Saturday, February 25, 2012

Miscellaneous 119

1) Here's some more interesting data. According to government statistics (and as set forth by the University of California, Santa Cruz), the total net worth of the top 1% in 1983 was 33.8% of the country's total wealth, and their total financial wealth represented 42.9%. By 2007, these numbers changed to 34.6% and 42.7%, respectively - not exactly a humongous difference (and in fact a reduction when it came to financial wealth). You'd think, wouldn't you, what with all of this "the rich are getting richer" rhetoric, the emergence of the 99% movement, etc., that the disparity in wealth statistics would show at least a little bit more than the margin of error? I was certainly surprised by the numbers.............2) The left is always ragging on Austrian economics, that its practitioners arethoroughly nutty, etc.. But, I gotta tell you here, folks (and, no, I'm not a strict adherent to this or any other school of thinking, that you very much), they have a hell of a better track record of predicting things than do the Marxists, Keynesians, and Monetarists. That's for sure. Back in 1928, Ludwig Von Mises predicted the Great Depression. In the '70s, Murray Rothbard predicted stagflation. And various other "Austrians" have also predicted the tech and housing bubbles (Peter Schiff and Ron Paul were especially prescient in this regard) of the past two decades. I mean, I don't know if this alone signifies any sort of greatness but it is pretty damned impressive, I think.............3) Randy Edsall's 2-10 opening season at Maryland is rapidly becoming less of a mystery. According to some of the stuff that I've been reading on the Maryland blogs, a total of 23 players have left the team since Mr. Edsall's arrival. They've either been kicked off the team, transferred, or simply quit the sport entirely. I guess that this Edsall guy is staunch disciplinarian and a lot of the players simply couldn't deal with it. The good news (if, that is, you're a Maryland fan) is that Edsall is now recruiting "his" players (some of which are flat-out blue-chips, btw); individuals who apparently like that style of leadership. And if his experience at UConn is any indication of what the future holds, the performance on the field will eventually reflect that soon. Fingers crossed.

49 comments:

Rational Nation USA said...

On Austrian Economics... Bingo, while perhaps not perfect this school of economic thought and discipline is grounded in reality, unlike Keynesian economics.

Mises and Rothbard both were head and shoulders above Keynes. And let us not forget Hayek who would have won the argument had it not been for Keynes having more populist charm and glitzy feel good appeal.

And the USA as well as rest of world is stilling paying the price.

I just can't wait to hear from his spendthrift Keynesian WD.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Critter said...

I am guessing this is where you got your numbers.

If you look down at Table 6 on income distribution you will see how the "rich are getting richer". In 1982, the top 1% collected 12.8% of all income. By 2006, that percentage had grown to 21.3%. Over the same period of time, the bottom 20% saw their share drop from 48.1% to 38.6%.

These numbers are reflected in the growth of income during this period of time. Between 1979 and 2004, the following income increases occured:

bottom 20% -- 6% increase
20 to 40% -- 17% increase
40 to 60% -- 21% increase
60 to 80% -- 29% increase
80 to 100% -- 69% increase

Top 1% -- 176% increase
(From here)

I guess it is all in what numbers you choose to show.

dmarks said...

RN: Keynesians are quite generous.... with other people's money.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Yes, Jery, there income as a percentage HAS gone up but, so, too, has their burden of the income tax gone up in roughly the same percentage; the end result being that their percentage of the total net wealth has stayed esentially the same. And it's also importnt to point out that these statistics often point to household income. Households in the upper quintile, for instance, have far more workers per household than do households in the lowest quintile.

Jerry Critter said...

"Households in the upper quintile, for instance, have far more workers per household than do households in the lowest quintile."

Far more? I'd like to see some statistics on that one. Most families I know have two workers, except for the "rich ones" who can live on one person's salary.

Rusty Shackelford said...

A point to mention Will...just a shade over 50% of Americans pay zero federal income tax,yep they pay nothing at the federal level.
These people are the takers,the portion of the population paying federal income tax are the makers.

A present democratic talking point is "fair share," whatever that means.

Are the folks not paying any federal tax contributing their fair share?

If we continue on this path in 20 years 60 to 70% of the population will be takers.I just going to guess the makers will become tired of it.

Are the poster's here makers or takers?

Jerry Critter said...

While you are "technically correct", Rusty, the majority of those people do pay federal taxes in the form of Medicare and Social Security taxes, gasoline taxes, and others, plus they do have federal taxes withheld from their paychecks although they do get it back the following year. Others are old and living on SS.

To call the majority of Americans takers is an insult to the majority of Americans.

Rusty Shackelford said...

If you find it an insult....I'd guess you're one of the takers Jerry.If in fact you are you should thank me for being a maker.

