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What a pile of stinking "natural fertilizer derived from a male cow!" The Economist ought to change its name to "The Socialist."
I'm about ready to cancel my subscription "Editor Zanny." Keep insulting your US readers and I will do so!
Thank God the US doesn't adopt the misguided and FAILED economic policies of the European Union, the leading Socialist and unaccountable big government in the universe!
13.5% are immigrants, and lots of them are skilled. The US isn't being overrun with unskilled workers.
And what's this business about first generation Americans? Do those Americans not count as Americans? They would have attended American schools and colleges... if they have a problem, that's kinda on America.
America must be the only democracy in history where most people who are not rich vote for things which they think would be good for them if they were rich.
So if activist investors--who will topple a board of directors or seize warships as necessary to achieve returns--don't often target CEO pay by hiring a pool boy to do the job for $50k/year, that implies there isn't much to gain by doing so.
Though the opposite is sometimes true. Note the recent CSX incident where an activist shareholder had a *more expensive CEO* brought in to run the company ($83M signing bonus to make home whole wrt his long term compensation at his previous post). Now why would you get a more expensive CEO? Maybe because skilled CEOs are rare but can add tremendous value? (Note CSX's market cap increased $8B on the news it was putting Hunter Harrison into the CEO position and lost $4B when he announced his medical leave).
I'm not suggesting the market is perfectly rational, just that the burden of proof is in someone suggesting it is the opposite given the incentives and clever people involved in these transactions.
CEO pay is typically a rounding error on a company's revenue (0.1% is my guess). If CEOs are overpaid you would think the board of directors would rectify the situation, and if not them, activist shareholders. Paul Singer went after Argentinian warships; don't you think he would sack some CEOs if there was money in it?
I didn't overlook anything. Maybe 3 sentences is too much for you to read and comprehend. There is a reason I mentioned activist investors in my comment.
Gas is roughly flat from 30 years ago adjusting for inflation. You can get non-smart tracphone service for $5/month. HBO existed but content quality and quantity has greatly increased from a generation ago.
An internet search reveals that "U.S. Trust is a private bank serving the needs of high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals and families by providing comprehensive wealth management products and services focused on wealth structuring ..."
Such an institution is not likely to do or sponsor a study the results of which will displease their clients.
One contributing factor is surely that the notion of a "land of opportunity" is uniquely baked into the DNA of the United States. If you posited to people around the developed world that the statement "anyone can get ahead in life if they work hard and take chances" is simply untrue, you would get a wide range of responses. But only in the US would you get the kind of intense allergic reaction demonstrated in some of the contributions below.
The reason why is that in the UK or Germany or Singapore, the notion of the country as a land of opportunity is nice, but is only one political and economic goal among many. In the States, on the other hand, it is a fundamental tenet of national identity, especially on the political right. Don't expect much in the way of dispassionate analysis in such circumstances.
Typo: Two reasons many Americans are skeptical about government’s role in providing cash transfers to the poor *are* 1).........
I’m not sure tax reform is the best venue for an article on income inequality. Higher income earners will always contribute more in taxes by virtue of scale, i.e. the top 20% earners pay well over 50% of all federal income tax.
Two reasons many Americans are skeptical about government’s role in providing cash transfers to the poor is that 1) our current Welfare programs are not well-managed by the federal government and 2) because we don't have a socialist form of government.
"A second reason Americans may differ in their view of inequality is that they seem not to trust the government to fix the problem—or to believe that this is part of its job."
That's because America is still a nation of capitalists and not socialists. We still believe this is the land of opportunity and it's up to you, the individual, to make something of yourself. Your use of the word "tolerant" implies there's some supreme ruler lording over us and just watching us like mischievous children. If we don't like inequality then it is incumbent upon the individual, not the government or some angry mob of whining low-lifes (e.g. Occupy Wall Street), to make themselves more successful.
As recently as 2001, the effective corporate tax rate was 27.6%. (However, a Congressional Budget Office report noted that even using the effective rate, U.S. corporate taxes in 2012 were still the fourth-highest among G-20 countries.)
A closer look at who does (and doesn’t) pay U.S. income tax
Individual income taxes are the federal government’s single biggest revenue source. In fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, the individual income tax was expected to bring in nearly $1.66 trillion, or about 48% of all federal revenues, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The corporate income tax was estimated to raise another $324 billion, or 9% of total federal revenue.
Individuals who pay taxes are employed by corporations and small businesses.
All good points but there is at least one more:
Most Americans believe in the American dream in that even the poor can become rich through entrepreneurship and hard work. These ideas don't carry over so well in Europe where a persons wealth is more likely to come from inheritance / family / nobility ties.
I believe you teased out a key issue, LexHumana. Great post, btw.
I think inequality presents a social problem when the gulf between the have's and the havenot's is too vast. Les Miserables portrays some of the human problems.
The human problems provide a potential breeding ground for social unrest. This antecedent and consequence sequence is inevitable. The pendulum always swings back. Both ways.
It is unfortunate the adjective "progressive" has to be lopped on to this perspective. Perhaps “pragmatic” is a more helpful term.
I 100% agree with you the focus ought to be on POVERTY , as you succinctly sum up:
"A focus on poverty is a focus on what you don't have, while a focus on inequality is a focus on what other people do have. Being covetous of your neighbor's goods is a sin; desiring to help the poor is a virtue."
I would also add a focus on what other people have leads to a most toxic and corrosive human emotion known as ENVY. Envy manifests variously as hatred and irrational fears and fantasies of untruths about the envied. This single emotion permeates and contaminates much of political thinking. It is also seen in a lot of comments written in public forums where common courtesy is obliterated in the service of overwhelming expressions of envy.
Elsewhere under a different blog addressing the what I regard the forefather of Inequality - Meritocracy, I wrote the following -
“Meritocracy comes with the price-tag of a paradox, as Bagehot saw and explained….
The structural nature of meritocracy is such that there will be winners and there will be losers. This on the merit of things….
Perhaps Bernard Cornwell in Sharpe’s Trafalgar captured the essence of this perennial conundrum: “Just remember, Braithwaite. While you were learning to be a fool at Oxford I was learning to kill men.”
*Democratize higher education*. There is no other realistic way … to alleviate the weight of this unsolvable puzzle, one which Karl Marx, with all his brilliance, didn’t solve. He failed because he was up against a starkest reality he completely missed: the Gaussian Curve.
The Curve will always be with us.”
I repeat here: Inequality will always be with us.
Yo if you’re in this for the Long Haul you need to realize that TE is not a black or white magazine, it’s all about shades of grey. Discussing Comparative income inequality across first world countries is not giving ground to Marxist ideas.
So "inequality" is likely to be next on the Trump administration's list of banned words.
I always read and appreciate your comments MrR.Fox but you've lost me with Killing Fields and Reign of Terror. Those bequeathing or inheriting capital gains should pay tax on capital gains only once. How the Rothchilds' financed The Economist is a straw man argument.
Dumb question - Inequality in America is not tolerated; people are not informed properly. When the truth begins to come out, the media (owned by elites) pump people with "cultural" issues like trangenders using the bathroom, blacklivesmatter, gay marriage (in the 2000s). It keeps constituents wrong-footed. The media has been richly rewarded with new FCC rules that allow further consolidation, and the removal of net neutrality. America is descending into a corporate plutocracy like China. Where the Chinese manipulate their people to think the country is still communist, America's elites (that own the Republican party) manipulate people to think America is still a democracy.
And the following survey from Harvard suggests that America is only the most extreme case: