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The Wealth Gap in America April 6, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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Are you rich or are you poor? It is not an easy topic for people to discuss. Immediately, I think most of us want to answer, our wealth does not define us. We want to say that it is not about how much money we have, but the love and family we have in our lives. I have to say that that tact is easy to take when you are on a computer, sitting in your home, or at your job, when there are millions of Americans who do not have either of these things.

I am not sure where I heard the expression first or last, but it recently came to mind… “Embarrassment of Riches”. That is where we are in the US right now. There are 400 Americans out of over 300,000,000 (that is not even close to one one-thousandth of a percent) that have assets of nearly $1.4 TRILLION dolloars. The rest of Americans, again 300 MILLION people, have total assets of about $55 trillion dollars. That means that 400 individuals own more than over 60% of the poorest people in the entire country COMBINED. I don’t know about you, but to me, that seems very unbalanced. Now, I am all for Capitalism and entrepreneurial spirit, but there has to be a limit to the excesses. At what point do people have enough? You can not spend that kind of money if you tried (literally, even in the most conservative investments, the interest and capital gains that level of money makes is more than most people make every year working).

I am very tired of the political argument that reductions in business taxes result in jobs. There is no way to convince me that this works. During the course of a businesses operations, they make money by selling products and services. At the end of the year, they are supposed to pay some level of taxes on the money they have as net income after paying expenses. The amount they pay in taxes has no affect on how much the sell. Any money left over, after paying taxes, is not automatically used to hire new employees. It MAY be used to expand the business, but it might also be used for vacations, buy a yacht or island! Our country is in a financial crisis because the wealthy have too much power and they love their money too much.

I think Bill Maher is on the front lines trying to bring these discrepancies to the people through his comedy. He is a little crass, so please forgive the harsh language, but I hope you listen to the following clip, have a laugh and recognize that we need a change of direction in this country.

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Healthcare Plan: A new idea September 15, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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While on my lunch time jog to/thru/from a nearby park, I came up with a “new” idea for the healthcare debate. I was thinking about how our society has become a bit of “us vs them.” The political environment is Republican vs Democrat, our economic world is rich vs poor…. how can we come up with a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

So, here it is. We need to change our tax approach. Clearly this would be harder and more expensive to implement than what we already have, but it would reduce the strain on those people who think we don’t need higher taxes while still supporting the services that other people do need. I will call it Vested Taxes. The new system would allow people to opt out of certain taxes. However, by doing so, they would be opting out of the services that those taxes support. At the local level, people could opt out of supporting the library, however if they went to use the library, they would pay a premium (more than $0) to utilize those resources… obviously, this would require more system integration to allow instant information to the services on every individual, but the Patriot Act already opened the door to this possibility.

At the national level is where we find health care, and social security high level examples. I really do not like the idea of having to do this. But I certainly like it better than where we are headed… talk of states succeeding and individuals saying, “if you don’t like it, why don’t you move?” We don’t want to divide our nation into classes, but look at us now.

The vesting comes in if individuals suddenly need help and change their minds. The government response can then justifiably be, “sorry, you haven’t been contributing, so we have to deny you.” Everyone gets what they want!