Wealthy disagree with most Americans about income policies

Feb 22, 2013 by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

(Phys.org)—As Congress and President Obama wrestle over the "sequester" and other measures that would dramatically cut government spending, the first systematic study of the political attitudes of wealthy Americans indicates that the top 1 percent of U.S. wealth-holders (people with $8 million or so in net worth) put a much higher priority on reducing budget deficits and cutting entitlement spending than most Americans do. 

According to the pilot study—directed by scholars at Northwestern and Vanderbilt universities—87 percent of the wealthy say that are a "very important" problem facing the United States, putting deficits at the very top of a list of 12 potential problems.

About one-third of the wealthy call deficits or excessive government spending the most pressing problem facing the country, much more than any other problem. In contrast, only 7 percent of the general public mentions deficits or the as the most important problem facing the country; more than 50 percent cite the economy and jobs.

What's more, the wealthy tilt toward cutting back—rather than expanding—federal government programs like Social Security and health care that ordinary citizens want to expand or keep the same. Overwhelming majorities of Americans oppose such cuts.

Benjamin I. Page, Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making in the department of political science at Northwestern and director of the study, said economic self-interest is the most straightforward explanation for why the wealthy oppose raising taxes on high incomes and favor reducing the deficit by cutting back on entitlement programs, while a majority of Americans disagree. 

"These programs are of little personal benefit to wealthy people," Page said. "However, since they pay a lot of taxes, they are well aware of their costs."

An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose cuts in Social Security, and many wish to expand it. But fully 36 percent of the top 1 percent favor cutting back on Social Security, and only 3 percent of them favor expanding it.

Page said similar contrasts between the views of the wealthy and those of the general public emerge in preferences about many specific programs, especially jobs and income programs like the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit and government provision of jobs for those who cannot find private employment. 

Ordinary citizens are far more likely to support government help with public schools, pre-schooling and college tuition; to favor more regulation of big corporations; and to favor corporate income taxes, government action to reduce income differences and "heavy taxes on the rich" to redistribute wealth.

Page said an important reason to examine what wealthy Americans seek from politics is that evidence increasingly shows affluent people exert more political influence than the less affluent.

"We want to find out how they use their influence and what they seek from government, because what they seek may well have a good chance of being enacted," Page said.

Recent studies indicate that "affluent" Americans in the top fifth of the income distribution are socially more liberal but economically more conservative than others, with respect to important policies concerning taxation, economic regulation and social welfare programs.  But until now, Page said, there has been no systematic evidence about the truly wealthy, such as the top 1 percent of U.S. wealth-holders.

"We suggest that these distinctive policy preferences may help account for why certain public policies in the United States appear to deviate from what the majority of U.S. citizens want the government to do," the authors state in the report. "If this is so, it raises serious issues for democratic theory." 

According to Larry Bartels, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and a coauthor of the report, "Most people suspect that the wealthy play a big role in American politics. Remarkably, though, we have never had any systematic evidence about their political preferences and behavior. This project begins to fill that gap."

The authors hope to build on their , which focused on wealthy people in the Chicago area, by conducting a larger national survey of the political views of the top one percent. In addition to providing a more reliable portrait of the views of top wealth-holders, the authors say a national study would allow for comparisons of the views of wealthy people from different regions, professions and social backgrounds.

Jason Seawright of Northwestern is also a co-author of "Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans," along with Page and Bartels. The study will be published in Perspectives on Politics in March.

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bertibus
2.3 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2013
"...because what they seek may well have a good chance of being enacted," Page said.
There is no evidence for this whatsoever. The welfare state has continued its expansion unabated for well over fifty years.
Whether one agrees or not with this trajectory, to state that wealthy citizens have undue influence one way or the other is pure political dogma masquerading as science.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (20) Feb 22, 2013
Some wealthy people DO have influence. People like Buffet, Soros and Gates who for some strange reason support socialism.
That has been the trend of the 'progressive' era. Some wealthy, and not so wealthy, use govt power to regulate their competitors out of business.
Soros makes his money manipulating govt controlled currencies.
John_balls
3.2 / 5 (18) Feb 22, 2013
Some wealthy people DO have influence. People like Buffet, Soros and Gates who for some strange reason support socialism.
That has been the trend of the 'progressive' era. Some wealthy, and not so wealthy, use govt power to regulate their competitors out of business.
Soros makes his money manipulating govt controlled currencies.


