If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
~John F. Kennedy

“We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” ~Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
~Robert Kennedy

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5 thoughts on “Redistribution of Wealth

  1. In some broad strokes: I am outsider and expat German who was raised on the concept of “soziale Marktwirtschaft” (something that germnan politicians ar trying to eliminate as fast as possible, and means a heavily regulated capitalism with a wealth distribution scheme through taxes).
    I perceive the American society to be something of a free for all and everybody against the other, with little concern for those who are not at the top and a society that embraced the concept of Spencer’s “societie’s darwinian struggle” despite in the majority completely being ignorant of the concept of evolution.

    I live in Canada where early on the concept – also now under some threat by the present fundamentalist conservative government of the Harper ilk – of helping each other to survive in a harsh climate produced the only social democratic party in all of north America that successfully introduced the concept of universal medicare, pushed for workers rights and was to some extend the political arm of the unions.

  2. The rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement was NOT inevitable. If during the fracas over the debt ceiling the Tea Party had permitted even a token increase in taxes on the highest 1%, there would have been a feeling that the pain was indeed being shared. If they’d agreed on a return of even some of the banking regulations that had been so recently dismantled after sixty or more years of keeping the US banking system out of trouble, they might have avoided this.

    Instead, the Tea Party’s pet politicians dug in their heels and yapped like the silly little lap dogs they are, preventing good regulations and sharing the cost of government, and now we have the protests. The Tea Party, thinking narrowly about their own best interests (OK, not thinking at all) and refusing to compromise for stupid ideological reasons, have brought this upon themselves.

  3. Distribution of wealth I think is a key economic factor that is sadly missing from our current analysis. The reason is that it is a key component of the multiplier effect – how much a single dollar in circulation affects the GDP. The more people dollars pass through, then the better this effect will be. As our economy becomes top heavy the dollars tend to go relatively directly to the “top” and then stay there, reducing their ability to continue to benefit the economy. People in the lower 90% of income brackets spend most of their earnings, creating demand, which triggers supply and boosts the economy. Concentrate this money in the top 1% and exactly the opposite happens – no money to spend, therefore no demand, therefore economy falters… sound familiar anyone?
    This is a forgotten bonus of taxation – every dollar of taxation (and many more in deficit…) is spent. Most of those dollars find their way back into the economy producing economic activity that benefits all. The business owner may not be happy about paying taxes, but he’s happy when that government employee buys from him. All taxation is a form of wealth redistribution… the solution to this current problem is greater taxation on the wealthy. (of course good fiscal policy is still required – notable European countries have high taxation and financial trouble)
    Somewhere along the line the rich people forgot that they need the rest of us to buy the stuff their factories produce.

  4. Somewhere along the line the rich people forgot that they need the rest of us to buy the stuff their factories produce.

    Probably somewhere around the point where they decided that they didn’t need factories either, and that we could have a magical self-levitating economy in which we all just sell CDOs to each other. Actual productive activity is so gauche…

    Seriously, when you’re making Henry Ford look like a communist, something’s gone horribly wrong.

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