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stanleybmanly's avatar

Why does income inequality matter?

Asked by stanleybmanly (22371points) June 20th, 2015 from iPhone

Or does it?

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13 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Inequality between men and women? Of course it matters. Anyone doing the same job should receive the same pay.

Secondary to that is “girl” jobs getting paid less even when men work in that career line. That argument is more about wages in general. Jobs like receptionist, administrative assistant, teachers, even nurses, although nursing salaries have risen quite a bit because of demand.

Bill1939's avatar

Income inequality is exploitation. Those who profit from it would prefer to create income inequality by reducing the wages of men and women to what they are willing to pay children for their labors.

dabbler's avatar

Income inequality between regular folks and the parasite class matters too, because while we all contribute to economic growth well over 95% of the fruits of the growth of the U.S. economy over the past 30 years have gone to the top 1% of “earners”. I put that in quotes because the biggest “earners” tend to be private equity fund managers who contribute NOTHING to economic growth. The top dozen hedge fund managers in 2014 in the U.S. made (not earned IMHO) combined income of over 15 Billion dollars.

Nobody will be able to convince me that any of these people’s “work” is worth that much.

While the parasite class takes that much right off the top of the economy, larger and larger portions of the population are having trouble affording basic needs because they’re paid as little as possible.

jaytkay's avatar

It matters because a small number of people don’t produce the wealth, and they don’t deserve to hoard it.

josie's avatar

It matters because it is the middle class that consumes in volume and drives commerce.

For example- poor people cannot buy enough automobiles to support an industry. A single wealthy man could buy dozens of cars, but probably only buys 2 or 3 or none at all. Still not enough to support an industry.

It is the thousands of people in between who together buy thousands of cars.

You want a more equal distribution of wealth in order to have a large consumer class.

Having said that, it is not the wealthy “class“s fault that middle class jobs have disappeared. It is globalization of industry and technology.

You cannot engineer a thriving middle class

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t agree. It’s rather clear that you can certainly engineer a class of plutocrats. And while discussing this aspect of “American creativity”, when the time comes when you can’t achieve both, which of the two do you suppose might be required to decline? Which of the 2 would you think most likely to be sacrificed to fatten up the other? You can certainly engineer the destruction of the middle class.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie We did just that partly through unions. Unions won better pay for workers and the middle class grew. I’d rather do it without the unions personally.

dabbler's avatar

Thriving middle class can certainly be engineered and has been at times in the U.S. and is now in several Northern-European countries.
Strong unions as @josie mentioned and taxation are both important.

Thomas Piketty’s outstanding newish book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” notes that middle class thrives especially when not only are incomes taxed at a highly progressive rate but when wealth is also taxed through inheritance taxes and ‘luxury’ taxes.
It is very possible, proven to work, works well for everyone.
There are still rich people, but policies like that avoid having a tiny slice of the population owning everything including the government.

Bill1939's avatar

@JLeslie, the problem with unions is that its leadership at the international level has become relatively wealthy and no longer relate to the working class. At the local level, unions still are beneficial to its membership. The conservative governors of states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois see the reduction of wages and corporate taxes as bringing businesses back and increasing their state’s wealth. They claim this will increase employment, though more workers will get a smaller piece of the pie. These business-oriented governors see unions and other forms of collective bargaining as impediments to their goal.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bill1939 I agree that as unions grow, the leadership of the unions are a business themselves and can hurt business and even the union worker in the end. However, that’s a necessary evil when companies are taking horrible, abusive, advantage of workers. The last 6 years it has been just awful! The downturn of the economy and the song of the media and the conservatives has laborers feeling like they should be grateful just to have a job and so they are taken advantage of. Retail having employees come in at midnight Thanksgiving night, people doing the work of two people, wages being cut while profit is still rolling in, it was getting really bad. Hopefully, it will turn around without unions. I hope so.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have a face book friend that I knew years and years ago, she lives in Wisconsin and her favourite book is “Atlas Shrugged’ . She was carrying on about how she felt sorry for me because my free healthcare is provided by “some government worker” where as she pays out of pocket and gets “much better healthcare”. She likes bill oreilly and Fox News. She owns a home- carer franchise, none of the aids that work for her get paid well, or health insurance, yet she was telling me that, she ‘creates jobs’. And if a member of her family had a medical emergency, her church group would pay for it. Like, if one of them had stroke or something. In her estimate, one should do the bootstrap thing, and all the “takers” and “lazy people” are deserving of whatever they get. And socialism or democratic socialism is a bad, bad thing.

fluthernutter's avatar

@trailsillustrated You could have ended your comment after Atlas Shrugged and I would have still gotten the gist of what she’s like. Ha. ;)

trailsillustrated's avatar

@fluthernutter —she sent me a pdf of it and it was the most boring, stilted, thing I’ve ever tried to read.

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