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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting editorial in today's WFP:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/op...lity----thy-name-is-revolution-117223113.html

"At the end of 2009, just 3.8 per cent of Canadian households controlled $1.78 trillion of financial wealth -- 67 per cent of the total."

The people at the top are robbing all the wealth for themselves, despite all the hard work by those in lower classes. I firmly believe every individual has a duty and an obligation to get off their duff and work, instead of expecting the gov't to take care of them in one way or other. That said, the middle and low class people mentioned in this article DO work. It's just that the wealth is being kept at the top instead of more fairly distributed.

Solving this inequality (beyond simply creating more taxes on the middle class) would be the right thing to do, but the politicians and business leaders of today can't be trusted to do the right thing. They'll just invent more taxes and call it a day.
 

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As much as I can agree that the wealthy deserve what they've earned by way of their investment of time, knowledge, and money it always seems to be forgotten that their returns are also earned off the backs of employees and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, employee salaries and wages have been stagnant for at least 20 years only keeping up with inflation if even that. The buying power of middle incomers (and certainly lower income earners) is less today than it was a couple of decades ago. Also there are new "necessities" that didn't exist then that do today such as cellphones and internet connections. Add recent increases in the cost of energy and oil and it all adds up. Most renters experience annual rent increases with declining benefits to their dwellings. The list goes on.

As for taxes, increasing them on middle incomers only exacerbates the problem. By all means, the wealthy earned what they've built. But if you own 67% of the wealth without any trickle down effect to those that are key to your achieving it then share it with those that you share infrastructure and resources with.
 

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As much as I can agree that the wealthy deserve what they've earned by way of their investment of time, knowledge, and money it always seems to be forgotten that their returns are also earned off the backs of employees and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, employee salaries and wages have been stagnant for at least 20 years only keeping up with inflation if even that.

[...]
Are the salaries/wages stagnant because of the wealthy or because of the sheep that are too comfortable to take risks or change companies?

My personal favourite was overhearing at the lunch table that "I liked the job/salary that was advertised but didn't apply as I did not think I was qualified. Now the person I'm training has given their notice as they have applied and got the job".


Cheers
 

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My personal favourite was overhearing at the lunch table that "I liked the job/salary that was advertised but didn't apply as I did not think I was qualified. Now the person I'm training has given their notice as they have applied and got the job".
Nice one!

I don't really see the rich/poor gap as being all that important. In my opinion, a number like the percentage of population at poverty level or below is more telling.

In other words, if you have a situation where the poorest people are doing ok, it doesn't matter how rich the rich are.
 

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OK, in case you didn't know this, capitalism, by its very nature is pyramid shaped, in that a very few people at the top of the pyramid will own/control the lions share of the wealth pie and the many people at the bottom will always have very little. The names and faces may change a one succeeds and flourishes and climbs up the pyramid only to have someone else fall down a notch or two.

You see, if you took all the money of the people at the top and distributed to the people at the bottom, without any corresponding increase in productivity (to the contrary, it would actually be very un-productive) it would become completely inflationary and presto, those very same people would be poor again. The rich would also be poor but they would most likely figure out a way to get a lot of the money back and the pyramid would reform again.

The communist tried this. They had to create shortages and lineups just to keep their economy from imploding immediately.

Anyways, that is the way it is. The best we can do is regulate it a little, allow the system to generate as much GDP as possible and increase the pie so that the pathetic percentage amount the people at the bottom will have can be as big as possible. The rich of course, will get richer, but the poor will get a little richer as well.
 

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Meanwhile, employee salaries and wages have been stagnant for at least 20 years only keeping up with inflation if even that.
I know that is something that we HEAR all the time, but I'm pretty curious as to how it was decided that salaries have been stagnant...

Pretty much every middle class profession or skilled trade that I can think of has seen astronomical salary increases over the last 10 years. Teachers, nurses, police officers, electricians, plumbers, anyone involved in construction... the list goes on and on.

In the late 1990's nurses were considered to be seriously overworked and underpaid. A brand new nurse today can expect to make 60K+ right out of the starting gate.

I just looked at bargaining agreements for my own job for the last 10 years and discovered that the starting salary for my position increased 50% between 2000 and 2010, or 4.2% annually. Compare that to an inflation rate of 2%!

So are salaries for the middle class really stagnant? Or maybe, we've just added a lot of low paying unskilled jobs that have offset incredible salary increases elsewhere?

