The problem with welthy

So I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across this post/conversation that I feel is very much worth sharing and discussing:

mostlyjudson

bernie sanders voters be like

What 16 trillion dollar debt?
I have no idea how my free stuff is going to appear. I just know I want it.
 
fullten

He’s raising taxes on the rich

mostlyjudson

He’s planning on stealing more from people… ok that makes sense. Just because *They* are rich doesn’t mean those people deserve to have more of their wealth stolen from them.

fullten

Yes because the wealthy billionaires that steal and undervalue labor, and companies that scapegoat paying taxes are really hurting

ohmygil

why even bring up the national debt if you don’t want people to pay taxes

fullten

I’m on the phone half asleep, but yeah, Thank you for real

hollowedskin

I don’t think OP understands what rich people are.
Like
they literally won’t even notice the taxes. It will make no impact on the wealthy at all. You could take literally 50% of the income of the top 10% and they would have to make zero changes to their lifestyle. 

Money to them is just a high score. They whinge when you take them down a bit but it makes literally no difference because they’re still winning the fucking game.

queercatmermaid

They do actually 100% deserve to have their money taken. People are starving to death because we think disability payments shouldn’t be enough to live on and minimum wage should be half of what you need to survive so yeah, I think millionaires and billionaires deserve to have a tiny fucking fraction of the money they could never spend in a fucking lifetime so I can fucking EAT AT ALL.

hollowedskin

I also don’t think people understand actually how much a billion dollars is. Like. it’s such an enormous number.

We think of numbers that big like a set of stairs, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million, ten million, a hundred million, a billion.

With each jump just being another step on the staircase and not realising HOW FUCKING HUGE each step is, and how vast the gap is between each of them.

Aside from the fact that even a million dollars is far more than you need, a billion is disgusting excess. There is no conceivable way one person could justify needing a billion dollars when you know HOW MUCH that is.

To put it in perspective:
a million seconds is 11 and a half days
a billion seconds is 31 years and 9 months.

Another example would be Warren Buffett: 
He made $US12.7 billion in 2013. That was his yearly income, not his total worth. Just his income for 2013.

That’s $37 million per day; 
$1.54 million per hour;  
$25,694 per minute 

How much do you get per hour? Is it enough to live on?
the minimum wage in america is $15,080 per year
That man makes more money per minute just for being alive, even in his sleep than most of you do in an entire year.  

also, just using seconds for reference again

15,080 seconds is just over 4 hours.
12.7 billion seconds is 402 years and 4 months.

phineaslightfootDeactivated

Can someone please make a staircase graph with dollar amounts?

I have discalcula and have a hard time conceptualizing numbers. 
I feel like that’s a great analogy and would help me.

hollowedskin

Ok so I tried and the number differences broke the weird little graphing thing I was using.

so here we have one thousand (1,000) not showing
one million (1,000,000) at one pixel

and one billlion (100,000,000) is the big pilon there.

I added fifty million in to show because that graph goes in increments of 50 million.

So how much is 50 million compared to a million though, it’s only one pixel? 

so smol.
But still we’re trying to get down to a thousand, (which is ten hundred-dollar-bills.)

So what does a million look like compared to a thousand?

oh. We broke it again. It will only go in 50 thousands. 
So we got to look at how big 50k is compared to our wad of hunjies.

ok.

This is why i like using the seconds instead of graphs… 
But I won’t give up here. 

the reason it’s so so hard to process is because a BILLION is an enormous number. there comes a point with numbers where we can’t actually process them and its just like…a lot. And more than “a lot” is still “a lot”.

So we need visual representation. Lets use pennies (thanks megapenny)

Imagine a penny. Just one.

Ok, you get a thousand pennies a week, and you end up with 52 thousand in a year. If they were dollars that’s a nice paying wage. 

with me?

now this is a thousand pennies. 

this is 50 thousand pennies (1 square foot solid of pennies! COOOOL) 
It’s roughly how many pennies you would have in a year if you got a thousand pennies a week.

This is a million pennies

And this is a billion pennies

(Which is 5 schoolbuss sized blocks of solid pennies.)

that is so many.

.

The problem with numbers is that we see them written like this

1
100
1000
1000000
1000000000
And we kind of subconciously go “well… it’s only increasing a little at a time,like a staircase. When the progression is more like 

1.

10……….

100………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. 
1000………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. 

