GECON200-Topic #3: 99%, the Tea Party, and the Consequence of the Status Quo

Much has been made about the recent “#OccupyWallSt” (or “#ows” to preserve Twitter space) movement which began as a protest proposed by Adbusters. While the now global movement has struggled to define their demands, they can generally be defined as a left-wing (or liberal) attempt at drawing attention to the needs of people who feel they have been cheated by a system that failed to live up to its promises. The #ows movement has even attracted some wealthy individuals who are part of the “1%” that the “99%” vilifies. Claims of corporate greed, a political system that does not respond to the public, a tax system tilted towards the wealthy, and broken health care and education systems are among the complaints of the #ows. Al Jazeera recently approached the issue of the OWS by looking at some of the economic facts in the U.S. such as the growing disparity in wages and income.

On the opposite end, the right wing (or conservative) Tea Party has pushed for changes to tax policy as they believe they are Taxed Enough Already. The Tea party generally wants lower taxes and less progressive taxes, reduced government spending, and reductions in business and environmental regulation to spur business investment. The Tea Party was successful in the 2010 elections where they replaced a number of House and Senate offices with members sympathetic to their cause. The resulting “Tea Party Caucus” led by House Republican and Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann has influenced policy a great deal over the last year, including what many see as a victory in the debt ceiling debate during the summer of 2011.

The two movements have been compared to one another since they have changed the political debate. What is clear is that the economic and political condition of the country is in a state where many people feel disenfranchised. The economy and political system is not working for many people, but many people on the other hand might be refusing to work very hard to improve their condition.

Questions you might answer:

  • Should wealth be more equally distributed or should we ignore this problem and let markets be? How is wealth distributed now? A recent study by Norton and Arielly discussed misperceptions of wealth and the importance of considering perceptions in policy. How would you attain more or less equal distribution of wealth? What is the consequence of the status quo?
  • Consider different tax proposals such as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan or Rick Perry’s “flat tax” to the current U.S. system. Do you believe these systems would be more fair? How do you determine fairness? How is the tax burden distributed now? What is the consequence of the status quo?
  • Should the government focus on closing the deficit now or in the near future? Or should the government continue running large deficits in the time being? What are the consequences of inaction compared to the consequences of swift action? Is there a balanced approach we might consider? You might examine the Simpson-Bowles or Rivkin-Domenici deficit reduction plans for ideas. What is the consequence of the status quo?
  • You can consider anything else, as long as you focus on some aspect of the distribution of income, wealth, or debt in the economy. Choose a side and give your opinion on how the problem should be solved or left alone. Consider that deciding to leave tax policy alone upsets some on the right, as well as some on the left.

 

 

57 thoughts on “GECON200-Topic #3: 99%, the Tea Party, and the Consequence of the Status Quo”

  1. Under the current U.S tax system, about 75 million households, or 46% do not pay any federal income tax (2). Nearly two-thirds of households that pay no tax make less than $50,000(2). While Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 and 9-0-9, if you’re poor, plan would decrease the about that most high earning individuals make, it would increase the about that most middle class and lower class households pay; according to the Tax Policy Center (1). If fact the Tax Policy Center released an analysis that found 84 percent of families would see their tax burden go up under the Cain plan (1). So over all the 9-9-9 plain would benefit the wealthy by giving them a tax cut, while further hurting the middle and lower class by increasing the about they pay in taxes. Although this system taxes everyone equally, it’s impacts clearly would be unequal.

    Sources:

    1. http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/10/21/141595922/will-cains-new-9-0-9-tax-plan-really-help-the-poor

    2. http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/14/news/economy/class_warfare_taxes/index.htm

  2. When examining the fairness of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan or a flat tax plan, you have to remember what exactly being fair means: the state of being free from biased injustice (1). Using this definition, a flat tax plan is completely fair. In theory, such a tax plan sounds great- it assigns the same amount of tax to everyone, regardless of their income, without messy deductions or loopholes. This year, about 46% of Americans will not pay any taxes, and many actually receive money from the Treasury in the form of programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (2). In my opinion, this is not an effective system, and everyone needs to pull their weight with a more even tax burden distribution. While I think the 9-9-9 plan is a good idea, it does have drawbacks-it would hurt the poor, and benefit the rich. Instead, why not have the flat income and corporate rate, but impose the sales tax somewhere else, such as gasoline? Even a penny more raised per gallon could produce a huge amount of revenue for the government. I like the idea (and fairness) of Herman Cain’s plan, but, as is, it definitely does not solve America’s problems.

    (1) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fairness
    (2) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44979378/ns/politics/#.TqXEQd6ImU8

  3. There is no denying that there is a lot of inequity in the United States when it comes to the distribution of wealth. Remarkably, the top 20% of earners in the US hold about 85% of the wealth in America (1). That leaves only 15% of wealth to those the rest of the 80% of households. The question of how to address the issue of wealth inequality lingers in the news almost daily especially now with the Occupy Wall Street group causing a stir. And with the Bush Tax Cuts due to expire soon, everyone could be seeing a tax hike, including both the rich and the poor (2). There are also the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income tax because they do not make enough or because they qualify for so many exemptions and deductions that the tax is essentially eliminated (3). For me, the answer still does lie within the progressive tax system. However, I feel that all people need to feel the effects of such a system. The poorest of the poor need to pay something, and the richest of the rich need to pay a much larger percentage. Getting participation from as many people as possible is essential is helping remedy our current deficit woes. In addition, I believe that adding in another tax bracket for that 1% of the “super rich” or adding capital gains taxes could eliminate many gripes about the rich not paying enough while the poor have to support the country. There will never be a time when people consider America to be completely equal. There will always be people complaining about something, but we can certainly tweak with the tax code in order to remedy our current economic situation, but also make things a little more “fair.”

    (1)http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
    (2)http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/22/expiring-bush-cuts-affect-personal-finance-taxes.html
    (3)http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0

  4. While arguments positing that those who earn their wealth deserve to keep their wealth and that redistribution of wealth removes incentive to continue earning provide strong assertions, I do not believe that redistribution goes this far. In a society motivated heavily by upholding certain levels of comfort, I can see why those opposed would be disturbed by the notion of redistribution. The top 1% of Americans controls an astounding 42% of financial wealth (1). Some of this top percentile earns its wealth through hard work and dedication, possibly even rising from the lowest brackets and most unfortunate circumstances. However, others are placed at the top because of trust funds or inheritances. These large sums of money are trickling down without taxation if under $5 million, and with little tax above that amount (2).
    The aforementioned longing for comfort, which may be defined by some as greed, can be beneficial in a society, but constraints must be placed to stop greed from overcoming fairness. These constraints begin most favorably in the form of raised consumption taxes, and, in theory, produce a more equal distribution of wealth. In this manner, those that truly consume more, such as a privileged citizen or someone who earns their living under the table would be taxed more properly and fairly.

    1) http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/
    2) http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=164871,00.html

  5. Wealth should be more equally distributed, although ignoring the issue and letting the market be seems simpler and may comply with the American opposition of government interference. As of now, the wealthy 1/5 of the country owns more than 4/5s of the country and Americans are well unaware of this (a). They interpret that the wealthy 1/5 owns less than they actually do, yet they feel that they own too much (a). A way to attain more equal distribution of wealth could be to impose higher taxes upon the significantly richer citizens (for example those who make well over 1 million annually) while either lowering or maintaining the taxes upon the poorer citizens. As simple as that sounds, it can be presumed that equally distributing wealth is more difficult than it seems, but possible, considering European nations have been successful, but not completely. The consequence of the status quo is that citizens are opposed to the government doing anything; therefore if it (the government) does nothing then the economy will continue to decline in the manner that it has been but if the government does something then the citizens will not respond in a pleasant manner.
    (a) http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  6. Both Cain and Perry’s proposals are a step in the right direction regarding “fairness,” but neither completely solves the problem the Wall Street occupiers possess, which is the unequal distribution of wealth. The 9-9-9 plan is good in theory, but has a few glitches. The first main issue is concerning the national tax Cain proposes and state’s rights. Ronald Alt, a senior research associate at the Federation of Tax Administrators says it would, “bring up state sovereignty issues because states currently define their own sales tax policy.” (1) Another problem this plan has is that it will “exhibit severely inconsistent distribution policies.” (2) The poor will face a tax increase, while the “1%” will get a tax cut, which is exactly what many Americans are fighting against. Also, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that it would “raise taxes on 84% of U.S. households.” (3) Perry’s plan seems to be more fair and doesn’t take as much money out of important funds. It will most likely fall short however, when low- and middle-income voters realize that it’s quite harmful to the U.S. economy (as is Cain’s) and to the overwhelming majority of Americans who earn less than $100,000 a year. (3) Both plans are meant to appeal to Americans because they are simpler than the tax plan now instated.

