This editorial is almost too flawed to comment on."The countries
where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest tend to be those
that are the poorest."Wealth inequality is the REASON that
countries are poor. Just look at Mexico, a country with huge human capital, and
mineral resources, that is held back by a corrupt, wealthy, minority. Is this the latest in international trickle down economics?
"The countries where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest
tend to be those that are the poorest."Ummm, incorrect.According to the Gini co-efficient, a measure of inequality, the most
equitable countries are the Scandinavian countries. Rwanda has a World Bank Gini
co--efficient of 50.8, the U.S:45, Denmark:24. The higher the number, the more
unequal. Inequality has been increasing in the U.S. as a result of wealth
accumulation for the top .1%. Tax policy can affect inequality--such as low
capital gains tax rates, or the carried interest rule. Low/depressed wage rates
also increase inequality.
I look forward to Senator Bennett's next column, as he tends to be
thoughtful and insightful, but a few observations:The CIA using an
index to assess social stability inside nations called GINI, which is a measure
of economic inequality. Like golf, lower GINI scores are better, higher scores
are not desirable.Not surprisingly, the best score is Denmark, a
Scandinavian country, with a score of .23. Our neighbors to the north, Canada,
have a score of .32. Mexico is .48 - not so good. The US GINI score is .45,
much closer to Mexico's score than Canada's. This should
be concerning to anyone who thinks about the future of the US.Nations with greater economic inequality tend to have more social and health
problems. The epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson has done some impressive
statistical correlation across a great number of nations. His TED video is a
must, for those who care about these things.I work with a number of
Indians who note that the economic tiers in the US are a reminder to them of the
caste system that India is trying to eliminate. As mobility between our tiers
becomes more difficult, the analogy becomes more apt.
Great. We get a lecture on free markets, from the guy who used billions of our
tax dollars to bail out his cronies when their banks got in trouble. I'm
sure it will be fascinating.
In all cases, GOVERNMENT is the cause of poverty. GOVERNMENT creates the laws
under which companies operate. GOVERNMENT redistributes wealth. Who controls the oil in Mexico?Who dictated what workers would do
and what businesses would pay in Russia?Who created havoc so that
other nations would not trade in Vietnam and North Korea?When
GOVERNMENT dictates, people suffer. India is proof of that. Russia is proof of
that.Mr. Bennett is correct. Nit picking does not change the fact
that the people in Russia and India and China have prospered when GOVERNMENT
allowed free enterprise.
30,40,50,or 60,years ago,the U.S. was a prosperous, capitalist country. Wealth
then was much more equally distributed than it is now. Capitalism is not
incompatible with a decent income for most people. The richest people in the
country have rigged the system so that an ever increasing share of the wealth
goes to themselves. This system is not sustainable. When a few
people can live like Roman Emperors, wile the majority of the county struggles
to make a living, that majority will not continue to support the system. The
people at the top know this, and they will impose a police state on everyone
else to protect themselves. We are already travelling in this direction.
2 major flaws to this article -- 1. The Wealth IS being created. 85%
of it belongs to the 1% who have quadupled their earnings over the last 10
years.2. The Wealth IS already redistributed. Look at how the
uber-wealthy have sent that money to Communist Red China and grown THEIR ecoomy.
It's like the Communists have knocked one right over the
right-wing fielders narrow-minded heads without them even noticing it.
In America, anyone is allowed to own a business. Those who keep telling us that
business owners are "evil" and "corrupt" because those business
owners have risked capital to create a business (when MOST businesses fail
within a few years of their start-up), obviously have never risked capital to
start a new business. They demand that those who have risked money hand those
profits over to those who will not take a risk. That is not the way things are
done in America. There demands are the demands of those who believe in some
form of communism.A worker is entitled to be paid for the VALUE of
his work. He is not an owner. He has no right to demand a share of the profits
made by that business. If he wants a share of the profits, he needs to risk
part of his wages to buy shares of that business. Bob Bennett is
correct. Capitalism is correct. Anyone in America can join - if they are
willing to risk their money.
