being criticized in this manner. "Be grateful you hippy skanks for the fact you even have the RIGHT to protest and eat food and have public sanitation, unlike those poor starving children in Africa. Now get out of my way, this is pure gold plated Andean chinchilla. I'm late for my Beluga caviar tasting party. You're wearing plastic."

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    Oct 31, 2011 3:26 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    dancedancekj saidBut saying that we have it good doesn't mean it can't be taken away by ... companies headed by greedy evil people.


    And just how can McDonalds take anything away from any United States citizen?


    Jamie Dimon is not the CEO of McDonalds. Nor is Lloyd Blankfein.
    Not all corporations are evil in the same way(s)

    It's never Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein personally foreclosing on a home when they don't actually hold the deed nor the promissory note. But homes are being taken from United States Citizens by corporations who have no legitimate claim to those homes.
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:31 AM GMT
    dancedancekj saidWhile I'm not arguing that many of the things we all deal with on a day to day basis are #firstworldproblems, and that I hope openly armed revolutions like the Arab Spring do not become commonplace in the US, I would argue that my use of the red herring argument in this case is not misplaced due to the context of this article.

    Sure, Americans are in the top 1% of the world in terms of wealth. Wealth is all relative, sure. And happiness is all relative as well. And we may be squabbling over a relatively unfair part of the pie. Yet, why are people still dying of conditions like an abscessed tooth in the richest, most developed country in the world? Why do we still have people going hungry in America every day?

    Sure, we can say how good we have it. We're not dying of malnutrition, there's little danger of being caught in a firefight because of a civil war, I live in a house that is not made out of corrugated metal, and I can afford access to the internet and electricity. But saying that we have it good doesn't mean it can't be taken away by policies or companies headed by greedy evil people. It doesn't mean that we don't have the right to ensure that our ability to have a good life for ourselves and our children. Conceivably, one could argue that the average American's quality of life is declining, comparatively speaking. Education levels are dropping, and this generation of children are currently likely to have shorter lifespans than their parents.

    I just think it's ironic that the OWS is being criticized in this manner. "Be grateful you hippy skanks for the fact you even have the RIGHT to protest and eat food and have public sanitation, unlike those poor starving children in Africa. Now get out of my way, this is pure gold plated Andean chinchilla. I'm late for my Beluga caviar tasting party. You're wearing plastic.


    Why is it ironic? Hypocritical perhaps - but not really ironic. Generosity starts at home. Compare and contrast the multitude of young entrepreneurs against those at Occupy. One group actually attempts to make a difference in the world while the other ... well, complains about it and argues we need more regulation and greater redistribution.

    You may believe one of two things: (1) wealth is created or (2) wealth is redistributed. The evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of wealth is created - and that's why you see rising living standards across the board for practically everyone. The reality as well is that absolute poverty has been largely wiped out in the Western world - and that's thanks to markets and capitalism.

    I think the quote here gets it right (not from the article, but elsewhere):

    "If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power? And if the very rich got that way through hard work and innovation, then why the hell are we proposing to take resources out of these people’s hands?"

    That's the irony. The hypocrisy is in the fact that while it's easy to preach other people give away their money, I often find it's the liberals who are least generous with their own money. You find this repeatedly throughout the world - where governments tax more, voluntary charitable contributions fall.

    I think we can both however agree that it was everyone else who got screwed by the bank bailouts by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. The question then what do we do about it - and that's where the Occupy folks have it all wrong.
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:32 AM GMT
    Chainers said
    Christian73 said
    Chainers said
    dancedancekj saidredherring.jpg


    To say it is a red herring is unfair Dancdance. The OWS complains about the disparity of wealth yet they live much wealthier than most of the world. They need to step outside of their bubble and into the real world (not the United States) for a change.


    Actually, this just makes a hedge fund manager whining about having to pay 39% versus 15% on his billions seems even more callous and unjust.


    I wish they only paid 15%. Fact of the matter is income taxes are at 35%, granted you have LTCG rates and so forth, but that hedge fund manager doesnt really pay 15% in taxes.

    Then again, these are facts, and we know how much you like to avoid those!


    Please... You wouldn't know a fact if it gang raped you. But from reading your posts, you'd at least enjoy it.

    And, you're right, they don't pay 15%. With deductions and carried interest, it's often 8% or 9% or 10%. But by all means continue paying a higher rate than those who are looting the Treasury and defending them at the same time. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:35 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidPlease... You wouldn't know a fact if it gang raped you. But from reading your posts, you'd at least enjoy it.

    And, you're right, they don't pay 15%. With deductions and carried interest, it's often 8% or 9% or 10%. But by all means continue paying a higher rate than those who are looting the Treasury and defending them at the same time. icon_rolleyes.gif


    And you do? Don't kid yourself. And yet "they" still pay more than everyone else in absolute dollars. It seems to be terribly policy to have 47% of Americans not contribute something to the US Federal coffers.
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:50 AM GMT
    intentsman saidWorldwide, this granny on a powerscooter is in the 1%
    I0D3w.jpg
    Should she stop complaining?


