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Rich getting richer, hard to get ahead, etc...


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What's with the ads?

#251 Heigh Ho

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:32 AM

So instead taxpayers pay millions and millions on roads. Makes sense. I really think the developer could pay for the upgrades and still make a profit and deals be made but people really don't want cheaper housing anywhere near them. I didn't realize when you paid for one little lot you should have control of miles around you.


You are asking a community you dont belong to to pay your expenses. They know what's in their budget. They know the developer isn't going to build the new classrooms and health care facilities, and pick up the staff and transportation costs. Police and fire and social services all have to be expanded too. They know the sewer and water expansion will cost a fortune, especially if the water suoply is already maxed out. The roads for single family residential are cheap in comparison to the infrastructure costs of dense housing. Dense housing needs parking garages...or were you going to demand the existing neighbors pay for mass transit to?
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#252 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:44 AM

An astounding thread. Predictably full of people who have worked three full time jobs, attended full time college and birthed a baby or two. Yes, some people can do that. But why should they have to, especially when others can do just college and relax on the weekends and live a normal non stress free life. The point of the thread is that life. Is. Not. Fair. And it really really sucks.

I fully recognize that I am the beneficiary of someone this surplus of the good portion. I rarely take a hot shower without thanking God for hot running clean water. Doesn't change the fact that others are getting jot clan showers along with the rest of their easy life. College paid for in full, a connection to get a job.....health care paid for, parents who have money to help you with clothes for your interviews....the list goes on.

Life isn't fair. I don't see how acknowledging that keeps us from doing our best.

why should they have to? Because that is how life works. Why should some kids have to carry epi pens around when my kids don't. Why should I have to tak my daughter to OT every week when my sister doesn't. Why should my one nephew have to deal with a crazy bio mom who makes things up and multiple half and step siblings, when his brother doesn't have to. Why should some kids find math so hard when it's so easy for others. Because that is how life works. It always has.


Everyone has their pile of $%+ to deal with. No one goes through life without it. Some people have a bigger pile of poo than others. Some people have a bunch of little piles of poo, some get a really big one. Some people get stinkier piles of poo than others. But, we all get to deal with our piles of poo. We all get to decide how to deal with them. We can try to go over it, try to go around it, or even just stand and stare at it. Or we can figure out how to shovel it out of the way. I am a "figure out how to shovel it out of the way" kind of person.
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#253 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:55 AM

Seems to me that when you look at the whole picture we have other better, more comprehensive and more plausible explanations than just a bunch of average joes throwing in the towel.

i think statistics can be useful, but just like in the thread about perceived risk, they don't tell the whole story. For example, statistically, people without a high school diploma have high rates of unemployment. The question though is, how much of that unemployment because they can't find jobs, and how much is because the same choice that the person has made that kept them from finishing school are the ones that keep them from getting/keeping a job? How much does not showing up fro class to smoke weed translate to not showing up for interviews to smoke weed.

To be clear, I am not in any way suggesting that all people who do not have a high school diploma are lazy and sit around smoking weed all day. All I am actually saying is that they aren't all completely at the whim of circumstances completely out of their control either. I think that, again, just like nearly everything in life, it's really somewhere in the middle and statistics really aren't going to show that.
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#254 Murphy101

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:24 AM

why should they have to? Because that is how life works.


But that is not how "life" works. "Life" doesn't discriminate. "Life" is illness, a flat tire, a kid needing an epipen, my husband needing insulin,a tornado." "Life" is not to blame for people not having healthcare or education or needing to work 2-3 jobs and still not getting ahead. People/society are to blame for that bc it's their acceptance of policies that perpetuate it that cause it. "Life" hasn't always been that way and isn't always that way everywhere. Yes life gives us all plenty of crap to deal with. So why tolerate policies and social attitudes that add more to our piles?
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#255 Donna

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:48 AM

"Life" hasn't always been that way and isn't always that way everywhere. 

 

Life has always been that way.

 

There have always been people who have and those who don't...no matter how hard working they are.

 

Having just returned from a trip to an orphanage in the slums of Bangkok, I have an entirely different outlook on life and being happy with what I have. There are people in this world who have a whole lot less and whose reality is much scarier than anything I could have imagined.


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#256 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:52 AM

But that is not how "life" works. "Life" doesn't discriminate. "Life" is illness, a flat tire, a kid needing an epipen, my husband needing insulin,a tornado." "Life" is not to blame for people not having healthcare or education or needing to work 2-3 jobs and still not getting ahead. People/society are to blame for that bc it's their acceptance of policies that perpetuate it that cause it. "Life" hasn't always been that way and isn't always that way everywhere. Yes life gives us all plenty of crap to deal with. So why tolerate policies and social attitudes that add more to our piles?


I agree with you that it would be nice to change things that could be changed, but I'm really interested in knowing when and where these great times were when pretty much all aspects of life didn't favor those with money.

Edited by creekland, 17 July 2017 - 09:16 AM.

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#257 SKL

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:00 AM

And somewhere, somebody is complaining because their kid isn't getting any financial aid because it only goes to people with lower incomes than they have.

 

When I went to college, I applied for a need-based scholarship and didn't get it.  I wondered why, since I met all the criteria and came from a low-income family with 6 kids.  Come to find out that my friend got the scholarship.  The difference between us was that her family had 11 kids.  Oh well!  :)


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#258 transientChris

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:22 AM

I just checked how much dh and I rose in quintiles from the time we left for college. Somewhere around second or third to now upper fifth. But that is nationwide and we came from NYC area and DC area and so are parental incomes were lower quintiles in those areas. We did go to Ivy + schools and we have done better than what they say is average for us (as a household or counting dh only- I don't have income so I bring the average down). But varying in quintiles can occur for many reasons. I have one friend who went from low income to probably fourth or fifth quintile to much lower again because of husband's crimes. My mother came from a very wealthy (big landowners, chefs, governesses, etc) family. WW2 came and she, as a 16 yo with her 5 yo, tried to find an escape route as directed by her father. The Soviets caught them, took them back to her family and her father slapped her face for running away (a way to save the entire family except for her and she was perfectly okay with the story). She was sent to a Russian gulag and barely survived. My father and his father and mother were also sent to a Gulag. My grandfather died there and after they were all released when the Soviet Union changed sides in the war, both my mother and father joined Allied forces after a long journey. Then my parents struggled for years after the war. My educated father even worked as a coal minor for a bit. All kinds of jobs= my mother got her education paid for by a friend of her family's that had escaped with money and was living in Italy. They met and got married in England as refugees and then came to the US in 1960 or so. So when I was born, we were probably middle income family since my father worked for Voice of America as a writer. When my father died when I was 13, we fell in income by a lot but did have help from his survivor benefits and very limited social security. So what I inherited was not only their intelligence but also their tenacity and grit. I don't know how to level that inheritance.