Former Senator Bennett: My only wish is that you had been willing to stand up
for that during your tenure as Senator. Your actions needed to correspond with
your words. Perhaps you did more than I know, but when I look at the policies
and the growth of government, spending, etc. it is difficult to believe that you
were for Free markets. Period. Not kind of, not with stipulations, not
temporarily, not until the squeaky wheel stops squeaking, but Free Markets, now
and forever. Free markets,not crony capitalism (which is what I believe you
supported), but Free Markets, the best tool for wealth creation the world has
Roland & LDS liberal: No one disagrees with you. Please get off this
mantra and return to fundamentals of why. It is government intervention and
crony capitalism and corruption of public officials that created the mess and
the only way to get rid of it is to return to Free Markets where the rich and
powerful can't manipulate the corrupt politicians to keep them rich and
powerful. Quit treating the slaves of the rich and powerful as if they
can't think and and act for themselves. They don't need to you to
enact some law to confiscate the wealth of these people. They need you to tell
them that their future is as bright as their faith if they will support the
principles that made it possible for the wealthy to become wealthy.
This article is really a microcosm of every pro-conservative economic policy
piece I have ever seen: caricature the world as a choice between two and only
two outcomes – laissez faire economics or abject poverty.Very
few serious political thinkers argue against free markets as the best means of
bringing people out of poverty and releasing creative human potential, but there
is a vast spectrum between the two ends of the Randian cartoon Bob sketches for
us here.For example – does it make sense to allow an economic
system to remain totally unchecked that rewards a small number of individuals
with ~10,000 times the wealth of millions of others (i.e., does anyone work
10,000 times as hard as millions of others)?Unless we are willing to
have these discussions in a rational manner, we will continue to elect
politicians who serve one small end of this spectrum, and given the flaws in
each of these one-sided views, these politicians will never command a filibuster
proof majority (something sadly necessary in our country today in order to
govern) and gridlock will be the new normal.
Re:MikeRichards"In America, anyone is allowed to own a business. Those
who keep telling us that business owners are "evil" and
"corrupt" Are you saying I can put up a sign at my house
tomorrow and whatever I want without govt involvement?What would you
call business owners like Bernie Madoff? Or the owners of Enron. There are
many, many examples of corruption which have caused not only economic harm, but
death."worker is entitled to be paid for the VALUE of his
work"Who determines the "value" of work? I suppose
Hollywood stars and professional athletes are more valuable to society than
teachers, firemen and law enforcement officers? Nobody is against
capitalism and a free market economy. But some of us recognize there needs to
be an "umpire," such as the govt to protect against harm caused by
greed, and unethical practices.
"The countries where the statistical gap between rich and poor is smallest
tend to be those that are the poorest."Denmark, Norway, and
Sweden (the nations that do have the lowest income inequality) are not poor and
Rwanda does not have one of the smallest statistical gaps.
@bandersen"the only way to get rid of it is to return to Free Markets
"Completely the opposite. It'd be even worse if we loosened
regulations. Let's take a simple example. Get rid of the minimum wage and a
company could pay their workers less, increasing wealth inequality.
To banderson: The facts contradict your argument. During the period I am
referencing 1940-80, taxes on the rich and on business were much higher than
they are now. 37% of American workers belonged to a union vs. about 7% now.
Glass-Steagall was in effect and the financial system was much more regulated
than it is today. In other words, the free market was less free, yet we obtained
better results for the vast majority of American workers.
All wealth is created from the mental and physical labor of human beings. Civilization made it possible for some individuals to benefit from the
wealth produced by others and thus the businessman was born, along with wars and
other forms of competition between businessmen. Early on the
technology was such that the creator himself was the beneficiary and his efforts
enabled him to live. Today technology allows businessmen to store up that
wealth and use it over and over without further compensation to the creator.
