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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 11:42 AM   #121
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
As the top 1% has almost 40% of the pie now, how much more should they get?
I don't recall anyone saying the 1% should control *more* wealth than they do, just that some of us don't have a problem with the amount they do control now. (whoops - justin just said 50%, OK)

I am dismayed that anyone seems surprised or even uncomfortable with the 1%/3x.x% number. Look at it this way:

We (rightfully) heap praise upon the top 1% of the graduating class of a High School or College, or the top 1% athletes, entertainers, etc.

Meet with the top 1% of the High School. I think you will be impressed by a group of bright, motivated, engaged young people. Now, meet with the bottom 25%, and include those that dropped out, went to jail, or were shifted to a school for kids with disciplinary problems (they will still be 25% of the population). Would it be any surprise that that top 1% goes on to accumulate much more wealth over their lifetimes than the bottom 25%? Or even 100x more? That top 1% may end up with a net worth of several million each, while many in the bottom 25% may never get out of debt. And who would you rather have controlling the wealth - those capable of earning it, or those incapable of earning it?

It is unfortunate that the lower 25% don't do better (and some of them legitimately cannot), and I'd be all for social programs that would help them to succeed (though I don't really know how to do that), but I don't think we should be surprised, or even uncomfortable with the statistics, based on this reality.

Should we tell the top 1% that despite their hard work, their rewards will be further limited, that they must share more with those that did not work as hard? I don't want to tell them that.

Let's put a little 'local color' on this. Across my own family, I have several nieces/nephews that are very bright, hard working, motivated and personable. They are doing exceptionally well in college, or in their early years in the business world. I have another that is barely motivated to hold onto his minimum wage job. Will I be surprised 30 years from now, that some have accumulated wealth, and the other is in debt? No. Will I say to the well-off, 'Hey, go give your cousin a handout, he could use it'? No.

These kids all came from middle-upper-class families, and all had opportunities. I'm not sure what kind of social program could have made a difference. If I were in a position to hand down a family charitable trust, which of those nieces/nephews would I want to 'control' that wealth? Well, those that have demonstrated fiscal responsibility, of course!

-ERD50

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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 11:55 AM   #122
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
What I don't want to see is that years from now we look and see that top 0.1% control 40%? 50%?
OK, but is there really any evidence that that is happening? I thought the chart you provided showed a fairly level trend? Any reason that would change?

Quote:
The Waltons are great folks, love them Arkansans, and don't begrudge them their success. Still, it's hard to not cheer for a newbie! At least for me......
Look at that Forbes list again. I was struck at just how highly the 'newbies' were represented. Walmart, Microsoft, Apple, Beanie Babies, Dell, Home Depot, Amazon, McCaw, Qualcomm, Starbucks, Subway, Yahoo? Those are all pretty recent growth stories. Many are VERY recent.

It appears to me we are seeing a fairly healthy rotation of wealth. New entrepreneurs come on the scene, the old stodgy types get displaced.

Really, I'm just not seeing anything to be afraid of. It looks pretty healthy to me.

Our political system, OTOH...

-ERD50
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 12:54 PM   #123
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LKH
They provide the only resource they have - a huge slice of their life, a huge chunk of the one thing none of us can ever get back once we lose it - time. There's something wrong with a society that says that one person's time is worth billions of dollars, while another person's time isn't even worth a living wage.
LKH, thanks for the replies, but you keep twisting this away from the the point that you made, which I was responding to. You (and others) were concerned about the concentration of wealth (bold mine):

Quote:
Originally Posted by LKH
No, but we can expect them, perhaps more than most, to act out of entitlement and self-interest, to the detriment of others.
Sure, some people contribute in whatever way they can. But the discussion was whether the top 1% of wealth concentration was acting to the detriment of the general public. I'm sure there are cases of that, but I'm not seeing any big trend that I am aware of. I don't see that any action is required to 'correct' this.

