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Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It)
DAN ARIELY AUG 2 2012, 12:41 PM ET

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We asked thousands of people to describe their ideal distribution of wealth, from top to bottom. The vast majority -- rich, poor, GOP and Democrat -imagined a far more equal nation. Here's why it matters.

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The inequality of wealth and income in the U.S. has become an increasingly prevalent issue in recent years. One reason for this is that the visibility of this inequality has been increasing gradually for a long time--as society has become less segregated, people can now see more clearly how much other people make and consume. Owing to urban life and the media, our proximity to one another has decreased, making the disparity all too obvious. In addition to this general trend, the financial crisis, with all of its fall out, shined a spotlight on the salaries of bankers and financial workers relative to that of most Americans. And on top of these, and most recently, the upcoming presidential election has raised questions of social justice and income disparities, bringing the issues into focus even more. It is relatively easy to think about inequality as being too great or too little in abstract terms, but ask yourself how much you really know about wealth distribution in the U.S. For example, imagine that we took all Americans and sorted them by wealth along a line with the poorest on the left and continuing as wealth increases until on the right we have the richest. Now, imagine that we divide them into five buckets with an equal number of citizens in each. The first bucket contains the poorest 20% of the population, the next contains the second wealthiest tier, and so on down to the wealthiest 20% (see Figure 1).

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David Frum With this in mind, from the total pie of wealth (100%) what percent do you think the bottom 40% (that is, the first two buckets together) of Americans possess? And what about the top 20%? If you guessed around 9% for the bottom and 59% for the top, you're pretty much in line with the average response we got when we asked this question of thousands of Americans. The reality is quite different. Based on Wolff (2010), the bottom 40% of the population combined has only 0.3% of wealth while the top 20% possesses 84% (see Figure 2). These differences between levels of wealth in society comprise what's called the Gini coefficient, which is one way to quantify inequality.
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This is the level of wealth inequality that exists in America, and it is clearly higher than people think, but in Goldilocks-esque fashion, we can ask: Is the real level of inequality too high, too low, or just right? When economists consider the desirable level of inequality, they usually define the ideal inequality from the perspective of economic efficiency: What level of inequality will motivate people to be the most productive and move up the wealth ladder? What level of inequality will allow those at the top to lift up society as a whole (say, by having the resources to invent new technologies)? What level of wealth will keep salaries low and competition high? And so on. This is one approach to assessing the desirability of wealth inequality, but Mike Norton and I wanted to examine this question from a different perspective--that of regular (non-economist) people--and we wanted to examine inequality in terms of its effect on society as a whole, not just in terms of economic efficiency. After all, inequality is not just about economic efficiency. It's also about our dayto-day experience as citizens, the influence of envy, our social mobility, the importance of equal opportunity, our mutual dependency on each other, etc. But what does it mean to ask people what level of inequality they want? And how do we get people to respond to such a question without being influenced by their

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current state of wealth? After all, wouldn't the rich want a higher degree of inequality and the poor want a more even distribution of wealth? HOW MUCH INEQUALITY DO YOU WANT? We took a step back and examined social inequality based on the definition that the philosopher John Rawls gave in his book A Theory of Justice. In Rawls' terms, a society is just if a person understands all the conditions within that society and is willing to enter it in a random place (in terms of socio-economic status, gender, race, and so on). In terms of wealth, that means that people know everything about the wealth distribution and are willing to enter that society anywhere along the spectrum. They could be among the poorest or the richest, or anywhere in between. Rawls called this idea the "veil of ignorance" because the decision of whether to enter a particular society is disconnected from the particular knowledge that the individual has about the level of wealth that he or she will have after making the decision. With this definition in mind, we did two things. First, we asked 5,522 people to create a distribution of wealth among the five buckets such that they themselves would be willing to enter that society at a random place. Their answers could range from a perfectly even distribution with 20% of wealth in each quintile to a fully biased distribution with 100% of wealth in one and 0% in the rest. We found that the ideal distribution described by this representative sample of Americans was dramatically more equal than exists anywhere in the world, with 32% of wealth belonging to the wealthiest quintile down to 11% by the poorest (see Figure 3).

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White Privilege?

What was particularly surprising about the results was that when we examined the ideal distributions for Republicans and Democrats, we found them to be quite similar (see Figure 4). When we examined the results by other variables, including income and gender, we again found no appreciable differences. It seems that Americans -- regardless of political affiliation, income, and gender -- want the kind of wealth distribution shown in Figure 3, which is very different from what we have and from what we think we have (see Figure 2).