    Well she could always leave, move to another country; but who would want her?
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:53 AM GMT
    Well I am well and truly in the 1%. We own our home, cars the lot; if only the cost of living in Oz was as bloody cheap as America.
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    Oct 31, 2011 6:12 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidPlease... You wouldn't know a fact if it gang raped you. But from reading your posts, you'd at least enjoy it.

    And, you're right, they don't pay 15%. With deductions and carried interest, it's often 8% or 9% or 10%. But by all means continue paying a higher rate than those who are looting the Treasury and defending them at the same time. icon_rolleyes.gif


    And you do? Don't kid yourself. And yet "they" still pay more than everyone else in absolute dollars. It seems to be terribly policy to have 47% of Americans not contribute something to the US Federal coffers.


    Seriously. My parents are in the 1% and they pay around 50% of the money they earn in taxes. Christian is saying that they do not pay enough taxes. When will be enough Christian? When my parents pay 90% of what they make in taxes?

    Get the fuck out of fantasy land and into the real world tool. My God, you are so delusional its worse than SouthBeach.
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    Oct 31, 2011 12:49 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidPlease... You wouldn't know a fact if it gang raped you. But from reading your posts, you'd at least enjoy it.

    And, you're right, they don't pay 15%. With deductions and carried interest, it's often 8% or 9% or 10%. But by all means continue paying a higher rate than those who are looting the Treasury and defending them at the same time. icon_rolleyes.gif


    And you do? Don't kid yourself. And yet "they" still pay more than everyone else in absolute dollars. It seems to be terribly policy to have 47% of Americans not contribute something to the US Federal coffers.


    Would you please give up this pathetic lie?

    Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter47 percent of Americans do not pay any federal income taxes. The reason? Because they make so little money in the first place, they do not have any taxable income at the end of the year. They still pay federal payroll taxes. They still pay federal excise taxes. They still pay state and local property taxes. They still pay state and local sales taxes. (If Herman Cain has his way they will soon pay federal sales tax too, as well as federal income tax.) These various taxes the poor do pay represent a higher percentage of their income than most Americans pay in federal income tax. If you make 25k per year, chances are you do not qualify for kinds of deductions that help middle class taxpayers lower their tax bill, such as the home mortgage interest deduction. Nor do you benefit from the specific tax shelters and loopholes that litter the federal tax code, permitting the very wealthy to avoid paying a higher share of their income in taxes.
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    Oct 31, 2011 1:06 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidPlease... You wouldn't know a fact if it gang raped you. But from reading your posts, you'd at least enjoy it.

    And, you're right, they don't pay 15%. With deductions and carried interest, it's often 8% or 9% or 10%. But by all means continue paying a higher rate than those who are looting the Treasury and defending them at the same time. icon_rolleyes.gif


    And you do? Don't kid yourself. And yet "they" still pay more than everyone else in absolute dollars. It seems to be terribly policy to have 47% of Americans not contribute something to the US Federal coffers.


    Would you please give up this pathetic lie?

    Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter47 percent of Americans do not pay any federal income taxes. The reason? Because they make so little money in the first place, they do not have any taxable income at the end of the year. They still pay federal payroll taxes. They still pay federal excise taxes. They still pay state and local property taxes. They still pay state and local sales taxes. (If Herman Cain has his way they will soon pay federal sales tax too, as well as federal income tax.) These various taxes the poor do pay represent a higher percentage of their income than most Americans pay in federal income tax. If you make 25k per year, chances are you do not qualify for kinds of deductions that help middle class taxpayers lower their tax bill, such as the home mortgage interest deduction. Nor do you benefit from the specific tax shelters and loopholes that litter the federal tax code, permitting the very wealthy to avoid paying a higher share of their income in taxes.


    Pathetic lie? Are you now agreeing that payroll taxes like Social Security and Medicare are in fact taxes and not forced savings?

    I haven't said they don't pay other taxes - but when it comes to Federal Taxes it is a blatant truth - in fact many of those get money back.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Donald-Marron/2011/0728/Why-do-half-of-Americans-pay-no-federal-income-tax

    Today, TPC released a new study that examines why these people end up paying no federal income tax.

    The number one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes:

    A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.

    Low incomes (or, if you prefer, the standard deduction and personal exemptions) account for fully half of the people who pay no federal income tax.

    The second reason is that for many senior citizens, Social Security benefits are exempt from federal income taxes. That accounts for about 22% of the people who pay no federal income tax.

    The third reason is that America uses the tax code to provide benefits to low-income families, particularly those with children. Taken together, the earned income tax credit, the child credit, and the childcare credit account for about 15% of the people who pay no federal income tax.

