Reminder: How wealth inequality crowds out America’s success


Upworthy reposted this little movie today, which reminded me that nothing good has changed since last March. Looks like there’s not much chance of saving America soon, either, with the way things are going in the Capitol.

Is it time to really write the obituaries for America?  I hope not.

Watch it again:

What happens when a lot of money — I mean, a lot of money — is concentrated in a few hands?

The nation runs the risk of economic failure.

This short video says that more money is concentrated in fewer hands than we think.

Description from the maker, Politizane:

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

This is just one facet of the figures necessary for having rational discussions about tax reform, federal budget and deficit cutting, tax policy, and economic and monetary policy.

But it’s an ugly portrait, isn’t it?  How much does it differ from the France of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette?  How much does it differ from the going-to-hell-in-an-accelerating-handbasket U.S. of 1929?  Wealth’s concentration in the hands of a tiny few literally crowds out hundreds of millions of Americans from the ability to successfully accumulate modest nest eggs.

What do you think?

I wish the film’s creator had provided citations.

Have things improved since 2007?  Look at this chart based on Institute for Policy Studies figures:

Maldistribution of U.S. wealth, 2007; Inst for Policy Studies

Source: Institute for Policy Studies, via BusinessInsider

More:

More, since the original posting:

Update March 9, 2013:  This is funny, to me:  Some people think just talking about this stuff is “class warfare.”  How are they so familiar with class warfare, you wonder?  That’s a self-answering question, isn’t it?

 

119 Responses to Reminder: How wealth inequality crowds out America’s success

  1. Black Flag® says:

    PS:
    Ed, and no matter if the employer decided not pay his agreed wage to me, I am not morally allowed to use violence upon him to force him. If I decide not to provide the service to him, but keep his wage, he can’t use violence on me, either.

    Taxes – not so the same, huh?

    How you think these two situations are the same is beyond me.

    Like

  2. Black Flag® says:

    “Morgan and Black Flag think both of these guys are thieves.”
    Well, only one is a guy – the other is a rock.

    But, not being overly obtuse, yep.
    Both had beards. Dead give away (wink). Gee, Ed, don’t you have a beard???

    The stoneman destroyed a nation, overthrew the Bill of Rights, promoted the slaughter of innocent women and children and ravaged a people in the pursuit of his own power – all under the guise and lie of liberation

    The man standing looking at the stoneman destroyed a nation, overthrew the Bill of Rights, promoted the slaughter of innocent women and children and ravaged a people in the pursuit of his own power – all under the guise and lie of liberation

    You love them both, though, right Ed?

    Like

  3. Glad to see you in the land of the living Ed, but you didn’t answer the question about where exactly I went on record saying I wanted a big wealth transfer from poor people to rich people.

    You’ve accused me of it several times in this thread alone. I don’t even understand the basis. I don’t think anyone else does either, and I don’t think you do.

    Like

  4. Black Flag® says:

    “Hypothetical, BF: We have a task to accomplish (doesn’t matter what it is), and it takes 100 hours to do it. $1/hour.

    Ten people agree that between them, they can do the 100 hour task. The first guy performs for one hour, and quits. The next 7 go for 12 hours each, and the last woman covers the last 15 hours.

    Would you object if the first guy got paid $99, and the last 9 people hat to split $1? Is that fair?

    They all perform exactly the same task, the only difference is how long they worked.

    Any problems there, to you?”

    Like all hypotheticals, Ed, you leave out critical information so to promote your obscene concepts.

    What was the terms of the agreement, Ed?
    Was the agreement that guy #1 do the most important work, work if not done made the rest of the effort pointless? Did they all agree it was so important to pay him 99, and the rest split the 1 since their part was insignificant?

    Since you operate on some twisted conceptual level, where agreements – to you – are airy and whimsical – you can make up any story you want…. but then, so can I.

    There is no such thing as “fair” that can be applied to any situation outside of you. You CANNOT determine my “fair”, nor me determine yours. Fair -like beauty- is in the eye of the beholder.

    Like

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan and Black Flag think both of these guys are thieves.

    Like

  6. Black Flag® says:

    He paid, not because he thought he had to, but to not create an incident.

    Taxes are theft. They are forced – by grave threat – upon persons.
    A pay check is collected by voluntary agreement. No such agreement exists for taxes.

    There is no contract, Ed, no matter how much you wish to fantasize about it.

    Like

  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Hypothetical, BF: We have a task to accomplish (doesn’t matter what it is), and it takes 100 hours to do it. $1/hour.

    Ten people agree that between them, they can do the 100 hour task. The first guy performs for one hour, and quits. The next 7 go for 12 hours each, and the last woman covers the last 15 hours.

    Would you object if the first guy got paid $99, and the last 9 people hat to split $1? Is that fair?

    They all perform exactly the same task, the only difference is how long they worked.

    Any problems there, to you?

    Like

  8. Ed Darrell says:

    That verse you refer to indicates Jesus paid the tax. You object to His method of banking?

    Taxes are not theft, any more than your collecting a pay check is theft.

    In the grand bargain of society, when we contract, both parties give something. We call that a deal not theft.

    Like

  9. Black Flag® says:

    ” But it’s immoral to use taxes to build wealth for those who don’t need it, and take from those who do need it”

    …and of course YOU are the one who chooses who ‘needs’ it and who doesn’t, right – and I bet you’re ALWAYS in the needy side of it too.

    Look, Ed, you’re a walking contradiction.

    If you believe taxes are moral, then the size of a man’s wallet is irrelevant – big or small, the stealing should be the same. And I posted that from you scriptures as well – where the tax was levied equally per head, not on the size of the wealth.

    But you are contradicted. You support theft only when you benefit from it.

    Again, you aren’t against stealing.
    You are merely angry at who benefits from it.

    Like

  10. Black Flag® says:

    “Jesus did NOT claim not to be obligated to pay taxes.
    Don’t twist scripture. Just stick to the facts.”

    Ed, I posted the exact verse. So don’t YOU TWIST the scripture, and how about READING IT, and stick to the facts.

    Taxes are theft. They are enforced by violence.
    Tithe is not theft – tithes are NOT enforced by violence.

    Like

  11. Neither did Jesus mean that the tax system should be used to loot the poor to give the spoils to the rich, as you insist.

    Really? Where?

    Like

  12. Ed Darrell says:

    I’d take that to mean, while Jesus is certainly not opposed to paying taxes…it’s equally certain that He doesn’t see the tax system as an equalizing mechanism against the income or wealth of the affluent. As you do, Ed.

    Neither did Jesus mean that the tax system should be used to loot the poor to give the spoils to the rich, as you insist.

    I’m just asking that the unholy, immoral and unjust system be ended. You’re the one arguing that such theft from the poor should continue.

    I’d be happy were the system just, without committee gross injustice in any direction. But it’s immoral to use taxes to build wealth for those who don’t need it, and take from those who do need it — the opposite of what Judaic and Christian scriptures, Hindu scriptures, Buddhist tradition, democratic institutional history and economics tell us it should work.

    Like

  13. Ed Darrell says:

    “This is a “filibuster” that makes sense – they are using God’s own words – reading the more than 2,000 Bible verses that speak to God’s justice for the poor and vulnerable – until this shutdown ends.”

    Like

  14. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

    I’d take that to mean, while Jesus is certainly not opposed to paying taxes…it’s equally certain that He doesn’t see the tax system as an equalizing mechanism against the income or wealth of the affluent. As you do, Ed.

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Bible says “pay your taxes.” In both OT and NT, it’s clear, Jews and Christians, in keeping with their faith and following the Word of God, pay their taxes.