We understood that setting up an ideal wealth distribution is a rather difficult proposition, so in another task, we made things simpler (see Figure 5) and asked people to choose between two unidentified distributions (again under the veil of ignorance). The first option, unbeknownst to participants, reflected the distribution of wealth in America. For the second option we modified the distribution found in Sweden, making it substantially more equal (we referred to this fictional nation as "Equalden").

We discovered that 92% of Americans preferred the distribution of "Equalden" to America's. And if one were to assume that the 8% who preferred America's distribution was made up of wealthy Republican men, he or she would be mistaken. The preference for "Equalden" was slightly different for Republicans and Democrats, and in the expected direction, but the magnitude was very small: 93.5% of Democrats and 90.2% of Republicans preferred the more equal distribution. While this 3.3% difference is substantial when we think about the economy of an entire country, if we look at it from the perspective of the gap between Equalden and the U.S., it's clear that the similarity across the political spectrum is far more substantial than the differences. And once again, participant's gender and income level did not produce any appreciable difference in this preference. LEARNING FROM (THE VEIL OF) IGNORANCE There are a few lessons that we can learn from this. The first is that we vastly underestimate the level of inequality that we have in America. Our society is far more uneven in terms of wealth than we believe it is. Second, we want much more equality than both what we have and what we think we have. Apparently, when asked in a way that avoids hot-button terms, misconceptions, and the level of wealth people currently possess, Americans are actually in agreement about

wanting a more equal distribution of wealth. In fact, the vast majority of Americans prefer a distribution of wealth more equal than what exists in Sweden, which is often placed rhetorically at the extreme far left in terms of political ideology--embraced by liberals as an ideal society and disparaged by conservatives as an overreaching socialist nanny state. A third lesson concerns the political gap between Democrats and Republicans: Given the extraordinarily polarized and derisive rhetoric flying back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, one would think there was an insurmountable gap between their positions. So how is it possible that we found so little difference between them in our study? One reason for this could be our inability to separate our ideology from our current state of wealth. Our interests tend to color our view both of how things are and how they should be. Another reason could be politicians, who, in order to rally people to their side, try to generate feelings of greater difference and opposition--and therefore conflict-than actually exist. From this perspective one could claim that politicians obfuscate similarities by using galvanizing but elusive terms like "small government," "tax relief," and "freedom." Rawls' veil of ignorance deals with such superficial and irrelevant influences on what we think by prompting people to consider all possible socio-economic situations rather than just their own and the interests and ideologies that come along with that. The veil of ignorance accomplishes something similar to blind taste testing. Take wine, for instance. If a person knows the appellation and price, and realizes that French wine is usually preferable to Finnish, his or her perception and opinion of how good each wine tastes will be influenced by these preconceived notions. Similarly, when we express opinions about politics and life in general, we can't help but be influenced by our own varying degrees wealth and ignorance of others' lives. The veil of ignorance works to separate our core beliefs from the biases and prejudices we develop over time and through the subjective experience of being part of a certain class and demographic. As for what this means about changing the level of inequality, which from our study seems almost unanimously objectionable, there are essentially two paths: education and taxation. Improving education works in a sense to change the input into the economy--better-educated workers are more resourceful and employable, and can move up the economic ladder. Changing taxation deals with the output--those who prosper pay more into the system than those without the same benefits. Our study doesn't tell us anything about which of these two approaches to reducing inequality would be preferable, but in practical terms, bridging the huge gap between what we currently have and what we want to have would require a mixture of both. Our study also doesn't deal with how to bring what people say they want under the veil of ignorance into line with what they're willing to do when it's their money and resources that are about to be distributed. It is one thing to get people to tell us what kind of society the would want to join, and another to get them part with their money in order to create that society. With all these objections in mind, it still seems that the political discourse could benefit from a Rawlsian approach. Taking this path could help us understand what it is that we really want and then allow us to consider ways to get there. If our politicians also accepted this starting point, they might argue less about ideology and differences and more about paths to get closer to our common goal-a much less extreme level of inequality. Social justice and optimal wealth distribution are highly complex topics, and it's hard to imagine that any study could dramatically change opinions about education, welfare, or tax reform. But consider this. When we ran the same basic experiment in Australia, we found Australians did not differ much from Americans in their views of the ideal distribution. When we ran another version of it with NPR listeners, and then readers of Forbes Magazine, the results were still basically the same. And most likely, if you participated in one of our tests, your response too would have fallen in line with these findings. So whatever you think the current state of wealth distribution is, and whatever

