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Subject:  Re: OT: Wealth Date:  3/7/2013  2:16 PM
Author:  elann Number:  242144 of 269681

The government has no role in this other than to assure other people aren't stealing from you.

Right. And there are countless ways to steal.

I admire people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and many others who built businesses from scratch and made huge fortunes. They deserve every dollar they made. But don't kid yourself that you or anyone you know can do the same through hard honest work. You have as much chance of doing that as being a superbowl quarterback.

The problem is that the ranks of the super-rich are getting filled with people who steal their way to riches. Bank chief executives, who nearly destroyed this country's economy and should have gone to jail, are instead collecting $50 million incomes. They stack their boards of directors with similar executives who are part of a "scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" club, and hire compensation consultants to justify their "above average" incomes. Yes, they are all above average.

Thirty years ago an executive at the same size bank, with the same profit margins, would have made $5 million. Today they make ten times more in real dollars, while most hard working Americans aren't making a dime more for the same job than they did thirty years ago (inflation adjusted).

These executives are stealing their riches from their stockholders and their employees, and the political system has been stacked to protect their stealing. In addition they pay far less in taxes than they did thirty years ago, and the economy has not benefited one iota from the change.

The debate about wealth is miscast as a black or white choice between unfettered capitalism and pure socialism (what used to be called communism). The truth is we're all socialists. Most of us support social security, medicare, free public education, unemployment insurance, progressive income tax rates, etc, etc. It's just a matter of degree. Some countries have more aggressive social policies than others. A country that chooses unrestricted unregulated free markets is as doomed as one that chooses pure communism. Among the shades of gray of socialism, I think the Swedes have a better answer than we do. And before ignorantly jumping all over that statement, I suggest reading about what they're really doing -

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