If you didn't have fauxnews to recite your talking points you wouldn't have nothing to say. I now see how people are easily brain washed.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (18) Feb 22, 2013
I now see how people are easily brain washed.

Hell hath no fury like a reporter scorned by the very socialist they helped to cover for.

""The balance of power used to be much more in favor of the mainstream press," said Mike McCurry, who was press secretary to President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Nowadays, he said, "The White House gets away with stuff I would never have dreamed of doing. When I talk to White House reporters now, they say it's really tough to do business with people who don't see the need to be cooperative."

Read more: http://www.politi...LfJJL8V4
Caliban
3.9 / 5 (9) Feb 22, 2013
Some wealthy people DO have influence. People like Buffet, Soros and Gates who for some strange reason support socialism.
[...] use govt power to regulate their competitors out of business.Soros makes his money manipulating govt controlled currencies.


Typical riggsuckn.

Naming Buffett, Gates and Soros as the axis of evil of wealthy "progressives", since they -at least publicly- advocate -to a greater or lesser extent- some few modestly responsible social and fiscal policies.

Note that ryggsuckn entirely ignores the fact that these three represent the MEREST FRACTION of the wealthy, while the VAST MAJORITY, represented more properly by the Koch brothers and the Walton family, excercise far more power and influence -as a group-financially, socially, environmentally, and politically.

And the agenda of the latter group is transparent: dismantle/subvert government to prevent imposition of taxes and to grind everyone else down to the point of simply taking whatever they can get.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (19) Feb 22, 2013
few modestly responsible social and fiscal policies.

Like plundering more money from those less wealthy than they?
After all, Buffet can, CAN, donate all of his money to the US Treasury, anytime, if he thinks the govt needs more revenue.
Senator Rand Paul just returned $600k of his office budget to the US Treasury.
As for private wealth influence, ever hear of the Tides Foundation and the dozens of 'liberal'/socialists organizations supported by Soros?
"Very few Americans realize there exists a large network of far left philanthropists and foundations in America dedicated to destroying the American way of life, our Christian-based culture and our free enterprise system. "
http://www.wester...america/
Birger
4 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2013
Since the very wealthy live isolated from the commoners, in either huge estates or luxurious gated communities you should not be surprised that they say "let them eat cakes" if asked how to feed the hungry.
They are not evil, but they are certainly clueless; rather like the Soviet-era Nomenklatura.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2013
Since the very wealthy live isolated from the commoners,

Like Buffet living in a small house in Omaha, NE?
It is the politicians, like Obama, who are isolated from commoners who live like kings off of other people's money, jetting off for golf and ski vacations while the commoners, live off food stamps.
Birger
4.5 / 5 (8) Feb 22, 2013
ryggesogn2:
"Very few Americans realize there exists a large network of far left philanthropists and foundations in America dedicated to destroying the American way of life, our Christian-based culture and our free enterprise system. "

...And let's not forget the network of commies. And the freemasons. And the Illuminati. And the Elders of Zion (guttural German voice: "ZE JOOOS! ZE JOOOS!)
Birger
4.6 / 5 (11) Feb 22, 2013
Since the very wealthy live isolated from the commoners,

It is the politicians, like Obama, who are isolated from commoners who live like kings off of other people's money, jetting off for golf and ski vacations while the commoners, live off food stamps.


I seem to recall there is a governor in Florida that implemented the whole Tea Party agenda. He got an eight-digit "golden parachute" from his last job. And then he created a state budget deficit by giving tax cuts to millionaries like himself.
He then used the same budget deficit as an excuse for draconic budget cuts on education, health care and maintenance of infrastructure. Dengue is becoming more common in Florida because he cut back on pest control.
But from a millionaire's point of view, he has done well.
ValeriaT
2.4 / 5 (9) Feb 22, 2013
The socialistic politics is notoriously dissipative, BUT - weren't it just the governments of conservatives supported with wealthy Americans, which contributed to USA national debt in greatest extend?
Code_Warrior
5 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2013
The statistics regarding average Joe's opinion on deficit spending and debt as "very important" are left out of the article entirely. Only the opinion of the 1% regarding that is listed (87%). Then, in the 2nd paragraph, the author lists what % of each group rates these as the #1 problem.

