Judge not lest ye be judged? Researchers explore 'moral hypocrisy' in powerful people

Dec 29, 2009

2009 may well be remembered for its scandal-ridden headlines, from admissions of extramarital affairs by governors and senators, to corporate executives flying private jets while cutting employee benefits, and most recently, to a mysterious early morning car crash in Florida. The past year has been marked by a series of moral transgressions by powerful figures in political, business and celebrity circles. New research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University explores why powerful people - many of whom take a moral high ground - don't practice what they preach.

In "Power Increases Hypocrisy: Moralizing in Reasoning, Immunity and Behavior," researchers sought to determine whether power inspires hypocrisy, the tendency to hold high standards for others while performing morally suspect behaviors oneself. The research finds that power makes people stricter in of others - while being less strict of their own behavior.

The research was conducted by Joris Lammers and Diederik A. Stapel of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and by Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The article will appear in a forthcoming issue of .

"This research is especially relevant to the biggest scandals of 2009, as we look back on how private behavior often contradicted the public stance of particular individuals in power," said Galinsky, the Morris and Alice Kaplan Professor of Ethics and Decision in Management at the Kellogg School. "For instance, we saw some politicians use public funds for private benefits while calling for smaller government, or have extramarital affairs while advocating family values. Similarly, we witnessed CEOs of major accepting executive bonuses while simultaneously asking for government bailout money on behalf of their companies."

"According to our research, power and influence can cause a severe disconnect between public judgment and private behavior, and as a result, the powerful are stricter in their judgment of others while being more lenient toward their own actions," he continued.

To simulate an experience of power, the researchers assigned roles of high-power and low-power positions to a group of study participants. Some were assigned the role of prime minister and others civil servant. The participants were then presented with moral dilemmas related to breaking traffic rules, declaring taxes, and returning a stolen bike.

Through a series of five experiments, the researchers examined the impact of power on moral hypocrisy. For example, in one experiment the "powerful" participants condemned the cheating of others while cheating more themselves. High-power participants also tended to condemn over-reporting of travel expenses. But, when given a chance to cheat on a dice game to win lottery tickets (played alone in the privacy of a cubicle), the powerful people reported winning a higher amount of lottery tickets than did low-power participants.

Three additional experiments further examined the degree to which powerful people accept their own moral transgressions versus those committed by others. In all cases, those assigned to high-power roles showed significant moral hypocrisy by more strictly judging others for speeding, dodging taxes and keeping a stolen bike, while finding it more acceptable to engage in these behaviors themselves.

Galinsky noted that moral hypocrisy has its greatest impact among people who are legitimately powerful. In contrast, a fifth experiment demonstrated that people who don't feel personally entitled to their power are actually harder on themselves than they are on others, which is a phenomenon the researchers dubbed "hypercrisy." The tendency to be harder on the self than on others also characterized the powerless in multiple studies.

"Ultimately, patterns of hypocrisy and hypercrisy perpetuate social inequality. The powerful impose rules and restraints on others while disregarding these restraints for themselves, whereas the powerless collaborate in reproducing social inequality because they don't feel the same entitlement," Galinsky concluded.

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otto1923
3 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2009
'All of war is deception' (Sun Tsu) and if peace is only the preparation for war, then all of peace is deception as well (otto). Deceit is a legitimate, and one may argue the most successful, tactic in the pursuit of survival to reproduce. How else did our brains get so big but to outsmart the enemy in an overcrowded world? To realize that deceit is not only inevitable but preferable in competition, and that we have been selected for it throughout our evolution... and to realize also that it is anathema to civilization... is also to accept the unavoidable fact that it can and therefore must be exploited in the pursuit of continued Order and Stability. It exists and will not go away; therefore it must be used. Deceit is at the core of nearly every instition we can name; not only in war and politics but in economics, religion, and even most academics. When one understands this and begins to look for it, the existance of a Higher Order of control begins to shine forth like the sun.
:-]
bentrider1957
3 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2009
"Morality" doesn't really exist. It is superficial and is just a demonstration of ego. If you lose ego, there is no need for "morality".
designmemetic
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2009
Great article. Would like to see quantitative analysis and exploration of effects and policies. So can we assign a social cost in dollars to this effect? can we graph the hypocrisy vs equity in societies and compare across regions. Are there social situations or policy environments that encourage or discourage this effect and why?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2009
If there is no God, who will judge the hypocrites? Their peers?
x646d63
4.3 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2009
"Morality" doesn't really exist. It is superficial and is just a demonstration of ego. If you lose ego, there is no need for "morality".


