Forums - General Discussion - Obama: Cut the deficit by taxing the rich

HappySqurriel said:

Honestly, income disparity is a poor way to measure fair outcomes in an economy. Supposing the purchasing power per dollar is the same in both scenarios which is a more desireable outcome:

  • A "poor" household earns $25,000 per year, a typical (mean or median) household earns $100,000 per year, and a "rich" household earns $400,000 per year.
  • A "poor" household earns $15,000 per year, a typical (mean or median) household earns $30,000 per year, and a "rich" household earns $60,000 per year.
  • While the households in scenario 1 are all better off than their equlivalents in scenario 2, the focus on more equitable distribution would lead people to choose scenario 2.

     

    We should be discussing how we can grow the economy to ensure that the standard of living of everyone within the economy improves as much as is possible; not discussing how to create an economy where the realitive reward of success is minimized.

    I'm not using it to measure outcomes though... I'm using it as a measure of taxation.

     

    It's just like energy.  A lot of places with Solar and Wind plants also have coal or nuclear plants for a "Baseline" because the technology hasn't gotten sturdy enough yet to always provide enough "base" energy.

    While for coal or Nuclear, you can just crank things up with a knob.

    It's irresponsible to raise the tax burdern too high on the rich, because that amount of money fluctuates wildly. 

     

    You need a strong baseline taxation.   This is why spending needs to be kept low, because obviously you can overtax the dependable "baseline" people who don't make much.

     

    A good start would be selling every military base in a country that we beat in a war over 20 years ago.

    I mean, Do we really need bases in Germany and Japan?



    Around the Network

    @Happysquirrel. What I meant wasn't that the level of wealth couldn't change but in a society at any moment in time there is only so much wealth. If this wealth is all concentrated at the top then clearly the wealth is not at the bottom. Also there is a choice, it isn't black and white. You can grow the pie while redistributing some of it. To not redistribute any of it is awful, it means that unemployed people would have no home, no healthcare and no way out - America already redistributes some of this wealth through social security and medical programs.

     

    @MrStickBall. There is a difference between the poverty line and the standard of living for people well below that poverty line. You were at one but (I'm assuming) not the other. Certainly Americas poorest do not have a great standard of living and one that is well below most others in the Western world.



    Rath said:

    @Happysquirrel. What I meant wasn't that the level of wealth couldn't change but in a society at any moment in time there is only so much wealth. If this wealth is all concentrated at the top then clearly the wealth is not at the bottom. Also there is a choice, it isn't black and white. You can grow the pie while redistributing some of it. To not redistribute any of it is awful, it means that unemployed people would have no home, no healthcare and no way out - America already redistributes some of this wealth through social security and medical programs.

    @MrStickBall. There is a difference between the poverty line and the standard of living for people well below that poverty line. You were at one but (I'm assuming) not the other. Certainly Americas poorest do not have a great standard of living and one that is well below most others in the Western world.

    Given the fact that I am a landlord for people that make money at well below the line, I would say you are grossly over-stating what poverty is in America. Come visit and judge for yourself.

    Yes, at the extreme end, it is pretty bad for the 1% or less of Americans that virtually have no job and don't use the social safety nets like welfare, ect. But in America, you can get a job that pays minimum wage, and as long as you can stand it (meaning you can stand to greet customers at Wal-Mart or flip hamburgers at McDonalds), you could easily survive by yourself. I have rentals for people that make $1,000 a month and still could live decently well if they weren't given to tobacco usage or had better judgement for their choice in partners. Heck, for $1,500/mo you would live pretty well off in Stoutsville if you knew what you were doing. Again speaking of the 1%, I would imagine if you were in the bottom 1%, you'd be kinda bad off if you were in Australia, France, the UK or America.

    Unfortunately, the real issue with Americans and poverty is that those living in poverty usually have wealth-destroying habits like ramping up credit card debt, use tobacco/alcohol, and have sedintary lifestyles that do not seek to better themselves through any means of improvement. These factors are variables that could change with lifestyle alteration, but due habit, they choose to stay at their level of income. The statement, however, is for those that are perpetually poor. In the US, we find that over someone's lifetime, 75% or more of those in the bottom quintile (which is everyone in poverty those below median income) will eventually find themselves in the top 40% (those above median).



    Back from the dead, I'm afraid.

    Rath said:

    @Happysquirrel. What I meant wasn't that the level of wealth couldn't change but in a society at any moment in time there is only so much wealth. If this wealth is all concentrated at the top then clearly the wealth is not at the bottom. Also there is a choice, it isn't black and white. You can grow the pie while redistributing some of it. To not redistribute any of it is awful, it means that unemployed people would have no home, no healthcare and no way out - America already redistributes some of this wealth through social security and medical programs.

     

    @MrStickBall. There is a difference between the poverty line and the standard of living for people well below that poverty line. You were at one but (I'm assuming) not the other. Certainly Americas poorest do not have a great standard of living and one that is well below most others in the Western world.

    You'd be surprised.

    The US isn't the best... but it's above New Zealand for example on the Human Poverty Index which was specifically designed to judge such things. (And Germany and England.)

    http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/indicators/97.html

    And a lot of what brings the US down is procedural issues.  For example our "Probability of not suriving until 60" rank is lower then a lot of countries paritally because we define birth differently then the rest of the western world.  (Also why our infant deaths are so high.)

    To other countries if a baby is born, then died, but isn't big enough, it doesn't count.

     

    Why this is, is because Long Term unemployment is extremely low in the US.  (Edit: Nope, found the 2010 report.  Still in the same place.)


    In the US, the unemployed are always changing, the average homeless person is homless for like a month.... etc.