Not so for songs, writing and inventions, the worker who builds the machines
that duplicate his labor is paid only once. We need not do away with
private enterprise capitalism, however, the rules for capitalism needs to be
changed to compensate for the lost component.
Just remember you - "Free Market" capitalists, keep the Government out
of my affairs, Business is Babylon, anything for a buck, He
who has the most gold, makes the rules...Drugs and Prostitution
shoot the very first hole and slam the brakes on your Free Market fantasy world.
I would think attaining a better understanding of what the pope meant would be a
better place for Bob and anyone else to start. It's been facisnating to
watch conservatives response to this issue over the past few weeks. Nothing
fears the establishment more than the force of religon and it's potential
to stir the masses. It's almost as if Bob, Rush and the others speaking
out have a greater concern for what the political implications are on the
church's stance vs. what is really being said.
I grew up in the Soviet Union and know first-hand about the forced equality. In
one joke a Russian peasant receives a visit from an angel who tells him he would
give him anything, but he would give twice that much to his neighbor. The
peasant thinks, then tells the angel to poke out his eye.I think
both income equality or inequality can come from multiple causes, and either is
not necessarily bad. Instead of worrying about equality we should focus on
raising the standard of living for everybody. What is better - if you have no
car just like your neighbor, or if you have one but he has three?Consider the problem of equally dividing a pie. By the time you figured out a
fair way to divide it you could have baked ten more.
To Sasha Pachev: In 1950, or 1970, our society was much more equal than it is
now, yet it was nothing like the Soviet Union. No one is arguing that we should
emulate the Soviets or that everyone should have the same. But it is profoundly
destructive to society when a small group seizes control of all the
Getting back to Bob's argument, wealth is being created in America just
fine. GDP is growing and has been since 2009, when the recession officially
ended. The stock market has been rising since the crash, reaching a new all-time
high a few short days ago. But this wealth is not benefiting most Americans. When regulations are lax, tax rates are flattened, and corporations have
the opportunity to pay as little in wages as possible, by sending jobs overseas
or replacing them with either technology or higher productivity, less money goes
to the workers and more to the executives and owners. (This can also be
accomplished by not raising the minimum wage to match inflation.) Conservative commenters will argue that this is economic freedom. But freedom
for whom? If they somehow think this arrangement will lead to greater overall
economic health, they are deluding themselves. Conservatives decry the national
debt, but they do not recognize that a large part of the debt is a result of the
expanding inequality they support. Economically, they are the blind leading the
Sasha PachevProvo, UTConsider the problem of equally dividing a pie.
By the time you figured out a fair way to divide it you could have baked ten
more.1:41 p.m. Dec. 9, 2013========= But the
problem in the United States over the last 30 years has changed to, the 99% are busy baking those 10 pies for the 1%, and then left to fight
over how to slice up 1/100th of one slice, of one pie, amongst a hundred of
them.Jesus performed a lesser miracle feeding the multitudes.
@Sasha Pachev – “What is better - if you have no car just like your
neighbor, or if you have one but he has three?”Sasha - like
the article you’re turning the real world into a cartoon where the choice
becomes obvious. This was done in novels by your compatriot Ayn Rand –
perhaps there is something about the depressing Russian system (or landscape)
that predisposes people there to see the world in such sharp contrasts, and
perhaps that further explains the political pendulum swings your country has
undergone in the last 100 years.No one (except a communist) is
talking about confiscating your neighbor’s three cars or even a hundred
cars. But how would you feel if you had one and your neighbor had ten thousand?
Only the 1st hundred or so are acquired through their own hard work and
enterprise – after that, most of their wealth gains are simply economies
of scale (like compounding interest) doing their magic.Even Warren
Buffett - as committed a capitalist as anyone – recognizes that his wealth
is largely the product of good fortune and winning the genetic lottery.
