Income Inequality!


#41

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it in the singular. It’s a problem when it statistically becomes dramatically unbalanced.


#42

What the .01%ers are thinking:

Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.

Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future.

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour.


#43

They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone.

Whelp.


#44

This is the kind of thing that could make me feel like going pitchfork and torch shopping were it to happen to me :


#45

You and me both buddy. There is something fundamental unfair about this and I hope the new Congress makes some changes to put pensions higher on the list.

Not that make companies are doing pensions anymore.


#46

Pensions still exist in some places.

The short-term management style currently favored by executives and investors just doesn’t jive with long-term commitments. The problem is, the failures fall on employees and the public and not the people, execs and investors, who are creating them.


#47

Sure they exist but outside of tiny companies with only 1 no Highly Compensated Employee, the few that do exist are only required to cover 50 eligible participants (which is usually the 50 lowest paid participants if it will pass testing). You aren’t seeing the large plans for yesterday anymore.

But they are a solid investment for Sole Props where the owner is expected to earn a million or more a year, and not worry too much about other employees. It’s a good way to shelter a lot of money.


#48


Was trying to figure out where to put this. This thread seems good enough.


#49

Man, you aren’t kidding about where to put that.

All I can say is, when I got to the end and saw she lived in Texas, it all clicked into place. Yup, adds up.


#50

Conservative commentators on the Right, like Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter are finally making noises about income inequality.

Hopefully that will mean some bipartisan compromise ideas are possible to implement down the road. At least if some on the Right actually acknowledge that it’s desirable to change things.


#51

My solution, make the corporate tax cuts only apply to corporations whose upper management/top total compensated management makes less than 10x the median employee total compensation (average? need a bit of research here).

Let the shareholders/boards/markets decide whether top management is worth forgoing the tax breaks and incent management to support the the employees.


#52

I admit I find it a little odd that employees aren’t shareholders of the corporation they work for. It just seems wrong to me that the people actually generating the wealth don’t actually get to see any of that wealth in most cases, outside of salary…

I’d be more OK with corporate tax cuts if employees directly benefited by either being shareholders or by profit sharing of some sort. What are the major problems with something like that (that’s not a rhetorical question, btw)?


#53

Well, plenty of companies do have stock options etc, and in some cases profit sharing, although that’s more commonly a senior management thing. True mutualism, where effectively all the equity in a company is owned by workers (or customers), is much rarer though outside special cases like law firms. The John Lewis Partnership is the famous one in the UK (department stores and upmarket groceries, mainly). And it does cause problems for raising capital, but they’re not insurmountable.


#54

In Spain, Mondragón is the famous cooperative. similar in size to the John Lewis partnership, but more industrial.

They do have fixed wage ratios:

One issue with cooperatives like this is that the worker does get shares, but they do have to pay for them. That is, if you want to be a shareholding employee (some of the cooperatives within the group allow for employees to refuse to sharehold), you need to pay for those shares (I think through salary reduction until you get your share, but I’m unsure).


#55

The only way to crack the income inequality problem is with regulation, more tax brackets, and very high top marginal tax rates. Tax earned income at very progressive rates approaching 90% at the top. Treat capital gains just like you treat earned income, same brackets and rates. Come up with a different treatment for stock options. They’re basically the equivalent of a time machine for executives, allowing them to go back in time for a more advantageous price per share than anyone else gets. Either outlaw them entirely, or treat them as income at the time they are granted just as if they were actual grants of shares. The latter ought to make them unattractive enough they simply disappear. Establish a tax penalty for corporations that have excessive ratios of CEO / executive pay to average employee pay.


#56

Are options still widely used? At least in silicon valley, it’s pretty much all RSUs now. For publicly traded companies, anyway. My recollection is the SOX made options much less attractive as a compensation option (pun 100% intended).

Where I work, there’s two mechanisms by which employees become stockholders (other than just buying on the open market). First is RSU grants, typically at hiring time and then potentially annually depending on performance reviews. Second is a stock purchase program which comes out of the paycheck and purchases at a discount (15%) up to 10% of your base compensation. I think the latter is capped so that it’s not overly dominated by higher earners, but don’t recall the details.

I agree with your suggestions, especially regarding cap gains taxes. It’s income and should be treated like any other income.


#57

I don’t think changing income taxes will fix inequality at all, it will just give us more money to fund the universal healthcare (which in turn will probably save thousands in medical bills each year for some people) Income tax won’t rebalance the wealth, it will just allow the government to be able to effectively run more social and infrastructure programs.

To me, regulation is key, along with tax incentives for corporations who maintain good ratios of average worker pay to CEO. (I suppose you could call these penalties for those who don’t comply, but I think incentives for those who do is better)

Additionally, worker protections need to be emphasized. If we can’t fix income inequality, we can at least guarantee every hard working american

  1. Cheap healthcare
  2. Guaranteed time off (at least 2 weeks)
  3. Guaranteed 6 months time off for maternity leave
  4. Job protections for issues like physical or mental illness

Even if worker pay doesn’t rise a lot, guaranteeing those things will lessen the drains on paychecks.

People say that it costs a lot of money to be poor, fix that, and things balance out a bit. Right now we have a lot of people and industries feeding off of the bottom, (predatory payday loans, overpriced medical bills, overpriced childcare)


#58

This is an old article but I thought it gave a good explanation for how liberals lost their way in the USA and eventually in the rest of the western world.


TLDR; they were convinced by libertarians to abolish antitrust measures that if not restricted then slowed the increase in inequality.

I don’t know much about stocks but I believe anything outside cooperatives is a merocratic pipe-dream due to the uneven predetermined distribution of shares and the risks employees might face in exercising the influence their shares give them.


#59

Wow, this is some tweet lede.


#60

too many buttered noodles, not enough guillotines