you believe the ideal level of wealth distribution to be under the veil of ignorance, there probably is a gap, and a large one, between the two. Awareness of the disparity between what we have and what we want implies that, ultimately, we as a society need to face the problem and find a solution. ____________________
Wolff, E. N. (201 0). "Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States:Rising Debt and the Middle-Class Squeeze--an Update to 2007 ." Lev y Economics Institute of Bard College. Norton M.I. and Ariely D. (201 1 ) "Building a Better America--One Wealth Quintile at a Time." Perspectiv es on Psy chological Science., 6 (9), 9-1 2. Rawls, John. (1 999). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harv ard Univ ersity Press.

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DAN ARIELY is a best-selling author and the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. His latest book is The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.
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celeidth

2 years ago

Perhaps our view of the realities of the income/wealth distribution is warped because the majority of us have so little experience with people who are vastly different from ourselves. When we go to work, socialize with friends, go to religious services, shop, vacation, or go home in the evenings we mostly encounter people like ourselves. We see ourselves as the norm. And if we are in the middle of that income distribution we may be especially insulated. People at the bottom often work in service jobs for the wealthiest--as gardeners, house cleaners, etc.; they see the life at the top. A lot of us in the middle work in jobs and live in neighborhoods where we only see people relatively like ourselves.
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rsbsail

celeidth 2 years ago

There is one huge problem with this article, and that is ignoring movement up or down between the quintiles over time. Except for trust fund babies, most people start out in life with no wealth to speak of, and some are net debtors (e.g., college loans). As people grow older, their income grows, they are able to build a nest egg, and they will move from one quintile to another. And then at the end of their life, they are drawing down their savings in retirement.

life, they are drawing down their savings in retirement. Of course, there are people like Buffett and Gates who have outsized fortunes compared to "normal" people. And there will be people who never move up from the lowest quintile because of poor life choices, such as drug addiction, crime, or dropping out of school, or single motherhood. A more nuanced analysis would take this effect into account.
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RobertSF

rsbsail 2 years ago

Others have done that analysis and concluded that there is less movement between the quintiles than in any other developed country except Britain. Every so often, we hear in the news that a homeless man died on the streets from exposure to the elements. They make the news after they get too drunk to come in from the cold and they're found frozen the next morning. When was the last time one of those men turned out to be a former Wall Streeter? We find plenty of forgotten war heroes, but among the homeless you never find a formerly wealthy man.
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JonF311

RobertSF 2 years ago

But that only applies to the bottomost quintiles mainly the loewst one. The middle and upper quintiles in the US have about as much turnover as those quintiles do in other nations. In other words, social mobility is mainly a problem of poverty in this country, not something for the middle class to cry in its beer about. And our woefully inadequate safety net is largely to blame: it keeps body and soul together but does not help anyone escape poverty. In fact to benefit from it you pretty much have to remain poor.
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JonF311 2 years ago

Well, while I agree with your last statements, your initial ones are off base. Wage stagnation and decline among the middle class has been going on for decades now. It is documented and well a part of "common knowledge." The second and third quintiles (as put in this article) have lost ground since the early to mid 1970s. Anyone on the bottom edges of those cadres has indeed been slipping for almost a lifetime now. So there is a lot of downward mobility. There is some upward mobility. I think presenting the example of a "trust fund baby" (as did rsbsail) distorts what relative wealth means. Offspring who inherit an upper middle class or even solidly middle class parent's wealth in and around major metropolitan areas have an enormous boost in life somewhere around middle age, late middle age. A paid off house or coop/condo in a big city or big city suburb can be worth $1 million and up. On another front, debt, a grandparent who can help a grandchild pay for college is doing an immense service to that grandchild. These are not "trust funders," but people who have saved, been in the professions, and keep financial ties in their family very strong. The poor struggle with family ties, and certainly large transfers of wealth (by my slightly upper middle class sensibilities) are not part of the equation of the lower two quintiles.
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rdl114 2 years ago