At any rate, I don't see the middle class suffering, and none of the middle class people I know are complaining about what they get paid. I see the middle class parking their big SUV's in their even bigger two car garages. Sitting on their Italian leather sofas, watching their 52 inch plasma screens, in the cavernous living rooms of their 2 year old open concept houses, eating out 3-4 nights a week and vacationing at five star resorts in Aruba and the Cayman islands. (Come to think of it, the only thing I don't see them doing much of is saving for retirement... but that's a whole other story!)
 

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If all the wealth is concentrated among a few families at the top, why do they always say they can't cut taxes on the middle class, because that brings in the most tax revenue?
 

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OK, in case you didn't know this, capitalism, by its very nature is pyramid shaped, in that a very few people at the top of the pyramid will own/control the lions share of the wealth pie and the many people at the bottom will always have very little. The names and faces may change a one succeeds and flourishes and climbs up the pyramid only to have someone else fall down a notch or two.

You see, if you took all the money of the people at the top and distributed to the people at the bottom, without any corresponding increase in productivity (to the contrary, it would actually be very un-productive) it would become completely inflationary and presto, those very same people would be poor again. The rich would also be poor but they would most likely figure out a way to get a lot of the money back and the pyramid would reform again.

The communist tried this. They had to create shortages and lineups just to keep their economy from imploding immediately.

Anyways, that is the way it is. The best we can do is regulate it a little, allow the system to generate as much GDP as possible and increase the pie so that the pathetic percentage amount the people at the bottom will have can be as big as possible. The rich of course, will get richer, but the poor will get a little richer as well.
You're absolutely right, and the more "pure" the capitalism is, the faster the pyramid forms. Until things go too far and then the bottom revolts and chops off the heads of those at the top. :)

There is always corruption in the system so even communism is doomed to fail, just as capitalism is (in their pure forms, and I mean eventually, without interference). Ultimately there should be one mega-corporation that owns everything that everyone works for. Come to think of it, science fiction movies always have this scenario, don't they? lol
 

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If all the wealth is concentrated among a few families at the top, why do they always say they can't cut taxes on the middle class, because that brings in the most tax revenue?
Who is the "they" in "they always say"? Probably the few families at the top (through influencing policy and using power and money to keep the status quo).
 

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Who is the "they" in "they always say"? Probably the few families at the top (through influencing policy and using power and money to keep the status quo).
Yup, everyone likes to blame the government when really they have little say. Power is money and heads of states make a fraction of what heads of companies make. People still cry non stop they make too much and are crooked. You have to pay police enough to not be bribed by street criminals, and you'd have to pay politicians a lot more to not be bribed by the big guys. Ever noticed how many heads of states seem to die in plane crashes and freak accidents etc? Those are the ones who tried to be straight.

Taxes are not the solution, you just need to regulate companies a bit to share a certain amount of profit or gains with employees. The pyramid is quite distorted from my perspective. Globalization means you pretty much have no control over companies anymore, international law is a joke heavily controlled by the same people. If you raise taxes on these people, it will hurt you more because they just move to a country that will accommodate them better
 

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OpstyEagle is right the rich will usually find ways to get richer while the poor will find ways to get poor again even when they do make some good money. I remember when 6 people in Smithers BC split the lotto 6/49 and have heard that they are all back working like they did before except maybe with a little more real estate then they had before.

I also was talking to a Korean at work who said that fellow Koreans like to set up their convenience stores in the poor neighborhoods of LA because those people don't think twice about spending any money they have.

In the end the true answer is education. We need to educate people about money and how to use it and so on. We also need to help people learn in different ways because not everyone learns in the set ways schools teach today. Also I was reading Danielle Park blog and you might find this one interesting on education.
http://www.jugglingdynamite.com/blog/_archives/2011/1/9/4722884.html
 

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One last point. We all would like to be wealthy or at least financially independant. If you get down to the true definition of wealth, it is not a specific number of dollars or a wieght in gold, or property.

It is simply this:

"Your ability to convince someone else to do something for you or to give you something that is theirs".