    Jesus did NOT claim not to be obligated to pay taxes.

    Don’t twist scripture. Just stick to the facts.

    Taxes are not theft, neither is a tithe.

    Calling you a sinner doesn’t make you one. Calling you a thief doesn’t make you one. Calling you an idiot doesn’t make you one.

    You may be all those things, but not because we’ve mislabeled you.

    Taxes are not theft. Supporting one’s faith is not theft. Performing one’s part of a contract is not theft. Being a good citizen is a good idea, not criminal action.

    Like

  16. Black Flag® says:

    But the Bible said to pay the church, not the government….and:

    “Exodus 30:”
    14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.

    15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.

    Matthew 17:24

    Peter hasty reply to the tax collector is met with a rebuke from Jesus. Jesus pays the tax to avoid causing offense but only after he demonstrates that he is not obligated to pay it.

    He states that tax is a tribute leveled upon conquered people, not citizens – a spoil of war.

    1 Samuel 8 states it is a great sin for a king to take a 10 percent income tax for it put the King in the place of God taking a tithe.

    But all of this is irrelevant.
    The principle is unmoved whether Jesus agrees or not.

    Theft is always wrong, no matter if it you stealing or you benefiting, Ed.

    Like

  17. Black Flag® says:

    “Fascism is a poor answer to socialism, and a crappy-as-hell-answer to hallucinated socialism.”

    You’re right.

    Socialism and its cousin, fascism, are both outstandingly bad for humanity.

    Like

  18. Cracks me up you insist this isn’t about liberals controlling all the wealth, when we all know it is. And then you immediately start making up stories about using the government to distribute wealth to the rich.

    Only Ed gets to invent fiction about what the other guy said…

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    A lot of Americans take great pride in living the monastic lifestyle.

    But 307 million Americans don’t, and they are pissed that you want to use government to redistribute their earned and worked-for wealth to filthy rich people who don’t need it, and who may prefer to live a monastic lifestyle.

    What’s the difference between government forcing a “monastic lifestyle” on the unwilling, and any other tyranny? None.

    Except, of course, Black Flag will give you a pass.

    That alone should make you wonder on the wisdom of your position.

    Like

  20. I don’t see anyone arguing that here. But you argue that government should control the money of the poor, sending it to the rich.

    Ah, I see. Ed has exclusive license to make up stuff.

    Like

  21. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan said:

    Liberal argument: Let us control all your money.

    I don’t see anyone arguing that here. But you argue that government should control the money of the poor, sending it to the rich.

    Fascism is a poor answer to socialism, and a crappy-as-hell-answer to hallucinated socialism.

    Like

  22. Summing it up…

    Liberal argument: Let us control all your money. Something to do with the perils of income inequality, and your Jesus character wanting to make it all go away & stuff.

    Conservative rebuttal: Look, feeding the poor is one thing, stealing money from rich people to feed the poor is a different thing. Those two things are not the same.

    JK: You bad awful Republicans took my money!! Grrrr!!

    Ed: (name calling)

    Conservative: They’re still two different things.

    JS: Actually, if you look at the Greek translation blah blah blah nations have souls and are to be judged blah blah blah…

    Conservative: That doesn’t change the fact that you’re pretending different things, are the same. It just doesn’t work.

    (awkward silence)

    Liberals: Ho ho! Let’s get snarky! And witty!! Dunning Kruger!!

    Meanwhile, Black Flag‘s very first question still stands: Why does the size of another man’s wallet matter to the size of yours?

    The video doesn’t make it clear what big disaster is to follow if there is wealth/income inequality. The prior post about “the snake that threatens to choke the economy” doesn’t make it clear what big disaster is to follow. It’s never been definitively established whether we’re talking about wealth-inequality or income-inequality. Ed continues to rock to & fro on which one we’re supposed to be discussing, sometimes the one, sometimes the other.

    Meanwhile, the point the “isn’t inequality awful” people consistently miss is: A lot of Americans take great pride in living the monastic lifestyle. Others are like me, and SpongeBob’s boss: We like money. We’re all Americans, and we’re all good enough to enjoy freedom. If the monastic-lifestyle people are going to be free, and greedy geezers like us are also going to be free, there’s only one possible answer: Yes, there will be income/wealth inequality, and those things are okay. Keep calm, peace out.

    Like

  23. Ed Darrell says:

    Neither did He say taxes are stealing, nor did He counter the OT commands for the government to take care of the poor using tax money, nor did He say “don’t pay taxes.”

    Morgan’s graphic still grossly misrepresents Jesus’s position on care for the poor, and the Christian view on the duty of governments to their people.

    For that matter, it also misrepresents the views of the founders of the U.S., especially as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    In the Declaration, Jefferson and the Congress specifically noted that just governments are created to protect the unalienable rights of people, enumerated not-exclusively as “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” No fair interpretation would deny the justice that would eradicate income inequality, and mostly eradicate poverty. (Eradicating poverty is a good thing; it leads to much greater wealth for all people in a society, by the way — I cannot figure out why you guys never seem to see that, but instead fall into the rut of claiming that we must hold some people down in the bonds of poverty in order that the filthy rich can remain that way; the filthy rich generally don’t make that argument.)

    The Constitution sets up precisely the sort of government Jefferson and the Declaration envisioned, as described by Lincoln, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

    Happy to see, still, that you’ve corrected your view of scriptures in those few passages.

    Like

  24. Black Flag® says:

    Good, and as you see, he didn’t steal or extort it from anyone either.

    Like

  25. Ed Darrell says:

    Flag said:

    <blockquote(Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15

    “Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

    Glad you cleared that up. I feared you thought there was a story where He conjured bread and wine.

    Like

  26. There are certain sureties one may take great comfort in. The sun setting in the west. Water being wet. The Pope being Roman Catholic. And man-boy Randians who still live in Mom’s basement with no particular expertise on anything turning out to be experts on simply everything.

    They aren’t trained as historians. But they know more than those who are.

    They aren’t trained as economists. But they know more than those who are…

    And…people who can’t think logically, get upset when strangers on the Internet don’t immediately change their minds when instructed to. That means a logical exchange of ideas lies ahead, unless the entire exercise can be abandoned — and some people just can’t do it.

    Let’s try it. Take your interpretation seriously and see where it leads us. Christ is going to judge nations. Therefore…if I’m a good-hearted liberal all ready to give money to the poor, but I get outvoted and therefore ruled by one of those rascally Republicans who won’t tax me sufficiently, I’m going to Hell. Or let’s turn it around. I’m a stingy miser Republican. But I got outvoted and my nation’s leader is a nice liberal democrat who will tax me and force me to give money to the poor when I’d rather not. That means my stingy hide is going to Heaven.

    Does any of this make sense? No. Nor does it make sense that nice, good-hearted, generous lefties who want to give lots of money to the poor, do so only because their taxes have been sufficiently hiked by their presidents and congressmen who are also nice good-hearted generous lefties…kick the bucket…find themselves in the Kingdom of Heaven, where they have to spend all eternity sharing the pearly gates and clouds with selfish, stingy, miserly Republicans who were just lucky enough to have been out-voted and sent to paradise because the politicians who led them were better people than they were. None of that makes a lick of sense.

    Your interpretation is confounded by experience, as well. Liberals are cheapskates.

