BlogFather: Wealth gap? Forgetaboutit! Challenge

I know I’m getting too political these days. Hopefully this too will pass. Which reminds, part of the reason for the political posts is that so much effort is going onbehind (heh!) the scenes to get ready for the London 2012 Poop Capades. I just invented that term but – alas – as always an internet search tells me I’m a day late and a dollar short. Wow. A lot of Poop Capades out there!

After this spate of political posts passes, I promise to fertilize the internet with a few poop posts to equalize things a bit.

Speaking of a dollar short, what’s up with the separation of wealth in the United States, anyway? Are you ready to take the challenge? I’m offering a wealth gap prize of incredible value. (Adjusted for the 99 percent.)

How do you win? Explain and convince me of all that’s beneficial about an ever increasing gap in what the experts call “income inequality.” Sounds like fun, right?

Along the way we’ll see one-percenters in their natural habit and there will even be a bonus banned TED video. What’s too ribald for TED? Keep reading to find out!

Growth in Income Inequality graph. Click to “grow” it.

I like to describe the wealth gap like this. (Maybe my buddy Raiko will show up to rip my logic here a new asshole. I can only hope!)

100 intrepid space colonists from the United States land on a Class M world. Since there was no toilet on the spaceship they all run around yelling, “Make it so, Number Two!”

When things calm down, they immediately take half of everything and give it to one guy.

Hmm. One guy gets half. The other 99 percent have to share what’s left. Somehow this sounds vaguely familiar…

Whatever. I’m bored with that tired analogy. 🙂

I often say things like, “The last four decades prove that trickle down doesn’t work.”

The illogic of the argument still amazes me. First we cut taxes on the rich because they “create jobs.” Then it didn’t happen. It’s been four decades and look where we ended up. An economy slowly recovering from two wars and eight years of George W. Bush. Yes, the economy has recovered under Obama. So how do we still find a way to criticize him? Oh yeah, say it should have been faster. Even though the opposition dedicated themselves to blocking his every move.

But that’s partisan stuff. Forget I said it. Let’s get back to my question.

Aside from the rich people having more money, what is good about a growing income/wealth gap? Does it really create jobs? Does it lower the crime rate? Stimulate investment? Counteract trade imbalances with other countries? Make America stronger? Promote democracy? Provide for a more robust domestic economy? Lower the unemployment rate? Help the environment?

Uneven prosperity. Click for things to remain the same.

I’m seriously asking this question. What is good about it? What are the positive effects?

What is good about it? This is no trivial question. We are now faced with two radically philosophies about what will work best. I’m open-minded. All I ask if for sound information, logic, and facts to help me learn.

Because it seems to me we’ve tried the approach favored by Mitt Romney four decades now and it hasn’t worked. During that time the rich got richer. The poor got poorer. The buying power of minimum wage is worth less today than it was 30 years ago. And during those decades U.S. corporations have fired millions of American workers while hiring millions more (at one-tenth the cost) in other countries.

Bring on the information. I am ready to be convinced. Make me fall in love with the widening wealth gap and I’ll then be more content to lick the dribblings leaking through to the underside of the barrel. (Home of the Abyss.)

For more about income inequality check out this Mother Jones page. It includes lots of colorful graphics, too!

By the way, I promised you a banned TED video, so here it is. Thanks to The Rutherford Lawson Blog for turning me on to this clip. Apparently TED thought the video was too political so it wasn’t hosted on the official TED website. But they did offer it on YouTube.

7 responses

  1. Wow. I hadn’t seen that. Thanks. I have a couple of Mitt Romney/Republican/Paul Ryan/Trickle Down Theorists, who need to see this post! What a great short simple — yet meaty TED Speak! Thanks!


    1. Thanks for the positive feedback on this post.

      I really don’t get it. A guy five minutes ago just told me there is a “war” on wealth. If that’s true then I think it is painfully obvious which side is winning.

      We now have 30 to 40 years of implementing the trickle down policy under out belts and, IMHO, is hasn’t worked. It hasn’t created “prosperity.” It has been the rule of the day when our nation lost jobs. (By U.S. corporations moving them to other countries, no less.) Yet make any attempt to try something other than this failed policy and your sincere actions will be called a “war.” That’s messed up. That’s not a way to encourage mutually beneficial decision making to improve our country.

