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World's 85 richest have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    There are roughly 7 billion people on this planet. And a new report from Oxfam 10 startling facts about global wealth inequality shows that the 85 richest people in the world are worth the same as the poorest 3.5 billion. So, 85 people have the same collective wealth as half the world's population!

    There are several stats in this new report. Definitely worth the read, especially where they point out that income inequality is far worse (or contrasted, depending on your personal take of the issue) in the United States than any other country in the world.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Sarah Palin referred to this as AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The Center for American Progress has published a graph showing a strong correlation between rising inequality and decline in union membership. Take a look at the graph in this link and tell me if you disagree.

    Latest Census Data Underscore How Important Unions Are for the Middle Class

    "Between 1967 and 2012, nationwide union membership fell from 28.3 percent of all workers to a low of 11.3 percent, with significant drops observed in all 50 states. This trend has been mirrored by the steady decline in the share of the nation’s income going to the middle 60 percent of households, which fell from 52.3 percent to 45.7 percent over the same time period. According to the newly released Census figures, neither measure showed any signs of reversing these troubling trends last year. Between 2011 and 2012, union membership declined even further, by 0.6 percentage points, while the middle class’s share of national income remained stagnant at 45.7 percent, its lowest level since data were first reported.

    "Meanwhile, the share of national income going to the top 5 percent has only increased. Last year, it stood at 22.3 percent, up from 17.2 percent in 1967. Last year’s measure equals the second-highest level recorded since the Census Bureau began keeping track of the figure 45 years ago."


    I am a strong supporter of unions, and I owe my education and career to the fact that my father, a miner in Butte, Montana, earned union wages that were sufficient to see that all five of his children would get a college education. Of course there were a lot of other benefits that unions brought to the workplace that we take for granted today, including safety of workers, a 40 hour work week, weekends off, paid vacations and more...

    Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life

    So if we want to fight inequality in America and most of the rest of the developed world where union membership has declined, then we need to get rid of the corporate union busting laws (aka right to work laws) and let the unions negotiate your wages and benefits. We also need to revamp trade agreements that allow corporations to ship American workers jobs overseas where there is no respect for workers safety and health. And we need to change the tax laws that allow American corporations to ship jobs overseas while avoiding paying US taxes.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: The Center for American Progress has published a graph showing a strong correlation between rising inequality and decline in union membership. Take a look at the graph in this link and tell me if you disagree.

    Latest Census Data Underscore How Important Unions Are for the Middle Class

    "Between 1967 and 2012, nationwide union membership fell from 28.3 percent of all workers to a low of 11.3 percent, with significant drops observed in all 50 states. This trend has been mirrored by the steady decline in the share of the nation’s income going to the middle 60 percent of households, which fell from 52.3 percent to 45.7 percent over the same time period. According to the newly released Census figures, neither measure showed any signs of reversing these troubling trends last year. Between 2011 and 2012, union membership declined even further, by 0.6 percentage points, while the middle class’s share of national income remained stagnant at 45.7 percent, its lowest level since data were first reported.

    "Meanwhile, the share of national income going to the top 5 percent has only increased. Last year, it stood at 22.3 percent, up from 17.2 percent in 1967. Last year’s measure equals the second-highest level recorded since the Census Bureau began keeping track of the figure 45 years ago."


    I am a strong supporter of unions, and I owe my education and career to the fact that my father, a miner in Butte, Montana, earned union wages that were sufficient to see that all five of his children would get a college education. Of course there were a lot of other benefits that unions brought to the workplace that we take for granted today, including safety of workers, a 40 hour work week, weekends off, paid vacations and more...

    Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life

    So if we want to fight inequality in America and most of the rest of the developed world where union membership has declined, then we need to get rid of the corporate union busting laws (aka right to work laws) and let the unions negotiate your wages and benefits. We also need to revamp trade agreements that allow corporations to ship American workers jobs overseas where there is no respect for workers safety and health. And we need to change the tax laws that allow American corporations to ship jobs overseas while avoiding paying US taxes.
    "Schmidt" good piece; however I wonder about the "overseas jobs" ; when I was sent here by the corporation,I had to pay taxes in both countries and had to fill in both the forms; since my wife is still Dutch, I still have to file the taxes there as well; however there is a clause that you cannot be charged double; so if I did add her income under the US taxes than the Dutch taxes are waived.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    sbfriedman you say ..."income inequality is far worse in the United States than any other country in the world"...

    I don't believe that. I have lived in other countries, civilized, modern first rate countries, and also 3rd world shithole countries, and some of those third world countries don't have hardly any middle class. Their income inequality is FAR worse than here in the US.

    The only way it can be said to be worse in America is because of our number of ultra rich.

    Anything that a person wants to believe, there's a poll, a report, a study that will tell you EXACTLY what you want.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch --

    When I said overseas jobs, I was referring mostly to companies taking advantage of manufacturing goods in 3rd world countries using ultra cheap labor. Those overseas workers are often subjected to harsh and unsafe working conditions, very long hours with low pay and the products that they make are then shipped back to the USA to be sold in Walmart. Then in turn Walmart pays it US workers such low wages that they qualify for Medicaid at taxpayers expense again. In the meantime, the Walmart family owners gets richer and richer and richer. I use Walmart as an example. There are other companies doing the same thing.

    I saw in Forbes that each of the Walmart brothers/sisters has a net worth of something like $34 billion. Why do they need all that money and even more?

    Okay I got sidetracked a bit on Walmart. But getting back to US companies in general, much of the enormous profits that these companies generate overseas from cheap labor are not taxed in the USA because companies keep those profits on the books of their foreign subsidiaries. If they claimed them on their own books they would in fact be taxed. By some estimates there is some $2 trillion dollars in untaxed revenue sitting on the books of US corporate overseas subsidiaries.

    Also as you know, the United States is one country that taxes its corporations and individuals on their worldwide income, but they do allow any foreign taxes paid to be deducted from USA taxes...hence no double taxation. I assume other countries do the same.

    In addition there is a foreign income exclusion that allows a US individual or company to deduct a certain level of foreign earned income ($97,600 for 2013) by simply qualifying as a bonafide overseas resident. I don't think this makes a big impact on the big transnational companies, but it does encourage employing US workers with certain skill sets in overseas positions. I mean if you can't get a job in the USA, there are opportunities and tax incentives to take your skills elsewhere.

    Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

    The bottom line is that there are numerous tax breaks for US corporations and US citizens by investing and working overseas. I'm not a tax expert, but it seems to me that the tax code needs to be revamped to incentivize investment in the USA rather than the opposite.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: sbfriedman you say ..."income inequality is far worse in the United States than any other country in the world"...

    I don't believe that. I have lived in other countries, civilized, modern first rate countries, and also 3rd world shithole countries, and some of those third world countries don't have hardly any middle class. Their income inequality is FAR worse than here in the US.

    The only way it can be said to be worse in America is because of our number of ultra rich.

    Anything that a person wants to believe, there's a poll, a report, a study that will tell you EXACTLY what you want.
    I think "friedman" meant the "gap" money wise i.e. billionairs with billions and the poor with only social security or aid.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Dutch Yeah, you may be right. My point is that the middle class, poor, and even the very poor in this country are much better off than those in other countries.

    If the "haves vs the have-nots" gap is measured in a way to show that it is widest in America then that's just the message that they wanted to get. America has more super rich people than most countries.

    SB sorry if I misunderstood your meaning.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    What are we trying to say here? Put a limit on profits, and make mandatory the involvement of profit sharing into community projects, and what will determine the amount in either real dollars or a percentage of the profits would that entail, and how would it be enforced?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    johnnycee Wrote: What are we trying to say here? Put a limit on profits, and make mandatory the involvement of profit sharing into community projects, and what will determine the amount in either real dollars or a percentage of the profits would that entail, and how would it be enforced?
    I don't think that's what anyone is saying at all. For starters, your argument begins from a false pretense. No one is calling for corporations to have to funnel their profits to the poor, even though that is exactly what the "trickle down" economic theory is all about. What they are calling for is a fair system where the super wealthy don't make all the rules. The richest people in America systematically game the economic system to funnel as much wealth towards the top as possible. Take one look at our tax code and ask yourself if I'm wrong in my assessment.

    We also must divorce the "world's richest" from "wealthy" people. What constitutes rich is something that is open for debate. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in New York goes far less than it would in Mississippi. The "hundred thousandaire's," and even many millionaires, shouldn't be lumped into the same category as the super wealthy. However, when you talk about the super rich, I whole heartily feel that they have taken over our economic system solely to perpetuate their own wealth at the expense of billions of other people.

    If you read the study, they sounded a major alarm about this massive concentration of wealth that these 85 people hold. Just try to wrap your head around the fact that a few dozen people have more wealth than 3.5 Billion people. It's hard to fathom when you actually try to think about it.

    The report states that this concentration of wealth can "harm democracy and reduce equal opportunity, as the wealthy begin to have an undue influence on government policy making." Take one look at our government and ask yourself if that hasn't already happened.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I said nothing about the poor being the sole benefactors of any trickle down theory, I said community projects might be the gainers of any wealth redistribution, and BTW, are these 85 people corporate or single family holdings in different trusts, do they include the various monarchies and dictatorships and lets forget the Middle East Potentate's, hell, the Saudi family is so rich named the country after themselves, so by not naming the holders of this wealth and how they came about accumulating this wealth leaves a lot to conjecture. To me it sounds like you want some type of limit's placed on wealth accumulation or at least a formula of wealth redistribution.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia doesn't even come close to hitting the top ten. That's why I suggest that people read these studies before they form their opinions. Saudi Arabia, for all of her faults, actually takes care of her citizens monetarily. We can have another discussion when it comes to civil and human rights because they fail miserably with those.

    This study talks about the 85 richest individuals in the world and not the 85 richest corporations or countries.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Dutch Wrote:
    jamesn Wrote: sbfriedman you say ..."income inequality is far worse in the United States than any other country in the world"...

    I don't believe that. I have lived in other countries, civilized, modern first rate countries, and also 3rd world shithole countries, and some of those third world countries don't have hardly any middle class. Their income inequality is FAR worse than here in the US.

    The only way it can be said to be worse in America is because of our number of ultra rich.

    Anything that a person wants to believe, there's a poll, a report, a study that will tell you EXACTLY what you want.
    I think "friedman" meant the "gap" money wise i.e. billionairs with billions and the poor with only social security or aid.
    Yes. That's basically what I was referring to. If you look on the Oxfam page, there's a few graphs that show that the United States' income inequality gap is currently growing more divided than any other country; that's more to the point of what I was talking about.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    sbfriedman Wrote:
    Dutch Wrote:
    jamesn Wrote: sbfriedman you say ..."income inequality is far worse in the United States than any other country in the world"...

    I don't believe that. I have lived in other countries, civilized, modern first rate countries, and also 3rd world shithole countries, and some of those third world countries don't have hardly any middle class. Their income inequality is FAR worse than here in the US.

    The only way it can be said to be worse in America is because of our number of ultra rich.

    Anything that a person wants to believe, there's a poll, a report, a study that will tell you EXACTLY what you want.
    I think "friedman" meant the "gap" money wise i.e. billionairs with billions and the poor with only social security or aid.
    Yes. That's basically what I was referring to. If you look on the Oxfam page, there's a few graphs that show that the United States' income inequality gap is currently growing more divided than any other country; that's more to the point of what I was talking about.
    If that is your point then, I would like hear your solutions to this growing problem? without limits being placed on profits, or mandatory participation by these wealthy 85 to help ease the social problems we now have.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    sb I think I got your meaning after some confusion on my part when I first read your post.

    Income gap in the US is not the greatest, but is growing the fastest, I think that's what you are saying. Either way it's not good news.

    As for the pyramid showing the assets of the world's adult population: The bottom of the pyramid shows 68% have less than $10,000 per person. As bad as that sounds, $10,000 in many countries is a considerable sum. Everything costs less, and I mean a LOT less in a large percentage of the world. I'm not saying that's a good thing that most of the world has less than 10K per adult, but we tend to think of it on American dollar terms which makes it sound much worse.

    It's like comparing apples to apples, or apples to oranges.