In my local paper, there is a series of articles going on about the racial disparity in academic outcomes in my state. They have a discussion group online with educators trying to figure it out. One finding is that the difference in attainment even holds for black children of high income parents. The second article brought up one possible reason- lower expectations of the kids by white teachers. Studies have observed that black teachers do not tolerate various excuses and behaviours that white teachers do (probably feeling sorry for the kids). Some areas are trying to recruit more minority teachers like my district. There are a few districts that have no black teachers. There are a few districts that have less than 10% white teachers. A big part of the problem is that people don't want to move to an area where they are in the very small minority. So the black teachers don't want to live in the rural, very white, mountain areas and the white teachers hesitate in moving to the very black rural counties. And it isn't simply racism on either part-- pay is much better in the wealthier urban districts. Most of the teachers they get who go to those rural districts are people who went to college and came back to the area- not people from a more diversified city. And it was interesting that the other main story is yesterday's paper is the growing divide between areas with good internet and areas without. It is hard problem to solve in very rural areas far from cities and particularly if they are not in between a route between two well connected cities. Some rural areas are getting great service because they are between Chattanooga and us or are rural areas by large cities or developed areas. The ones that are in poor counties with no big city and no transmission lines to other cities are losing out.

#259 transientChris

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:22 AM

I just checked how much dh and I rose in quintiles from the time we left for college. Somewhere around second or third to now upper fifth. But that is nationwide and we came from NYC area and DC area and so are parental incomes were lower quintiles in those areas. We did go to Ivy + schools and we have done better than what they say is average for us (as a household or counting dh only- I don't have income so I bring the average down). But varying in quintiles can occur for many reasons. I have one friend who went from low income to probably fourth or fifth quintile to much lower again because of husband's crimes. My mother came from a very wealthy (big landowners, chefs, governesses, etc) family. WW2 came and she, as a 16 yo with her 5 yo, tried to find an escape route as directed by her father. The Soviets caught them, took them back to her family and her father slapped her face for running away (a way to save the entire family except for her and she was perfectly okay with the story). She was sent to a Russian gulag and barely survived. My father and his father and mother were also sent to a Gulag. My grandfather died there and after they were all released when the Soviet Union changed sides in the war, both my mother and father joined Allied forces after a long journey. Then my parents struggled for years after the war. My educated father even worked as a coal minor for a bit. All kinds of jobs= my mother got her education paid for by a friend of her family's that had escaped with money and was living in Italy. They met and got married in England as refugees and then came to the US in 1960 or so. So when I was born, we were probably middle income family since my father worked for Voice of America as a writer. When my father died when I was 13, we fell in income by a lot but did have help from his survivor benefits and very limited social security. So what I inherited was not only their intelligence but also their tenacity and grit. I don't know how to level that inheritance.

In my local paper, there is a series of articles going on about the racial disparity in academic outcomes in my state. They have a discussion group online with educators trying to figure it out. One finding is that the difference in attainment even holds for black children of high income parents. The second article brought up one possible reason- lower expectations of the kids by white teachers. Studies have observed that black teachers do not tolerate various excuses and behaviours that white teachers do (probably feeling sorry for the kids). Some areas are trying to recruit more minority teachers like my district. There are a few districts that have no black teachers. There are a few districts that have less than 10% white teachers. A big part of the problem is that people don't want to move to an area where they are in the very small minority. So the black teachers don't want to live in the rural, very white, mountain areas and the white teachers hesitate in moving to the very black rural counties. And it isn't simply racism on either part-- pay is much better in the wealthier urban districts. Most of the teachers they get who go to those rural districts are people who went to college and came back to the area- not people from a more diversified city. And it was interesting that the other main story is yesterday's paper is the growing divide between areas with good internet and areas without. It is hard problem to solve in very rural areas far from cities and particularly if they are not in between a route between two well connected cities. Some rural areas are getting great service because they are between Chattanooga and us or are rural areas by large cities or developed areas. The ones that are in poor counties with no big city and no transmission lines to other cities are losing out.

#260 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:39 AM

But that is not how "life" works. "Life" doesn't discriminate. "Life" is illness, a flat tire, a kid needing an epipen, my husband needing insulin,a tornado." "Life" is not to blame for people not having healthcare or education or needing to work 2-3 jobs and still not getting ahead. People/society are to blame for that bc it's their acceptance of policies that perpetuate it that cause it. "Life" hasn't always been that way and isn't always that way everywhere. Yes life gives us all plenty of crap to deal with. So why tolerate policies and social attitudes that add more to our piles?

yes, life has always worked that way. Life has always favored the stronger, faster, smarter, and more powerful. It favors the baby turtles by having the faster ones make it to the ocean while the slower ones get picked off by the gulls. It favors the healthier herd animals by letting the sickly ones get picked off by the wolves.

In humans, because we are thinking creatures, some of our power is derived from one of our own creations, money. So yes, even back millennia ago, human life has always favored those with money, in whatever form it has taken throughout history.

But, this is where I think you haven't really paid attention to what I have said. Because I have never advocated for not changing policies. In fact what I said, several times, si DO BOTH. Change policies AND your own individual choices. It's entirely possible to work to change how our healthcare system works, for example, while still recognizing that things are the way they are NOW and if you (general you) want to "get ahead" you are going to make choices based on the situation (and policies) that you currently live in and deal with. Society wide changes don't happen overnight. And there are choices that can be made by individuals that affect their individual lives at a much faster rate for them.

Both. Answers lie somewhere in the middle.
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#261 Moxie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:16 AM

My mind is blown. No access to higher education? That's how life works! Health care costs got you in bankruptcy?? That's how life works!! Kids shackled with student loan debt?? That's how life works!!

But, hey, enjoy it because you're not a starving orphan!

Edited by Moxie, 17 July 2017 - 10:18 AM.

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#262 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:30 AM

My mind is blown. No access to higher education? That's how life works! Health care costs got you in bankruptcy?? That's how life works!! Kids shackled with student loan debt?? That's how life works!!

are you saying those things don't happen? Are you saying my DH and I are not paying off $100k in student loan debt from his years of schooling? Cause we are.

Yes, that is how life works right now. Those things are happening right now. That is the world we live in.

The real question, which applies to BOTH the societal level AND the individual level is....what are you (general you) going to do about it? Please note, key word-BOTH. Work to figure out how to make higher education more affordable AND choose a different route than the STUPID route we took and not take out all that debt. Yes, higher ed costs are out of control. But that doesn't mean we had no choice when we took out that much debt. That is where we made the wrong choice within the system we have while still recognizing that that system has lots of problems.
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#263 Moxie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:38 AM

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.
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#264 Lady Florida.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:43 AM

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.