    But, you have your Greek interpretations of the Book of Matthew and you seem very sure of it all…so keep on dreamin’…

    Like

  27. Black Flag® says:

    That is merely a repetition of your same fallacy – that you believe the size of another man’s wallet determines the size of yours

    Like

  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Some historical background: One might want to get more information on how income inequality chokes economic growth, here: https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/income-inequality-the-snake-that-threatens-to-choke-the-economy/

    Growth of income inequality

    Like

  29. Black Flag® says:

    (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15

    “Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

    Like

  30. Black Flag® says:

    No, Ed.

    Let’s see your verse where it said Jesus extorted bread and wine from the masses so to feed the masses.

    Please quote the text.

    Like

  31. Black Flag® says:

    No, its not, Ed.
    This is just more of your non-fact facts.

    Since there is no actual money in the trust fund, only special bonds with a promise to repay, some describe it as a pile of worthless IOU’s.

    The actuaries report :
    Beginning in 2010, deficits have been the rule. The deficits in the past few years were as follows: $49 billion in 2010; $45 billion in 2011; and $55 billion in 2012. The Trustees expect the deficit to average $75 billion each fiscal year from 2013 to 2018 before rising sharply. Congress must continue to issue more debt just to meet Social Security’s current obligations. This is very significant as expenditures for Social Security and Medicare accounted for 38% of the federal budget in fiscal year 2012.

    Like

  32. Black Flag® says:

    Ah, the ol’ ad homenien trick when your arguments fail.

    Like

  33. jsojourner says:

    There are certain sureties one may take great comfort in. The sun setting in the west. Water being wet. The Pope being Roman Catholic. And man-boy Randians who still live in Mom’s basement with no particular expertise on anything turning out to be experts on simply everything.

    They aren’t trained as historians. But they know more than those who are.

    They aren’t trained as economists. But they know more than those who are.

    They aren’t trained as climate scientists or oceanographers, but they know more than those who are.

    They aren’t trained as psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers, but they know more than those who are.

    They aren’t trained as biblical scholars, theologians or ancient language linguists. But they know more than those who are.

    One simultaneously admires and pities the hubris of these misguided souls. Admiration simply because it’s no small feat to be proven so egregiously wrong and to relentlessly ignore the fact, ever coming back for more. Pity because one worries that the time spent in such masturbatory futility may be eroding their Dungeons & Dragons skill. How ever will you become a wizard if you spend all your time worried about taxes you don’t even pay?

    And one cannot help but marvel at the capacity of the interwebs to make an expert of positively everyone. Hell. I’ve a 30-something nephew who is an authority on precisely nothing except how to roll something he calls “a fat boy”; how to cheat at certain role playing video games; and how to holler from the basement so that Mom will bring him another bowl of Doritos.

    And yet the internet has made this lad — like our friends in this thread — an expert on economics, history, biblical scholarship, human nature and political science. I’d suspect he’s one of those being so thoroughly “owned” (a term he adores) by you in this threat, Ed.

    Except both of these gents can apparently spell. Which is, in my opinion, to their everlasting credit.

    And there you have it.

    Like

  34. Ed Darrell says:

    Actually, Ed, it is easy to show how the thief and his minions get wealthy the day after they steal from the bank… the trick, though, is to keep it up.

    Social Security is fully funded for another 40 years into the future. Checked the poverty rates for people over 65 lately?

    No thievery, and Johnson’s trick still works, and is sustainable.

    Like

  35. Ed Darrell says:

    Black Flag said:

    As usual, you distort what the story actually said.

    Jesus did not take from the “haves” at all. He produced bread and wine out of thin air.

    Got chapter and verse on that? I thought we were talking about the Jesus in the Bible, New Testament.

    Like

  36. Black Flag® says:

    “Actually, Johnson’s increase in Social Security — alone, just that one action — cut poverty by more than 50% in people over the age of 65. Instead of being wards of the state, they became greater consumers, contributing to the economic growth Johnson stimulated.”

    Actually, Ed, it is easy to show how the thief and his minions get wealthy the day after they steal from the bank… the trick, though, is to keep it up.

    As we see, you’re ilk ain’t capable of doing it.

    What you fail to understand is that theft, no matter is form, degrades the economy and society.

    “Flag, you aren’t really a capitalist at all. Were you capitalist, you’d be salivating at the great markets to be created when Americans work and get paid well.”

    You don’t know a capitalist if you saw one, so your opinion is worthless.

    I pay what he is worth – and he does his job. You have no measure of ‘well’ as you are not party to our business.

    It’s you, Ed, that is the economic illiterate, not I

    Like

  37. Black Flag® says:

    “If all capitalism does is create wealth, but only among a randomly-select few, we don’t need it. Too much trouble.”

    Hohohoho!

    You are a comic!

    There you sit, the benefactor of capitalism, playing on a computer that capitalism built, on a network capitalism built using software capitalism built,in a house capitalism built etc etc.

    …bemoaning that the benefits of capitalism is random!

    Hohohohohho!

    No, Ed, it is your conceptual eyesight that is blind

    “Better find a better claim about the advantages of capitalism. Your defense won’t save it, not even from the capitalists.”

    Advantages?
    Hmmm, greatest creator of wealth upon those that participate.
    A consequence of the exercise of free men in voluntary trade – requires no coercion to manifest.

    Counter to your immoral ideology:
    Greatest killer of mankind
    Greatest source of impoverishment of mankind
    Requires massive theft and coercion to manifest.

    Capitalism wins.

    Like

  38. Black Flag® says:

    Or this?

    ” Life is unfair — there is nothing fair about one man being born blind and another man being born with sight. There is nothing fair about one man being born of a wealthy parent and one of an indigenous parent. There is nothing fair about Muhammad Ali having been born with a skill that enables him to make millions of dollars one night. There is nothing fair about Marlene Dietrich having great legs that we all want to watch. There is nothing fair about any of that. But on the other hand, don’t you think a lot of people who like to look at Marlene Dietrich’s legs benefited from nature’s unfairness in producing a Marlene Dietrich. What kind of a world would it be if everybody was an absolute identical duplicate of anybody else. You might as well destroy the whole world and just keep one specimen left for a museum. In the same way, it’s unfair that Muhammad Ali should be a great fighter and should be able to earn millions. But would it not be even more unfair to the people who like to watch him if you said that in the pursuit of some abstract idea of equality we’re not going to let Muhammad Ali get more for one nights fight than the lowest man on the totem pole can get for a days unskilled work on the docks. You can do that but the result of that would be to deny people the opportunity to watch Muhammad Ali. I doubt very much he would be willing to subject himself to the kind of fights he’s gone through if he were to get the pay of an unskilled docker. “

    Like

  39. Black Flag® says:

    You mean when he said this?

    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

    Like

  40. Black Flag® says:

    “America’s Chinese population can build stuff as well as Chinese people anywhere. It’s a nationalist argument, not racist — in fact, probably anti-racist.”

    No, yours is a racist argument.

    You hate that others are growing their prosperity as fast as you are working hard to chase the same prosperity away with your immoral ideology.

    They are benefiting from your immoral code – not by copying it, but by happily welcome your victims of it.

    Like

  41. Black Flag® says:

    “That’s the “capitalism” you’re defending, God knows why. It’s not sustainable, economically, nor especially morally.”

    No, Ed, it is your position that is morally bankrupt, not capitalism.

    Capitalism is a consequence of free men in voluntary trade.

    Yours is the consequence of envious men who wish to steal from others and chain free man – under the guise of “fair”.

    What is fair, Ed, is for each man to earn his own keep, not steal what he does not earn.

    Like

  42. Black Flag® says:

    ” free, socialist-style, taking from the resources of the haves to give to everybody, including especially the have-nots.”

    As usual, you distort what the story actually said.