Is being "techically correct" the same as being correct.

Rational Nation USA said...

Since you ask I've been a maker for 44 years and have the "taxes paid receipts" to prove it.

Would be closer to a wealthy man if I had the dough I paid in federal taxes over those 44 years.

What offends me Jerry is the growing number of takers. There has always been a certain small percentage of takers that are legitimately so. I have no problem with that. It's those who know and work the system that I consider moochers. And they are not limited to the poor.

Jerry Critter said...

"If you find it an insult....I'd guess you're one of the takers..."

Just further proof that you don't know what you are talking about.

Jerry Critter said...

There are people who "work the system" at both ends. I suspect the ones at the top end do more damage.

Jerry Critter said...

Also, more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households.

Jerry Critter said...

"Would be closer to a wealthy man if I had the dough I paid in federal taxes over those 44 years"

Probably not, RN. Without taxes we would not have a government and our economy would probably be like Somalia's.

w-dervish said...

Rusty: These people are the takers...

No they are not. This is nothing but Republican class warfare rhetoric. The real takers are the wealthy corporations who underpay their workers and overpay themselves.

Rusty: A present democratic talking point is "fair share," whatever that means.

A "fair share" is how much you pay in taxes relative to how much you take out of the economy plus your burden on the commons. Rich individuals take more.

Rusty: Are the folks not paying any federal tax contributing their fair share?

Yes, because their incomes are so much less. Taxes should be in proportion to "earnings".

Rusty: I just going to guess the makers will become tired of it.

You mean the takers who *think* they are the makers will become tired of it. What do you think they are going to do? Create their own Galt's Gulch? If rich people want to flee the US to avoid taxes... I say good riddance. Others will step in to fill the void.

Rusty: Are the poster's here makers or takers?

Rusty = taker. He brags about it (the industry he's employed in taking money from people who actually do productive things/contribute something useful to society).

w-dervish said...

Revision to my prior comment: Corporations aren't people and can't be "takers". The real takers are the wealthy individuals who run the large corporations and underpay their workers and overpay themselves.

Being able to predict economic problems is different then figuring out what we should do to prevent them. Austrian economics might work, if by "work" you mean achieve a society where the rich have even more and there ceases to be a middle class. If that's what you want I think Austrian economics would work fantastically.

Rusty Shackelford said...

Wow,the takers sure get testy when you shine a light on them,like bugs scurrying when the light comes on.

Its amazing how in their own minds its perfectly justifiable to take from their betters and have no embarrassment what so ever.

May I have another sir?

Rusty Shackelford said...

Yep,its pretty clear WD is a taker.....and he wants more.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

This is from the Tax Foundation, Jerry. In 1988, the top 1% garnered 15.2% of the AGI and paid 27.6% of the total income tax. By 2009, those numbers changed to 16.9% and 36.7%, respectively. I'm not a mathematician but this data shows that their share of the income went up 11.2% and their share of the income tax burden went up 33.0%. These figures don't exactly represent to me a "they don't pay their fair share" argument.............As for the # of wage-earners per household, I think that the top quintile has 2 and some change (teen children who also work, I guess) and the bottom quintile averages 1.............Another thing that the 99%ers fail to realize is that these categories aren't fixed categories. According to the IRS, a majority of people who were in the bottom quintile (a fair swath of them young people and college students) in 1996 weren't there by 2005. We actually DO have upward (and, yes, downward) mobility in this country (it's one of the reasons why so many people want to come here).............And, yes, despite all of this, I'm still in favor of the top rates going back to 39.6% (this, in an effort to close the deficit).

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I would also add that the poor pay close to zero in terms of state income taxes and local property taxes (this, despite the fact that they utilize a disproportionate amount of the services). Yes, they pay a payroll tax but that's doe their social security fund. They're at least theoretically supposed to get that back.............And I don't think that it's fair to call Austrian economics de facto the school of thought of the rich. There is FAR MORE potential for crony capitalism in a Keynesian model in which government largesse is frequently funneled back to big businesses.............And, just for the record, I think that Mr. Hayek was actually IN FAVOR of a national health-plan (I'll have to double-check that). So I really don't think that we should be stereotyping, either.

Jerry Critter said...

Of course the "poor pay close to zero". They are POOR! They don't use "a disproportionate amount of the services". Those are services for them, to help them get by, and get to a better life. And the money that they get to do this is one of the biggest economic simulators. All of that money goes back into the economy to stimulate demand.

Scapegoating the poor is simply a right-wing tactic to divide the country and enrich themselves.

w-dervish said...

