When do you consider someone "wealthy" or "rich"?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Another ridiculous comment. Most of us live in that same society and it's not a real life problem for most people. Most inherited wealth isn't from plantation owners, slave traders and privateers. Could you be any more ridiculous? I think I know the answer.

    No but they fewer there are of the people you describe, the better. Right?

    So your goal if for billionaire's kids to have the same life as the illegitimate child of a teenage runaway who's been addicted to drugs? OK, whatever.

    It's good to see that you are being rational about all this.
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Of course!! Why divide power so many ways?
    Better to cut out the two non-Americans, and have only six men rule the world, eh? Some of them might even do a better job than the elected windmill-tilters vs stuffed suits debacle.
    My goal, if I thought there were any point in setting goals at all, would be for neither of those conditions to prevail, anywhere, ever. My goal would be to create a society where teenagers are neither coddled and spoiled nor forced to run away and live on the streets; where nobody has to be hungry, sick, frightened, desperate or homeless in order for a few to live in luxury so extravagant that they run out of ways to waste money.
    "this" is anything but rational. Problem is, I understand the ebb and flow of money and its intimate connection to political power.
    I may be sardonic, but at least I'm not naive.
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The wealthy that you speak of aren't why the anyone is homeless, frightened, etc. It's not a zero sum game. It would be naive to think so and you're not naive so...
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    ...so, one of us must be misinformed.
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    We concur.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Nobody's talking about "eliminating the rich" except you.
    Rewarding people for harming others and damaging their communities and so forth is a bad idea then - agreed? Humans will do things for rewards - if we don't want them to do those things, we should stop rewarding them.
    How big a reward? Risk of what? Risk to whom?

    What we see now is people rewarded beyond all reason - far more than in the past - for risking other people's money and wellbeing. The hedge fund managers that bankrupted the US and trashed the economy of the entire industrial world in the 2000s were proud of taking the risk of doing that - we would have been much better off if we had taken our money away from them, forced them to take risks with their own money and their own wellbeing. Instead, we are allowing them to launch another round of "risk taking" - with our communities, our money, and our surroundings, on the line for their profit.

    Meanwhile: We saw a lot of accomplishment in the US between 1935 and 1982. Most of our current (diminishing) prosperity is hangover from those days. Since the restructuring of the 1980s we have seen less accomplishment. Why not try the setup that worked better, again?

    Why not set things up to work better?
    We certainly hope that is true. Honest government is not a fee for service business. Fee for service government is corrupt government.

    They "come back" (if that's what you are worried about) in the form of a prosperous and well-governed community in which one can become rich and live in peace and get your work done. They come back in the form of a stable currency, a functioning road and transportation system, education and health care that supports fellow citizens and employees in a civilization replete with opportunities for the ambitious, clean air and water to breathe when young. They come back in the form of a place one can raise children in.

    Imagine the careers of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had they been teenage citizens of Rwanda, Colombia, Haiti, Mongolia, Brazil, Indonesia, Albania, Patagonia, et al ad infinitum.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Your choice, then:

    Economically, Norway is an extractive resource dominated Nation, one of the very few such nations in which ordinary residents are prosperous and healthy and well-educated. The population of Norway is a bit over 5 million. Most small nations whose economies are dominated by one or two extraction resources are oppressive, poverty-blighted, unwell lessons in how not to govern oneself. Norway is an outlier, in that respect.

    Texas is also a resource-rich State, one whose economy is dominated by a small number of extractive resources, and the dominating resource base is the same as Norway's: fossil fuel. Although the population of Texas is five times the population of Norway, which provides it with some serious advantages in economic development, it still qualifies as "small" for international comparison purposes - so we proceed: Texans enjoy nominally lower taxes (if one doesn't look too closely), which is the supposed advantage we are checking out.

    First, there are no Amazons or Apples or Microsofts in Texas either.

