World, Writing, Wealth discussion

101 views
Wealth & Economics > It's expensive to be poor

Comments Showing 1-50 of 71 (71 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Inspired by the interview of Dan Schulman - PayPal's CEO, that I've just read, who says that PayPal shall extend it's helping hand to those needy, who aren't too favored by banks and trad financial system, I thought I'd bring it up here. It's actually pretty expensive to be poor.
Internet is abundant with examples, why. Here is just a randon one:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-...

There are many more. The more prestigious your credit card, the less interest you pay on the credit, the more fly miles you accumulate. Here is an example of free flights for life:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/201...

The billionaire would get a jumbo interest on his huge deposit, while a regular person would get close to zero rate.

Sounds a bit absurd, right?
It's understandable that businesses court wealthy clients, since they can spend more, but is the outcome logical? Shouldn't a poor pay a little less and wealthier a little more?
What do you think?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments The poor should not pay less. They should have better access to resources and fair wages so they can pay their own way. This is what the poor really want, I believe. I guess the wealthy will always have their perks - a little annoying but I'm not too bothered. I only become angry when the perks are endemic and institutionalized and stand in sharp contrast to the mistreatment of the poor and disenfranchised. I don't care if the CEO in first class gets free champagne on his flight to Vale but I do care that his child will receive better care in the hospital than his maid's child will.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments I'm afraid they may be endemic and institutionalized like a fixed roulette bringing only reds when needed. Champagne not a big deal indeed-:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Nik
You're right, unfortunately. I don't believe wealthy or privileged automatically means corrupt or unethical but the system, itself, is rigged in their favor. I actually blame the middle and upper middle class who will do anything to curry favor with the wealthy in the hopes of joining their ranks. The factory manager can be more cruel than the factory owner. The crew leader can be more exploitative than the construction mogul. One does the oppressing and the other stays out of the mud because profit trumps humanity. Not all but some.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Tara wrote: "The factory manager can be more cruel than the factory owner. The crew leader can be more exploitative than the construction mogul. One does the oppressing and the other stays out of the mud because profit trumps humanity..."

Very well noticed, Tara!
I think awareness might be helpful and at least at a local level - within a framework of a company make things better. If I take your example of a construction mogul, as you've rightly observed, he might not even know what happens below his immediate subordinates, which are high level managers. The mogul is not necessarily a bad person, but s/he doesn't know and doesn't care, not from some bad intent but simply because s/he has lots of other things to care for. Such person thinks that if s/he donates a million dollar to charity, then s/he's the most righteous person on earth, while his low-level managers may be outright oppressive. And don't get me wrong, I believe sometimes it's necessary to show toughness with subordinates.
This PayPal CEO dude disguised for a homeless and joined for a day or a couple of days some homeless youth in New York and reports back that it took him 4 hours to collect a dollar in handouts and he traveled pretty far to buy a coffee for 25 cents. The entire story is lots of PR, I believe, but on the other hand, I'm sure he did come back with some firsthand impressions and started to think about those transparent people out there on the streets. If PayPal makes money from a lower segment and helps them with something they don't get from other financial institutions, it can be a win-win.
I don't know where 'Undercover Boss' reality show is broadcast apart from the UK, but I think the concept of the big boss working incognito for a week in the company on its lowest level is a good idea, even allowing for it being a TV show after all.


message 6: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Nik wrote: "This PayPal CEO dude disguised for a homeless and joined for a day or a couple of days some homeless youth in New York and reports back that it took him 4 hours to collect a dollar in handouts ..."

And there are reports that panhandlers in Manhattan can make $30k + per year.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "And there are reports that panhandlers in Manhattan can make $30k + per year. ."

It was his first day at work -:)
Panhandling also requires talent. I've no doubt more artistic dudes make good money


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments The $30K/yr panhandler is more the exception than the rule. That sort of take usually involves the willingness to travel extensively throughout the city on 12-16 hour 'shifts', a personality or presence that resonates well with regulars they encounter every day, physical decrepitude so extreme it yields bigger handouts, an unusual and appreciable talent or skill or having paid one's dues on the streets and earning the 'right' to panhandle in the more lucrative neighborhoods.

