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A fair way to shrink the wealth gap
Christian Science Monitor ^ | January 24, 2007 | Editorial

Posted on 01/24/2007 1:59:36 PM PST by Graybeard58

Bloated CEO salaries – subsidized by taxpayers – undermine American values. Congress needs to reform the tax code.

The new Democratic-led Congress has already made great strides on its ambitious legislative agenda. From hiking the minimum wage to cutting interest rates on student loans, Democrats have won impressive bipartisan support for their legislative goals.

Not included on the agenda, however, is any proposal designed to address what may be the most fundamental problem facing America right now: an alarmingly high degree of inequality.

Currently the top 10 percent of income earners in the US own 70 percent of the wealth, and the wealthiest 5 percent own more than the bottom 95 percent, according to a Federal Reserve Study. The ratio of average CEO pay to worker pay in the US shot up from a mere 301-to-1 in 2003 to 431-to-1 in 2004. The average CEO now earns $11.8 million per year, versus the paltry $27,460 for the average worker. As America tries to grapple with soaring healthcare costs and lack of universal coverage, UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire received an obscene $124.8 million in compensation in 2005. He's just one of many grossly overcompensated kingpins of the US economy.

Adding insult to injury, taxpayers actually subsidize these bloated CEO salaries. The federal government gives tax breaks to corporations for those salaries, to the tune of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.

We used to call this by another name: the Gilded Age.

Income disparity hurts democracy

The level of inequality and unfairness has risen to such eye-popping levels that it is attracting attention from unlikely sources. Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Board chair, has called rising inequality "a concern in the American economy." Mr. Bernanke's esteemed predecessor, Alan Greenspan, has said that disparate income distribution is "not helpful for

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
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To: oceanview

So what changes to tax law would you make?


51 posted on 01/24/2007 2:56:56 PM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of all Parties.)
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To: A. Pole
"Should the owners be shielded from liability?" Absolutely.

The corporation is the one conducting business and thus it is the only one that should be liable for the debts of the business. Corporations serve a vital purpose of pooling capital from lots of people and allowing one entity to use the capital in our free market system.

"How one and the same person can have two "separate identities"? Can you have free market without personal responsibility?"

Again, the corporation has the responsibility, and rightly so because it is performing the business.



"The legal construct of corporation is to serve the common public interest. If this plain truth is forgotten it will lead to the erosion, reduction and abolishment of this construct."

WRONG. The legal construct of the corporation is to make a profit for its owners. It has nothing to do with the common good--that is Marxist language.
52 posted on 01/24/2007 2:57:06 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Graybeard58

"We used to call this by another name: the Gilded Age."

And what you want, Mr. Socialist, we used to call Stalinism.


53 posted on 01/24/2007 2:57:19 PM PST by sergeantdave (Consider that nearly half the people you pass on the street meet Lenin's definition of useful idiot)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
All my possessions for a moment of time. - Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603)

It's not fair that some Americans live to 100, are billionaires of time, while some die young. To make life fair the socialists might choose to shoot everyone on their 30th birthday.

54 posted on 01/24/2007 2:57:54 PM PST by Reeses
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To: Graybeard58

Income disparity hurts SOCIALISM - and the self esteem of editors incapable of generating more wealth than people they [wrongly] look down on.


55 posted on 01/24/2007 2:58:19 PM PST by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: PzLdr

The Left cannot get it through their heads that socialism is a failed ideology. They hate the fact that they have been proved wrong by history, and they are simply hard headed people who refuse to admit when they are wrong. They refuse to concede that our free market system is superior to what they believe in.


56 posted on 01/24/2007 3:03:11 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Graybeard58

Everyman a millionaire! (to quote John Dos Passos)


57 posted on 01/24/2007 3:03:19 PM PST by Puddleglum
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To: Graybeard58
"Adding insult to injury, taxpayers actually subsidize these bloated CEO salaries. The federal government gives tax breaks to corporations for those salaries, to the tune of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars."

