Inequality

Debunking Popular Nonsense About Income Mobility in America

So what if the rich are richer than ever? American income mobility is still strong.

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mSeattle/Flickr

"Young people are exploited!" "Income mobility is down!" "Poor people are locked into poverty!" Those are samples of popular nonsense peddled today.

Leftist economist Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been No. 1 on best-seller lists for weeks (with 400 pages of statistics, I assume Capital is bought more often than it is read). Piketty argues that investments grow faster than wages and so the rich get richer far faster than everyone else. He says we should impose a wealth tax and 80 percent taxes on rich people's incomes. 

But Piketty's numbers mislead. It's true that today the rich are richer than ever. And the wealth gap between rich and poor has grown. Now the top 1 percent own more assets than the bottom 90 percent! 

But focusing on this disparity ignores the fact that over time, the rich and poor are not the same people. Oprah Winfrey once was on welfare. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton was a farmhand. When markets are free, poor people can move out of their income group. In America, income mobility, which matters more than income inequality, has not really diminished. 

Economists at Harvard and Berkeley crunched the numbers on 40 million tax returns from 1971-2012 and discovered that mobility is pretty much what The Pew Charitable Trusts reported it was 30 years ago. 

Today, 64 percent of the people born to the poorest fifth of society rise out of that quintile—11 percent rise all the way into the top quintile. Meanwhile, 8 percent of people born to the richest fifth fall all the way to the bottom fifth. Sometimes great wealth makes kids lazy and self-indulgent, and wrecks their lives

Also, the rich don't get rich at the expense of the poor (unless they steal or collude with government). The poor got richer, too.

Yes, over the last 30 years, incomes of rich people grew by more than 200 percent, but according to the Congressional Budget Office, poor people gained 50 percent. That growth should matter more than the disparity. Piketty's data reveal times in our history when income inequality decreased: during world wars and depression. Do we want more of that?

It's right to worry about the plight of the poor, but not everything done in their name really helps them— minimum wage laws, for example.

I've had hundreds of employees whom I paid nothing: student interns. Unpaid internships were allowed for years, because it was understood that interns learn by working. My interns learned a lot. Many went on to successful careers in journalism. One won a Pulitzer Prize. Many said they learned more working for me than at college (despite $50,000 tuition). They benefited and I benefited. Win-win.

So for years government ignored Labor Department rules that decreed unpaid internships legal only if an employer gets "no immediate advantage" from the intern. Geez, who wants that? Of course I got an advantage from my interns. That's why I employed them! 

Recently, President Barack Obama's Labor Department announced it would enforce the internship rules, and some interns sued their former employers, claiming internships were "unfair." Charlie Rose forked over a quarter of a million dollars. Word spread, so now unpaid internships are vanishing. 

Some people say it's good that unpaid internships are gone, because they are unfair to poor people, who can't afford volunteer work. But getting rid of opportunities does nothing to help anyone. Employers lose and students lose.

Difficult as it can seem to make your own way in this world without a phony government promise that you'll be taken care of, or that every job will pay at least $15 an hour, success happens when markets are relatively free. Individual initiative creates new things, companies, job opportunities—whole new ways of life—that make the world better for all of us. 

Government "help" ends up doing harm. Leave people free—both as workers and employers—to pursue opportunities they find worthwhile, and we will prosper in ways government planners could never imagine. 

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288 responses to “Debunking Popular Nonsense About Income Mobility in America

  1. Most of “the rich” are basically average dual income couples in their prime earning years.

    1. Most of “The Rich” are S corps, which report business income (before operating expenses) on personal taxes.

      So yeah, I “make” 1,200,000/yr. I also spend 1,100,000.

      1. You’ll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes, capitalist pig.

        1. Thank fucking god. If the statists win, it’ll be a competition to see if they can kill me before I kill myself.

          1. They won’t. We have all the guns.

            1. Yeah, but they have tanks. 🙁

              1. No, they don’t…we do.

                Commissioned Officer Oath Of Office

                “I, (state your name), having been appointed a (rank) in the United States (branch of service), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foriegn and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

                1. Oh yeah? If that’s the case, why haven’t they arrested James Clapper and demolished NSA headquarters already?

                  1. Because that clause is the option of last resort, when everything else has failed. We aren’t there…yet.

                    If you think any viable percentage of US soldiers will fire on US citizens protecting the Constitution, you are mistaken.

                    That said, it would be situationally dependent on the extent of the violations, but if it came to open warfare, the military will side with the Constitution.

                2. Speaking of the Constitution, where exactly is the article contained therein that delegates any power to the federal govermnet to be deliberatly engagning in wealth or income redistribution to begin with?

                3. Good luck with depending on that. 10 years ago, you could dpend on the military to take its oath seriously, without worry. The Team Blue statists currently in charge are not promoting ‘trouble makers’ who take the constitution seriously. Posse comitatus is being eroded away.

                  1. I retired 4 years ago. The oath is taken VERY seriously.

                    1. I can confirm that^^

                      This topic comes up very often during bull sessions and I have yet to hear a combat arms Soldier say that they wouldn’t tell a leader to go do anatomically improbable things were they ordered to engage in CONUS warfare.

                      Further, it’s important to understand that our land force’s main asset is the most robust martial logistics capability the world has ever seen. Take that away and a large part of our technical edge goes with it. It is young, predominantly Team Red, kids that run that logistics chain.

                      The National Command Authority knows all of that.

                    2. Got out in 89. Hope you are right.

                    3. …and the Officer Corp is mostly Midwestern and Southern.

      2. report business income (before operating expenses) on personal taxes.

        ummm…?

        Operating expenses are deducted before it passes thru to the individual owners.

        Line 1 on the K-1 is “ordinary business income (loss)”, which is after operating expenses are deducted.

        1. Tax Treatment of Partnership Income
          A partnership is a “flow-through” entity which means the partners pay taxes on their pro rata share of the partnership’s income, regardless of whether the income is actually distributed to the partners. This income is considered earned income, and self-employment taxes are imposed.

          1. What does that have to do with anything?

            The tax treatment of income even if not distributed has nothing whatsoever to do with deducting expenses from revenue before the income is passed thru.

            1. anonoidiot can’t figure out the difference between revenue and income.

            2. I believe the concept anon was trying to get across is that there are a number of owner-operated business which may be set-up even as simple LLC’s which then file combined individual and business returns (for example via Schedule C). Therefore, many individuals have extremely HIGH levels of gross income reported, but obviously the net is much lower due to legitimate/actual business expenses. Additionally, the point regarding self-employment taxes deserves serious discussion – essentially, these people pay BOTH sides of the Social Security taxes (often at maximum rates).

  2. Hey, this Stossel guy… I like him.

    1. I think you have to stand in line…

  3. I realize it is too much to ask John Stossel to employ data in his proclamations instead of personal anecdote and his own special brand of common sense, but the libertarian talking points on income mobility are all complete bullshit.

    Short version: people do move into and out of poverty at a relatively high frequency. But very, very few people move out of poverty or what’s left of the middle class and into wealth. Things are, in fact, worse than they’ve been with respect to mobility and distribution itself since at least the gilded age.

    What’s extra special is how our society is supposedly simultaneously suffering dire economic circumstances because statism! while also being a fluid, robust place where wealth is easily achieved if you just work hard, and that’s why we can’t raise taxes on billionaires a single dime.

    1. I realize it is too much to ask John Stossel to employ data in his proclamations instead of personal anecdote and his own special brand of common sense, but the libertarian talking points on income mobility are all complete bullshit.

      ;ol’d when you proceeded to do exactly what you accuse Stossel of doing. Thanks, Tony. Really. You’ve gone full retard and it has given me joy.

      1. I’m glad you asked. Link

        Household income measured over a multiyear period is more equally distributed than income measured over one year, although only modestly so. Given the fairly substantial movement of households across income groups over time, it might seem that income measured over a number of years should be significantly more equally distributed than income measured over one year. However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multiyear income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures.

        1. Nice! Surely the CBO has absolutely no incentive to manipulate numbers. I mean, by their own rules they can only consider whatever metrics they’re told to.

          Surely nobody would ever use that to their political advantage.

          Never go full retard man.

          1. Classic conspiracy theory mindset. Evidence against you is just part of the conspiracy.

            1. Hillary? Is that you?

        2. And unequal income distribution has what negative effect?

          No one is arguing it’s not unequal. There is simply no negative impact. You have NO CLAIM to other people’s wealth…pig.