    (1) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/herman-cains-9-9-9-plan-buy-less-pay-less/
    (2) http://www.theticker.org/about/2.8217/herman-cain-s-9-9-9-plan-seems-unreal-1.2658078#.TqYkf67QGfo
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/flat-tax-proposals-may-fall-flat-for-perry-and-cain/2011/10/20/gIQA5TDl1L_story.html

  7. Government deficit plans are without a doubt a leading factor in the controversy between left wing liberal ideas and right wing conservative ideas. The conservative views favor the Simpson-Bowles Act in reduction of government deficit and its ideas to start making payments on national debt. Once Simpson and Bowles convinced Obama of their new plan, with the main idea of cutting government deficit by nearly 4 trillion over the next decade, the plan was ultimately disapproved and unable to reach the U.S House (1).
    Within the Simpson-Bowle plan, a raise in average income taxes by an annual amount of 1,700 draws much disapproval and outcry by liberal views. One of these outcries involves a more recent protest called Occupy Wall Street Protests. Although many of these protestors believe deficit reduction is an important issue for the Government to consider, these liberal protestors conclude that this can be done without the immense increase in taxes to low and average income families.
    Although liberalists want few of their taxes to be raised, inaction by the government in deficit reduction would result in outraged liberalists. Liberalists argue that nearly half (47%) of the population easily escape from fed income tax due to low enough incomes and other exemptions (2). Why should the rich pay more when the poor pay none at all? This is a common question among opposing views to the Occupy Wall Street Protests.
    Although it seems like these problems between parties are countless and unending, there is a balanced approach that the government and citizens should consider. This plan will start with reduction of government spending on the military, health care and education systems, but also a revised tax plan. In this new tax plan, the 1% of highest income people will undergo considerably higher incomes, as well as higher taxes for the next 9% of highest income. These top 10% of income people currently receive about 40% of total US income (3). But there will also be a few small tax increases on average and low income families. By limiting fed income tax exemptions, the lower income families will pay slightly more for taxes, but not such a significant amount. With this balanced approach, hopefully the status quo of liberalists and conservatives will fall, and both sides will be compelled into reaching a compromise with one another.

    (1) http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/12/09/bowles-simpson-urge-obama-to-act-on-deficit-report-next-month/
    (2)http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/inequality-is-most-extreme-in-wealth-not-income/
    (3)http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2011/10/10/what-is-occupy-wall-street/

  8. 9-9-9 plan is a tax system that collects 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax from people and business. 1) “Flat tax system is a plan that tax all income at one rate, thus would lower taxes for the wealthy and likely raise them for the poor and some percentage of the middle class.” Flat taxes are fair, by their very definition, the fairest possible source of government revenue because of their equal treatment of all taxable persons in America. It is the safest and easiest solution to create. However, what is easiest, safest, and even fairest may not be in the best interest of American economic prosperity. The way I determine fairness on tax system, it would be “the more you earn then the more tax you should pay” otherwise I would be determine fairness by the definition. 2) “If a situation is fair, everyone is treated equally and in a reasonable way. The most tax burden is distributed in middle class. “3) Higher income earners pay more in absolute terms (as shown above), but the poor and “middle class” (in whatever income range that is defined to be) pay more relative to their incomes. In other words, someone earning less money and paying, say, the 10% or 15% marginal tax rate misses that money more than someone earning more and paying the 35% rate, because the latter person still has a lot left over.” The consequence of the status quo is high tax rate on corporations. Due to high tax rate most of corporations moved their headquarters and major of money oversea, so they can avoid the high tax rate. Personally I believe flat taxes will not work, because this system would only benefit the wealthy by lowering their tax, while it will continue hurting the middle and lower class by increasing taxes.

    1) http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/21/rick-perrys-flat-tax-plan-simple-as-1-2-3/
    2) http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/fair
    3) http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2010/03/03/how-is-americas-income-tax-burden-weighted/

  9. Even though it may seem fair to tax everyone equally, it is not. Last year, fifty percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364. Then, compare that with the eighteen percent who make $1,000,000 or more. Taxing these people the same amount would not be the right thing to do. (1). I agree that the 1% work hard for their money and don’t want it all taken from them because of taxes to help out those who do not make a lot of money. However, I also don’t believe that all of the poor people are that way because they are lazy and aren’t looking for jobs. The unemployment rate is currently at 9.1% (2). This means that 9.1% of people who are looking for jobs can’t find one. If people are fortunate enough to have the money then I do believe that they should contribute their share to the economy and helping others. Farhad A. Ebrahimi, a member of the 1% says, “I’m a member of the 1 percent and I fully support the 99 percent…tax me, I’m good for it.” (3). If more people in the 1% had this same opinion then there wouldn’t be so many problems. The fact that so many Americans don’t even realize that the richest 1/5 owns over 4/5 of our nations wealth (4) proves how little we really know. Before people start saying what they want to change, they need to understand how the wealth is distributed and how the tax brackets are set up now.

    (1) http://news.yahoo.com/high-income-workers-share-total-wages-grows-231053534.html
    (2) http://www.bls.gov/cps/
    (3) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44973689/ns/us_news-life/?google_editors_picks=true#.TqdpBM12ky
    (4) http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  10. The current Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements both criticize the current tax system. As of now, America has a progressive style income tax where, in general, those who make more pay more. There are tax brackets that increase with income levels. But they can be a bit confusing. For example “If you make $100,000, you are in the 28 percent bracket, but you’re not paying 28 cents on every dollar.(1)” You pay 28 cents on the last dollar of income. Prior to that, you pay the appropriate tax on each chunk of income broken up by the different tax brackets. This is a very basic description, because the tax code contains tons of exceptions of all sizes and forms for different people. Also, that is just income tax, there are many taxes for different things that most people don’t understand or don’t know exist. Most people are just angry at the complexity of it all. So naturally, some Republican candidates are coming up with simpler plans to appeal to the American public. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and Rick Perry’s Flat Tax plan are both bold and different because of their simplicity. However, they are not as transparent as they seem, and while they may be better for some, many others could end up being worse off because of them. Cain’s plan would create a “9% flat tax on individuals, a 9% flat tax on businesses, and a 9% national retail sales tax.(2)” Some attractive pieces of the 9-9-9 plan are that it “ends nearly all deductions and special interest favors…shifts the burden of taxation from production to consumption.(2)” It also ends payroll and death taxes. However, people may overlook the fact that adding a national retail sales tax onto a federal income tax “creates the infrastructure for a federal-level, European-style VAT.(2)” VAT stands for value added tax, which is a tax “levied on the value added to the product at each stage of its manufacturing cycle as well as the price paid by the final consumer.(4)” The problem with it is that the burden “tends to be passed on to the consumer…lower income people have the greatest burden.(4)” Now, Rick Perry’s tax plan is a bit different. He proposes a flat tax of 20% that people of all income levels would pay. It also eliminates the death tax and taxes on Social Security, and provides that “Those with income less than $12,500 would be exempt, and households with incomes less than $500,000 would still be able to deduct mortgage interest and charitable contributions.(3)” While his plan would be optional, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the plan “would shift a greater share of taxes away from large corporations and the wealthiest onto the backs of the middle class.(5)” This is true because in our current system, bigger earners pay more in taxes. It would be a tax cut for them, and an increase for many Americans who earn less. Both of these proposed plans seem simple and attractive on the surface, and they do have some good qualities to them. But they also have many negative effects that could spur much discontent with Americans if one of them is set into motion. Our current tax code is too long and confusing; with many aspects that need reform or removal, but neither Cain nor Perry’s plans would be better options at this point.
    (1) http://news.yahoo.com/mayor-simpleton-223900842.html
    (2) http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/herman-cains-999-plan-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugl
    (3) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/rick-perry-holds-his-flat-tax-proposal-up-to-herman-cains-9-9-9-plan/
    (4) http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Value_added_tax
    (5) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45033508/ns/politics-decision_2012/?ocid=ansmsnbc11

  11. Wealth should NOT be redistributed. It goes against the principles on which America has been founded: free enterprise, small government, and capitalism. When the U.S. government does redistribute, they are taking money away from the hard working middle and upper class citizens so that it will trickle down to the “deserving poor.”

    (1) The federal government should not even be considering redistribution because they are interfering in the lives of their citizens and the economy.

    (2) When the government takes away peoples money, they will have less of it to spend and invest. According to William Domhoff, professor at the University of CA, the top one percent’s income from actually “working” makes up 19% reported by the 13,480 families/individuals making over 10 million dollars. The remaining 81% is from their assets such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. The rich use their money efficiently which results in stimulating the U.S. economy through their investments, ventures, and savings. My point is however, taking away that available income ends up in the reduction in economic growth/surplus resulting from a market not being in competitive equilibrium.

    Currently, wealth is distributed among the top richest 1 percent of the nation. As of 2007, the top households (upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (professional/managerial stratum) had 50.5%. This indicates that just 20% of the people owned 85% of resources.

    I would attain less equal distribution of wealth by letting the market and people just be. There has been and will always be poverty stricken people. There are three types of poverty: absolute, relative, and subjective poverty. America suffers from subjective poverty, that in which a person assesses his or her own welfare compared to others. People should try to strive at working harder, taking more risks, and being ambitious if they want to change their lives. We do not need the government giving us a handout.

