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"Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged"


  1. A link to the full piece on CommonDreams.org is below. In the meantime, here's a summary:

    1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

    2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.

    3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.

    4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.

    5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.

    6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.

    7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.

    8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.

    9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.

    10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.

    Source: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/19-3

    Unfortunately, none of these stats are authoritatively referenced on the Common Dreams page. Therefore, you'll have to decide for yourself how credible they are.

    I was most intrigued by the first item – the one about entrepreneurs among the wealthy – since that one played a key role in the recent election. The full text under Item 1 is this:

    1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

    According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.

     

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  2. from DBP's link

    "6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.

    Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.

    Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers."

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  3. redblack
    Member Profile

    redblack

    sounds about right. the top quintile - including corporate america - is where all of the money is, and therefore that's where all of the taxes are.

    'cause you can't get blood from the turnip that is the lower class, and the middle class is still shrinking.

    here's an interesting number for discussion: i heard a reporter from forbes magazine over the "buy nothing day" weekend say that american consumerism is 70% of GDP.

    if that number is accurate, that tells me that the bulk of GDP goes directly into the hands of the top 5% or 10% of the nation's income earners, where all of the retailers reside. it also tells me that 30% of the economy is businesses buying things, and i assume that that includes wall street making money by buying money.

    so the top tiers of the economic scale have the smallest outlay as a share of GDP, yet they reap the greatest rewards.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  4. redblack

    "so the top tiers of the economic scale have the smallest outlay as a share of GDP, yet they reap the greatest rewards."

    but they think the way to reduce the deficit is to but benefits to the consumers who are fueling their profits.

    and we listen to them?

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  5. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Another thing the rich don't want us regular folk to pay attention to is exactly WHAT high inequality does to a society. It's cancer. It's rust. It's poison. And oh yeah, it's EMPIRICAL.

    Watch for a few minutes here and see if you don't agree: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

    PS - I really REALLY wish we could force every network to show a TED talk every week. The country would be better for it.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  6. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    And for those who observe the false equivalency of say, FOX vs. MSNBC and think that the real truth, given the fact that both sides voice their perspectives with vigor, must be in the middle, I ask a simple question.

    Can you show us similar levels of raw data and analysis that effectively counters the argument in the TED talk above?

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  7. Hey wake, how about everyone has to listen to a DBP talk?

    Today's DBP talk is about "entrepreneurs." Specifically, how do we define that word? What examples can we point to?

    Was Sam Dalton an entrepreneur, for example?

    Is Bill Grates one?

    Let's start with Grates and go backward.

    ****************************************************************************************

    I gotta admit, I like Microsnot products. I use them several x a day. I make my living off them, in fact. So I should be grateful to Bill Grates for making this possible, no?

    Meh.

    Yeah, Grates has done some good things. Some bad things too.

    From his pov, it's all sweetness and light I'm sure. Sweetness or not, though, it hardly matters now, 'cuz he pretty much does whatever he wants, and there's no one can stop him.

    ♣ This guy's so big he's got his own AREA code.

    ♣ Whole villages in El Flavador have been emptied just to keep his yard mowed.

    ♣ When the bank calls him about a loan, he's says, "How much do you need?"

    Microsnot started small just like most companies do. Some folks say Grates got into the business by ripping off his fellow code writers, copyrighting stuff they had only shared with him on the understanding that it would stay in the public domain.

    I don't know about that. I do know that after Microsnot went public, they started gobbling up everything in sight. Once the company got up to speed, Grates started acting like a classic robber baron.

    Today Microsnot operates like a humongous supermarket chain. They'll set up a store across from the Ma & Pa and undercut their prices, put them out of business. Then, once Ma & Pa are out and Microsnot's the only game in town, they raise prices back up again. See how that works?

    If Microsnot wants to buy you out, they'll make you an offer. If you don't accept it, they'll dump a knock-off of your product onto the market and give it away for free.

    –That's if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, and they decide to swipe your product outright, they will. If you try to sue, they'll pack the courtroom with so many lawyers you'll die of asphyxiation.

    They've repeatedly ignored judges' directives to open their source code and stop forcing computer manufacturers to bundle Microsnot products exclusively. On the rare occasion that they get fined for unfair practices and their lawyers can't get the fine reversed, they just treat it as a cost of doing business and move on, doing the same thing as before.

    ******************************************************************************************

    I ask you: Are these the actions of an entrepreneur? Is this how you build a better mousetrap? By buying up all the other mousetrap companies or driving them out of business? By hiring an army of lawyers so you can steal the work of others without consequence?

    ****************************************************************************************

    Notice: All characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to natural or corporate persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  8. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Don't get me started on this one. Been beating that topic to death with right wing "friends" for years. Strangely enough, the guys I know who have started their own companies building better mousetraps aren't very happy with the way they're treated by their larger corporate "buddies"/competition. Which is to say, they don't fight fair, and they're unapologetic about it.

