greensword: (empathy)
[personal profile] greensword
Some people talk about the redistribution of wealth as though it's a bad thing. I'm not sure why, because many of these people are not filthy rich. Maybe some people still have a misguided sense of loyalty to an economic system that doesn't work. I've noticed that these people aren't terribly poor, either. Makes it easier to believe in abstract economic ideals when you know where your next meal is coming from.

I just find it amazing that, after years of massive wealth redistribution, with obscene wealth disparities not seen since the gilded age, and with an economic collapse directly caused by the recklessness of the financial elites, who grew wildly rich as the average american kept getting poorer and poorer, the solution seems to be to take massive amounts of taxpayer money and give it to the richest people in America, practically the only people not hurting right now.

No. No no no. Fuck that. We need to take massive amounts of rich people's money, and give it to the taxpayers.

We need to redistribute wealth.

When my grandfather was my age, the highest tax bracket was 95%. When my father was my age, the highest tax bracket was 70%. Under Reagan, that dropped from 70% to 30%. It's hovered in the 30s ever since.

(During the 1920s, taxes were even lower than they are now. It was FDR who raised taxes for the richest Americans during the great depression & WW2.)

We need to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. By a lot.

I don't know if there's a prayer of this happening. Obama is disappointingly milquetoast when it comes to challenging the financial status quo, although I agree with many of his stimulus ideas.

Anyway, I hope this bill passes. It's a teeny tiny step, but it's in the right direction:

You tell 'em, Claire.

Date: 2009-01-31 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. I completely agree with you. I hate how the fiscal conservatives have twisted the discourse so that "spreading the wealth" now apparently lessons the ability of people to achieve the American Dream (ie: become filthy rich). Since when was that the American Dream? Isn't it supposed to be a white picket fence and 2.5 kids/pets?

Date: 2009-01-31 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also find the scale of the different problems we're facing to be fascinating and horrible. Harvard could take care of Brandeis' debt easy. Or - taxing Bill Gates a half of a thousandth of a percent more would completely raise enough money to cancel out Brandeis' debt.

Date: 2009-01-31 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah... Personal greed seems like our defining trait as a country right now. Whatever happened to help thy neighbor?
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-02-01 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
While I agree that we should roll back the Bush tax cuts, caution should be used in applying this concept or rich people will find even more sinister ways of hiding their moneys in different parts of the world. And since tax is not on the principal, anyway, it is on income, most of that income from the top 1% is most often rolled over into further investments; largely in increasing taxes on even the top 10% results in a windfall for those below them. To make up for the deficits of this now absconded money, utilities would go up, bonds get defaulted, and tax on everyone would have to go up. Essentially, the way it has worked in the past, is that taxing the top 1% keeps the other 99% down. So, to avoid making profit, people would pull out of their trusts, their bonds, their stocks and keep their principal in the banks where it won't be spread after all, but sit there collected a 1% APY, or reinvested in treasury bills or other bonds in order to escape it entirely; thrown into IRA's, CD's, or, again, off shore or intangible items (you can't tax gold, antiques, or tax-abated real estate).

However, this theory was last tested before the top 1% had over 1/3 of the nation's wealth.

Now, I'm not an economist by any stretch and I will admit I've possibly conflated some of this theory. And I'm not saying that Citi should've bought that corporate jet and should definitely not have given out bonuses at the end of the year (although, if it's in a contract or part of a pension, they are legally obligated to issue that bonus...however, they should've stopped offering those long ago). But if the goal is stimulate the economy and, hopefully, pay back some of the foreign investment, I think a combination of taxation, deficit spending, bond orders, and other methodologies ([increased] tax incentives to invest in green technology, for charitable work, etc.) will do a better job.

Also, there was no income tax until 1913, which is how Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, and that other Jew whose name I forget managed to own the world. It wouldn't become a keystone to the state and national budgets until FDR's administration.

Just some random thoughts I've heard recently.

Date: 2009-02-02 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
really enjoy your posts. :)


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