Maybe there should be another thread - 'What maximum/minimum standard of living should the US dictate?'? That is what you are proposing.

-ERD50
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 01:20 PM   #124
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
I don't recall anyone saying the 1% should control *more* wealth than they do
Hee Hee.....I understand, believe me. My memory keeps me from recalling stuff I just read too sometimes!
Quote:
I am dismayed that anyone seems surprised or even uncomfortable with the 1%/3x.x% number.
As I said in an earlier post (perhaps you forgot), when I saw the actual data the trend did not look as alarming as the text sounded. But it is still a trend and and certainly worthy of observation.
Quote:
Look at it this way:

We (rightfully) heap praise upon the top 1% of the graduating class of a High School or College, or the top 1% athletes, entertainers, etc.

Meet with the top 1% of the High School. I think you will be impressed by a group of bright, motivated, engaged young people. Now, meet with the bottom 25%, and include those that dropped out, went to jail, or were shifted to a school for kids with disciplinary problems (they will still be 25% of the population). Would it be any surprise that that top 1% goes on to accumulate much more wealth over their lifetimes than the bottom 25%? Or even 100x more? That top 1% may end up with a net worth of several million each, while many in the bottom 25% may never get out of debt. And who would you rather have controlling the wealth - those capable of earning it, or those incapable of earning it?
I agree the way you put it here. But you keep changing the group. My concern is when the highschool valedictorian gets everything, the balance of the graduates, nothing.
Quote:
Let's put a little 'local color' on this. Across my own family, I have several nieces/nephews that are very bright, hard working, motivated and personable. They are doing exceptionally well in college, or in their early years in the business world. I have another that is barely motivated to hold onto his minimum wage job. Will I be surprised 30 years from now, that some have accumulated wealth, and the other is in debt? No. Will I say to the well-off, 'Hey, go give your cousin a handout, he could use it'? No.

These kids all came from middle-upper-class families, and all had opportunities. I'm not sure what kind of social program could have made a difference. If I were in a position to hand down a family charitable trust, which of those nieces/nephews would I want to 'control' that wealth? Well, those that have demonstrated fiscal responsibility, of course!

-ERD50

It seems like to keep your anaology consistent, one, and only one, neice or nephew should get everything, #2 and on down should get nothing, nana, zilch......... unless you guys are in some sort of commune or something!

Anyway, this discussion is getting more than silly. I'm talking about the vague line between the top 1% and 2% and down. You keep bringing up the bottom 25% and blaaah blaaah blaaah. Probably best to just drop it.

I think you've been interweaving another posters points of view and mine.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 01:23 PM   #125
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Re: This is truly scary.

Since we're on the topic of the top 1%, I wonder how many people on here who are retired early would have made it to the top 1% if they stayed at it. Using the uncited chart provided by youbet the amount is only about 8mil. How many people on here retired in their 30's, 40's, or early 50's with over 7 digits. I would bet many would be able to make it into the 1% club. If you are so scared about the top 1% controlling too much wealth, why don't you hang around the work place to get there?

LKH--I don't agree with your singling out teachers because of their low pay. I also don't think we will be able to convince each other to change our minds, so I'll also leave the education argument alone.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 01:30 PM   #126
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by lets-retire
Since we're on the topic of the top 1%, I wonder how many people on here who are retired early would have made it to the top 1% if they stayed at it. Using the uncited chart provided by youbet the amount is only about 8mil. How many people on here retired in their 30's, 40's, or early 50's with over 7 digits. I would bet many would be able to make it into the 1% club. If you are so scared about the top 1% controlling too much wealth, why don't you hang around the work place to get there?
Bear in mind that the bottom of the 1% club was about $8M in 2001 dollars. But it's a steep, steep line upward from there! The top is at the 100's of billions of bux!! The last guy into the 1% club is a long, long, long way from the top guy!