The author of the article is a labor law attorney and it is clear that he does not have a clue about tax law or basic economics. The reasons corporations get a tax deduction for compensation that they pay to employees (including executives) is because the corporation no longer has that money (it paid it out). That compensation is taxed to the person who got it (the employee or executive) instead of the corporation that had to pass it on. This is not a tax subsidy. This guy is a complete idiot when it comes to basic tax law or economics.
58 posted on 01/24/2007 3:09:36 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Sherman Logan
IOW, a significantly smaller group than professional athletes, whose compensation levels are similar and which nobody seems to get upset about.

WTF? People are always complaining about high player salaries. I, and several other people I know, refused to attend any more Rangers games when they decided to pay Alex Rodriguez $252 million over 10 years. We weren't going to subsidize his inflated salary by paying for $4 hotdogs and $6 sodas from our pockets.

59 posted on 01/24/2007 3:10:01 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: freedomfiter2

Where is the inefficiency in CEO pay? Maybe they deserve it ... Or should Steve Joobs take apay cut?

The whole notion that government should decide what people earn I find repulsive.

Now the situation the New York Times has with their two tiered stock that does not give shareholders a say, that needs looking into, or better yet de-list the company.


60 posted on 01/24/2007 3:11:40 PM PST by Tarpon
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To: FreedomCalls
It is always the "evil corporations" (i.e., more Marxist language) who are getting too much money, doing something bad, etc. As you point out, athletes and actors are making a ton more than they used to make too, but you don't see these Leftist authors making a bid deal out of that inconvenient fact.
61 posted on 01/24/2007 3:12:45 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Graybeard58



The Top 50% pay 96.54% of All Income Taxes
The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%

• Jan. 8, 2007: The NY Times Admits It's the Truth



62 posted on 01/24/2007 3:21:18 PM PST by LC HOGHEAD ("We are going to take things away from you for the common good" Hillary Clinton,Democrat)
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To: Graybeard58
A fair way to shrink the wealth gap

How about education institutes actually TEACHING people marketable skills so that they can go sell their skills and knowledge on the open economy?

How about people stop whining about what someone else has and actually WORKING to try to earn at least as much!!

How about kids face up to reality that they ALL won't be rock stars or professional athletes??

These are just for starters, add your own!!

63 posted on 01/24/2007 3:22:00 PM PST by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: Tarpon

Where is the inefficiency in CEO pay? Maybe they deserve it ... Or should Steve Joobs take apay cut?


Obviouosly, some CEOs who actually harm a company would be overpaid at $1 per year. On the other hand a CEO who can manage in such a way that a company's short term and longterm profit is sufficiently higher to justify his pay could be worth any amount, unless someone else could do just as well and be willing to work for less.


64 posted on 01/24/2007 3:22:05 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Duncan Hunter '08)
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To: Elpasser
And if a corporation's shareholders want to spend $X million to hire the best management talent, I should be concerned because ...?

You are subsidizing that $X million. Stop corporate welfare and this problem will go away.
.
65 posted on 01/24/2007 3:23:02 PM PST by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: CharacterCounts
"1. All lawmakers cannot make more than 25 times the lowest paid voter."

25 times 0 is about right for most civil masters.
But how can we count the money they steal or are bribed?
66 posted on 01/24/2007 3:23:38 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ("Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto")
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To: mugs99

"You are subsidizing that $X million. Stop corporate welfare and this problem will go away."

WRONG! Taxpayers are not subsidizing anyone's compensation. That is misinformation in this article by an author who does not have a clue about basic tax law. Corporations are taxed on the profits that they get to keep. If a corporation passes part of the profit to employees as compensation, the corporation should rightly get a deduction for the compensation it paid to the employee because it did not get to KEEP that money. However, the employee pays the tax on the compensation so there is no tax avoidance or subsidy of any kind involved. Just more lies and nonsense from dumb Leftists.


67 posted on 01/24/2007 3:26:47 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: 91B
My wife and I together make about $100,000 a year which puts us within the top 10% of earners. But are we rich? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Yes you are. Americans forget how rich the country is. You must think you are "poor" if you have to watch a 29" standard def TV instead of a 50" HD plasma.

68 posted on 01/24/2007 3:28:56 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: Graybeard58
There is no division or distribution of income in this country. - yet.

Wealth is obtained in only two ways. - It is earned or it is inherited. This article is obscene.
69 posted on 01/24/2007 3:31:39 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: FreedomCalls
"Yes you are. Americans forget how rich the country is. You must think you are "poor" if you have to watch a 29" standard def TV instead of a 50" HD plasma."

Relative to other countries, yes, but not rich in the sense that this guy is some evil person that the democrats should punish with highly progressive, punitive, Marxist redistributive tax rates.

Everyone in this country, including our poor, is rich compared to a lot of countries, thanks to our free market capitalism.
70 posted on 01/24/2007 3:32:39 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: A. Pole
The legal construct of corporation is to serve the common public interest

LOL! If you really believe what you just wrote, then you are a very uninformed American.

The purpose of every corporation that I ever owned was to generate personal wealth for myself and my family.

And that is the sine quo non of free market capitalism.

71 posted on 01/24/2007 3:36:15 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: bill1952

It amazes me how misinformed and ignorant people are about our free market economy and basic economics. I read some really silly things on this board. It is sad really.

Those are the same people who will read an article like the one by this author and not see that he is clueless and completely wrong about everything he wrote.


72 posted on 01/24/2007 3:38:24 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Graybeard58
The only fair way to shrink the wealth gap?

Work harder.

73 posted on 01/24/2007 3:39:19 PM PST by Jim Noble
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To: Graybeard58

This thread needs a Barf Alert in the title line.


74 posted on 01/24/2007 3:42:58 PM PST by wjcsux (There is no end to the good, that do-gooders will do, with other people's money.)
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To: wjcsux

"This thread needs a Barf Alert in the title line."

Big time!


75 posted on 01/24/2007 3:45:09 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: Hendrix
Boy, do you have that right. 8^)

But here is an interesting quote from one of my favorite Americans who had a word to say on the subject:

Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
- Theodore Roosevelt

76 posted on 01/24/2007 3:45:54 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: randog
>> Currently the top 10 percent of income earners in the US own 70 percent of the wealth...
>>Funny, various government agencies--local, county, state, and federal--own an awful lot of land and property in my area.

That's one of the funny thing, isn't it? How it doesn't count as wealth once it's in government hands... I suppose those with the communist leanings are right then, that when government owns everything then no one owns more than anyone else.
77 posted on 01/24/2007 3:46:06 PM PST by Kay Ludlow (Free market, but cautious about what I support with my dollars)
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To: bill1952

A. Pole is correct. That is the history of U.S. corporations and the reason they are chartered by government. What they are in fact is another matter.


78 posted on 01/24/2007 3:48:53 PM PST by decimon
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To: Graybeard58

bump for later


79 posted on 01/24/2007 3:49:31 PM PST by Centurion2000 (If you're not being shot at, it's not a high stress job.)
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To: Graybeard58

Marxachusetts rag. 'Nuff said.


80 posted on 01/24/2007 3:52:17 PM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: bill1952

I would like to read more articles rebutting Webb's economic populism/Marxism. No body is really challenging him and the other democrats on this nonsense.


81 posted on 01/24/2007 3:53:10 PM PST by Hendrix
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To: decimon
No, he is not correct.

Far after your historical example, corporate classes were vastly changed and expanded to accommodate the changing economic arenas.

And that too id old history.

82 posted on 01/24/2007 3:53:19 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: decimon
No, he is not correct.

Far after your historical example, corporate classes were vastly changed and expanded to accommodate the changing economic arenas.

And that too id old history.

83 posted on 01/24/2007 3:53:20 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: A. Pole
Marxists were opposed to the compromises like redistribution, trade-unionism and national solidarity between classes. They wanted to HASTEN the revolution and not to prevent or delay it.

It's like the old idea of making the car go faster down the hill, out of control, so they can get it to crash and then rebuild after that. Many of your early communists and Marxists were called "nihilists." "Nihilist" is a person who believes in destroying the old system so they can rebuild a new system from the ashes that is more to their liking.

Tell me, where the chance for Communist revolution is greater, in a stratified Latin American country with great contrasts between the poverty and wealth, or in egalitarian Scandinavia? Read my tagline.

True, just remember thatm any successful companies come from that part of the world, Nokia, Volvo, Saab, Ericcson (they make radio communications equipment), IKEA and so on.