    Links
    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  12. It is very important to consider misperceptions of wealth in policy. A recent paper suggests that Americans may oppose redistributive policies because they simply do not know how unequal the current distribution of wealth is. Current estimates suggest that the richest 20 percent of Americans own as much as 85 percent of the total wealth in America, with the poorest 40 percent own nearly 0 percent. Americans estimate that the richest 20 percent own only 59 percent, and see the poorest Americans as owning far more than they do. (1) Therefore, it seems that people believe that wealth is already distributed more evenly than it is. But, the questions still comes up, when looking at the facts, is President Obama’s new policy to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans “fair”? I think that the government needs to do SOMETHING to make this situation more “fair,” but Cain and Perry’s attempts still have problems. While the flat tax seems to be the best in terms of fairness for citizens, it may not be the best for equality in the distribution of wealth, which seems to be the main goal. To obtain an equal distribution of wealth, it seems that the only solution is to tax the wealthy more than the poor which leads to the unfairness in having an equal distrubution of wealth in the first place. Either way, one or the other (the wealthy, or the poor) will end up unhappy in regards to the equal distribution of wealth and what is “fair” for everyone.
    1. 1. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/09/19/do-taxes-narrow-the-wealth-gap/tax-policy-and-americans-last-place-aversion

  13. In 1776, the introduction to Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. In his opening sentence, Jefferson states, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” In my opinion, I believe this quote means that all men are equal under law, should be entitled to the same rights, and should have the same responsibilities. With this being said, if all men are created equal, why should the distribution of taxes be unequal? For example, in 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, did not owe any federal income tax, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (1). Nearly half of Americans are not required to pay takes, leaving the burden on those that remain. For this year alone, “about 46 percent of American households will pay no federal income tax this year (2). The taxation system in the United States is unfair, due to the fact that approximately half of Americans are exempt from income taxes. If, as the Declaration of Independence states, that all men are created equal, then all citizens must also succumb to the same laws and regulations. Therefore, I think Rick Perry’s “flat tax” plan would be most beneficial to the nation. With a flat tax rate, everyone is paying an equal amount of taxes, regardless of their income. This proposal represents the most efficient, and fair way to distribute taxes.
    http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/pf/taxes/who_pays_taxes/index.htmhttp://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/pf/taxes/who_pays_taxes/index.htm
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44979378/ns/politics/#.TqXEQd6ImU8

  14. The protester in the Occupy Wall Street debate are fighting for a change in the widening gap between the elite citizens and the poor citizens (1); however, plans like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 proposal will only prove to continue in widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. His tax code at first sounds appealing promising that by creating equal taxes the system will then be fair. The logic however does not exactly add up. If a wealthy business man were taxed at 9%, this would actually be a deduction from what he paid in the past and would benefit him (2). However, a poor worker would find that these “fair” taxes hurt them even more than the current tax policy does. I feel that false hope is given to those who believe that by making taxes equal, the system will be fair to all. The 9-9-9 plan would only make the distance between elite and lower classes more distant than they are already which would go against everything that these OWS protesters are fighting for (2). I feel that it is important to know how to fix a problem before you protest about the ways that they are currently being done.

    1) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44973689/ns/us_news-life/?google_editors_picks=true#.TqQuHpuIk8k
    2) http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/herman-cains-999-plan-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugl

  15. Since the protesters started occupying Wall Street in September, they have claimed that they represent the 99% of the United States. There is some disagreement with that statement through out the nation however. Even though the #OWS continues to gain momentum nationally, and internationally, people in the “99% “ have spoken out against it. They call themselves the 53%, meaning the 53% who pay income taxes. This 53% movement are getting frustrated with the #OWS saying they need to stop complaining and go find jobs. They say that they have worked their entire life and why should they carry the 47% who don’t work on their shoulders. Which isn’t to say that the 47% isn’t paying any taxes, just not income taxes. The 53% solution is for the #OWS to go find jobs. Which after the recent immigration laws in Alabama, there are now agricultural jobs available. According to the farmers, 80% of us are being fed by 1%. So maybe the overall solution if for some of the 99% on Wall Street should go become part of the 1% who feeds America. It may not be the most ideal jobs after graduating, but a job is a job, and money is money. Maybe the some of the people on wall street should lower their standards a bit.

    1) http://occupywallst.org/
    2) http://www.occupytogether.org/
    3)http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/26/news/economy/occupy_wall_street_backlash/?npt=NP1
    4)http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/alabama_farmers_doubt_proposal.html

  16. The wealth in America is not well distributed to all causing people to live in “different worlds”. Many Americans realize this problem and leave it up to the government. The problem with this is that our government is divided into two parties that make less compromises then little kids learning to share toys. Many of the American that voice their option about the wealth distribution in America, end up doing nothing because they they believe they can’t fix it(1). Members of the OWS have stationed themselves outside Wall Street but have not made justifications as to why they should be there. In order for the wealth to be well distributed, people need to make an argument as to how this should be done. i don’t believe it is fair for a CEO to give up his money to a Burger King clerk unless the government and the people find a way to do it in a reasonable manner. The 9-9-9 plan would not help the situation of re-distibuting wealth because it gives the upper 1% more of a tax break causing them to pay less money (2). In order for the wealth in America to become remotely fair again, I believe that americans need to start working and quit complaining.

    (1) http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html
    (2) http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/herman-cains-999-plan-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugl

  17. It is clear that a change needs to be made regarding the unequal distribution of wealth. However, ignoring the problem cannot do this. Under the 9-9-9 plan, Cain claims that he would be helping those who make under $22,000 a year, (1) but they are still paying the 9 percent tax on incomes and purchases. The plan seems like it would promote fairness because everyone is paying the same amount, but it is not fair to those who do not have the income to pay 9 percent. As a result, Cain’s plan would not benefit the poor and in fact, it would help the wealthy. He did mention the term “opportunity zones”, but was very vague in his explanation, which creates worry. 84 percent of households are very unhappy with Cain’s plan because it will raise their taxes, and also those taxes of people who make less than $50,000 (1). In order to gain support from these groups, Cain needs to be more specific about the opportunity zones that he is creating and exactly how it will help impoverished citizens. One critic stated, “If you don’t exempt basic staples, the sales tax could amount to a major tax hike on the working poor and middle class — an obviously problematic outcome” (2). This captures the very essence of the problem because Cain claims to be helping all citizens, but in reality he is hurting the poor and middle classes.

    1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/herman-cain-tweaks-999-plan-to-include-opportunity-zones-for-lower-income-americans/2011/10/21/gIQAfBlh3L_story.html

    2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/herman-cains-9-9-9-economic-plan-gets-lukewarm-reviews-from-conservatives/2011/10/12/gIQAzHEXfL_blog.html

  18. Despite an unequal share in wealth that Americans face, a government imposed distribution of wealth does not seem like a fair solution. America is created around capitalism which creates the possibility for both economic success and failure. While some of the poorer members of the US population are in their situation from reasons they cannot control, it is not right for the fortunate to be forced to lose what they have earned because they were more successful than others. With half the nation’s workers earning $26,364 or less (1), there is clearly an issue with the skills and education the work force is given. The government should focus on fixing the problems that are causing the lack of equal opportunity. If poor education is a problem, then the government should worry about fixing that as compared to forcing regulations on its citizens.

    1) http://news.yahoo.com/high-income-workers-share-total-wages-grows-231053534.html

  19. No matter which way the tax plans goes, someone is bound to be unhappy. Both the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street movement bring valid points and arguments to the table, but each plan also has their flaws. In addition to these two movements are the two plans proposed by Herman Cain and Rick Perry, both of which are some form of flat tax. Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is fairer to the wealthy, therefore all of their taxes on income, etc are the same as the poor, but this gives an advantage to the wealthy and a disadvantage to the poor. As you can see on the chart on this blog [1] the top 0.01% average income is over $20 Million dollars and even the top 1% makes over a million on average. This is where the I am the 99% comes into play with the Occupy Wall Street, and this 99% would be more likely to find Cain and Perry’s proposals to be unjust. But, the corporate tax reform that Perry proposes has potential to bring around a trillion dollars back into the United States and create many jobs just by offering corporations a one-time tax reduction for bringing their money from overseas back to the U.S. Economy [2]. The tax burden now is placed on the wealthy, the wealthiest pay over 30% income tax while the bottom half pays next to nothing. The consequence of the status quo is that with all of this unequal wealth distribution there is also unequal tax distribution problems and a huge income and wealth gap. So many people in America live in poverty and so many live in luxury.

    [1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ziad-isa-khan/herman-cains-999-math-pro_b_1021087.html
    [2] http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/24/perry-to-pitch-scrapping-tax-code-offering-optional-20-percent-flat-tax/

  20. The Government, in my opinion needs to be focusing on the deficit now. Large deficits can only contribute to larger debts, and unless the government is trading off deficit for surplus so much so that they outweigh each other for the better than no the government needs to deal with the deficit now, before it gets out of hand. Obama and his proposed budget cuts over the next ten years are definitely a step in the right direction, although his cuts call for two trillion over the next ten years (1) when that needs to be a yearly cut, because we’re already currently running a deficit of around 1.3 trillion and rising (2). With our governments spending at 3.5 trillion grossly outweighing the tax revenue at 2.2 trillion (2) and in 2010 ending the year at 3.46 trillion in spending and 2.16 trillion in tax revenue (3) and when the negatives outweigh the positives the negatives will keep building up. By sitting here and not doing anything we risk having to print tons of money to deal with the crisis, and in that case the cure is far worse than the disease as you run the risk of hyperinflation, if you cannot back up a currency while you print it then inflation will ensue (4). Although, if we act quickly like I believe we should then you have a problem with the government agencies that we’re used to having around experiencing serious cuts in spending ability, therefore making our lives a little harder, things like student loans, environmental, and programs for the poor (1). What should be done is drastic reform of the programs that cost this country the most, i.e. social security. In my opinion, we should gradually fade it out of the equation as more and more people keep getting older and older. Social security benefits are an irrelevant security net, as working people we should be able to put money away for ourselves in investment funds, i.e. 401k’s and IRA’s, and by putting money into your IRA the government is already doing what it should be doing, giving tax credits to people who choose to save instead of spend therefore encouraging saving. So the Simpson-Bowles Social security proposal is also on the right path but it just needs a little bit more. The plan calls for a general and constant age increase before you can collect your social security benefits (5) instead of a huge increase of the retirement age at one time. With all of this in mind the status quo is much challenged and should change to benefit our economy. Cut government spending, therefore cutting taxes and deficits to increase free market spending and stimulate our economy.