This is either very poor journalism, or it is intentional, seeking to paint a misleading picture of average Joe not even bothering to mention deficit spending and debt in the list of "very important" problems.

I am an average Joe and I sure as hell think deficit spending and debt are "very important" problems. I also think the economy is the #1 problem. All of my friends, liberals and conservatives alike, also view deficit spending and debt as "very important" problems and the economy as the #1 problem.

At least cite the missing statistic so we can conclude the true disparity in views instead of cherry picking the stats to exaggerate the disparity in views.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (13) Feb 22, 2013
"Currently, 72% say that reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority, up 19 points from four years ago."
http://www.people...nd-term/

70% want Social Security to be sound.

The poll cited in the physorg article sounds like more of the same class warfare being waged by the 'progressives'.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2013
ryggesogn2:
"Very few Americans realize there exists a large network of far left philanthropists and foundations in America dedicated to destroying the American way of life, our Christian-based culture and our free enterprise system. "

...And let's not forget the network of commies. And the freemasons. And the Illuminati. And the Elders of Zion (guttural German voice: "ZE JOOOS! ZE JOOOS!)

In this case, many Jews ARE supporting the socialist's agenda with contributions and votes.
Other Jews like Mark Levin, Medved and Savage don't understand why so many Jews support a socialist govt that supports the destruction of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2013
"self-interest is the most straightforward explanation for why the wealthy oppose raising taxes on high incomes"

"KENNEDY: Our true choice is not between tax reduction on the one hand and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget,"
http://www.rushli...tax_cuts

What's wrong with self interest? In whose interest are the socialists acting when they plunder wealth and reduce everyone to equality in misery?
Shakescene21
3 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2013
@Code_Warrior -- I agree that this is a poorly-written and slightly biased article that probably doesn't deserve to be on Physorg. I certainly think the deficit (and the accumulated National Debt) plus the Fed's QE3 are major problems that could eventually destroy the US government, and I'm nowhere near the one percent.
An example of the bad journalism in the article is the language that "an overwhelming majority of Americans opposes cuts in Social Security..." contrasted to "while fully 36 percent of the richest one percent favor cuts..." A more objective article would have said that "64 percent of the richest one percent oppose cuts in Social Security".
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2013
"In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith wrote: "How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature which interest him in the fortune of others and render their happiness necessary to him though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it."1"
"Charity, while a virtuous act, cannot alone provide the essentials for living. Self-interest is the mechanism that can remedy this shortcoming. Said Smith: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest" "
"Someone earning money by his own labor benefits himself. Unknowingly, he also benefits society, because to earn income on his labor in a competitive market, he must produce something others value."
http://www.econli...ith.html
Selfish socialists produce nothing of value.
Shootist
2.5 / 5 (11) Feb 22, 2013
[q[ the "sequester" and other measures that would dramatically cut government spending

$44 billion in a 5.5Teradollar budget does not make dramatic cuts to gob'mint spending.
Jimee
4.3 / 5 (10) Feb 22, 2013
Ayn Rand's "enlightened self interest" has turned out to be unrelated gibberish ending in her dependence on Medicaid for her "enlightened choices". Noblesse oblige has no place in this ultra-greedy, "Libertarian", "free market" world where facts are as fungible as oil bribes.
zaxxon451
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 22, 2013
Socialist policies SAVED capitalism in the first half of the 20th century and beyond. Promotion of the race to the bottom enshrined with NAFTA, right-to-work, and taxation is stealing mentality promoted by the top .1%, manifesting as astro-turf tea-party and libertarian causes, will ultimately erode the very supports that make our economy sustainable.
Caliban
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 23, 2013
[q[ the "sequester" and other measures that would dramatically cut government spending


$44 billion in a 5.5Teradollar budget does not make dramatic cuts to gob'mint spending.

Hey shooty,

Can't you be a little more specific about this 44 gigabucks figure? For instance --what does this represent in terms of cuts, to what, and for how long.

Otherwise, you've just wasted everyone's time with your decontextualized gibberish.

VendicarE
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 23, 2013
America's epitaph.

"only 7 percent of the general public mentions deficits or the national debt as the most important problem facing the country" - Article
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (15) Feb 23, 2013
Socialist policies SAVED capitalism in the first half of the 20th century and beyond.

How?
Capitalism was doing just fine before the 'progressives' created the Federal Reserve, imposed an income tax, created the regulatory state, ...
Under Coolidge, low taxes and low govt spending created a booming economy. The 'progressive' Hoover began to muck it up and the socialist FDR REALLY mucked it up with the help of the Federal Reserve, of course.
Bernake: "Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again. {LIAR}
Read more at http://www.wnd.co...BaXRT.99
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (11) Feb 23, 2013
Since the article begins with the sequester, it should be noted it was Obama's idea and Obama is blatantly lying.
The 'liberal' hero, the reporter that brought down another imperial president, Bob Woodward reports:
http://www.washin...int.html
ValeriaT
2.7 / 5 (9) Feb 23, 2013
In my experience the wealthy people actually don't give a shit about state of public property - which is why they're so god in collection of this private one. Which is why the republican governments end with debt so regularly. The main reasons for this seeming paradox are these: the rich people avoid the paying of public tax as possible (do you still remember the tax affairs of Mitt Romney or Apple?) The second reason is, the rich people do want to restrict the governmental spending in social areas only - not in military and privately funded industry. This apparently hypocritical stance makes the government poorer at the end of republican period more than the seemingly wasteful social politics of liberal democrats.

So the memo is, if you really want to improve income politics, don't ask the republicans for it: they just want to leave their PUBLIC budget as empty, as possible (including the red numbers)
Czcibor
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2013
So those who expect to receive more from gov than they put to common purse want the gov programs to expand, while those who expect to pay more in taxes than they will receive back actually want the programs to be trimmed?

Shocking :D

However, I'm quite curious what think people who:
-are medium class and close to break even point; AND
-simultaneously bothered to check how the numbers look like so are not subject to one of many common misconception.
(Opinion of such people would be the most meaningful for me, otherwise I think that's more a question - do you want to give money or to receive money?)
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2013
If you really want to know what those who create wealth think, read "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Hill spent 20 years interviewing the wealthy of his day with the support of Andrew Carnegie.
Thrasymachus
4 / 5 (4) Feb 23, 2013
Maybe it's time to elect our representatives by lottery. At least then, we could have some statistical confidence that the legislative body was actually representative of the People, within a margin of error. If there's one thing modern politics should have taught us, it's that people suck at picking their best representatives.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 23, 2013
Maybe it's time to elect our representatives by lottery. At least then, we could have some statistical confidence that the legislative body was actually representative of the People, within a margin of error. If there's one thing modern politics should have taught us, it's that people suck at picking their best representatives.

Takers have been very good at voting for politicians who promise to plunder the makers and redistribute to the takers.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2013
A lottery to select govt officials would be necessary if and only if the power of the govt was limited to protecting private property and not plundering and redistributing private property.
When socialists began the regulatory state over 100 years ago, political office became profitable and desirable, and those targeted by the regulatory state had no choice but to defend themselves.
We are reaching the point as Rand described in Atlas Shrugged when the producers will begin to shrug and stop feeding the regulatory state.
Ultimately, who will win when the makers join the takers?
Socialists would rather rule in a hell?
djr
5 / 5 (5) Feb 23, 2013
"Takers have been very good at voting for politicians who promise to plunder the makers and redistribute to the takers."

Oh - I get it - so the rich in America are actually getting poorer, because their wealth is being redistributed to the poorer classes by the evil socialist politicians. Except that is not what is happening - so your understanding of reality is actually Alice in Wonderland World Mr. Madd Hatter.

For your edification Rygg.

http://www.mother...rt-graph
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 23, 2013
Except that is not what is happening

You are correct. What is happening is the govt, with its control of the banks, is redistributing wealth to the bankers and other complicit crony 'capitalists' like Buffet.
It is still socialism with the state controlling the money, killing employment and forcing more on food stamps to be dependent upon the state.
One socialist faction, like dj,and others here, oppose this and want to use state power to plunder the wealth.
Bastiat pointed this out over 150 years ago.
Socialists like dj want to use state power to plunder wealth and play Robin Hood. Socialists like the late Ken Lay, Buffet and Immelt want to use state power to plunder wealth by controlling their competitors. The common denominator is using state power to plunder.
And there are those, rich and not so rich, who do not want to plunder or be plundered by the state but only want the state to protect their rights to life, liberty and opportunity.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2013
And there will always be politicians like Obama and the hundreds of other 'liberals'/socialists'/'progressives' who will gladly accept the role of plundering as they have power and get a piece of the action. But they are really in it for the power and fame.
Some like Jesse Jackson, Jr and Patches Kennedy are destroyed by this power.
ValeriaT
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 24, 2013
87 percent of the wealthy say that budget deficits are a "very important" problem
But 87 percent of the wealthy would say at the single moment, they want to keep the federal taxes as low as possible. In another words, they do perceive the importance of the problem - but they don't want to participate on its solution.

The money are dissipating in economics in similar way, like the excessive salt in the water. It could precipitate in widespread thin form, but it will not do it. Instead of it, most of excessive salt will crystallize at the surface of crystals already existing in the solution. Therefore if we would collect some free money in the federal budget for solution of federal fiscal problem, most of them will end in bank accounts of the most wealthy Americans anyway. These guys will suck all free money from the economy infallibly.
djr
5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2013
For the record - dj does not support socialism. I already had this discussion with you Rygg. I support personal freedom and responsibility, with the least level of Government involvement. Interestingly - I have experience of England, France, and America - and I would say that America is the most highly regulated and bureaucratic of the three systems - which is why solar panels cost so much more here than in Europe - thus killing free market systems. As far as I am concerned - if I want to grow a plant - bake it into a brownie - and eat it - I should be allowed to. F**k the government for wanting to control every part of my life. Rygg you are either incapable of understanding what people write, or a liar.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 24, 2013
F**k the government for wanting to control every part of my life.

The solution is not to get rid of the union - or to start charter schools

How do reconcile govt control of schools and their failures?
which is why solar panels cost so much more here than in Europe

How are solar panels regulation in the USA to cost more? Maybe they are subsidized (socialism) in Europe?

if I want to grow a plant - bake it into a brownie - and eat it - I should be allowed to.

And you should be held accountable for your actions and to pay for your own health care and receive no welfare while eating your brownies.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2013
""Libertarians and pot," Coulter laughed. "This is why people think libertarians are pu**ies.""
http://www.glennb...olitics/

And I agree here with Ann and Glenn. Getting high is more important to Libertarian than personal property rights?
If Libertarians joined with conservatives to limit state power to as defined in the Constitution, they would then have the opportunity, and it may be a side effect, to end the war on drugs.
Libertarians are playing into the hands of the socialists by only focusing on two niche issues, pot and pacifism.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2013
"What President Obama left out however, was that the days of sweetheart deals for his cronies had only just begun–with his chief corporate advocate, Google, quickly emerging as the Halliburton of his administration."
"Regardless of how people feel about antitrust laws, the hallmark of corruption is to selectively enforce laws in a way that harms your opponents and accommodates your allies. In this case, an administration that has been aggressive on antitrust enforcement when, for instance, spiking the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, took no enforceable action against Google even after finding wrongdoing."
"Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, have a relationship with President Obama that is too close for comfort. Schmidt has been a top-dollar donor to Obama since 2007,"
http://www.thebla...2%80%A8/
djr
5 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2013
"How do reconcile govt control of schools and their failures?"

Centralized control of organizations makes them ineffective. But that is just issue in the question of why are schools failing. Poorly educated parents - in general leads to poorly educated kids - plenty of studies to demonstrate that. My wife and I both have advanced degrees - and a good salary - as do both of our kids. It is hard to stimulate creativity of minds in a culture that does not care - and for the most part America does not care.

"How are solar panels regulation in the USA to cost more?" The permitting process is ungodly difficult. In socialist Germany - you can call an installer - and have the panels on your house the next day. In parts of the U.S. - it can take up to 6 months to get the required approvals.

"And you should be held accountable for your actions and to pay for your own health care and receive no welfare while eating your brownies."

cont.
djr
5 / 5 (5) Feb 24, 2013
cont. I agree - I have just paid $4,000 for 2 dental implants. I am lucky that I can afford it. Many in this society cannot afford it. I CARE about those who cannot afford it. The core problem is that I live in a culture where we do not care about each other, or the world that we live in. It is a selfish, superficial culture.

As Vendi often points out - America is on the decline - eaten from the inside out with a bankrupt, self centered culture.