 

Exactly. Health care costs aren't "life" in most other Western countries.


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#265 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:44 AM

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.

politics, policies, money, all of that IS a part of life for us as thinking human beings, living in our society. Politics will always exist. Money will always exist. So yes, these things are how life works.
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#266 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:45 AM

Exactly. Health care costs aren't "life" in most other Western countries.

i don't live there, therefore, they are part of how life works for me.

Edited by happysmileylady, 17 July 2017 - 10:46 AM.

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#267 Murphy101

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:47 AM

My mind is blown. No access to higher education? That's how life works! Health care costs got you in bankruptcy?? That's how life works!! Kids shackled with student loan debt?? That's how life works!!

But, hey, enjoy it because you're not a starving orphan!


No.
Damn.
Kidding.

Wtbleep. Yes, there are places that have mitigating policies. They aren't perfect, but they are improvements that at least try to strive for better equality.

Our goal as a society should not be to call it good enough as long as our children aren't sex trafficked, beaten into child labor or starving.
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#268 Lady Florida.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:49 AM

i don't live there, therefore, they are part of how life works for me.

 

The point is it doesn't have to be. Some things are just life, illness and accidents included. The access to and cost of care for such things, as Moxie said, are politics. And that's something we can change. It doesn't have to be "just life".


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#269 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:55 AM

The point is it doesn't have to be. Some things are just life, illness and accidents included. The access to and cost of care for such things, as Moxie said, are politics. And that's something we can change. It doesn't have to be "just life".

i think people are deliberately missing the word BOTH in my posts. Did I ever say that bad policies shouldn't be changed? Did I ever say just accept things as they are?

Or did I say change BOTH? Did I say work on both? Did I say work to change the policies AND make the different choices for you that will help you improve your situation within what we do have now, since society wide changes take time? The answer is that yes I did say both. I don't understand why it seems that people aren't reading that.
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#270 Lady Florida.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:00 AM

i think people are deliberately missing the word BOTH in my posts. Did I ever say that bad policies shouldn't be changed? Did I ever say just accept things as they are?

Or did I say change BOTH? Did I say work on both? Did I say work to change the policies AND make the different choices for you that will help you improve your situation within what we do have now, since society wide changes take time? The answer is that yes I did say both. I don't understand why it seems that people aren't reading that.

 

Yes, but you seem to think everyone has choices, which simply isn't true. You said to just deal with the way things are now by making different choices, while trying to change the way things are. So, for someone who can only afford the most basic health insurance (either through the ACA or work) walks out into the street and gets hit by a bus, or by genetic lottery gets a particularly bad type of cancer, what different choices should they have made?


Edited by Lady Florida., 17 July 2017 - 11:01 AM.

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#271 Moxie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:03 AM

Yes, but you seem to think everyone has choices, which simply isn't true. You said to just deal with the way things are now by making different choices, while trying to change the way things are. So, for someone who can only afford the most basic health insurance (either through the ACA or work) walks out into the street and gets hit by a bus, or by genetic lottery gets a particularly bad type of cancer, what different choices should they have made?


And thank God for the ACA. Not too many years ago, someone who didn't win the genetic lottery would be uninsurable. There was no choice to be made, you were just screwed by the rules.

Edited by Moxie, 17 July 2017 - 11:05 AM.

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#272 goldberry

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:35 AM

I think this is a fascinating thread. There have been lots of ideas presented about what people should do to improve their situation, but I think it is important to understand that there are actually things to be known about social mobility in the US that should inform our decisions as a public. As inequality has increased more and more, social scientists have been studying it over multiple generations. The US has some of the lowest social mobility rates in the developed world. Social mobility rates in the US have regional variations (they are particularly low in the South and the Rust belt). The US does much less than other similar developed countries to even out disposable income. And we have seen a significant decrease in government spending/investment in what political scientists call "the commons," i.e. education, infrastructure and other things whose benefits are shared by all, especially since the 1980s. So it doesn't really make sense to compare what our parents or grandparents did to what we experience now. If it feels like the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are running like hamsters on a wheel and staying in the same place, that's because that is in fact what is happening. 

 

There are lots of public policies that could address these changes (we know this because it was public policy that put us in this place). Here is a good survey article that clearly explains some of these changes and solutions, and the work of some of the researchers who are studying this problem. The point of understanding these policy changes is to understand that the rise and fall of social mobility in the US has never really been about attitude, but rather about public policy. That is what people in this thread mean when they say they can't change things by changing their attitude. It might be good for your mental health to cultivate an attitude of optimism or acceptance, to be grateful for what you have etc.., but it is not going to change the actual situation on the ground. Public policy matters. It has a real effect on people's lives. 

 

 

Seems to me that when you look at the whole picture we have other better, more comprehensive and more plausible explanations than just a bunch of average joes throwing in the towel.

 

Very well said, thank you.


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#273 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:39 AM

My mind is blown. No access to higher education? That's how life works! Health care costs got you in bankruptcy?? That's how life works!! Kids shackled with student loan debt?? That's how life works!!

But, hey, enjoy it because you're not a starving orphan!

 

You really should just have put a JAWM into the title if all you wanted was sympathy and no real thoughts/advice.

 

My mind is blown thinking we're supposed to be lying and telling you that life is really fair or that you (and others) have drawn the worst lottery number on the planet or in respective countries.

 

Instead, we're agreeing it sucks, calling reality, "reality," and suggesting changes that could help individuals in the country we live in - while NOT opposing voting for change - then we're called obtuse and find someone else's mind is blown.

 

Not to mention... all of this on a striving for higher education homeschooling board...

 

Next thing you know we might mention Santa Claus isn't real or that the world is round and blow other minds I suppose.

 

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.

 

I'm all for universal health care and more toward education costs, but you are aware that those will raise taxes, right?  

 

No.
Damn.
Kidding.

Wtbleep. Yes, there are places that have mitigating policies. They aren't perfect, but they are improvements that at least try to strive for better equality.

Our goal as a society should not be to call it good enough as long as our children aren't sex trafficked, beaten into child labor or starving.

 

Please show me where this has happened on this thread... and I'm still waiting for that magic time in history where life didn't favor the wealthy - even in places with universal health care.

 

 

The point is it doesn't have to be. Some things are just life, illness and accidents included. The access to and cost of care for such things, as Moxie said, are politics. And that's something we can change. It doesn't have to be "just life".

 

And just how are you going to change it?  By voting?  I've been doing that for more than 3 decades now and a wee little bit has changed, but not much.  By influencing others (next generation)?  I've been doing that for two decades now... still not a whole lot of change.

