Rich-poor gulf widens:Growing wealth gap rates an 'orange alert'

Growing wealth gap rates an 'orange alert': "Rich-poor gulf widens
'Inequality Matters' conference puts nations on alert"

A friend of mine on the left-coast sent me this article. I think he knew it would fire me up. This article isn't even subtle in it's slant. It's the evil rich, the evil America, etc. Here are some notable quotes:

"People in the U.S. now don't live even as long as people in Costa Rica. Meanwhile the U.S. infant mortality rate has risen, so much so Cuba has a better success rate of bringing healthy children into the world."

"McCain-Feingold is not nearly as effective as it should be," says Lardner. The campaign finance reform act he's speaking of is easy to poke holes in this year, as John Kerry runs against George Bush's $200 million war chest."

"For one, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy exacerbating the disparity between rich and poor."

"Members of United for a Fair Economy (who include billionaires and the wealthiest of our country, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett), are calling for the estate tax to remain, despite its scheduled elimination in 2010 following phased-in declines. Buffett says the estate tax helps to keep America's "meritocracy" in check. Repealing the estate tax could create an aristocracy based on wealth, he says."

"Instead of putting the nation on high red, orange or whatever color alert this summer, instead of spending almost $200 billion dollars (so far) for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sending more than 100,000 young people to fight overseas, perhaps those resources and that money could be put to use to make us truly a more healthy nation. Wouldn't that be a more admirable model to show the world than the Abu Ghraib photos?"

"In just 14 days the problems of the poorest countries in the world -- starvation, lack of education, scarcity of potable water, etc. -- could be solved if each nation donated its military spending budget for just that period of time -- 14 days."

"As it stands, the United States and other developed nations have even fallen below their commitments to the World Bank, which helps fight social causes like poverty and education."

"Three billion people are living in "poverty" on less than two dollars per day, 800 million people lack access to basic health care, 17 million people -- including 11 million children -- die every year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition, 2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, 1.1 billion do not have safe drinking water, 275 million children never attend or complete primary school education and 870 million of the world's adults are illiterate."

The article touts Cuba as an example for medical care (don't all liberals do this?), but fails to address any of the reasons why medical care in this country is in a crisis (can you say malpractice and aging population?). I'll address this in more detail in a future rant that I'm currently working on.

I enjoyed the whining about Kerry running against Bush's $200 million war chest. Of course, they don't mention how George Soros has contributed $16 million to fight Bush . I guess the McCain-Feingold bill not being effective to fight that sort of campaign finance abuse isn't as distressing to them.

First of all, "tax cuts for the rich" is really a misnomer. It's a tax refund...it's YOUR money. The government takes a position that is' THEIR money by saying cuts. That the politicians are doing you a favor...WRONG. It's your money to begin with. Not theirs. Secondly, the rich pay the greatest percentage in taxes, so naturally, they'll get more back with a tax refund.

Of course, the article doesn't address the problems with the Alternative Minimum Tax which seriously affects the middle class. Some of the effects can be found here with an example here.

The rest of the article fails to address any of the real reasons for poverty in other countries. It only hints at the U.S. failure to address those issues in other countries by not properly funding the World Bank and spending too much on the military and war. The liberal solution to any problem is to throw more money at it. Poverty may be a problem, but the underlying cause is NOT just a lack of money. They don't mention the failure of those countries' governments to properly educate and feed their own people. It's totalitarian and radical religious governments that fail to educate and feed their own people. They also fail to mention the generosity of the American people who donate 1.64% of their aggregate gross income.

Poverty is caused not only by the system, but by individuals living within the system. In our country, it's a system that fosters government dependence rather than encouraging self-reliance. Prior to welfare we had a system that worked. Family, charity, and community were successful for 150 years. The government has been tremendously unsuccessful in replicated that success.

Funny how they continue to whine about inequality...hey, they're rich and I need some money...can't Buffet, Gates, and Soros give me some since they care so much about inequality? Nah, I'd rather EARN it!


Blogger eskadoni said...

1. i've never said cuba was a good model for anything but cigar manufacturing.

2. i agree that the election funds stroy is silly.

3. we disagree on the tax issue, but i bet you already knew that. i do think government can help, so i support taxing people, even taxing the rich more. but i'm a liberal nut, right?

4. i think our money should stay here and get our own problems solved. on that note, though, if we do make promises to the world, we should really try to keep them. but i'm a crazy liberal, so who cares what i think?