    Jesus did not take from the “haves” at all. He produced bread and wine out of thin air.

    You need to make up stories at every twist to justify theft, huh?

    Jesus said “care for the poor,” exactly the opposite of the claim of your caption.”

    No, he said “care for the poor” … he did not say “steal for the poor”, Ed.

    Every man has his own choice of his own ability to care for the poor – and you are no man to decide what (or if) that should be done.

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    That painting you use, Morgan, is a rather famous illustration of the story of Jesus Feeding the 5,000 — free, socialist-style, taking from the resources of the haves to give to everybody, including especially the have-nots.

    Morgan's blasphemous abuse of a painting of Jesus delivering socialism

    Yes, of course I looked at that before I wrote the comments directed at the many errors that image contains, from the assumption that taxes are theft — which was not shared by Jesus or George Washington — through the false claim that God never commanded governments to look after and care for the poor, which is repeated at least a dozen times in the OT — and never countermanded by Jesus, anywhere.

    Jesus did not say “don’t care for the poor, leave ’em for charities.” Jesus said “care for the poor,” exactly the opposite of the claim of your caption.

    Were you Christian, it would be blasphemy, of course (legal in this country — don’t worry).

    Your picture is dead wrong, in taking it into a context exactly the opposite of what the artist intended, in ignoring the entire Old Testament, in misreporting what Jesus said and didn’t say in the New Testament. It’s difficult to think where else you could have screwed up the message.

    Like

  44. So, you haven’t found any verse in the Bible that says Jesus required us to raise taxes and steal money from each other to feed the poor. Just like I thought.

    It wouldn’t work anyway. “Giving out of obligation is not truly giving, it’s merely following the rules.” I’ve often wondered why people on the left have a hard time catching on to this. How can a tax policy make a nation’s people more or less likely to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? That only makes sense to a Christian if he’s a modern-political-liberal first and a Christian second…and the Bible has MUCH to say about how Christ would react to that.

    Like

  45. jsojourner says:

    Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ Matt. 25:31-46, NRSV

    A pivotal word in this passage is “nations”. The greek translation is “ethnos”, which carries with it the meaning of societies, cultures and yes — even the polis, or government. Clearly, the Savior is teaching something about societies and structures — not about individuals. (To be clear, individuals are ALSO required to do justice to the poor as other passages of Scripture make quite evident. But here, Jesus is judging not individuals — but nations.)

    It is occasionally posited that, later in v. 32, Jesus removes “people” (the NRSV trans.) from the nations to judge them individually. So the NRSV text would indicate. Unfortunately, that’s not a correct translation of the word. The Greek here is αὐτοὺς which best rendered as “them” and which we see correctly translated by the NASB, TNIV and RSV. (I like the NRSV but in this instance, these others get it right.) At any rate, the word used for “them” refers to the nations and not to individuals pulled out of the nations. It, as my biblical Greek resources say, “in itself it signifies nothing more than again, applied to what has either been previously mentioned” (See BibleWorks version 9).

    Moreover, this would make the Lord’s teaching in Matthew consistent with later Pauline dogma about salvation not depending on works, but rather, upon faith. Though as St. James clearly and correctly teaches — faith is not real faith unless there are works — works are a witness to or a confirmation of faith. Not a progenitor or cause. Otherwise, orthodox theologians would be faced with a conundrum of whether to accept the teaching of Jesus or of St. Paul. There is no conflict. Nations are judged — and harshly — for their action or inaction vis a vis the poor, widows, orphans and oppressed minorities.

    St. Paul teaches that government is “God’s servant for the good of all” in Romans. That’s why we Christians are expected to obey the law and pay taxes. The only exemption would involve preaching Christ. If a government forbids us to preach Jesus crucified and risen, we are required to disobey. That’s it.

    Judgment upon governments is also quite clear from the passage I posted a few days ago from Jeremiah 22. The prophet calls “kings and rulers and leaders of the people” into the gate for judgment — as well as individuals. No one escapes the scrutiny of a holy God. Why was Sodom destroyed? Well certainly because God does not approve of gang rape…which was the clear intention of the men knocking on poor Lot’s door. But the prophet Ezekiel posits a further reason for the rain of sulfur…

    “As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.” Ez. 16:49-50 NRSV

    Once again, an entire culture and nation is judged. Not simply random individuals.

    One may also consider the rantings of Amos against both the chosen people and the pagan rulers and nations surrounding Israel. All were punished for their treatment of the poor and the needy. That nation that fails to do justice will bear the wrath of God.

    That individuals and the Church are also expected to do justice — and are likely held to an even higher standard where charity is concerned is certainly not in doubt. But for people of faith to embrace the teachings of the Christ-hater Ayn Rand is not unlike the Jew touting the lessons of Mein Kampf as “gospel”. It simply does not compute.

    Certainly some who are not people of faith — hedonists, particularly — may have good reason to have accepted Rand as their “personal Lord and Savior”. The virtue of selfishness is quite obvious to them. What pleases ME is their only absolute. Jesus, however, is echoed by someone with much higher moral standing than Rand. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die.”

    This is the individual Christian’s calling.

    The calling of Jesus and of His Father upon nations is more general and not as demanding. But it is still inarguable. They must not oppress the alien or the stranger. They must see to it that workers are given just wages. They must feed and clothe the poor, the widow and the orphan.

    It is not a question of either/or. It is a question of both/and.

    Like

  46. Oh, I saw you putting words in Jesus’s mouth that Jesus didn’t say. That was my point.

    Can you point to where Jesus said we should pass tax laws to steal money from each other, to provide for the poor?

    You may be under the delusion that your Deuteronomy quote clearly establishes this. That would be incorrect.

    Like

  47. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, I saw you putting words in Jesus’s mouth that Jesus didn’t say. That was my point. If you were familiar with Jesus’s advocacy for the poor, AND familiar with the OT and Jewish tradition, you’d understand why your graphic is blasphemous — or just historically wrong in a secular sense.

    Jesus did not condemn God’s and the Jewish peoples’ care for the poor, nor did Jesus tell them to stop it. You got that wrong. Caring for the poor is the duty of the government, not a duty of charity. Jesus merely added to the burden for individuals, saying it’s not enough to just let government do the job — you gotta get in there and help.

    At no point does Jesus get close to saying what your graphic claims. It’s wrong.

    Like

  48. Here, I’ll go ahead and paste in a link to the graphic itself, which obviously didn’t even get a glance from you. So it’s rather useless to ask if you bothered to read the article.

    Now refer back and check your Bible quotes again. Context. Glad I could clear it up for you.

    Like

  49. Ed Darrell says:

    Vote democrat. If all capitalism does is create wealth, but only among those few who actually put in the work, we don’t need it. Too much trouble.

    The part you keep missing, Morgan, is that income inequality steals wealth from those who actually put in the work. That’s the “capitalism” you’re defending, God knows why. It’s not sustainable, economically, nor especially morally.

    Remember the words of John Smith: Those who don’t work, don’t eat. Do not distort them. He did not say, “and many of those who work won’t get fed, either, if they’re not in the 1%.”

    What do you have against fairness? Isn’t that rather the underpinning of capitalism, indeed of all of business? (See the Code of Hammurabi.)

    Like

  50. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan, you’re diatribe at Jesus demonstrates a great unfamiliarity with the Bible, I think.

    Jesus reiterated the command to care for the poor. Jesus expanded the OT responsibility, not cut it back.

    In the OT, the duty to take care of the poor was clearly on the government, on the king or ruler. When governments failed to do that, such as at Sodom, God smoked entire cities for the failure.