I don't think I'm going to make it.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 01:46 PM   #127
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by kcowan
Also, the same study notes that most teachers end up spending their own money buying things for their classrooms.OK this is lower than I thought. And does that account for the summer hiatus?

Wow a 90% pension! I got 42% after 25 years in the private sector. And they are still leaving? What are they going?

It is 2.2% for each year you work... and you can buy a few years when you retire.... just like compounding... working 40 plus years adds up..
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 01:56 PM   #128
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by LKH
Not as bad as that? Again, why, then, are 50% of kids who enter the profession leaving for greener pastures in 5 years? This used to be a lifetime career, and while admittedly "lifetime careers" are more and more a thing of the past for almost everyone, every major education group I've checked on states concerns about this.

And yes, the pensions are generally awesome. That's one of the great things about my job as well. I wish SSI could be managed by an organization like the one that manages my pension, rather than by the hacks who get elected to public office.

Just in case you think my friends and family are "below average," (despite their getting awards as superior educators) here is a stat from the NEA:

Also, the same study notes that most teachers end up spending their own money buying things for their classrooms.

I'm just saying that we need to rethink the way they're treated; compensation needs to be commensurate with skill and education, just like any other professional. And teachers need to have more of a voice in how the system works. They're the ones who actually deal with the children. But, as is true with a lot of things, it's gasbags in political office pulling ideas out of their backsides who are making the important calls.
Lots of professions have a short time frame. As an accountant, you went to a Big 4 (8 when I was there) and put in two or three years... get burned out and move to someplace else... I would bet that doctors at hospitals also have a high burnout rate.. I will agree that there is not a good place for teachers to go to start their own firm...

Not trying to put down your relatives... but if they were working 15 hours a day (assuming only 5 days)... that is 75 hours... I still say that is NOT NORMAL... even your stats of 50 hours makes it only 10 hours a day... and does that include lunch?? What about commute time?? I really don't know... but an 8 hour work day is 9 in the office and 1 to 3 for commute for the others that make so much more...

Compensations for ANY profession is a supply and demand number... if you can get all you want at a lower rate.. then why pay more?? One of the problems with teacher pay is that it is like a union... all workers produce the same and are paid the same.. based on time and education level... there is not a good way to have someone 'shine' and get rewarded for it...
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 02:44 PM   #129
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
I'm talking about the vague line between the top 1% and 2% and down. You keep bringing up the bottom 25% and blaaah blaaah blaaah. Probably best to just drop it.

I think you've been interweaving another posters points of view and mine.
Well, I *did* weave the bottom 25% numbers from the LKH posts, as I thought they kind of tied into the overall discussion of 'haves vs have-nots'. Sorry if that confused.

We can drop it if you'd like - been plenty of discussion already, but I guess I *am* confused about what group you are talking about. 1%, the line between 1% to 2%, and you've mentioned the 0.1% group?

Numbers aside, you seemed concerned that too much wealth will be controlled by too few. And I'm just saying, looking at the Forbes list, it just does not seem like an unlikely group, or a scary group to be controlling wealth - they are the ones that (for the most part) earned it.

Over and out on this topic - ERD50

PS - if I get some time later, I might like to start a new thread on that topic of differential pay for teachers in short supply (math, science, etc). It sounds like some members of our school board are willing to tackle that issue, and I think it is a good one. Contracts are coming up soon in our district - oh joy.



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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 08:41 PM   #130
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by youbet
Hmmmmmm....guess we need to define terms Justin. I'm talking about the percentage of the total wealth pie (regardless of wealth pie size) that the top 1% controls. If one group is going to control more of the pie, someone else is going to control less.

I'm all for innovation, competition and rewarding the winners. And I love to see the size of the pie grow. But we're talking about percentage of the pie controlled by the top 1%. As the top 1% has almost 40% of the pie now, how much more should they get?
That there is the point I've been trying to make.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 09:06 PM   #131
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by youbet
What I don't want to see is that years from now we look and see that top 0.1% control 40%? 50%? whatever of our wealth and have established barriers to entry that are impossible for the middle class entrepreneur to overcome.