          1. So all the wealth in everyone’s pockets right now got there by legitimate free market means? Or does that not matter?

            1. Clearly the best course of action is to steal that money since you don’t know how it got there.

              1. I don’t want to steal anything. Taxing isn’t stealing. If it is, then we have a bigger problem on our hands, which is that an anarchic hellscape is the only morally permissible society.

                The market naturally tends to concentrate wealth, and if that outcome is the fairest and best of all systems, then you need to work on your definition of those words just as you do stealing.

                1. The market naturally tends to concentrate wealth

                  It also tends to create wealth, and is much better at it than any other method.

                  and if that outcome is the fairest and best of all systems,

                  So… from each according to his ability, to each according to his need?

                2. Tony|6.4.14 @ 12:55PM|#
                  “I don’t want to steal anything. Taxing isn’t stealing.”

                  Lying ‘fact-boy’ tells us tax isn’t theft!
                  Well, that’s good enough for, uh, lying ‘fact-boy’.
                  Anyone one else might need a bit more evidence.

                3. The market naturally tends to concentrate wealth

                  1. Yes, those CREATING the wealth get the largest share of it.

                  2. What, EXACTLY, is your claim on other peoples wealth? You earned it how?

                  You are a disgusting, immoral pig.

                  1. I don’t need anyone else’s wealth. I need for people to pay for their part of the upkeep of the civilization that allows them to make money in the first place.

                    1. The top 1% pay 30-40% of income taxes. Is that not paying for “their part”? If not, what would be, in your view?

                    2. Are you also “for” the 47% of people who pay no income taxes to start paying “their fair share”, since they use the majority of the social services my tax dollars support?

                4. Taxing isn’t stealing.

                  How is it not?

                  1. The income tax is nothing BUT theft. The only way to avoid it, is to not work.

                    Tarrif’s, sales taxes, fees are not theft in there is a choice … “do I import a widget or buy native”, “do I go hunting or not”.

                    The founders saw the difference, and that is why they denied the federal government the ability to tax income. The progressive era !@#$ that up.

                    1. Nobody’s forcing you to make an income. How is an income tax more forced than a tax on food? Isn’t acquiring food even more immediate of a necessity?

                    2. Tony:

                      Nobody’s forcing you to make an income. How is an income tax more forced than a tax on food?

                      Sure. Let’s all stop making income, and just let the welfare state take care of us. I’m pretty sure that’ll work out.

                      In what way is making an income optional? You don’t fund welfare problems with love.

                    3. The same way eating is optional, I suppose.

                5. I say we tax you at 100% and then not call it stealing.

                  Got to love this liberal logic.

                  To not pay somebody a “living wage” for menial services is creating indentured servitude and is theft of service.

                  But to take the fruits of one’s labor away from that person by force is not theft, it’s taxation, (and implicitly fair).

                  Morons.

                  1. They are blinded by their envy. “Why should YOU have more than ME?” is always in there, and you will find it if you dig enough.

                6. “Taxing isn’t stealing”

                  Bullshit. Taking something I earned (under threat of violence), and giving it to someone else (generally for the sole purpose of buying their vote), is theft. There are valid reasons to have an income tax, but “wealth redistribution” in the form of welfare isn’t one of them.

            2. Of course it matters, pig.

              First, there is NO ONE here who believes in cronyism. So you can shove that issue straight up your ass.

              Second, if wealth is obtained nefariously, that’s THEFT. You put thieves in prison, you don’t make up for their thieving by stealing money from honest people and redistributing it.

              1. Then no government is allowable. No property rights, no infrastructure, no defense, no police. Nothing. Because it all takes taxing and redistributing.

                Now do like Ayn Rand did, smoke a few hundred cigarettes and conclude that publicly funded roads are allowable because you like to use them.

                1. How are you this fucking stupid?

                  No one in any of the above replies even mentioned “No Government is allowable”. They’re debating you (successfully) on the difference between Income taxes (THEFT) and other forms of voluntary less destructive taxation. But you apparently are having a very difficult time understanding that.

                  What if the government took 100% of your wealth and used it to buy guns and gave those guns to home owners in Detroit? For the purpose of this exercise, let’s say you (Tony) voted against this measure. You don’t agree with it, but the government took 100% Of your income and did with it as it wished. At what point (what % of your income) is it no longer a theft? You have no opportunity to avoid the tax. The only way to avoid it is NOT TO WORK.

                  Also – Property Rights are not some fiction created by our government. They’re natural inherit rights.

                  1. So income taxation is theft but not other forms of taxation. Got it. Even though it’s still actually taking money that people would otherwise pocket and giving it to someone else. Even though it’s the exact same thing in principle, the only difference being that income taxes tend to hit the rich. Which is the entire point, since a system without income taxes would be quite regressive.

                    What is the common thread to all of this bullshit? Don’t tax rich people. That’s the entire purpose of your worldview. To defend the interests of people who by definition need defending the least. What a way to go through life.

                    1. “What is the common thread to all of this bullshit? Don’t tax rich people”

                      Bullshit. The “common thread” is that everyone should be taxed equally, and that it’s fucking stupid to punish success and reward failure.

                  2. I say healthcare is a natural inherent right. Prove me wrong.

                    1. Tony has a point here. It’s all done democratically, and fair & square. So, I propose a tax. Let’s tax all people named Tony 150% of their income annually.

                      All in favor, say ‘aye’.

                    2. “I say healthcare is a natural inherent right. Prove me wrong.”

                      Easy. You are not entitled to someone else’s labor.

                    3. Tony:

                      I say healthcare is a natural inherent right. Prove me wrong.

                      Way to immediately shift the burden of proof. It’s like you’re not even trying anymore.

                      Boring.

                    4. But “property rights are natural and inherent” doesn’t have that burden?

                    5. If you’re a doctor, then yes, you have the right to heal thine-self. If you require the services of another human being and they expect financial compensation for those services, then they don’t owe you shit. If you’re OK with forcing someone to labor for you without compensation because you feel you have some “natural inherent right” to their labor, you might want to look up the word “slavery”.

                    6. I say healthcare is a natural inherent right. Prove me wrong.

                      “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another…” (Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816)

                      Exercising a “Right to Healthcare” necessarily obligates and compels someone else, through threat of violence, to provide either the means, resources, and/or actual services. By definition, that is committing aggression against the equal rights of others. Therefore, there can be no natural right to healthcare.

                    7. Health care requires labor to produce drugs and provide treatments. Labor is required to provide education, housing, food, water, and clothing. Saying that any of these things is a right indicates that your have the right to demand that someone else labor for you free of charge. This is also known as slavery. I hope I cleared things up for you.

                      Regards

                2. MAH ROADZZZZ !!!!!!!!!!!

            3. Tony:

              So all the wealth in everyone’s pockets right now got there by legitimate free market means? Or does that not matter?

              It pretty much doesn’t matter to both of us, apparently.

              All of this whining about equality is pointless. Even the heralded Nordic model of socialist democracy is just capitalism + welfare state. It’s not equality for everyone, everywhere.

              Even if you could make everyone equal materially, that doesn’t account for people having different preferences. Thus, equal outcomes materialistically provide unequal satisfaction.

              This explains why people spend money differently. You can look it up.

              It would be one thing if socialists wanted to keep their arguments strictly on taking care of human needs: food, clothing, shelter, medicine, education. After all, these are the “why do you hate poor people?” questions that you always bring up when someone thinks that, perhaps, a universal federal food program is probably a stupid idea, perhaps amongst others.

              If that’s the argument, then stick to it. Otherwise, all this equality business has no bearing, and is brought up merely because socialists can’t find statistics showing that the poor are all starving in cardboard shelters lest we “Do more!”” So, you whine about equality.

              Sorry, but there’s no reason to think that, once you take care of everyone’s basic needs, we’d all be equal in material outcomes. Therefore, I fail to see what the big, humanitarian point is.

              Other than envy.

              1. Using the word envy = you’re stupid. Don’t be that stupid. You don’t know my psychological motivations and pretending that you do means, well, that you’re stupid and grasping at straws.

                Speaking of straw, nobody is talking about total equality, and you goddamn well know it. Crank it up a notch, please.

                It is entirely about seeing to everyone’s basic needs. Programs intended to achieve that have been cut in favor of tax cuts for very rich people. Republicans have tended to be more successful at the latter, hence the deficits you guys eternally whine about.

