Mom! He’s got more than me!! That’s not fair!!!


How wealth is really distributed

Wealth *is* being redistributed in this country. It’s going to the people at the top. ”Oh, sure”, you say, “that’s just statistics and you can make statistics lie and stuff.” Now, you’re beginning to sound like Stephen Colbert.

The point of this video is not to attack wealth. The point is that it is concentrated in the hands of too few people to the detriment of everyone else. A corporate CEO does not work 380X harder than his accountant and even garbagemen deserve a living wage. For too many people, a living wage is not a reality.

The video makes a very persuasive argument. It is not, however, a logical argument. It is an emotional argument. (Most arguments based on “fairness” usually are.) It is predicated on the idea that we are all entitled to an equal share of the economic pie and the Marxist belief that all wealth comes from stealing.

“The belief that all wealth comes from stealing is popular in prisons and at Harvard.” – George Gilder

Wealth does not cause poverty. Poverty is a preexisting condition.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.” – Robert A. Heinlein

Riverdaughter reveals her belief that wealth comes from stealing when she says “Wealth *is* being redistributed in this country”. This implies that wealth is being taken from some people and given to others. She follows it up by saying that it’s going to the people at the top, which implies that the wealth is being taken from the rest of us. (I’m assuming that if you are reading this you are not one of the feelthy ricos.)

Riverdaughter doesn’t offer a solution but it is safe to assume that she wants the government to go all Robbing Hood on the rich and give to the poor. There are various ways to accomplish that, including taxes and forcing employers to provide higher salaries and benefits.

What is missing from her argument is any logical or legal basis for the government to redistribute wealth.

Rather than pontificate further I will throw it to you. Under what circumstances may the government redistribute wealth? Not how, but why? I’m not talking about taking money for the common good, like infrastructure or military defense, I am talking about taking money from one group and giving it to another.

Be prepared to defend your answers.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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41 Responses to Mom! He’s got more than me!! That’s not fair!!!

  1. HELENK says:

    being one of the lucky ones who came from foster homes with nothing, in this country I had the chance to work make a decent living, raise kids and retire without depending on my kids. Without people who started the businesses that I worked for where would I be? If you start a business and it is successful, you deserve the profit from that business. How many wealthy people make the choice to contribute to the community where their business is located or where they live. How many business have scholarships for the children of their workers. if people have no reason to try, why would they?
    The teaching that I believe in is give a man a fish, you give him a meal. teach a man to fish you give him a life
    other than government jobs, what jobs has welfare created?

    • HELENK says:

      many people want the chance to get wealthy and many are willing to work to get wealthy. that is not a bad thing

  2. Lucky Pierre says:

    Should wages and benefits be based on the market value of labor or on the profits of an employer?

  3. HELENK says:

    both. If no profit no money to pay wages. If no valuable employee no business can succeed. An employee needs a living wage, the business owner needs enough to pay business expenses including wages and benefits.
    overtaxing either one benefits no one

    • myiq2xu says:

      Jeebus said “Don’t bind the mouths of the kine that tread the grain” but the market is usually the best way to determine the value of things.

  4. piper says:

    My father came from Russia and used to tell us stories about communism – not at all the utopia that people who grew up and live in this country think it is. Most would scream and tantrum if they really had to live under this ideology where individual choices are few, follow the rules or suffer the consequences via gulags or firing squads.

    It sounds like RiverDaughter is having financial problems and wants gubmint assistance. She’d be more likely to receive aid from John Kerry than JoeJoe Biden, a known cheapskate who is even charging the SS rent for living in a cottage on his property.

  5. votermom says:

    RD,a chemist, should appreciate that the 3rd law of thermodynamics applies here; to wit, the more the system approaches equilibrium, the less energy (wealth) there is.
    Conversely stated, it’s because there are different levels of wealth/poverty that people are motivated to work to change their status; thereby increasing the overall wealth of the system.

  6. yttik22 says:

    This is probably a controversial thing to say, but today in America, everyone has the opportunity to access a great deal of wealth. From that perspective, everything is already “fair,” in fact, we have one of the fairest systems ever developed.

