Do not intervene
Yes, do intervene
Firstly, claiming that "The Top One Percent Of Earners Have Seen Their Incomes Go Up While Everyone Else's Hasn't" isn't true, because who makes up the top 1% changes every year. 75% of the tippity-top .01% households in 1995 were in a lower income group a decade later. People flow into and out of "the top 1%" all the time, and so to treat them as some kind of stationary group (the incomes of the top 1% / the share of wealth going to the top 1% / etc.) is a false measure. You're really saying that 'the amount of money you have to make this year to make it into the top 1% has changed".
To a large extent, the expansion of the range of earned income is a good thing. We have become better in society at matching possibility to opportunity. Used to be, if you were a high-achieving high schooler - good for you! Maybe you'll be a foreman! Our elite schools and industries were largely for the children of members, who had the time and resources (both soft and hard) to get them into Harvard, to get them trained in Medicine. Now, if you are a hard-charging high-achieving high schooler, well, Harvard is in reach, or MIT. When we match the greatest opportunities to the greatest talents instead of a genetic lottery, the completely predictable result is that we see far greater productivity, and that manifests itself in far greater individual income. Everyone here who think that its' bad that Steve Jobs is the force behind the iEverything, or that what Bill Gates did for computing hurt poor people, raise your hand.
To a large extent, the lack-of-movement at the bottom is a mixed bag. You sort of expect that high school sophomores in 2014 aren't going to be that much more value-added when it comes to flipping burgers or mowing lawns than high school sophomores were in 1995. The basic skill set and experience (approx: nil) is still there. Additionally, if you force up lower income wages, you reduce demand for labor - hurting the poor rather than helping them. I wonder what the income disparity / rise statistics would look like if we accounted for the fact that the real "minimum wage" is "zero", and that labor-market participation is fairly low. Proportionally, however, the lower-income strata see larger gains in income than the higher ones do. About half of the people in the bottom quintile have moved up a decade later, which matches about the half of general Americans who move around over the same period of time. As the Treasury Department (which tracked individuals, rather than only discussing descriptive percentages into which individuals floated in and out of) put it:
...conomic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the study period [1995-2005]: Median real incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation; real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period; and median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the high income groups.....
However, there is a distinct feeling that the top of our bell curve has not moved upwards with the highest of producers, and while to an extent that is a product of good things, it is also an effect of a few bad things. Decreased family formation, for one. One of the reasons that households are making less is because there are more of them. Take a couple - Steve works full time and brings home $45,000; Jen works part time (the kids are in school) and brings home $20k. Average Household Income: $65,000. Now they get a divorce, but both keep their jobs. Average Household Income: $32,500. Multiply this across the reduced incidence of (successful) marriage in our society, and you see that it is a huge drag on our household income numbers. Since we generally report income as a household, that is in turn a huge drag on the statistics.
As for me, I'm not really worried about the people on the top. They seem to be doing okay for themselves. I'd rather try to figure out how to actually improve the situations of the people on the bottom.
Last edited by cpwill; 10-01-14 at 10:06 PM.
“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”
- Alexander Hamilton. Spiritual father of #NeverTrump
Anyways, it isn't rational, it is just some kind of misplaced emotional impulse that you have. The stuff you said about the free market and competition, that stuff makes sense, not this shameful "you have no right to question the master" blathering. Have some dignity man.
The top 1% of the population owns roughly 1/3rd of all the wealth in the country.
* Aged 47 (that’s the average age).
* 90% of them have made their money on their own rather than inherit it (10%).
* 90% graduated from college (but 75% did not go to an Ivy-League school).
* 80% don’t tell anyone they are part of the elite of the nation and keep it quiet for fear of what people might say.
* Minimum income to qualify in the top 1%??? $367,000 in gross income. (or $342K, depending on your source - Top 1 Percent: How Much Do They Earn? | Bankrate.com)
If you look REAL close, you'll see that calGun's statement is factually correct - today, 3.2 million people are in the top 1%, whereas in 1922, only 1.9 million were. It makes perfect sense given that the population in 1922 was significantly less. You need to read closer.
We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.
- Orson Welles