Of course morality exists; it is a human creation. Morality serves a purpose: it provides cohesion for society.

But, religion has extended "morality" to be used for control of its population and brought with it many "morals" that are irrelevant to modern society.

It's these religious "morals" that were once used to control that people are finally beginning to reject.

Some morals have obvious benefit to society: don't kill or steal from your neighbor. Other morals like fearing nudity and repressing sexuality are out dated.
marjon
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 29, 2009
Other morals like fearing nudity and repressing sexuality are out dated.

Is this not why so many powerful people violate the trust of their spouses, not repressing their 'sexuality' with people other than their spouses?
Muslims and many Christians advocate modest dress for women for a reason, to help men control themselves.
Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.
defunctdiety
3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2009
Muslims and many Christians advocate modest dress for women for a reason, to help men control themselves.

But why, really, did they advocate men controlling themselves? Do you really think the family unit was so important back then? Hint: It wasn't unless you're rich, and even then only on the surface. What societal purpose did it really serve then?

It served as a means of disease control.

Just like why jews don't eat pork (pigs used to be ridden with parasites) and it's an insult to Muslims to offer your left hand to shake (they clean themselves with it).

Look at traditional manners (cover yer mouth when you sneeze) and ancient insults (I fart in your general direction!), much of religious morality and early society in general is geared towards preventing the spread of disease.

As for moral hypocrisy, the great sage Eddie Vedder once said in verse and this article seems to back him, "Can't escape from/ the common rule /If you hate something/Don'tchya doit too?/ DON'T YOU!?"
Truth
5 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2009
I once had an affair once with an extremely wealthy woman. Most of her life was spent golfing, travelling and otherwise living it up in high style. Her mansion was one of the finest in her exclusive community. She had, for all intents and purposes, everything a woman could possibly want.

Yet one day, when I happened to discuss some issues concerning morality, she very angrily said that "God was evil". She based her condemnation on the fact that her children hated her guts (due to her man-chasing) and also because she hadn't gotten an extra 14 million dollars more from her father's will aside from the 22 million he had already left her.

Yes, all her money was inherited. Not a single penny had been earned. Yet she demanded more and from life, simply because she was rich and in her view, the rich deserve the maximum possible, much more than the "ordinary" person.
Weird? Yes. Pathetic? Absolutely. Uncommon? Not at all. If you lived in the world of the rich, you would be sickened
marjon
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2009
If you lived in the world of the rich, you would be sickened


And people wonder why the Kennedy's lives were so 'tragic'.
Unfortunately some will use this as an excuse to raise death taxes so no one can inherit such wealth. What it really takes is lower taxes so those who work hard can join the ranks of the rich and show them how to live.
Although Molly Brown got lucky, she did appreciate here luck and knew how to work for a living.
marjon
1.4 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2009
It wasn't unless you're rich, and even then only on the surface. What societal purpose did it really serve then?

It served as a means of disease control.

I could also have something to do with limiting husbands murdering his wife and her lover.
wiserd
3.2 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2009
x646d63 - "Other morals like fearing nudity and repressing sexuality are out dated.
"

Because people no longer die of infectious diseases like HIV, cervical cancer or hepatitis, are not raped or sexually abused,
and never have children out of wedlock. While our pitiable ancestors had to control themselves
fortunately, we don't. Uh huh.

defunctdiety - I agree disease control was important. But the human sex drive is strong enough it can consume all of a society's extra productivity. Socieites with strong families have men that invest more in their children, men who spend less time competing for mates and men who devote more time to doing productive activities. (The reproductive capacity of females in a society being rather fixed, and sexual competition producing relatively little of value beyond a certain point.)

robbor
3.5 / 5 (6) Dec 30, 2009
To Marjon, in the 50's taxes on the wealthy were around 70-80%. Taxes during the last 8 years have never been lower and now the middle class is sinking into poverty. Lower taxes does not create trickle down wealth.
wiserd
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
Robbor - World War Two gave the US a monopoly on industry for a time because Europe's factories had been bombed to rubble and ours were untouched. Such a world isn't coming back, regardless of the tax rate.