                The simple, pristine incongruity remains: you think government should exist. But it should work to protect the luxuries of the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor. I’d ask you to defend that but there’s no possible way you can.

                1. You don’t know my psychological motivations and pretending that you do means, well, that you’re stupid and grasping at straws.

                  I’m quite certain you are an immoral fucking pig.

                  Government’s only purpose is to protect the rights of the individual.

                  1. Since the entire controversy hinges on what defines the rights of the individual, you’ve contributed fuckall to nothing, so congratulations.

                2. Tony:

                  It is entirely about seeing to everyone’s basic needs.

                  Then it should be framed as such.

                  Listen, if you can show that people can’t make their basic needs, then show those stats. Those would directly address the issue, whereas silly statistics about whose in what quantile of income, with absolutely no frame of reference to the incomes involved or the ability to meet basic needs with them, are just a distraction.

                  For example, if we had horrible inequality, yet everyone was a millionaire, would you still be whining?

                  The simple, pristine incongruity remains: you think government should exist. But it should work to protect the luxuries of the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor. I’d ask you to defend that but there’s no possible way you can.

                  I think someone was mentioning “strawmen” earlier.

                  1. Tony:

                    It is entirely about seeing to everyone’s basic needs. Programs intended to achieve that have been cut in favor of tax cuts for very rich people. Republicans have tended to be more successful at the latter, hence the deficits you guys eternally whine about.

                    Furthermore, you’re showing that you still don’t get the disconnect between equality, basic needs, and government programs.

                    OK, let’s say we implement single payer universal healthcare for all. Hell, let’s put every single person on a minimum ration of food stamps every year. Let’s put them all in great government schools, and make tap water and electricity free, provided single payer by the government.

                    Guess what? None of that counts as income. So all your inequality numbers stay exactly the same. So, even if you get all the policies that you claim to want for everyone, provided by the state, you haven’t addressed income inequality.

                    So, why bring it up? Because it’s a separate issue. You don’t just want a government welfare state. You don’t like capitalism, because you think it’s unfair, because people come out unequally. Certain people make more money than others, you think it’s bad. It has nothing to do with starving children.

                    Sorry, but that’s completely disconnected from your policy preferences or your claims to only care about everyone’s basic needs.

                    Sorry, the feelings I have for starving children don’t extend to Tony just because he doesn’t like it when others make money.

                3. asshat calls me stupid for mentioning envy. Then he writes this:
                  “The simple, pristine incongruity remains: you think government should exist. But it should work to protect the luxuries of the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor. I’d ask you to defend that but there’s no possible way you can.”

                  This is the product of envy. nothing else. Retard.

                4. Tony:
                  “It is entirely about seeing to everyone’s basic needs. Programs intended to achieve that have been cut”

                  Entitlement spending is basically at the highest point ever. Higher than during the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society. Maybe these programs are squeezing out other programs, but overall social spending is higher than ever in this country.

                  This chart shows per capita spending for health care, social security, and welfare in 2009 dollars over the past century:
                  http://www.usgovernmentspendin….._00t10t40t

                  Apparently, none of these programs have been cut.

        3. However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income.

          so which part bothers you: that your own link says you’re wrong because people DO move into different groups, or that the “distribution” is not to Top Men standards?

        4. CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:

          275 percent for the top 1 percent of households,
          65 percent for the next 19 percent,
          Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and
          18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.

          So, everybody got richer! What’s the fucking problem with everyone getting richer?

          1. some got richer than others and that’s not fair.

            /tony-derp

          2. That most people are working harder so that the richest can get richer instead of themselves, largely?

            1. Where in this CBO report did it indicate people were working harder?

              1. You for got to insert “Here’s some shit I made up” before everything Tony says.

              2. And where is the data that their efforts made others richer?
                Isn’t this fact-boy posting here?

              3. Dunno if it’s in there, but it’s true.

                “[O]verall employee compensation ? including health and retirement benefits ? [have] slipped badly, falling to its lowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that time.”

                1. Tony|6.4.14 @ 1:02PM|#
                  “Dunno if it’s in there, but it’s true.

                  “[O]verall employee compensation ? including health and retirement benefits ? [have] slipped badly, falling to its lowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that time.””

                  Yeah, Obo’s been ‘fixing’ the economy for 6 years now. Doin’ a great job, ain’t he, idjit?

                2. “lowest share of national income in more than 50 years”

                  Tony, This is where our differences lie. I’m getting that liberals feel like a ratio of wealth with a great disparity between the lower and higher end of the scale is automatically a bad thing. I propose that this disparity is NOT automatically a bad thing or a sign of oppression. I’m saying that perhaps even though the ratio appears to be favored on one side, that the poorer are STILL better off than they would be if the ratio was brought closer (by force/regulation).

                  If a poor person is poor solely because of a lack or ability or effort, then I’m fine with that. If there are any legal barriers or rights violations to keep them or anyone else succeeding, then that of course is no bueno.

                  take a look at this article:
                  https://reason.com/archives/201…..more-equal

                3. 1) That doesn’t prove that people are working harder

                  2) (And this is more important) Hard work isn’t as important as valuable work.

                4. Tony:

                  “[O]verall employee compensation ? including health and retirement benefits ? [have] slipped badly, falling to its lowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that time.”

                  RIght, but these people have 401K’s, right? The growth of a 401K isn’t compensation, but it grows as corporations make more money and become more valuable.

                  I know it’s fun to read Piketty, but do we have to pretend that only the rich invest, ever? Teacher’s retirement funds aren’t stored in library books, hiding in some government warehouse.

                  Hell, the US government offers public employees stock plans. Are all those bureaucrats part of the evil 1%?

                  Or do we actually want their retirements to suck worse, because investment = bad, but labor = good?

                  Also, corporations that make money can expand and hire more people. The ability to invest in new companies creates new companies, which increases the demand for labor.

                  While trying to find ways to improve labor compensation, try not to kill as many jobs as you need to. I hope you can dial that in real good, especially since you seem unaware that these things aren’t disconnected. You’re not going to screw around with investments without a price, and it’s not just a price paid by rich people.

                5. Why should the Corps give out fair compensation when Asstards like you vote to steal money from me, and give most of the funds to corrupt politicians, while social safety nets get the scraps ?

            2. ? Why would we want the proceeds of greater productivity spread evenly if it kills the impetus for still greater productivity?
              We benefit far more by having gradual improvements to income over time than by having the wealth engine exploded to sate your thirst for redistribution.
              When we want to collectively sit on our hands and stagnate, we’ll come find you. Till then, enjoy the largesse of living in a (still not totally encumbered) market society.

              1. “Why would we want the proceeds of greater productivity spread evenly if it kills the impetus for still greater productivity?”

                A lot of that greater productivity comes from increased automation and advances in techology.

                Why should the owners of a business who invested their capital in productivity improving equipment think that they need to hand over the return on that investment to people who had nothing to do with it?

                If Ford increases productivity in a car factory by replacing all the paint shop workers with robots, why should assembly line workers in other areas get a piece of that cost savings? They had nothing to do with creating it.

          3. Are you expecting an argument from Tony? That’s really not his MO. He posted his obligatory statist claptrap, and now he’s ignoring the thread while his post gets trounced.

            1. Question – is there some notification system for the comments section I’m missing out on?

              I’m finding it hard to engage in the comments thread. I post something and find it hard to locate later.

              1. No. The Reason commenting system is written and maintained by squirrels. Squirrels from the late 90’s.

        5. “Multiyear income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures.”

          I don’t doubt this is true. I also don’t doubt that it rains X number of days in city Y. I don’t doubt that there are some people with red hair, some with black, some with brown, some blonde.
          And I don’t doubt it doesn’t matter one bit.
          IOWs, nitwit, so fucking what?

        6. In other words, your link agrees with what Stossel said: yes, income inequality is up. And yes, income mobility is about the same. So your gripe is…what exactly?

          1. His gripe is he can’t find a way to steal more of your wealth.

        7. This

          Household income measured over a multiyear period is more equally distributed than income measured over one year, although only modestly so. Given the fairly substantial movement of households across income groups over time, it might seem that income measured over a number of years should be significantly more equally distributed than income measured over one year. However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multiyear income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures.

          Does not show this

          Short version: people do move into and out of poverty at a relatively high frequency. But very, very few people move out of poverty or what’s left of the middle class and into wealth.

        8. One link from the CBO (that doesn’t even really say what you said it does)… the science is settled!

    2. I realize it is too much to ask John Stossel to employ data in his proclamations instead of personal anecdote and his own special brand of common sense…

      Does not jibe with

      But very, very few people move out of poverty or what’s left of the middle class and into wealth. Things are, in fact, worse than they’ve been with respect to mobility and distribution itself since at least the gilded age.

      In your mind, do you play a ping pong game against yourself all day?

    3. where wealth is easily achieved stolen

      That’s what you really mean, isn’t it pig? You want someone else actually EARNING the wealth so you can steal it from them. God, you’re a disgusting piece of shit.

    4. “Today, 64 percent of the people born to the poorest fifth of society rise out of that quintile?11 percent rise all the way into the top quintile. Meanwhile, 8 percent of people born to the richest fifth fall all the way to the bottom fifth. ”

      First he is employing data, which you did not do. And secondly, 11% hardly qualifies as very, very few.

      Did you just start spouting canned talking points instead of actually reading the article or were you just hoping nobody would pay attention to the obvious inaccuracies of your post?

      1. And secondly, 11% hardly qualifies as very, very few.

        In fact, a world with “perfect” mobility, only 20% of those people would rise to the top quintile. So 11% really sounds great considering all the disadvanages those in the bottom quintile supposedly face.

      2. 11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?

        No data about how the minimum wage hurts people. No data about the underlying point he’s trying to make, that mobility is fine so we shouldn’t tax billionaires any more at all, ever.

        1. One in nine people being born into the poorest and making it to the richest sounds like a lot of mobility, yes. As does the 64% who make it out of the poorest quintile.

          What would you consider “a lot” of mobility? 100% of the poor become rich? Sorry, statistics don’t work that way.

          Once again, personal responsibility has a lot to do with this. Sitting on your rear complaining about how others are more well-off than you rarely makes people wealthy. I’m betting, though, that the 64% who make it out aren’t the whiners.

          Do you have stats on other countries where their destitute become wealthy? I’d be surprised if many countries exceed 11%.

          As Thatcher said, you’d be happy if the poor were poorer than they are right now, as long as the rich were less well off than now as well. Isn’t it better when everyone does better?

          1. What would you consider “a lot” of mobility?

            100% of the top quintile fall into the lowest. Fuck the rest.

            /socialism

            1. Only about 95%. Have to save some room at the top for the Top Men.

            2. What does Tony care about mobility? If he had it his way we would all have our equal share of the income (and loss). When we are all equal there will be no mobility…AT ALL!

          2. There is nothing quite so impenetrable as the Thatcheresque narcissism that masquerades as common sense rugged individualism.

            Any economic system is an artificial construct. Outcomes are measured in terms of how widespread or how non-widespread human well-being is. To claim that the exact thing real economists say will happen when you cut programs for the lower classes and hand the loot over to the upper classes is actually a product of mass laziness on the part of the poor and sudden industriousness on the part of the rich is ludicrous.

            1. There is nothing quite so impenetrable as the Thatcheresque narcissism that masquerades as common sense rugged individualism.

              Did you just copy and paste from the Thomas Friedman op-ed generator?

              Any economic system is an artificial construct.

              Yeah, the IRS is just an abstraction.

              To claim that the exact thing real economists say will happen when you cut programs for the lower classes

              Which is what, exactly? In the almost 50-year history of the War on Poverty, the stats remain basically the same. All that effort and no discernible result. At least we employed millions of bureaucrats to administer it!

              hand the loot over to the upper classes

              The same old fallacy, repackaged with new words.

              actually a product of mass laziness on the part of the poor and sudden industriousness on the part of the rich is ludicrous.

              Which is why, unlike you, we know that money is not everything. When you stop being so covetous, perhaps you too will recognize that self-worth and net worth are not the same thing.

            2. Markets and trade are organic and frankly a fundamental trait of human beings. No other species makes voluntary trades that are beneficial to both sides outside of the family unit.

              Capitalism is a formalization of organic markets and trade.

              However, if the arguments regarding health care as a right implying that one would also have a right to steal another person’s labor does not compute for Tony, means he is either completely stupid or an evil greedy fuck who doesn’t really care that his right to health care means forcibly taking somebody’s labor.

        2. Tony|6.4.14 @ 1:00PM|#
          “11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?”

          Yes.
          Next question.

        3. It’s about 50% of the theoretical maximum (as pointed out above): In a world where your salary is completely uncorrelated with that of your parents you’d expect 20% switchover.

          You’d also expect 80% of the poor to end up in a different quintile (we have 64%).

          So not too shabby.

        4. Yes. Idiot. especially considering that:
          64 percent of the people born to the poorest fifth of society rise out of that quintile

          that means 36% stay in the bottom quintile. Tat is HUGE mobility. Guess what Tony? That 36%, they more than likely did something to EARN remaining in the botoom of the pile.

        5. “11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?”

          You realize that this is per generation, right?

          Also, you can’t have income mobility without income inequality. It’s mathematically impossible. Someone cannot increase their status without also producing status disparity.

          Do you fucking understand anything?

        6. 11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?

          It is, really. Remember there are only 5 quintiles, so the baseline for comparison is 20%. In a world with “ideal” mobility any given person would have a 20% chance of moving to any given quintile regardless of the quintile they were born into. Also any given person would have an 80% chance of moving out of their birth quintile. Those are your baselines for comparison. So 11% out of 20% and 64% out of 80% is really quite good and much better than it has been throught most of history.

        7. No data about how the minimum wage hurts people.

          “Incremental changes to minimum wage doesn’t produce measurable effect on employment” does not equal “minimum wage never hurts people.”

          1. If it has no effect on employment how could it hurt people?

            1. Tony:

              If it has no effect on employment how could it hurt people?

              Wow, you’ve just conveyed a lack of ability to interpret data.

              Let me try to rephrase it, and maybe you can catch your error:

              “Infinitesimally small changes in the minimum wage produce no measurable effect on employment. Therefore, minimum wages never effect employment.”

              Or how about this?

              “Infinitesimally small changes in your caloric intake produce no measurable effect on your body weight. Therefore, you can eat whatever you want, as much as you want, all the time, without effecting your body weight.”

              Do you see how one doesn’t follow the other?

              Sure, if you nudge the minimum wage up just to keep pace with inflation, it shouldn’t produce practically any change whatsoever. You’re just staying in the noise of inflation.

              If you’re going to limit yourself to incremental changes in the minimum wage to keep up with inflation, I wouldn’t go around proclaiming how it’s saving the poor from a life of poverty. Rather, it would be more or less keeping them at the same level of poverty.

              In other words, just measuring the change in employment after you incrementally raise a minimum wage, never takes into account any bad effects the previous minimum wage already baked in. If the minimum wage was $1,000/hr, I assure you that an incremental change to a new $1000.01 minimum wage would produce no measurable effect on employment. I wouldn’t then state that it has no negative effects. You would

        8. 11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?

          Uhm, that is 11% that went from the bottom to the top and 8% that fell from the top to the bottom. 11 & 8% represent only the most extremes (all the way up / all the way down). There are a lot more that go up, but not all the way… and fall down, but not all the way.

          So yes, “a lot of mobility”.

    5. Cider-Glazed Pork Chops

      5-6 center-cut pork chops (bone-in or boneless,
      doesn’t matter)
      Salt and pepper to taste
      2 T. oil
      1 T. butter
      1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
      1/2 c. brown sugar
      3/4 c. apple cider or apple juice
      1 T. soy sauce
      1 T. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
      1/4 t. ground ginger
      1/4 t. garlic powder
      A pinch of cayenne (optional)

      Melt butter in oil in a heavy pan that has a lid. Sprinkle chops
      with salt and black pepper. Brown them well on one side.
      While chops are browning, mix all of the other ingredients in
      a bowl for the glaze. When the chops are brown, pour the
      glaze over all. Turn the chops over in the glaze to coat. Cover
      with the lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes on low or until the
      chops are tender and the glaze has thickened.

      1. Are you trying to distract us from the troll with delicious recipes?

        It’s working.

    6. A) That would be by definition, since very few people are wealthy (by definition, given that we’re DEFINING them as the “top 1%”)

      B) I remember listening to an NPR show not long ago talking about the fact that there is actualyl quite a bit of mobility even within one lifespan. There’s something like 30% of the population that spends part of their life in the top 1% of income earners, or something to that effect.