Talent, skill, experience, connections, perseverance...sounds like what we admire in our CEOs and moguls, no?


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Tara wrote: "Talent, skill, experience, connections, perseverance...sounds like what we admire in our CEOs and moguls, no?..."

Exactly, they are antipodean CEO's of the street


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) The great philosopher Terry Pratchett covered this topic:

Samuel Vimes earned thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.

Therefore over a period of ten years, he might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet.

Without any special rancour, Vimes stretched this theory to explain why Sybil Ramkin lived twice as comfortably as he did by spending about half as much every month.


Works, too. Our last car was a real banger: bought it cheap, and it spent half its time in the shop having expensive things done. If we'd bought a more expensive car, it would have worked all the time, and we would also have had warm feet.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments T. K. Elliott wrote: "Our last car was a real banger..."

Hope you got rid of it.
Applies to a literary biz too: cheap editing or cover may cost more in the long run on recurrent orders -:(


message 12: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "The $30K/yr panhandler is more the exception than the rule. That sort of take usually involves the willingness to travel extensively throughout the city on 12-16 hour 'shifts', a personality or pre..."

I don't know about that. I'm out of Raleigh, NC and it seems like you see a panhandler on just about every major intersection. Most of them don't even look decrepit and broken - you see bright white tee-shirts that look like they just came right off the shelf with not a speck of dirt on them and yet no matter whether they look broken down or not, there is always someone waiting at the light handing them a dollar or so.

Light cycles last about 3 minutes around here, so if they get a dollar each time, that $20/hr. Even if they only get something every other cycle, it's still 10/hr - not that much in the grand scheme of things, but when you figure how unlikely it is these people are reporting their take to the IRS and that they're probably not paying any taxes on their panhandling, that is all take-home. Not to raise a tax issue on it, but just saying if they're even making $20k a year, that 's about how much is being taken home by some of the people giving them that dollar.


message 13: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments T. K. Elliott wrote: "The great philosopher Terry Pratchett covered this topic:

Samuel Vimes earned thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort..."


That is one of those lose-lose things for the poor. Because they don't have the money to pay for things up front, financing is crucially important for this segment. But that financing costs them in the long run. I'm seeing a commercial running constantly on TV for an online version of Rent-a-Center. "You pay a little each week and if you rent it for a year, it's yours to keep!" "I couldn't afford a new refrigerator, but $22 a week, I can afford!" and it's a little depressing to run the numbers from the commercial in my head and hear that refrigerator costs more renting for a year, than if they just bought it outright.

It's similar to these predatory car dealerships advertising "no credit, no problem!" If you miss a payment, they just repossess the car. They've taken your money until you miss that payment and they still own the full value of the vehicle minus a minimal depreciation (remember those late-model used cars don't lose value as quickly as new cars). In essence, these dealers make money selling the same car over and over.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "I'm out of Raleigh, NC and it seems like you see a panhandler on just about every major intersection...."

Sure, some of them are just acting and only a certain percent are bona fide. More over, at least in some places in the world this 'biz' along with prostitution and drug-dealing is run by 'protection gangs', taking the lion's share of the proceeds...

I think in Holland the prostitutes are required to register as entrepreneurs, pay taxes, etc, so the notoriously known Red Light District in Amsterdam may be viewed as a vibrant tech park in fact -:)


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "It's similar to these predatory car dealerships advertising "no credit, no problem!" If you miss a payment, they just repossess the car. They've taken your money until you miss that payment and they still own the full value of the vehicle minus a minimal depreciation (remember those late-model used cars don't lose value as quickly as new cars). In essence, these dealers make money selling the same car over and over. ..."

Yep, certainly a theme for business ethics... That's where a state can help those who have an inferior bargaining position by limiting the repossession option to a continuous breach. In some countries the legislation limits the foreclosure to the cases of more than two overdue installments...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments JJ
I would rather save my ire for CEOs who don't pay their fair share of taxes. Taxed on $30K made under the table will not affect as much social change as a $2.5M tax 'break' among cronies could. The repeated and deliberate refusal of society to address the socioeconomic repercussions of disparity and disenfranchisement has created more social chaos than the panhandler on the corner.