Sasha Pachev.I’m not sure I understand your humor or your
logic, but I would like to hear more
@Tyler D "But how would you feel if you had one and your neighbor had ten
thousand?"It doesn't matter how anyone feels. They're
his cars. Be grateful that you live in a country where a man is free to own
This editorial falsey asserts that the most equal nations are the poorest. In
fact, economic inequality is lowest in wealthy nations - Europe, Australia, and
Canada. Contrary to Bennett's assertion, Rwanda has not achieved economic
equality - instead their economic inequality is slightly worse than ours. Just
good inequality by nation and you'll see the results. Of the
OECD nations, the US is 3rd most unequal. Economic inequality is a
moral, political and economic issues. More equal nations tend to experience
greater political and economic stability than less equal nations. More
importantly, economic equality arises as a result of policy choices. The
economy isn't a force of nature - it results from a combination of
individual and collective choices, which can include deliberate choices to
create greater economic equality. I also believe that Bennett did
not read the Pope's exhortation. Evangelii Gaudium does not say we should
abandon capitalism nor does it say capitalism is bad or evil. In it, the Pope,
in keeping with centuries of Catholic teaching, calls us to abandon the worship
of profits and wealth and to attend to create a more just society in which all
are fed, clothed, housed and cared for.
Re:Nate@Tyler D "But how would you feel if you had one and your
neighbor had ten thousand?"It doesn't matter how anyone
feels. They're his cars. Be grateful that you live in a country where a man
is free to own 10,000 cars.Me:it matters if tou helped build those
cars yet can't afford to feed or educate your children.
"India was not at war, but her socialist government was deliberately
patterned after the Soviet model and stifled growth. "Not sure
what Mr. Bennett is referring to here. India was not modeled on a soviet or
chinese form of socialism - it couldn't have been further from it.
India's issues relate back to the good old imperialist government and
policies of the British. It was probably one of the most class based societies
known to man at the time.India has been messed up... that is for
sure. But it was also a clear example of where class prevented mobility, and
in some cases still does. What you became was what your family cast allowed you
to be. It had nothing to do with Soviet style anything. If you want to see a
good example of british bureaucracy, look no further than India. Add the
existing cast and tribal culture...
Here's the rub. I agree with Bennett somewhat with his premise that we
need to create more wealth and we need to support some policies to do this.
Unfortunately, his weak scholarship has shot his argument in the foot. I would
have expected a person of his intellect to have a better application of
statistics and would actually know what government India has and has had. As
for Rwanda, that place is a mess and using it to argue either way is insipid
The comment about 10,000 cars piqued my curiosity.Since we are only
talking about personal wealth, first place belongs to the Sultan of Brunei with
a private collection of somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 cars worth $300
million.Of course with a net worth of $22 billion, his car fetish is small
potatoes compared to the employment and philanthropies he sponsors.Second place belongs to Harold LeMay who is setting up his 2,000 car
collection as a museum that is expected to contribute $34 million to the economy
of Tacoma, WA each year.Sorry, all you Jay Leno fans, but his measly
100 cars and 90 motorcycles pales by comparison.But if aircraft are
your passion, try the Evergreen Aircraft and Space Museum in McMinnville, OR.
With hundreds of exhibits as diverse as the Spruce Goose, ICBMs, SR-71, a 7
story IMAX, a firearms collection with everything from a Lewis & Clark air
rifle to modern weaponry, a 747 water-park, a beautiful woodland chapel
available for all occasions, a wooded scout camp, and dozens of educational
programs and scholarships all sponsored by the "biggest airline you've
never heard of".Don't you just love rich people who put
their wealth to work?
@banderson Keeping government out of the market like when GW bush
turned a blind eye to he banking and housing industries that "free
Bubble: the banking and housing industries have not been in a free market a
long time before you were born.The rest of the liberals: If you
were more concerned with the 99.9 percent and how to raise their wages, rather
than tearing down the wealth of the .0001 percent, I would listen and so would a
lot of others. When you spend frivolous time debating increasing the minimum
wage, as if raising the minimum wage is going to really help him/her, instead of
what will make some long term differences, I will listen. otherwise, you are
just playing the part of minion for the rich, as if raising the minimum wage
will really hurt them from increasing their already obscene wealth. You are in
reality just their perfect spokesmen to anesthetize the slaves.