      C)A number of economists have debunked Picketty’s claims that inequality is really increasing. He takes some sparse and unrealiable data sets and cherry picks them and massages the data in a way that makes it look like inequality is increasing (conveniently for him), but if you look at the raw data the trend disappears.

      1. You’re not up to date on the Piketty saga. Read the latest chapter in which his critics get debunked.

        The point is a lot of what is pointed to as mobility is people moving in small steps up and down. And I don’t understand what you’re trying to prove. Are you suggesting that Obama’s economy is robust and growing enough to be considered perfectly successful?

        1. I am up to date on the Picketty saga. He addressed many of the concerns regarding his data, but his data still doesn’t support his opinion that we’d all be better off with massive taxes on wealth and high income. In fact, the data is quite impressive. It’s a shame he had to tag on all the progressive BS.

        2. I am up to date. Piketty’s replies don’t satisfy me. His reply is essentially that the data sets are spotty and inconsistent so they need some adjustments. But given that fact, one would think that one would be wary of drawing sweeping conclusions from whatever comes out, wouldn’t you?

          I mean, if I had a shitty data set that I had to make a lot of “fixes” to, I wouldn’t I come out and yell “OMG! LOOK! I have found the Central Contradiction of Capitalism!” on that basis.

          1. You’re not characterizing things right, but never mind that. So Obama’s economy is just great?

            1. “You’re not characterizing things right, but never mind that.”

              Surely you’ve got compelling evidence with which you can back that up, yes?

              Of course you do… so let’s see it!

    7. very, very few people move out of poverty

      (a) bullshit
      (b) “poverty” has been defined down so many times it is completely meaningless in the context of the USA

    8. Umm…there were statistics. At least 1 in 10 people move out of the BOTTOM 20% into the TOP 20%. At least 5 in 10 move out of the bottom quintile into the middle two quintiles. I wouldn’t say that OVER HALF of all people is “very, very few people.”

    9. I’ll agree with you that this article is weak. But then again Piketty’s entire ethical premise is a non-starter for libertarians – or at least it should be. Why write a real rebuke when he, himself, makes no successful defense of the ethical premise the entirety of his work is based on? Perhaps because nobody ever has…?

  4. I’m sure that growing wealth disparity has nothing to do with stock bubbles created by the fed. Because everyone knows that when the fed prints more money, they distribute it to everyone equally.

    1. Because everyone knows that when the fed prints more money, they distribute it to everyone equally.

      If they did that, how would cronies get kickbacks? Fuck man.

    2. And don’t forget the bailouts authorized by Congress. All that taxpayer money totally gets evenly distributed too.

    1. Mental note…reload moar.

      1. Always a good strategy. Except in Counterstrike.

  5. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

  6. Most of the “OMG! Inequality!” data is based on a partial look at income. It doesn’t include things like welfare payments, benefits, etc.

    Factor that in, and the “problem” pretty well disappears.

    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs…..e-burtless

    1. It also doesn’t include taxes. It’s based on gross income.

  7. I can’t be arsed to track down the direct link to the embedded Thatcher clip on this blog post, but it seemed relevent. The ‘Labour MP’ came at her with prattle about income inequality and she gave the appropriate response.

    1. That brought a tear to my eye.

      1. Always does.

  8. Today, … 11 percent [of the people born to the poorest fifth of society] rise all the way into the top quintile.

    All of my grandparents and parents are in that group. Also myself. We are “wealthy” and I know worked our butts off for it. So Piketty and Tony can get lost.

    1. I got a full ride to college so we don’t need public schools.

      1. Tony|6.4.14 @ 1:04PM|#
        “I got a full ride to college so we don’t need public schools.”

        Gee, I’m sorry that money wasn’t used for something more worthwhile, like starting a bonfire.

      2. Invoking a public institution that utterly fails to help the least privileged among us… in defense of public institutions.

        Irony, thy name is Tony.

        1. You can’t possibly know whether public schooling “utterly fails” because you don’t have a country without it to compare to. I’m sure it would be a paradise on earth for the poor.

          1. It took me less than 30 seconds to come up with this.

            Granted, India is not “without” public schooling, but there is certainly evidence of people voting with their feet. It seems that poor, rural Indian children are being better served by private schools.

            1. Oh yes I forgot, the fabulous lifestyle of India’s poor. My bad.

              1. You really are a monstrous cretin, aren’t you?

                Unlike the US, there are real poor people in India. According to your own reasoning, every creature comfort and luxury you enjoy should be taken from you to provide for them.

                On the other hand, we recognize the reality of degrees of poverty, and gladly support people trying to better themselves with the limited means they have.

                But all of this is inconvenient to your narrative, so of course fuck them.

                1. I just have higher standards for how society should treat the poor than you or India, especially the richest society on earth. If we were a poor place there would be fewer options. You want to limit the options just to be an asshole.

                  1. how society should treat the poor

                    Tony wants the moral high ground by pretending to ‘care’ but ignores the evidence presented.

                    Anecdotally, I personally know an Indian who worked his way up from unskilled IT to programming where he could then afford to attend university. Now has a masters in engineering.

                  2. If we were a poor place there would be fewer options.

                    Why is India a “poor place”?

          2. If public schools no longer have objective standards to meet, then they no longer have a reason to exist.

      3. Non-sequitur much?

        Can someone translate this?

        Maybe you misinterpreted what I said. Each of the people I mentioned was born into the bottom quintile, but worked their way up to the top quintile by retirement. I didn’t get a full ride to college. I worked constantly to pay for it. None of my parents or grandparents even went.

  9. The problem I see is that the Left’s “inequality bad!” argument is that their cure is more of the same that caused the problem in the first off. Government corporate welfare, bailouts, subsidies and even welfare all work to maintain the status quo. Had Congress/Bush not passed the first bailout in 2008 there would have been a period of major economic hardship affecting the ultra wealthy like Buffet and other high end investors who game the system but overall the economy would have been stronger. Obama then multiplied the stupid five fold and awarded every crony he could with gobs of money. If the Left really cared about income mobility they’d fight tooth and nail for freer markets and less licensing and fewer regulations. Even welfare programs reduce income mobility by negating incentives for hard work and personal innovation. I’ll give a crap about the so called 99% when they read a few economics books and apply the same scrutiny to their beloved government that they do to the evil corporations.

    1. So true. When the housing bubble hit, the top quintile lost an incredible amount of wealth. Fed policy since then has been directed towards doing nothing but making them whole by funneling wealth from everyone else.

    2. It’s a problem, certainly, but I would suggest that myopia is the best feature of utopian progressivism. Thank God they’re mostly interested in maintaining the status quo: it means they’re at least sawing the branch off from the right side. It’s destructive, but not nearly as destructive if they might be.

      1. Ah, but the true Progressives are for total destruction of the tree. We’re just lucky that their leaders are merely using them to gain power and aren’t purists. The ideologues are being played. Fun to watch but both groups are still Aholes.

  10. Didn’t the Financial Times publish a critique of Picketty’s numbers a couple weeks back? It showed numerous cases of cherry picking and data manipulation that collectively combine to show an apparent upward trend in inequality. If you remove them, there is no upward trend.

    1. Start here for an introduction:
      http://bleedingheartlibertaria…..ntroversy/

      1. Is that link Tony approved? Apparently no one here reads the recent news like he does.

  11. I’ll give a crap about the so called 99% when they read a few economics books and apply the same scrutiny to their beloved government that they do to the evil corporations.

    I agree with the sentiment, but be careful not to conflate those calling for more taxes/regulations/programs with the concept of the “99%” as defined by the OWS-types. I milled around a couple of the Occupy protests in Seattle and saw very few of the actual “working class” people the protester claimed to be advocating for. The actual protesters were made up exclusively of unemployed college students, professional activists, and bums. The working stiffs weren’t there because they had jobs to do and families to take care of. OWS claimed to be representing these people with their demands but never did any such thing.

    1. Ah, Brooks’d it. That was a response to Timrekgrun.

    2. That was my point. The self proclaimed 99% are actually the Freeloading Children of the Top Quartile.

    3. There is nothing more infuriating to me than your “archetype” Liberal Arts Major who can’t get a job and feels someone owes them something and fails to see how their vote for redistribution and regulation exacerbate and cause more of the same problems that put them in this situation in the first place because of they fucking “feel” that’s the right thing to do.

      A Bachelor’s Degree in German and a minor in Ethic Studies is not a good way to get a fucking job. Deal with it.

      /fuck!

  12. “The problem I see is that the Left’s “inequality bad!” argument is that their cure is more of the same that caused the problem in the first off”

    You have to keep in the mind that the Left’s arguments are never really about anything other than ginning up an excuse to give them more power and control over the lives and wealth of others.

    It matters not what the nominal subject is. MOAR POWER!!! is all its’ really about.

    1. “Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

      ? Robert A. Heinlein

      1. One of my favorite quotes. +1

  13. Yet another article peddling the Capitalist World View. All this view does is exchange getting beaten up by the government for getting beaten up by the wealthy who actually control the government and the politicians anyway. So one is actually getting beaten up by both parties at the same time. Either way, you get the shit beaten out of you.

    1. And the glorious New Soviet Man will be above such squabbles, eh Comrade?

      1. Glad I pissed you off. I like your posting pen name of paranoid. Does that describe your mental condition?
        Have a nice day asshole.

        1. You’re really falling down on the job Mandy. I haven’t seen an ass chunk from you in, like, a week.

          Have you tried swallowing your medication instead of chewing it? You might be surprised at how much better it works.

    2. Fuck yeah! Because those evil wealthy beat up the poor by giving them jobs and selling them goods and services! It’s terrible! It would be so much better if the wealthy didn’t exist, because the poor would be so much better off without those jobs and without access to those goods and services! Down with the wealthy!

      1. So the wealthy never exploit anyone, right? Fuck no!

        1. Please expound on how the wealthy have power without government.

          1. Dude, the wealthy make profits, and profits are theft! That’s worse than taxation because it’s voluntary! The workers they’re stealing from voluntarily work for them, and the customers they’re stealing from are voluntarily buying from them! It’s all voluntary! How fucking terrible is that? The wealthy are exploiting people through voluntary interaction! Down with the wealthy!

        2. Those damn wealthy, exploiting those poor workers by giving them jobs they’d be so much better without! In a perfect world there would be no jobs! No goods! No services! And best of all, no exploitative profits! Down with the wealthy!

          1. We should just get rid of money man.

        3. What would you do if your dentist recommended pulling all of your teeth when just one had a cavity?

    3. I hate it when Amazon sends goons to my house to beat me up everytime I buy something from them. But whatcha gonna do, right? That’s just the Capitalist World View.

      1. The only thing worse than Amazon is Ebay. Those fuckers keep selling me cheap shit, leaving me money left over to buy other things. And don’t get me started on Walmart. Every time I shop there I save money. Wealthy bastards.

        1. Nothing delights me more than to post some bullshit about wealthy capitalists and then see how many posts I get. It works every time.

          1. And what purpose does that serve?

            You’ve been utterly destroyed by rational argument so you’ll attempt to scream louder?

          2. Nutcases get attention when they write on the walls with their own excrement too.

            Seeing any parallels there Mandy?

      2. How about Best Buy? Can I rely on them to beat the shit out of you? How about the WalMart Goons? Can they do the job?

        Have a nice day Comewad.

        1. Derp.

          Yes…all those corporate “death squads”, FORCING you to do things against your will.

          Think much?

          1. Thank YOU DERP. I think a lot, and I think you are an asshole.

            1. Then, might I suggest, you aren’t thinking about the right things?

              1. You aren’t flattered that he thinks about your asshole?

        2. I guess I should have added the /sarc tag. I’m sorry if I led you to believe that Amazon actually sends goons to my house to beat me up.

          What actually happens is I give them money and they give me a product I want. I was trying to be sarcastic in the extreme as a way of demonstrating how ridiculous your comment about being beaten up by the wealthy really is.

          Again, I apologize if I confused you. Please don’t let my attempt at biting humor dissuade you from using the services of Amazon in the future.

          Disclaimer: I am not an Amazon employee and I have never received compensation from Amazon in exchange for informing people that they do not have a goon squad.

          1. Jeff Bezos was holding a gun to your head when you wrote that, wasn’t he? Be honest.

            1. /blinks twice

              Damn this text-only comment system!

              1. Oh, Mandalay, that was sarcasm again.

    4. Long live the Glorious Revolution that has screwed so many millions over the last 97 years! Ideological Purity trumps innocent lives any day!

    5. Oh yes. The wealthy control government, the solution to which is…. more government.

      *NSA sarc detector goes click*

      1. Dude, the government is us! We the people and all that! So when we give power to the government we’re giving power to ourselves! So yeah the solution to corporate influence is more government! Because the only way for the people to control the corporations is to give more power to the government so it can control the corporations that control it!

        1. If you get anymore fucking brilliant your head will inflate and you will fly away into space. Have a nice day penis breath.

          1. Not possible. At some point the air would become too thin and his head would rise no higher.

            1. I imagine the inability grasp the most fundamental economics is a pretty good predictor for understanding high school physics.

        2. And, and we invest in and work for corporations so we’d have even more power…if wasn’t for Satan’s greatest lie, PROFITS. The scourge of humanity. If every thing was done pro bono we’d live in a happy utopia…like our cave man ancestors (before or after they drove the megafauna of the Americas to extinction and murdered off the competing species of homo).

    6. Does this Mandalay person have anyone else’s Mary-sense tingling?

      1. At least I have you tingling, don’t I asshole? Have a grand day fuck face.

        If we ever met, you could lick my asshole in gratitude. Ha!

          1. I am. Thanks for the recognition.

            1. “Lick my Asshole” “Penis breath” Are you fucking serious ? You sound like a 2nd grader screaming “Cacahead”. You suck.

              1. Most 2nd graders I know are way more creative.

                1. I gave him/her a mental age of 10 earlier; ‘way too high.

      2. Meh? He’s been around for awhile. Could be, but I think more likely a free agent troll.

        1. Correction. I am a paid agent troll.

          1. And EVERY additional comment posted here benefits Reason and their work.

            Thanks. Great job.

          2. Welcome to the unemployment line then. You are terrible at it. Your Fired.

      3. Yeah, the level of butthurt does appear to be equivalent.

        1. Does that mean that when you stick your finger up your ass that it hurts?

          Have a nice day ass chunk.

          1. OTRTM. I picture you, and Tony sitting around a statue of Stalin, smearing each others scat all over each other, while masturbating. Screaming ASSSSSSCHUNKKK !!!

          2. On The Road To Mandalay|6.4.14 @ 2:31PM|#
            Have a nice day ass chunk.

            WOOOO HOOOO!!!! THANK YOU! Oh Mandy, I’ve been waiting for that for days.

            You are a national treasure.

  14. You have to keep in the mind that the Left’s arguments are never really about anything other than ginning up an excuse to give them more power and control over the lives and wealth of others.

    ^This and another sort of envy derived from the feeling that they’re smarter than and superior to those that have accumulated more than they have. If they aren’t smarter or superior, then it was through some sort of malfeasance; that’s just not fair. They need to be taken down a peg. Kulaks and wreckers all.

  15. Go get em Rich Uncle! Bravo for you, asshole.

  16. OTRTM is brilliant! No arguments, no facts, just name calling! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

    1. On the contrary sarcastic. I have posted numerous comments on this site expressing my opinions. Every time I do, I usually get the same insults from people who don’t like my opinions but are too fucking stupid to discuss anything in a civil manner. So in this case I just decided to do the insults first because I know that no matter what I say I will be attacked anyway. I figured that a diatribe about capitalism would bring some sort of response. See you around the site. Nice posting with you ace.

      1. Nice posting with you ace.

        How many times are you going to say goodbye?

      2. Start a new thread at the bottom of the page with a comment made in good faith. I swear by my life that I will engage in an honest and respectful debate with you.

      3. If no one is listening to you, how about you just stop posting ? That’s what normal people do. At least take your medication.

      4. Preach it brother! Those people are so insulting with those rational arguments that you can’t refute! It shows how stupid they are! Using logic and reason to totally demolish your emotive arguments! Dumbasses! One and all!

      5. On The Road To Mandalay|6.4.14 @ 2:36PM|#
        …”Every time I do, I usually get the same insults from people who don’t like my opinions but are too fucking stupid to discuss anything in a civil manner.”

        Poor widdle woad-guy…
        Look, dipshit, no one is here to lie and tell you anything you post is more than a pile of crap.
        Go whine to mommy.

