Wealth Disparity in the United States
The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer.
Today it seems people think the Occupy Wall Street Movement is about the income gap between the wealthy and the poor. I’m still not sure if it’s the official reason for the movement. I’m just not clear what it’s all about.
Problem: Executive pay is skyrocketing while middle and lower class wages are stagnant.
Solution: No one is offering a solution.
How would someone solve that? There really is very little we can do about this. Ideally it would be self-correcting: When the various Boards of Directors meet to assign salaries and bonuses they would correct any over-pay situations to make sure that the stock-holders are getting the most value out of their investments, right?
I suppose I could envision some kind of “you wash my back, I wash yours” shady deals going on to keep executive pay high. If this is the case, then the governing force here is the stockholders and if they feel they are getting shafted by having their would-be higher dividends being paid as ludicrous bonuses instead, the stockholders should dump their stock in favor of a better deal elsewhere. Annual Stockholder Reports tell the stockholders exactly where the money is going.
I remember the millions given in bonuses to certain financial institutions’ executives in a year when the companies lost money. That seems stupid. I would think the stockholders might even have a case against the board for acting in bad-faith. Not that I know squat about corporate law. But that’s about as far as the legality of the situation goes. This is not an example of criminal activity. Honestly, it’s barely unethical and maybe not. Maybe they needed to give bonuses to keep actual talented workers from jumping ship. Who knows for sure?
Don’t get me started on Golden Parachutes, though. I still haven’t figured those out other than if it was stipulated in the employment contract.
Actual corruption is a completely different thing and skimming and embezzlement are crimes and should be punished as such. Ditto for price fixing.
Or maybe the supply/demand market for good executives is just that competitive. I mean if things are going well for a company, they really do want to make sure to maintain everything that keeps the company running so well. This means paying people a stupid amount of money to make sure they don’t even think about heading off to sell their abilities somewhere else.
Well, there is a lot to be said about the rich having more money to invest and more money to get returns on resulting in more money overall. There isn’t and shouldn’t be any laws restricting the free investment of enormous sums of money.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whining about a perceived injustice is just whining. To make a difference you must provide a viable plan to fix the perceived injustice.
Billionaire Tax? Okay, this is a viable solution. The problem with it is that billionaires are outnumbered in representation. I’m not saying rich people shouldn’t have a higher tax-rate. I think they should. I’m just saying that it seems a bit specific to just target the wealthy with new taxes. Fix the old tax system don’t add new targeted taxes to complicate it. I’m not a billionaire and not even close to a millionaire, if I were, I can’t say if I’d be open to tax hike or not to help the country, I can say I’d feel a bit persecuted to have an additional tax thrust upon me just because I made good business decisions.
Historical ways to fix income disparity:
Rome frequently seized the estates of nobility to balance the budgets, often targeting political opponents of those in power.
The French removed vital body parts – well just the one part – from those who seemed to have unfair amounts of wealth.
The Russians did pretty much the same thing, then they turned communist until they realized that without the motivation to make more money, no one really cared too much about their jobs.
So Far, in our country, the rich just die of old age, give all their money to their kids and/or build lots of libraries, schools and museums.
Being rich is not in and of itself a crime. In most cases rich people made their money honestly or someone else did and then left them the money. Occasionally there are people who make their money by abusing their workforce in one way or another. That’s another issue.
Blaming the wealthy for being greedy and wanting more money is like blaming grass for being green. Greed is the primary driving force in a capitalistic economy. Alternative economies, historically, always make things far, far, worse for the ‘have-nots’.
Okay so say you’re one of the disgruntled people who don’t like rich people making money. What can you do? Do some research, identify their income paths and avoid contributing. Boycott whatever companies funnel their profits towards the offending corporations and individuals.
Suggest a fix. It doesn’t have to be a great idea, but any suggestion is better than whining as a social activity.