      I should point out that the “Middle class creates jobs” TED video got a lot of negative comments. The man’s reasoning is not universally accepted.


      1. That’s totally messed up! His logic makes complete sense to me — but I just sent it to a Wall Street 1%-er friend of mine to see what he thinks. And I love this guy and he’s a good friend and a good man, but it’ll be interesting to hear his take…. though, I kinda already know what he may say…. OY!


    1. First, I understand you are trying to fulfill my request. For that, I thank you.

      The article doesn’t attempt to answer the question, however. “What are the benefits of an increasing wealth gap?” Instead, it goes for a different approach. Namely, “The wealth gap isn’t as bad as y’all make it out to be.”

      That’s a different question.

      I find the attitude “we’re not all equal so suck on it” to be a bit offensive, especially when it comes to wealth. That’s a very easy thing for the wealthy to say, methinks. Telling someone, “Too bad, that’s the luck of the draw” doesn’t seem to be all that helpful.

      Then he goes into some mumbo jumbo about corporations and how the rich report things. Whaa. Whatever, since I’m a short form dude, that’s all Greek to me.

      Then he goes into his whopper of point. That losses among the lower and middle class have been offset by other things, like health insurance and pensions. Whoo! I haven’t had a belly laugh like that in a long, long time. Yeah, there’s been a veritable stampede all small business owners to hand out goodies like that, I’ll grant you! 🙂

      He does end up asking the same question as me, though. What is the effect of inequality and should we care? One last piece of evidence to support my position: The rich are against it. I rest my case. 🙂


      1. I’m feeling lazy so I’ll just copy and paste and use someone else’s labor. This attempts to answer that. It’s at the bottom of the article I linked:
        Poverty, of course, is a bad thing. But is inequality? After all, if we doubled everyone’s income tomorrow, we would eliminate an enormous amount of economic hardship. Yet, inequality would actually increase. As Margaret Thatcher said about those who obsess over inequality, “So long as the [income] gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer.”

        In what way does someone else’s success harm me? Such a viewpoint stems from the misguided notion that the economy is a pie of fixed size. If one person gets a bigger portion of the pie, others of necessity get smaller pieces, and the role of government is to divide up the slices of that pie. In reality, though, the size of the pie is infinite. But to make it grow, we need people who are ambitious, skilled risk-takers. We need people to be ever striving for more. That means that they must be rewarded for their efforts, their skills, their ambitions, and their risks. Such rewards inevitably lead to greater inequality. But as Nobel Prize–winning economist Gary Becker pointed out, “It would be hard to motivate most people if everyone had the same earnings, status, prestige, and other rewards.”

        Another Nobel Prize winner, F. A. Hayek, concluded, “The rapid economic advance that we have come to expect seems to be in large measure a result of this inequality and to be impossible without it. Progress at such a fast rate cannot take place on a uniform front but must take place in an echelon fashion, with some far in front of the rest.”

        We should all seek a prosperous, growing economy, with less poverty, and where everyone can rise as far as their talent and drive will take them. Equality? Who needs it?”


  2. That’s why my plan as your president is to give every American $1 million in cash. Tax free. That should solve all of our problems.

    Someone else’s success can harm you if they pay a lower tax rate on you. Whilst you attempt to decide between cat food or dog food for dinner they lounge in a leather-bound chair 10x more expensive than your entire net worth.

    I think this sort of wealth inequity is a byproduct of being too civilized. Native peoples had a more sharing approach. I doubt you often saw a hunter came back with dinner and say, “Hey, you! Yeah, lazy butt. You can’t have enough. I say you don’t contribute enough!”

    The invention of the green slips of paper, though, makes such behavior way easier. Too easy, perhaps.

    When everyone had to chip in just for survival, it didn’t make sense for everyone to work their asses off so one person could have everything. A person who didn’t actually do any work, either.

    To me life in this “modern” era seems just like princes and nobles taking the fruits of the peasant’s labor, just with more window dressing.

    But then again, perhaps not. 🙂


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