    1: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-forced-to-swallow-tea-partys-demands-as-deal-is-reached-2330259.html
    2: http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html
    3: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/10/15/federal-budget-deficit-below-expectations/
    4: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7089510/ns/business-answer_desk/t/us-budget-deficit-fix-print-more-money/#.Tqxylt4g9ig
    5: http://economics21.org/commentary/fairly-understanding-simpson-bowles-social-security-proposal

  21. Currently people that are in the bottom 50% of income only pay 2.3% of our income taxes. That is hardly anything, while the top 1% pays around 36.7% of income taxes. Obviously our wealth is strongly one sided. The way our economy is right now there is no reason to adjust the way wealth in distributed.
    Wealth is all about the jobs you make yourself available for. The educational status that you get from a high school diploma is nothing like a Bachelors degree from a university. A Masters degree and doctorates are even better. As shown in a chart from infoplease.com the income of a person with a high school diploma is around $43 thousand and a bachelor’s degree (four years of college) just about doubles at $82 thousand a year. In my opinion wealth’s distribution should be left alone for now. People need to work harder if they want well paying jobs. You have to find ways to get ahead or look better than everyone you are competing with. If we were to try to change the distribution of wealth the way we run our economy would have to change. One way would be possibly changing our taxes to a progressive tax. That would impose larger taxes on people who make more. That would leave the less wealthy with more money. Once again that is unfair to those who worked hard to make more money, but that is always an option.

    1. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883617.html
    2. http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

  22. I believe that there many be other alternatives than just what we are looking at in front of us. Looking at the Cain 9-9-9 plan we can see that this plan has many flaws. First, according to the Tax Policy Center, low income households making $30,000 or less will be receiving between 16% and 20% less in after-tax income than they currently do (1). On the other side, households making more that $200,000 would have an increase in after-tax income by between 5% and 22% (1). This will obviously widen the gap between the rich and the poor which, in theory, would keep big businesses very strong and powerful. What I suggest would be a good alternative to raise more funds for the government while slightly reducing the wealth of the super wealthy. I would suggest raising rates across the board by a certain percent but then slowly increasing the percent a little more once you exceed a certain number. This way, everyone making less than that specific number just pays a little more in taxes while people exceeding that number begin to pay a much higher tax. This will, in effect, bring down the extremely wealthy people off their thrones slightly while giving the government more funds. Also, the poor people would be doing their part as well by paying slightly higher taxes. For example, if rates were raised across the board by 5% then the poor people (making between $8,500 and $34,500) would pay 20% instead of 15% on every dollar (2). However, rich people making above $379,150 who usually pay 35% don’t pay 40%, but maybe 43% on every dollar earned instead. This would help decrease the gap a little between rich and poor and help with the national debt issues as well.

    (1) http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/18/news/economy/cain_999_plan/index.htm
    (2) http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html

  23. @Samantha Than-Melgar
    In reference to your statement about the decline of the economy and that we should raise the taxes on the extremely rich (those maybe making over $1 million a year) but lower or maintain the tax on the poor I had a few questions. First, one should questions how many people there are that have incomes in the U.S. over $1 million. How much of an affect would taxing them more really have in increasing government funds. If there are not many millionaire income households out there then even adding a 10% increase on taxes for them would have a minor affect. Also, if you raise taxes on the rich and lower them for the poor, in the terms of raising government funds, you are essentially canceling out the two changes in the income tax and just decreasing the gap between the rich and poor. There really will be an even smaller benefit than the first situation I described above wouldn’t there?

  24. “The United States has the greatest inequality of income and wealth among affluent western nations”(1). Rick Perry and Herman Cain are both trying to move a step in the right direction in that they are trying to do something about this distribution of wealth. Both Perry’s Flat Tax Plan and Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan are trying to create a flat, proportional tax among all income groups. Having the same percentage of tax could seem fair to us because everyone is getting taxed the same amount by what they earn. However, the problem lies in how exactly you can define “fairness”. Should the upper class be taxed at a larger percentage than the middle to lower class? Or should all groups be taxed at the same rate? Although the flat tax plans seem fair, they probably won’t immediately fix this distribution of wealth. The richest one-fifth of our population control over four-fifths of the United States’ wealth (1). That is not something that can be changed with just a flat tax. However, I do feel that if either of these plans were implemented than they could kick start a solution to the problem while not necessarily being the solutions themselves.

    1. http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  25. On average, about 47 percent, or 69 million, households will not pay federal taxes each year; most will end up getting paid from the federal government. For most families making an income of $50,000 or less and having at least two children younger than the age of 17 will exempt them from paying federal income tax. Of those 69 million households, 49 million will pay payroll taxes. For those households that pay payroll tax, 34 million will be refunded the money on their federal tax return. According to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, very high-income households can fall into the non-payer group if they get their income from tax-exempt bonds or overseas sources for which they get foreign tax credits. For most high-income households however, they are forced to pay all income taxes imposed by the government. America has the greatest inequality of income and wealth among affluent western nations. America’s richest one-fifth owns over four-fifths of the nations wealth. In 2005, a survey was conducted asking thousands of recipients to estimate the proportion of the total wealth of the richest one-fifth Americans. Most believed that they earned about one-third of the nations wealth. This shows how oblivious most Americans are to the income distribution. Most people want to believe that income is more evenly distributed and households hold more equality, but that isn’t the case. With the state that our economy is in, finding equality between the households is not something that will be happening anytime soon. The high-income class will continue to make a large amount of the nations wealth and paying tax amounts about 8 times greater than the lower-income tax. The lower-income class will continue to get breaks on paying taxes and getting help from the government in order to pay their bills. Many high-income households question why should they even work. They put in the hard work and effort and are charged very high tax rates for that money to go back to the people who chose to rely on the government’s benefits for an income.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/14/pf/taxes/who_pays_income_taxes/index.htm

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  26. The Occupy Wall Street protests have tried to cause a nation and even worldwide change in economic policy. The so-called “99%” claim that the distribution of wealth is very unequal, and that the “1%” control most of the nation’s wealth, so therefore control most of the nations power, something that the protesters say needs to be changed. But is the wealth distribution in America as bad as the Occupy protesters say it is? Generally, yes. Since 1930, the average household income has stayed pretty much the same, between $30,000 and $80,000 dollars a year (1). The problem is that people feel like they are being disproportionately affected whenever a new tax or measure is passed to try and redistribute wealth. However, I do not feel that right now is the time to make any significant changes to the way that the government distributes wealth. A more effective change would be a change in the student loan system. There is no question that education directly correlates with median income, and by easing some of the burden of going to college, the education rates will climb and inevitably so will the median income, causing a small but effective redistribution of wealth. Also, the “9%” does not mean that 99% of Americans support increasing taxes on the rich. In fact, the rate of people who support taxing the rich is almost equal to those who do not (2). Demanding a complete overhaul of the American economic system would be a mistake right now because of the precarious global economic situation but there does need to be some sort of change in the foreseeable future to help balance the economic disparity that has been steadily increasing since the mid-70s.

    (1)http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/countingthecost/2011/10/201110218920384562.html?utm_content=automateplus&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=SocialFlow&utm_medium=MasterAccount&utm_term=tweets
    (2)http://www.gallup.com/poll/147881/americans-divided-taxing-rich-redistribute-wealth.aspx

  27. While plans like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and Rick Perry’s “flat tax” plan would be fair in an economy where everybody has the same income, in our current economy both plans are more fair to certain classes than they are for others. The 9-9-9 plan, which proposes a 9% income tax, a 9% corporation tax, and a 9% sales tax, works in the benefit of those in the higher tax bracket in our current tax system. People in the higher tax brackets would receive a sizeable cut to their taxes paid. For a middle-class family the 9-9-9 plan wouldn’t work as well. For example, a family of four with an income below 50,000 would pay more than $2000 more than they do currently, including the increased sales tax. In my opinion it doesn’t make sense to provide benefits for those who are already well-off and to tax the middle class more heavily.
    The “flat tax” plan suffers similar issues to the 9-9-9 plan. While the middle and lower classes would be largely unaffected by a flat 20% income tax, the wealthy would be receiving a large tax cut. While perfectly equal distribution of wealth is an unrealistic goal in a capitalist economy, in my opinion it makes little sense to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. In addition, the “flat tax” plan would require massive budget cuts to avoid even more debt. Our current tax system is more fair than both the “flat tax” plan and the 9-9-9 plan.

    1:http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/9-9-9-plan-would-almost-double-taxes-on-middle-class/
    2:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-flat-tax-plan_n_1030129.html
    3:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode26/usc_sec_26_00000001—-000-.html

  28. The current percentages and statistics on the distribution of wealth isn’t the problem. If the top 1/5th of the US owned 4/5ths of the country for the past 50 years and will continue to own exactly 4/5ths for the next 50 years, I probably wouldn’t care that much. The problem with unequal wealth distribution in the US is that there are trends. The rich are getting richer and owning larger shares of the country while the poor are getting poorer [1]. The most troubling trend is that there are more people falling into poverty [2, 3]. “Measured by total numbers, the 46 million now* living in poverty is the largest on record dating back to when the census began tracking poverty in 1959.” [4].
    Once people fall down, climbing back up isn’t as simple as working harder and yelling bootstraps. “Households whose adult members all worked more than 40 hours per week for two years in a row were more upwardly mobile in 1990-91 and 1997-98 than households who worked fewer hours. Yet this was not true in 2003-04, suggesting that people who work long hours on a consistent basis no longer appear to be able to generate much upward mobility for their families.” [5]

    Getting a degree is one of the remaining things that can help someone climb out of poverty but that’s not looking too bright either. “Inflation in the price of tuition has outpaced the inflation rate for all goods.” [6]. The average student is leaving college with $22,900 in debt [7]. A college degree no longer means a job guarantee. And before people start saying “just don’t major in the humanities”, even practical majors aren’t as useful now because companies are being increasingly inflexible and demanding in their requirements while also decreasing the amount of job training they offer [8].

