Gas Prices

If unemployment figures and other important economic statistics were plastered on easy-to-read signs at every intersection, maybe dum-dums would finally realize how bad income inequality has gotten in this country and get mad for the right reasons. Of course, that would require them to understand the difference between average and median, so I’m just gonna stop that line of thought.

Put your diaper-pants on tomorrow morning! A shit joke is coming up in Friday’s cartoon!

17 thoughts on “Gas Prices”

  1. As an economist, I find it amazing that that so many, like yourself it seems, see income inequality as one of the greatest evils. I understand average and median; I get it. Incomes are skewed far to the extreme wealthy. Is that necessarily a bad thing? They worked smart, took risk, and found a way to become wealthy, suppling what the people demand. There’s nothing to be angry about. 99% didn’t steal it from anybody (1% would be your thieves and politicians lol).

  2. @Clark

    As an economist, maybe you should think about the numerous tax breaks afforded to the rich. Trickle down doesn’t work.

    Whilst many of the rich may not have inherited, and worked hard to get there, and some may not have even been born into a situation that was advantageous to becoming wealthy, the fact remains that the tax system is skewed in their favour, and the industries that the super rich generally work in. That’s what fuels income inequality. That and inadequate regulation of said industries.

  3. Also, gcruse – yeah, let’s target one guy as a key example of how the american economic system works.

    Let’s also forget the fact that he acknowledges that this is the case and has pledged to donate the majority of his eventual inheritance to ending poverty, along with many others in similarly advantageous positions (Buffett).

  4. By the way, inflation has a major role in income distribution. It’s bad to everyone, but it’s worth to the poorer than to the richer. Actually, inflation is not bad to everyone, it’s quite good to the government and the banksters. It takes everybody’s purchasing power and transfer to those which are the first to receive the newly created money (namely, the government and the banksters)

    Not to mention all barriers to entry that Fed regulations create, making it easier to big banks to have higher and higher profits.

    If you really worry about ‘unfair’ income distribution, you should do just like those don’t-thread-on-me-t-shirt-folks do, and ask for the end of the Fed.

  5. @gcruse and @Clark

    Common misconception. Most of the super wealthy did NOT work that much harder to be wealthy. Most of the super rich just got lucky. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (the two mentioned here) are prime examples. Both freely admit to their luck. Most people don’t realize but Buffet went BROKE trading a number of times. But he got lucky in people giving him more to try again until he hit on one good “roll of the dice/market.”

    The problem is not really the inequality in itself. It’s the power and bias in helping the rich stay rich and get even richer that is the problem. Case in point: bailing out the super wealthy after the market crash and putting the bill on the middle income via housing valuations, Freddie/Fannie, and overall national debt.

  6. Actually, Bill Gates was born wealthy. His father was a lawyer and his mother was on a bank board of directors. His grandfather was a bank president. He went to school at a very exclusive private school. And it looks like his parents paid for him to attend Harvard.

    Yes, he’s smart. Yes, he’s hard-working. Yes, he also was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of it. But he also had a big boost from his had-a-bunch-of-money parents and their connections.

    It does take more than envy. If Bill Gates had been the son of day laborers, Microsoft wouldn’t exist.

  7. Well, first of all, I said worked smarter, not harder. They got rich because they found a way in our chaotic world to do so. I never mentioned trickle-down. I just reject the premise that they got rich at the expense of the lower classes. No, you can’t expect to necessarily work hard and be successful. You may succeed and you may fail. There are those that rose to the top from very humble beginnings and there are those that remained at the top because their families were at the top. Just look at the descendants of Sam Walton or the Kennedy’s. College education isn’t always a necessity either. Standard of living continues to rise, though much less substantial as during the late 1800s.

    Even if the rich get tax breaks as you say (we do have a progressive tax system though where the rich pay a higher percentage, albeit with flaws), that’s money you’re not forcibly taking away from them that they can invest. The rich save/invest more as a percentage of their income than the lower/middle classes, which helps to aid one of our biggest problems: the savings deficit. We’ve been evolving into a credit-hungry nation instead of a saving-nation like in the early 1900s. The rich are needed to help remedy that. They money they invest hoping to earn interest helps prop up companies that you and I use to obtain the goods and services we want.