@Truthseeker: "Me:it matters if tou [sic] helped build those cars yet
can't afford to feed or educate your children."Why would
you enter into that arrangement? Surely the Obama Economy can offer you a better
job than that. Obama's been president for five years now, and he pivoted to
jobs a whole bunch of times. He even focused like a laser on jobs. How can this
inequality still exist, with all the hope and change that's been going on?
SpocOgden, UTYou wrote:"Since we are only talking about
personal wealth, first place belongs to the Sultan of Brunei.....Of course with
a net worth of $22 billion, his car fetish is small potatoes compared to the
employment and philanthropies he sponsors."Spoc, the Sultan of
Brunei, literally, owns Brunei. Capitalism and self-made personal wealth do
notapply here.On another Note, I found Mr. Bennett's
lacking. However, I am very grateful he wrote it and the DN published it. Why?
The comments here have made me change my mind about the political and economic
perceptions of Utah. No doubt Utah is a very conservative state. However, after
reading so many well written responses pointing out Mr. Bennett's
inaccuracies I am glad to admit that I was wrong and that thinking and caring is
not dead in Utah.
@bandrson Every time we loosen regulations Oman industry that industry
ends up costing the American tax payers that iis just reality.
@ VSTYou wrote: "George Bush is gone my friend (almost five
years ago) – that is old history.There is a new master running the zoo
now."Yes, GB is gone, but his damaging economic mistakes were
quite harmful and deep and is still part of the current history. About a
"new master of the zoo", Boehner and the Tea party have created the
"No to Obama Cult" and they continue controlling the zoo, I mean,
congress.The Pope is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mr.
Bennett is preaching the gospel of Adam Smith: " he intends only his
own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner..., he intends
only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other eases, led by an
invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention..... By
pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more
effectually than when he really intends to promote it."Therefore, we should trust in "an invisible hand" that greed will
result in benefit to society.I rather trust in the social teachings
of Jesus. I will work for me and the community.
"Those who continue to dwell on the history of the past are doomed to die in
the past"….Gee, I could have sworn it was that those who
fail to learn from the past are doomed to relive it. I am not sure how you
"make a difference" if you don't know what it is you are trying to
be different than….what you are measuring against.I do agree
you can't let your past dictate your future though….
@VST"Baccus,So? What is your point?Those who
continue to dwell on the history of the past are doomed to die in the past
– they will never progress forward to “make a difference” in
the current-day world."Some mistakes are Oops! moments, others
are serious in their impact and the time that takes to mend the error.Reagan and Bush Sr.incurred in the biggest deficit in history until then.President Clinton left his presidency with a surplus.GWB wasted the
inherited prosperity of the country by making the same mistakes that Reagan and
his father did.A house can burn in about an hour. To rebuild that
house may take months, a lot of money and personal pain.We are still
rebuilding the biggest economy in the world. That is my point!!!. We need to
learn from the mistakes of the past in order not to commit them again, as GWB
did.DN what happened with my comment to which VST alluded?
I am scared. I actually feel myself leaning in the direction of agreeing with
As a business owner I am tired of being the brunt of whining masses.I enjoy the opportunity this county offers. I apy the taxes that are required
of me, pay my employees and other than that I do not need the press saying I am
giving all my money to the poor. When I make money the prifts stay
with my company or are taxed at a rate I choose as I take them out. I also
enjoy tax opportunities that others who do not own businesses, such as writing
off travel expenses, food expenses, rent and mortgage expenses, trucks and cars.
YEs there is a cost to me but it is mitigated by tax options.I buy
most of everything I need with pre tax income as a business expense. Please do
not tell me how my business is worse off for being here. It is where it can
make money, companies who are not efficient may make noises and complain and
blame government intervention. It is that same intervention that allows me and
my company to profit.