T Nation

Wealth Inequality in America


I have seen talk lately on the board about wealth inequality specifically from zeb and ED. I also know a lot of people believe in lower taxes on these boards. So, I just wanted to pose an initial question how do we deal with wealth inequality in the US and what detriments does it have to our economy? If anyone wants to get into it we can talk about wage stagnation as well.

I find it to be an interesting topic from personal experiences and friends that I see struggle almost daily, to the point if their car breaks down they could easily lose their job.


Are you talking about inequality or poverty? Your follow up below mentions people struggling to the point where if their car breaks down they could easily lose their job. We can discuss that, but I’m not sure how that relates to wealth inequality.

I honestly don’t care that people make more than me, or are richer than me. In fact, in encourages me that there is a realistic opportunity to earn that wealth in the country that I live in. Having wealthy people, or wealthy companies does not diminish my life, actually most of those people have become wealthy by providing something of value to me.


Poverty (like your friends) and income inequality are 2 different subjects. I think the confusing of these 2 subjects is one of the problems with the public discussion. Income inequality isn’t of itself good or bad. If everyone makes $50,000 in wealth and then one guy starts making 55,000 in wealth, has the situation gotten worse, or better?


I agree poverty is different, but also connected to a degree to income and wealth inequality. Lets say a COO is making 3 million dollars a year and that company is paying its employees at poverty levels. That is why I am saying poverty and income inequality are connected.

I agree with you I don’t care if someone is richer then I am. I agree with you it doesn’t diminish my life either. What I am trying to get after is the income inequality, which I believe is higher then during the great depression is bad for the country and what can we do to solve it.


50,000 in wealth to 55,000 in wealth is not what I am talking about. Those numbers are to close together to matter. I am talking about CEO’s or executives making 200-300 times what their employees are making. Do you think that is good or bad? In a consumption society like we have. When in the 60’s and 70’s the ratio was 20-30 times and we had a stronger middle class.


Why is it bad? If that COO does a terrible job and the business has to fire all those employees, they are worse off.

You mentioned that you believe poverty is connected to wealth inequality. Can you prove that they trend together? And if they don’t (I highly doubt they do), why do I care if somebody makes more money than me?


It’s important to distinguish between income inequality and wealth inequality. While related (income inequality contributes to wealth inequality), they are very different things. One’s ‘wealth’ refers to all one’s assets. Importantly, many aspects of one’s wealth tend to grow on their own (eg, the value of one’s house tends to appreciate). Crucially, wealth provides intergenerational security in that it allows one’s descendants to start life with a ‘leg up.’

With regard to income and wealth inequality:

"The OECD report finds that the richest 10 percent of American households earns about 28 percent of the overall income pie. This is a lot, but it’s roughly consistent with what you see in the world’s other rich countries.

By contrast, the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households have captured a whopping 76 percent of all the wealth in America. And that number is considerably higher than in other rich nations, as the chart below shows."

Further, the top 1% own an unbelievable 35% of all US wealth–almost as much as the bottom 95% combined.

Wealth inequality has increased dramatically of late, with the wealthy getting vastly moreso, and the rest of us slipping backwards:


Well, that was part of my point. If inequality were in itself bad, it would still be bad at a small level, just by a smaller amount. If it isn’t bad or is even good at a small level, it isn’t inherently bad.

But even so, if everybody is making 50,000 then someone figures out how to make 1,000,000 with everyone else still making 50,000 has the situation gotten worse?


So you wish to go beyond dictating earnings, and start regulating personal spending and investing?

People here don’t save and invest like they should.


[quote]the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households have captured a whopping 76 percent of all the wealth in America

I always agreed with Obama and the other left wing loons when they said that the wealthy are not paying their fair share. They are actually paying far MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE!


This WAPO article is completely retarded.

-CEO pay wasn’t a required disclosure until 2017
-Pay at top 350 companies in the US are not indicative of pay across the entirety of the US.
-Their percentages are skewed because they’ve excluded all other management pay.
-They guessing as to what the average pay of non-management employees are anyway.

So on and so forth. There are probably 50 other problems. How much did Wal-Mart, for example, grow since 1965, 1978, etc. etc…

I’ve always hated these types of article. They’re sensationalist garbage without any context at all.


You rich guys always do this–you talk about Federal income tax, but conveniently forget to mention payroll, sales and state taxes, all of which are regressive. When considered in toto, tax rates are far more level than you let on:


You are counting payroll tax as being paid by the employee?


Does that strike you as a controversial assertion?


And you left wingers always forget that when one pays about 40% in federal then include state, County, property and school taxes we pay over 50% of every dollar that we make. This may sound fair to left wingers but it is exceptionally unfair to those of us who provide jobs and are actually part of the solution.

America a place where they punish the successful and reward the free loaders!

Hopefully this will stop over the next four years.


The employer has to match it.


Aren’t you guys the ones who are quick to mock the lefties when they bring ‘fairness’ into an economic argument? Or are you a closet SJW? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


It strikes me as biased yes. Why can’t we pay that out of company profit?


I left payroll taxes out of my little example above to not complicate things. But yeah employers pay through the nose to our great US Government. This is for the 47 million on food stamps. And the countless other freeloaders who have learned how to play the government like a game. Do I blame the lazy freeloaders? Not really. I blame a system that encourages them to steal from the government.

Funny…the government steals from those who are productive at every level and then the freeloaders steal from the government.

Oh I know…it’s the law it’s not stealing. Uh huh…


Yeah, because they are always saying illogically “It’s not fair that some live in mansions while others live in squalor”.