    2. And this year’s Academy of Hit & Run Trolling and Stupid award for best Performance as a Name Calling Factless Numbnut goes to…the envelop please.

    3. It can not even come up with decent, funny insults. Brilliant. Agreed. =)

  17. Asshole? Folks generally get to know me before they call me an asshole. Blind squirrel, nut, etc.

    1. You are an asshole aren’t you?

  18. Leftards and government do not care about income mobility one way or the other as long as purchasing power mobility is always downward.

    1. Is that Invisible Finger the one you message your asshole with?

      1. Its nothing like the nail bat you *massage your own asshole with, you homophobic POS.

  19. Interesting and relevant link.

    Inflation adjusted rich people throughout US history. Of the top 20, only two are currently alive (and they don’t make the top 10) – most lived around the turn of the 19th century. It appears that wealth concentration might have been even more severe a century ago (for those that think we are somehow reaching a pinnacle in this arena).

  20. Here’s the deal (particularly for the lefty derps). Income inequality charts that I’ve seen show the ramping up of income for the wealthy beginning around 1990. What happened? Easy – the government, due to resentment and envy, decided to limit the amount corporations could deduct in pay for their officers at $1,000,000 (even though the individual was to be taxed personally as well, e.g. Corporation X takes a $3M expense while the officer reports $3M on 1040 turned into $1M deduction yet still $3M on 1040). So what did smart taxpayers do? They implemented stock option plans that qualify as INCENTIVE based compensation, which is not limited. So instead of someone making $2M-3M (circa 1989) in cash and a few near-cash fringes, people started making $30M-$40M exercising stock options. Completely blew up in the leftist faces. And, unfortunately, we now have an ersatz stock market with manipulated financials stuffed with intangible assets driving the paper values to the moon. That, coupled with a monetary policy of fiat currency, has us in a real jam. But it stands that where we are today is a direct product of asinine intervention by the left. Unintended consequences are a bitch. Of course the rabid young leftists have no idea what their forebears did or are responsible for.

  21. On The Road To Mandalay|6.4.14 @ 2:28PM|#
    “Nothing delights me more than to post some bullshit about wealthy capitalists”

    And when it comes to posting bullshit, you’re going to retire the chair!

  22. I’ve STILL never heard a convincing argument for why “income inequality” is a bad thing. The folks who harp on it usually just assume that it is inherently wrong, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. What difference does it make to me what someone else makes?

    The only possibilities I can come up with are (a) they think income is a zero-sum game, which it isn’t, or (b) they think disproportionate wealth will give the wealthy undue influence over decision makers, i.e. subvert democracy. That doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. For one thing, the wealthy have the most to lose from negative changes to society, and need the least from others; discounting Leftist fantasies over their unlimited greed, they actually seem like the least likely to abuse a privileged relationship. More fundamentally, though, the information age has made classic mutual-back-scratching relationships much more difficult to keep secret. Corruption flourishes when the potential gain outweighs the potential downside. We live in an era of unprecedented political honesty, not because politicians have gotten better (certainly not), but because their ability to get away with stuff has gotten much worse.

    If the statistics here are to be believed (sorry, John, but I don’t take any stats at face value without seeing the original data sets), you could almost make the argument that income inequality is DESIRABLE — not in and of itself, but because it signals a time of prosperity and growth.

    1. Scenario A: I have a 3-bedroom house. My neighbor has a 7-bedroom house. He has 133% more house than me.

      Scenario B: I have a 1-bedroom house, My neighbor has a 2-bedroom house. He has 100% more house than me.

      Scenario B has less inequality. So Clearly I’m better off in scenario B. Why? Because I hate my neighbour’s prosperity so much, that I’d be willing to have less prosperity JUST SO he doesn’t enjoy too much.

      Weird, covetous reasoning.

      1. Straw man.

        1. Fuck you strawman. THAT IS EXACTLY your position, you mindless fucking idiot.

          1. It has nothing to do with emotions. I have no emotions; I gave them up in college. Anyone who blames liberal economics on envy is an idiot who can’t think of anything else. If you can do better, I suggest you try.

            1. Baptism exasperate jactitation against plenty short division yesterday puddle.

              See, anyone can spew meaningless words.

              The position you support is EVERYONE becoming poorer so the wealth disparity is narrower, you ignorant mindless fucking twit.

              1. No it isn’t. I want the very rich a little less very rich, and I’ll admit to that. That’s only because the most widespread prosperity has occurred when both taxes on the rich and wages were relatively high. Why do you want prosperity for the fraction of the 1% and nobody else? Are you part of that group, or delusional enough to think you might enter it? Even if that were the case it would still make you a myopic fuckface asshole.

                1. Who’s going to create the wealth Tony? Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is cut right off the top of GDP you ignorant fuck. It retards the economy leaving less for the the rich AND the poor. God you are fucking stupid. You can have a win-win free market economy and you promote a lose-lose alternative.

                2. Why do you want prosperity for the fraction of the 1% and nobody else?

                  Strawman

        2. Tony. “If you only had a brain?”

    2. I’ve STILL never heard a convincing argument for why “income inequality” is a bad thing.

      They have it on faith – they don’t need “a convincing argument”.

  23. Both income mobility and wealth gap are meaningless. What’s actually important is the leisure gap – and that has been narrowing. The differences between what a rich person has and what a poor person has available to them for leisure is often the same. Smartphones, videogames, internet, netflix – rich or poor you probably have them and they are the same. Yes, the rich have better/more cars, vacations, homes. But what really matters to people is their leisure and what they do with it.

    1. Poor people, even in America, struggle to obtain food and other basic necessities (healthcare, education, housing, transportation), and they would struggle all the more without government assistance. Phones and flat-screen TVs are cheap compared to the basics.

      Even if it were true that the poorest Americans had an acceptably comfortable lifestyle (it’s not), that doesn’t mean that an enormous wealth gap is fine, necessarily. It comes with its own risks, especially the fact that the bigger slice of the wealth in the country they have, the more disproportionate power they have over the country.

      1. I’m amazed that you can take such an ass whipping in this thread, with everything you said being refuted with numbers and facts, and still come back with this boilerplate claptrap.
        Nothing gets through, does it? You just move from one emotion based grief to another.

        1. So the economy is just fine for everyone? Obama must be a great president.

          1. Tony|6.4.14 @ 5:28PM|#
            “So the economy is just fine for everyone? Obama must be a great president.”

            Careful there, dipshit. One of these days that strawman is gonna burn you.

          2. I’ll take plutocracy over your hero-worship any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

              1. Tony|6.5.14 @ 12:32AM|#
                “I know.”

                And shit-bag lefties will take equal starvation over inequality any day, right, shit-bag?

              2. Is that supposed to be some kind of defense of your blind adherence to rule by fools and charlatans?

      2. other basic necessities (healthcare, education, housing, transportation)

        Find an actual, real-live person who “struggles to obtain food” in the United States. Forget retail and restaurants, food drives throw most of their food away nowadays.

        other basic necessities (healthcare, education, housing, transportation)

        The definition of “basic necessities” constantly changes, as your not-so-subtle inclusion of “transportation” (really?) indicates. Soon enough, more things will be added to the list of “basic necessities”. It amazes me how people lived for millenia without such “basic necessities”.

        they would struggle all the more without government assistance

        The greatest lie ever told. See, since I don’t redefine poverty to suit my political goals, I know that real poverty in this country is practically gone. So it stands to reason that all of the government programs created to combat it are no longer necessary. The enemy is annihilated, yet the war continues?

        Yet you are not even pretending anymore that this is about anything other than dependence. The “poor” have luxuries their forebears could not dream of, and they have all been educated in our glorious public schools. So certainly they have learned what it takes to provide for themselves and no longer require assistance. You have taught the man to fish, so why do you need to keep feeding him?

        1. So healthcare, education, housing, and transportation are luxuries? Yet those who lack them are expected to pull themselves up from bootstraps and somehow participate in the economy? You have no idea what you’re talking about with respect to access to food, etc. You’re relying on old (if updated) quasi-racist bullshit about how poor people have some gadgets that 18th century farmers didn’t, thus there are no poor people. It’s not correct and I recommend reading about the subject before flapping your jaw.

          1. Tony|6.4.14 @ 5:31PM|#
            “So healthcare, education, housing, and transportation are luxuries?”

            Yes, they are.

