Does America need the wealthy?

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    May 23, 2009 8:28 PM GMT

    Ok guys.... rather than me pontificating on this question -- which would be nothing other than a recitation of my views, knowledge, and experience -- take a stab at answering.

    Rant, carry on, be intellectual, be political, be a supporter of wealth, or a champion for the god's of labor.....makes no difference, but tell us what you think.

    Tom
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    May 23, 2009 8:37 PM GMT
    The wealthy controls America.
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    May 23, 2009 8:43 PM GMT

    No. The wealthy serve no legitimate purpose. Unless of course they are a pro athlete or rapper. icon_surprised.gif
  • jgymnast733

    Posts: 1783

    May 23, 2009 9:05 PM GMT
    The wealthy will always be around and yeah i think america needs the wealthy.. I never considered myself rich or anything but i knew my family was different when a buddy from the playground came over on x-mas morning crying and hungry..My grandmother and sisters covered him in blankets and brought him soup, while my mother called his mother and told her to always call if she needed anything.. So i guess what i'm saying is There will always be people who'll have more than others but not necessarily wealthy......Theres such a big gap between rich and wealthy and we need them both...
    wow, that really took me back...

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    May 23, 2009 9:39 PM GMT
    America is a capitalist country. Of course it need the wealthy. Unless, it turn into the old Soviet Union. Even a communist country (the last few remaining) like China and Vietnam start to abandoned their communist identity and embracing capitalism . I know what I am talking about. I been to both countries.
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    May 23, 2009 9:42 PM GMT
    yes you need me - lol
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    May 23, 2009 9:45 PM GMT
    Yes. The majority of the wealth in this country is created by the people who have it, not inherited. Families like the Rockefellers are quite rare in comparison to individuals like Gates, Buffet, Jobs, Brin, etc. Without the profit motive (contrary to what many think, the fundamental point of a business is neither to provide a good/service nor to create jobs, but to make money for the owners of the business), these individuals are far less likely to put in the work that results in their businesses, which lead to the secondary benefits to the rest of us of providing their innovations as consumable products and the jobs that allow the rest of us the ability to earn a living.

    Capitalism just doesn't function without the allure of the potential for a high payoff. That's not to say that there aren't good reasons to regulate the business environment - monopolies are dangerous to both workers and consumers except in rare circumstances, the free market does a remarkably poor job of dealing with externalities such as shifting the cost of environmental damage off onto the public while keeping profits private, etc. - but the basic architecture of a free market is vastly preferable to putting an economy under state control under just about any objective measure.

    Attempting to soak the wealthy, particularly with the ease of travel in the modern world, will merely export such individuals to locations more favorable to them in terms of tax status. Their money, and its indirect effects, will follow.
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    May 23, 2009 9:59 PM GMT
    In the UK, we see the rich/wealthy as pigs sticking their snouts in the trough, ie the taxpayers money. Within the last few months, Merchant Bankers along with their executives received massive bonuses for failure -bringing down the banks to a point of collapse - if we the taxpayer had not bailed them out. So these snouts in the troughs continue to prosper while we, the "small people" struggle to keep our jobs, our businesses trading and our expenses in check as well as stuggling to keep our homes.
    You must have heard recently of the scam our politicians have "stolen" from the taxpayer all sorts of claims - mortgages, stamp duty, furniture, gardening costs, even food and daily expenditures. This had been going on under secrecy for quite a few years, until only a couple of weeks ago the Daily Telegraph newspaper blew the cover.
    So our feelings towards the wealthy is very low at the moment.
    But there are some enterprisers who served well and deserves their reward.
    Richard Branson is one, who with Virgin brought good airline, trains and media services. A Mr King, one time chief executive of British Airways, revolutionised the State airline to bring it into reach by commoners like myself, who used it to fly round the world - something which a few years earlier was reserved for a special few. Then you have Bill Gates, whom without, we would not be browsing and posting to RealJock.
    The UK, America and all other western countries do need wealthy people. But my respect for them is based on merit to others, not by birth or a good education.
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    May 23, 2009 10:14 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidIn the UK, we see the rich/wealthy as pigs sticking their snouts in the trough,


    You see the rich/wealthy etc.

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    May 23, 2009 10:14 PM GMT
    Questions and topics like these really make me bloody laugh. You're right...let's kill all the wealthy people. That would solve what for you? Make you feel better and less jealous and resentful?

    My family has been wealthy for generations. We have been philanthropists as long as we have had wealth.
    To ask if we need the wealthy is tantamount to asking if we need taxes. Of course you do. Our western civilised society would collapse in ruin without either.

    -Keith
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    May 23, 2009 10:24 PM GMT
    Idealism vs. socio-economic political reality.

    Power and money will always exist, perpetuating inequality.

    Life is not fair.