Rusty = shameless taker. Also, "their betters"? What about "all men are created equal". I thought that Conservatives believed in the founding documents. Clearly Rusty's self-estimated worth is quite high. People he doesn't like are to be equated with bugs scurrying for the light. I find this kind of thinking utterly detestable.

Rusty Shackelford said...

And WD, I find your willingness to suck off the public teat without embarrassment utterly detestable.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Actually, they do, Jerry. They use the educational system more, they use the law enforcement/court systems more, and they use the social services system more. And the biggest drivers of poverty aren't that the rich don't pay "their fair share" in taxes. The biggest drivers of poverty are educational under-attainment, illegitimacy, and substance abuse (including cigarettes - the poor are 4 times more likely to smoke as the rich) - none of which the 99%ers are addressing.

w-dervish said...

You know nothing about my personal life Rusty.

w-dervish said...

Will: The biggest drivers of poverty are educational under-attainment, illegitimacy, and substance abuse...

You have cause and effect mixed up Will. According to The Spirit Level by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, more equal societies do better. The things you cite are NOT drivers of poverty; they are the result of inequality. All the EFFECTS you list are considerably lesser in more equal societies.

Jerry Critter said...

Will,
My point was that many of the services are for them. Oc course they use more of them. As afar as the educational and legal systems go, I am not so sure they use a disproportional amount.

And I don't believe I ever said the biggest drivers of poverty are that the rich don't pay "their fair share" in taxes. Where did you get that?

Rusty Shackelford said...

In 1960 5.3% of all births in America were to unmarried women.By 2010,it was 40.8%.In 1960,married familys made up almost three-quarters of all households;but by the census of 2010 they accounted for just 48% of them.Will is completely correct.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

People who graduate high school and who don't get pregnant prior to the age of twenty/marriage have a 64% chance of living in poverty. Those who don't do these things have a 7% chance of living in poverty.............And we've had this discussion on causality before, wd. Without a controlled experiment, we can't say for sure which of us is correct. It is rather illuminating, though, that there are so many people who ARE able to get out of the lowest rung of the economic strata in this country successfully.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Yeah, Russ, and all of this happened AFTER the Great Society.

w-dervish said...

So you're dismissing the theory presented in the book I linked to out of hand? Didn't even look at the link I presume. I get it. Will has to go with the blame-the-victim Conservative argument.

Will: ...there are so many people who ARE able to get out of the lowest rung of the economic strata in this country successfully.

Wrong again Will. Under the "Socio-economic mobility in the United States" entry at Wikipedia it says, "In recent years several large studies have found that vertical inter-generational mobility is lower, not higher, in America than in those countries".

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I did read the link and I did read the Reception section. The book is hardly without its critics. The authors apparently cherry-picked counties that supported their theory and omitted others that contradicted it. They also make the huge transgression of comparing apples to oranges. You simply cannot compare a small, docile, homogeneous country (such as Denmark) in which personal responsibility and industrious have never been the ethos to a country like ours. It's ludicrous. And, besides, if people in Sweden are so frigging happy, then why in the hell do they commit suicide at a far greater rate than us?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Again, wd, the IRS data is clear. More than half of the bottom quintile in 1996 rose to a higher quintile by 2005. Maybe there are some other countries in which it happens at a higher rate (and didn't you just say that there WEREN'T poor people in these countries you deem superior to the U.S.?) but in free society there are in fact winners and losers. I mean, I'm sorry to break that fact to you.............And you have a lot of nerve, wd. I've spent my entire adult life working with the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society (this, while you've done nothing but bitch about the fact that the top 1% doesn't pay more than 36.7% of the total income tax) and I won't be lectured to you on what the appropriate mindset regarding the poor should be. I've told you on numerous occasions that I make a stern demarcation between those people who are poor through no fault of their own and those who are poor out of utter foolishness. I'm astonished that you apparently fail to make this demarcation.

Rusty Shackelford said...

Correct again Will.....help the helpless....fuck the clueless!!!!!

Jerry Critter said...

You are right, Rusty. Fuck the clueless ( although I suspect we disagree on who the clueless are). But you won't help the helpess. You just call them names, like Takers.

Rational Nation USA said...

Class warfare, the producers and the takers. The classical struggle of the classes. Even here in America...

I suppose ones perspective is somewhat determined by their paradigm.

I posted on this very issue (in a sense) Sunday night/Monday morning.

http://rationalnationusa.blogspot.com/2012/02/socrates-socratic-method-and.html

I know, shameless self promotion.

Interesting debate...

w-dervish said...

I disagree. How about we educate the "clueless"? I think very few people really want to live on the dole. And if we took real steps to reduce inequality many of these problems would significantly lessen. I know Will disagrees, but to me it's common sense.