    See Deuteronomy 15.11 (NKJV):

    11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.

    Or see Isaiah 10.1-4; or 58.7; or Amos 2.6-7; or Amos 4.1-2; or Ezekiel 18.1-32 . . .

    Jesus didn’t say governments’ duties to care for the poor was done. Jesus said everyone, each of us individually, ALSO has a duty to be sure it works, that the poor get fed, clothed and housed.

    Any homeless people in your town? Take a look at what happens to towns that allow that: Ezekiel 16.49-50.

    You assume, contrary to American history and common sense again, that taxes are “stealing.” That’s no more true than your voicing your odd, outlandish and error-ridden opinion is terrorism worthy of jail.

    Not worthy of jail, in any case.

    Like

  51. If all capitalism does is create wealth, but only among a randomly-select few, we don’t need it. Too much trouble.

    Well said Ed! That should be a campaign slogan.

    Vote democrat. If all capitalism does is create wealth, but only among those few who actually put in the work, we don’t need it. Too much trouble.

    It’s concise, easily understood, honest…gels with most people’s experience with democrat initiatives. An equal share for the masses who didn’t do anything to make/expand the wealth. Idleness and unproductivity deserve equal treatment.

    From the parody-column linked above below…

    Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

    Lot of truth in that.

    Like

  52. Ed Darrell says:

    The fact, Ed, is that roads, bridges, canals, railways, telegraph etc was all built before government usurped the goods

    Santayana’s Ghost urges you to study history. He’d tell you himself, but he’s falling through walls, laughing.

    You name great government projects, but credit them to private groups. That would be funny, if I didn’t think you actually believe that.

    Like

  53. JamesK says:

    oh yes, Morgan, we liberals are the fakes when it comes to morality.

    James 5:1-5 5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

    Funny that..how come we’re the ones actually listening to Jesus Christ on this?

    Like

  54. Ed Darrell says:

    So you agree Milton Friedman was wrong?

    If all capitalism does is create wealth, but only among a randomly-select few, we don’t need it. Too much trouble.

    What other arrows have you in that quiver?

    Better find a better claim about the advantages of capitalism. Your defense won’t save it, not even from the capitalists.

    Like

  55. Ed Darrell says:

    You’re right. Your “Great” Society bankrupted the nation.
    The market is the one that made it wealthy.

    Actually, Johnson’s increase in Social Security — alone, just that one action — cut poverty by more than 50% in people over the age of 65. Instead of being wards of the state, they became greater consumers, contributing to the economic growth Johnson stimulated.

    You seem to fail to understand that people who work, when paid adequately, become taxpayers, boosting tax revenues, and are not, then, dependent on safety-net programs. The decline in use of safety-net programs, coupled with the increase in tax revenues, pays off the national debt and makes our economy stronger.

    Equitable wealth distribution makes more great wealth possible, and contributes to the longevity of wealth transmission by inheritance.

    Flag, you aren’t really a capitalist at all. Were you capitalist, you’d be salivating at the great markets to be created when Americans work and get paid well.

    Are you a royalist? Consider Louis the XVI. Anarchist? Which anarchist is in the Captains of Industry Hall of Fame? Fascist? What good is trains running on time if there is no one to ride them to good jobs?

    Did you ever take high school economics? I can refer you to sources . . .

    Like

  56. Ed Darrell says:

    Black Flag jumps the shark again (hey, it’s dead in the water, so he’s not exactly endangered):

    So you are a racist – that your 2nd car is more important that a Chink’s 2nd meal….

    America’s Chinese population can build stuff as well as Chinese people anywhere. It’s a nationalist argument, not racist — in fact, probably anti-racist. It would be difficult to find any other nation with the wide and deep racial, ethnic and cultural diversity we have in the U.S. Until recently (and maybe still), Chicago was the world’s largest city of Poles; the largest cities of Hmong are in the U.S. There are more Tongan families in Hurst, Texas, than any city/town/village in Tonga.

    It’s a purely economic argument. I’ll thank you to keep the needlessly inflammatory language out.

    For the record, I don’t agree that all the money is going overseas. We’ve known for years about the roughly $2 trillion pool of cash held by U.S. companies in the U.S. Can you imagine the stimulus that would result if those companies were to invest that money in expanding capacity?

    Why don’t they do it? They look at demand. American consumers don’t have cash in hand to purchase things, so expanding retail capacity, or wholesale capacity, or manufacturing capacity, or mining capacity, is probably a non-starter. Who would buy the products?

    This is the root of why pooling money at the top is so destructive. It takes the money out of circulation, and that impoverishes everyone, including those at the top.

    It’s like this: Mitt Romney (a fictitious character I’ve invented for this exercise) made a killing in killing American corporations and “securitizing” their assets for his profit. He has about a dozen homes, four vehicles for himself and his wife, and he supports a stable to care for his dancing horse, which is really a therapeutic outlet for his wife who has a chronic disease (treated through insurance he gets, still, from his former employer). The last round of tax cuts delivered several tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Romney. What did he do with it?

    He put it in the bank (an overseas bank, but that’s not really relevant here). Mr. Romney isn’t going to buy another house — he has plenty, thank you. He’s not going to buy a new Malibu from GM; he’s already got three fancy GM products. He’s not going to buy an electric car from Nissan nor Toyota, made in America — he’s already got plenty of vehicles, and he can afford the gasoline regardless how much it gets to.

    Mr. Romney still wears the 20 suits he bought in a trip to Savile Row in London 10 years ago. He’s not buying any new clothes.

    The Romneys eat the finest in beef, chicken, fresh corn flown from Iowa (Silver Queen, Mitt’s favorite), an occasional lobster when they’re at their New Hampshire home (the cook drives to Maine and gets ’em $1.00/pound at the dock — great price!).

    While Mitt looks for places to invest his extra money, he looks around his various homes, and he finds workers out of work. The guy who built the hot tub at his Park City “cabin” (12 bedrooms) is out of work; construction in Park City slowed, and he hasn’t sold a hot tub in 2 years. He gets buy recaulking showers for people in cheaper homes down in Salt Lake City, but he can’t afford a new car, a new home, or new clothes. Same with workers around every one of Mitt’s homes.

    So, Mitt asks capitalistically, “Why should I invest in creating more supply when there is no demand to suck up that supply? I’ll wait until those guys get retrained for new jobs, or the economy improves . . .”

    But take $1 million of the massive tax refunds Mr. Romney has enjoyed, and consider how it would be applied were it broken down into $1,000 payments to 1,000 of his struggling neighbors. The hot tub guy needs a new suit for church and job interviews. The people paying him to save their showers in Salt Lake, if they had $1,000, would pay him to replace the shower so it doesn’t need to be caulked so often — and he’d be sitting pretty and could use his new suit just for church. 500 of the 1,000 people would use the money to repair the old car, goosing the local auto repair economy; the repair guys, with their newly found income, would buy new cars, and put another bay on the old repair shop, and hire a new mechanic to staff it. That new mechanic needs a place to live. While he will rent, the apartment he rents is vacant because another mechanic decided it was time to build a house. In fact, several hundred dozen decided to do that, just from the extra business in the auto repair industry. A dozen homes being built create 36 full-time jobs for a year, each job to be occupied by someone who will need a working vehicle, a place to live, and shoes for the kids.

    For those same reasons, the local Safeway is swamped. Noticing the demand, Kroger decides to put in a new store to compete with Safeway, splitting the market but a bigger market than before. Construction of that store creates 20 full-time jobs; when it opens, it will employ 30 people full-time, and another 30 part-time.