 

If the OP (or others) are planning on waiting for politics to solve all their issues and make life "fair" - good luck.


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#274 SereneHome

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:53 AM

OK, so what policies should be change?  What new policies should be created?

 

And who is paying for all that????


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#275 happysmileylady

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:59 AM

Yes, but you seem to think everyone has choices, which simply isn't true. You said to just deal with the way things are now by making different choices, while trying to change the way things are. So, for someone who can only afford the most basic health insurance (either through the ACA or work) walks out into the street and gets hit by a bus, or by genetic lottery gets a particularly bad type of cancer, what different choices should they have made?

because everyone has SOME choices. What they are, I don't know, because I don't know them and their situations. Everyone's choices are different because their situations are different. Therefore I can't say what choices person X "should" have made.
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#276 SKL

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:18 PM

In my opinion, we're lucky in the USA to have so many different choices as far as education and career.  Some more accessible to modest-income people than others, but still a lot of real choices if we're honest.  That has a lot of value that we seem to take for granted.

 

I had the choice to take out a lot of debt to get my education.  Some choose not to do that.  In my case, it worked out pretty well once I was about 10 years out.  Those 10 years were very stressful.  I had multiple jobs for most of my adult life and lived very frugally (by US standards) until I had saved a "nest egg."  Just by making different choices, I could have ended up in a completely different life.  Even just looking at my siblings - what a difference.  Looking at my own kids, I can see how much choices will impact their lives.  Sure, other things will matter too - their IQ, sex, race, and other things they were born with.  But not so much that their choices aren't the main predictors.

 

One of my kids struggles in school.  If we had policies like some countries that provide "free university" but only for those who test high, my kid would not stand a chance to develop some of her talents.  Is that really what we want?  Think long and hard before demanding more government control over our choices.


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#277 jdahlquist

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:29 PM

I think this is a fascinating thread. There have been lots of ideas presented about what people should do to improve their situation, but I think it is important to understand that there are actually things to be known about social mobility in the US that should inform our decisions as a public. As inequality has increased more and more, social scientists have been studying it over multiple generations. The US has some of the lowest social mobility rates in the developed world. Social mobility rates in the US have regional variations (they are particularly low in the South and the Rust belt). The US does much less than other similar developed countries to even out disposable income. And we have seen a significant decrease in government spending/investment in what political scientists call "the commons," i.e. education, infrastructure and other things whose benefits are shared by all, especially since the 1980s. So it doesn't really make sense to compare what our parents or grandparents did to what we experience now. If it feels like the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are running like hamsters on a wheel and staying in the same place, that's because that is in fact what is happening. 

 

There are lots of public policies that could address these changes (we know this because it was public policy that put us in this place). Here is a good survey article that clearly explains some of these changes and solutions, and the work of some of the researchers who are studying this problem. The point of understanding these policy changes is to understand that the rise and fall of social mobility in the US has never really been about attitude, but rather about public policy. That is what people in this thread mean when they say they can't change things by changing their attitude. It might be good for your mental health to cultivate an attitude of optimism or acceptance, to be grateful for what you have etc.., but it is not going to change the actual situation on the ground. Public policy matters. It has a real effect on people's lives. 

This is a quote for the cited article:

 

"Hendren said there’s no less chance today of rising or falling along the income spectrum than there was 25 years ago. “The chances of moving up or down the ladder are the same,” he said, “but the way we think about inequality is that the rungs on the ladder have gotten wider. The difference between being at the top versus the bottom of the income distribution is wider, so the consequences of being born to a poor family in dollar terms are wider.”"

 

Some people who are opposed to bigger government and more government policies and programs to address this point to the fact that the policies over the past few decades have not changed income mobility. Are the government policies in the last few decades that were meant to address income disparity and access to education disparity actually resulting in making the problem worse rather than better?   


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#278 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:31 PM

Yes, but you seem to think everyone has choices, which simply isn't true. You said to just deal with the way things are now by making different choices, while trying to change the way things are. So, for someone who can only afford the most basic health insurance (either through the ACA or work) walks out into the street and gets hit by a bus, or by genetic lottery gets a particularly bad type of cancer, what different choices should they have made?

 

This type of "life isn't fair" is a different topic TBH.  It's health care and the bulk of us on here have already said we'd prefer some sort of universal health care in the US.  Our wishes aren't reality though.

 

Choices this thread has been talking about deals with income/wealth.

 

Fact #1:  Some people are born wealthy.  Many are not.

 

Fact #2:  Having more wealth makes living easier (not necessarily happier, but easier).  Money can buy toys as well as pay for and upgrade essentials.

 

Fact #3:  The majority born wealthy stay wealthy.  The majority not wealthy remain not wealthy.  (You can substitute poor, but one doesn't have to be poor to be in the "not wealthy" class.)

 

Fact #4:  Some people are able to buck the trend - to go from a lower economic class to a higher one (perhaps wealthy, perhaps not, but higher).  Examples were shared.  Common denominators were shared in case some folks reading think they'd want to try to help themselves do similarly.

 

Fact #5:  If one does nothing but complain, short of the lottery coming their way - see Fact #3.

 

Side Bit 1:  It'd be terrific if political policies were different in some ways (esp health care in the US), but waiting for that to be changed is also probably not one's best route if they want to change their income level in this life.  Nonetheless, make an effort to vote.

 

Side Bit 2:  It's often nice when those with more income do what they can to assist those with less, but not everyone with less wants this.  Pride gets in the way.

 

Side Bit 3:  Some folks with less get extremely jealous of those who want to change their "lot" in life (even when those folks are family members).  This adds an extra burden on those trying, probably making change impossible for most of them - fits into Fact #3.

 

Side Bit 4:  Not everyone with less fits into those in Side Bit 3.  When families/friends pull together chances of "moving up" increase - fits into Fact #4.

 

So what choices can change?  With health issues, not much after the fact.  Beforehand one could decide to try to increase income.  Nothing is guaranteed - except that without actually trying, it's not likely to happen.


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#279 SKL

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:40 PM

It's proven many times over that if a person believes he can't do something, he will sabotage his own efforts just to prove to himself that he was right.  They would rather succeed in failing than fail in succeeding.

 

That's why I think it's important that we keep the focus on what IS possible.


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#280 jdahlquist

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:52 PM

 

 

Fact #3:  The majority born wealthy stay wealthy.  The majority not wealthy remain not wealthy.  (You can substitute poor, but one doesn't have to be poor to be in the "not wealthy" class.)

 

.

The fact is there is a great deal of movement in and out of these classes:

 

Of those appearing in the top 400 incomes in the US over 22 years, 72% were on this list only ONE year.  Only 3% remained on the list for over a decade.

