Wednesday, December 27, 2017

America's Income Inequality on Par with Russia's

The U.S.'s widening gap between the rich and poor is partly due to less progressive taxation, the World Inequality Report 2018 said, a finding that may spark additional debate about the current Republican tax reform effort, which critics say will reward the wealthy and corporations far more than the middle class or lower-income households. The share of American national income controlled by the country's top 10 percent of earners stood at 47 percent in the U.S. and Canada last year, compared with 46 percent for Russia. Europe's share of income held by its top 10 percent of earners stood at 37 percent, by comparison. Yet in 1980, the United States and Western Europe had similar levels of inequality, the researchers found. At that time, the top 1 percent held about 10 percent of income. Fast forward to 2016, when the balance had shifted considerably, with the top 1 percent in Europe holding a 12 percent income share, compared with 20 percent in the U.S.

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"From a broad historical perspective, this increase in inequality marks the end of a postwar egalitarian regime which took different forms in these regions," the report noted.

It added, "The income-inequality trajectory observed in the United States is largely due to massive educational inequalities, combined with a tax system that grew less progressive despite a surge in top labor compensation since the 1980s, and in top capital incomes in the 2000s."

Comments

Winning!

#1 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2017-12-27 12:52 PM

So much winning; eh, ©Trumpvoters?

#2 | Posted by e1g1 at 2017-12-27 05:56 PM

When we grow up we are gonna be just like Russia!

#3 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-27 06:31 PM

When we grow up we are gonna be just like Russia!

#3 | POSTED BY DONNERBOY

But they're not influencing our elections, right?

#4 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-27 08:44 PM

When the plutocrats saw the wealth being accumulated by the crooked oligarchs in Russia they decided to do the same thing here. This is no accident, no coincidence, it is the results of decades of plotting against the American working class. Somehow, I hope they don't forget about the end result for Czar Nicholas. They are setting the stage for their own demise.

#5 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-28 06:34 AM

Of course the median US household makes more than three times that of the median Russian household...so there's that.

And if inequality irks you so bad, why not move to a place with less inequality? There are plenty to choose from.

#6 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 09:34 AM

"Somehow, I hope they don't forget about the end result for Czar Nicholas. They are setting the stage for their own demise."

Likely true. Co-opted by wealthy, well-connected left wing authoritarians as a means of gaining legal control of a nation's wealth and wealth creation capabilities.

Sorta like what Bernie was doing in his campaign. Shouldn't be a surprise, given his previous support for Soviet Socialism.

#7 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 10:35 AM

"Likely true. Co-opted by wealthy, well-connected left wing authoritarians as a means of gaining legal control of a nation's wealth and wealth creation capabilities. "

Left wing authoritarians in the U.S.? You are dilusional.

"And if inequality irks you so bad, why not move to a place with less inequality? There are plenty to choose from."

Blow it out your you know what. We have every right to object to income inequality, and as Roosevelt did, do things to reverse the trend. If you don't like democracy go live somewhere else. The pendulum will swing and the oligarchs will end up with 90% taxes like they did when the Great Republican Depression of 1929 finally motivated Americans to elect reformer Democrats.

#8 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-28 10:45 AM

"Left wing authoritarians in the U.S.? You are dilusional."

Go look in a mirror. or maybe authoritarianism doesn't show up in a mirror.

"We have every right to object to income inequality, and as Roosevelt did, do things to reverse the trend."

Roosevelt was dealing with a nation experiencing desperate poverty. Financially, the US is in a better place now than at any point in history.

"The pendulum will swing and the oligarchs will end up with 90% taxes like they did when the Great Republican Depression of 1929 finally motivated Americans to elect reformer Democrats."

Will tax rates for the poor return to 22% as well?

#9 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 11:19 AM

"If you don't like democracy go live somewhere else."

Democracy...two wolves and a sheep fighting over what's for dinner.

Fortunately, this is a Constitutional Republic. If you want Democracy, look elsewhere.

#10 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 11:20 AM

But they're not influencing our elections, right?

#4 | POSTED BY WHODAMAN

So? We are influencing theirs. I heard someone in America said something about somebody trying to run against Pooty Poot in Russia and it wasn't very nice according to a Pooty Poot spokesman.

#11 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 11:26 AM

So? We are influencing theirs.