    Ooops. All those construction guys are young. They have young families. The local school district realizes 36 families produce 70 kids new to the school district — three classrooms, at least. So they add on to the local school building (more construction jobs), and hire three new teachers.

    Housing construction requires concrete, steel, wood, shingles, glass, pipes, wire . . .

    One winter morning, in his Park City cabin, Mr. Romney wakes up from all the noise, hammers pounding nails, a new roof going up on the new house down in the valley, a front loader leveling a construction pad, a cement mixer truck pouring a new foundation . . . and Mr. Romney say, “Hey, there’s a lot of demand here. I’d better invest some of my idle money in something to take advantage of that. Since, in our hypothetical, we’ve only decreased Mr. Romney’s pool of largesse from the government by less than 1/10, he’s still got millions he can use, now, to create jobs — once the way was paved for him by government manipulation to put money in the hands of working people instead of financiers.

    (Hmmm. What do you want to bet Mr. Flag will complain that Romney, probably a Mormon judging by the name, won’t use hot tubs, because that might lead to wine-drinking? How many other irrelevant complaints can Mr. Flag make?)

    Like

  57. Black Flag® says:

    “In the U.S., except for the massive government aid to build roads, bridges and canals, and the federal aid to create railroad trains, and the federal aid to make the telegraph work, and countless state projects . . .”

    Sorry, none of that makes your argument.

    The fact, Ed, is that roads, bridges, canals, railways, telegraph etc was all built before government usurped the goods.

    In fact, the government cronies that got government money to build railways all went broke – kinda telling, huh?

    So quite contrary to your lack of knowledge, Ed, I think you best check your facts before you push your assertion that economic goods provided by extortion and theft are superior to those goods provided by free men in a free market.

    Like

  58. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, please review the Industrial Revolution – the greatest rise in prosperity of a people in human history. Note: it was because of a LACK of government and a expansion of free markets that this occurred.

    In the U.S., except for the massive government aid to build roads, bridges and canals, and the federal aid to create railroad trains, and the federal aid to make the telegraph work, and countless state projects . . .

    And for the Second Industrial Revolution, except for the most massive government subsidy ever delivered to that time to the railroads building the transcontiental routes — which largesse still forms a huge chunk of the assets of BNSF and Union Pacific railways.

    Quite to the contrary of your assertion, Mr. Flag, I think if you check back, almost every major development of the industrial revolution was pushed by government aid, at taxpayer expense, in both England and the U.S. In those rare cases where there was no direct government aid, enterprises had massive subsidy from the Public Commons, in the ability to seize and hold formerly public resources like water, and the ability to dump garbage, mine tailings, and destructive liquid and gaseous effluents into the air and water, literally killing millions over time.

    Can you find a single enterprise in history that did NOT benefit from government aid? I dare you to find some such creation that doesn’t involve, at a minimum, the use of eminent domain and public domain resources.

    Like

  59. Black Flag® says:

    “Poor pay and lack of money in the wallets of workers. How will the market fix that?”

    Fix what?
    Why do you think paying workers is a problem?

    Like

  60. Ed Darrell says:

    What forces are at work to pull that capital overseas?

    Poor pay and lack of money in the wallets of workers. How will the market fix that?

    Like

  61. Libs are angry people who don’t understand incentives. WHY does this money pooled at the top flow overseas? The natural order of things would be for it to stay put, where it was generated originally. It costs money to move money. What forces are at work to pull that capital overseas?

    Looks like Ed and JK would like to go back to the Carter years. This is supposed to convince me that it’s a mistake to deprive such people of influence? It’s not working.

    And they must think California is doing a much better job “growing the economy” now, than it did back in earlier years when it deserved to have a “Silicon Valley.”

    Perhaps all we really need is a bit more honesty in our election processes. “Vote for me, I’ll make America’s economy look like the economy of Burundi.” Then the citizens could vote for whichever idea is likely to lead to prosperity, which is what they want to do, and after they’re rejected the libs could go off and sulk and feel butt-hurt and angry…which is what they want to do.

    Like

  62. Black Flag® says:

    “Of course Morgan blithely forgets that there is only a finite amount of wealth generated year to year. So when it all flows to the top it means that there is none flowing to the rest. ”

    What a bunch of crap…. as if you aren’t paid a wage doing a job, and as if new jobs aren’t being created and as if new houses aren’t being built, and new cars bought … buy the “middle class” and “poor”…

    Your eyes balls are so screwed sideways, you can’t tell up from down.

    There is not an “finite” amount of wealth created every year. There is WEALTH created every year, and you and everyone else participated in that creation and that enjoyment.

    You are just mad that you are so untalented or lazy, your amount is of wealth is very finite.

    Like

  63. Black Flag® says:

    “Has capitalism lived up to its promise to reduce inequality”

    What crap!
    Typical leftist-Ed nonsense.

    Capitalism never promised to reduce anything and free men are not concerned with economic “equality”, whatever that nonsense means.

    Capitalism increases wealth.

    Like

  64. Black Flag® says:

    “xplain what incentives would produce greater equality of income? How can we be sure those who do the work get paid fairly?”

    Fairly? By whose measure, Ed? Yours? Why do YOU define fair, and not me?

    That’s the problem, Ed. You think you have a say in a deal between two other guys. You are neither the buyer nor the seller, but as your ilk does, you stick your ugly nose into the matter anyway.

    Ed, fair is defined by the participants in the deal, not you.

    If a man trades his labor for money, he does so because he is getting a good deal compared to the alternatives. So is the guy who is trading money for labor – both win.

    But you hate that.

    Like

  65. Black Flag® says:

    “So, what is the market solution?”

    Ed, please review the Industrial Revolution – the greatest rise in prosperity of a people in human history. Note: it was because of a LACK of government and a expansion of free markets that this occurred.

    “Pooled money”??? Your economic crackpottery is stunning.

    “All that money pooled at the top tends to push overseas, failing to create jobs here because what investor puts money where people don’t have disposable income?”

    So you are a racist – that your 2nd car is more important that a Chink’s 2nd meal….

    “What’s the free market solution?”
    To get you and your crackpot ideas out of the market and let free men trade.

    “As you point out, the market has never been able to equal the Great Society”

    You’re right. Your “Great” Society bankrupted the nation.
    The market is the one that made it wealthy.

    Like

  66. James Kessler says:

    Of course Morgan blithely forgets that there is only a finite amount of wealth generated year to year. So when it all flows to the top it means that there is none flowing to the rest. The proof is the massive expansion in the wealth and income growth of the rich over the last few decades while everyone else has seen theirs shrink more year after year.

    So Morgan wants to kiss the butts of the rich instead of doing the one thing that would grow the economy and lessen the need for all that welfare that Morgan so loves to whine about….put money into the hands of the poor and middle class.

    But then the gop and their rich masters are very good at brainwashing the masses into voting against their own interests

    Like

  67. mkfreeberg says:

    Wait, what’s the goal?

    1. Wealth inequality
    2. Income inequality
    3. Opportunity
    4. Productivity

    It seems like you’re after one of the first two; for what reasons, I can’t imagine. But you need to go off somewhere and figure out which one of those two it is (title of your post says #1, your last couple comments say #2).

    But back to my point, that some people don’t give a fig, in fact are quite proud of themselves for having shunned material wealth. You’re saying, those who contribute something to the economy should be “equalized” with those who want to live like monks in a vow of poverty? I fail to see how that’s good for the economy. Care to explain?

