Author Topic: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?  (Read 4818 times)

Edward Longpork

  • Known
  • *
  • Posts: 627
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« on: November 10, 2015, 06:34:22 pm »
In Dan Carlin's Common Sense podcast, (#297) he was talking about Bernie Sanders...

Carlin admitted that while he likes Sanders, and prefers him to Clinton, he's not 100% behind framing the issue in the US as "wealth inequality". Carlin (who is left leaning but not squarely in either camp) thinks that wealth inequality isn't itself a problem, the issue is merely that political power can be bought. If it were 1 person = 1 vote rather than $1 = 1 vote, a lot of the issues we're facing would dissolve.

I've been thinking about that a lot recently, as I've always thought wealth inequality to be the big blinking neon Satan. But I wanted to bounce that off you guys - what do you think? Is wealth inequality an issue if rich people don't have disproportionate access to the political engine?

In a perfect world where citizens united were overturned and campaign finance was reformed, would wealth inequality still be an issue?


LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2015, 06:55:24 pm »
In a society where the amount of one's wealth can be correlated to social status, education, mobility, and health, wealth inequality is extremely important in more than just politics.

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Horrible Bastard
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 36736
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2015, 07:08:05 pm »
Not at all.  It's plainly obvious that the rich have only one method by which to strong arm the poor, which is to say politics.  No other avenues are opened via stacks of lucre.

This is why the Victorian era was a worker's paradise.

" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2015, 07:14:21 pm »

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105003
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2015, 07:19:50 pm »
Lets turn this question on its head: how would you prevent high net worth individuals from converting their wealth into political capital and gaining disproportionate control over the political system?

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Horrible Bastard
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 36736
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 07:27:36 pm »


Here's my deal:  I'm a lefty.  As I watch the "edgy" FB discordians turn into pre-rich libertarian turdburgers, I feel no compunctions at all with turning on them.  If someone is eating the scabs off of the Koch Brother's arses, they're no friend of mine.

I don't say that they're not "real" discordians, for obvious reasons.  But they are discordians I no longer care about.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105003
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2015, 07:30:19 pm »
Lets turn this question on its head: how would you prevent high net worth individuals from converting their wealth into political capital and gaining disproportionate control over the political system?

Or, let's put it another way: can you envisage a system which gives equal consideration to the opinions, wants and desires of people who own large parts of the media, manufacturing base, banks etc and people who own half a piece of string and eat boiled boots?  What would such a system look like?  Does that system compare with our current system?

Edward Longpork

  • Known
  • *
  • Posts: 627
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2015, 07:43:02 pm »
I had to go find the segment of the podcast where he's talking about this... Carlin's points: (this is all around 0h:44m in the podcast)

> The idea that you increase prosperity for the lower class by taxing the successful seems a bit punitive
> When we talk about wealth inequality, we don't really want to eliminate the wealthy, what we really want is for people at the bottom end of the scale to be doing better
> The cost of living for lower and middle class people is the real issue - and it's a systemic problem that won't be solved through taxation. Carlin thinks that wealth redistribution only addresses the problem on the surface. It's a way of telling people that you're doing something about it, without doing anything meaningful in the long term.
> If you're going to address stuff like generational poverty, you gotta focus on access to education and the ability to start a business.
> He thinks that taxing the wealthy to create prosperity needs to be proven - he is as skeptical of it as he is 'trickle down' economics.



Lets turn this question on its head: how would you prevent high net worth individuals from converting their wealth into political capital and gaining disproportionate control over the political system?

Or, let's put it another way: can you envisage a system which gives equal consideration to the opinions, wants and desires of people who own large parts of the media, manufacturing base, banks etc and people who own half a piece of string and eat boiled boots?  What would such a system look like?  Does that system compare with our current system?

I think repealing Citizens United would be a big step, but it clearly doesn't caulk the wagon and cross the river all by itself.

I am out of my element here, but doesnt' denmark socialize their news media? How does that work out?

What about strong unions? In the US we don't have unions for a lot of middle class careers.



just chewing on these thoughts, no conclusions here yet

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Horrible Bastard
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 36736
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2015, 08:08:40 pm »
> The idea that you increase prosperity for the lower class by taxing the successful seems a bit punitive


Who still has more money at the end of the day? 

What would a flat tax that generated enough money to pay the bills do to the working class?

This is fucking Rand Paul bullshit, here.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2015, 08:10:43 pm by The Good Reverend Roger »
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Horrible Bastard
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 36736
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2015, 08:10:00 pm »
Christ, I'm going to go torment libertarians on FB until I stop feeling the need to sick up.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2015, 08:45:31 pm »
It sounds like he's not so much, "wealth inequality doesn't matter," so much as he's all, "stop taxing me".

Which are two very different things.

Edward Longpork

  • Known
  • *
  • Posts: 627
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2015, 09:03:52 pm »
Who still has more money at the end of the day? 

