Infographics show the distribution of wealth in USA, 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.

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Hi Joan!  I couldn't download this video, but I am watching to see what you have stirred up here.  It should be interesting.

Contradicting what schoolchildren hear, America's founders intended wealth inequality. I find it saddening that we have have for thirty years accepted the increasing inequality. The passivity religion teaches is partly responsible.

From the 1787 Constitutional Convention as recorded by James Madison, here are relevant words of two founders: 

Alexander Hamilton. The people seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the rich and well-born a distinct and permanent share in the government. (June 18)

James Madison. An increase of population will increase the proportion who labor under all the hardships of life and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. The government ought to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. (June 26)

The Convention itself resulted when Alexander Hamilton brought together people who otherwise didn't communicate. Madison recorded the delegates' words and we have them today because he recorded them.

An online search will show you all of Madison's records of the Convention's proceedings. Look for Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Choose the cite that mentions three volumes or you will get lost in verbiage about the Convention. In Volumes One and Two you will see Madison's records of what Convention delegates said. In Volume Three you will see what people outside the Convention wrote.

Tom, thanks for these references. I have not read them before; however, history and data reveal this to be true. Your references: 

Federal Convention of 1787. Max Farrand's Records, three volumes. Vol. I & II Madison's records; Vol III people outside the Convention wrote. 

"The people seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the rich and well-born a distinct and permanent share in the government." (June 18)

Alexander Hamilton.

"An increase of population will increase the proportion who labor under all the hardships of life and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. The government ought to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." (June 26)

James Madison.

Well, there you have it, the Founding Fathers had motive, intent, and opportunity to protect property rights. OK, the implication for working people and small business is to ... ?

Warning! Dangerous Minds: Dr. Richard Wolff Gives A No BS Breakdown...

Dogly, I had a dickens of a time finding a video that I could get over here. The narrative is important. I hope this one works. Let me know if it doesn't and I can try another option. 

Wealth Inequality in America

Dogly, sorry you couldn't get the second video. There is some incompatibility with it because I had a lot of trouble with it. Yes, the general public doesn't seem to be able to recognize what goes on and why. It really isn't very complicated. Individuals who own wealth hire workers at the lowest wages they can get away with. Wage earners, trying to live up to the relatively high wages from the end of WWII to 1975 couldn't do it on one wage earner, so women joined the labor force. There were other social factors going on, but with so many goods and services available, wage earners wanted part of those nice things, meals out, and education for their kids and retirement for themselves. When they didn't have cash, they started borrowing ... until they maxed out cards. Jobs going overseas, stressors on lowering wages and decline of labor unions put even more stresses on family. High tax rates for wealthy to help build up USA after the Great Depression and WWII, started coming down from over 90% then to 71% and then falling even lower until the current rate of taxes on investment in capital was lower than the tax rate of wage earners. Wealthy also had more tax shelters. So, all the public expense load grew heavier on wage earners. 

Let's see if you can get this graph 
The video is called "Wealth Inequality in America"

Here is another try at the same article from a different source: 

Workers & Labor - Wealth Inequality in America. Why work?

Here are the words of some more founders in the 1787 Convention.

Roger Sherman. The people should have as little to do as may be about the Government. They lack information and are constantly liable to be misled. (May 31)

Governeur Morris. The second branch ought to be composed of men of great and established property--an aristocracy. (July 2)

John Mercer. It is a first principle in political science that where the rights of property are secured, aristocracy will grow. Elective governments also become aristocratic because the rulers will draw advantage for themselves from the many. (August 14)

Edmund Randolph. We have in some revolutions of this plan made a bold stroke for monarchy. We are now doing the same for an aristocracy. (September 5)

George Mason. This constitution will begin a moderate aristocracy. It will probably vibrate between a monarchy or a corrupt and oppressive aristocracy then end in one or the other. (September 15)

- - - - -

While the Articles of Confederation needed revision, Mercer's remark about elective governments becoming aristocracies merit close attention.

In the Confederation Congress, members could serve a maximum of two consecutive terms and then, in Ben Franklin's metaphor, they had to go back among "the rulers" for a term before they could run again.

The founders expected factions to form and dissolve in Congress as issues changed. Instead, parties formed quickly. If the Convention had left the Articles' term limits in place, the turnover in membership would have at least slowed the formation of parties.

Though the parties disagreed on issues, their long-serving members became more like each other and more different from the people who elected them. The aristocracy Mercer had predicted became a reality.

Money to pay for elections flowed in larger amounts to candidates who were most likely to win and elections became the bribery/extortion racket we have today. Because incumbents can more easily raise money, their ability to do so strengthens the aristocracy.

Joan's post illustrates well the post-WW2 changes in tax rates and more. The Washington aristocracy, so different from the voters in so many ways, took better care of the people and corporations who funded their elections. It even subsidized the companies that sent jobs overseas to places where labor cost less and regulations were fewer.

Sure, the two parties seem at each others' throats. In the important matters they take good care of their funders.

Here's an embed of that video, which is easier for readers to access.

It still shocks me to see how skewed US wealth is, even though I know it intellectually. That fact that Republicans are just as ignorant as Democrats about income inequality is also mind numbing.


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