 

Over 1/2 of Americans are in the top 10% sometime in their life; 54% of the US population experiences being at or near the poverty level sometime by their 60th birthday.

 

http://money.cnn.com...op-1/index.html


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#281 goldberry

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:57 PM

 

Some people who are opposed to bigger government and more government policies and programs to address this point to the fact that the policies over the past few decades have not changed income mobility. Are the government policies in the last few decades that were meant to address income disparity and access to education disparity actually resulting in making the problem worse rather than better?   

 

Which policies are you referring to?  

 

I think a core issue is the increase of money influence in policy.  Campaign finance reforms have failed and after Citizen's United the outlook is for increased influence rather than decreased.  

 

This quote is what I think we are seeing.  Decisions are made all down the line with the interest of the wealthy in mind rather than the interest of the common citizen, because the wealthy are who fund the politicians.  Until that is addressed I don't think any real gains will be made in other areas.

 

“Something like the carried-interest provision in the tax code, when you explain it to ordinary citizens, they don’t like the idea that income earned by investing other people’s money should be taxed at a lower rate than regular wage and salary income. It’s not popular in some broad, polling sense. But many politicians probably don’t realize it at all because … politicians spend a lot of their time asking people to give money to them [who] don’t think it’s a good idea to change that,” said Skocpol. “There’s a real danger that, as wealth and income are more and more concentrated toward the top, it does become a vicious circle.”


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#282 hepatica

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:06 PM

This is a quote for the cited article:

 

"Hendren said there’s no less chance today of rising or falling along the income spectrum than there was 25 years ago. “The chances of moving up or down the ladder are the same,” he said, “but the way we think about inequality is that the rungs on the ladder have gotten wider. The difference between being at the top versus the bottom of the income distribution is wider, so the consequences of being born to a poor family in dollar terms are wider.”"

 

Some people who are opposed to bigger government and more government policies and programs to address this point to the fact that the policies over the past few decades have not changed income mobility. Are the government policies in the last few decades that were meant to address income disparity and access to education disparity actually resulting in making the problem worse rather than better?   

 

The linked article was a simple survey of research into income inequality - more a starting point than anything else. My comments about decreases in social mobility take into account additional research by academic economists ( a few academic studies published later in 2016) that show both that past research has overestimated social mobility in the US, and, more importantly, that there does in fact appear to be a decline in mobility in recent decades.  Trying to stay out of the academic weeds here.

 

Interestingly, this recent decline in mobility applies to college graduates as well. As the rungs on the ladder get further and further apart, it takes more than a college degree to bridge them. 

 

Things that could make a real difference: increase the minimum wage, expand the earned income tax credit, expand the medicaid expansion, generously fund universal pre-k and elementary education, invest in low cost or free community college, support serious policies to reduce housing segregation and clean up of toxic environments (getting rid of lead and toxins in low income areas), make the tax code more progressive by taxing investment income (capital gains) the same as work.

 

Just some ideas....


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#283 jdahlquist

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:07 PM

Which policies are you referring to?  

 

I think a core issue is the increase of money influence in policy.  Campaign finance reforms have failed and after Citizen's United the outlook is for increased influence rather than decreased.  

 

This quote is what I think we are seeing.  Decisions are made all down the line with the interest of the wealthy in mind rather than the interest of the common citizen, because the wealthy are who fund the politicians.  Until that is addressed I don't think any real gains will be made in other areas.

 

“Something like the carried-interest provision in the tax code, when you explain it to ordinary citizens, they don’t like the idea that income earned by investing other people’s money should be taxed at a lower rate than regular wage and salary income. It’s not popular in some broad, polling sense. But many politicians probably don’t realize it at all because … politicians spend a lot of their time asking people to give money to them [who] don’t think it’s a good idea to change that,” said Skocpol. “There’s a real danger that, as wealth and income are more and more concentrated toward the top, it does become a vicious circle.”

A generation has been educated since Head Start and free breakfast programs in schools have occurred.  Is access to good education any better today than it was several decades ago?  


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#284 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:11 PM

The fact is there is a great deal of movement in and out of these classes:

 

Of those appearing in the top 400 incomes in the US over 22 years, 72% were on this list only ONE year.  Only 3% remained on the list for over a decade.

 

Over 1/2 of Americans are in the top 10% sometime in their life; 54% of the US population experiences being at or near the poverty level sometime by their 60th birthday.

 

http://money.cnn.com...op-1/index.html

 

But my link from the NYT (a page ago - using real stats) was talking quintiles, not purely Top 400 (which easily falls into a small portion of the Top 1%).

 

And yes, incomes rise and fall, not only due to sales, etc, as your article says, but also... who among us made as much in our teen years as we do at our prime (assuming jobs at both points)?  Do you start at the top at your job?  Most don't.

 

Then lastly, the NYT grouping was wealth, not income.  One can have a lot of wealth without much of it coming as income.  Houses get paid for.  Investments can be bought and kept, etc.

 

My "just graduated" kids are at their "poor" stage now, but it's highly unlikely they will stay there even though we don't make the Top 10% (according to your article).  Others without their background and education at a similar stage in life aren't as likely to progress on equally TBH.

 

While your article is true, it's also misleading if one doesn't see the whole picture that was left out.


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#285 jdahlquist

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:18 PM

 

 

Things that could make a real difference: increase the minimum wage, expand the earned income tax credit, expand the medicaid expansion, generously fund universal pre-k and elementary education, invest in low cost or free community college, support serious policies to reduce housing segregation and clean up of toxic environments (getting rid of lead and toxins in low income areas), make the tax code more progressive by taxing investment income (capital gains) the same as work.

 

Just some ideas....

Is there any evidence that increases in the minimum wage are associated with increased economic mobility?  It could help some low-income individuals have more income, but that doesn't necessarily lead to economic mobility.  In addition, it is likely to lead to some losing their jobs.  In addition over 1/2 of people in minimum wage jobs live in families in the top 1/2 of the income distribution.  So, raising the minimum wage does not target the group it was meant to help.

 

The US is spending more than some other nations (that have less income disparity) on education.  How will spending more help this issue?  

 

Making the tax code more progressive may change after-tax income distribution, but would it really change the underlying distribution?  How would it impact those who are in the lower end of the income distribution who rely on capital gains income--the retired?   What would it do to investment levels (and wealth creation for society in general)?  


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#286 SereneHome

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:38 PM

Things that could make a real difference: increase the minimum wage, expand the earned income tax credit, expand the medicaid expansion, generously fund universal pre-k and elementary education, invest in low cost or free community college, support serious policies to reduce housing segregation and clean up of toxic environments (getting rid of lead and toxins in low income areas), make the tax code more progressive by taxing investment income (capital gains) the same as work.