I'd rather see 100's of middle class entrepreneurs establish businesses worth a few million each than say, the Waltons, become worth yet another one billion. The Waltons are great folks, love them Arkansans, and don't begrudge them their success. Still, it's hard to not cheer for a newbie! At least for me......
Agree with that as well. Let me reiterate that NOBODY HERE is arguing for wealth redistribution. What I've been arguing for from the start is making it more possible for more people to enter the ranks of success.

Seriously, if only 1% of the people control 30+%, and the top 20% own 81% of the nation's wealth, then can it be argued that the "average" person controls the "average" amount of wealth? It can't. Basically, 80% of us have to share the last 20%. And a good percentage of the top 20% isn't there because they innovate or because they earned it. They have it because great-granddaddy innovated, and granddaddy earned it. You can't argue that the rest of us have the same chance to get where they are.

Yes, there are the rare (exceedingly) and fortunate exceptions, people who have the right idea at the right time and make the right connections to make things come together. They worked hard and it paid off. But a hell of a lot of people worked just as hard and failed. It's not like those rare exceptions are so much more brilliant or so much more hardworking than anyone else.

I'd like to see the playing field leveled just a little bit, and a good place to start would be by making sure EVERYONE who works full time can live on what they make. It's just not an unreasonable thing to expect.

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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 09:28 PM   #132
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
LKH, thanks for the replies, but you keep twisting this away from the the point that you made, which I was responding to. You (and others) were concerned about the concentration of wealth (bold mine):
You are twisting what I said, or at the very least misinterpreting. I have no problem with people getting rich. I just think that some folks are making it harder than it has to be for most folks to even get by. Look at the profits posted by Exxon and Chevron, while the middle and lower class people have a tough time buying gas at the end of the month. Yes, they're running a business for profit, but when they jack up the price by nearly 50 cents a gallon just before high travel seasons, they're gouging, because they can. Ditto insurance companies. Some of them are posting obscene profits while children are going without basic healthcare because their parents have been priced out of family coverage.

Quote:
Sure, some people contribute in whatever way they can. But the discussion was whether the top 1% of wealth concentration was acting to the detriment of the general public. I'm sure there are cases of that, but I'm not seeing any big trend that I am aware of. I don't see that any action is required to 'correct' this.
I think you are not paying attention, then. I don't think there's any evil conspiracy. But I think greed motivates companies, as in the above examples, to run prices up to where they're unnecessarily out of reach for the less fortunate. If the product is a computer or luxury item, I don't really object too much. But if the product is something that most people NEED, like insurance and gasoline, then I do object to gouging, and I do think companies are acting to the detriment of the public. Exxon could make a bit less profit and keep its product more affordable. And maybe they shouldn't be allowed to act so completely out of self-interest that they do harm to a large segment of the general public.

Quote:
Maybe there should be another thread - 'What maximum/minimum standard of living should the US dictate?'? That is what you are proposing.
I am not proposing a maximum standard of living. I think I've made that abundantly clear. I am proposing a MINIMUM standard of living, yes, and that may make the maximum a little less maximum. But the rich will still be rich, don't you worry.

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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 09:47 PM   #133
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Lots of professions have a short time frame. As an accountant, you went to a Big 4 (8 when I was there) and put in two or three years... get burned out and move to someplace else... I would bet that doctors at hospitals also have a high burnout rate.. I will agree that there is not a good place for teachers to go to start their own firm...
Not to mention, it does not affect our children when accountants go find something else to do. It DOES affect kids when their teachers, just about the time they should be getting really good at what they do, burn out and walk away. The question is, is the current system the best we can do for our kids. In my state, 30% of kids in high school drop out without graduating. Could it be because we're not attracting and retaining the best, most innovative, most successful teachers possible? Could it be because those people who would be best able to help those kids are being skimmed off by better opportunities, or talked out of the profession by people who know how tough it's getting?