Love your tagline, BTw, here is a good source for GK Chesterson I dug up: http://www.online-literature.com/chesterton/
84 posted on 01/24/2007 3:56:31 PM PST by Nowhere Man (Pansy: 1987 - 2006, I miss you, Princess. RIP. Say "Hi" to Greystone for me)
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To: FreedomCalls

My point was that the press makes little uproar about it being a symptom of the greed of American society. It's just treated as a sideline issue.


85 posted on 01/24/2007 4:14:52 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: freedomfiter2

Ah yes the dollar ruse, but how far would 7.5 million Apple shares go? Backdated for better price of course.


86 posted on 01/24/2007 4:23:19 PM PST by Tarpon
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To: freedomfiter2
Or should Steve Joobs take apay cut?

Steve "Joobs" annual salary remains at $1 per year (though he does get bonuses and other executive perks).

87 posted on 01/24/2007 4:39:06 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: Hendrix
"Should the owners be shielded from liability?" Absolutely. The corporation is the one conducting business and thus it is the only one that should be liable for the debts of the business

Corporations are not real beings and can do squat by themselves. It is the CONCRETE LIVING people who conduct business.

The legal construct of the corporation is to make a profit for its owners.

If it were so, the society in general should not be burdened with maintaining this curtain. If your way of looking at the institution of corporation prevails this institution will perish same way as old aristocratic privileges did. Once they stopped to serve useful social purpose (aristocrats risked their lives to provide safety for the whole society) it was matter of time before they were gone.

It has nothing to do with the common good--that is Marxist language.

What do you know about "Marxist language"? Have you read Marx or Lenin?

88 posted on 01/24/2007 4:45:28 PM PST by A. Pole (G.K. Chesterton: "Too much capitalism means not too many capitalists, but too few.")
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To: Sherman Logan
the greed of American society.

Greed is no where near as common an evil as envy. Leftists complain everyone seeking a profit or accepting a higher income is greedy, when leftists are actually projecting their envy. Greed is not involved.

Is a basketball player greedy if another team owner offers more money they don't need, and they accept? Greed may be involved in cases where the player breaks a contract they already signed, but that isn't normally the case.

89 posted on 01/24/2007 4:45:34 PM PST by Reeses
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To: Hendrix
The republicans need to hammer the democrats as Marxists and call all of this economic equality talk socialism.

I haven't seen any evidence that Republicans believe in the free market in years. Compared to the Democrats, they look okay (though just barely), but they are hardly Capitalists.

90 posted on 01/24/2007 4:48:27 PM PST by Live and let live conservative ($ Capitalism = Freedom $)
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To: Graybeard58
Thirty years ago The CSM was a newspaper without equal in the United States for in-depth, objective, on-target journalism. If you wanted to know what the real story was, behind the headlines at the NYT, or even the WSJ, you read the CSM. I haven't subscribed for many years, I just ran out of time to read all the good stuff they provided on a daily basis. It has been a real loss to the nation for them to have fallen into the same leftwing sewer as the rest of the rags. Sad.
91 posted on 01/24/2007 4:49:05 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: bill1952
The purpose of every corporation that I ever owned was to generate personal wealth for myself and my family. And that is the sine quo non of free market capitalism.

Not true. You can have free market capitalism WITHOUT special SHIELDING from PERSONAL responsibility.

This shield is to benefit the society as a whole (for example by encouraging risk taking). It is a PRIVILEGE and not right.

92 posted on 01/24/2007 4:50:14 PM PST by A. Pole (G.K. Chesterton: "Too much capitalism means not too many capitalists, but too few.")
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To: Tarpon
Where is the inefficiency in CEO pay? Maybe they deserve it ... Or should Steve Joobs take apay cut?

Steve Jobs salary at Apple is $1 per year.

93 posted on 01/24/2007 4:53:57 PM PST by Doe Eyes
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To: Jacquerie

I would have a large exemption - say $200K - any unearned income above that, subject it to the individual portion of the medicare tax.


94 posted on 01/24/2007 5:05:03 PM PST by oceanview
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To: A. Pole
Marxists believed that capitalism is a necessary step on the way to socialism. More free market and inequality, the better.