    Like

  68. Ed Darrell says:

    Interesting material on income inequalities:

    Has capitalism lived up to its promise to reduce inequality? Is social mobility now only an historical relic? In this month’s column, Anthony de Jasay argues that we should not expect mobility to lead to greater equality. So, how should progressively-minded policy makers respond?

    From Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves: On Social Mobility or Its Lack
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2013/Jasayshirtsleeves.html

    Milton Friedman disproven? Jasay wrote:

    According to the “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” doctrine, the great frequency of cases of the great wealth amassed by the grandfather was barely maintained by the son and lost by the grandson, and this lent support to the theory, advanced by Milton Friedman, that capitalism had a built-in tendency to reduce inequality. The last thirty years or so has cast much doubt on this appealing theory. Throughout the Western world income distribution was getting more skewed in favour of the top deciles of society. Oddly, this was particularly true of English speaking countries, which were less illiberal and more inclined to let markets do their work than other countries. Friedman’s theory was falsified. There must have been a reason. Social mobility appears to have failed. Shirtsleeves seemed to lead to Saville Row suits but not shirtsleeves. Incomes went to the top and stayed there.

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  69. Ed Darrell says:

    Explain what incentives would produce greater equality of income? How can we be sure those who do the work get paid fairly? What incentives, to whom, will get the fat cats off their well-padded gluteals to put their money to work for the economy, for America?

    How would you “neutralize” those who ask what is a market solution? (That is what you meant, right?)

    Or do you fail to understand the economic principles of crowding out?

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  70. mkfreeberg says:

    So, what is the market solution? All that money pooled at the upper end is choking opportunity…

    Neutralize the influence wielded by anyone who agrees with you on that. Gutterball the whole lot of you. You’re in the way.

    This market runs on incentive. And your lot doesn’t believe in it.

    Like

  71. Ed Darrell says:

    So, what is the market solution? All that money pooled at the upper end is choking opportunity — the U.S. has much less opportunity for middle class to advance than some third-world nations, and we’re near the bottom of OECD nations including Greece and Portugal. All that money pooled at the top tends to push overseas, failing to create jobs here because what investor puts money where people don’t have disposable income?

    The inequalities literally kill our economy. They created political unrest, and every time in our history when things have been so dis-equal, we’ve had economic collapse.

    What’s the free market solution?

    LBJ’s Great Society was the heyday of equality in opportunity, with growing incomes in the middle class and poor producing more millionaires and billionaires in the upper middle class. Among other reasons income equality helps out, it spreads the wealth among the wealthy, creating healthy competition among the wealthy for use of money.

    What is the market solution? I’m all ears. As you point out, the market has never been able to equal the Great Society — so, yeah, we’ll own making a booming economy with more equal incomes and working people getting their fair share. It was great for entrepreneurs and for free marketeers.

    Can a market, non-governmental solution work at all? Tell us about it.

    Like

  72. mkfreeberg says:

    I think we should give the market a try.

    Since FDR’s time, about the closest we’ve come to that is: Reagan cut capital-gains, and took the highest marginal income tax rate down a peg or two from %70+. Yippee skip.

    Meanwhile, haven’t most of us lived out our entire lives in the shadow of LBJ’s “Great Society”? And it seems nobody’s happy with the results, from the looks of things. How about the lefties owning THAT. Hey, there’s a thought.

    Like

  73. Black Flag® says:

    “Morgan, are you saying the markets are incapable of dealing with the problems?”

    What problem?

    It’s not a market problem, Ed – your economic understanding is so shy.

    It’s a political problem of government largess, extracted from the masses, and divided among government favorites.

    As long as you’re not in favor, you complain about the situation.

    When it favors you, you cheer.

    And this, to you, is a market problem. Geez.

    Like

  74. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan, are you saying the markets are incapable of dealing with the problems? CEO compensation committees can’t fix a big part of it?

    Interesting. So, to you, government action is the only way?

    Like

  75. Black Flag® says:

    “Rich Americans are now investing in India and china.”

    So let me get this straight.

    You are a racist.

    You hate that poor people with different color skin somewhere else are raising their standard of living from near-starvation and into at least getting 3 meals a day and wish they were still starving so that you can buy a second car…..

    Like

  76. Rich Americans are now investing in India and china. They are making jobs for the poor of Asia and the South East, not America. The rich get richer.

    I see! And so, let’s see if I can follow this plan. We’re going to go back to before Reagan, raise taxes on those rich people to let them know how much we think they suck, or something…seventy-two percent marginal or something. That’ll REALLY let them know what we think of them. And then, they’ll start investing more money here instead of India. And then JK will get trickled-on, which he’s been waiting and waiting to have happen.

    Is there something I missed about this plan? Or are you ready for my verdict on whether it’s a sensible idea or not…

    Like

  77. Flakey says:

    Black Flag “Your illiterate economics pretends the rich stuff their cash in a mattress, and do not “buy stuff” or — as I know you haven’t even grasped this concept yet — INVEST their money into making jobs for your poor and middle class.”

    What you are ignoring is current economics. Rich Americans are now investing in India and china. They are making jobs for the poor of Asia and the South East, not America. The rich get richer. The people with their new jobs get richer American middle class get told your jobs are now being moved abroad.

    Like

  78. Every time James says “when is it going to start trickling down to the rest of us?” it makes me think of this:

    Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

    Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

    I’ll bet the very first cookout was exactly like that. The very first liberals, huddled around the fire, watching the conservatives feast on the meat from the animals the conservatives trapped, fished, caught & killed…and the liberals’ contribution to the big feast was a whole bunch of rules about how the feast should be shared.

    Hey, the distribution isn’t equal!! Well, no freakin’ duh. Someone had to put in some work to get the meat on the fire, Lucy.

    Like

  79. Black Flag® says:

    James
    “So when is it going to start “trickling down” to the rest of us?”

    It will trickle down as soon as Ed, and others like him, stop using government as the means to do it.

    As long as government is for sale, whether by purchase of votes or by money, the people will suffer.

    Ed loves to buy the government with votes and use that power to enrich himself.

    But he hates when others buy the government and use that power to enrich themselves.

    He isn’t against using government power to enrich someone, he is merely angry at who gets the riches.

    Like

  80. Black Flag® says:

    You are an economic illiterate – and yeah, the pie does get bigger or haven’t you noticed?

    Counter my argument with Bush simply means you really have no argument at all, huh, Ed?

    And you completely ignore my answers.

    No matter who extorts money from who, Ed, the economic pie always diminishes – that’s the point.

    You pretend it only happens if the rich steal from you.

    But it happens when you steal from the rich, too, Ed.

    Your assertion that the more wealth the rich have, the less ability the poor have to be wealthy is nonsense.

    Your illiterate economics pretends the rich stuff their cash in a mattress, and do not “buy stuff” or — as I know you haven’t even grasped this concept yet — INVEST their money into making jobs for your poor and middle class.

    Like

  81. Your stance is the immoral one. You’re the one willing to let the middle class die and the poor suffer…

    Huh. We start with, the rich somehow earned it so let’s let them keep it. Respect the right to property, in other words…

    …from there, we get to letting people die and suffer.

    Quite a large gap you’re leaping there JK. I’ve seen you leap it before. Seems to me, such a power of thought-flight is attainable only by means of the awesomeness of imagination. I’d give you points for creativity, but you don’t get credit songwriting genius from humming a monotone, which is what you’ve been doing.

    Like

  82. JamesK says:

    To quote: …and your immoral stance aside, you also infer there is some idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth, so that if someone has a larger share, the amount of wealth you have must shrink.