Quote:
Not trying to put down your relatives... but if they were working 15 hours a day (assuming only 5 days)... that is 75 hours... I still say that is NOT NORMAL... even your stats of 50 hours makes it only 10 hours a day... and does that include lunch?? What about commute time?? I really don't know... but an 8 hour work day is 9 in the office and 1 to 3 for commute for the others that make so much more...
I think I said some of my friends report they put in those kinds of hours. One of them, admittedly, is a very disorganized person. Others teach younger kids. The setup alone can take a couple hours before each class, and then there's the lesson plans, and the cleanup, and the paperwork for all the government BS they have to put up with these days - way more than used to be.

That 10 hours ON AVERAGE factors in more experienced teachers who have previously built out their systems, and so are now more efficient.

And no, I wouldn't argue that commuting or eating count as work. I only wish they did. LOL. I'd be in for a TON of OT.

Quote:
Compensations for ANY profession is a supply and demand number... if you can get all you want at a lower rate.. then why pay more?? One of the problems with teacher pay is that it is like a union... all workers produce the same and are paid the same.. based on time and education level... there is not a good way to have someone 'shine' and get rewarded for it...
The question is, who do we want to be supplying, and what are we demanding? Do we want to treat our educators like "low-bid" contractors? You get what you pay for. If you do want to get away with the cheapest possible wages, then you're in no position to complain when schools are dropping out 30% of their students, and 30% of those who go on to higher ed have to have some remedial education before they can get through first year. Personally, that's not what I'd choose for the generation that is one day going to run this country - and control my pension and healthcare.

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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-26-2007, 10:58 PM   #134
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by LKH

I'd like to see the playing field leveled just a little bit, and a good place to start would be by making sure EVERYONE who works full time can live on what they make. It's just not an unreasonable thing to expect.

Sorry for this snide comment... but anybody who is at minimum wage for over 6 months will not be in the top 1%... if you have that potential, then it will show up and you will move ahead...

The minimum wage (for long term workers) is for people who will NEVER make it to the rich class... giving them more money will not 'level the field'..

The US is one of the most level playing fields in the world.... if they can not make it here.. they will not...
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 05:39 AM   #135
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by LKH
Seriously, if only 1% of the people control 30+%, and the top 20% own 81% of the nation's wealth, then can it be argued that the "average" person controls the "average" amount of wealth? It can't. Basically, 80% of us have to share the last 20%. And a good percentage of the top 20% isn't there because they innovate or because they earned it. They have it because great-granddaddy innovated, and granddaddy earned it. You can't argue that the rest of us have the same chance to get where they are.
Considering the top 20% only have a median net worth of about $190,000, including the value of their home, I would have to disagree with your statement. This amount is easily obtainable for the normal person during the course of a career. As for how the top 20% received their wealth, have you read The Millionaire Next Door? I'd suggest you read it. The author reports that most American millionaires EARNED what they had and did not inherit it. Since the median net worth of the top 20% is so low I would have to think they also earned their wealth not inherited it.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 07:55 AM   #136
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Sorry for this snide comment... but anybody who is at minimum wage for over 6 months will not be in the top 1%... if you have that potential, then it will show up and you will move ahead...

The minimum wage (for long term workers) is for people who will NEVER make it to the rich class... giving them more money will not 'level the field'..

