Thursday, May 03, 2012

Death of a Salesman’s Dreams -

Death of a Salesman’s Dreams -

I don't have a lot of time to go dig into this, but this somewhat artsy column reduces "the purported death of the middle class" to basically this paragraph:
Then again, in 1949, the top marginal tax rate was 82 percent. The drop in that rate to 28 percent by 1988 helped create a stratum of people who could afford to pay high prices for everything from inflated theater tickets to health care and college tuition.
The assumptions in such a view are vast -- a few must be "income re-distribution is a PRIMARY function of Government, AND it works!".  Also,  "tax rates have little or no effect on people's motivation to make money". I especially like the last -- I'd be MUCH more inclined to look for a job to supplement my pension if it wasn't for the fact that 40-50% of money I made would go to taxes (fed, state, local, FICA, etc). Why oh why would one go to work for half of what you earn if you are already reasonably comfortable?

How about if you only got 18 cents on the dollar (the proud 82% tax rate)? Very short answer, they wouldn't. Very few people that have achieved reasonable food, shelter, clothing and very basic recreation are going to work for even 50 cents on the dollar, virtually none are going to work for 18 cents on the dollar.

In support of my way of thought, I found the following -- in a paper dedicated to pointing out the EVILS of "income inequality". Note that since 1922 the top 1% has bounced primarily between 30-40% of national wealth. The "best" for re-distribution was the wonderful '70's ... a period of economic disaster that we do seem rather intent on returning to.

Otherwise, it is what you expect -- the wealthy own the stocks, bonds and property where the rest of us work. When the economy is good, the value of American Industry (the stock market) goes up, so their percentage goes up. When the economy sucks, their valuation drops. When you wound the goose that lays the golden eggs, you get less eggs ... news at 11!

Our "elite" generally has such a lack of understanding of economics that they believe the "messages" they get from a Broadway play -- one could only hope they would direct us via Horoscopes, it would be a distinct improvement!

Table 3: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in theUnited States, 1922-2007.
 Bottom 99 percentTop 1 percent
Sources: 1922-1989 data from Wolff (1996). 1992-2007 data from Wolff (2010).

Note, by this chart, at least this measure of the dreaded "inequality" was WORSE during the reign of the glorious Slickster, he whom walked the halls of power with his pants around his ankles! Naturally, the media was MUCH less concerned about it in those days!

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