There have been studies blogged about right here on the Atlantic, and by Derek Thompson who is anything but a rightwing stooge, showing that American income mobility for the middle class and above is about the same as it is in other countries. The "stagnation" of the American middle class is not unique: it is a worldwide trend. One need only consider the woes of present-day Europe and Japan to see this reality. And yes, "income mobility" encompasses both upward and downward mobility". But for the third time now: this is not about the middle class. The middle class may be in rough waters, but they are still afloat. It's the

middle class may be in rough waters, but they are still afloat. It's the poor who are drowning, and in that we do resemble a third world country more than we do our peers.
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sansculottes

JonF311 2 years ago

The fact that he's not a rightwing stooge is irrelevant. The question is whether one contrarian blog post by one staff writer outweighs thoroughly-researched and vetted books by people like Timothy Noah and Joseph Stiglitz.
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sansculottes 2 years ago

Please, please, please reread what I have written above. No one is doubting the American class mobility AS A WHOLE is inferior to that of our peer nations. However when you drill into the details it turns out that this is mainly a problem of the poor and the working poor being stuck. That's all that is being said here. Likewise no one is doubting that the "Great Stagnation" is also real. However that same trend is affecting our peer nations too-- their middle class is stagant or worse just like ours. The sun does not rise in the Atlantic and set in the Pacific and the adverse trends that beset the US are in fact global trends affecting everyone. Also, be careful what you mean by "stganation" here. There are two very different claims being mixed up in this discussion. One is that people, on the whole, are doing no better than their parents did at an equivalent point in their lives, rather than exceeding their parents standard of living, which was the trend for much of our history (outside a few nasty depressions). This is absolutely true. The other trend is that people are not doing better as they age: that they stay at the same income from the day they start work. That is simply not true for all but the lowest income workers.
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sansculottes

JonF311 2 years ago

I have re-read it, and you are wrong. As I said, you are citing a blog post by an Atlantic author to contradict what has been written by economists and journalists who have spent the last several years researching this topic.
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Shelby M. Mallett

sansculottes 2 years ago

That could be on reason you don't find them homeless. Another reason is that when they fall, they don't fall all the way down, they can be a few steps up from homeless. http://SponsoredbyApple.blogsp...
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David Shedlock

rdl114 2 years ago

Wage stagnation is measured collectively and does not take into consideration people who change jobs and move up. You missed the whole point of mobility, it is not that suddenly janitors are paid the same as CEOs, it is that janitors and low-level employees sometimes do end up in management or executive positions. This cannot be shown statistically. It is not as if most CEOs came right out of college and became one. They worked their way up.
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David Shedlock 2 years ago

They measure social mobility by comparing across generations and seeing how the fortunes of each family rise and fall.
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charliebernstein 2 Babby

JonF311 2 years ago

Please. We cry in our cosmos.


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JonF311 2 years ago


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they move because people are nibbling at the edges

htaylor

RobertSF 2 years ago

A lot of the formerly wealthy have committed suicide. That could be on reason you don't find them homeless. Another reason is that when they fall, they don't fall all the way down, they can be a few steps up from homeless.
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htaylor 2 years ago


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Reference, please?

pchi67 2 years ago

Gonna have to trust me on that. Unfortunatetely, I am talking about friends, neighbors, and former clients. The "wealthy" don't have it easy either in this economy, they just suffer in different ways.
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ministerial

htaylor 2 years ago

I wouldn't call your argument a "straw man" precisely, and I'm sure you're telling the truth, but anecdotes are a dull sword vs. the demography beast. I have a very diverse selection of friends, I travel allll over the U.S. frequently, and lemme tell ya, my anecdotes are right in line with the data here. It's a LOT tougher on the bottom, and the bottom is falling out of the bottom a LOT faster. Remember Einsteins quote "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe"? The poor brave a constant chop of compound penalty that churns into a vicious whirlpool at the slightest breeze from a missed paycheck or middling illness. This compound penalty manifests a million ways. I can detail them further if you like. If a rich man gets sucked down, he was either very ill-equipped to
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ministerial 2 years ago

I don't disagree with what you say, but I do find it to be surprisingly cold and callous. When the rich fall off their perches, it could have been for a number of reasons. What makes a person who has always been poor so much easier to feel compassion for than a person who has fallen into the recently poor?
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htaylor 2 years ago

You are cold and callous regarding poor income distribution in US and want sympathy for millionaires. That's a good one.
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htaylor 2 years ago