Ok, then they're fighting back. Are we supposed to quit now? Doesn't that mean they win? Although there have been some despicable things done by our government in other countries, we have been in large part responsible for the growth of democracy in the world. That has not ever been what the Russians were about. This is not a "both sides" thing. I am sick to death of convenient false equivalencies and whataboutisms.

Canadian historian Robert Gellately and British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore argue that the many suspects beaten and tortured to death while in "investigative custody" were likely not to have been counted amongst the executed.[15][16][full citation needed] Historians working after the Soviet Union's dissolution have estimated victim totals ranging from approximately 3 million[17][6][18] to nearly 9 million[19], not including those who died in famines, and the total number of Stalin's victims is between 9[20] and 50[21] million.
en.wikipedia.org

Yeah, that's exactly the same as the US.

#12 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-28 12:10 PM

Making America Russia Again!

#13 | Posted by Corky at 2017-12-28 12:13 PM

Although the disparity does exist of course, the article is full of crap. Comparing the US (a country) to Europe (a continent with many countries) is inexcusable as research; too many of those countries have legislation aimed at governing a fraction of what has to be done in America so it stands to absolute reason that the disparity in numbers is going to occur. Then subtly changing the verbiage to say "Western Europe" one paragraph later to make another point is even more absurd.

Add in the fact that much of the wealth is gained from what one already has and the report becomes even more ridiculous. If someone has a billion dollars and doesn't have a job, that money is going to grow faster than if someone has $1000 and no job. But the disparity delta will be relationally unequal in change over time due to the fact both people have to spend their wealth on living necessities, which will impact the poor more than the rich but are both equally vital. This causes the scale to skew at a proportion that doesn't equal the disparity proportions. And that's just one example, there are many others that people have already used to prove the algorithms used to measure income disparity are inadequate and paint a much bleaker picture for lower incomes than what is reality.

#14 | Posted by humtake at 2017-12-28 12:31 PM

"Roosevelt was dealing with a nation experiencing desperate poverty. Financially, the US is in a better place now than at any point in history."

One big reason, Social Security. Minimum wage and 40 hour work week. Yo know, all the things the Republican Party has worked against for decades.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-28 12:33 PM

#14

People should work for a living.

#16 | Posted by Zed at 2017-12-28 12:33 PM

#14

I've been a lower income. If you want me to paint you a picture I'm glad to.

#17 | Posted by Zed at 2017-12-28 12:35 PM

Gross income inequalities destabilize societies.

It's not to the benefit of this country to continue this.

#18 | Posted by Zed at 2017-12-28 12:38 PM

If someone has a billion dollars and doesn't have a job, that money is going to grow faster than if someone has $1000 and no job.
#14 | POSTED BY HUMTAKE

It's also going to grow a lot faster than someone who has $100,000 and a good job. Or someone with a million dollars and a good job.

That's the issue. How are you this stupid?

#19 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-12-28 02:27 PM

"One big reason, Social Security. Minimum wage and 40 hour work week. Yo know, all the things the Republican Party has worked against for decades."

You think those are what drove median household income to an all-time high in adjusted dollars? A 40 hour work week?

Who gives a ---- about a 40 hour work week, Republican or otherwise? You trace it back to the source, you'll find that the rightward shift in Median household income is being drive by an increasing demand for professional labor. The left side of the curve really has no influence at this point.

#20 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 02:39 PM

"I've been a lower income. If you want me to paint you a picture I'm glad to."

I think that being a member of the lowest quintile is something that most of us experience at some point in our lives. What separates us is the steps we take to move into the higher quintiles. I went to college. What did you do?

#21 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 02:41 PM

"Although there have been some despicable things done by our government in other countries, we have been in large part responsible for the growth of democracy in the world."

You mean like in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and in Libya, and Syria, and Egypt...shall I go on?

"That has not ever been what the Russians were about."

No. And I think this may be where the Russians, or at least those who support the Russians actually get it. In most of the countries I just listed, the US went in directly or by proxy with the intent of destabilizing a stable, if dictatorial government; and in every case departing the situation with the country far, far worse off than it was before.

If I lived anywhere in the world, I'd be terrified that the US might come "liberate" me. Especially if I lived in the middle east. Because most likely, the US would just blow ---- up until people started protesting it back home, at which point they would wash their hands of it.