    These are the injustices that we’re facing and, to be honest, I don’t really know how we can fix this.

    [1]Graphs on income growth: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph
    [2]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/us/suburban-poverty-surge-challenges-communities.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
    [3]http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/19/national/main5253630.shtml
    [4]http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/us_poverty_rate_increases_to_1.html
    * By “now”, they refer to 2010.
    [5] http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/04/b1579981.html
    [6] http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/08/chart-college-tuition-will-not-stop-rising/41325/
    [7]http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/05/07/number-of-the-week-class-of-2011-most-indebted-ever/
    [8]http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204422404576596630897409182.html

  29. When considering Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan or Rick Perry’s Flat Tax plan people need to keep in mind the consequences that could come with them. Take in mind how a low income family would only have to pay 9% income tax, but when they go to the supermarket, they would have to pay 9% sales tax (1). However, Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would help bring more jobs into America, bringing down the need for outsourcing (1). William McBride of the Tax Foundation views this as an improvement since “999 is fundamentally scrapping the tax code and starting over, and there is very good reason to do that (2).” Rick Perry’s Flat Tax plan takes a few of Herman Cain’s ideas. Perry wants to make the age of social security benefit eligibility, along with reducing the benefits of wealthier people (3). Perry’s plan still brings controversy, some saying that it would give wealthier people a bigger tax cut and lower-income people would not be affected at all (3). These two plans then beg to ask the question of what is fair. People on the occupy Wall street movement believe that corporations are pushing around the little man and bringing in too much profits. Occupy Wall Street believes that they make too high of profits, but the Everyday Economist challenges this idea with the question of “how high is too high?” (4). When discussing what should be fair, people need to keep in mind that these companies need to make a profit in order to reinvest into the company which, as the everyday economist points out, would actually “lead to an increase in supply and a decrease in price” (4). So although Herman Cain and Rick Perry’s ideas are trying to make society fair, one has to keep in mind that fairness needs to be for all, not just “the little man.”
    1. http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/09/28/could-herman-cain%E2%80%99s-999-plan-really-work/
    2. http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/finance/2011/October/Herman-Cains-999-Plan-Draws-Praise-Skepticism/
    3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-flat-tax-plan_n_1030129.html
    4. http://everydayecon.wordpress.com/2006/02/01/the-economics-of-fairness/

  30. If we help those who don’t help themselves we destroy capitalism. Capitalism was built on the idea that those who work harder have a greater benefit. Here is a definition of capitalism from dictionaryreference.com
    Capitalism- an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth
    I then decided to look up another term,

    Wealth- a great quantity or store of money, valuable possessions, property, or other riches

    With these facts stated, we CAN NOT allow government to intervene with the distribution of wealth. Yes, the distribution of wealth is tipping the scales onto the 1% of the nation who owns 40% of the country’s wealth (2), but wealth can be a number of things. Wealth is ultimately assets, buildings, cars, equipment, accounts, cash; the list goes on and on. There is no possible way for the government to spread the wealth unless they are then talking about Spreading the Income. The only way to do this is to tax those who make a higher living, but what is that saying for American values. This will only discourage large corporations and possibly end in higher unemployment and possibly other negative consequences unknown. “The latest research suggests that it is actually new businesses that generate the most new jobs. Its companies like Google, Facebook etc. that generate new jobs. Companies like these generated almost all new net jobs from 1980-2005. These companies are not small but they did require a significant amount of capital to get them past the start-up stage.” (3). If the government taxes the larger corporations new jobs could suffer and hurt the economy even more.
    Sources
    1. http://www.dictionaryreference.com
    2. http://www.npr.org/2011/04/16/135472478/study-americas-wealth-not-widely-distributed
    3. http://www.whatweshouldknowblog.com/2011/08/who-creates-jobs-in-us/

  31. In an ideal world wealth would be much more evenly distributed than it is today. In 2007, the top 1% controlled 2/3rds of the Nation’s wealth. 5,000 Americans, when polled about how they believed wealth should be distributed, they suggested that the top 1% control only 1/3rd of the wealth. (1) There are several reasons for the widening gap between the top 1% and the rest of America. People who work for lower paying jobs are getting their hours reduced. This is leading to underemployment. (2) On the contrary, professional men and women have been increasing their already 50 hour a week work schedules. These extended hours means more money in their pockets, hurdling them into the 1% category. (2) This however is not simply a result of the economic downturn in the past few years, but rather, the gap has been widening since the late 1970s. Since 1979, the average income has remained stagnant for the lower 99%, while the top 1% has had an increase of about 240%. (2) Since 1990 minimum wage has increased by 21%, where as the cost of living has increased 67%. The average family income would not be $50,000, but rather, $92,000 if the income had been consistent with the rising economy since 1970. (2) There is no denying that the rich are becoming richer and the poor are remaining poor.
    While the “99%” surely have reasons to be frustrated with their economic instability, using the government and Wall Street workers as a scapegoat will provide them with little success. The Occupy Wall Street movement insists that it is fighting against corporate greed. While some corporations are perhaps corrupt, one cannot deny the long hours and difficult work that the employees of Wall Street put into their jobs. CEOs make a ton of money because they have so much responsibility and the success of a company riding on their shoulders. There are always ebbs and flows of markets and someone always will suffer. America is built on the foundation of equal opportunity, not equal outcome. While I do believe that middle class workers should receive higher wages, I don’t believe that government regulations that punish those who are working will solve anyone’s problems. Wall Street workers are making money and are pumping money back into the economy when they spend. Shutting down their jobs won’t create more jobs for those in the middle class.

  32. I personally believe that source of the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots, is due primarily to a change in the technological aspect of our society, the growth of computer technology and the internet. These two technological advances have spurred many changes in our society, good and bad. Good being the spread and storage of information and also the creation of new jobs/careers (internet marketing, internet merchants, internet sites, and ect.); and bad in the form of loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector which was down by 6% of the total US employment (1).

    As technology progresses, there will be a higher demand for skilled labor in this area (computer technology and anything associated with it, such as the internet) and all the lower skilled jobs will eventually vanish. As such Americans should be trying to obtain/further their education by attending college and earning a degree. It is shown that those who hold a bachelor’s degree earn “about $2.27 million over their lifetime, while those with master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees earn $2.67 million, $3.25 million, and $3.65 million, respectively;” while those with a high school degree only earn about $1.3 million in a lifetime (2). The difference in the amount one can earn with a college degree is amazing!

    So instead of complaining about the income tax rate, the #occupyWallstreet movement should actually be focusing on the educational system/aspect of the America, calling into focus how we can better prepare young Americans for success in college, hopefully ending with the receiving of a college degree at the end of 4 years (the minimum btw). 2010 statistics show that 36% of the nation’s 25 and older population left school without obtaining a degree, and 17% of the nation’s 25 and older population attended some college, but dropped out (3).

    Another aspect that should be touched upon in terms of the growing distribution of wealth and the need for education, is how will the college education be funded? The government needs to provide citizens with more effective education on loans and other ways to fund a college education besides borrowing of a loan. Many people complain that the reason they can’t receive a college education and thus improve their economic condition is because of the fact that they CAN’T AFFORD TO ATTEND COLLEGE. These complaints aren’t valid at all, at least to me. There are many organizations and government funded programs that help those in economic plight attend college. So to say that you can’t attend college is pure baloney and an excuse.

    American society is individualistic, meaning that it is up to the individual to obtain what he/she wants. Ultimately, I believe the #occupywallstreet should stop focusing on the unfair taxation system currently implemented and instead focus on how they can further their education.

    1) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/opinion/07krugman.html

    2)http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/08/05/how-higher-education-affects-lifetime-salary

    3) http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb11-72.html

  33. Although the 9-9-9 proposal seems to define “equality” in terms of tax distribution, it does not solve the problems for the “99%.” The proposal requires 9 percent income tax, 9 percent business tax, and 9percent national sales tax. (1) This will only lead to tremendous tax increase by “950% ” to the poor and middle class and tax deductions to the “1%” which would mostly affect the middle class because at least the lower income families with annual income average of $40,000-$50,000 receive federal aid. Enacting this plan will also increase the problems between the state and the locals because each have different sales tax and there would be state budge problems and the Government would receive increasing deficit if taxes were imposed equally. Imposing tax on the wealthy the same amount to the poor is not fair because the poor has more to lose. Because the wealth gains more benefits, they have higher chance of risking more loss. What is “fair” does not necessarily mean it is equal. Economically, fairness should be defined as what is right and equal based on the status. Ricky Perry’s Flat Tax Plan promotes higher government spending which benefits the lower classes by initiating higher tax rates to the wealthy (2). His plan eliminates taxes on “Social Security benefits, estates, dividends and capital gains…lower the corporate income tax rate as well as the personal income tax rate for those who choose his 20 percent flat rate.” This will lower the government revenue and thus, slow the economic growth and circulation which is a problem because the “super rich” helps run the American system which is dependent on the wealthy corporate firms and businesses. (3) The tax burden is distributed to the lower classes, however; the proposals desire to shift the burden to the wealthier households. Looking at the status quo, there will never be satisfaction to all classes no matter what tax plans are proposed because either sides have to lose in order to gain.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/999-plan-herman-cain_n_1018462.html (1)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-flat-tax-plan_n_1030129.html (2)
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/rich-good-anything-besides-paying-taxes-spending-160215853.html;_ylt=AuJrY0ZcvezzZjvMv2FcUjFO7sMF;_ylu=X3oDMTFmbjJzNjZmBHBvcwMzBHNlYwNleHBlcnRPcGluaW9uRHluYW1pYwRzbGsDYXJldGhlcmljaGdv (3)

  34. Herman Cain’s candidacy is mainly based around the revision of the current tax code system. Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan simplifies today’s federal tax system into three parts, “a 9% flat tax on individuals, a 9% flat tax on businesses, and a 9% national retail sales tax”(1). However with this tax reform plan 84% of American households would see their taxes rise, including some huge increases for people who make less $50,000” (3).
    Cain plan doesn’t get rid of the income tax, he adds a national retail sales tax. But to get rid of the income tax while trying to raise revenue, would increase the rate for the sales tax much higher than 9% (2). Willingness to pay this high sales tax would depend on your current financial status.
    By adding a national retail sales tax on top of the federal income tax puts in the basis for a Value Added Tax. This is “a form of national sales tax that is collected at every stage of the process from the initial sale of raw materials to a manufacturer to the final sale of a finished product to an end-consumer” (2). Taxpayers should not be in favor of a Value Added Tax, because consumers can’t see how much of the price is due to the tax.
    So while the 9-9-9 Plan does propose a lower and simplified tax system with a fair 9% rate for income tax, it still adds a national sale tax that increases the tax burden on the majority of US citizens in the middle and lower classes.