I am not angered by them. I am not proud of them. If I give a dollar to a children's hospital I will also give a panhandler a dollar, on occasion. I can only hope, in both cases, that my dollar strikes its intended target. And panhandlers are in plain site, at least. They are not likely to rob, steal or harm others in a criminal way - it's actually quite common for the police to use them as unofficial informants because they see and hear everything on the streets yet are rarely part of the actual problem. While we look at them with pity or disgust the president of the local bank is trying to help his old college roommate figure out how to get a lucrative government contract he technically doesn't qualify for. They'll discuss the details over a round of golf.

Also,Raleigh is absolutely lovely. I used to live on Edwards Mill Rd :)


message 17: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "JJ
I would rather save my ire for CEOs who don't pay their fair share of taxes. Taxed on $30K made under the table will not affect as much social change as a $2.5M tax 'break' among cronies could. ..."


I'm not sure sure I would say I have ire for the panhandlers if that's how it seems. I tend to think it's all interconnected and you can't tackle one without the other. In theory, the tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy are meant to create jobs for the lower classes, but they don't so we expand social programs out of sympathy for the poor. If we were to tie those tax breaks to actual jobs, where is the incentive for people to go off unemployment or welfare and take those jobs. Conversely, how can we "kick" people off those programs if we don't have the jobs to put them on, or worse, if we allow companies to throw up so many barriers to employment that the poor become automatically excluded from the job market. Maybe instead of focusing on minimum wage, we should look at why employers are allowed to exclude ex-cons who have done their time and are trying to go straight - how many people are returning to crime because there are no jobs for them when they get out? Or maybe we should look at why employers are allowed to exclude candidates based on their credit record - especially after so many people ran into trouble in the recent financial crisis.


message 18: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "JJ

Also,Raleigh is absolutely lovely. I used to live on Edwards Mill Rd :). ..."


I was born and raised in Rhode Island and I always dreaded having to go to Providence because driving is just such a misery. Never mind if you go up to Boston - Nothing but one-way streets and I spent half a morning trying to find a road where I knew in theory where it was, but circling all around it I could not for the life of me find a way onto it to get to my destination.

Raleigh's population is more than double that of Providence and it is a dream to drive around by comparison. The question is not "how do I get there" as it is for any place in RI, but "how do I want to get there?" Even when I'm trying to find a place in a part I'm unfamiliar with, or I happen to get lost, it is so easy to navigate, I can get anywhere with only a minimal delay.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
Excellent observations and i completely agree with you with the exception of your question of how to incentivize people to get off welfare and work. I think this is a reflection of many assumptions made about people on welfare. While it is true that there are some who will not work or seek work under any circumstances the truth is that many more are uncomfortable being on welfare and only do so as a means to support themselves or their families. With one social worker in my family and one social worker friend my experience is that people refuse to let go of welfare unless it is a sure thing they will not have to come back to it within 6 months or a year. The demoralizing effect of applying for it and having others go through your family circumstances is too daunting to turn around and do it again. The thought of taking a risk on seasonal, inconsistent or dead wage employment is not enough to let go of a sure thing and jeopardize the food on the table.

Inversely, when people on welfare find stable employment with a living wage and benefits they are usually overjoyed and filled with pride. They brag about their role as a worker and try not to mention the time they spent on welfare. They feel good about contributing and losing some of the stigma of being poor in this country. In my home county in NC the waiting list to get job training for welfare recipients is miles long. My county pays for childcare and transportation for recipients to attend community college or trade school. My best friend's hairdresser was a divorcee with three children who was on welfare for 6 years. After joining the trade program with social services she completed an internship and gained her AA in accounting. She worked two jobs until she could afford to go to college part-time but she eventually got her BA. Last Thanksgiving I ran into her at a deli and was thrilled to learn that she purchased a new home, is sending her youngest to private school and is on the short list to make junior partner at her firm. I'm still shaking my head in amazement. I know her story may not be typical but I think the desire to get off welfare is real and with even half of a viable employment option many people will choose work over welfare.