#22 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 02:47 PM

"I've been a lower income. If you want me to paint you a picture I'm glad to."

I don't think you can paint it.

But I'd love to compare your past to mine.

#23 | Posted by eberly at 2017-12-28 02:55 PM

"What separates us is the steps we take to move into the higher quintiles. I went to college. What did you do?"

I did too. I also managed to avoid knocking someone up before marriage, stayed off drugs, focused on school, basically I stayed out of trouble.

#24 | Posted by eberly at 2017-12-28 03:07 PM

"I did too. I also managed to avoid knocking someone up before marriage, stayed off drugs, focused on school, basically I stayed out of trouble."

That's what baffles me about people in this country...you literally have to ---- up over and over again to fail here. You could have gotten someone pregnant, you could have done drugs, you could have screwed off in school. Lots of people have done all those things and still found a path to extreme success. If you think about it, you really only fail when you quit. And the message I see coming from people like Bernie Sanders is, it's OK to quit. It's OK to fail. because someone out there won't, and it will be there job to take care of you.

#25 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 03:19 PM

#22 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

I'm sure all the former Soviet Republics agree with you
/s

You know that there weren't any democracies prior to the American Revolution? You know that most modern nations modeled themselves on the US Constitution? Most American foreign policy disasters are a result of the US going to war to support corporations like oil companies, or sugar, or bananas or WTF ever. Capitalism has been in contention with democracy in this country from the beginning.

Since you seem to have a disdain for "democracy" (which is what most people, including at least the last 8 US Presidents, both D and R, call our system), what is your preferred political system. Caution: "Free Market" is not a political system, nor is Capitalism. Those are economic systems. Should economic systems dictate policy or should politics manage economic systems? Big problem is that economic systems do not give a crap about individuals, their success or even their survival. Their success is only measured in money. People matter (even the "least of these"). Otherwise, what is the point of anything?

#26 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-28 04:12 PM

"You know that there weren't any democracies prior to the American Revolution?"

I don't know that there are Democracies now.

"Most American foreign policy disasters are a result of the US going to war to support corporations like oil companies, or sugar, or bananas or WTF ever."

Like the resource-rich nation of Afghanistan?

"what is your preferred political system."

A Constitutional Republic. What we have now. If I were allowed to direct a change, I would cut funding for and limit the power of the Federal Government. I'll tell you why. First, I think that much of the acrimony in this country results from the federal Government imposing a one-size-fits-all solution for every state. And those states very often have local concerns that conflict with that universal solution. It would also free up states to spend more freely in accordance with local wants and desires. Our friends on the left often point out that Blue states contribute more to Federal Coffers than they receive. And they're correct. Cutting Federal spending would allow for these states to absorb more of those tax revenues (or cut them, if that was the desire). Vermont, for example, could impose high taxes and provide lavish welfare benefits. Montana could cut taxes and provided none. It would be up to the state residents to determine the best way to run the state.

My deepest mistrust of progressives stems from the fact that I see them wanting to reshape the whole of society in the form they deem superior, without respect to what the people want. The Repubs to it to, but their causes tend to be more specific and limited in scope. I don't think it's my place to play father, or tyrant, or god, to the rest of the country. Nor should my values be imposed on them.

#27 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 05:57 PM

"Should economic systems dictate policy or should politics manage economic systems?"

Economic systems are nothing more than a reflection of the actors within it. It's not the "system" that doesn't give a crap about individuals. It's the individuals within that system. Which likely includes both of us. And in the US, survival isn't even a concern. A comfortable survival is achievable simply by not resisting it. And while it's a compelling argument to tell people that they have to give up their money so that a child can eat, it's far different to try and convince someone that they need to give up their money so that someone can have a new cell phone, or a new car, or a college education, or any number of things that don't really need to be a taxpayer responsibility.

#28 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 06:01 PM

#23

Love to, if I can ever finish splitting these rails.

#29 | Posted by Zed at 2017-12-28 06:41 PM

Economic systems are nothing more than a reflection of the actors within it. It's not the "system" that doesn't give a crap about individuals. It's the individuals within that system.
#28 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

There can be no system (of any kind) without rules, i.e., if there are no rules, there is no system; there is chaos. So the question is: who makes the rules? In your world, who would make the rules? I assume it would be a majority of something, be it of "The People" or of their elected Representatives (which you say you approve of, in a Constitutional Republic). Or do the rules get made by the richest and most powerful, for their own benefit (like now)?