    (1) http://www.hermancain.com/999plan
    (2) http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/herman-cains-999-plan-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugl
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/herman-cain-tweaks-999-plan-to-include-opportunity-zones-for-lower-income-americans/2011/10/21/gIQAfBlh3L_story.html

  35. One reason the recent Occupy Wall Street movement (1) has not been effective in changing the current structure of wealth distribution is because of poor organization. The protesters have a vague idea of what they want changed about corporate America, but they are not suggesting enough practical solutions to actually change the system, much less people’s behavior. Simply stated, their bark is worse than their bite. If people are serious about changing the way wealth is distributed, they need to quit complaining and instead organize their goals. People want a cheap and easy answer to this complicated issue, but none exists. We, as a nation, need to first change our behavior and expectations if we are going to change the current wealth distribution.

    Inequalities in the distribution of wealth are both natural and inevitable. Many people have the unfair advantage of being born into financially stable families and will never have to work a day in their lives. Others enter a perpetual cycle of poverty at birth. Last year, the poverty rate of 15.1% (about one in seven people) was the highest it has been in the United States in almost two decades (2). Poverty is a significant problem, and wealth should be distributed more equally than it currently is. I am not advocating for an equal split of all wealth. Rather, a MORE equal distribution than currently exists could significantly help a lot more Americans than it could hurt. Instead of a gradual tax bracket increase on income taxes, the levels could be increased much more harshly for people with multimillion dollar gross incomes. As stated by Elizabeth Warren, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on [her or] his own” (3). Therefore, the people who have most heavily benefited most from our collective efforts should contribute a significantly larger, yet still comfortable, of their wealth toward the greater good.

    (1) http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2011/10/10/what-is-occupy-wall-street/
    (2) http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/#2
    (3) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20110042-503544.html

  36. According to Webster’s dictionary, fair is defined as “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.” [1] When looking at Herman Clain’s 9-9-9 plan and other similar plans like Rick Perry’s Flat Tax Proposal, I believe these proposed plans are not fair to all citizens across the United States. On National Public Radio, Herman Cain’s plan is described as “nine percent corporate business flat tax, nine percent personal income flat tax, and a nine percent national sales tax. He also said his plan would pass “because the American people want it to pass.” [2] Despite the simplicity of this plan, I don’t agree that it as necessarily a fair plan for the United States. US News independent analysts and commentators have also warned that “despite Cain’s assertions to the contrary, the plan is not revenue neutral and would in fact worsen the budget deficit; others have warned that it would be a massive tax increase on the poor while cutting taxes for the wealthy.” [3] There are so many different sectors of corporate businesses, which all provide different goods and services for people and therefore make a wide range of profits depending on the purpose and success of their business it is unfair to tax them all the same. It is not fair to tax multi-million dollar corporations nine percent as well as the corporations just getting started in the markets. Along with the corporate tax, the personal income tax is not fair. People make a wide range of incomes depending on numerous factors, and people who have a six digit or higher salary should not be paying the same personal income tax as someone making less than twenty-thousand dollars. The sales tax across the United States I feel is a high yet fair proposal because it is not discriminating against anyone based on the amount of money they make because it is a part of almost every transaction that a consumer makes. How the tax burden is distributed today is something I feel is still not as fair as it potentially could be; however, I feel having the 9-9-9 plan would be even worse compared to the current plan. The consequence of the status quo is the idea that the national debt continues to grow and less funding is coming for important government funded programs. New tax policies and codes need to be enacted in order to get more money to the government.
    1) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fair
    2) http://www.npr.org/2011/10/17/141427450/herman-cains-9-9-9-plan-gets-a-closer-look
    3) http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/10/12/is-herman-cains-9-9-9-plan-a-good-idea

  37. The average American household has an average income of $30,000 to $80,000. Yet, the top 1% earns an average of $380,000 per year (1). In 2007, the top 1% earned 34.6% of the total net worth in the country. The next 19% earns 50.5% of the wealth and the bottom 80% earns 15% of the total net wealth (2). With this huge spread, the question is always asked, should wealth be redistributed in the United States? The country should not redistribute the wealth because it would not be right for a doctor or CEO of a major firm to make nearly as much as a convenience store clerk. It would also not be right for the upper class to pay more taxes than everyone else. To attain less distribution of wealth, the government should make sure that all citizens pay the same tax rate which will result in the markets regulating themselves. It is hard for democrats and republicans to agree on the issue of redistribution because republicans want to have tax cuts for the wealthy and democrats want higher taxes to redistribute the wealth in America (3). There is no common ground between these two ideas. The two parties are so committed to their ideas that neither of them want to or will change their ideas.

    (1)http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/countingthecost/2011/10/201110218920384562.html?utm_content=automateplus&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=SocialFlow&utm_medium=MasterAccount&utm_term=tweets
    (2) http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
    (3) http://peoplesworld.org/republicans-redistribute-the-wealth-to-the-wealthy/

  38. When looking at the economic situation I feel that there is an obvious struggle in controlling spending and taxing. The Herman Cain plan is not effective or fair for our economic problem because it will be hurting the “99%” more and giving the richer 1% tax cuts. The 9-9-9 plan sounds fair and great because it taxing everyone equally, but overall it hurts the economy because the 1% is paying at the same tax rate as those who are less wealthy. This tax plan could be implemented later but right now it isn’t the correct move for economy because it would separate the social classes even more. The protest dealing with occupy wall street ties into this by the 99% of americans being pissed off that they aren’t getting jobs and being ignored by the government. The government should try to develop some kind of plan to help out our economic issue but for now we are bailing out businesses (1%) rather then helping the 99%. Overall our economic situation and our plans to recover it seem to be very poor.

    http://occupywallst.org/
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/14/news/economy/class_warfare_taxes/index.htm

  39. The economic problems that face this country are dire to say the least, but what’s even more frightening is our nation’s inability to pragmatically assess the situation. Due to the inflation of our nation’s sense of entitlement, Americans are coming to expect more as a baseline to operate from (e.g. compensation for massive student loan debts), and have more or less forgotten that the only thing they’re really entitled to is the proper grounds to seek or claim something. (1) This growth in expectations of what the government “owes,” and the belief that an appropriate baseline to operate from is the same as the national average of living has ultimately clouded the arguments of both major political parties. Conservatives have adopted the belief that lower taxes will stimulate the economy by allowing people to more easily spend their money. Propositions such as Rick Perry’s “flat tax rate” are appealing to a wide breadth of people, as on the surface the idea makes sense – less money spent on taxes means more money in your pocket. But an even wider breadth of people would ultimately be damaged by this flat rate, as the simple fact stands that a single tax rate could not possibly be paid by a nation full of such varying incomes. (2) The Conservative segment seems to be of the notion that these elegant solutions, such as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan, will entice voters and ultimately fix the economic problems of this country. But while the simplicity of the solutions will certainly entice voters, the likelihood of such flimsy proposals (i.e. Rick Perry’s “flat tax rate” has an opt-out option for those that want to continue paying their current rates) ever effectively addressing this country’s economic problems is dismal. (2) The dominant left wing arguments of the moment are just as inappropriate though. Now, while the social implications of Occupy Wall Street are staggering (i.e. the birth of a new form of movement catalyzed by the Internet-age), it seems as though a large majority of the unrest is arising from a belief that the people in America need a certain increase in the standard of living they experience and the aid they receive from the government. (3) Yes, current economic institutions are corrupt, and the federal government is over encumbered and lethargic, but actions taken by the constituents of both major political parties, and actions taken by the political parties themselves, have been grossly inappropriate. The whole nation needs to take a breath and realize that America operates on the principle that if you want to succeed you can…and that if you do succeed, it’s very likely somebody else failed at doing whatever it is you’re doing. It might sound cold, but that’s simply the nature of competition. Unfortunately, modern media’s portrayal excessive lifestyles and the influence it carries has bred a nation that expects more without doing more, and a nation that will do anything in its power to maintain and defend that belief.