    Taken together, those three factors — incomes that fall below the standard deduction and personal exemptions; the exemption for most Social Security benefits; and tax benefits aimed at low-income families and children — account for almost 90% of the Americans who pay no federal income tax.


    Further -

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html

    The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.

    "We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing," said Curtis Dubay, senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.


    Obviously the primary reason is that they don't reach a given threshold to actually pay taxes but what's your point? It still seems unhealthy to have such a significant segment of the population not contribute something to the Federal coffers even if it isn't a small token amount which it is anyway largely for an even greater part of the population if you look at where US Federal tax revenues are coming from anyway. When will you start being honest about who doesn't pay taxes?
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    Oct 31, 2011 1:53 PM GMT

    "When will you start being honest about who doesn't pay taxes?"


    I think 'when will you start being more honest about who doesn't pay SOME taxes?' to be more honest.

    Using a global figure to decide the 1% is a joke, as the US protesters do not live in some other country where you can rent a house for 800 dollars a year.
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    Oct 31, 2011 3:40 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidThe evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of wealth is created - and that's why you see rising living standards across the board for practically everyone.


    Not for practically everyone.
    growth-in-income-inequality1.jpg
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    Oct 31, 2011 6:11 PM GMT
    intentsman said
    riddler78 saidThe evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of wealth is created - and that's why you see rising living standards across the board for practically everyone.


    Not for practically everyone.
    growth-in-income-inequality1.jpg


    Income gains and standard of living are different. It's why you see the fact that the poorest in developed countries have such things as microwaves, smart phones, tvs, computers etc.

    You can have both a rise in living standard and even a fall in income - but in our case, we have in your very own chart, income gains that are faster than inflation in nearly all segments of society. What's further important to note is the massive variations in between each group - ie moving between segments.
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Nov 01, 2011 2:15 AM GMT
    riddler78 said

    Why is it ironic? Hypocritical perhaps - but not really ironic. Generosity starts at home. Compare and contrast the multitude of young entrepreneurs against those at Occupy. One group actually attempts to make a difference in the world while the other ... well, complains about it and argues we need more regulation and greater redistribution.

    You may believe one of two things: (1) wealth is created or (2) wealth is redistributed. The evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of wealth is created - and that's why you see rising living standards across the board for practically everyone. The reality as well is that absolute poverty has been largely wiped out in the Western world - and that's thanks to markets and capitalism.

    I think the quote here gets it right (not from the article, but elsewhere):

    "If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power? And if the very rich got that way through hard work and innovation, then why the hell are we proposing to take resources out of these people’s hands?"

    That's the irony. The hypocrisy is in the fact that while it's easy to preach other people give away their money, I often find it's the liberals who are least generous with their own money. You find this repeatedly throughout the world - where governments tax more, voluntary charitable contributions fall.

    I think we can both however agree that it was everyone else who got screwed by the bank bailouts by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. The question then what do we do about it - and that's where the Occupy folks have it all wrong.


    Most of your statements are anecdotal, and while i don't disagree with everything you say, I disagree with your blanket statements that entrepeneurs are generous (the ones that I know are not, except to where it can gain them favor or entertain them or give them an advantage in some way) and that liberals are the least generous with their money (some of the Republicans I know are the greediest stingiest people I know, while some of the liberals I know are the ones contributing to international and domestic and local charities and organizations, founding the arts, and so on).
    We can't depend on charitable donations, nor volunteer services these days. It worked in colonial times, or with small villages or communities, but nowdays too many people fall through. I think you believe in charitable donations too much - people aren't going to give if they want to travel to Maui that year, or if they can't afford it since they just bought a new house, or if business was a bit slow that year. And the people who depend on those donations will suffer. At least with a government program, you have a baseline source of funding and organization that won't randomly dry up with the ups and downs of an individual's generosity.

    Going back to my original point - it is fine to point out to the protesters that yes, you are in the 1% of the world. But that doesn't mean you can't protest an injustice that occurred. And pointing out that people in Thailand are living in hovels is almost bizarre in fashion, since it has no relevance to the topic. Were middle class Americans protesting a price hike of Starbucks frappaucinos in Costa Rica, yes- it would be inappropriate. But pointing out that most Americans have it better than the rest of the world is quite possibly the perfect red herring argument, simultaneously diverting the attention away from the politicosocioeconomic injustice (is that even a word?) occurring in the US while incorporating #firstworldproblems at the same time. Which would have worked perfectly had it not been so bizarre and nonsensical.
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    Nov 01, 2011 2:49 PM GMT
    dancedancekj said
    riddler78 said

    Why is it ironic? Hypocritical perhaps - but not really ironic. Generosity starts at home. Compare and contrast the multitude of young entrepreneurs against those at Occupy. One group actually attempts to make a difference in the world while the other ... well, complains about it and argues we need more regulation and greater redistribution.