But it's really rare for the rich to fall of their perches. When you hear about it, it's almost always the nouveau riche, like football players and one-hit TV stars. Sadly, it's criminal how people with so little understanding of finances are showered with money and then left to be eaten alive by their "advisors." You hear of people who were worth hundreds of millions now depending on a disability or pension check. But that's a whole nother topic. But aside from from people like that, which wealthy wind up on the streets? They don't because, like someone else said, their wealth is backstopped. They always keep enough wealth in ultra-safe vehicles (they may even pay fees instead of collecting interest!) so that, barring total global nuclear war or something like that, they cannot sink.
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JSebastian

RobertSF 2 years ago

If only that were true. Look at the spectrum of victims wiped out by the Madoff scandal, or people that have been forced into liquidation by creditors or the government (for example, many family farm operators who had millions of dollars in assets that wind up getting sold for pennies on the dollar at auction to Big Ag because the government decided they needed to pony up 55% estate taxes).
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Roger Corbin

RobertSF 2 years ago

Most of the wealth in this country is the "nouveau rich", I did some calculations on the Forbes 100 and over 60 percent of the wealth has been earned in the last 30 years in high tech, the internet, and high tech finance/hedge funds. High tech and finance salaries in corporate america had to adjust to salaries and opportunities in startups, high tech and hedge funds. Much of our wealth disparity in the US is the result of out sized opportunities in high tech the US and lack of competitiveness in manufacturing in the US. Our education system can be blamed for much of this. It won't take long before the entrepreneurs leave for places with a more competitive business climate. The choice is whether you want more wealth disparity here or you want the wealth disparity to move elsewhere.
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ministerial

htaylor 2 years ago

I really want to answer this clearly as possible. First off, "cold and callous" applies only to my footnote, status seekers. I'm reasonably sympathetic to other rich folks who've fallen low, but overt status-seeking at the expense of humanism & pragmatism is FOUL. It's one of the worst bits of human nature. I can explain my thesis in detail if you like. Suffice it to say: I own my coldness and callousness towards idiot status-seekers. I am proud of it. On to your main question: Please go back and reskim my post, because the answer you're looking for is implied up there. It will inform what follows. Also, please note that I ain't the 1%, but I'm probably the 5%. 7%? Not sure. I am way too hedonistic to be 1%. Money is a tool, not how I keep score. Further note: I know a shitload of poor people & middle class people too.
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32 Juvens 2 htaylor

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ministerial 2 years ago


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Excellent post. Righteous, even. I agree completely.

ministerial 2 years ago

I came up from the streets like you did, and if I had to I could live there again. Not that I'd want to, but I have no doubt that I could. Many of my friends, neighbors, and clients who are suddenly poor or eking out a lower middle class existance for the first time in their lives are like fish out of water. Life as they knew it for 45 years is gone. Whether they were suddenly unfortunate or long-term stupid is irrelevant, except for those so distraught at what they have stupidly pissed away that they kill themselves in response. Ive been involved with many businesses that have had to shut down. The lower level employees will be hit the hardest because they tend not to have savings or a lot of other employment prospects, but for them it was just a job, and they hope to find another. For the upper level employees, it was their career, their identity, their way of life, the thing they spent more waking hours with than their family. You can see their personalities crumbling as they walk out the door for the last time. Economically, they should be better off than the lower level workers. Psychologically, many of

be better off than the lower level workers. Psychologically, many of them are hosed, because they know that a 40 - 60 year old guy who looses his job in this economy is most likely not going to ever have that income stream or status level again.
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ministerial

htaylor 2 years ago

I didn't come up from the streets actually. Upper middle & lucky. Rather I fell down to them for a good while. The best thing I learned is this: I could be poor and live lazy and fine... assuming I had about 60k & normal possessions to cushion the drop. Gist: ======== 1. 10k for an acre or two.* 2. 7k for a small prefab cabin.** 3. 10k for well, utilities & septic.** ========= 1-3 are the lever that I NEVER see used. And it's SUCH a powerful lever. Housing is what, about $800 minimum a month for 1/2 people? More? 8x12= $9600. 27 / 9.6 = roughly 3. This means anyone who does not live in/near a big city or tony outdoor mecca can be DONE with housing costs in < THREE YEARS (repairs notwithstanding.) It ain't Versailles, but a little house is really kinda nice. Building additions is easy. Getting money back
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LeBoondocks 3

ministerial 2 years ago

If you had $60K laying around, you were not poor.


