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Author: salaryguru Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 60140  
Subject: Re: The scale of income inequality Date: 3/29/2013 1:00 AM
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The author concludes, "Tax policy is driving these trends."

But I don't think he really makes that point. In fact, I doubt that this is true.

Don't get me wrong. It is clear that the ultra-wealthy have been the biggest (sometimes the only) beneficiaries of our crony-capitalist system for the past several decades so it only makes sense that they should pay more to support it, not less. But I don't think that's going to reverse the trend by itself.

Something else has gone terribly wrong. Throughout history there have been times when the wealthy and powerful become obsessed with gaining more wealth and power at the expense of everyone else. Egyptian pharaohs come to mind. Millions were enslaved to build pyramids, create gold and silver jewelery, cater the every whim of one man so that he could live in absolute decadent luxury. Rome, Greece, Carthage all suffered similar periods. This theme reappears throughout history. "Let them eat cake." And in the US, post civil war, pre-Great Depression, wealthy industrialists ruled - often in a ruthless, even bloody manner.

One important question comes to mind. Why don't the ultra-wealthy, ultra-powerful always turn into pharaohs? What would stop them? At the levels we are at today, the wealthiest elites can almost buy whatever they want. They haven't completely succeeded yet, but they do seem to own at least one major cable network and one political party. And they haven't been stopped yet. We really are just one Democratic party candidate scandal, or one poorly run Democratic party presidential campaign away from becoming the United States of FoxNews and the Koch brothers.

I don't see how fixing the tax structure to be more fair fixes that. We need a better class of ultra-wealthy elites, people who are not driven to be pharaohs but see that wealth is not a zero-sum game.
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