    You may believe one of two things: (1) wealth is created or (2) wealth is redistributed. The evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of wealth is created - and that's why you see rising living standards across the board for practically everyone. The reality as well is that absolute poverty has been largely wiped out in the Western world - and that's thanks to markets and capitalism.

    I think the quote here gets it right (not from the article, but elsewhere):

    "If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power? And if the very rich got that way through hard work and innovation, then why the hell are we proposing to take resources out of these people’s hands?"

    That's the irony. The hypocrisy is in the fact that while it's easy to preach other people give away their money, I often find it's the liberals who are least generous with their own money. You find this repeatedly throughout the world - where governments tax more, voluntary charitable contributions fall.

    I think we can both however agree that it was everyone else who got screwed by the bank bailouts by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. The question then what do we do about it - and that's where the Occupy folks have it all wrong.


    Most of your statements are anecdotal, and while i don't disagree with everything you say, I disagree with your blanket statements that entrepeneurs are generous (the ones that I know are not, except to where it can gain them favor or entertain them or give them an advantage in some way) and that liberals are the least generous with their money (some of the Republicans I know are the greediest stingiest people I know, while some of the liberals I know are the ones contributing to international and domestic and local charities and organizations, founding the arts, and so on).
    We can't depend on charitable donations, nor volunteer services these days. It worked in colonial times, or with small villages or communities, but nowdays too many people fall through. I think you believe in charitable donations too much - people aren't going to give if they want to travel to Maui that year, or if they can't afford it since they just bought a new house, or if business was a bit slow that year. And the people who depend on those donations will suffer. At least with a government program, you have a baseline source of funding and organization that won't randomly dry up with the ups and downs of an individual's generosity.

    Going back to my original point - it is fine to point out to the protesters that yes, you are in the 1% of the world. But that doesn't mean you can't protest an injustice that occurred. And pointing out that people in Thailand are living in hovels is almost bizarre in fashion, since it has no relevance to the topic. Were middle class Americans protesting a price hike of Starbucks frappaucinos in Costa Rica, yes- it would be inappropriate. But pointing out that most Americans have it better than the rest of the world is quite possibly the perfect red herring argument, simultaneously diverting the attention away from the politicosocioeconomic injustice (is that even a word?) occurring in the US while incorporating #firstworldproblems at the same time. Which would have worked perfectly had it not been so bizarre and nonsensical.


    I think you discount charitable contributions and their efficiency far too much. First, would you acknowledge that absolute poverty has been effectively eliminated for much of the first world with the except for Indian/Native/Aboriginal (for which I would argue much of their own self governments are to blame) and illegal immigrant populations.

    You're right of course that charitable contributions have fallen through - but have you also observed the corresponding growth in government spending? Have you not paid attention to the numerous government programs that have seen their funding dry up and grow based on political whims irrespective of effectiveness? At least private charities have some form of accountability and they tend to do so far more cost effectively because of it.

    Certainly when it comes to anecdotal evidence - my one point on observing a few rather generous Republicans can be expanded on. Look here for instance: http://blog.geoiq.com/2009/01/07/dataset-of-the-day-who-is-more-generous-republicans-or-democrats/

    So are liberals stingier than conservatives?. The data has suggested that they are. One thing that I am unhappy with is that this data is somewhat dated with the most recent year being in 2004 for philanthropy stats from the Catalogue of Philanthropy. I am anxious to see if the trend has continued into the present and am eager to compare 2008 charity figures with red and blue states from the 2008 Presidential Election.


    Also, Americans are far more charitable than their European counterparts - and that doesn't even include remittances (there's plenty of research here - look for yourself - just make sure you include private contributions). But back to your accusation that this point is irrelevant - that it's irrelevant that these protesters live far better lives than the rest of the world. I disagree - there are many things that these people can do to help improve the conditions elsewhere. Someone has to start taking responsibility for what they see as wealth disparities - especially if they are arguing that wealth should be redistributed from the rich to the poor - redistribution should start with them. Their problem then, for those who are protesting inequality (though to be fair, many are also just protesting cronyism, corruption and bailouts) is not one of inequality but one of envy, jealousy and/or hypocrisy.
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    Nov 01, 2011 2:52 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    Chainers said
    dancedancekj saidredherring.jpg


    To say it is a red herring is unfair Dancdance. The OWS complains about the disparity of wealth yet they live much wealthier than most of the world. They need to step outside of their bubble and into the real world (not the United States) for a change.


    Actually, this just makes a hedge fund manager whining about having to pay 39% versus 15% on his billions seems even more callous and unjust.



    Or the retired people who worked so hard for their money will have to be taxed higher on their dividends (which is pretty much their income).