    (1) http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92966
    (2) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/rick-perry-holds-his-flat-tax-proposal-up-to-herman-cains-9-9-9-plan/
    (3) http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/05/opinion/rushkoff-occupy-wall-street/index.html

  40. In my opinion, the government needs to start focusing on closing the government deficit now. The longer we wait to fix the problem, the bigger the problem becomes. The Rivlin-Domenici plan basically proposes splitting spending cuts and tax increases 60-40. This plan would reduce the deficit by $650 billion a year for the next 9 years. Another plan to reduce the deficit has been proposed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Articles I read praise this plan, but I found several problems for future generations. The social security cuts are the most controversial. One component that is met with much criticism is changing the retirement age from 65 to 69. Another component that people are groaning about is increasing Medicaid co-pays.
    Even though these plans propose many changes that will be difficult for Americans to stomach, sacrifices will have to be made if the deficit is ever going to decrease. I prefer the Bowles-Simpson plan and hope that Obama adopts it for his campaign.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45284.html
    http://www.federalbudget.com/
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/deficit-commission-co-chairs-simpson-and-bowles-release-eye-popping-recommendations.php

  41. The higher an income is for a person, the higher a percent of that person’s income they pay in taxes. The top five percent pay 29% of income in taxes, and the top one percent pay 31.2% of income in taxes (1). Cain’s 9-9-9 plan taxes everything once, and at the lowest possible rates. There is 9% Business Flat Tax, 9% Individual Flat Tax and 9% National Sales Tax. According to former Reagan Treasury official Gary Robbins, the 9-9-9 plan will expand GDP by $2 million, create 6 million new jobs, increase business investment by one third, and increase wages by 10% (2). For Perry’s flat tax plan he states, “A taxpayer can opt for the 20 percent flat tax-with certain deductions-or stick with whatever rate he or she is currently paying. ‘Have it your way’“(3). For Perry’s flat tax rate, 20% tax rate could possibly be a lot lower for some people, especially those who borrowed money to buy a house or gave a lot of money to charity. The 9-9-9 Plan removes all payroll taxes, features zero tax on capital gains, and provides the least incentive to evade taxes. Each plan has its benefits, but the 9-9-9 Plan has more long-term benefits with creating more jobs and increasing the wages. Whether either of these plans will help decrease the yearly defecit or the debt in general is difficult to tell, but Cain’s plan is on the right track to help achieve that goal.

    Sources:
    (1)http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/02/distribution_of_1.html
    (2)http://www.hermancain.com/999plan
    (3)http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2011/1025/Rick-Perry-s-flat-tax-plan-Would-you-have-to-do-your-taxes-twice

  42. It is obvious that the current system we are under isn’t the best way in distributing the wealth and doesn’t necessarily seem fair. It is said that 50% of US workers earned less than about $25,000, while in 2009 people in the US making over a million reached 18% (1). Therefore it doesn’t seem as thou there is a very fair or even distribution of wealth. Presidential candidates Herman Cain and Pick Perry have come to the forefront in trying to create a better taxing system with their respected “9-9-9 plan” and “flat tax.” Cain’s plan proposes: 9% business transaction tax, 9% personal income tax rate, and a 9% federal sales tax (2). While Rick Perry’s “flat tax” is a constant marginal tax rate, by creating this tax cut it is believed that it would create jobs and help stimulate the economy. Although the question is are these systems fair. Being fair is seen as free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice. Based on the set up of these systems they seem fair in separating the government from interfering with business and to help with job creation and create revenue for small businesses (4). Therefore these are all ways in which we can help decrease the gap between social classes and we want to take approaches such as these to create new economic growth. Although many people see these plans as not very viable due to the political opponents who would lobby against them. As well as these plans need to be less vague and more specifically cater to every Americans economic situation in order help with growth(2).

    1). http://news.yahoo.com/high-income-workers-share-total-wages-grows-231053534.html
    2). http://www.businessinsider.com/why-startups-should-pay-attention-to-herman-cains-999-2011-10
    3). http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/10/rick-perry-defends-flat-tax-economic-plan-/1
    4). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45000118/ns/politics-decision_2012/#.Tq35cs3bKng

  43. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan proposes a 9% income tax, 9% income tax, and a 9% corporate income tax. Cain says that the plan will save $430 billion a year without giving much evidence to back this claim up. (1) Herman Cain’s popularity is based mostly on his plain folks approach to campaigning which may also seems to be the base for his economic plan. Many citizens are confused by complicated tax plans where people who earn more pay more and people who earn less pay less, so those same people may be more inclined to go for the 9-9-9 plan because it’s easy to understand. Rick Perry’s flat tax plan is similar in that it is relatively easy to understand. Taxpayers can either choose to pay 20% income tax or stick with the current system in which taxes are higher for the wealthy and lower for the not so wealthy. (2) Both Cain and Perry’s tax plans favor the wealthy. Herman Cain’s plan would have the wealthy paying less than their fair share and the poor paying more. If Perry’s plan was enacted the wealth would likely choose to pay the flat 20% tax while poorer citizens stuck with the current system which does nothing to improve their economic situation. Perry’s plan would also gradually increase the age for Social Security, eventually eliminating it completely. In my opinion neither Cain nor Perry’s tax plans are fair. They favor the wealthiest percentage of the population and have no particular benefits for the majority of the population that is currently struggling. A truly fair plan would be similar to Obama’s, having the wealthy pay a much higher percentage than those with lower income. Currently, anyone earning $373,650 or more is taxed at 35% while those paying $0-17,000 are taxed at 10%. (3) I think it would be fair to lower taxes for the poor/middle class and raise them for the wealthiest 1%.

    1. http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/story/2011-10-10/herman-cain-9-9-9-tax-plan/50723976/1

    2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-flat-tax-plan_n_1030129.html

    3. http://www.savingtoinvest.com/2010/04/2010-and-2011-tax-brackets-new.html

  44. Recently there has been a lot of discussion regarding the redistribution of wealth and the Occupy Wall Street movement. These opinions are very interesting to examine; however, it is also important to consider how the general public views these movements and ideas. According to a CBS News/ New York Times poll, 43% of Americans agree with the Occupy Wall Street movement (1). Another 27% of the population does not agree with the movement and 30% of the population doesn’t know how they feel about the movement (1). Also, according to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 25% of people considered the Occupy Wall Street movement as favorable while another 20% found it unfavorable and 53% of people felt as though they were not informed enough to have an opinion (2). When asked about whether the money distribution in America today is fair, 57% percent stated that wealth should be more evenly distributed in the country (2). Many, however, place more blame for the economic woes of the country on the federal government than Wall Street itself (64% blame the government) (2). It is very important to assess the overall feelings of the American public because the people involved in Occupy Wall Street do not necessarily represent the vast majority of the American people.
    It is also interesting to look at some of the overall psychology of the idea of redistribution. Many Americans resist policies to redistribute wealth. In politics, there is a very large focus on cutting spending as opposed to decreasing the size of the wealth gap (3). Interestingly enough, the overall opposition to the redistribution of wealth is greater in times of economic downturn (3). This can be attributed to something called “last place aversion” (3). “Last-place aversion suggests that low-income individuals might oppose redistribution because it could differentially help the group just beneath them,” according to Ilyana Kuziemko and Michael Norton (4). It is very important in the study of economics to assess the overall views and statistical opinions of the general public.
    (1) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20125515-503544/poll-43-percent-agree-with-views-of-occupy-wall-street/
    (2) http://www.aei.org/docLib/PR-November-2011.pdf
    (3) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/the-daily-need/the-psychology-of-occupy-wall-street-or-why-we-dont-always-favor-wealth-redistribution/11967/
    (4) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=occupy-wall-street-psychology

  45. In regards to the redistribution of wealth, it is also important to consider the significance of the wealthy in the creation of jobs. If a lot of the wealth is taken away from the wealthy, many jobs could be lost (1). The spending of the very wealthy has a significant impact on the job market (1). When considering the redistribution of wealth, many aspects need to be taken into account (including the impact on jobs).
    (1) http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=13803

  46. @Zach Thomason With regards to education, are you saying that our government should try to increase education for the jobs that we currently cannot fill? Or, are you arguing that the government should just try to create better education overall? How would this fix the problem of the wealth gap?

  47. When it comes to debt and defects the United States in an incredibly perilous position. Making this position even more difficult is the reality that if actions taken to reduce deficits and the debt are too swift or severe it will imperil the already fragile US economy. Inaction would be unacceptable with debt as a percentage of GDP set to exceed 100% in about 10 years according to the CBO’s estimates. A balanced approach that both reduces spending in appropriate areas and makes meaningful revenue increases is needed. The Simpson-Bowels commission came up with a pretty compelling balanced approach that ended up being rejected by both parties in the debt ceiling debate but might still have a chance in the new super-committee debates. The plan calls for Discretionary spending cuts, comprehensive tax reform, which lowers rates and broadens the base, Health care cost containment, mandatory savings, social security reforms, and budgeting process reforms. All of these changes would help address the core problems contributing the United States’ unsustainable debt accumulation however as the report stresses are problem is real and the solution will be painful. It is import for our lawmakers to consider the economic implications of their budgeting decisions lest the damage the economy in the short run while trying to address long term issues.

    1)http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf
    2)http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/11/the_simpson-bowles_plan_for_ca.html

  48. I do not believe there should be a redistribution of wealth. If you look at the tax brackets you can see that the wealthy are already paying higher taxes. Many people believe that America is still the land of opportunity and if you work hard, you can prosper and be successful. If the government steps in and penalizes individuals for being successful, it will be stifling initiative, drive, and productivity. It will be biting the hand that feeds them because these are the same people that will be opening businesses and, thereby, creating jobs. There are too many social programs in place right now. I realize that there are individuals that truly benefit from these programs and that, if they could, they would be working; however, there are too many people that rely on these programs to take care of all of their needs. Why work when they can get it for free? I believe that if an individual receives government assistance, then as a part of the grogram, they should have to take some type of class, or classes, to help teach them a skill so that they can have a better chance at finding a job and can improve their lifestyle. I think this would be so much better than taking away hard earned money from one group of citizens than just giving it to another to redistribute wealth. Again I don’t believe in the redistribution of wealth, unlike the Wall Street protesters, who seem to have a dislike of capitalism and believe that the government has an obligation to provide everyone w/ success — which isn’t possible. I think that good work ethic and hard work pays off.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/21/americans-wealth-government-taxes-opinions-columnists-aig.html
    http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/06/should-american-wealth-be-redistributed-by-taxing-the-rich/
    http://socialismdoesntwork.com/why-socialism-doesnt-work/

  49. I believe that wealth, regardless of distribution, is misunderstood. Anyone can be wealthy or well off in life, but it’s a matter of perspective to determine if that is good or bad. One could be as wealthy as John D. Rockefeller was, and from helping people to hoarding the money; it is based on perception.