And so on. which is not a staircase I want to climb because it starts off reasonable and then jumps to building size, then mountain size.
We ‘add a zero’ which is confusing because it’s timesing (x) not adding (+).

to make ten thousand dots, I would copy all the dots in my thousand pile, and paste them ten times. to make a hundred thousand, I would copy all the dots in my ten-thousand-dot pile and paste them ten times. thats what “times by ten” means. 

That’s what adding a zero is, it’s multiplying (x) the last number we had by ten. (i also say timesing: as in copy and pasting it ten times)
try it with a word document and see how many pages it takes to get you a billion dots, and how many it takes for 15 thousand (minimum wage anual)

hopefully this was at least somewhat useful.

Anyway, the point is that if we imagine them as dollar coins, and one square block is established as good enough to live by a year, there’s no reason one individual deserves 5 bus-worths.

phineaslightfootDeactivated

Omg this is excellent!
Thank you so much, that does really help!
The pennies in particular

Check out this awesome visual representation of how messed up our society is, everyone!

soundlyawake

I literally was about to google a visual representation of this and then THERE IT WAS IN THE POST

nierfenhimer

Seriously. It’s time for people to wake the fuck up. I’m sick of the godsdamned wilful blindness.

stappls

We had this conversation in my sociology class.

If you dont understand the wealth distribution in america, here you go

This is what OP and America thinks it is

What it actually is. Evaluate your life. Evaluate your income. This is why we need to take from the 1%

The 1% makes so much money its off the grid. 

If you stack the 1% money next to eachother it would be like this

That 0% is your college students and people working fast food. Its below the poverty line. So taxing the 1% wont do shit to him.

isiwashere

This post got so incredibly awesome I’m almost glad OP posted it in the first place-almost

littleredqueen
the graphs stappls posted is exactly what my econ instructor shared with my class three years ago. that graph is what made me even MORE pissed off about income distribution. icing and sprinkles on the god damn cake.

I really feel this is an issue not enough people understand. Especially the last 3 images. Let’s look at them again. This is what people think wealth distribution is, or at least closer to what people agree it should be:

Here’s what it really is:

That’s a huuuge difference. And it’s a problem. The first of those images makes sense, and is far from un-achievable. There’s many, many ways we can make it happen. The problem isn’t that people shouldn’t be rich or poor. The problem is that the people who are rich are not trying to simply be better off, they’re trying to hoard and monopolize the worlds wealth. It’s insane. It’s like they’re toddlers insisting everything they see is theirs whether it really is or not, and not letting anyone else have it.

The whole point of “trickle down” economics was that the wealthy were supposed to turn around and pay that excess to the rest of us by creating jobs etc. but that didn’t actually happen. Instead of letting their excess trikle down when we allowed them to have it, they’ve been hoarding it to themselves. We allowed this “trickle down” economics to exist, and they did not hold up their end of the deal; now that people are getting the government to step in and make them hold their end of the bargain by taxing them, these wealthy one percenters are crying foul and bitching that we’re making the government “steal” what they say is their “hard-earned” money. Except they didn’t actually earn 70% – 80% of that wealth shown in the second and third pictures; the hard working people at the bottom that they’re stepping on are the ones who worked hard and actually earned it, but they essentially tricked us into letting them have it instead.

I’m all for a healthy kind of capitalism where ingenuity and hard work can make you wealthy; what I’m against is this sick form of corporate aristocracy that thinks it deserves all the wealth just because of who they are. As long as even the lowliest of us has a living and decently comfortable income, then it actually makes being wealthy at all that much more special and honest than it is right now. Imagine a world where no matter what your walk of life or who you are, everyone on the whole planet has a minimum living income of… let’s say, just as an example, $20/h and basic medical benefits. When you think about it, that’s not a huge amount and there’s still a lot of room for earning a higher income, but it’s high enough that people aren’t living in destitution and poverty like we have now. Also imagine that college and university tuition is lowered drastically. We can leave all other costs of living where they are right now.

Think about what that does for the economy and the work force. None of us would have to worry about having enough to eat or having a roof over our head. We’d all be spending money in stores, which increases the profits of the wealthy and pays more money in sales taxes to the government. More people would be getting better educations, meaning they could continue to pursue better careers and higher incomes. We’d have less people burning out so fast and more of society would be productive in general.