You conveniently never mentioned the fact that you totally contradicted yourself on the issue of redistribution of wealth - which I pointed out is not happening. You want to spam the internet - and just keep on running your mouth - even when shown to be totally wrong.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Feb 24, 2013
It is hard to stimulate creativity of minds in a culture that does not care

Thanks to the 'liberal' education system.
America does not care

Really?
redistribution of wealth

Whether the wealth is being redistributed to Google or the the masses by a socialist state, the common feature is the state is plundering wealth.
So dj, do you want the state to plunder Google and redistribute to you or do you want the state to NOT plunder anyone?
Batiat laid out the choices over 150 years ago, the state plunders a few or the state plunders all or the state plunders no one.
Where is any contradiction on my part?
I oppose ALL state plunder of anyone, do you dj?
Thrasymachus
5 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2013
No, and no one should. The whole purpose of the State is to redistribute wealth. Even the minimalistic purpose (which isn't nearly as minimal as you think) of "protecting property rights" involves appropriating wealth from some place and distributing it someplace else. Every government ever conceived has the ability to "plunder" wealth from wherever they can find it, and dispose of it wherever they wish, or they won't remain the government for very long. To wish it were otherwise is to wish for anarchy, and only the most hopeless, idealistic, burned out hippies think that anarchy can work. Hopeless, idealistic and burned out describes ryggie pretty well.
djr
5 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2013
"Thanks to the 'liberal' education system."

Here is where we disagree. I think the culture that does not care is a result of many factors. I would list religion as one of the major factors. Religion encourages people to look to a magic book for their answers to life - instead of developing independent critical thinking skills. Poverty is also significant. It is hard to care about the environment, or political philosophy when you are overwhelmed with putting food on the table, and gas in the car. Consumerism is a big problem. The meaning of life becomes acquiring toys - instead of developing a more complex understanding or yourself and the world you live in. Obesity is one result of this consumer society. I don't think we have a 'liberal' education system - I think we have a lousy education system. The answer is not more money - it is a society with more complex values. I don't know how we get there.
eugenepatrick_devany
5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2013
Between 1995 and 2010 the top 10% increased their share of net wealth to 75% while the poorer 50% of the country lost 70% of their net wealth and now have only 1% of the country's wealth. The poor have nothing left to take except their future government benefits.
We must get rid of the $1.2 trillion in tax expenditures which give 90% of the tax breaks to the wealthy.
djr
5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2013
"I oppose ALL state plunder of anyone, do you dj?"

Define plunder. Are you opposed to all taxes? If so - what kind of system are you proposing? Anarchy? I don't see an example of a system that I think is good. I don't have the answers. We have to start where we are, and move forward. I think the best path forward is to continue are pursuit of knowledge through science - and to work collectively - through conversation and then action - to see if we can craft a better system through incremental change. I am starting a business this year - hope to become very wealthy - and then do my part to influence the system we currently have for the better. What is your plan?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 24, 2013
""We must make war against socialism." According to the
definition of socialism advanced by Mr. Charles Dupin, he
meant: "We must make war against plunder.""
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply.
See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them,
and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if
the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing
what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."
Bastiat, The Law.
I don't see an example of a system that I think is good.

Really? How do you define good?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2013
Religion encourages people to look to a magic book for their answers to life

Trouble for you is millions of people DO find the answers to life in the Bible.
Napolean Hill interviewed successful people and nearly all said they used the Bible for inspiration for their success. Why do you want to attack what works for people?
The answer is not more money - it is a society with more complex values. I don't know how we get there.


But you KNOW for a fact the BIBLE can not be an answer, even though centuries of evidence disagree.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2013
f "protecting property rights" involves appropriating wealth from some place and distributing it someplace else.


No, it does not.
You think courts,police, fire, and a military are 'redistribution'? It could be if these property protection services are able to have laws created to benefit them over and above the services they provide.
o wish it were otherwise is to wish for anarchy, a

The world exist in a state of anarchy. There is no world govt.
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2013
Once again - is the decreasing of national debt the sign of state plunder? Forget the ideology, get the facts...
ForFreeMinds
1.9 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2013
"evidence increasingly shows affluent people exert more political influence than the less affluent ... because what they seek may well have a good chance of being enacted"

Paige makes no distinction between the rich who seek government favors, and those that don't, nor does she do it for the poor either. You can usually count on those who seek government favors, to advocate for giving government the power to hand them out.