    What is even more controversial is to mention that those of us who can’t or won’t access enough wealth to provide for ourselves are responsible for our own problems, mostly because of our attitudes and belief systems. Nobody ever wants to hear that, especially not liberals, but it’s true. LOL, I am one of those people who has failed to access the wealth in this country and I can tell you it’s entirely my own fault. I have watched a man with no legs start a multi million dollar construction business. I have watched a family of Chinese immigrants come to this country with nothing but the clothes on their back and 11 years later they own several successful restaurants and homes of their own. The problem is what I call the American curse and it plagues many people who are born here. We convince ourselves that we are entitled to something for nothing, that wealth is evil, that we’re going to pursue more noble things. It comes from being born with a silver spoon in your mouth which I really believe is how we are all born in the US, even those of us born into horrendous poverty. Being born in America is like winning the lottery, but we can’t see it. From day one we’re given free public schools, running water, electricity. These things are so normal to us that most of us can’t imagine life without them. In fact, we feel entitled to food, shelter, education, medical care, which some now view as civil rights that should be given to us even if we do nothing to provide for ourselves.

    • wmcb says:

      I could have made a ton of money in life, had I made much different choices, and had I taken a lot more risk than I chose to. I didn’t. I don’t regret that, because I did what I wanted to do, or felt capable of at the time. But neither do I sit and covet the assets of those who chose differently. I am not saying they even always worked harder, but they did indeed CHOOSE differently than I did, and are reaping the benefits.

      If you are talking redistribution in the sense of charity as a society: i.e. everyone giving a little to make sure no one is starving, then I’m fine with it. But when you start seeing govt’s role as making sure everyone’s income is held to some arbitrary standard of “fair”, then I say hell no.

      • myiq2xu says:

        There is an old saying that goes “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” But the flip side of that is you will put the old mousetrap makers out of business.

        Socialism is based on the premise that everybody wins every time.

    • myiq2xu says:

      If you are a citizen or resident (legal or illegal) of the United States you have won a lottery. You do not have to do ANYTHING and you will be provided with food, shelter and medical care. At most you will have to go somewhere to get those things, but often they will be brought to you. You will not ever have to repay any of it unless you want to. You CANNOT be forced to work to earn your keep.

      Even if you commit a crime and lose freedom of movement you will be provided with a bed, food and medical care. Worst case scenario – If you are not a citizen you could be deported back to wherever you came from.

    • angienc (D) says:

      You are so right about this — especially the part about how being born in America is like winning the lottery but people just can’t see it. Those complaining about America etc on the left expose their ignorance of what it is really like in other countries.

  7. wmcb says:

    The entire idea that the CEO doesn’t “work” 380X harder than an employee is bogus. In the real world, you get paid much more for ideas and intangibles than for actual physical labor.

    Steve Jobs did not “work” as hard as the guy sitting at a desk crunching code, but he had the vision, the responsibility, and the risk. How much is that kind of intangible vision worth?

    My husband gets paid a great deal for what he does. He takes on the responsibility for a human being’s life hanging on his judgement and decision-making – over and over and over. He can KILL people if he screws up. Daily. Not just in an indirect sense, like screwing on a bolt badly and the car eventually fails on the freeway, but as a direct, immediately evident result of what he did or didn’t do. He fucks up the diagnosis or treatment, and their heart stops. How much is that worth? Not just the smarts and the education, but the burden of it, and yes the ego and self-confidence that makes a person willing to think they can do this.

    In the end, even if you think that CEO pay is obscene, what’s the solution? Is your solution (govt redistribution) any better? No one ever seems to ask that. Once you give the govt the right to decide how much money is “too much” or “too little” for a given job, how far can they go? If the economy continued to tank, and poor people still existed in large numbers, would they then come after the wallets of those making $200,000? Or $100,000? $75,000? Where’s the line, and how would you ever make it stick, once you decide it’s the govt’s decision to make? Don’t talk to me about redistribution until you can answer that question – because if you can’t, you are an idiot who has not thought this through beyond “Not faaiiiiiiir!”

    Market pricing for labor can be inequitable and unfair. And? Is redistribution any better? What are its downsides, and are those downsides worse than market pricing? People like RD never ask nor answer that question.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got lucky – right time, right place, right field. But they didn’t steal their wealth from others.