     

    Statistically even when focusing just on the poor, it's really hard to pick out the US from other western europeon countries despite the more comprhensive saftey nets.  Well... outside the unemployment being much more long term outside of the scandanavian countries.  Who benefit from well... being very specialized.



    America: Home of the brave, Land of the free and Ruled by the rich...

    United  States of Plutocracy.



    Around the Network

    Come to think of it... why the hell is the UK all the way at the bottom of the western world.

     

    Lets see.  They have the same Life Expectancy as the US, despite the Nationalized healthcare, probably related to the fact that they have the same unhealthy habits we do.

    A mean of 9.5 years of schooling... in the UK? 



    That thing you linked me to is for the HPI-1, for less developed countries. Ranked by HDI. The data for HPI-2 is shown below in an awful table (copy paste from excel is pretty awful it turns out).

    As you can see NZ doesn't have an HPI rank because there is no data for one of the sections, but in all other sections we are better than the US.

     

    Edit: To view full table you'll have to click on 'quote' and then you can use scroll bars.

    Edit2: Gah. Link to the excel file is better. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_Tables_rev.xls

     

                  Probability at birth of not surviving to age 60a†
    (% of cohort)
    2005–2010
      People lacking functional literacy skillsb†
    (% aged
    16–65)
    1994–2003
      Long-term unemployment
    (% of
    labour force)
     
    2007
      Population living below 50% of median income
    2000–2005c
      HPI-2 rank minus income poverty rankd
          Human poverty index (HPI-2)          
    HDI rank   Rank   Value
    (%)
             
    VERY HIGH HUMAN DEVELOPMENT                            
    1 Norway   2   6.6   6.6   7.9   0.2   7.1   -6
    2 Australia   14   12.0   6.4   17.0 e 0.7   12.2   -4
    3 Iceland   ..   ..   5.4   ..   0.1   ..   ..
    4 Canada   12   11.2   7.3   14.6   0.4   13.0   -8
    5 Ireland   23   15.9   6.9   22.6 e 1.4   16.2   0
    6 Netherlands   3   7.4   7.1   10.5 e 1.3   4.9 f 1
    7 Sweden   1   6.0   6.3   7.5 e 0.7   5.6   -3
    8 France   8   11.0   7.7   .. g 3.1   7.3   -1
    9 Switzerland   7   10.6   6.4   15.9   1.5   7.6   -3
    10 Japan   13   11.6   6.2   .. g 1.2   11.8 f,h -4
    11 Luxembourg   10   11.2   7.8   .. g 1.3   8.8   -4
    12 Finland   5   7.9   8.2   10.4 e 1.5   6.5   -1
    13 United States   22   15.2   9.7   20.0   0.5   17.3   -2
    14 Austria   9   11.0   7.6   .. g 1.2   7.7   -2
    15 Spain   17   12.4   7.1   .. g 2.0   14.2   -4
    16 Denmark   4   7.7   9.2   9.6 e 0.7   5.6   1
    17 Belgium   15   12.2   8.0   18.4 e,i 3.8   8.1   3
    18 Italy   25   29.8   6.8   47.0   2.8   12.8   6

     

    20 New Zealand   ..   ..   7.6   18.4 e 0.2   ..   ..
    21 United Kingdom   21   14.6   7.8   21.8 e 1.3   11.6   5
    22 Germany   6   10.1   7.6   14.4 e 4.8   8.4   -7
    25 Greece   18   12.5   7.0   .. g 4.1   14.3   -4
    26 Korea (Republic of)   ..   ..   8.1   ..   0.0   ..   ..
    34 Portugal   ..   ..   8.7   ..   3.7   ..   ..
    36 Czech Republic   11   11.2   10.2   .. g 2.8   4.9 f 10


    Can't see which chart your referring to.  Though yeah, i linked something then found something better.  Was just too lazy to link it and look at things outside the US's relative rank.

    New Zealand actually seems to have improved a lot since 2007.

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Tables_reprint.pdf


    Really makes the chart interesting though, I wonder why New Zealand doesn't have those markers.

    Regardless, i imagine you'd be quite surprised if you compared the poor here with the poor in your average europeon country.


    The very poor isn't where the difference lies... they're covered by the saftey net.  In reality... the extreme poor are probably better off then Europe, since they would qualify for government healthcare, and the US has more aggressive treatment plans then Europe.

     

    The issue is really, the people who don't meet those requirements, yet who aren't rich either... who spend their money poorly.  They get screwed because they don't plan right... and drop into the lower levels... they are fine, but poorer.



    What I'd like is a comparative analysis of living standards among those defined as in 'poverty' by the major nations.

    It may help define the argument a bit better. I know the HDR takes a lot of things into consideration, but their baselines seem a little too broad.



    Back from the dead, I'm afraid.

    mrstickball said:

    What I'd like is a comparative analysis of living standards among those defined as in 'poverty' by the major nations.

    It may help define the argument a bit better.


    Yeah, i've been looking.  No luck. 

    That's always the issue with those UN global studies too.  They just accept each nations definition without actually equalizing the data.  Hence why things like the US Infinite mortality looks high (because we report all infant deaths like everyone else.) and why some scandnavian countries have strangely high rape numbers. (They could each act as a rape rather then just together.)

    Apparently 46% of the people in the US who are considered poor own their own houses.  Or did.  That figure is probably lower.

     

    Edit: Eh, actually that doesn't help much since it doesn't define actual poverty.  Though it does show the usual Krugman "make shit up" philosphy.

    I'll leave the link up anyway though.  http://lanekenworthy.net/2008/02/20/absolute-poverty/

    Also this

    http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/5313/1/MPRA_paper_5313.pdf

     

    When it comes to absolute poverty we're higher then a lot of europeon countries, but doesn't really cover healthcare and stuff.