That is what wealth is and all that wealth is. As you can see from its definition, it pretty much requires someone poorer then you for it to work. That is why capitalism requires a wealth pyramid to work. Without the poor there can be no rich. Unfortuneate but true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Assuming I agree with you eagle, can you and the rest of the folks in this discussion at least agree that something needs to be done to share more wealth from the top to those people who are doing the work that leads to the success of the rich? I'm NOT suggesting a tax, I am suggesting higher salaries for the working class and lower salaries for the rich. The people at the top are making off like bandits, enabled by their gov't friends, and then the gov't comes along and increases taxes. This hurts the low and middle class people quite a bit as they are already squeezed.
 

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Assuming I agree with you eagle, can you and the rest of the folks in this discussion at least agree that something needs to be done to share more wealth from the top to those people who are doing the work that leads to the success of the rich? I'm NOT suggesting a tax, I am suggesting higher salaries for the working class and lower salaries for the rich. The people at the top are making off like bandits, enabled by their gov't friends, and then the gov't comes along and increases taxes. This hurts the low and middle class people quite a bit as they are already squeezed.
How exactly do you propose to accomplish this without taxes?
 

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I recommend that people with higher income will be taxed at a progressively higher rate than people with lower income. A progressive income tax scheme if you will.

Second is to abolish the sales tax altogether. Sales tax is unfair to lower income individuals. High income individuals spend a much smaller proportion of their income on life essentials like food, electricity, and housing. Therefore sales tax proportionally affects the poor much more than the rich, because the poor has to spend almost all of their income on life essentials.
 

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Assuming I agree with you eagle, can you and the rest of the folks in this discussion at least agree that something needs to be done to share more wealth from the top to those people who are doing the work that leads to the success of the rich? I'm NOT suggesting a tax, I am suggesting higher salaries for the working class and lower salaries for the rich. The people at the top are making off like bandits, enabled by their gov't friends, and then the gov't comes along and increases taxes. This hurts the low and middle class people quite a bit as they are already squeezed.
I would if it would work. But it will not. If you just raise the pay of the people doing the work, (which is another way of taking it from the rich, which I am not opposed to), it will become mostly inflationary and the poor will end up just as poor.

The only way these people can prosper is if what you give them incenticises them to produce more and even then the rich will get richer. My point is, there will always be, because there has to be a big divide between the rich and the poor.

The reason the poor are so poor is because there are not enough people around that are poorer. Without someone with less, you cannot have more. I really can't explain it any better. It is the way it is. I also don't get any satisfaction from helping Joe Citizen improve his lot in life, only to see Jack Citizen starting to have difficulty making ends meet.

I do wish it were not so or there was a better economic system to deal with this, but so far no one has come up with one.
 

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ISecond is to abolish the sales tax altogether. Sales tax is unfair to lower income individuals. High income individuals spend a much smaller proportion of their income on life essentials like food, electricity, and housing. Therefore sales tax proportionally affects the poor much more than the rich, because the poor has to spend almost all of their income on life essentials.
Wrong - Sales taxes like the GST / HST are the best type of taxes. We should increase sales taxes and decrease income & other less efficient taxes to grow the economy and create jobs.

Governments acknowledge your issues with sales taxes and adjust them to reflect these issues. Thus the GST / HST rebate + Ontario Sales Tax rebate to low income earners. The base amount of rebate is $260 + 250 = $510 for these programs thus people who receive these benefits do not pay sales tax on the first $510 / .13 = $3,923 of taxable purchases.

As well there is no GST / HST on basic food or housing. Yes there is a sales tax on electricity but there are other issues involving power that make it impractical to subsidize (hence the rebate).
 

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Equality of Opportunity is the corner stone of a free society not Equality of Outcome.
In reality is there equality of opportunity? . . . consider the wealthy trust-fund kid with university and family connections who has way more opportunities than the poor kid whose parents never finished high school and are living a disruptive lifestyle (for that kid's success).

Equality of TRYING is certainly there - many can work/talent/luck their way out of poverty but the fact is most don't because the systemic barriers (social, political, cultural, educational, financial, etc.) that are in place keep people "down".

What I have always found interesting, and what is actually happening in the Middle East right now, is that the true power is ultimately in the populace. In a democracy, a person's vote is POWER. I think to some extent people have been duped into paying attention to the "noise" of media and many are non-participants in their own democracy such that they passively accept what happens around them. If people use their right of protest and the power of their votes (and I mean LOTS of people), things can change.

As a last little aside, I've wondered sometimes why women, who make up 51% of the population (roughly) don't band together with the power of their votes and shake up the male-dominated political landscape? :)
 
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