    Only a very few get to live long enough to get the buyout and it isn't always the best of breed that gets assimilated. Those tend to get crushed as fast as possible because those products and services tend to be revolutionary and they don't like revolutions. Too unpredictable. Might mess with their plans for planned revenue/stock price growth, doncha' know.

    As I've often said, anytime you hear about a merger/buyout that is "in the best interest of the consumer", you KNOW their goal is reduce choice and raise prices. Period.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  9. skeeter
    Member Profile

    The wealth inequality is a concern. I don't know how to fix that.

    For the folks railing against Wall Street - where do you have your retirement funds (401k, etc) invested?

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  10. Wealth inequality stats bug me. First there's the numbers problem - do you compare poor against the top 5%, the top 1%, or the top 0.1% ?

    And second, how does it hurt anyone if some other guy is rich? I'd respect more a stat like the percent of people who can't eat properly, or some other metric of poverty.

    Finally, countries are very different. Parts of the US are, too. So comparing income dollars in, say, West Seattle, to those in rural Pend Oreille County, or Tokyo, or Mississippi, or Ghana, might be pretty misleading.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  11. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    The TED video posted confirms that strata are relative at least within a given country. If you need food stamps you're not doing well no matter what town you live in. Conversely, if you have two homes, you're probably doing ok...

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  12. The TED talk is interesting - while it's somebody presenting his opinion, he does argue the case well.

    I did note the charts that broke down by US state, where LA/MS/AL/etc. showed up as 'high inequality' when they're also otherwise 'low income' places.

    Anyway, I'll see your video and raise you a cartoon:
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/correlation.png

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  13. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    And since you mention other countries, you must not have watched the part where he states specifically that it doesn't measure relationships between countries. The correlations hold remarkably well inside a given country.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  14. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Liked the cartoon, JKB!

    Are you suggesting that you don't find the redundant correlations convincing or something else? I just always assume that with socio-economic systems, the best you'll ever get is a preponderance of correlations - as opposed to true causality. Unless you believe there's no such thing as free will of course, which allows for consistent predictable experimental results. :-). M

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  15. redblack
    Member Profile

    redblack

    skeeter: uhh, yeah. and having my pension and my wife's 401(k)in the stock market was pretty effing scary back in '09.

    pension trusts are invested way too heavily in wall street. seeing how reckless they are with other people's money, we should be taking a serious look at buying more government bonds.

    .

    to all: the recognized standard for comparing nations' wealth inequality is the gini coefficient.

    The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example levels of income). A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has an exactly equal income). A Gini coefficient of one (100 on the percentile scale) expresses maximal inequality among values (for example where only one person has all the income).[3][4]

    and the u.s. has been lagging behind europe and canada for decades now.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  16. JKB

    "And second, how does it hurt anyone if some other guy is rich?"

    whether or not some other guy is rich isn't the biggest issue.. how they got that way is.

    If you take a look at incomes in the US in the past decade you will find that as the middle class got poorer.. the rich got a lot richer
    and paid less tax on those riches than ever before.
    and our major corporations pay even less.

    as a result, the shrinking middle class ends up with the ever increasing burden of our national revenue while the corporate interests and very wealthy reap a disproportionate share of the benefits.

    " I'd respect more a stat like the percent of people who can't eat properly, or some other metric of poverty."

    the current numbers on both of those metrics are appalling...

    http://www.bread.org/hunger/us/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=onlinead&utm_campaign=search&utm_term=us-poverty&utm_content=text&gclid=CL6BhcjD77MCFUxxQgodDCgA2w

    "half of Americans will live in poverty before they reach the age of 65"

    i am part of that statistic..
    though we currently live well...
    that hasn't always been the case.

    i started life in poverty and have moved in and out of it my entire life

    we are planning not to fall there again
    but who knows?
    the best laid plans of mice and men.....

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  17. JKB

    "And second, how does it hurt anyone if some other guy is rich?"

    whether or not some other guy is rich isn't the biggest issue.. how they got that way is.

    If you take a look at incomes in the US in the past decade you will find that as the middle class got poorer.. the rich got a lot richer
    and paid less tax on those riches than ever before.
    and our major corporations pay even less.

    as a result, the shrinking middle class ends up with the ever increasing burden of our national revenue while the corporate interests and very wealthy reap a disproportionate share of the benefits.

    " I'd respect more a stat like the percent of people who can't eat properly, or some other metric of poverty."

    the current numbers on both of those metrics are appalling...

    http://www.bread.org/hunger/us/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=onlinead&utm_campaign=search&utm_term=us-poverty&utm_content=text&gclid=CL6BhcjD77MCFUxxQgodDCgA2w

    "half of Americans will live in poverty before they reach the age of 65"

    i am part of that statistic..
    though we currently live well...
    that hasn't always been the case.

    i started life in poverty and have moved in and out of it my entire life

    we are planning not to fall there again
    but who knows?
    the best laid plans of mice and men.....