If you're going to compare the US to European nations with high tax rates, you should probably also account for the higher unemployment levels of many European nations. The US is 6th of all the countries in the world for per capita GDP. http://en.wikiped...r_capita

Lower taxes DO create higher rates of employment (Over the long term, and assuming that you keep debt levels constant.)
hylozoic
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
So wearing the pope hat/lab coat, or holding the D.A. attache leads to a disconnect between language and behaviour? Typical for the species. Entitlement seems to be learned behaviour, then. No surprise here. It would be refreshing if any insight from this study were actually applied by society. I'm not holding my breath. Love the research, though.
Birger
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
One way to reduce the level of hypocrisy in society is to draw a distinct line between the public and the private sphere.
If a politician/businessman breaks deals in a morally repugnant manner, this is relevant for his suitability to his position. The same of course applies to felonies. If however someone commits adultery, that is an issue only for the divorce lawyers and the family/families involved (unless the person is someone who makes a big deal of preaching fidelity -say, a televangelist- in which case he has made himself fair prey for public scrutiny of this aspect of his private life.
People are fallible, so let us focus on the transgressions that matter most.
marjon
2 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2009
To Marjon, in the 50's taxes on the wealthy were around 70-80%. Taxes during the last 8 years have never been lower and now the middle class is sinking into poverty. Lower taxes does not create trickle down wealth.


"The top 5 percent pay well over half the income taxes. STEPHEN MOORE has the numbers. "
"In the early 1960s, the highest marginal income tax rate was a stunning 91 percent. That top rate fell to 70 percent after the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts and remained there until 1981."
"Median family income in America between 1980 and 2004 grew by 17 percent. The middle class (defined as those between the 40th and the 60th percentiles of income) isn’t falling behind or “disappearing.” It is getting richer. "
http://www.americ...he-taxes
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2009
Lower taxes DO create higher rates of employment (Over the long term, and assuming that you keep debt levels constant.)

How does that work?

How much money would be available in Europe if the USA did not provide for their defense?
marjon
2 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2009
If however someone commits adultery, that is an issue only for the divorce lawyers and the family/families involved

Regardless of who the individual is, adultery speaks to that person's level of trust. Why should anyone ever trust Tiger Woods or Bill Clinton or Edwards or Spitzer or Letterman or...Maybe such individuals don't need the trust of society, but it should definitely affect how people interact with them.
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2009
Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.

Now that is interesting, and it corresponds to the business world's general rule that you dress for success.
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
The study is about people in power and how they manage their urges vs morality (aka societal norms). So why didn't they actually study people in power? By using "regular" study participants and asking them to imagine themselves powerful, the study only measures how the participants imagine the powerful would deal with their urges, not how the powerful actually do it. Lets face it, all men face the urge to cheat/steal/lie/etc, but without taking into account the risk of loss of power, prestige, money, face, etc, how can you make that comparison? I think the study is merely an interesting peek into how the "man on the street" THINKS the privileged class think.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2009
Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.

Now that is interesting, and it corresponds to the business world's general rule that you dress for success.

Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.

Now that is interesting, and it corresponds to the business world's general rule that you dress for success.

How would people act if all were nude? Some have suggested there would be no problem except for those with prudish religious morals.
DozerIAm
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
How would people act if all were nude? Some have suggested there would be no problem except for those with prudish religious morals.

Would that "some" be your weasel way of saying "I"?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2009
How would people act if all were nude? Some have suggested there would be no problem except for those with prudish religious morals.

Would that "some" be your weasel way of saying "I"?

No.
Phelankell
2.8 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2009
To Marjon, in the 50's taxes on the wealthy were around 70-80%. Taxes during the last 8 years have never been lower and now the middle class is sinking into poverty. Lower taxes does not create trickle down wealth.


Lower taxes? You're only addressing income tax. Income tax may have gone down but every other tax has increased on the order of 10 to 20%.

You're not looking at the whole picture. The average American pays on the order of 45 to 50% of their total gross income on some form of tax, that is the highest in the world among developed nations.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2009
While our pitiable ancestors had to control themselves fortunately, we don't.

I didn't say that those morals don't still have relevancy, though I do feel some are misguided. I just wanted to interject the root principle behind the morals.

And sorry marjon, it's not to prevent husbands from murdering lovers, that's what "thou shalt not murder" -and laws- are for.
Societies with strong families have men that invest more in their children

Absolutely, I agree.

The family unit serves the same purpose then as it does now. However it was just as fallible, and even more neglected, then as it is now.

My point is the root of those morals, that over-sexualization was considered immoral because it could be linked directly to spreading disease.

Man (and all sexually reproducing biotic life on earth) by nature is prone to infidelity, mistresses and whores were common and accepted back then, far more so than now. Do you deny this?

Then what was actually behind the moral?

Disease.
frajo
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
By using "regular" study participants and asking them to imagine themselves powerful, the study only measures how the participants imagine the powerful would deal with their urges, not how the powerful actually do it.
While I agree with your criticism I think the following sentence is an over-generalization.
Lets face it, all men face the urge to cheat/steal/lie/etc
There may be only a few but they do exist: the people who not only feel the urge to lead an honest life but in fact succeed in doing so.
Phelankell
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
There may be only a few but they do exist: the people who not only feel the urge to lead an honest life but in fact succeed in doing so.
If they never felt an immoral urge then morality would mean nothing to those people.
DozerIAm
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
Frajo makes a valid point and I want to stand corrected on this, as it was an overgeneralization to say "all men face the urge to ...".

What I should have said is all people are born with the drive to get what they want even if undeserved, some are born with a stronger drive to feel empathy towards those whom they would get what they want from, others are taught morality at an early age & it becomes second nature, then there are others who are neither born with a strong sense of fairness, empathy or morality, nor were they adequately trained to be so, and it is these folks who feel the urge to take those short cuts on life - some feel them at every opportunity, some feel them only in times of stress or distress.

That all said, I think it's the lucky few who never feel tempted to gain reward from something they didn't earn on their own. I know I've been tempted, and on occasion I haven't risen to the standard I try to hold myself to.

marjon
1 / 5 (6) Dec 30, 2009
To Marjon, in the 50's taxes on the wealthy were around 70-80%. Taxes during the last 8 years have never been lower and now the middle class is sinking into poverty. Lower taxes does not create trickle down wealth.


Lower taxes? You're only addressing income tax. Income tax may have gone down but every other tax has increased on the order of 10 to 20%.

You're not looking at the whole picture. The average American pays on the order of 45 to 50% of their total gross income on some form of tax, that is the highest in the world among developed nations.


People can still vote with their feet and move to states with lower taxes. Unless a US citizen becomes an expat, he must pay federal taxes.
I am all for lower taxes across the board. As Reagan said, no country ever taxed its way into prosperity.
frajo
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
If they never felt an immoral urge then morality would mean nothing to those people.
On the contrary. Of course they constantly feel the external urge to participate in unjust acts. But their internal urge to be honest is stronger.
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.

Now that is interesting, and it corresponds to the business world's general rule that you dress for success.

Our high school homecoming week had dress up day and dress down day. Discipline was much better during dress up day.

Now that is interesting, and it corresponds to the business world's general rule that you dress for success.

How would people act if all were nude? Some have suggested there would be no problem except for those with prudish religious morals.

otto1923
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
To robbor, Dozer et al:
don't feed the trolls. After awhile you start to realize they don't want to discuss, they just want to get you to respond. Makes you feel used don't it?
x646d63
3 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2009
Because people no longer die of infectious diseases like HIV, cervical cancer or hepatitis, are not raped or sexually abused, and never have children out of wedlock.


Yeah, I think you're helping make the point here.

Repressive tactics like those that the Catholic church employ lead to excessive child birth, spread of disease and molestation.

Non repressive tactics (like encouraging the use of condoms) would reduce disease and unwanted childbirth. The highest HIV concentrations are in populations that lack safe disease-preventing methods.