The US is one of the most level playing fields in the world.... if they can not make it here.. they will not...
I agree that not everyone has an equal shot at getting rich. But that does not negate the FACT that even the least of us should be able to live on what he earns, if he works hard, full time. If you don't agree with that, then, frankly, I think you're out of line to complain about people who choose to be on the dole because they can make more money that way - and WAY out of line to suggest that they should make LESS on the dole. People have to live. Would you rather we had huge numbers of people starving like children in Ethiopia in this country where we brag about our great standard of living?
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 08:04 AM   #137
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by lets-retire
Considering the top 20% only have a median net worth of about $190,000, including the value of their home, I would have to disagree with your statement. This amount is easily obtainable for the normal person during the course of a career. As for how the top 20% received their wealth, have you read The Millionaire Next Door? I'd suggest you read it. The author reports that most American millionaires EARNED what they had and did not inherit it. Since the median net worth of the top 20% is so low I would have to think they also earned their wealth not inherited it.
You define "normal," as probably most well-off people do, a bit differently than is consistent with the facts. The NORMAL person, my friend, has an average IQ of about 100 and a high school diploma. The NORMAL person with that skillset and intellect, my friend, has almost ZERO chance of making that kind of money, no matter how determined or motivated he is. There just aren't that many jobs out there with that kind of paycheck, and they aren't going to "normal" people. They are going to remarkable people, who are smarter than average and/or well-educated, who are willing to sacrifice things like time with family to put in the 80+ hours a week it sometimes takes to get there. I don't fault those folks for succeeding, but the "normal" person, if he works fulltime, deserves a chance to live well enough that he can afford a tank of gas without crossing meat off the family's grocery list.

You forget that "middle class" and "average" income figures are skewed a bit by that top 20%. MOST people aren't living as well as those numbers suggest.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 08:31 AM   #138
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Re: This is truly scary.

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Originally Posted by LKH
... the "normal" person, if he works fulltime, deserves a chance to live well enough that he can afford a tank of gas without crossing meat off the family's grocery list.
Not sure where you live but you are defining normal to include a car. In the big cities, many normal people do not own a car. Why? Because it is too expensive and they choose to spend their income on more important things.

So don't try to define minimum wages in those terms. You will not get much support.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 08:42 AM   #139
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Re: This is truly scary.

Run the simple equation on a savings calculator. Save $100 per month with a measly return of 6% per year for 42 years. The end result is over $200,000. Even if the person is only able to save $50 per month the magic 190,000 figure is obtainable they just need to earn %8. While that is a little tougher, it is not out of the question. Even when I was living on only 10,000 per year is was able to save $50 per month.

Many times the normal person has purchased things that put them in peril of not being able to save. It is not that they do not have the ability to save, it is that they do not have the will to save. Most people outside of this board can easily cut $100 out of their everyday spending, but they choose not to. Look around your neighborhood how many people do you see who probably could have purchased a slightly less expensive car, house, toy, whatever and squeeze out a little extra savings. When I was policing the crack houses and section 8 apartment complexes, it amazed me how many people on government assistance had nicer furnishing than I did. Most had cable, costing close to $100/month, and several video game consoles on the floor. Many even opted to purchase a home computer and pay for internet access instead of using the free ones at the library. Almost all the residents I dealt with had vehicles even though they lived in an area that had a well established public transport system. I've just shown where these poor people could easily save over $100 per month, if they wanted. I don't think the middle class people would find it all that difficult to cut their spending, if they put a priority on it, but many sadly don't.

As I've stated in many previous posts my wife has only a high school education (where she graduated a little lower than the middle), but with a little hard work has been able to earn a very nice salary. The only thing the system said she had going for her was her work ethic. You can't make me believe it cannot be done.

I do not look at average anything. Once I learned that the average can easily be skewed, I shifted my attention to the median, it is a much better indicator of the center.
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Re: This is truly scary.
Old 04-27-2007, 08:55 AM   #140
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Re: This is truly scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan
Not sure where you live but you are defining normal to include a car. In the big cities, many normal people do not own a car. Why? Because it is too expensive and they choose to spend their income on more important things.

So don't try to define minimum wages in those terms. You will not get much support.
Plenty of support from me. most people, especially most poor people we're describing here, do NOT live in the big city. to have a job, you have to have a car, unless you're lucky enough to score something within walking distance.
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