Inequality is causing a lot of turmoil in our society today. How do we do better as a country to manage these situations. I think it is underlying every single uprising in society now from the rise of Trump, Black Lives Matter protests, the Gamestop stock story, #MeToo, etc, etc, etc.

inequality or inequity? That is a big part of the debate



Is there a meaningful difference from a policy standpoint?

I mean, looking at those pictures, a UBI or M4A would qualify as “Equality”, but their purpose would be to make the US more “Equitable”.

I don’t think UBI is intended to do anything about equity. It’s intending to prevent poverty.

And I think M4A is closer to equity. It gives everyone the opportunity to not die because of lack of access to money. The poorest would pay for it less than the rich. The rich would benefit from it less than the poor. That’s equity. Equality would be what we have now: everyone pays the same for the same access to healthcare (in theory).

I’m looking at economic inequality first. My impression is that the super rich get there via some sort of monopoly power,. Why don’t we have a half dozen choices for search engines? or for facebook type social media? I think the gov’t could do more on that front. Maybe block acquisitions by “big” companies.

The creates monopolies through patents and copyrights. They should be far shorter. We don’t need 70 year copyrights.

But, there are limits to what the gov’t can do on the pre-tax side. The gov’t has lots of control over taxes. The federal gov’t should stop income/payroll taxes on “lower” income people and substantially increase income taxes on wealthy people. That at least lowers some of the after tax inequality.

Agreed. A democratic society is hard pressed when votes don’t matter and the State is dedicated to entrenching a small segment with virtually unlimited resource.

Imo, the road to economic equity runs thru the tax code. There will be howls of “class warfare”, and the political right will call upon the populist/nationalist wing of the party to beat any of that talk into dust.

Inequality of assets and income or inequality of rules and laws? You guys are all missing the real issue by discussing inequality of income/assets. That’s just a sideshow. The inequality causing these issues is much different.

Every example listed in the OP was due to inequality of rules, not inequality of assets/income.
Rise of Trump - Make America Great Again - nothing here about rich are too rich.
BLM - cops aren’t applying laws equally, systemic racism is discriminating against black lives, nothing about income inequality
GameStop stock - the rich and powerful manipulate stock prices, The rules and laws aren’t being applied to them. Here’s our chance to stick it to them, nothing here about rich being too rich.
#MeToo - rich and powerful men are sexually abusing women, nothing here about rich being too rich.

Let’s see the left dare to raise this as an issue and address it. Oh wait, the rich own both parties’ politicians… darn it, foiled again!

While your main point is good, I think it’s odd that you focus on “the rich are too rich”. A far more common complaint is that the poor are too poor.

I’m not buying into the main point. Wealth and power have alway been two sides of the same coin.

Inequality, on a basic level, is a measure of status. It’s a pretty fundamental human ( primate, actually) behavior. Those of low status will variably take out their frustrations and anger on those of lower status.

How, in this current setup, do the poor get less poor without the rich agreeing to be less rich?

Remove the fence.

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If the economy is growing, the rich can stay where they are and let the poor have the growth.

Or at least have the rate at which the poor get less poor be higher than the rate at which the rich are getting richer.

Not saying it’s a good idea or likely or anything - just coming up with a scenario.

Well, if there’s anything to the concept of one person, one vote…there are a lot more poor than rich.

Human nature is what human nature is.

Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth - Don’t kid yourself. It’s always been about the rich are too rich.

It almost seems as if NA thinks the rich are too rich… Why can’t both the poor get more rich AND the rich get more rich??? “A rising tide lifts all boats” so sayeth a famous and beloved democrat.

Well, I’m going to go on the record saying that wealth inequity is problematic, and if everyone gets proportionally more money We will still see most of the same problems.

But wealth is not a zero-sum game, and there are lots of ways to alleviate poverty and increase equity without attacking the rich.

In my ideal world, the rich stay rich, or slowly lose ground while the poor get richer.

I suppose that’s why I like UBI with a graduated income tax. It says “no one falls below this line”, and “those who have more can afford to chip in more” without being punitive to anyone.

Let’s follow-up with your scenario and take it out further. The poor get richer and the rich stay rich, or lose ground. At what point is everyone satisfied? When the rich are only 50% richer than the poorest? 100%? 3,000% Who gets to decide?

What reward exists for hard work, delayed satisfaction, taking a risk? (studying for exams???)

There’s two arguments against this. First, Bezos for example, is using roads, postal systems, etc, basically using infrastructure paid for by the general populace, to build their wealth. They are arguably using those resources to a greater extent than they’re paying for. ergo, pay more taxes.
Secondly, Bezos’ kids are going to be bajillionaires, and their kids, and so on. Now, I get working hard to build a better life for your kids, but at a certain point, no, your kids aren’t entitled to the level of wealth that lets them live in the stratosphere, basically as a different class of person entirely.

And as you noted, wealth inequality is a problem and IMO a huge problem.

Tax the hell out of large estates. And tax a lot more of the uber wealthy. Tax enough that the revenue makes a difference in wealth inequality.

I know there’s problems with that (bezos’ wealth is tied up in shares of amazon, so taxing him makes him sell the company), but then we’re just arguing where the line is. And I’m of the opinion the line needs to be a lot closer into the millions than it is now.

Getting to do a job that doesn’t require physical labor?

The rich absolutely are too rich. And a rising tide only helps those who are even in the water to begin with.

Wealth is not the problem, the gap between the rich and poor is.