Non repressive tactics like allowing men of the church to have active, healthy sex lives could reduce molestation (although I will admit that is likely a simplification, and these molestations may have more to do with rape than sex.)

Rape is an act of power, not sexuality.

In all cases, education and awareness is far more successful than repression.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2009
Non repressive tactics like allowing men of the church to have active, healthy sex lives could reduce molestation

Churches do encourage healthy sex lives, within a marriage, to create more life. Besides disease, sex does produce children. There is 100% guaranteed birth control.
Also, most people attach some emotion to sex, and children, (I hope) and which leads to conflicts for sex outside of marriage, for singles and married people.
Many prostitutes have said many of their male customers want more than just sex.
There is much more baggage attached to sexual morality than disease.
frajo
2 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
Churches do encourage healthy sex lives, within a marriage, to create more life.

Mortification of the flesh is not healthy.
http://en.wikiped...he_flesh
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2009
"Relevant Church is excited to announce the pre-release book/workbook, “30daysexchallenge-A Journey to Intimacy” by Paul and Susie Wirth"
"I’ve learned that sex is most rewarding, unmatched, and truly amazing when experienced in the right context."
""Sex wasn't invented in a dark alley behind a porn shop. It's part of God's design. In fact, this may shock you, but God wants you to have great sex," a provocative message on Web Site."http://www.wayodd.../v/5467/
"“Sex is a gift, a good thing,” said the Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the 14,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan.

“God allows you to have pleasure,” Hamilton told ABCNEWS.com. “That’s how he designed your body. Once you learn it’s a gift from God, you embrace it and lay aside the shame.”"http://www.religi...exuality
"http://www.releva...log.html
croghan26
4 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
"That all said, I think it's the lucky few who never feel tempted to gain reward from something they didn't earn on their own. I know I've been tempted, and on occasion I haven't risen to the standard I try to hold myself to. "

An honest admission there, Dozer ..... I believe that Ghandi, no slouch in the moral dept., used to sleep with young girls to test and prove his moral abilities.
marjon
2 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2009
"That all said, I think it's the lucky few who never feel tempted to gain reward from something they didn't earn on their own. I know I've been tempted, and on occasion I haven't risen to the standard I try to hold myself to. "

An honest admission there, Dozer ..... I believe that Ghandi, no slouch in the moral dept., used to sleep with young girls to test and prove his moral abilities.

Ghandi would be arrested today in the USA for child molestation if he did that.
defunctdiety
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2009
There is...more baggage attached to sexual morality than disease.

Not really. More baggage is attached to sexuality than disease, certainly. But the root morality is based on disease.

The kind of morality you want to believe is real marjon is subjective, and therefore in my mind and I think in the realm of philosophy, meaningless to anyone but you or other individuals who believe there is a need for such judgement because they are so uncomfortable with their own nature.

Your kind of morals, subjective judgement, are no more real or meaningful than if I made up a nickname for you, an attempt at societal control.

There are what I would consider concrete morals. One only need listen to their biological signals to know what these are. People know when they are doing something wrong, with the possible exception of those with chemical imbalances... while I don't entirely agree with master-morality, I think the principle 'what is harmful to me is itself harmful' is a good guide.
defunctdiety
3 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
And when I say a good guide, I mean a good guide to what I'm trying to talk about in this limited forum.

Interestingly enough, this article is a really good argument for slave-morality/master-morality. Didn't realize that until just now.

And of course this principle,'what is harmful to me is itself harmful' must account for the associated responsibilities of the social nature of man and the corresponding necessary manifestations of societal existence, i.e. laws, persistence of society, etc.

i.e. taking something I want from someone may be good for me, in and of itself, but once the consequences are taken into account (laws) it is not. Or the like and so on what not as if.
Phelankell
not rated yet Dec 31, 2009

Ghandi would be arrested today in the USA for child molestation if he did that.

Only if it was "rape-rape". Otherwise he'd be excused by the American media.
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2009

Ghandi would be arrested today in the USA for child molestation if he did that.

Only if it was "rape-rape". Otherwise he'd be excused by the American media.

Yes, they have excused Polanski's child rape.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2009
taking something I want from someone may be good for me, in and of itself, but once the consequences are taken into account (laws) it is not.

Who needs laws? Turn around is fair play. Do you want people to take stuff from you? If you want to take my stuff, you had better be willing to risk your life.
I still don't agree with your sex/disease point as emotion is tied into sex, love and family. The most immediate apparent consequence of sex is a baby. How/when was disease tied in directly with sex to affect moral laws?
earls
4 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2009
But the human sex drive is strong enough it can consume all of a society's extra productivity.


Citation?
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2009
But the human sex drive is strong enough it can consume all of a society's extra productivity.


Citation?

I suspect survival would have put a damper on too much indiscriminate sex. Small tribes had limited resources. Too many people made finding food more of challenge. Tribal leaders probably controlled mating. Apes have harems as do some human cultures. I'm still not convinced that disease was the prime rational for limiting sexual activity.
Phelankell
not rated yet Jan 04, 2010
Tribal leaders probably controlled mating.

Actually evidence shows women controlled mating in almost all human proto-societies, regardless of their status within the tribe. Since they were the agricultural workhorse for the most part, they had most of the control over the food stocks. More children means more workers, more power within the tribe, better hunters and overall greater chance of survival. When infant mortality is in the 80% range you typically have as many kids as you can.

The only moratorium on indiscriminate sex comes from religion and even then, only recently.
Bob_B
Jan 04, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
not rated yet Jan 04, 2010
Tribal leaders probably controlled mating.

Actually evidence shows women controlled mating in almost all human proto-societies, regardless of their status within the tribe. Since they were the agricultural workhorse for the most part, they had most of the control over the food stocks. More children means more workers, more power within the tribe, better hunters and overall greater chance of survival. When infant mortality is in the 80% range you typically have as many kids as you can.

The only moratorium on indiscriminate sex comes from religion and even then, only recently.


What did the women do before farming? Hunter-gatherer societies still exist and were predominate before 10,000 years ago.
croghan26
3 / 5 (2) Jan 04, 2010
If you lived in the world of the rich, you would be sickened


And people wonder why the Kennedy's lives were so 'tragic'.
Unfortunately some will use this as an excuse to raise death taxes so no one can inherit such wealth. What it really takes is lower taxes so those who work hard can join the ranks of the rich and show them how to live.
Although Molly Brown got lucky, she did appreciate here luck and knew how to work for a living.


If various right wing governments would lower the taxes on the workers instead of on the rich, that might just work. Unfortunately the divide between the rich and poor is increasing and that the rich have been relieved of taxes ever since Reagan is no small part of the cause.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2010
If you lived in the world of the rich, you would be sickened


And people wonder why the Kennedy's lives were so 'tragic'.
Unfortunately some will use this as an excuse to raise death taxes so no one can inherit such wealth. What it really takes is lower taxes so those who work hard can join the ranks of the rich and show them how to live.
Although Molly Brown got lucky, she did appreciate here luck and knew how to work for a living.


If various right wing governments would lower the taxes on the workers instead of on the rich, that might just work. Unfortunately the divide between the rich and poor is increasing and that the rich have been relieved of taxes ever since Reagan is no small part of the cause.

JKF and Reagan lowered tax rates which increased revenue.
Data shows 'rich' paying nearly all income taxes. Bottom 50% pay almost zero income tax.
croghan26
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2010
JKF and Reagan lowered tax rates which increased revenue.
Data shows 'rich' paying nearly all income taxes. Bottom 50% pay almost zero income tax.


The bottom 50% pay no taxes because they do not have enough income to pay taxes. So you are saying that the middle class (and they are the workers) is paying the bulk of the taxes. You are soooo correct there.

The divide bewteen the top income erners (here think AIG and BoA traders) has been growing since 1975.
croghan26
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2010
Sorry ... my message button must have mis-fired .. to add to you comment - Yes indeed ..... the bottom 50% of the income scale pay little tax ... they just do not have the money to pay. It is the middle class that is taking up the slack the rich are now avoiding.

That whole 'trickle down' theory has been discredited since before Milton Friedman died.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2010
Sorry ... my message button must have mis-fired .. to add to you comment - Yes indeed ..... the bottom 50% of the income scale pay little tax ... they just do not have the money to pay. It is the middle class that is taking up the slack the rich are now avoiding.

That whole 'trickle down' theory has been discredited since before Milton Friedman died.

"Top 1% Pay Greater Dollar Amount in Income Taxes to Federal Government than Bottom 90%"
http://www.taxfou...652.html
Phelankell
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2010
Sorry ... my message button must have mis-fired .. to add to you comment - Yes indeed ..... the bottom 50% of the income scale pay little tax ... they just do not have the money to pay. It is the middle class that is taking up the slack the rich are now avoiding.

No, your message is factually incorrect. Over the Bush and Obama administrations the middle class started to vanish. That's because more people than ever joined the upper class from the middle class while very few went from middle class to lower class. Conversely, the lower class also received a major incentive from the Bush tax cuts as the marriage tax penalties were removed. You really shouldn't talk of things that you have little awareness of. Especially on the topic of trickle down economics which is what the majority of the Progressive social programs (including healthcare) are based on.
croghan26
3 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2010
Interesting theory - that the reason the middle class is losing purchasing power is because they are now too rich.

Here is a view of trickle down that does not seem to follow your logic - if it can be called that:

http://www.fairec...own.html

The points being:
1. Cutting the top tax rate does not lead to economic growth.
2. Cutting the top tax rate does not lead to income growth.
3. Cutting the top tax rate does not lead to wage growth.
and the forever popular:
4. Cutting the top tax rate does not lead to job creation.

Even George Bush II quipped:

"Haven't we already given money to rich people ... Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?" -- President George W. Bush in November 2002, acknowledging to advisors that he knew his tax cuts were giveaways to the super-wealthy."
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2010
"Haven't we already given money to rich people ... Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?" -- President George W. Bush in November 2002, acknowledging to advisors that he knew his tax cuts were giveaways to the super-wealthy."

That is because they were the only ones paying federal taxes.
Bush had noting to do with property taxes or local sales taxes which do eat up much of the income. When the feds caused the housing market to balloon, state and local property taxes rose which were spent and few local govts are cutting spending.
mgenest001
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2010
Those who seek external power will eventually be shamed by it. One's hunger for power over others is a flaw that will reveal itself to the one who seeks it. It follows that those who attain power in society will naturally become the very things they profess to have overcome, so that they might see the error of their ways and correct their distorted perceptions about themselves and their relationship to society.

Many simply do not have the intelligence, nor courage, to challenge their own distortions before condemning the whole world. They serve society only to further their own self-interest.

To seek power in society is to demand everything from the world. To seek inner power is to demand nothing from it, except what is freely given.

The answer seems obvious, doesn't it?

'To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.' -William Shakespeare
mgenest001
5 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2010
Those who crave external power will eventually be shamed by it. One's quest for power over others is a flaw that will reveal itself. It follows that those who attain power in society will naturally become the very things they profess to have overcome, so that they might see and correct their distorted perceptions about themselves and their relationship to society.

The problem is that many simply do not have the intelligence, nor courage, to challenge their own distortions before condemning the whole world to follow them. They serve society only to further their own self-interest and condition all in society to do the same.

To seek power in society is to demand everything from society. To seek inner power is to demand nothing from it, except what is freely given.

The answer seems obvious, doesn't it?

'To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.' -William Shakespeare
Phelankell
3 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2010
Interesting theory - that the reason the middle class is losing purchasing power is because they are now too rich.
Negative. The middle class is losing purchasing power due to inflation which is due to social liberalism and government largess.

It's funny how cherry picked the GWB quotes are. Let's go back to Kennedy instead:
"For every dollar released from taxation, that is another dollar free to be spent or invested. These investments create jobs, which create salaries, which can then be spent or invested, creating more jobs and more salaries."

It was true then, and it's true now. How did Clinton start the most meteoric rise in national economics in America? Oh yeah, tax cuts.

And I never said anything about the top PERSONAL tax rate, did I? Come back when you understand the difference between business taxes and personal taxes.
Nartoon
Jan 09, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
croghan26
not rated yet Jan 11, 2010
Interesting theory - that the reason the middle class is losing purchasing power is because they are now too rich.
Negative. The middle class is losing purchasing power due to inflation which is due to social liberalism and government largess.


Sure am glad that a couple of illegal wars, paid for by borrowing from China, have nothing to do with it. Phew!
Phelankell
1 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2010
Sure am glad that a couple of illegal wars, paid for by borrowing from China, have nothing to do with it. Phew!
What war? Last I checked we're chasing non-uniformed insurgents from country to country. Congress has made no formal declaration and any troop provisioning is in their hands exclusively. Perhaps you should address your concerns with them.
croghan26
3 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2010
Sure am glad that a couple of illegal wars, paid for by borrowing from China, have nothing to do with it. Phew!
What war? Last I checked we're chasing non-uniformed insurgents from country to country. Congress has made no formal declaration and any troop provisioning is in their hands exclusively. Perhaps you should address your concerns with them.


Disembling is a word that works well here too, Plel - if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck ..... (I will not insult you with the rest - but you get the idea.)

Are you saying the Pres. Bush misspoke when he referred to "The War on Terror" - so much so that the current White House resident annonced he rejected the term.

You mean all those American dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those millions of residents killed - not to mention all those incarcerated in Cuba, are there as 'business as usual'?

"A war by any other name is just as dreadful."
croghan26
1 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2010
Sure am glad that a couple of illegal wars, paid for by borrowing from China, have nothing to do with it. Phew!
What war? Last I checked we're chasing non-uniformed insurgents from country to country. Congress has made no formal declaration and any troop provisioning is in their hands exclusively. Perhaps you should address your concerns with them.


I am not that familiar with the ins and outs of the American system of ruling ... but this from the Senate seems to indicate .... something about something happening who's name is the 'W' word:

http://www.fas.or...3110.pdf
Phelankell
not rated yet Jan 11, 2010
Seeing as you state directly that you have no idea what the ins and outs of the American government system are it's puzzling that you'd make such definitive statements about our finance and dispersal of said finance in "war".
croghan26
5 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2010
Seeing as you state directly that you have no idea what the ins and outs of the American government system are it's puzzling that you'd make such definitive statements about our finance and dispersal of said finance in "war".


Eh?

It was not me that used the word WAR - it was your Senate .... Go to the link.

Do not trust me in this (as you obviously do not) but trust your Senate. Okay - yes it is an undemocratic body ... but there are lots undemocratic bodies around.

(and I think you can do better than take a comment like 'ins and out' and 'not familiar' and turn it into general ignorance.)
Phelankell
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
So would you consider the War on Drugs to be a military action? Perhaps the War on pverty?

Seriously, semantics arguments are far beneathe you.
croghan26
5 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2010
So would you consider the War on Drugs to be a military action? Perhaps the War on pverty?

Seriously, semantics arguments are far beneathe you.


...and far beneath the Senate as well .... but that stops them not. If you want to deny that having up to 200,000 troops (at its' maximum) in Iraq (2004) with the number of troops engaged in combat missions in Afghanistan growing every day (thank you Gen. McCrystal) - and who is to say what the CIA is up to there; is not a war .. so be it!

As for this War on Drugs .... the CIA is well noted for installing supporting and maintaining all manner of drug thugs all over the world, from the murderous slugs in Columbia to the 'Northern Alliance' in Afghanistan - I do not think there was anything more than a PR War on drugs.

Johnson was serious about his 'Great Society' if you want to include that in a War on Poverty - but not much has happened since.
marjon
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
So would you consider the War on Drugs to be a military action? Perhaps the War on pverty?

Seriously, semantics arguments are far beneathe you.

Gay used to mean 'happy'.

A congressional declaration of war has specific legal ramifications, nationally and internationally, which grants more power to the president. Congress is reluctant to make such a declaration and has not done so since 1941.
Congress now grants limited authority for the president to deploy combat assets for limited time frames subject to Congressional approval.
Phelankell
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2010
Well it was you who brought up the "two illegal wars"

Name the war. What uniformed army are we fighting? When did congress declare military action? How many POWs do we have captured? How many does our uniformed combatant have captured?

You want to throw numbers of troops and figures of casualties I'll show you the police stats on people killed in violent criome and the numebr fo patrol officers on our streets. That's jsut as much a "war" as the joke of a military action we're engaged in now. If this was a "war" we would have won it by now.