When government becomes the means by which people can vote themselves money from some minority (say the rich) via a majority vote, then government becomes criminal. Similarly, when a rich person legally bribes a politicians for government favors, an immoral act has occurred.

ForFreeMinds
1.9 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2013
Continued:

The more power the government has to pick winners and losers, the more power the rich (including the politicians doing the picking) will have relative to the rest of us. But it's not the fault of the rich, it's the fault of the politicians who've sold us out, and the voters who support them.

It's too bad Page appears be infected with liberal envy and sees his study as another reason to tax the rich more. Instead he might see that people don't mind government sponsored theft if they are the recipients of the loot.

As our founders knew, democracies perish as surely as the sheep voting with two wolves what's for dinner.
djr
5 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2013
"Really? How do you define good?"

I would define good as a political system that protects the rights freedoms of an educated populace - allowing them maximum autonomy - with minimum involvement of government. Like I say - I don't know what that means in practical terms - so the best I can come up with is an incremental movement towards a better system - one that provides the circumstances in which everyone can get a full education - and be free to pursue their own dreams. The challenge of course is getting from here to there.

You never answered the question about taxes. Your 2nd hand definition of plunder (I would always prefer to hear what an individual thinks - rather than someone else's thoughts that they just regurgitate) sounds an awful lot like taxes to me. Are you opposed to all taxes?
djr
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 24, 2013
"Why do you want to attack what works for people?"

When I said magic book - I was not only referring to the bible. However - now you brought it up - the bible has been used throughout history to do great evil. The Rev. Phelps uses the bible as his inspiration, as did the klu klux klan. I do not so much attack the book - as the thinking that encourages people to look to this magic book for answers - rather than to think for themselves. It is very instructive talking with you. When answering questions - you always quote other peoples thoughts. It seems as if you do not have any of your own. In my view - true morality and integrity come when we do the hard work of formulating our own views - not looking to others for shortcuts.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 24, 2013
s the thinking that encourages people to look to this magic book for answers -

Millions disagree with you, but hey, they aren't the complex thinkers you are.

I don't know what that means in practical terms -

Maybe if you did some research. You seem to believe you are the first person to have ever thought what you think. I quote others because I have done research and want to share and comment on their work.
That's one of the problems with modern education. They don't teach Western Civilization anymore and it shows.
You never answered the question about taxes

I agree with what Bastiat wrote 150 years ago. People haven't change, govts haven't changed since then or even for over 2000 years as the Bible notes.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2013
The challenge of course is getting from here to there.

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution laid out a great plan.
But dj is more intelligent than those simpletons from the Enlightenment.
djr
5 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2013
"The Declaration of Independence and Constitution laid out a great plan."

Ohh - now I get it - this would be why America is the shining light on a hill - the country to have solved all. Maybe you should take a look around you. We are in a mess. For example - America has 5% of the world's population - and 23% of the world's prisoners - " the highest documented incarceration rate in the world" http://en.wikiped...ion_rate

I guess I am just not paying attention to this utopia - created by your wonderful documents.
djr
4 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2013
I agree with what Bastiat wrote 150 years ago. People haven't change, govts haven't changed since then or even for over 2000 years as the Bible notes.

But the question was about Rygg's approval or disapproval of taxes. The answer does not relate to the question. Trying to have a dialogue with Rygg is like trying to nail jello to a wall.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2013
"Citi has been an especially nice landing spot for big-shot Democrats. Former White House budget director Peter Orszag is now a Citigroup vice chairman and somehow finds time to write a column for Bloomberg News. And there was former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who was paid more than $115 million while encouraging the risk-taking that would have destroyed Citi if not for a taxpayer rescue.

Mr. Rubin was Mr. Lew's patron at the bank. Mr. Lew's contract suggests that Citi knew from the start that Mr. Lew was headed back to a powerful job in Washington, and that it wanted him to remember the bank fondly when he left. "
http://online.wsj..._LEADTop
Maybe you should take a look around you. We are in a mess.

And its precisely because the socialists eschew the Constitution. But dj is more worried about his drugs.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2013
dj, you do know that prior to the 'progressives' taking over ~100 years ago, your drugs were not illegal and there was no federal income tax.
If you read The Law you understand 'legal' plunder so what is the point of the tax question?
I support the FAIR tax and if 'legal' plunder were eliminated, these taxes would be quite low.