 

 

How is all this being funded?

 

Why no one wants to answer that??

 

BTW re: housing segregation - Sect 8 does not limit where one can rent.  We were paying over $2K for our apartment in MA, while our neighbor was paying $475  - very nice apartments 20 minutes away from Boston with excellent public transportation around it.  She complained and complained and complained how unfair it was she had to pay her own electric bill bc "apartments were build so crappy that it was cold in the winter and her bills were high".  Yeah, cold in the winter in New England....SHOCKER!

 

 


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#287 Murphy101

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:39 PM

A generation has been educated since Head Start and free breakfast programs in schools have occurred. Is access to good education any better today than it was several decades ago?


Head start can vary a LOT. Some are really awful. Some are really great. Usually it's about as good as the school district it is located in. No surprise at the result, wealthier districts have better outcomes. But overall? There's little to no proof that preschools of any kind have long term improvements. Usually iirc by 4th grade, you can't tell which kids were in preschool or not.

Other factors seem to make a bigger difference:
Books in the home and parents who read to them regularly
Parents engaged in their education
A positive social environment at their school
A school that provides early and consistent academic helps, such as free tutoring on site after school with later bus routes for kids who need it. (So if a kid just doesn't understand that days math lesson - he can go to tutoring. He doesn't have to wait until he has fallen 2 grade levels behind or has had detention for not doing the work because he thinks he is stupid.)
Music, foreign languages, visual arts and skill building options also seem to spur more academic success. Children whose non-academic interests are not taken away for academic reasons seem to do better in both.

A child could not take off in reading until "late" but if they have all of that, even if they didn't start K until 6 or 7 yrs old, they will likely end up further and better off educationally than the kid who read earlier and had preschool but none of those other things.

There's been many discussions on this board about countries and school and history lessons that illustrate this.
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#288 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:08 PM

How is all this being funded?

 

Why no one wants to answer that??

 

I can answer this.  Higher taxes.  If you look at US tax rates throughout history (and you can, here):

 

https://taxfoundatio...usted-brackets/

 

you will find that we've had much higher tax rates on the wealthy in the past - 39.6% not too long ago, 50% back in the 80s, 70% in the 70s, 91% in the 60s, etc.  Shockingly enough, we still had the wealthy among us even with those higher rates.  The Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers, etc, were still able to own and staff their mansions, corporations, and even donated to libraries, music centers, colleges, and more.

 

I don't think it's all that much of a stretch to decide just how much annual income one needs to live on (and remain wealthy) and then more highly tax the rest to help pay for things the population needs - like health care, education, etc.  One could even set that amount at 1 million (for the highest tax bracket) and I'm pretty sure the majority of us could still figure out how to eke out a darn decent living with anything more than that taxed at 70 or 90%.

 

I don't think the rest of us should get out of paying taxes either.  We want health care and education, fine, we help pay for it (through our taxes - increase them on everyone, but balance out how much increase there is to try to make things more "livable" for the minions who aren't making a million per year ).  But I don't think we need to be buying into the fallacy that everyone in the Top 10% should be taxed at the same rate or that trickle down economics actually helps (it didn't - for the most part only the wealthy became wealthier), the same way I don't buy the idea that Aids/Diabetes meds or Epipens had to be raised so much because their companies weren't making enough money.

 

Go back to policies that were a bit more fair - the wealth distribution would help far more people.  Exactly how much does one person need in their portfolio anyway - while others work their butts off trying to pay for some of the basics in life?

 

Then too... no, I don't buy the idea that Capital Gains income needs to be taxed at a lower rate.  All income should be taxed at the same rate IMO - retirees or not.  In general, it's not just retirees capitalizing on that.  It's folks who have invested - aka - the more wealthy among us.  Remember too, taxes don't take away the principal, only a portion of what is earned annually on that principal - same with wages.  Plus, the highest tax rate wouldn't kick in on the first X dollars - only the portion earned above that amount.

 

But as a pp said, it's the wealthy who donate to politicians (both sides of the aisle).  I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for more fairness to happen.


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#289 goldberry

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:15 PM

How is all this being funded?

 

Why no one wants to answer that??

 

BTW re: housing segregation - Sect 8 does not limit where one can rent.  

 

Funding is a matter of priorities.  Right now part of the proposed health care cuts is repealing some taxes implemented that mostly will benefit wealthier Americans.  It's all about what our priorities are as a nation.

 

Section 8 does not work the same in all areas.  It most certainly limits where you rent in some areas.  I don't know if that's state or local.


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#290 goldberry

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:23 PM

Making the tax code more progressive may change after-tax income distribution, but would it really change the underlying distribution?  How would it impact those who are in the lower end of the income distribution who rely on capital gains income--the retired?   What would it do to investment levels (and wealth creation for society in general)?  

 

Capital gains taxes are usually tied to income thresholds.  It wouldn't be impossible to make sure those in the lower income range aren't harmed by this


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#291 goldberry

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:31 PM

I'm reading a book about how the financial sector in America has really taken over and become its own self-sustaining entity.  Financial transactions used to be *part* of other actual producing businesses, but now are done more and more so for their own sake (i.e. making money by moving money around basically).  It talked about how even companies like Apple are spending larger and larger portions of their money in this way rather than reinvesting in actual production/research/etc.  Really interesting.  But our tax laws and other regulations haven't kept up with this.  We still in our minds think of that kind of money as *different* somehow, when it's really just another business in itself.


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#292 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:52 PM

I don't have time to post thoughts right now, but I've been reading on a theme this year of social mobility, inequality, etc. Maybe I'm trying to come to grips with the trajectory of my life until now, lol.

I highly recommend the "trilogy" of Hillbilly Elegy, Evicted, and The Broken Ladder.

Success is just that, but looks different based on circumstances. Mobility requires personal and social sacrifices, in both directions. Social and economic inequality deeply affect both.

Adding "The Broken Ladder" to my list.

You might want to also look at "Janesville" and "Strangers In Their Own Land".  De Tocqueville is also interesting in this regard.


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#293 Frances

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:00 PM

I can answer this. Higher taxes. If you look at US tax rates throughout history (and you can, here):

https://taxfoundatio...usted-brackets/

you will find that we've had much higher tax rates on the wealthy in the past - 39.6% not too long ago, 50% back in the 80s, 70% in the 70s, 91% in the 60s, etc. Shockingly enough, we still had the wealthy among us even with those higher rates. The Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers, etc, were still able to own and staff their mansions, corporations, and even donated to libraries, music centers, colleges, and more.

I don't think it's all that much of a stretch to decide just how much annual income one needs to live on (and remain wealthy) and then more highly tax the rest to help pay for things the population needs - like health care, education, etc. One could even set that amount at 1 million (for the highest tax bracket) and I'm pretty sure the majority of us could still figure out how to eke out a darn decent living with anything more than that taxed at 70 or 90%.