June 1, 2004 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

1. No, but many other liberals tout Cuba as an example for medical care. You can google "medical care" and "Cuba" to see for yourself.
3. Name 1 thing that government does well that private companies can't do better? Here's my issue with you wanting taxes raised to help people...if you want to help people go right ahead and spend your time and money...why force it down my throat and make it a government issue. I'll spend my time and money on my family. I'm all for helping people that will help themselves, but I'm against the government providing for able-bodied citizens. Secondly, why should the government decide how to spend my charity through taxes?
4. To hell with the rest of the world. They don't care about us either...despite us sending vast amounts of money to other countries through aid and trade, they hate us anyway. Keep the money here, cut taxes, and put it back into our pockets...

June 1, 2004 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Stephens said...

Whenever I hear people talking about raising taxes, it makes my blood boil....personally I don't think that the tax cuts went deep enough. I think that the economic recovery that we are seeing is proof enough that the President Bush's tax cuts DID work..

June 1, 2004 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

Bill. I agree.

I believe the last recession was a combination of the following:
1. Huge tax increases under the Clinton Administration
2. The Fed raised interest rates too quickly, cutting off the money supply.
3. 9/11

Take money out of people's pockets and it's less money flowing into the economy. People spending money is GOOD for the economy. Businesses make money and hire more people. Seems simple enough. Liberals don't seem to grasp that concept.

June 1, 2004 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

coming from a place with an influx of non-regulated goods, i favor organizations that montor quality of things like, say, food and medicine. i do not want government to run people's lifes and allow free-loaders to get a free ride, but there are things that governemtn is good for. my biggest problem with this, "my money, i'll do what i want" philosophy is that it doesn't take into account that we all live in a community. freedom is not free. if i have to give money to make sure i can count on my food being non-toxic and my roads to work, so be it. i don't even mind paying extra to ensure all americans have heath care. if i was the only person in america, i'd say screw it, but there are others in america, and i think we chould look out for them, too. as far as private industy being in charge of everything: i'd rather have a system where at some level i can control the people making choices that effect me. where is the accountability in private business? sure, you can say "just don't buy the products", but many times an area is given only one provider, or a company may slashesprices to kill competition, then raise prices. it's happening here with wal-mart. i'm sorry that it makes bill's blodd boil, but there are costs involved in our system of government.

June 1, 2004 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

a quick thing on more money tobusinesses equaling more jobs: there have been at least 5 major plant closings in el paso alone in the last 7 years. was this because the company was losing money? no. every company cited business costs on this side of the border and moved to juarez. (a mile away in mexico) so yes, there were more jobs. in mexico.

June 1, 2004 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

When you talk of regulations, you're talking laws. Much of mine and Bill's ire is directed at wasteful government spending. Government can create the laws, but private agencies can insure of compliance for food, medicine and the like. Regulating food and medicine fine...but most other agencies that provide services are a waste of taxpayer money. Underwriter's Labratories has been doing it for eons...other companies can do the same thing.

As for plant closings...well..no...I'm not even going to go off on that now. The bottom line is that unions price themselves out of business. Even in IT, jobs are going overseas to India, China, and Russia because our jobs are expensive here. I don't like it, but I'm doing what I can to ensure I have a future by going back to college.

Universal Health care is a BAD idea. Talk to a Canadian sometime.

As for you "we are a community idea" that's fine...as I've stated earlier, before government we had Family, Community and Charity. Those groups did and do a far better job than Government.

I must reiterate my point. Don't ram your wish to take care of "the unfortunate" down my throat. I'll say it again, if you want to look out for the little guy, go right ahead. Take them into your home, give them money, give them a job...or is it a typical liberal NIMBY attitude? Is it that you won't do it so you want government to do it? How convenient for liberals...and unfortunate for the rest of us....

June 1, 2004 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

hey, if we can stream-line gov. spending, let's do it. but let's face it: our society has always systematically discriminated against someone. government can be used to ensure all people are more or less treated fairly. an example: your statement that jobs have become too expensive to keep here in america, and therefore it's ok to move them. soon the people that worked in all these industries will lose jobs. some will get new jobs, but now are there are less jobs. where are we getting new jobs? why not keep jobs here, and keep americans employed. sure, things might cost a bit more, but more jobs means less people needing aid, meaning less taxes, meaning more money.

on the heath-care thing: so canada did it as best as it could be done, huh? america couldn't improve on their model, or start from scratch and succeed? have some faith in this country.

as far as ramming the idea of helping the "unfortunate" down your throat, i'm sorry, but i see the injustices the are present and think we should do something. i know we disagree, but don't think i'm going to change my mind on helping people. if we lived in a vacuum i'd say screw them, but like it or not, people are held back and stopped from succeeding all the time. it might have happened to you, and it might not have. i just want to give everyone an even playing field. that means that some give and some take. i see where you disagree. it's all perspective: you feel they should just rise above whatever no matter what, and i feel we should have a level field and then put it on people at that point.

it just seems like you cannot accept that government can be a good thing.

June 1, 2004 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

I don't like the prospect of losing my job overseas. But the bottom line in a global economy is that if we are to remain competitive, then initially, people will suffer...and yes, that includes IT workers like myself. Rather than making excuses and whining about it, I'm going back to school...to prepare myself just in case. It's my responsibility (and my family's) to feed and educate my son...nobody elses.

Historically, when technology or competition makes jobs disappear, new jobs take their place in different areas. When automobiles came along, whip makers went out of business. Did those people go away? Nope, they went into manufacturing.

Universal health care will not solve this nation's medical problems. I have a long and detailed rant I'm working on so I'm leaving that alone for now.

As for the "injustices" you speak of, if your talking racism, I'd agree to a certain extent. But we might differ as to the solution. I was talking to a co-worker of mine and he said something interesting to me. His feeling was that affirmative action would not be necessary if minorities had a chance at a good education. I agree with the education part of his argument. That being said, I don't agree with any other way to "even the playing field". Because if you give preferential treatment to anyone, you're discriminating against someone else. We should all be looked at as the same. As far as opportunity, my greatest concern is what public education has become in this country (details for another rant).

Finally...and I'll repeat it again since you haven't directly responded. If you want to help the "unfortunate" so much, why can't YOU do it? Take the poor/homeless into your home, give them money, or get them a job? Why do you feel it's MY responsibility to do so when I'm taking care of my own.

Before big government, we had extended families...talk to someone that grew up during The Depression...they'll tell you that extended families were a good thing...not big government.

A personal aside. I lost not just a job, but a career 8 years ago. Afterwards, the first job I took I was making $23k/year (and supporting a child). Rather than whining and asking what government could do for me, I built a new and successful career...all without the help of government. I'm sure I could have had some government assistance if I chose...but the difference is that I'm far too proud and determined to go that route...I chose to look within, rather than outside for help to change my life. If big government mommy and daddy wasn't there, more people would find that determination within themselves...and we'd be a better country because of it.

June 1, 2004 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

1. yes, our country has lived through many transitions before, but in those cases the jobs did not leave the country. we always counted on having the factories for whatever the "next big thing" was right here. now those jobs are going over seas. sure, some will get new jobs, but we are consistantly losing jobs. at some point we'll go critical and have a real problem.

2. i cannot believe that you'd use the depression as a comment on the need for family over govenment. our "big government" wasn't really aroung until the depression, as an answer to it. did the social programs work at that point? no, but thet stemmed the tide of unemployment until ww2. you know, when we built all our war machine in america, giving americans jobs. then we lost a whole generation of young men, leaving many jobs to fill.

3. i'm interested on your ideas about universal heath care. will you only speak against it, or will you look at the chances of it working?

4. yes, many injustices begin with race, and yes education is the best way to fix the problem. but really, though. our country has always, always discriminated aginstone group or the other, and it is still happening. women get less, monorities are passed over for jobs, and glbt people are discriminated in every part of life. so let's just make them fight against the hate, right? if they'd just stop whining they'd get their jobs and be happy. if we need to give a little to help, i am cool with that. we (and by me i am talking about white dudes that are doing good, you know, not living on the street) have received preferential treatment already. we are assumed smarter and more qualified, more trustworthy. are we? no, not really. thats preferential treatment.

5. hey, i'd like it ifwe made getting help harder, but i still think help should be available. hopefully people will be too proub, like you. but if they aren't, we can help our fellow americans. when we only count on family, community, and charity those we help will be exposed to our bigotries.