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JSebastian

ministerial 2 years ago

Making 250K doesn't make one rich. That's just an income level. In Manhattan, or in the SF Bay Area, that affords a modest middle class lifestyle for a family of four. Those people will never be rich. You have to look at accrued wealth. If you don't have financial independence, then your fate is not very much in your hands no matter what. And even then, shit happens. Macro shit that can wipe that wealth out.
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JSebastian 2 years ago

Correct, much more attention needs to be paid to wealth vs. income, especially when education and investments of all kinds are so highly leveraged for the non-wealthy. This has big implications for the tax system, including but not limited to arguing in favor of consumption, rather than income, tax as the primary basis of revenue.
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OhioSteve

ministerial 2 years ago

If you have a blog, please tell us. I would absolutely read it. Very few people are able to be smart enough to exit the conveyer belt mentality of life (what you are describing as expectations) and independently decide what they want/think, but also grounded and normal enough not to be a tinfoil hat, black helicopter nutter. I like your take and would read more of it.
2 Petrova
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ministerial a year ago

It's the government's policies that are to blame for that.


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Petrova

ministerial a year ago

It's the government's policies that are to blame for that.


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JSebastian

ministerial 2 years ago

That's just a fallacy. The rich might be less susceptible to extreme poverty just owing to the fact that petty cash supplies them with more reserves than most lower class people have in life savings, but it doesn't mean they can't be bankrupted and left with a small fraction of their wealth, it happens all the time. Not only do many rich suffer from the same combinations of personal defects and flaws that subject their lives to financial turmoil, like substance problems, mental illness, but they are also far more likely to be victimized by unscrupulous business associates, swindled/embezzled/sued, etc.
2 tstev
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htaylor 2 years ago

Why should anyone trust you when you can't supply the data while ranting for benefit of oligarchy. In fact no one should trust you.
6 htaylor
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tstev 2 years ago

Dont trust anyone. Don't let go of your dogma. Ignorance is bliss, you must be one happy person.
5 tstev
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htaylor 2 years ago

The best people to trust would be those that lobby for oligarchy's benefit and unable to produce any evidence!!
4 htaylor
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tstev 2 years ago

I am not lobbying for anyone. I am simply marveling at your selective compassion. A homeless person who meets some criteria deserves your sympathy, but a person who fell on hard times through different routes continues to earn your scorn. You are as hypocritical as the Christians who hate others in the name of Christ.
7 tstev
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htaylor 2 years ago

What are you ranting about! Does Mr. Trump who has been bankrupted multiple times and yet using various methods to defraud people to steal their investment need my sympathy?
8 htaylor
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tstev 2 years ago

We can all pick examples to fit any arguement we want to make. I don't think I can pry your mind open even a little, and have lost interest. Bye.
5 tstev 6 danariely
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htaylor 2 years ago


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Skipping town after losing the argument I see.

pchi67 2 years ago

http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnor...
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tstev

htaylor 2 years ago

If they do that would be because without their wealth they would be as good as homeless.
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htaylor

tstev 2 years ago

Without our wealth we are all as good as homeless. The difference between librals and conservatives isn't how much they care, it is how they go about solving the problems. Keeping people dependent and addicted to government prolongs their pain as much as it helps them.
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tstev

htaylor 2 years ago

You are ranting because wealth does not disappear with better distribution. Watch this video and you will understand how it works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
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Ken Reese

htaylor 2 years ago

Sorry but "I know a guy who knows a guy who's rich brother in law killed himself" arguments are kinda well, useless.
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RandolphOfRoanoke

RobertSF 2 years ago

The other developed countries are much smaller and more homogenous than America. A fair comparison would be with mobility among quintiles in the European Union, not with mobility in Switzerland. I suspect that in that comparison America isn't doing so badly.
9 tstev 8 kmihindu
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RandolphOfRoanoke 2 years ago


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Homogenous is a race-baiting code word, isn't it.

RandolphOfRoanoke 2 years ago

This makes a lot of sense - especially considering the difficulty the EU has in dealing with member countries facing economic crises (Spain, Greece, Portugal). This also highlights the difficulty in dealing politically with inequality in a more heterogenous group. The US might have an edge here as our American identity seems to be stronger than member nations "EU" identity.
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RandolphOfRoanoke 2 years ago

Well, if the US is too big, why don't we compare mobility among quintiles from the individual states against quintiles from the individual countries in the European Union? Sweden and Georgia have about the same populations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...
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