I noticed the graphic about CEO salary increases and wanted to share that this is a primary difference in USA and Japanese. Their CEO salaries are not nearly as inequitable as they are in the USA.
RE: You land graphic is interesting but land values differ. For example the land given BACK to the native population is about as rugged and worthless as any land in our nation. So land ownership does not indicate wealth. Just saying...
@TheTheologiansCafe - You haven't picked up in the half dozen posts I've done on this yet, have you? We are not JEALOUS OF THE RICH. We are pissed that laws are being passed that make the rich richer and the poor poorer. And your "just work harder" concept? If that were truly the case, the man working three jobs wouldn't be just making ends meet for his family, he'd be buying them a luxury yacht.
@TheTheologiansCafe - i'm far from jealous. i have no desires to be rich, because i'm not interested in having more money than i need to live comfortably. but i do believe that certain things should be offered to everyone equally regardless of income. education and health care come to mind first. and obviously, it's no longer as easy to go from poor to rich as it used to be. if it were, low- and middle-class incomes would have risen at the same rate as upper-class incomes. actually, it's becoming more common for middle-class adults to drop down to the lower class.
and i agree with GL... nowadays, wealth has little to do with how hard you work. here's a great example: the highest-paid CEO in 2011 was Hemsley of United Health Group. a majority of his compensation came from stocks in UHC, rather than actual income given to him because of the work he puts in. link: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/12/ceo-compensation-11_Stephen-J-Hemsley_NBHE.html one of the reasons why the wealthy are able to remain so wealthy is because income from investments are taxed at a far lower rate. there's no reason for it to be that way.
Diversity not equality governs our universe along with cause and effect.
Likewise the governing principle in politics is equality of liberty, not equality of income.
In a free society like America's all a person has to do is put down any desired figure on paper, say $10,000,000 and then go out and earn it. So income inequality in America is a reflection of the diversity of ambition that is completely normal in any human population.
A government that is strong enough to determine equality of resources is a tyranny that turns it's people into serfs. And that is the type of government that has plagued mankind until America was designed and built by the Founding Fathers.
@PrisonerxOfxLove - "In a free society like America's all a person has to do is put down any desired figure on paper, say $10,000,000 and then go out and earn it. So income inequality in America is a reflection of the diversity of ambition that is completely normal in any human population." Bull shit! And that comes from one who retired in the top %10.
@TheTheologiansCafe - this would make sense if it weren't for the following facts: (1) hard work doesn't equate to wealth or success; (2) many rich people inherited their wealth or a significant portion of their wealth; (3) jealousy isn't the issue, equity is the issue; (4) racism, sexism, etc. prevent many people from experience wealth that is proportionate to their "hard work". For example, the highest paid individual at my old hospital was not the world-class neurosurgeon who was on call 24 hours a day, worked 110 hours a week, and went to school for 2 decades; it was an administrator who barely graduated college and did virtually nothing but play golf with alumni and attend fundraising dinners.
Why is the government creating policies that permit executive pay skyrocket at an unparalleled rate compared to the income of 99.9% of Americans? That's the issue. There is no defense for it - there is no evidence executives are working harder, creating more wealth, or doing anything that warrants their increased pay other than effectively controlling legislators (which is inherently anti-democratic and against the original intent of the Founding Fathers, the people many conservatives profess to love).
Anyways, the conservative desire to idolize the rich and turn a blind eye to their many sins makes absolutely no sense. For example, it's an undeniable fact that the rich are primarily responsible for the economic collapse (bankers, wall street investors, and, to a lesser extent, politicians). Not "black welfare mamas," illegal immigrants, or any of the other asinine scapegoats conservatives have concocted over the years to avoid making obvious realizations about the world we live in. It makes even less sense when you consider the conservative aversion to "elites" (who are more elitist than the wealthy executives?).
This belief system is not based on fact or logic, but the selfish and infantile belief that, one day, they (the conservative true believer) will enter the ranks of the rich. Good luck combating the infrastructure the wealthy elite have constructed to prevent this from happening (e.g., monopolies, contractual non-compete clauses, etc.). Some of us actually work with/know these people, so we know how depressingly naive this belief system is.
We can point fingers and play class warfare all we want. It still doesn't take away the fact that no matter how much these corporations and rich folks donate to campaigns, WE'RE still the ones voting politicians into office. The same politicians that make the laws. We're also the ones buying the products of the CEOs, paying their salaries. We're also the stock holders allowing this stuff to happen with the companies we own shares of.
So really, there's no one to blame but ourselves if we're going to complain about it.
@PrisonerxOfxLove - I earned quite a bit more than $50,000 per year, but my father worked much harder than I did and he never earned anywhere near $50,000 per year. He didn't work any less hard, I wasn't smarter than he was - but I was a lot luckier. There were guys in my company who worked as hard as I did, but they never became CEO.
@DEISENBERG - If you do the right things, you can be as rich as you want, that's the bottom line. The whole "Look at the disparity in wealth - what a scandal!" is just BS preached by failures who are jealous of people who work smart, manage their money well, and never give up.
Like master math teacher Jaime Escalante once said, "Anybody can do it!"
@Asunderfrom - my point was that a CEO is paid mostly in stock options, which are not taxed the same way as income (something directly related to how hard they work). if a CEO's work really is that valuable, why pay them in stock? why not let their income reflect their hard work more accurately, assuming they do work hard?
also, you'll need to convince me that a CEO works harder than someone like my mother, who has two jobs averaging 70 hours a week.
@PrisonerxOfxLove - I guarantee I make 4-5 times more money than you (if you are a teacher at any level), and I believe strongly that the disparity in wealth is an issue because, well, I understand history and basic economic theory.
Also, the inspirational speakers you mention (specifically, Tony Robbins) are morons and give terrible financial advice. Just saying as someone who was wealthy enough to afford a Morgan Stanley financial adviser straight out of college due to my parents' wealth.
Remember, I am rich, so I am always right! You have to agree with me.