Underlying the Marxist belief that capitalism would lead to Marxism was the assumption that capitalism would not only make the rich richer, it would make the poor poorer. As it turned out, everyone got richer, and no developed capitalist country suffered a Marxist revolution.

95 posted on 01/24/2007 6:13:24 PM PST by Young Scholar
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To: oceanview

People will just move their wealth abroad, only hurting the country. If you then go after those tax shelters, they'll move themselves abroad as well, and remain out of reach.


96 posted on 01/24/2007 6:16:13 PM PST by Young Scholar
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To: Young Scholar; ninenot; sittnick; steve50; Hegemony Cricket; Cicero; GarySpFc; Wolfie; ex-snook; ...
Underlying the Marxist belief that capitalism would lead to Marxism was the assumption that capitalism would not only make the rich richer, it would make the poor poorer. As it turned out, everyone got richer, and no developed capitalist country suffered a Marxist revolution.

This is more tricky. Until Stalin most of Marxists stood on the position that Communist revolution should take place when capitalism exhausts its creative potential (when overabundant means of production will make workers redundant and create misery in the midst of plenty).

Definitely backward Russia was not supposed to be place of the Revolution, yet it happened and Lenin explained it by theory of the "weakest chain of oppression" and as Trotsky asserted Russia was to be a mere springboard for revolution in most developed countries. Then when revolutions in the West failed Stalin presented doctrine of forced industrialization to build socialism in one country (to preserve it for later world expansions)

After WWII Communism took other "weak links" ( China) and Soviet Russia became a superpower. It led according to Marxist interpretation to the division of the world into three world - the First World (where the revolution should have happened), the Second World (where revolution took power but was forced into difficult task of replicating capitalist development) and the Third World where the Second was undermining the control by the First.

This division prevented the spread/outsourcing of Western capital (it was too risky to invest money into the Third World as the Second would use it for the expansion).

The overcontentration of capital in the First World and fear of revolution lead to the development of welfare state and redistribution of wealth from the rich to the middle class (New Deal etc ...)

In this scheme the failure of Lenin's experiment and integration of the Second World with the First open way for the outflow of capital into the Third World and return to the track originally predicted by Marx. The revival of free market ideology and practice plays into this perfectly.

The true alternative (hated by Lenin) is a way of social solidarity like safety net, trade unions, partial redistribution, government regulation of the market etc ... The way of New Deal or European Social Democracy. Or in other form the Christian social doctrine in the most developed form presented by papal encyclicals.

RERUM NOVARUM - ON CAPITAL AND LABOR

Centesimus Annus - Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum

QUADRAGESIMO ANNO - ON RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOCIAL ORDER

QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS - ON SOCIALISM

97 posted on 01/24/2007 6:43:25 PM PST by A. Pole (G.K. Chesterton: "Too much capitalism means not too many capitalists, but too few.")
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To: Old North State
"Good Idea. Let's start with wealth equality and let Congress lead the way."

Yeah they never mention how much money flows through the dirty little hands of our civil masters. I suggest they set an even better example: A base salary of 40k for starters. They can be housed on a military base in base housing; single members can live in a dorm (that'll put the kabosh on the Barney Frank types as far as queer orgies and such).
98 posted on 01/24/2007 6:55:29 PM PST by samm1148 (Pennsylvania-They haven't taxed air--yet)
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To: oceanview

"we tax traditional wages too much in the US, and unearned and passive income too little."

Please consider what you are saying. If you have never studied finance or the markets then I would suggest to enroll in a night course on business finance. The statement you made is non rational. You are proposing that the looters taxed everything higher. Do you think they will ever lower the tax rates? Republicans did a slight refund. Democrats will never lower taxes.


99 posted on 01/24/2007 7:02:52 PM PST by Psycho_Runner (I would reenlist,, but they won't let me bring my assault weapon and other toys.)
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To: Psycho_Runner

I am not making a political statement about the actions of a particular party.

all I am saying is - wage earners, people who have to go to work to earn income - are taxed too high in this country, in comparison to those who earn income through passive sources, unearned income, etc.

taxes need to be paid by someone - the issue is, how you structure it.


100 posted on 01/24/2007 8:43:00 PM PST by oceanview
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