Because so many more people would not be burnt out from just trying to pay rent and have anything to eat at all, they’d be happier and more free to actually fix crap that is wrong in the world. A lot of business owners are under the insane assumption that if people got paid a minimum living wage amount regardless of whether they’re actually working or they’re unemployed on welfare or permanent disability income assistance, they’ll be lazy and not work and it would hurt the economy. I think they assume that because that’s the lifestyle they want – to not work, be lazy, and yet have enough money to do pretty much whatever they want. They don’t seem to grasp that the large majority of people actually want to work. They want to be productive and help the economy by spending money. they don’t want to just be lazy all the time.

Having a $12/h to $15/h salary-like income as the bare minimum for every person, even people on welfare/disability ($12 for welfare, $15 for permanent disability), with a minimum wage of $20/h, really isn’t as huge an amount of money as they imply it is. That’s only $24,960, $31,200, and $41,000 a year, respectively. When you think about it, that’s not so huge but still far better than a lot of people live with currently. If we, hypothetically, put an income “cap” of as much as $500,000 a year (I’ll go into what I mean by that in a moment), that’s still huge room for people to strive to better themselves and their incomes. Also, basic medical isn’t as all-inclusive as the wealthy seems to think it is. Canada has basic medical for it’s citizens, but there’s so much that it doesn’t cover. What it does do is keep people able to work for the most part, and offers that emotional security of knowing you’ll be okay in an emergency; peace of mind that improves productivity overall. It also leaves plenty of room for people to continue wanting a better income for themselves.

I honestly wonder if there should be an income “cap” that basically says an individual person cannot keep more than a specific amount of personal income each year regardless of what or how many sources of income they have, which would include salaries and contracts. Sports stars wouldn’t be making millions of dollars in annual contracts, and CEOs wouldn’t be voting themselves a pay hike into the millions a year anymore. Some people might look at that and say that’s unfair and will stunt business growth. My response: 1) how is making $5 million a year as a CEO that works 15 hours a week more fair than the construction worker slaving for 70 hours a week for minimum wage just to afford rent with a slum landlord? and 2) I said an individual person, not a business. I don’t care what the US courts say, corporations are not people and don’t deserve the same rights. We need to throw the laws saying that out the window entirely.

Personally, I think $500,000 a year for personal income, totally separate from any corporation, is more than good for a cap for a person. I feel no one individual person needs an annual take-home pay cheque of more than that (though that gives couples and families lots of room, because I’d say keep that limit as “per individual” which means a couple each earning $500,000 a year actually brings $1,000,000 into their household). Also, perhaps set the income tax at the same for everyone; the same as an average credit card interest rate, somewhere between 15% and 22%, then have that the tax every individual person pays on their income. Tax large corporations separate from people too, giving the businesses higher taxes and tax brackets based on overall profit margins.

Some might say that doesn’t work with how, legally, a sole proprietor is the same as their business. I say that there’s solutions around that. When a small business is making over $500,000 a year, it’s not so small and it needs to not be a sole proprietorship anymore. Or perhaps the government can not count anything that is considered a “business expense” such as the commercial space used or employee wages towards that $500,000 limit; we already get business expenses deducted from our personal income taxes, so that wouldn’t be hard.

There’s a lot of big companies and corporations that, if their CEOs were limited to that kind of cap, the company would have way more profits to distribute to things like better employee wages and benefits, expansion, research and development, donating to tax deductible charities, aiding in funding community infrastructure improvements and programs, etc. And these people making over $500,000 a year would be able to keep their title as wealthiest people in the world. Even better, instead of them competing to see which of them has the bigger private bank accounts, they should be competing for which one’s company had the best growth or best overall profits; they can still take credit for it and call it part of their own wealth, even though they themselves don’t get to take it home and spend it on themselves beyond that income cap.

Now imagine if every country in the world did something like this. The rich are still rich, the poor become productive and happier, everyone’s buying more, the economy grows, taxes become a more stable income for government, communities become more prosperous, etc. Even small businesses could afford paying a $20/h minimum wage when everyone is getting that which makes everyone able to buy more. And if people are getting paid that money, they definitely will buy more. People would buy so much that every business, big and small, would have to hire more to keep up with the demands; there goes unemployment, eh? The people who really are lazy and don’t want to bother working would be obvious, but they’d still be spending and adding to the economy by paying sales taxes. Plus, they’re the minority; the vast majority of people on income assistance are hungry to be working, but there’s no jobs because the rich are hoarding their wealth instead of using it the way they had promised us for decades to use it.

The simple truth is the world and the worldwide economy is broken. There are lots of ways to fix it, but nothing can change as long as the wealthiest people continue hoarding their treasures like the dragon Smaug.

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