    Continuing: Despite enjoying lower taxes, the citizens of Texas pay more per capita for health care and related services than the citizens of Norway - not much more, because Norway is an extreme outlier in this matter, but enough more that if Texans were getting their money's worth the benefits would show up in the statistics.
    Instead, what shows up is the penalty Texans pay for what is clearly a very poorly functioning system:
    https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/health-spending-per-capita/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel={"colId":"Location","sort":"asc"} ; https://www.who.int/countries/nor/en/

    Despite larger expenditures and far greater natural resources in general, Texans compared with Norwegians are shorter-lived, shorter-statured, in poorer health, more afflicted with dental problems, more obese, more afflicted with chronic pain and injury, and less able to get medical care of various kinds from well-educated professionals.

    They are also more afflicted with the other handicaps of economic malfunction - poor nutritution, poor education, side effects of toxic and polluted environments, lower IQ scores and mental health evaluations, greater risk of incarceration and crime victimization both, and so forth.

    And this comparative situation is recent - in 1950 Norway was a war-blighted setting of isolation and poverty, with an Arctic climate and a population living in near misery; Texas was one of the centers of wealth and empire on the planet. We can follow the development of their current comparative status in the modern historical record.

    In short: The large advantages of location, climate, fertility, trade, educational opportunity, military power, national affiliation, historical circumstance, and genetic diversity Texas has enjoyed since WWII have not been enough to overcome its inferior government - compared with Norway, Texas has been so badly governed as to have become a comparative shithole within living memory.

    Given that observation, any aspect of governance in which Norway has differed from Texas since 1950 should be taken - by default, by initial assumption - as a possible defect or flaw in the governance of Texas. Anything Texas has been doing by way of self-governance that differs from Norway's governance is suspect, not recommended.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Why not set things up to work better? I have no argument with that. No one would.

    You say that we have seen less accomplishment since the 80's. How so?

    Hedge fund managers use the money of their clients. If you aren't their client, they don't use your money. If they (or anyone) does anything illegal they are punished, not rewarded.

    The Scandinavian countries tend to see the middle class get services back for their tax dollars in the form of education benefits, healthcare benefits and retirement benefits.

    In the U.S. higher taxes tends to go to the military, corporate interests and results in an even bigger deficit.

    Yes, Bill Gates is lucky to not have been born in Rwanda. Patagonia is not a country by the way. I'm not sure where you were going with this "point". Yes, the U.S. is not Albania. It's wasn't before the 80's and it still isn't.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You're working way too hard. As you pointed out, Norway is an outlier. I pointed that out as well.

    Why are we talking about the state of Texas? Was the state of Texas comparable to Norway before the 80's? No. This is silly.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Unless limited, taxed, and curbed in its influence, it destroys free market capitalism.

    By arbitrarily redistributing wealth to people who have not earned it by contributing to a free market exchange, it invalidates and renders ineffective the central mechanism by which capitalism's "invisible hand" guides invested wealth to demand and efficient employment. So that stops happening, and the economy reverts to an ossified hierarchy of rich and poor protected by physical force and military threat.

    That is: If it is not curbed, the economy it parasitizes will end up under the central command of a small number of wealthy individuals selected by chance and winnowed by stochastic event, all of whom have a vested interest in preventing the rise of market competition or any other threat to their ownership of all significant wealth - a "landed" (wealth controlling) gentry, so to speak, who own enough of the resources of the economy to control access to the rest. This is a mathematical (probabilistic) certainty, requiring only time to play out. It is also an easily verifiable and recurrent pattern of historical development - the recorded fate of dozens of economies over the entire span of human history.

    But apparently that is not a concern of yours.
    A capitalist economic environment organized around inherited wealth is not competitive.
    Plenty of people start at the finish line in an economic environment such as Reaganomics has created in the US. Donald Trump, for example. Sam Walton's children.
    No. Why are you flailing around inventing these ridiculous fantasies?
    If you allow too much wealth accumulation you will create a situation in which increasing her opportunities would require taking his away. That is the very situation you avoid by limiting accumulated and inherited wealth.