    • smile says:

      I can’t understand all the hatred against the CEOs and none against the hollywood celebrities. To state it even better, I can’t understand any hatred against the CEOs and they should be treated with adoration like we do the celebrities. They are on call 24/7, they are responsible for huge amounts of money and the livelihoods of thousands of employees and the fortunes of the board of directors, and have to make decisions based on the expert advise of their team members below them, and are responsible for hugh risk-taking. They are rewarded for their risk-taking and the outcomes of their decisions by the board of directors of private companies. I don’t see anything wrong with it. If I am reward for my job, for the little risks I take for my private company, why cannot the CEOs be? I certainly don’t want to be one, and no one is stopping another from becoming one.

      The CEO’s I have a problem with are the Political CEOs masquerading as congress critters, who suprisingly all leave as millionaires after a term in office and still continue to enjoy pensions for the rest of their lives. Where else can one find such a job, where there are so many benefits and no responsibilities, except to appear before the citizenry every now and then and explain how all the fault is due to the other guy/gal from the other party.

  8. SHV says:

    I think “redistribution” is a false meme as it is used by the right today. The threat to capitalism/free markets is not socialism but when the “capitalist economy” is rigged, so that it’s not markets but political payoffs and influence that creates wealth. This country went through that cycle from 1876-1929 and we were damned lucky to have escaped a totalitarian state of left or right. We are back in the same situation with probably the most corrupt President in US history acting as the sock puppet.

    $16-20 trillion given to the financial industry during the Obama first term. Not one prosecution for financial wrong doing during Obama first term. Currently the Fed is buying junk real estate bonds at the rate of $85 billion per month. The real un/under employment rate is >16% and the middle class is getting financially hammered. The system is rigged and there will be hell to pay when things start to unravel.

    • myiq2xu says:

      “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The corollary of that is the less power government has the less corrupt it will be.

      • SHV says:

        Power attracts the corrupt….Perfect example Barack Obama
        Size of govt is probably not correlated with corruption…I suspect that small local and county govts are just/more corrupt as the Feds. The govt at any level has to maintain a level playing field; unlike today when the rule of law flexes with the weight of the political bribe.

      • wmcb says:

        The problem isn’t that “corporations buy our govt”. The problem is that we have a govt allowing itself to be bought – that has favors for sale. I honestly don’t blame corporations for sucking up to govt, when govt has shown a propensity for rewarding those who play ball and punishing those who don’t.

        Once govt starts “investing” in this and that, subsidizing stuff, deciding what industires are “valuable and essential”, who needs to be regulated more and who gets a waiver, etc, then you create a situation where a company’s success is dependent on getting in good with the rulemakers, or you are fucked.

        Progs correctly identify that money in politics is out of control, but they incorrectly identify the source of the problem. It’s not that evil CEO’s went to an innocent govt just minding its own business, and bribed and corrupted them. It’s that our govt decided to wade into the playing field by favoring/disfavoring companies via legislation and tax policy, rather than just making fair rules that apply to all. That almost guarantees that corps will begin to seek to influence those mountains of rules and regulations. Why wouldn’t they?

        I blame govt more, because their responsibility is to the people and the country. Corps are gonna do what they are gonna do to make a buck. They are motivated by profit, and that is appropriate for them – they took no oath to represent The People. The pols DID.

    • Propertius says:

      This country went through that cycle from 1876-1929

      I’d make the start date 1786, since this sort of rigging of the tax system to favor wealthy elites was one of the primary causes of Shays’s Rebellion (1786), the Whiskey Rebellion (1791), and Fries’s Rebellion (1799).

      The Whiskey Rebellion is particularly interesting, since it was partially the result of the first financial panic in US history, the Copper Panic of 1789. Among the events leading to Fries’s Rebellion was the Panic of 1797.

      • Propertius says:

        Oh yeah – forgot to mention. The Panic of 1797 was caused by the bursting of the first real estate bubble in United States (and there have been lots of them, by the way).

  9. myiq2xu says:
  10. myiq2xu says:

    Pope Francis creates committee for reforming the Curia

    The Curia is the Vatican bureaucracy. Pope Frank has picked a bunch of outsiders for the committee. This could be big news for reform-minded Catholics.

