Skip to comments.Plutocrats of the People - Why are America's superrich suddenly fretting about income inequality?
Posted on 01/21/2007 1:18:35 AM PST by neverdem
Why are America's superrich suddenly fretting about income inequality?
What's hot for 2007 among the very rich? A $7.3 million diamond ring. Safari in Tanzania. Oh, and income inequality.
Sure, some leftish, Democratic-leaning billionaires like George Soros have been railing against income inequality for years. But increasingly, centrist and right-wing billionaires are starting to fret about income inequality and the fate of the middle class.
In December, Mortimer Zuckerman wrote a column in U.S. News & World Report, which he owns. "Our nation's core bargain with the middle class is disintegrating," lamented the 117th-richest man in America. "Most of our economic gains have gone to people at the very top of the income ladder. Median income for a household of people of working age, by contrast, has fallen five years in a row." Channeling Barbara Ehrenreich, he noted that "Tens of millions of Americans live in fear that a major health problem can reduce them to bankruptcy." Unbound, Zuckerman concluded with a plea for universal health insurance.
Wilbur Ross Jr., No. 322 on the Forbes 400, has echoed Zuckerman's anger over the Dickensian struggles faced by middle-class Americans. "It's an outrage that any American's life expectancy..." --snip--
In other words, if middle-class Americans continue to struggle financially as the ultrawealthy grow ever wealthier, it will be increasingly difficult to maintain political support for the free flow of goods, services, and capital across borders. In addition to Lou Dobbs Democrats, we'll have more Lou Dobbs Republicans. And when the United States places obstacles in the way of foreign investors and foreign goods, it's likely to encourage reciprocal action abroad. For people who buy and sell companies, or who allocate capital to markets all around the world, that's the real nightmare.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
Because it makes for an unstable economy, which isn't good for business.
Yet everything they propose makes it harder for the rest of us to become wealthy on the bottom end of the "wealthy" scale.
Like the universe itself, everything is accelerating away from every other thing.
As a fundamental law of finance, my personal wealth growth curve is following an exponential curve.
That means my high-school friends who did not sacrifice partying and travel are falling further behind with each passing minute. And it means Buffet and Gates are getting further out of my reach and sight too.
It is EXACTLY the way it should be.
Economy will be stable. It is the social cohesion that will suffer.
That too. Get enough people losing their homes, cars, jobs -- all that middleclass infratructure stuff -- and they'll start falling for any line of crap spouted by a halfwit with a teaspoon of charisma.
And we become an Obama-nation?
Obama is pretty much in the "mainstream" -- that is to say part of the established political machinery, for better or worse. The thing I fear is someone from left field, like a Father Coughlin type establishing a "movement."
I'll gladly give them an account #, to which they can make a donation.
We are not in a depression. What we have to worry about is socialized medicine. If you think health care is expensive now, wait 'till it's free!
I think a basic, no frills form of socialized medicine is probably inevitable at this point, though it won't compete with private insurers or the more expensive care with all the bells and whistles.
God help us.
If you think government health care is a good thing, go spend a day at the DMV.
Yeah, it'll be about like the DMV -- though not mandatory. And probably on the state level administered by private companies.
The gubmint is already in the medicine business via medicaid, medicare, VA hospitals, etc. etc.
Which is a big reason why it is so expensive.
It's also expensive because it's a free market, the drug companies etc. are going to charge as much as they can (which they should). Like any other business, they don't have a benchmark they reach and say, "Okay, halt the price increases, we've made enough money!" It's also expensive because you have a lot of non-paying "customers" in the form of illegals and folks who simply don't have the money to pay. And too, we now have a lot of fancy-pants equipment like MRIs that are pricey items.
Millions and millions of them. Then there are the lawyers...
I beg to differ. The international corporate rush to free and easy profits ... through exploiting the trapped slave labor of communist and "third-world" states ... has moved the middle class out of America. In their pursuit of the easiest road to profit, corporations have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. They have sacrificed our nation to the moneygod, and we will pay for it sooner, rather than later.
They rationalize this action with the claim that our economy is switching (or has switched) to an "information and service economy", with nothing to gain from dirty, bulky, manufacturing industry. This could be true, if only we were simultaneously educating our populace to give them the tools to participate in the "information economy". It is woefully difficult to participate in an "information economy", when you have no information. Regarding the "service" component of our economy, our nation is evolving into a new economic situation: a society divided between those with very significant holdings, and the rest of the folks, a vast majority (who will not remain silent for long) ... the vast majority will spend their lives flipping hamburgers for minimum wage so that the wealthy 1% may eat any time and any place they wish.
Yep. Doctors are squeezed on insurance rates. Some mistakes are just tragic and couldn't be helped and some are just dumb. But errors are inevitable.
The American middleclass is no longer sacred and never really was -- aside from its ability to buy lotsa stuff. But there are many other established and emerging economies that are willing to buy lotsa stuff.
In any event, private industry has very little responsibility to provide "good paying" jobs to support a middleclass. A company's only responsibility is to its shareholders.
The next thing you know you'll be saying how employers should be able to pay their employees whatever they want, and people should be able to install any kind kind of toilet (like a none "low-flush") they want, or buy a washing machine that let's you rise as well as wash in hot water. (Oh no you can't. Gov't regs.)