I don't know why you get so hung up about the word "democracy", when all the decision processes in the Constitution are determined by a majority vote. What does it matter? What practically everybody (with the possible exception of some academics) means when they say "democracy" is "constitutional republic", so let's stop the quibbling over the word. Democracy is just easier to say. Nobody on the left is advocating "direct democracy".

#30 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-28 08:46 PM

"There can be no system (of any kind) without rules, i.e., if there are no rules, there is no system; there is chaos."

That's not true...especially when it comes to how human interact with each other.

Consider the Soviet Union. The economic human interactions in that country were severely restricted and regulated by government...but that never stopped people from engaging in those interactions, even though doing so carried a stiff, and in some cases fatal penalty. If anything the chaos was induced by the central planning committees (GOSPLAN) effort to manipulate human behavior into a form that was more in line with socialist ideology. It failed because the Russians weren't inherently fond of socialism. If they could get a pair of shoes, or a radio, or any consumer good at the mandated price and sell it to someone with money and desire at market price, they were going to do so. Socialism really demands that you sacrifice your own economic well being for the well being of someone else...without getting anything in return. By and large, the Russian people were unwilling to do that. Which is why the Soviets relied so heavily on organizations like the NKVD to keep people in line and producing the goods and services needed to keep the country alive, even when it was the last thing they wanted to do.

As side...I think that the USSR would have collapsed before the end of the 1940s had it not been for Hitler and the Nazi invasion. In killing off all possible threats to himself, Stalin also managed to kill off all of those he would have needed to keep the USSR whole. It certainly would have never grown to include eastern Europe or influence the spread of communism in southeast Asian and Africa.

#31 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-28 10:47 PM

First, I think that much of the acrimony in this country results from the federal Government imposing a one-size-fits-all solution for every state.

Well I and many Americans believe otherwise. We prefer a strong central government to keep radicals in state governments in their place. Rights are far more easily trampled at the state level be it abortion, gay rights or gun rights.

#32 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-12-28 11:01 PM

Consider the Soviet Union. The economic human interactions in that country were severely restricted and regulated by government...but that never stopped people from engaging in those interactions, even though doing so carried a stiff, and in some cases fatal penalty.

The same is true in a Constitutional Republic and capitalistic society.

#33 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-12-28 11:02 PM

#31 | POSTED BY MADBOMBER

All you proved there is that there were a lot of rules, but the system didn't work well. It was a dysfunctional system, yielding bad results, but it was still a system with a multitude of rules. I never implied that all systems are good, just that you don't have one if there aren't any rules.

Which brings us back to: who makes the rules?

#34 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-28 11:53 PM

It's all the 1% fault! They make people poor by making them make dumb choices.

#35 | Posted by Will123 at 2017-12-29 08:30 AM

"Well I and many Americans believe otherwise. We prefer a strong central government to keep radicals in state governments in their place."

Which is why you are a solid authoritarian...little different from the authoritarians who came before you.

"Rights are far more easily trampled at the state level be it abortion, gay rights or gun rights."

Don't kid yourself...you just want to choose which rights get trampled.

"Which brings us back to: who makes the rules?"

I think the people should make the rules for themselves. We USans keep thinking we're always right. Which is why we try and impose some form of Democratic government in societies that have zero interest in Democracy.

#36 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-29 09:29 AM

I think the people should make the rules for themselves.

I think that's called democracy.

#37 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-29 04:04 PM

Definition of democracy

plural democracies

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

That sounds like what we have, to me. No OECD country uses the word the way you righties do. Nobody serious is advocating a direct democracy in any developed country I know of.

#38 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-29 04:13 PM

www.merriam-webster.com

#39 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2017-12-29 04:13 PM

"That sounds like what we have."

No, we have a constitutional republic that limits the degree to which a democratic outcome can affect or injure individual members of society. 51% of the population cannot legally vote for the other 49% to become their slaves. Nor can 51% of Senators, or Members of the House, or anyone else for that matter. It's very different.

#40 | Posted by madbomber at 2017-12-30 11:43 AM

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