    I was taught this at a very young age...


    Joe
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    May 23, 2009 10:34 PM GMT
    www.FairTax.org
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    May 23, 2009 10:36 PM GMT
    mistic_man said
    Musclequest saidQuestions and topics like these really make me bloody laugh. You're right...let's kill all the wealthy people. That would solve what for you? Make you feel better and less jealous and resentful?

    My family has been wealthy for generations. We have been philanthropists as long as we have had wealth.
    To ask if we need the wealthy is tantamount to asking if we need taxes. Of course you do. Our western civilised society would collapse in ruin without either.

    -Keith
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    Yes, it's true...some who have trust funds are spoiled rotten!

    I am still unable to touch mine until a certain age...But I have done fine with out it...

    I do think that many poor are unfairly taxed. On the backs of the poor the wealthy become...MEGA WEALTHY...oh well...at least the suckers have a job right?....... SO this is really your mentality right Sir Keith?


    Unfairly taxed? How so? I personally have to pay more annually in taxes then many make in several years time. My family's trusts and corporations both here and in Europe pay gobs of money in taxes. So what are you blathering about?
    -Keith
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    NB- By the way I am not tiltled. Even though Father and his fathers were Lords, I was stripped of any titles when I came out officially. Upon my parent's and brother's death, my Grandmother had my title taken. So I am as common as you are. (Except I still don't like the idea of sex in public. icon_wink.gif )
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    May 23, 2009 10:36 PM GMT
    joecoolnv saidI

    Life is not fair.


    If life was fair, I woulda been born rich instead of goodlooking......




    (some may say I lost out on both LOL )
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    May 23, 2009 10:36 PM GMT
    I agree with those who think this is a silly strawman argument. There is wealth and then there is obscenity. So long as we live in a capitalist society, we probably need some degree of wealth accrual to provide the profit motive that someone above mentioned. That said, wealth on the level of Bloomberg (who has just literally bought his third term as Mayor of NYC) or Bill Gates is not only unnecessary, it is the stuff that revolutions (in which the rich don't tend to fair too well) are made of.

    Without regulatory restraint and a proper social welfare state, capitalism will always devolve into the Lord of the Flies or some Hobbesian nightmare. America's current form of predatory capitalism has survived as long as it has solely through the false consciousness of the middle class, who think they can be the next Bill Gates, or so admire such men (and women) that they believe he or she has a right to obscene amounts of wealth in a country where millions are homeless, millions die of treatable disease, and millions subsist on wages that haven't really risen in three generations.

    Now, I work in the nonprofit sector. Everyday, I see the fruits of genuine philanthropy and generosity. I don't begrudge anyone their success. None of us have really lived in a socialist state, and none of those cited are genuinely socialist, so we have no idea what that would look like.

    At the same time, I think those who have made their good fortune off the back of workers, or through the largess of millions of consumers - most of whom are the working poor or middle class - owe it to their society to give back through taxes, charity and good works.

    And with that, I relinquish my soapbox.
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    May 23, 2009 10:41 PM GMT

    I don't think it's a matter of needing the wealthy or not. What's the point of asking the hypothetical? The wealthy are part of western civilization, always have been always will be. Whether we need them or not is pretty much a moot point.

    As for the liberals here or elsewhere bashing the wealthy, come on grow up. Is this an outcropping of envy or would you prefer taxing the wealthy into non-existence? Obama and his ilk seem hell bent on penalizing the wealthy to the point where they will take their wealth elsewhere. This will only further harm american society as the tax base decreases and Obama continues to doll out money in a mindless manner.

    I'm not sure what definition of wealth we are utilizing for this discussion. It seems to be an ever moving target especially in the eyes of our current administration. By some definitions I may fall into the wealthy category, yet that probably doesn't take into account that I went thru 4 home foreclosures during the last 18 months.

    Call me wealthy,upper middle, lower middle, or just middle class. I couldn't care less. I get up each day trying to have a positive impact on my small world. I think most people try to live similarly regardless their financial position or status.

    God bless the wealthy, the poor, and all those in between. It's the mix that makes the U.S. great!!
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    May 23, 2009 10:43 PM GMT
    Keith, you're not going to change his mind on that....he's been spoonfed that drivel since kindergarten and you can't change that mindset. Only an epiphanous moment can do that.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    May 23, 2009 10:45 PM GMT
    No, jprivcha, it's not a myth. Look at, say, this 2006 study, where they tabulate the percentage of personal wealth obtained through inheritance. In the top 1%, it makes up 17.4%. And that's the income group with the highest percentage of its wealth coming from inheritance.

    Or, if you don't like the National Center for Policy Analysis as a source, Google's book project gives The Nonprofit Sector edited by Walter Powell and Richard Steinberg, which says "the overwhelming majority of millionaire households (93%) having earned most of their net worth through their own skills and efforts during their lifetime (including investments*), it is important to note that even a small inheritance can provide seed capital for a business, or graduate education, the cornerstones of wealth formation."