People KNOW it's wrong that the system is set up so that some can accumulate SO MUCH wealth at the expense of others. If that were to change it would give people tremendous hope... and many would work hard knowing now they had a real chance. Now, many simply give up, knowing they can't get ahead. That's my opinion, in any case. I'm sure Will disagrees.

Will: I'm astonished that you apparently fail to make this demarcation.

What I'm astonished by is your willingness to completely give up on some of your fellow human beings. I'm not for "fucking" (in the context used above) anyone. I'm sure there will be some people you can't help no matter how hard you try, but that doesn't mean you don't try.

And Will, enough with the "I won't be lectured to", and "you've got some nerve" BS. I'm just stating my opinion, the same as you are.

Also, Swedish people do not commit suicide at a "far greater" rate. The rate is slightly higher. 18.9 per 100k compared to 17.6. As for the reason... a 4/22/2011 NYT article asks, "Does being around happy people make an unhappy person feel even worse?". The answer is, "New research tracking suicide rates suggests it does". According to the article, "[US] states with high levels of life satisfaction had higher suicide rates".

Marcus said...

On the notion that people who don't pay taxes are "takers:"

Obstensibly, the folks who pay little or no taxes don't have a lot of income in the first place. But there is another factor. Most of these folks rent rather than owe a home...part of the rent they pay is the landlord's taxes. Before I bought my house, I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I'm raising your rent because my taxes went up..." (Moreover, renters don't get a mortgage tax deduction like property owners do.) I was never a real poor person...I paid my share of taxes.Even so, I was also paying a share of landlords taxes and I wasn't a "taker". Just saying: try not to use such a broad brush....

Rusty Shackelford said...

Under the...you cant make this up...category.

Bradley Manning the soldier under arrest for giving sensitive information to WikiLeaks has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Was'nt that the same one Obama won?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

It's not that I "give up" on people, wd. It's just that I hold people accountable at a certain point and advocate a system in which the people aren't able to milk. Sometimes the "do-gooders" inadvertently can make things worse for the poor; rent control, the minimum wage, welfare (the way that it's often structured, I'm saying), protectionism, etc.. And there are different approaches to solving social problems, wd. Just because Rusty, I, and Les don't agree with YOUR concept of dogoodism, doesn't necessarily mean that we're anti-poor. That's just you and your blind ideology talking.

Jerry Critter said...

Are you serious Will? Rent control, minimum wage, and welfare makes it "worse for the poor"? Where do you think they would be without these things? I think they'd be cold, wet, hungry, and on the street.

w-dervish said...

No kidding Jerry. Given what Will just said, if I didn't know him (as much as someone can "know" someone by reading their writings on a blog) I'd guess he actually wanted to do harm to the poor. Not "do good", but "do evil".

He most likely means well, but how he'd handle the situation would be quite devastating to those in need. They'd be cold, wet, hungry, on the street and dead. What I'm saying is that if we followed Will's prescription for our social ills people would die.

w-dervish said...

Bradley Manning is a hero. That our government is torturing him before there is even a trial... it's a travesty. Shame on Obama for allowing this.

Rusty Shackelford said...

Kudos WD for your stance on Manning....you've confirmed once again that you are indeed a manly man and a true patriot.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

a) Rent control has led to a shortage of housing in a great many areas. b) The minimum wage has frozen a lot of unskilled inner-city kids out of employment. c) Welfare (which I'm not in favor of doing away with, btw) has fostered dependency and possibly contributed to the destruction of the black family. d) Protectionism is a highly regressive form of taxation and often leads to trade wars and ill-feelings between countries. e) Luxury taxes often lead to jobs being lost and industries being hampered. f) Expensive licensing (such as the Medallion cabs in New York City) makes it exceeding difficult for working class people to start up their own businesses.......Just a few examples of government compassion backfiring.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I've worked in human services 30 years, wd. How many years have you worked in human services? You just might want to get your head out of your ass and your body out of the house once in a while and see exactly what works and what doesn't.

w-dervish said...

Will: How many years have you worked in human services?

Why are you asking? Don't you already know? I thought you knew everything about me/have access to my educational and employment records.

Jerry Critter said...

Certainly a), b), c), and d) are debatable a on the extent of their harm versus their benefit. I think you added d), e), and f) to pad your argument. I only mentioned the first three.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Honestly, Jerry, ALL of these things are double-edged swords and on that I think that we maybe have common ground.......P.S. Do a search on Medallion Cabs and New York City. The way that the government has set things up a guy like you or me or wd or even Rusty (I think that he's the most affluent of the 4 of us and because of that the drinks will be on him some day) could NEVER be able to afford our own cab business. And this is often the problem with regulations (and why I propose a regulation czar) - they tend at times to protect the established businesses and hurt the upstarts.