So is the goal to completely eliminate wealth inequality? ie To make sure everybody has the same amount of money?

My liberal heart says that we want to decrease wealth inequality, as it's worse now than it's ever been in US history. But by how much? Where should it be, really? What are we aiming at?

Quote
What would a flat tax that generated enough money to pay the bills do to the working class?

Don't think anybody's suggesting a flat tax?

I think Carlin's point is -- let's talk about why minimum wage is so low, or the falling median income, lack of health care, cost of education, all these issues that directly cramp lower and middle class workers. (and to be fair, these are all part of Sanders' platform) Clearly if somebody's gonna pay for this, it should come from those who aren't really paying fair taxes now. You get no disagreement from me there! But here we're talking about raising the floor, rather than lowering the ceiling. Is one possible without the other?

Quote
This is fucking Rand Paul bullshit, here.

I hold a lot of liberal beliefs and assumptions, and feel its necessary to examine them under a critical lens now and then, I'm sorry if that irritates you. I am a liberal who is skeptical and critical of liberals. I think that's healthy because politics is an irrational battlefield.

LuciferX

  • Metanoia
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 28062
  • fripping moncrey!
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 10:19:52 pm »
Lets turn this question on its head: how would you prevent high net worth individuals from converting their wealth into political capital and gaining disproportionate control over the political system?

Or, let's put it another way: can you envisage a system which gives equal consideration to the opinions, wants and desires of people who own large parts of the media, manufacturing base, banks etc and people who own half a piece of string and eat boiled boots?  What would such a system look like?  Does that system compare with our current system?
I'm still working on the fine-tuning, so the model is only a simulation, however I can't deny the allure of trying to solve the problem with artificial intelligence.  Ideally this would not be necessary because reason autonomously would give rise to a system operating in accordance to the categorical imperative.  The problem is how systemic corruption prevents this from occasioning.  To circumvent the problem, we design a neural network trained to re-distribute wealth and opportunity across individual members and classes of an economy.  The database is optimized both for quick indexing of high-volume categories and also for "needle in the haystack" or wild-card patterns that account for high variance at low frequencies of occurrence.  Elements and classes would be initialized with random weights, high-learning rate and average momentum against the value of their throughput and predicted loss.  Cross-entropy products are then calculated and adjusted for gamma of weights and learning rates of each iteration, executed in the real-world by wealth distribution and taxation, until system is fully optimized.  The only problem is that it would take a long time, so we may have to start with mini-batches and operate with the working assumption that the manifold of probability is convex.  Problem solved :lulz:
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2015, 12:33:06 am »
Who still has more money at the end of the day? 

So is the goal to completely eliminate wealth inequality? ie To make sure everybody has the same amount of money?

Now there's a red herring for you. Nobody said that.

Quote
My liberal heart says that we want to decrease wealth inequality, as it's worse now than it's ever been in US history. But by how much? Where should it be, really? What are we aiming at?

There are multiple ways to look at it. I think that many people agree that a fundamental goal is to create a system in which people's basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are accessible for everyone.

Quote
Quote
What would a flat tax that generated enough money to pay the bills do to the working class?

Don't think anybody's suggesting a flat tax?

Well, NOT taxing the wealthy at a higher rate than the less wealthy would be either a flat tax or a regressive tax, regardless of what you feel like calling it.

Quote
I think Carlin's point is -- let's talk about why minimum wage is so low, or the falling median income, lack of health care, cost of education, all these issues that directly cramp lower and middle class workers. (and to be fair, these are all part of Sanders' platform) Clearly if somebody's gonna pay for this, it should come from those who aren't really paying fair taxes now. You get no disagreement from me there! But here we're talking about raising the floor, rather than lowering the ceiling. Is one possible without the other?

Like I said, there are multiple ways of approaching the problem. You can impose proportional income caps to increase low-end incomes, raise upper-income taxes, increase minimum wages, institute socialized medicine or a guaranteed minimum income... and no matter how you do it, the rich are going to see it as their slice of the pie being decreased, and are going to scream about it being unfair.

Quote
Quote
This is fucking Rand Paul bullshit, here.

I hold a lot of liberal beliefs and assumptions, and feel its necessary to examine them under a critical lens now and then, I'm sorry if that irritates you. I am a liberal who is skeptical and critical of liberals. I think that's healthy because politics is an irrational battlefield.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Emo Howard

  • Anti-Neanderthal-Defamation-Social-Justice-Warrior
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 32247
    • View Profile
Re: Wealth Inequality -- a red herring?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2015, 02:20:21 pm »
Many conservatives like to think in terms of running America as a business. Looking at it this way, Americans are both shareholders and customers of this business. Businesses use "price optimization" to determine what to charge for their product. If America is a business, then citizenship is its product. If you look at the increase in wealth/income of the wealthiest Americans over the last few decades it seems clear to me that they would be willing to pay more for this product.