    You can see the consequences of failing to tax the rich and limit inheritance in many South and Central American countries, for example - providing a Peruvian or Honduran tenant farmer with the opportunities the US provided its white male pioneers after the Civil War would require the national governments of those countries to take land and other wealth away from the rich and give it to the poor. The US did not have to do that, because it had not dug itself into that hole in the first place; the land grants awarded by the British and French crowns were not honored by the new nation, and the children of the European aristocracy were not allowed to inherit - for example - the Ohio River valley, or the fertile expanse of the tall grass prairie in the American midwest, or the mineral rights of the Iron Range and the Intermountain West. Even the agricultural plantations of the American Southeast, despite being enshrined in American law, were soon broken up - their accumulated wealth taken from them by force, at gunpoint.

    That gave the US a century's worth of breathing room, without which it might very well have ended up a sort of extra-large Paraguay.
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They used the money of all kinds of people, and bankrupted the entire country.
    Had they been taxed at the normal levels, and curbed in their use of other people's money as the New Deal specified, they would not have been able to do that.
    Look at the stats - notice the inflection points in the early 1980s. Notice the economic crashes. Compare these numbers with those of other countries.
    Sure it was. I just made the comparison, right in front of you.
    You do. You have been arguing against that for your entire tenure on this forum.
    That's lower taxes, that have been doing that. Not higher. Since Reagan.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Any short-term gains they made were taxed at normal levels. You've been arguing that higher taxes wouldn't stop people from getting rich. Now you are arguing that higher taxes would have stopped them altogether.

    You just made up your own argument right in front of me. It too was nonsense.
    No, I have been arguing against your positions, not against making things better.
    Why would higher taxes be any different?
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Arguing that capitalism doesn't work until you take money away from a certain class is ridiculous. It's your wet dream I understand but it just isn't factual.

    Sam Walton's children are hardly bringing down the U.S. or capitalism.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Just free market capitalism. Other forms of capitalism work fine under monopolies and aristocracies and economies run by a central command or controlling class of rich people - what you get if you don't curb inequality of wealth.
    You sure about that?
    You're the one who thinks capitalism and free markets are one and the same, after all.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You haven't done it.
    Do it. Then you can call it nonsense from an informed position.
    For the reasons laid out in the dozens of posts you haven't read - and in economics textbooks, various journal articles and books you have been linked to, and so forth.

    Also for the reason demonstrated over the fifty years of growing American prosperity under the New Deal, a growth Reaganomics brought to a halt and reversed.

    Try gathering information before posting. It can't hurt, eh?
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    It is her problem if there are a fixed pool of jobs and ten kids inherited a million dollars.

    If you participate in a race, and half the athletes get to start halfway down the track - is it your problem if you don't win?
    Of course they do. Some people are going to get into the good school and get the good job no matter what. They cross the finish line no matter what they do on the track.
    Agreed. We should work to give that person who finishes close to last through no fault of her own a better chance.
    Not at all. Don't drag him down; lift her up.
    Absolutely. And we can do that by taking 10% more of his parent's income (which he doesn't need) and use that to improve her educational opportunities (which she very much needs.)
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Jobs aren't fixed. The economy grows but if it was fixed and 10 kids inherited a $1,000,000 how does that hurt her. If they don't need jobs it even helps her.

    Lets take 10% of your money and give it to Iceaura.
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Social Security (part of the New Deal) hasn't been reversed. Try being honest although it might hurt.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    They get the jobs, she doesn't.
    The government already takes far more than that from me and gives it to Iceauras across the US. Do you want to reduce that to 10% for me? I am all for that.
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The government takes it from them as well. In addition corporate taxes are higher in the U.S. than in most other developed countries. You're not too concerned about facts though, are you?

    How does inheriting money get them jobs? Are they likely to get jobs that she was being considered for?

    If you care about Iceaura, and I know that you do, you'll give more. There's infrastructure to pay for as well, remember?

    Reagan did just lower taxes for the wealthy, he lowered them for everyone. You, and everyone else, has been sliding along for quite a while now. Time to pay up.

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