          2. “Yet those who lack them are expected to pull themselves up from bootstraps and somehow participate in the economy?”

            Yes, they are.

          3. “You have no idea what you’re talking about with respect to access to food, etc. You’re relying on old (if updated) quasi-racist bullshit about how poor people have some gadgets that 18th century farmers didn’t, thus there are no poor people. It’s not correct and I recommend reading about the subject before flapping your jaw.”

            You’re a lying piece of shit.

          4. The industrial and technological revolutions, rise of the middle class, and unprecedented advancements in wellbeing are quasi-racist?

            1. What’s quasi-racist is the shit about cellphones and flatscreens. Updated variations of the Cadillac that welfare queen drives. Basic needs are what poor people spend almost all of their money on. Not gadgets.

              1. Tony|6.5.14 @ 12:19AM|#
                “What’s quasi-racist is the shit about cellphones and flatscreens.”…

                What’s the lefty ignoramus shit about necessities, asshole?

              2. You need to check your privilege there homeslice.

                Visit a place with real poverty and then come back to the States and tell me where it is even remotely comparable.

                I met a guy in Kabul the other day that lost two kids to diarrhea. Diarrhea. Guess who diarrhea kills? Actual poor people. He had a cell phone and a motorcycle though. Interesting.

                It seems like Americans have a very skewed concept of poverty. Mostly because relatively few have actually ever seen it.

              3. Basic needs are what poor people spend almost all of their money on. Not gadgets.

                Has there been a comprehensive study of the consumption habits of the “poor” in this country? I’d ask you to cite it if so, but that’s like asking a compulsive liar to tell the truth for once.

          5. So healthcare, education, housing, and transportation are luxuries?

            If nature didn’t give it to you, and you can’t do it yourself, it’s a luxury.

            Yet those who lack them are expected to pull themselves up from bootstraps and somehow participate in the economy?

            Excepting for the charity of others, yeah pretty much.

            But you have systematically set things up so as to maximize the number of people who are in this position, without collapsing the entire economy.

            Regulation ensures that only those who can clear the high barriers to entry are able to make a living.

            Cronyism ensures that only the well connected and already elite get to have a chance.

            Welfare ensures that only those who are exceptionally motivated create enough value to justify the things they consume.

            Inflation ensures that nobody ever saves their way to wealth, and instead must rely on constant income.

            You’re relying on old (if updated) quasi-racist bullshit about how poor people have some gadgets that 18th century farmers didn’t, thus there are no poor people

            Racist? Wow, you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

            It’s just a bunch of “gadgets” to you because you’re insulated from the way the world works, but to people who need to make a living, those “gadgets” make modern life–free of starvation and real poverty–possible.

      3. “Poor people, even in America, struggle to obtain food and other basic necessities (healthcare, education, housing, transportation),”

        Sorry, dipshit, not “necessities”.

        1. Yep.

          America has something interesting too: fat homeless people. I can’t say I’ve seen that anywhere else in the world.

      4. especially the fact that the bigger slice of the wealth in the country they have, the more disproportionate power they have over the country.

        Since our political system is based upon elections, in which every citizen gets a vote of equal weight, there can be only one conclusion from this:

        If people with money dominate politics, then it must be what voters actually want.

        After all, you voted for Obama, a multi-millionaire and crony of the highest order, to represent the interests of the poor and honest.

        You can’t act responsibly, so therefore everybody else should have their freedom curtailed to protect you.

        1. It must be the case that since defending plutocracy is your entire reason for being, you can’t see what gibberish you’re employing in the effort when the subject is directly about that.

          Is Obama a crony capitalist who’s destroying the economy, or is everyone in the economy doing just fine? Will someone answer this apparent contradiction?

          1. Tony:

            Is Obama a crony capitalist who’s destroying the economy, or is everyone in the economy doing just fine? Will someone answer this apparent contradiction?

            That cuts both ways:
            Is Obama a crony capitalist who is letting the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, breeding horrible inequality? Or is everyone in the economy doing just fine?

            When you pose these contradictions, I’m never sure which side you’re landing on.

            Or, how about this contradiction?

            Roads and highways are public goods that should be provided free of charge, because everyone needs them, for personal and business use. It gives people more freedom, and boosts the economy.

            Now, let’s go get Wal-Mart, that evil company that uses our public roads for private profits, with it’s rolling truck warehouses, and get their money. Because they’re making profit with our public roads. Do they think we created these public roads for corporations to engage in economic activity?

            Ok, now let’s pat ourselves on the back for how we’ve stimulated the economy and lifted everyone up with our public roads, free for everyone, because no one should pay for roads.

          2. We produce so much wealth that most of it can be wasted and yet everybody can still be fed.

            There’s no contradiction. Yet.

            1. kbolino|6.4.14 @ 7:06PM|#
              “We produce so much wealth that most of it can be wasted and yet everybody can still be fed.”

              I’d guess it is possible to find a place in the US so bereft of food that starvation might be possible. If so, you have chosen to be there; you’re gonna have to search it out.
              Most places, it is certainly possible to exist on the dumpster waste of restaurants or groceries, totally ignoring charitable organizations.
              Of course, Tony would see such as ‘undignified’, meaning he’s lying and moving the goal posts.

      5. Tony leads a sheltered leftist life and has obviously never seen the truly poor.

        Go to India sometime. Your whining looks quite foolish.

        1. I do lead a sheltered leftist life, and I try to avoid poor people. No matter how many poor people you’ve let around you, your position is not morally superior because you want to help them less.

          1. Tony|6.5.14 @ 12:16AM|#
            “I do lead a sheltered leftist life, and I try to avoid poor people. No matter how many poor people you’ve let around you, your position is not morally superior because you want to help them less.”

            Yes, slimebag, lefties have only starved one hundred million or so.
            I’m sure you’re proud of it, right?

          2. Liberal guilt at its finest. You can’t be bothered to understand the problem, but damned if that won’t stop you from solving it.

            Your shallow vanity would be amusing if it wasn’t an excuse for your craven lust for violence.

      6. Thanks for bringing this up tony. The things you list as being necessities are also subsidized by the government. When you throw money into a market, prices go up as can be seen with college tuition, rent, and healthcare. Things like flat screens have gotten cheaper for many reasons but expect the price to go up if the government puts flat screens in a welfare program

  24. I’ll just leave this here for Tony: http://www.heritage.org/resear…..is-poverty

  25. The problem with Stossel’s analysis – that the poor saw growth in their incomes to the tune of 50% in the last 30 years – is that inflation grew 128% over those 30 years. So it doesn’t really qualify as something positive.

    1. This. Few of you have the buying power your parents did even if they had smaller dollar-amount incomes.

      Complicated reasons for stagnant wages but the big picture is that the system is rigged for it. The rich did not start working hundreds of time harder. They managed to make it easier for them to accumulate more of the share of income. Which is ingenuity of a sort.

      1. Tony|6.5.14 @ 12:15AM|#
        “Few of you have the buying power your parents did even if they had smaller dollar-amount incomes.”

        Fucking liar. Tell me of the Dell computers my parents could buy. Please do, fucking liar.

      2. “Few of you have the buying power your parents did even if they had smaller dollar-amount incomes.”

        Except we were poor when I was a kid and I’ve managed to do quite well for myself.

        Care to hang some data on that “few”? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    2. CommonSense457|6.4.14 @ 11:23PM|#
      “The problem with Stossel’s analysis – that the poor saw growth in their incomes to the tune of 50% in the last 30 years – is that inflation grew 128% over those 30 years. So it doesn’t really qualify as something positive.”

      Which, of course, says nothing about why anyone should care
      I see you made a statement that I guess means something, but who in hell knows why.

      1. If you want a society where no one should care about the poor not even being able to keep up with inflation, then have at it. You’ll reap what you sow. Humanity always does.

        1. If it was the case that wages were not keeping pace with inflation (and it is not, as the 50% figure is after inflation), then would place the blame squarely on the source of inflation, i.e. the fiscal and monetary policies of the government.

    3. You’d have a point if it weren’t for the fact that those figures are adjusted for inflation. I’ll just drop this here….again:

      http://www.heritage.org/resear…..is-poverty

  26. +1 to all. Come for the article and stay for the destorying of Tony and OTRTM. Awesome. Made a slow night enjoyable!

  27. “11% and 8% sound like a lot of mobility to you?”

    Hell yes!

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