    Taxes in our society increase as income grows, from 10% to 35% (Bargaineering). The conservative side demands our income taxes be decreased or stay the same, while the liberal side demands our taxes to be increased. I find both sides are right for wrong reasons. On the conservative perspective, all I see are people that want fewer taxes because they want more money. On the liberal side, I see people wanting taxes on the rich because they will receive more money from the government.

    While I may remain a college student with no income, I believe people should be taxed more, later. No taxation, program, or cutting will ever bring up our economy. It will not be fixed because the government provides jobs temporarily, health programs, or security from terrorists. It is up to the American people, such as those in Alabama who don’t work as hard as immigrants (CBS News), to step up. When the country thrives, the debt ceiling can be addressed. I find it silly that the politicians have to threaten programs or raise taxes when the country is struggling. It’s up to the people to make a change for themselves.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/20/ap/business/main20123447.shtml

    http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/federal-income-irs-tax-brackets.html

  50. When questioned if the government should redistribute wealth by taxing the rich more heavily, majority of Republicans disagree with 69% that the government should not and only 28% saying they should. On the other hand, Democrats strongly agree that the government should promote this idea by enforcing those with the ability to pay higher taxes with 71% agreeing with the proposal and only 26% against it. Across the nation, the votes are almost split in half, with 47% of the population agreeing with it and 49% saying the government shouldn’t. Although, when asked if the “distribution of money and wealth in this country today is fair,” and whether or not that both should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of people, the public answered more differently. Now, only 56% of Republicans believe that the distribution is fair and 36% agree that it should be more evenly distributed. All in all, Republicans will most likely disagree with taxing the rich more heavily, but they still believe the government needs to distribute the wealth more evenly among the different classes.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147104/democrats-republicans-differ-widely-taxing-rich.aspx

  51. History can tell us that when a society reaches an egregious imbalance of wealth, unfavorable consequences result. As only a minority of the population is contributing to the growth of the economy, economic efficiency decreases. Meanwhile, social unrest increases as class divisions become severe. Calls for economic equity have been around since biblical times, when many religious ideologies denounced the amassing of large personal wealth. However, is personal property not a logical right? Should those who work not be able to boast what they reap? Societies that take this away simultaneously invert the motives of labor. Especially evident in communism, these strategies transform skill into a burden and need into an asset. Furthermore, the standard of living in these societies is significantly lower than capitalist societies.
    So, unequal distribution of wealth is bad, but taking away capitalism is not the solution. Yet, the problem needs fixing. At the status quo, inequality has been rising steadily since 1970 (1). We cannot hope to run an efficient economy if a significant part of the population is surviving off of government handouts. Progressive taxation is already in implementation, and it clearly isn’t solving the problem. In fact, it only irritates the upper class and further divides the public. If there is an answer, it sure is hard to come by. The only solution that is evident to me appears morbid and extreme. To be blunt, we have too many people. With the scarcity principle being a driving factor in an economy, an overpopulated society results in either equal distribution of very low wealth or unequal distribution of large wealth. Because we have already abandoned the former as being a failed strategy, the only apparent answer is a lesser population. In this hypothetical society, there would be more equality in wealth distribution because there are fewer hands than need it.

    (1) http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/10/wealth-and-an-american-paradox.html

  52. The progressive tax system, which we have in place at the moment is good in theory, but the rates paid by the top earners in society should be scaled back. Right now, if a person’s taxable income was $379,150 or above, their tax bracket would be 35% (1). This means that a person making one million dollars a year would owe the government $350,000 in taxes. This seems like a huge chunk of money. But would it be more fair for everyone to pay the same percent of their income? One plan that proposes this idea is Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan. “The plan is called “9, 9, 9” because it would replace today’s complicated and economically burdensome federal tax code with a simple, three-part system, consisting of a 9% flat tax on individuals, a 9% flat tax on businesses, and a 9% national retail sales tax” (2). In this case everyone would pay the same exact percent of taxes out of the income that they make, which really hurts the lower class population. Though I think the wealthy deserve the right to do what they want with the money they earn, it just wouldn’t work to have a flat tax. There needs to be some sort of progressive tax system, but there should be a cap of a 20% tax bracket. Everyone deserves the money they work for, but if no one steps up to help the lower class, then there will be a never-ending cycle because they will never get the same opportunities.

    (1) http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm
    (2) http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/herman-cains-999-plan-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugl

  53. The government should focus on reducing the defecit in the future. Once we fix our economy then we can focus on improving our defecit. The defecit is too big of a problem to be fixed in 1-5 years anyways. I feel like it will take us 20-25 years of smart planning spending to reduce our defecit. The consequences of inaction are that our defecit will most likely continue to increase where as swift action could begin to reduce our defecit much quicker. I just believe that we are in too much of an unemployment crisis too cut spending in our country. If we cut spending then we take away government provided job oppurtunities. This would result in our unemployment rate rising which is one of the main focuses our country is targeting at the moment. Right now our government needs to spend money on projects that can provide people jobs and improve our unemployment rate. Once we improve our unemployment rate and our economy gets over the hump, then I believe we should focus on lowering our defecit and cutting spending.
    1)http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf
    2)http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/11/the_simpson-bowles_plan_for_ca.html

  54. I personally believe that wealth should not be distributed evenly. The economy as a whole would become much less efficient because a key factor that drives many to work as hard as they do, incentive, would be eliminated. Although it is an extreme, because of an equal distribution of wealth waiters in Cuba “often make more in tips in a day than most Cubans earn in a month”, yet there are many people who should be making more, because they have received a higher education and have a much greater social impact (1). Although the distribution of wealth in the U.S. is extremely skewed, about 50% of Americans holding 97.5% of the nation’s wealth, I believe that it is up to every person to be as competitive as possible. If one works harder, smarter, and better than another he or she will reap the benefits of doing so. The economy will regulate itself so there is no reason to provide for those who will not provide for themselves. In the case of the new Alabama law on immigration, many Americas are unemployed but “simply don’t want the backbreaking, low-paying jobs immigrants are willing to take” (3). That’s fine; they can starve if they feel as if a job is below them. It comes down to the fact that if you want to work you can, and if you want a lot of money, you’re just going to have to work harder.

    (1) http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/v7n5/sheller.html
    (2) http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4#half-of-america-has-25-of-the-wealth-2
    (3) http://news.yahoo.com/few-americans-immigrants-jobs-alabama-214330758.html

  55. The two new tax codes being presented by the Republican candidates Herman Cain and Rick Perry should both be considered strong alternatives to the current United States Tax Code. It is common knowledge that the current U.S. Tax Code is too complex. There is a good reason why accounting is one of the more difficult majors in college. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax plan and Rick Perry’s Flat Tax plan would both simplify paying taxes. Cain’s tax simply puts a 9% tax on businesses, 9% tax on individuals, and a 9% national sales tax (1). Rick Perry’s plan is slightly more complicated, in that his plan includes two options for taxpayers: 1.) Pay a 20% flat tax, or 2.) Continue to use the current tax code (2). As you can see, each plan makes taxes simpler and fairer to the average American. Nothing is fair in life, but the goal should be to make life as simple as possible. I believe that is what these two plans do. America needs a more regressive tax system, instead of the current one which is too progressive with a heavier tax burden on the rich than the poor. Now, granted there are loopholes for people to get out of paying taxes under the current system, but the need for an open, flat tax system is obvious. By making our tax code a flat tax there are no free riders because everyone pays the tax up front. It also provides incentive for discouraged workers to find work and work harder to get that low paying job picking apples to provide for their family. By instituting a flat tax rate in either plan, the status quo will change. More people will try to work so they can keep food on the table. Government will have to scale back because it will have less tax revenue (3). A flat tax will be good for America.

    (1)http://www.hermancain.com/999plan
    (2)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-flat-tax-plan_n_1030129.html
    (3)http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2011/10/30/a-flat-tax-would-be-fine-a-consumption-tax-true-perfection/

  56. @Nicholas Caccese
    I don’t understand why the wealthy should be punnished for being successful. In many cases they have a higher education and work jobs that have a greater impact on the economy. Without them, the economy as we know would probably be lacking the strength it has.

  57. In my opinion, government should keep the free market in the United States. A capitalist Country should use free market as its mainstream economy. Once the government think wealth should be more equally distributed; the government will try to use mixed economy. Like the Chinese government doing now. Government will holding more power from the market, power cause corruption. So the United States should keep the free economy system.
    The 1% are holding 99% items in the country, because work harder, smarter and they had help from family side, so they had more chance than the other people. The 99% people feel bad because they have extremely less than the other 1% people. Also they feel hopeless. What I think the government should do is increase the Scot from rich people, tax rate should the rate income. Get more also pay. Use these money give more help for poor people, let everyone can have a chance to take high education, they will have a chance change their life. And at the same time government should make the merchant capitalist and industrial capitalist increase the limited of payment for workers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *