Bret is, I think, referring to analyzing income distribution in any
way, shape or form. Mean, median, standard deviation, plots, curves
etc. The rich hate this. It makes them look, well, kinda greedy.
Like they have just a little too big a piece of the pie, for the good
of the rest of us. Gee, I wonder why.
Before jumping to any conclusions about monied interests' corp. media
propaganda, we need only focus on one issue:
Why there is only _one_ distribution in Nature where it is OK to
discuss the median value but not the average mean value?
This is getting curiouser and curiouser.
What's interesting is the number of rightards who'll enter a
discussion without even bothering to look up the definitions of the
Even basic logic is hard for rightards. Just ask them if free speech
is a precondition of free trade. They are too stupid/confused/
picobrained to even figure out it's a self evident truth.
But the entire thing rests on an assumption that's so crazy even
rightard economists will not vouch for it:
There is only _one_ distribution in Nature where the median value is
meaningful but the average mean value is meaningless.
Who with any basic tech, math or science background is going to
believe THAT one?
And the best part of it all is, it was done right out in the open just
like Cheney's war crimes.
Ummm...yes. This whole ridiculous discussion.
Either way, mean or median, the income - and the standard of living it
provides - is fantastic in this country by any objective, absolute,
historical standard. The middle class in this country - and for that
matter in most of the industrial world - lives in many respects better
than the aristocracy of a mere 100 or so years ago.
PBS has done a number of fascinating programs where people volunteer
to go back and try and duplicate living in certain periods in history
- the pioneers, Victorian England, etc. Everyone thinks the idea so
romantic...until they have to endure what people in those eras had to.
The romanticism quickly vanishes in the face of the hardships that
even the moderately well-off experienced.
Your argument rests on the fallacious Marxist assumption that the rich
are exploiting the rest of us. In fact we are the ones who *choose* of
our own free will to make them rich by purchasing the products/
services they provide. Most honest people realize that they do not
create the wealth at the level of the rich because they are probably
unable to. In other cases they just may not want to. It does in fact
take a lot of hard work, perseverance, creativity, and most especially
a willingness to take risks to achieve great wealth. Relatively few of
us have either the intelligence or drive to do it. Fortunately there
are those who do.
Instead of looting from them, we should be grateful for their efforts.
Without them our standard of living would be significantly lower than
it is. The communists thought that if they got rid of the rich that it
would create a worker's paradise. All that exploitation would be gone
and the wealth would go to the supposedly true producers - the
workers. Well, we saw what actually happened. Clearly there are a lot
of you still engaged in a kind of self-induced blindness in regard to
I don't know about the "lovely" part, but thanks for the thought.
Then, when they are eliminated in communist countries and their
property is confiscated why do those countries immediately sink into
poverty and millions try to escape? And that's not even counting the
mass famine caused by Stalin and Mao by eliminating those "rich people
(who) contribute nothing".
Now in contrast, why is it that when countries introduce incentives
for people to get rich that their economies explode and the overall
standard of living improves substantially? There are many recent
examples of just that but there is no excuse in not knowing the
history of the US in that regard. It's why 10's of millions of people
came to the US - many to seek that very wealth which you condemn and
in the process of seeking it transformed a wilderness into an
industrial powerhouse (with millions still wanting to get in).
You mean of the workers whose standard of living is now greater in
many respects than the aristocracy of 100-200 years ago? That
exploitation? The "exploitation" which gave these workers abundant and
inexpensive food, railroads, electricity, automobiles, air travel, an
array of modern conveniences and entertainment? That exploitation?
Uh, huh. I got news for you, there will also never be any communists
because every time it fails the communists will claim that it was not
"true" communism. True communism, you see, is the delusional fantasy
of communists which cannot be implemented in reality.
Sorry, your credibility just flew out the window with hyperbolic
comments like this. Here is a short list of things that rich people
-- useful products
-- technological innovation
-- capital that allows for technological innovation
-- charitable contributions
-- etc. etc.
And all possessions, whether by rich or poor, are maintained by the
threat of force.
So everyone is a victim, eh? The unfortunate thing is that the victim
mentality does not good for the "victim".
(laugh) So everyone who has ever achieved wealth has done so by
unscrupulous means? So unscrupulous behaviour is a necessary condition
for obtaining wealth?
Wow, you have drunk the kool-aid and gone back for seconds and
In actual fact, none of these things are contributed by rich people. Such
things may, indeed, be _produced_ or _supplied_ by _SOME_ people who are
attempting to become rich or by people as they attempt to remain rich.
But being rich contributes NOTHING in and of itself.
That also is a lie. For the most part, the existence of private
ownership in earned property is a moral principal that is universally
recognized by the American people. For the most part the enforcement
of such recognized "rights" by force or the threat of force is
unnecessary. Only when the distribution of ownership in UNEARNED wealth
becomes extreme is the use of or threat of force needed at all.
Not until that victimization can be defined and illustrated as it is by
Henry George. Not until it is recognized that natural resources are
naturally occurring thus unearned and separate and distinct from the
earned "capital" means of production is it possible to illustrate the rip
off in very clear terms. The distinction between "earned" and "unearned"
is difficult. But it is not impossible and it lies at the heart of
economic justice and thence at the heart of justice et al. The argument
is not based on altruism or even on utilitarianism (though the latter
would suffice). It is based very easily on simple justice.
Of course not. That is the moonbat position.
Agreed! That is the moonbat koolaid. But let us not close our eyes to
the rightard koolaid (that rashly assumes that all wealth is earned or
awarded by the luck of the draw) either.
Every now and then we see this sort of stuff and it is good. But how does
his _BEING_ rich in and of itself do anything? What if all of his dough
was distributed differently? What proof is there that the dough would not
end up doing something as good or better?. I am speaking economics here,
not religion, or altruism. Why does the disparity exist in the first
place? Are we to believe that Mr. Buffett actually earned and paid taxes
on his accumulated wealth? If we assume that Mr. Buffett would have paid
a lot more in taxes then must we also assume that Mr. Bush or some other
prancing authoritarian pig would have just created more wars? Do we fall
in the trap of assuming that it is better for the world that Mr. Bush and
Mr. Buffet are around doing the things they do? While Mr. Buffett may set
a fine example, that does not lead me away from the pursuit of simple
justice or from the knowing that too much power in the hands of a few
individuals is a threat to the existence of freedom and liberty for the
many. Nowhere is there a better example of this rent in the fabric of
justice than in latter day America.
Oh, that's not true, and there still are some. But then, there are all
sorts of people. Not good to let too much more be vested in just a few of
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers
of society but the people themselves; and
There's no need to obfuscate the point -- it's rather simple. The OP
said "rich people contribute nothing". Is this not a "contribution"?
Is this "nothing"?
"Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago announces $100 million gift
from philanthropist Ann Lurie
Children's Memorial Hospital announced today that philanthropist Ann
Lurie has pledged $100 million to help fund the new facility planned
for Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. This gift is the largest
given by an individual to a children's hospital in the United States."
If venture capitalists fund a group of entrepreneurs who develop a new
medical device that saves lives, is that not a "contribution" to the
betterment of mankind?
Just be honest -- to say that rich people "contribute nothing" is a
foolish thing to say.
Straw man. Did I say anything about whether force was necessary or
whether the wealth was earned or unearned? Please re-read my very
If someone breaks into an apartment in a housing project to steal a
TV, he does so under the threat of force. Period.
Understatement. The fact is that these types of things are under-
reported (it's too easy and too popular to hate rich people).
What if the moon were made of swiss cheese? I'm just debunking the
myth that all rich people are greedy bastards who hide in their
basements counting their dough all day.
The reality is, there are wealthy people, and they do good things. To
deny that fact is to be unfair.
If you want to start a thread on how rich people cause poverty, be my
That is up for debate -- start a thread.
Of course -- why would we believe otherwise.
Please explain how Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey having
billions of dollars poses a threat to freedom and liberty for the
You'll have to take that up with the poster who actually wrote that.
It wasn't me.
I appreciate your motivation in citing this article, but I think it's
a mistake to justify the wealth achieved by businessmen based on their
charitable or philanthropic efforts. While it's true that they do it
in vast amounts and at least some of it is actually of value (though I
don't think the Gates Foundation is one of them), the real value of
businessmen is their productive achievements - and that far outweighs
by an order of magnitude anything they may give away to charities.
JD Rockefeller did far, far more for the people of this country by
lowering the price of oil 90%, standardizing and vastly increasing its
production, and making it widely available all over the world, than
anything ever achieved by his philanthropic efforts. His efforts laid
the foundation for the automobile and airline industries. (He earned
every penny of the fortune he made).
Buffett made many thousands of people very wealthy who trusted his
judgment and who invested in his company (Berkshire Hathaway). He
continually claims that he was just lucky. Well, you don't achieve
that kind of wealth as a result of shrewd investment over that span of
time by luck.
Clinton's era was far from high tax. The data show a lot people got
tax cuts under Clinton and that the wealthy didn't pay much more than
they did under George H. Bush. There is nothing high tax about the
Clinton years. The Clinton tax being the highest ever was PURE
REPUBLICAN SPIN. This was nothing like the Roosevelt tax hike that
made a recession into a great depression. Tax rates on the wealthiest
were still half or less what they were in 1979 under Clinton.
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