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  18. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Absolutely, JoB. As many have noted, the vast majority of the burden of maintaining our society economically has been eliminated from the investor class and corporations and dumped squarely on the wage-earner. The same people who's relative wealth has been stagnant or falling for decades now while those at the top have been literally bathing in new-found riches.

    This transfer of wealth is unprecedented and should be rightly called what it is: socialism for the wealthy.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  19. wakeflood..

    you would think that since we are picking up the tab they would let us spend some of it on ourselves...

    but no.. every penny spent on entitlements for citizens is not available to pad corporate bottom lines :(

    which are of course.. their bottom line.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  20. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Exactly. This is what gets me. These guys are now so effing used to getting ALL the breaks, that they scream bloody murder when any crumbs are even hinted at being pulled away. It's because they're now addicted to that and expected by their corporate boards to actually GROW their profits when they have no organic way to do it. We're perilously close to them coming to the hard realization that their short term greed has killed the golden goose of the 'merikan consumer.

    We're tapped out and they're still squeezing.

    The only rational way I can see for them to keep feeding the profit beast is to focus on other countries consumers that have growing middle classes. And thankfully for them, many of those don't have any worker protections, or environmental requirements to worry about. The machine consumes all and keeps looking for the next meal...

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  21. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    It is NEVER enough.

    All one has to do to realize this is look at how unapologetic and downright nasty the gods were when the govt tried to claw back bonus' they got via TARP for tanking the economy. It was "earned" and richly deserved and they wondered publicly how they'd ever attract "talent" again if they didn't throw crazy $'s at them. The very talent that burned the house down.

    Why this isn't run across the screen every single time one of these jerks spouts off on tv on how to fix the economy befuddles me.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  22. WorldCitizen
    Member Profile

    zgh2676

    Nothing from Kootchman.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  23. A little bird told me he's been discouraged.
     
    If you know what I mean by "discouraged."

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  24. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Wow, I hope you don't mean to infer that he was counting on another election outcome? I sorta' expected that he hadn't bought into the bubble for some reason. Like I would know.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  25. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Hey World! Says you're a sommelier! Loves me some vino. Where are you pouring these days?

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  26. redblack
    Member Profile

    redblack

    i hope i don't become discouraged.

    but i'd be willing to bet that more than one reader has wished that i would...

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  27. World Citizen..

    i believe kootch is taking a break from the forum
    or the forum is taking a break from kootch

    one might be a result of the other

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  28. skeeter
    Member Profile

    I miss Kootch. I agreed with about 90% of his posts. But a sharp mind like his should be more focused on solving problems and creating opportunity rather than posting on silly forums. So I'm happy for him if he has moved on to more useful exercises.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  29. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    I disagreed with about 90% of his posts but I hope he's doing well nonetheless. I'm sure something will put the wind back in his sails soon enough. Maybe there'll be another contrived debt ceiling "crisis" he'll want to chime in on in the new year. ;-)

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  30. redblack
    Member Profile

    redblack

    skeeter: 90%, eh? that roughly coincides with the number of his ideas that are just plain wrong.

    ..in my opinion.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  31. Well, love him or hate the crazy Kootchman, you gotta admit he did add some pizzazz to the forums. Whatever is going on with him... a whole bunch of W. Seattle liberals wish him well. He probably hates hearing that. :)

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  32. redblack
    Member Profile

    redblack

    well, he sure sharpened my internet forum debate skills. and i'm sure he's a good parent and a success for his family. and he's a vietnam war veteran.

    but he is subtle like jackhammer, and - in my opinion - his views are a bit narcissistic when it comes to government.

    in any case, i hope he's doing well and not too discouraged to participate in lively debate here.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  33. NOT an apologium, but . . .

    I know from experience how easy it is to be misunderstood on the Internets. The more you say – regardless of topic – the greater your chance of pissing someone off.

    Who are the ones who give the least offense on this forum?

    –Why, the ones who never say anything, of course.
     

          

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  34. WorldCitizen
    Member Profile

    zgh2676

    Wakeflood:

    I used to work down at Wild Ginger. Now I live in Berkeley and work in San Francisco. I still own a house on Findlay in West Seattle and am around quite often. WSB keeps me connected to what's happening in the 'hood.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  35. wakeflood
    Member Profile

    wakeflood

    Nice! Have friends/family around the Bay Area. I travel there occasionally. If you have a recommendation for a place to have a glass or three, let me know.

    signed,
    Barolo traditionalist

    Posted 1 year ago #         

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