    * is a footnote which reads "These estimates are based on data from the 1998 SCF (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 1998 ), which asked respondents detailed questions concerning inheritance. The current value of all the inheritances was estimated by adjusting the value of inheritances received for inflation and by assuming a real secular growth rate of 3 percent. This value was at least 50% of current total worth for only 7 percent of families whose net worth was $1 million or more."

    Admittedly, neither of these are perfect metrics, but both support the notion that the majority of wealth in this country is self created. If you can give me some references supporting your view that most wealth in inherited, I'd be happy to take a look at them.
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    May 23, 2009 10:54 PM GMT
    No, America hasn't any need for the wealthy. Your good neighbours in Canada are willing to relieve you of them.

    Please start by sending....


    sexiest2.jpgad_zac_efron1a.jpg
    Jake%20Gyllenhaal%20-%201%20-%20Brokebacgeorge_clooney400-sexiest-man-alive-part

    icon_wink.gif
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    May 23, 2009 10:59 PM GMT
    Musclequest saidMy family has been wealthy for generations.


    Then why do you always sound like a bloody neuve all the time, boasting about how much you have, power, connections etc etc?

    icon_eek.gif
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    May 23, 2009 11:48 PM GMT
    Lostboy said
    Musclequest saidMy family has been wealthy for generations.


    Then why do you always sound like a bloody neuve all the time, boasting about how much you have, power, connections etc etc?

    icon_eek.gif


    icon_eek.gif Et tu Brute?
    I'm assuming that you are trying to "say" nouveau riche? Correct? icon_confused.gif
    Sorry to have come across that way. I never bring anything like that up unless it's asked, or if needed as an example for something.
    I try to keep that to a minimum. It seems to make the less fortunate unruly.
    LOL! Let them eat cake! LOL.....only kidding. Seriously if I have ever said it in such a way to make others feel less fortunate, I humbly apologise. icon_redface.gif
    Cheers,
    Keith
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    May 23, 2009 11:57 PM GMT
    Musclequest said
    Lostboy said
    Musclequest saidMy family has been wealthy for generations.


    Then why do you always sound like a bloody neuve all the time, boasting about how much you have, power, connections etc etc?

    icon_eek.gif


    icon_eek.gif Et tu Brute?
    I'm assuming that you are trying to "say" nouveau riche? Correct? icon_confused.gif
    Sorry to have come across that way. I never bring anything like that up unless it's asked, or if needed as an example for something.
    I try to keep that to a minimum. It seems to make the less fortunate unruly.
    LOL! Let them eat cake! LOL.....only kidding. Seriously if I have ever said it in such a way to make others feel less fortunate, I humbly apologise. icon_redface.gif
    Cheers,
    Keith
    icon_evil.gif


    Yeah.. sometimes it´s better not to talk about it at all. And your family changed its crest? Ours has been the same since the C18. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 24, 2009 12:04 AM GMT
    jprichva saidWe have a family crest, too.

    It shows a bagel, with lox rampant.


    ours is a turkey or a sparrow or some sort of bird and an acorn, or something equally absurd. I honestly have no idea.
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    May 24, 2009 12:31 AM GMT
    mistic_man said
    Musclequest said
    Lostboy said
    Musclequest saidMy family has been wealthy for generations.


    Then why do you always sound like a bloody neuve all the time, boasting about how much you have, power, connections etc etc?

    icon_eek.gif


    icon_eek.gif Et tu Brute?
    I'm assuming that you are trying to "say" nouveau riche? Correct? icon_confused.gif
    Sorry to have come across that way. I never bring anything like that up unless it's asked, or if needed as an example for something.
    I try to keep that to a minimum. It seems to make the less fortunate unruly.
    LOL! Let them eat cake! LOL.....only kidding. Seriously if I have ever said it in such a way to make others feel less fortunate, I humbly apologise. icon_redface.gif
    Cheers,
    Keith
    icon_evil.gif





    Directly, you never really had to say it bud. I can always spot a snob a million$$$$ miles away. You tend to have this superiority deal that I am all to familiar with. Like I say...I can smell a SIR...and your still one..stripped or not.

    As far as my sex life...I never said I do it in right open public so your once again wrong with that snotty statement. I like sex out side...maybe on a camping trip or in my hummer some place...but not at a MALL...I think you need to break out of your closeted shell and GET TO WORK (a real job)!


    Ah how soon we forget. You were all for the RIGHT of having sex in public. Didn't matter where or when. Pretty much anywhere.
    And I am quite sure that you are VERY familiar with those being superior to you.
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    May 24, 2009 12:52 AM GMT
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