    The rich pay more as a percentage of their income than most Americans, even with deductions. I still don’t see any justification for anger at the rich. If you want to argue against bailouts, I’m with you. We shouldn’t bailout anyone in an ideal world.

  8. I also want to add that there are more lower/middle class people than rich. In terms of the electorate, the rich have very little say. The best they can do is fund advertising to support their causes. Just don’t be surprised if one day you become a multi-millionaire and the less fortunate come knocking at your door demanding a larger percentage than they pay.

    Fannie/Freddie was/is a huge problem. They had to be bailed out because they failed and were quasi-government operated like the USPS. They took on risk burdens that reasonable banks never would have. Banks were idiotic to trust that the government was going to make everything ok but the potential profit seemed too enticing. My bank, Wachovia, was brought down as a result. Bundling bits and pieces of mortgages together with scotch tape and selling them as securities was very lucrative for a while… until you come to collect.

    Anyway, as for the Tea Party, to which this cartoon is referring, I would suspect their anger would be targeted at the fact that we haven’t been very friendly about drilling for oil in America or its waters. If we had, they would argue that it may have offset some of the costs associated with an Arab world uprising creating supply shocks. The Tea Party just likes less government restrictions and less government spending. In a recession, they favor weathering the troubled times over deficit spending and raising the debt to make it all hurt less. They think the free market can do a better job fairly managing a recession than the government can. Which is the better alternative isn’t always clear; that’s what people like me are trying to figure out.

  9. Let this be a futile attempt to whatever, but…

    Big money is inherited. Big contracts are signed with governments. Big business is a private club. Oh, yes, there are a few counter-examples but to consider them the norm is to be naive, at least.

    Only a slave mentality could rationalize and say “he’s my master because he’s better!(they’re rich because they worked hard, etc, etc…)” The guy making millions is selling the same crap like anyone else. Only he has the right connections.

    And for a moment let’s assume that all the .01%, .1%, 1% are self-made. That is not the issue! Uncontrolled growth, rapid and unidirectional. While the rest of the indicators vary. While the rest of the %% get weaker. There’s only one thing that behaves in a similar manner. Cancer.

    You’ll have to excuse my English as I’m from Europe. For me is sad to see USA digging deeper into this Stockholm syndrome.

  10. Clark thinks that the voters are more influential than big money in American politics. Isn’t that just adorable?

  11. So how about George Dumbya Bush? Is he a living breathing example of the power of money to buy power? He was a C student, he can barely string three words together coherently, he failed in every business venture that Daddy’s cronies steered his way, but he winds up president. Do you think that his senator grandpa and his president father and all those rich Walkers and Bushes might just have had a little more to do with it than any native talent he is hiding from the world?

  12. Just to be clear some of your facts are wrong, Clark. The rich no longer pay a higher percent of their income. The dollar amount is huge. Sure. But once you’re a billionaire the salaries of entire metropolitan areas are merely a rounding error.

    They high tax brackets are only for SALARIES over 170k. If you check out most CEOs they take much lower salaries and take stock options which thanks to the destruction of the the entire set of capital gains taxes are now at the same taxation level as if they only took home a salary of 17-35k. Which doesn’t even remotely take into account the fact that while the highest tax rate might be 35%, no one is paying that unless they want to. There are exemptions for everything. My effective federal tax rate was 6% last year. Shockingly enough I make significantly more then $8000/year.

    Then you take into account the fact that most states have property, sales, and gas taxes. Taxes that don’t deviate that much based on income (as you say the more money you make the more you save, thus the less sales tax is a percentage of your tax bill, and I don’t think the super-rich drive that much more, nor are there very many billion dollar homes). The poor in Texas, for example, pay well over 35% of their income in taxes once you add all this up, but oddly enough they think the rich are paying more than them.

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