Well done to the Independent here, oh yes, well done

In the United States, wealth is extremely concentrated among the wealthy.

Gee, ya think?

It’s an odd marketing strategy really. When hiring US freelances to write pieces go for those who would fail to get into Salon on the grounds of excessive partisanship and insufficient linguistic skills. You know, those beaten to the brass ring by Amanduh.

Unconvinced it’ll work really.

20 thoughts on “Well done to the Independent here, oh yes, well done”

  1. Indeed, try this:

    “I hope Biden continues to embrace proposals from Biden and Warren’s excellent policy platforms”

  2. Wealth can be concentrated amongst the wealthy to different degrees.The top 10 % of the country might have 90% of the wealth or 50% of the wealth. Not so very complicated is it?
    I wonder about this sort of material though .The US is always compared to other countries as if it was the UK but bigger. Its more like Europe but smaller, so when you are making claims about the distribution of wealth or social mobility ( it is low in the US supposedly ),I really doubt its very meaningful.
    I have to admit the rest of the post was a bit beyond me ..brass ring ?

  3. It’s that reference to ‘The Common Good’ that always worries me. That what’s yours is mine, sort of thing.

  4. Noah Berlatsky is the author of Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism. He edits the comics and culture site the Hooded Utilitarian and is a contributing writer for the Atlantic

    Lol. I don’t think the revolution is going to go the way Comrade Berlatsky thinks it will.

  5. To consider the distribution point further, what % of wealth do you expect the top 10% to have if you have a very simple model of society wherein

    – young people largely don’t save because income roughly equals outgoings
    – as you get older income increases, so does spending but less so, hence savings begin to accumulate as does the value of your pension scheme
    – beyond a certain level of savings you can get a mortgage so now have property wealth (and debt, but paying off your mortgage is gradually chipping away at this so while rent was pure outgoings your mortgage capital payments count somewhat like additional savings)
    – by the time you retire you’ve benefitted greatly from exponential growth in your investments
    – we might factor in care costs in old age that eat away at wealth again

    Obviously this model is far too simplistic, ignoring inherited wealth, heterogeneous income levels and paths (not everyone’s wages experience substantial rises over time), redistributive measures government takes etc. But it would give an idea how much wealth inequality is just a matter of age and experience.

    With the young’uns starting with nothing (maybe even uni debt if you want to throw that in) and the old’uns sitting on forty years of savings and investment returns, that inequality alone must be pretty enormous.

  6. Silly sod.

    Ha ha! British humour. You mean “creepy male feminist pervert who hasn’t been outed as a rapist yet”, da?

    My humour more like food. Not everyone get it.

  7. The bit you quote isn’t all that bonkers, Mr W. A little while ago I saw the claim (can it be true?) that median wealth in the UK is little different from median wealth in the US – it’s average wealth that differs a lot. That would be consistent with US plutocrats being “extremely” wealthy, in the sense of being much wealthier than our plutocrats.

    Mind you, I doubt that such figures are worth much – how the devil does anyone know enough to talk usefully about wealth? Tax tends to fall on income and expenditure, not wealth. Maybe it’s easier with a plutocrat whose wealth is mainly in shares of one quoted company, but how would anyone else know that that’s true?

  8. The median wealth claim wouldn’t surprise me all that much to be honest. The bottom 50% of the wealth distribution usually have perhaps 5% or so of all wealth. The bottom 30 to 35% usually have negative wealth – in aggregate. So, median wealth is going to be something like someone with £5,000 or maybe £20,000 or summat like that free and clear. Really wouldn’t surprise me to find that that’s a general number that applies across most rich country economies. A bit of equity in a home, the beginnings of a pension pot, something like that, that’ll be the median wealth number.

  9. ‘it establishes a precedent for holding the rich accountable and forcing them to contribute to the common good’

    Accountable? Meaning the rich are flawed, justifying any action against them. Killing them and taking their stuff will hold them accountable. See: Stalin and Kulaks.

    If you can take 6%, the next year year, you take 20%, then the third year you kill them and take their stuff. Over 50% of the people are for it.

    Over 50% of the people think Berlatsky is a turd. Ready the gallows!

  10. dearieme – Yarp. I dunno to what extent it’s even worth looking at aggregate USA figures at all. What does someone in NYC or Seattle have in common with somebody from North Dakota? There’s a good chance they don’t even speak the same language.

    There’s probably bigger variations in earnings v. the cost of living in the US than in any Old World country. You can buy a mansion in many parts of America for the price of an ex-council flat in most of Britain, while there’s people on six figure salaries in the USAnian coastal bughives living in gilded shoeboxes.

  11. There’s probably bigger variations in earnings v. the cost of living in the US than in any Old World country.

    Yep. A mate of mine who lives in Chicago is thinking about moving to somewhere suburban, about an hour’s drive from the CBD. He pinged me a listing for a 5 bed house with a large swimming pool, a huge outdoor entertainment area – featuring hot tub, firepit and37-burner bbq – and an acre of lawn for just over $400k. His current pad is a 3-bed townhouse which cost about the same. If he moved to San Francisco that sort of wedge would get him a studio/1-bed and he wouldn’t get an extra cent in salary.

  12. Surprisingly enough the article is correct as far as the Warren proposal goes so it looks as if US billionaires would be required to hand over 6% of their net worth annually. Using a “reverse compounding estimate” I reckon that would pretty much clean out the likes of Bezos, Gates, Buffett and Bloomberg in much less than a single generation.

    I initially assumed it would be a 10 yearly charge. The actual proposal would be several orders of magnitude greater than, say, the French IFI.

    Another little gem in her proposal is a one-off 40% charge on all assets over £1bn if the individual goes ex-pat.

  13. Wealth is not easily quantified (Is a million-dollar shoebox in Manhattan the same amount of wealth as a million-dollar beach house in S California?). Some types of wealth are wholly intangible, like having a large network of supportive friends and family, or having skills which guarantee employability even in a major recession.

  14. “Another little gem in her proposal is a one-off 40% charge on all assets over £1bn if the individual goes ex-pat.”

    Isn’t that what the Nazis did? Hand over all your assets and we’ll let you leave the country.

  15. Well that policy would have one major benefit. The contributions of the very wealthy to the Democrat party would shrink very dramatically indeed. They’d be learning what austerity is.

    I think Biden’s a chump, but he’s not that doolally.

    It’s a Sanders platform because it would never be put to an actual vote. He can run on all sorts of shit. For Biden to be elected, his policies have to be somewhat workable.

    The day before such a policy came in, every billionaire in the country would leave. No-one is going to have that sort of money just taken from you.

  16. “Surprisingly enough the article is correct as far as the Warren proposal goes so it looks as if US billionaires would be required to hand over 6% of their net worth annually.”

    It’s not that simple. The wealth of Gates et al is in the stock they hold in their corporations. If compelled to give the government 6% of its value, they would have to sell some. Selling 6% of a gazillion shares will crush the stock price. So the government gets 6%, but the net worth of Gates et al is cut in half.

    Yippee ki yay, mother fvcker.

  17. Moving money out of the U.S. is legally sticky. At least for plebs. Wealthy might have a way, but it is not known to the masses.

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