6. as far as the "why don't you do it" thing, i really thought is was rhetorical, so i did not answer. i will now. i do do it. i have been in fostering since i was 6, being a big foster brother to many needy children. i went into education to help teach needy children. i have worked summers in schools for special needs kids, and have worked as an aid for a special needs kid in his home. hopefully i'll be able to teach in urban nyc schools in the fall. have i done all i can? no. do others do this much? yes. do we all? no. many people would rather not worry and and go about their lives. but what kind of life do they have? my goal is simple: no matter where you are born in america, no matter your color, creed, gender, or preferences, that you have the same chance to succeed. do i want us tho garuntee success? no. just the opportunity.

a quick aside: when are you getting your website up?

June 2, 2004 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

1. Jobs have been going overseas for sometime. The only difference is this time it's white collar jobs. There will always be jobs here and you're overlooking something worth noting...in the next 10 years, all of the boomers will have retired...and people will be moving into their jobs. If anything, we'll have a job surplus.

2. I was pointing out that the family unit kept people going through bad times. Now, it's the government attempts to play mommy and daddy and does a poor job.

3. I'm going through why the current system is broken and why Universal Health care will not work.

4. I find your perception inherently flawed. I work with a number of different minorities...and I never look at them as minorities. They're good people...my co-workers, and when I think of them I don't think of their race. But to you, the issue of dealing with discrimination is to point our differences. I think such thinking only encourages an us vs. them philosophy rather than by pointing out what makes us the same...we're Americans. When I got into the original discussion with my co-worker (who happens to be black), he pointed out that education was the overriding issue. His feeling...and I agreed with him to a certain extent...was affirmative action would not be necessary if everyone had educational opportunity. Nothing else would be necessary if we had an educational system that worked.

5. I think you missed my point here. Before big daddy Government came along, people HAD to rely on Community, Family, and Charity for help...and it worked.

Look at it this way (and you probably know people like this)...look at the person in their 20's or 30's that lives at home until mom and dad kick them out. They have to learn self-reliance...and most of them do. Big Daddy Government is keeping the kids at home...and never kicking them out and forcing people to make their way in the big, bad world. It's a crutch...and people never learn the pride of self-reliance. I know, I was one of those guys that got kicked out at 25 :-). My parents did it out of love. Allowing me to stay home would have done far more damage as I would have never grown up and learned to be self-reliant. It's easier being dependant on someone else, and it makes you lazy...but the rewards are far greater when you can learn to rely on yourself.

6. Good for you...I'm glad to see you're putting your money and your time where your mouth is. But I'd really like to know, why you feel a socialistic government is better than volunteerism, community, charity, and family?

As far as the website goes, I'm still working on it. I didn't want to do a FrontPage site because they all tend to look the same. I'm using Dreamweaver, but the learning curve is steep. I might just slap together the FP site while I do the cooler stuff in Dreamweaver. I'll be putting some time in this weekend.

June 2, 2004 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

why do i think government will work better? i guess because i've seen the family fail too many times (through foster-care and friends turned on for beliefs and life-style choices), i've seen communities tirn on those that are different, and i have seen people's charity be contingent on things like following a certain religion. in all of these systems there are no promises to at least try to to fair. government is our check on corruption. does it corrupted, too? yes, but at least we can try to give ourselves these laws to ensure fairness.

as far as how i see the race issue, i do think we are different and should embrace that. but we shouldn't think one is better than the other. in our society we do, and people suffer. maybe it is different up north. if it is, then help these southern nuts/bigots get the message. i would love it if we didn't need things like affirmative action, but as long as people are racist/sexists/bigoted we will. i guess it boils down to the fact that i've seen a bad side of good interntions and i've seen people that claim not to be bigoted prove otherwise. in an ideal world i would not have a problem with what you stand for being in place, but we don't. and blaming the ones that are at a disadvantage isn't going to fix it.

June 2, 2004 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

All of what you say may be true. But I believe the cause is big daddy government. It has forced detachment and a lack of a sense of community. It has also taken over for the family. Most charities will help anyone in need...irrespective of religious beliefs. Of course, charitable contributions would likely be higher if the government didn't take so much of our money. Also, if less money went to government, there would be more money floating in the economy and more work...so less people would be in need. There will always be people in need. My contention is that big government is ill-equipped to help those people.

As for racism, it is likely a bit different here in the north than it is in the south. Racism will always exist on both sides to one extent or another. Pointing out our differences does nothing to change the situation. As I tell my son...judge the man for the type of man he is...not what he looks like. I can only change things by my actions, teaching my son, and attempting to positively influence those around me. Again, government is ill-equipped to handle these situations because it tends to exacerbate the problem by emphasizing the differences of people...rather than what unites us.

June 3, 2004 at 6:53 AM  
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