The Great Inequality Debate..... Economist Arthur Laffer and author Anand Giridharadas discuss inequality, billionaires and oligarchy in the US.

  
Via:  john-russell  •  2 months ago  •  12 comments

The Great Inequality Debate..... Economist Arthur Laffer and author Anand Giridharadas discuss inequality, billionaires and oligarchy in the US.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The US economy. It is one of President Donald Trump's pet topics, he loves to talk about it, he loves to brag about it, and he loves to tweet about it.

Just this week the US president took to Twitter to tell the world that more than 5 million jobs had been created since he took office. He also boasted that unemployment has hit 3.6 percent; "the lowest since 1969".

According to Trump the US economy is the "best it's ever been". But who's benefitting from this apparent "economic boom", everyone? Or just the rich?

According to the Institute for Policy Studies' Inequality.org, income disparities are growing.

They have become so pronounced that the top 10 percent of Americans now make more than nine times as much as the bottom 90 percent.

Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World believes the US has hit an inequality crisis point.

"You start to see people who run a company like Amazon, own a company like Amazon become the richest person in the world, while workers at Amazon are peeing in a bottle because the company doesn't give them enough break time in the relentless drive for productivity, " Giridharadas said.

"The people down below are not down below because they happen to be down below, they're down below because someone is actually standing on their back," he added.

Economist Arthur Laffer, a former adviser to President Trump, admits inequality exists, but says the gap between rich and poor is not the problem, he says it is income that matters.

"I've never known a society that doesn't have large income gaps. It's been with us for centuries … but the truth of the matter is income does get you better healthcare, income does get you more job satisfaction ... that's why I want to see the poor get more income," Laffer said.

Giridharadas argues that while the US has seen a period of economic growth, the benefits of that growth have been captured by the rich.

He believes social mobility has ground to a halt, and says that is partly due to the economic policies of former US President Ronald Reagan.

"Corporate profits have gone up ... the income of affluent people has gone up, and wages have stagnated," Giridharadas points out.

Laffer, who was an economic adviser to President Reagan, says Reagan's policies, including broad-based tax cuts, were positive for everyone because they stimulated growth and created 20 million jobs.

"It created an explosion of growth in income, jobs for the poor, the minorities, the disenfranchised," Laffer said.

The poor may be getting jobs, but who holds the power in the US?

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who has announced his bid to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 says the US is facing unprecedented income and wealth inequality. He says the US has become an oligarchy, and Gridharadas agrees.

"I think we do live in a functional oligarchy, and I think that's something Americans need to understand," he said.

Laffer admits the rich do have influence in the US, but stopped short of describing the country as an oligarchy.

He argues the way to limit the power of the rich is not through tax hikes, but tax cuts, "low-rate, broad-based tax cuts," Laffer argues.

Giridharadas is adamant that type of thinking belongs in the 1980s.

Most Americans feel that "society doesn't work for them anymore ... there's a tremendous new consensus emerging that we need new economic thinking," he added.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

Video is a little long, but gets to the basis of the debate.

Arthur Laffer is a stooge for the wealthy, and his arguments sound older than he is. Giridharadas is a point man for the growing concern over econnomic injustice in the United States. A tide will grow and at some point in the next 10-15 years I believe we will see concrete steps taken to retake the prosperity of the country for the common people.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 months ago

I believe steps will be taken to take the prosperity from the prosperous just like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman warned us.  

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 months ago

You mean the "Robin Hood" approach?

Will that involve confiscating the wealth of some and simply giving it to others?

In just about any country or society some will be rich and power, and a much greater number will have much less and little power to change their circumstances.

It's been this way since....oh, like antiquity!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    2 months ago
It's been this way since....oh, like antiquity!

There is no God given right to accrue all wealth to oneself, it is a societal creation.

If someone makes 5 million dollars a year in income, they can pay higher taxes to help those who did a lot of the work creating that 5 million. Yes, we should tax great wealth. The greatly wealthy will still be wealthy, just a little less so.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago
"You start to see people who run a company like Amazon, own a company like Amazon become the richest person in the world, while workers at Amazon are peeing in a bottle because the company doesn't give them enough break time in the relentless drive for productivity, " Giridharadas said. "The people down below are not down below because they happen to be down below, they're down below because someone is actually standing on their back," he added.

Those who are super wealthy are so because the society they live in has allowed it. It is not writ in the hand of God that some will have everything while others have little. It is man made.

 
 
 
XXJefferson#51
2.1  XXJefferson#51  replied to  JohnRussell @2    2 months ago

And yet more people are working than ever before. The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is around 5% and the wages are finally starting to rise again and by percentage rate they are rising the fastest among the bottom 40%.  Laffer is the one who is right here.  I don’t care how rich a handful of people are.  I care about the working class having decent jobs and health care and 401k through their employer and the middle class expanding its wealth.  Those things are happening.  As long as the working class are employed with rising wages and middle class move on up into upper middle class and professional class aren’t over taxed to prevent them from becoming rich, all is well in America.  I don’t have a lot but am happy with what I do have as choosing to work in the social services field is no path to wealth.  I simply don’t want what I have threatened by some asinine attack on wealth that damages the value of what we who are saving for life goals, health savings, kids education, retirement, etc. I freely admit that my entire well being and financial security in life is almost 100% dependent on the well being of corporate America.  So don’t count on me grabbing a pitchfork and waging class warfare unless it is to defend the rich from the socialists to protect the middle class too.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  XXJefferson#51 @2.1    2 months ago

As I explained in my own article yesterday, accounting for inflation, Trump's "greatest economy ever" has allowed someone making 12.00 an hour in 2018 to be making 12.25 an hour in 2019.

Low end wages have gone up an average of 4.4% over this month last year and inflation is 2%.

The idea that things are great for the 40% of the population that earns less than 30,000 dollars a year is simply not true.

Repeating right wing bs is not helpful.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.1    2 months ago

So what is the solution to this great injustice?

More and higher taxes on the rich?  jrSmiley_76_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.2    2 months ago
So what is the solution to this great injustice?

Don't constantly repeat yourself on my seeds.  If you have a point , make it. I'm not answering your extremely repetitive questions.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2    2 months ago

There are haves and have not's in real life.

Which one are you ?

When will the revolution start, or has it already started?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @2.2    2 months ago

There are haves and have not's in real life.

Which one are you ?

When will the revolution start, or has it already started?

Don't constantly repeat yourself on my seeds.  If you have a point , make it. I'm not answering your extremely repetitive questions.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I am asking the moderators to instruct Greg Jones to offer some actual commentary to this seed, and if he doesn't, to remove his further comments.  He indulges in the "sea lioning" we have been hearing about here.

 
 
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