I don't think the rest of us should get out of paying taxes either. We want health care and education, fine, we help pay for it (through our taxes - increase them on everyone, but balance out how much increase there is to try to make things more "livable" for the minions who aren't making a million per year ). But I don't think we need to be buying into the fallacy that everyone in the Top 10% should be taxed at the same rate or that trickle down economics actually helps (it didn't - for the most part only the wealthy became wealthier), the same way I don't buy the idea that Aids/Diabetes meds or Epipens had to be raised so much because their companies weren't making enough money.

Go back to policies that were a bit more fair - the wealth distribution would help far more people. Exactly how much does one person need in their portfolio anyway - while others work their butts off trying to pay for some of the basics in life?

Then too... no, I don't buy the idea that Capital Gains income needs to be taxed at a lower rate. All income should be taxed at the same rate IMO - retirees or not. In general, it's not just retirees capitalizing on that. It's folks who have invested - aka - the more wealthy among us. Remember too, taxes don't take away the principal, only a portion of what is earned annually on that principal - same with wages. Plus, the highest tax rate wouldn't kick in on the first X dollars - only the portion earned above that amount.

But as a pp said, it's the wealthy who donate to politicians (both sides of the aisle). I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for more fairness to happen.

Yes to your last paragraph. On my darkest days, I feel like both sides have been completely bought and paid for by corporations and wealthy individuals.
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#294 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:13 PM

I can answer this.  Higher taxes.  If you look at US tax rates throughout history (and you can, here):

 

https://taxfoundatio...usted-brackets/

 

you will find that we've had much higher tax rates on the wealthy in the past - 39.6% not too long ago, 50% back in the 80s, 70% in the 70s, 91% in the 60s, etc.  Shockingly enough, we still had the wealthy among us even with those higher rates.  The Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers, etc, were still able to own and staff their mansions, corporations, and even donated to libraries, music centers, colleges, and more.

 

 

 

This is about the HIGH INCOME rather than the WEALTHY.

The wealthy have their money already, and all they have to do is live in their nice houses and stick their money in muni bonds and they are set.

 

The reason that income tax rate increases are so controversial is that generally they:

1)  Effect the folks who are 'finally making it' more so than the folks who are wealthy

2)  Are not credibly limited to the extremely high income, despite promises at the outset.  For instance, the AMT was not adjusted for inflation, and neither was the primary residence capital gains tax exclusion, so they are both increasingly hitting middle class incomes far below their original supposed target.


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#295 creekland

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:33 PM

This is about the HIGH INCOME rather than the WEALTHY.

The wealthy have their money already, and all they have to do is live in their nice houses and stick their money in muni bonds and they are set.

 

The reason that income tax rate increases are so controversial is that generally they:

1)  Effect the folks who are 'finally making it' more so than the folks who are wealthy

2)  Are not credibly limited to the extremely high income, despite promises at the outset.  For instance, the AMT was not adjusted for inflation, and neither was the primary residence capital gains tax exclusion, so they are both increasingly hitting middle class incomes far below their original supposed target.

 

But no one says the wealthy have to become poor and have their assets stripped away from them.  For most, esp those I know, if one taxes capital gains at the same rate as income, they'll be paying.

 

If "finally making it" means one can't live on that first million (annually) alone without the excess being in the highest tax bracket, well, we just have a different version of "just making it."

 

For the rest of us, we want health care.  We need to pay for it as there just aren't enough at the tippy top to do it all - even if taxed at 100%.  Most of us already either pay monthly or have it paid for via our employers anyway.  A tax increase that just shifts that amount would do wonders without really affecting many budgets (except those who have chosen not to buy in).  In the process, the for-profit part of insurance would disappear and savings could be had.  There'd be less paperwork too, once it all got started anyway.

 

If the AMT wasn't adjusted (and I agree, it wasn't), then fix it.  It doesn't mean we can't get what most of us agree are needs (vs wants) like health care for all via a higher tax system eerily akin to how the other first world nations do it.  (Either higher tax rates or sales taxes and I'd argue that sales taxes affect the lower income folks more.)

 

Our parents paid far more in taxes than today's generation does.  Have most of our lives improved significantly from less taxes?  If wealthy, definitely.  Those folks have reaped the benefits for sure, increasing wealth at enormous rates.  But everyone else?  Seems life has stayed the same or decreased for many.  Is that what we prefer?

 

Do we want health care for all or don't we is the question.  If so, it has to be paid for.  Personally, I want it.


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#296 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:48 PM

But no one says the wealthy have to become poor and have their assets stripped away from them.  For most, esp those I know, if one taxes capital gains at the same rate as income, they'll be paying.

 

The point was that the income taxes that you're talking about increasing are going to fall on income rather than wealth.  People say 'soak the rich' but then they don't do that, they soak the higher income.  It's important to keep this distinction in mind.

 

If "finally making it" means one can't live on that first million (annually) alone without the excess being in the highest tax bracket, well, we just have a different version of "just making it."

 

My point, again, was that although these moves might start with the million dollar incomes, they won't end there, because that can't pay for very much, so they HAVE TO get to a more distributed taxation model to be able to raise the amount of funds you're talking about.  Furthermore, if history is any guide, this will not be disclosed--it will be a 'gotcha'.  And although I tend not to be cynical, I don't actually think that it's an accident that people with household incomes that will not allow them to purchase starter homes are currently being hit with Alternative Minimum Taxes as if they are wealthy moochers who can easily spare that income.

...

 

If the AMT wasn't adjusted (and I agree, it wasn't), then fix it.  It doesn't mean we can't get what most of us agree are needs (vs wants) like health care for all via a higher tax system eerily akin to how the other first world nations do it.  (Either higher tax rates or sales taxes and I'd argue that sales taxes affect the lower income folks more.)

 

Separate issue, but I think that it's instructive to look at how other countries' systems don't pay the proportions that ours does for defense, and that they ration or delay care quite a bit.

 

Our parents paid far more in taxes than today's generation does.  Have most of our lives improved significantly from less taxes?  If wealthy, definitely.  Those folks have reaped the benefits for sure, increasing wealth at enormous rates.  But everyone else?  Seems life has stayed the same or decreased for many.  Is that what we prefer?

 

Do we want health care for all or don't we is the question.  If so, it has to be paid for.  Personally, I want it.

I want it.

I'd love to see the numbers add up.

I don't.

 

I'd like to push on the cost end of the health care issue, not just the cost of 'end of life care', but the cost of malpractice insurance, of defensive medicine, of economics favoring specialization to the extent that many people effectively have no access to care even if they have insurance, and then, also, of the insurance issues.

 

 

Re. our parents' generation--they got the same housing interest deductions that people are criticizing now, but many of them also got subsidized VA loans--increasing family stability and housing stability.  They got pensions, most of them.  They had a solvent social security system.  And they lived in an era where if you worked hard you had a reasonable hope of keeping your job for a long time, which contributes tremendously to breadth of medical insurance coverage.  These generally were not a result of higher income taxes, but of a set of social expectations that have been systematically eroded by big business.  Government in those days was pretty bloated and inefficient.  I personally think we have swung too far the other way, but I don't favor burdening people without a meaningful safety net with even worse tax rates.  It's just too much.  We have to figure out how to change gradually, and how to truly improve rates of small business ownership, and how to make government competent and efficient.  We have to remain a free society, and teach the value and responsibilities associated with that.  Otherwise we will implode.


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#297 scholastica

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:16 PM

Yes to your last paragraph. On my darkest days, I feel like both sides have been completely bought and paid for by corporations and wealthy individuals.


Your darkest days are my everyday. Neither party represents the interests of the people. They divvy up the issues and then pass the agenda of whomever butters their bread.
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#298 SereneHome

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:20 PM

I can answer this.  Higher taxes.  If you look at US tax rates throughout history (and you can, here):

 

https://taxfoundatio...usted-brackets/

 

you will find that we've had much higher tax rates on the wealthy in the past - 39.6% not too long ago, 50% back in the 80s, 70% in the 70s, 91% in the 60s, etc.  Shockingly enough, we still had the wealthy among us even with those higher rates.  The Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers, etc, were still able to own and staff their mansions, corporations, and even donated to libraries, music centers, colleges, and more.

 

I don't think it's all that much of a stretch to decide just how much annual income one needs to live on (and remain wealthy) and then more highly tax the rest to help pay for things the population needs - like health care, education, etc.  One could even set that amount at 1 million (for the highest tax bracket) and I'm pretty sure the majority of us could still figure out how to eke out a darn decent living with anything more than that taxed at 70 or 90%.

 

I don't think the rest of us should get out of paying taxes either.  We want health care and education, fine, we help pay for it (through our taxes - increase them on everyone, but balance out how much increase there is to try to make things more "livable" for the minions who aren't making a million per year ).  But I don't think we need to be buying into the fallacy that everyone in the Top 10% should be taxed at the same rate or that trickle down economics actually helps (it didn't - for the most part only the wealthy became wealthier), the same way I don't buy the idea that Aids/Diabetes meds or Epipens had to be raised so much because their companies weren't making enough money.

 

Go back to policies that were a bit more fair - the wealth distribution would help far more people.  Exactly how much does one person need in their portfolio anyway - while others work their butts off trying to pay for some of the basics in life?

 

Then too... no, I don't buy the idea that Capital Gains income needs to be taxed at a lower rate.  All income should be taxed at the same rate IMO - retirees or not.  In general, it's not just retirees capitalizing on that.  It's folks who have invested - aka - the more wealthy among us.  Remember too, taxes don't take away the principal, only a portion of what is earned annually on that principal - same with wages.  Plus, the highest tax rate wouldn't kick in on the first X dollars - only the portion earned above that amount.

 

But as a pp said, it's the wealthy who donate to politicians (both sides of the aisle).  I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for more fairness to happen.

 

Going in order of bolded:

 

The problem with that idea is that "needs" , especially in that regard is a very subjective term.  Also, due to such discrepancy in COL you can't set the same arbitrary amount.  $1M in Boston is very different than $1M in Nice Town, Oklahoma.  

 

That's another thing - not everyone IS paying taxes right now.  And I think until everyone is paying federal income tax, and I mean everyone - taking about raising taxes on some, while others don't pay at all will not work.

 

The problem with raising taxes on the wealthy is that it usually doesn't work like that.  Assets are not being taxed, income is - so, higher taxes hit W-2 earners for the most part.  People with business can write off a LOT of things before finally paying any tax.

 

Capital gains tax, again, mostly paid by someone who is saving for retirement or may be a nice trip 10 yrs down the road.  The wealthy ones form varies entities to run through their capital gains, at which point, after numerous deductions and write off there is not much tax left.

 

Wealthy people have CPA firms doing nothing but tax planning - whose entire job is to minimize their tax.

 

I am no history buff, but I can not recall when re-distribution of wealth every worked. 

 

I will make a caveat though - I am NOT talking about healthcare at all.  That is way too complex of an issue and I don't believe it will ever be fixed until the actual cost of health care is addressed.

 

And the last thing - whenever I talk to people who have higher incomes  due to having good jobs  - the sentiment is that they don't mind paying more tax if that money was spend wisely.  But time and time again, programs get created, policies change, money gets spent but issues are not really resolved.   As a matter of fact everyone thinks things got worse. 


Edited by SereneHome, 17 July 2017 - 04:29 PM.

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#299 MommyLiberty5013

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:22 PM

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.

Interstingly, it was Ben Franklin who said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Implying some governmental things are part of life. Politics of rich v. poor have always been part of life, which is at the heart of this discussion. I think separating life and politics is like trying to separte bone and marrow - everything in life is colored by politics.


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#300 Pam in CT

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:39 PM

Life is the crazy mother, the peanut allergy, the debilitating arthritis.

Insurance costs, education costs, property tax so high working people can't pay rent, those are all politics.

 

 

Yes.

 

Individual choices that affect outcomes are individual decisions around education / training, when and who we choose to marry, where we choose to live, when we have children and how many, whether we save or borrow to cover our current costs; and -- because part of this discussion is about the extent to which socioeconomic levels are perpetuated into the next generation -- if and how we invest in our children's primary and tertiary education, how long and much we support their health insurance and living costs, cell phone plans and whatnot.  All those things matter, to individual outcomes.

 

Structural factors that affect outcomes are the extent to which a society underwrites quality primary education, tertiary education for those who want it and vocational training for those who want that, healthcare, public transport systems (so people can physically get to places where jobs are, an absolute constraint in my area), basic public infrastructure like safe water and housing free of toxic contaminants (not all Americans DO have this) and adequate safety net structures such that (for example) relatives of aging parents or adults with disabilities are not FORCED into caretaker roles if that is not what they'd choose if there were a choice.  All those things matter, to individual outcomes, as well.

 

It's really not either / or.   To acknowledge the effect of the latter is not to deny the effect of the former.  Or vice versa.

 

 

 

There is an awful lot of room between where we are, and communism.  

 

Our peer nations really have managed to establish structures that result in more choices for individuals by investing enough in healthcare, education / training, and public infrastructure that individual households aren't carrying those burdens alone. 


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