    But that inference is as false as your moral outrage.

    we’ve had 40 years of the rich getting all the wealth, Morgan. So when is it going to start “trickling down” to the rest of us?

    Your stance is the immoral one. You’re the one willing to let the middle class die and the poor suffer just so you can be the 1%’s personal……

    ..well I won’t say the phrase I want to use. So I’ll use sycophant instead.

    Like

  83. Ed Darrell says:

    …and your immoral stance aside, you also infer there is some idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth, so that if someone has a larger share, the amount of wealth you have must shrink.

    But that inference is as false as your moral outrage.

    You’re making stuff up again. I assumed even you would at least share George W. Bush’s understanding that we can “make the pie higher,” in order to “put food on the family.”

    You presume a fixed system, and you assume it in your answer. I don’t subscribe to that view. Take your outrage against GOP assumptions somewhere else.

    Wealth expands throughout society; it matters not one wit the percentage of wealth you have, it matters the absolute quantity of wealth you have.

    1% of a billion is more then 25% of a thousand.
    But to your thinking, you are far poorer in the former then the latter.

    You completely ignore my answers.

    I have no objection to a fat wallet for the top 1%. However, if the fatness is due to misappropriation from poorer working people — no matter how that misappropriation is accomplished — then ultimately our ability to grow the economic pie diminishes, and stops. Concentration of wealth in just a few hands ALSO kills the ability of those at the top to accumulate more wealth, especially if their income is dependent in any way on consumers consuming things. A relatively rich middle class can buy a lot more stuff, like more computers with more Microsoft software, thereby enriching Bill Gates.

    Poorer people cannot.

    It’s really that simple. Perhaps the simplicity of the argument baffles you.

    Like

  84. jsojourner says:

    “Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, and say: Hear the word of the Lord, O King of Judah sitting on the throne of David—you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then through the gates of this house shall enter kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their servants, and their people. But if you will not heed these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation…For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum son of King Josiah of Judah, who succeeded his father Josiah, and who went away from this place: He shall return here no more, but in the place where they have carried him captive he shall die, and he shall never see this land again. Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbours work for nothing, and does not give them their wages; who says, ‘I will build myself a spacious house with large upper rooms’, and who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar, and painting it with vermilion.Are you a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.He judged the cause of the poor and needy;then it was well.Is not this to know me?
    says the Lord. But your eyes and heart are only on your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practising oppression and violence. Jer. 22:1-5; 11-17 NRSV

    Like

  85. The Louis XVII thing is a common error. I notice Wikipedia has it as well, the page lists XVII as his own predecessor.

    Now about this “theft”; I don’t see it. I see a curve that is supposed to be shocking because it’s sharper than what people expect. The error is in their expectations. A lot of people build lifestyles without involving cash or any kind of asset; a lot of people are very proud to do so. We shouldn’t expect them to have any money. They don’t want any.

    So they end up at the light side of the curve. It would be an unfair generalization to say everyone sharing the position they have, hates money as much as they do. Nevertheless, these people do exist. They are very proud of their insistence on shunning material things. So, they’re where they want to be.

    Why call them victims of theft, just because there is a curve? It makes no sense.

    Like

  86. Black Flag® says:

    “I complain about theft, you think I’m asking for theft to go the other way.”

    I know you are.

    You said it here: “… if wealth is not spread more equitably among the workers who make the wealth….”

    I have stuck – absolutely unmoved and unshaken – from the principle that :
    “all theft is evil and immoral, regardless of who undertakes it or who benefits”

    It is yours whose principles roll around all over the place like a tumbleweed in the wind.

    Like

  87. Black Flag® says:

    …and your immoral stance aside, you also infer there is some idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth, so that if someone has a larger share, the amount of wealth you have must shrink.

    But that inference is as false as your moral outrage.

    Wealth expands throughout society; it matters not one wit the percentage of wealth you have, it matters the absolute quantity of wealth you have.

    1% of a billion is more then 25% of a thousand.
    But to your thinking, you are far poorer in the former then the latter.

    Like

  88. Ed Darrell says:

    I complain about theft, you think I’m asking for theft to go the other way.

    Why not stick to the subject at hand? You just can’t stand not to try to denigrate others and good ideas, even when you confess the principles yourself.

    Functional picture of a knee-jerk reactionary — though sometimes I wonder whether we’re not soft-pedaling things to add the “knee-.”

    Like

  89. Black Flag® says:

    I don’t think it’s justice when the government intervenes to take money from anyone so to give to the favorite-flavor-of-the-day person, either.

    And that’s the point, Ed.

    You champion the theft, as long as you gain.
    You deride the theft, when you are the loser.

    It’s not the theft that bothers you at all – you just complain when you are not the benefactor of it.

    Like

  90. Black Flag® says:

    Indeed, to you and your ilk who depends on broad theft of others for your resources, the one who points out your self-justified and self-indulgent evil is “bizarre”.

    Like

  91. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, of course I meant Louis XVI. Stupid typo — funny no one caught it earlier. Fixed.

    Like

  92. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think it’s justice when the government intervenes to take money from the poor to give to the rich. Your mileage may differ, if you are in with evil.

    Like

  93. Ed Darrell says:

    I responded to Black Flag’s bizarre comments. The video stands on its own, I think.

    I’ll check the Louis references. Thanks for checking them out.

    Like

  94. Black Flag® says:

    Your concept of “just” is whimsical and nonsensical – and as such you merely further promote the very complaint I have with you Leftist/Socialist Immoralists – you define your action as “just” and condemn others – who do exactly the same thing but against you – as ‘unjust’.

    Your “justice” is not measured by the action, it is measured by who does the act.

    You pretend that your thievery is good and just, yet condemn those that steal from you – who, like you, pretend their thievery is good and just. You just hate when others use your ethics against you, huh?

    The concern is for RIGHT, not justice. You cannot make ‘justice’ by doing wrong or doing evil, Ed.

    If people did not get what was agreed, then that is the problem – not the wallet size of either.

    Like

  95. No one should get rich off of the sweat of others unjustly; when that wallet is fattened by thinning the wallets of others unjustly, the moral foundations tremble.

    Video doesn’t provide support for such statements.

    Did you mean to pick on Louis VII, the monarch who died in childhood? Most people looking for an historical symbol of wealth inequality settle on L16. Was that your intent?

    Like

  96. Ed Darrell says:

    See also here: https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/quote-of-the-moment-repeat-robert-c-lieberman-why-the-rich-are-getting-richer-american-politics-and-the-second-gilded-age/

    And here, taking from the poor to give to the rich: https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/taxing-the-poor-to-give-to-the-rich-1979-2007/

    When the money pools with the very rich, our nation is threatened. Tax collections go down; justice goes down; economic growth slows, or stops; our nation becomes unable to function as a great power.

    Frankly, it would be better were the wallets of the very rich to be even bigger, but at some point that growth cannot happen if wealth is not spread more equitably among the workers who make the wealth. When income is distributed more fairly, there are even more wealthy people, and the very wealthy do even better. Contrary to intuition, perhaps, sharing the wealth makes the wallets of the very top even fatter.

    Why wouldn’t you want that?

    Like

  97. Ed Darrell says:

    No one should get rich off of the sweat of others unjustly; when that wallet is fattened by thinning the wallets of others unjustly, the moral foundations tremble.

    The concern is for injustice. I’m concerned about the thin size of the wallets of people who worked for the money, and didn’t get it.

    Why are you NOT concerned with such theft?

    Like

  98. Black Flag® says:

    Why does the size of another man’s wallet matter to the size of yours?

    Like

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