  11. elliesmom says:

    There’s a really good read out there called “Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams, ” by Alfred Lubrano. It’s about what it feels like to be the first in your family to cross the line from being blue collar to white collar. I can say from experience that what the author says rings true for a lot of us. When you make the leap, your comfort level may not be really high in your new status, and the family members who have not made the leap with you are usually not as comfortable with you as they are with each other. From what RD has written in the past, I would hazard a guess that this describes her, too. Our “white collar dreams” are sometimes out of kilter with reality in other ways, too. She expected her degrees in science to give her automatic entry into a certain lifestyle, but the reality is that a white collar job describes what kind of work you do, not how much you get paid or how secure your financial future is.

  12. Propertius says:

    It’s obviously justifiable to take money from financially unsophisticated tax payers, who would only squander it on food, clothing, and shelter, and hand it over to big investment banks and insurance companies so they may increase the bonus pool for their “productive” employees.

    Is that what you had in mind?

    • myiq2xu says:

      Is that what you had in mind?


    • elliesmom says:

      When you give the government permission to redistribute wealth, the system allows for money to flow in both directions. Our tax system provides a massive movement of money from one group of people to another with few or no services rendered to the people who are being taxed whether the money flows from the wealthy to the poor or the middle class to the wealthy or whether it’s a bank bailout or the Earned Income Tax Credit. I don’t support wealth redistribution in either case.

    • yttik22 says:

      I recently had an argument with a well off Obama supporter. She likes paying taxes and thinks we should all pay more and be happy about it. The thing is, she only pays taxes on income she “earns,” which last year was only about 20 grand! She doesn’t have to pay much in taxes because she lives off her other assets. In reality she gave the Gov less than 1% of her income. Now, me, I have to pay taxes on everything I have, since everything I have had to be earned last year. All taxes combined, it’s about 30%. I have to give one third of my income to various Gov entities and the woman paying out less than 1% believes we need to “redistribute the wealth.” Sheesh.

      That is why we have a lot of well off Obama supporters saying we should raise taxes. They understand the tax structure and know it will never touch THEM.

      • wmcb says:

        They understand the tax structure and know it will never touch THEM.

        Honk! That’s one of the things that pissed me off about Warren Buffet. He was all vocally in favor of raising the income tax rate on “billionaires like me”. Bullshit. He does not have WAGES or salary, so his income would be mostly unaffected by rate increases. Lots of his holdings are in fucking tax free municipal bonds or untouchable trusts. And he knows this. He knows the rates he is talking about will never apply to “people like him”. They will apply to the small business owner who actually has to count all those profits as income, and who doesn’t have a high-powered tax attorney to create shelters for him or her.

      • Mary says:

        You’ll be NOT pleased to know that the current President and his wife only paid 18% in taxes this year.
        While you had to pay 30%, as do most of us.

  13. DandyTiger says:

    Oh look, graphs that show age distribution. How novel. So when you’re a teenager, you don’t have much wealth and you don’t make much. When you’re an old fart, you’ve accumulated more wealth than teens and you probably make more. Duh. Now if they made graphs that were relative to age, like you do when you try to measure equalizing for population, per capita. Then it would be a much more reasonable looking graph. Still not even of course, but far less scary. The other funny thing they never show you, the top 20% of people, is a completely different set of people every 20 years. That is, it’s a very fluid and mobile society. But none of that would fit the narrative.

    None of that of course takes away from the fact that there’s an imbalance. There is. And some of that is by no fault of some groups of people. And we should have a safety net. But we live in a very complex, interconnected system. No one is sitting on piles of cash. They have ownership in companies. Ownership in farms. Capital supporting new and old ventures. If you want to take some of their money, you’re pulling on a complex set of strings holding the entire system together. You might say give the government 10% more. That means they have to liquidate to get the cash. All of them have to liquidate to get the cash. You have companies shutting down. Stock prices falling. Loans drying up because the bank doesn’t have the same cash reservers. Etc. There are unintended consequences to such changes, especially if you’re stunningly naive and haven’t thought things through.

    To all those saying “tax” the wealthy. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” -Inigo Montoya

  14. DandyTiger says:

    IOW: It’s just not fair that this woman isn’t the big star:

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    got my vote too. 🙂

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