Did I mention how much I love your post in every other regard? Especially true about ex cons. I read an op ed piece about an felon who received a letter of recommendation from the president and was still denied a job at a local pharmacy, even though her conviction had nothing to do with controlled substances. How do they even stand a chance? As for poor credit being a barrier to employment - how hypocritical is that? In that case every bank CEO and president should be out of work indefinitely.


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Talking about welfare, I particlarly like this example and I found now this humorous chart on the internet, showing how my homie Jan Koum proceeded from food stamps to billionaire:
http://notes.fundersandfounders.com/p...

Agree with stigma, Tara. People do feel ashamed being on the welfare and strive to upgrade their status to self-sustainable. On the other hand, no doubt, that there are people who feel comfy living of welfare, but I'd argue, that there are those who equally don't do much at work, but still manage to manipulate the system to stay on payroll...
While welfare is supposed to provide for minimal surviving level, but I'm worried with the tendency in some OECD countries, where even two working parents are sometimes unable to make ends meet...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments You've hit upon the dilemma of the working poor. There is some income so they don't qualify for entitlement programs yet they are barely above the poverty line and struggle to provide even the basics for themselves and their families. I think a staggered appproach is best - provide welfare in decreasing degrees based on earnings. If earning stagnate then the amount of welfare stays the same. If efforts are made to increase wages on the part of the recipient then the welfare amount actually increases but the duration decreases. If a father of four is a car mechanic and his wife is a daycare assistant they are not making a lot of money at all. If they decide to go to auto mechanic school and teacher assistant certification school in order to earn more money then they would receive an actual increase in welfare benefits while they were in school. This would decrease anxiety and give the family the economic stability necessary to go to school, work full-time jobs and raise a family. Once they finished their respective programs their welfare benefits would begin to taper. Once they found higher paying jobs with their new credentials their welfare benefits would stop altogether.If they do not or can not complete the classes then their benefits go back to baseline.


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Yeah, this can be a solution and I know other approaches where for example a working individual, who earns below a certain leve recieves a negative income tax, i.e. the state complements the income.
On a more general note, it's a very debatable issue whether a state/society should support its citizens/members, who don't do much to support themselves, but, imho, it should be an axiom that a working individual/couple should be able to afford living for themselves and their families, maybe not on high level - but not of starvation either. Even if he's a mechanic, let him be a mechanic. It's as decent a job as any other. Here minimum wage should come handy, as work should generate enough to live and maybe not to buy a 300$ bottle of champagne, but to have an occasional beer even -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I fully support subsidizing the incomes of individuals who work but still live near the poverty line. I also realize that there are people who can not earn at all through no fault of their own. I also believe that there are people who fall in the in-between stages of qualifying for benefits. For example, there are those with very small children who have no financial support so must leave their children to the care of others in order to work and scratch out a living. Even so, they are barely above the poverty line. Would it not be cheaper to give them a partial stipend for basic necessities so they can raise their children with more opportunities for success? The next generation would presumably be less of a burden to society. But basically I share the belief that it is not a good idea to give able-bodied adults welfare benefits unless they are willing to undergo training to become more employable. Now if there are no jobs that is a different dilemma altogether.


message 24: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Yeah, I also think that a so-called 'universal income' may be applicable in societies, where the commonplace mentality is such that only a small percent will be predisposed to abuse it.
I hope, but not sure, btw a new generation will be less of a burden...
I do believe a right to work and earn your living is as basic and universal as other individual rights and freedoms, and it's something an organization such as a state shall care for or pay.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Agree. Those who need it most are overshadowed by the few who abuse it. I think this is done intentionally by those in society who have blinders on and refuse to acknowledge that it is in no way a fair playing field. If you are not part of a vulnerable class and have benefited from institutionalized favoritism implicitly or explicitly I am not interested in your views on welfare reform lol. But seriously, the most vocal seem to be those who are recipients of a more covert and inequitable form of 'welfare' they will never admit to or acknowledge.


message 26: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments This is exactly the absurdity of our systems. There will be a lot of public discourse about raising some particular type of welfare by 2 dollars. The politicians will speak, citizens will voice opinions, it'll be stuck in parliaments/ congresses for a few years and in the end the raise will be cut to 1 dollar (because of the budget deficit of course) and presented as a huge gesture towards the poor.
Now, if we take the untaxed profits of the big corporations sitting at offshore jurisdictions, nobody touches the issue even. The problem is global, but we can take a US example. The estimate is that 2.1 trillion USD of untaxed profits sit in the offshore accounts:
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/06/
To understand the magnitude of the above number - the entire federal budget's revenue is 3.25 trillion.
Most corps do it legitly under sophisticated tax avoidance schemes, but it doesn't make it justified. And it's quite easy to change it, if there was a will. Everybody knows it, but which secretary of treasury/minister of finance would want to confront the oligarchs, what is the chance of the bill being supported by Congress/Parliament?
It's much easier to levy and administrate taxes by withholding them at the source from employees and through sales tax...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Nik fdw!


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments What's fdw?


message 29: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "J.J.
Excellent observations and i completely agree with you with the exception of your question of how to incentivize people to get off welfare and work. I think this is a reflection of many assump..."


I think what it comes down to is the assumptions hold true to a degree on the other programs. Too many people who lost jobs during the recession didn't want to take one that didn't pay quite what they made before, or the don't want to take part time work to help them through.

A few years ago RI got an unusually heavy rainfall and a few basements got flooded. For some reason the Federal government felt that warranted sending FEMA and granting aid. My brother was living in RI and said just about everyone came out inventing/inflating claims to get "relief."

I think the difference in opinions on whether or not recipients are leechers comes in this disparate view of who these people are. We tend to stereotype people on assistance as minority, when in truth, the racial breakdown mirrors that of the country as a whole. Whites accuse blacks and hispanics of abusing as an excuse when in reality, it tends to be the whites who are abusing. As a white myself, I will admit we have an "entitled" mentality generally speaking.

60 Minutes ran a piece on how Obamacare has left white Appalachia behind because those states didn't expand Medicare. jobs in the coal industry have been disappearing and these people just sink into despair and joblessness. during the Depression people headed west looking for work, but these people stay put blaming Obama. In line with the original topic, if they own their property, they are saddled with the unfortunate situation that whatever wealth they own is tied up in that land they can't sell because who wants to buy land in a part of the country with no jobs? Still, when times require it, people can find a way.

But really, I wouldn't advocate ending social programs entirely and some of the things Republicans are pushing for are mind-boggling (like drug tests for welfare recipients). The overall solution is to push for programs that promote advancement instead of making "advancement" a unicorn in the country. I don't think we need to push the minimum wage as much as we need to push employers to recognize the employers who are giving more than the minimum...a high school student entering his first job maybe isn't worth $15/hour, but a shift manager at McDonald's or Starbucks is certainly worth more than $7 or 8/hr. It that kind of mentality we need to drive out of business.

Ugh...if I sound like that crazy, racist uncle every feels uncomfortable around right now, it's because I'm trying to upload my book to SW and the meatgrinder is centering the text in the epub version for some odd reason...


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "Whites accuse blacks and hispanics of abusing as an excuse when in reality, it tends to be the whites who are abusing. As a white myself, I will admit we have an "entitled" mentality generally speaking.
Ugh...if I sound like that crazy, racist uncle every feels uncomfortable around right now, it's because I'm trying to upload my book to SW and the meatgrinder is centering the text in the epub version for some odd reason..."


I believe everyone's entitled (hope it's not because of 'entitled mentality') to criticize behavior patterns especially of his/her own race, but I don't think it's racial here and there are industrious dudes among any races and equally laziness doesn't skip any majority or minority nor discriminates based on color.
Hope you come with the upper hand from the battle with Smash's meatgrinder -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
You don't sound racist at all. Quite the opposite, actually. I was born and raised in NC and understand the very fiber of the points you are trying to make. I remember my mom telling me stories that would make you scratch your head in amazement at the way people think and behave. Once, a white woman told my mom she was one of the 'good' blacks because our family had never been on welfare. Politely, my mom pointed out that welfare kept many people of any race from starving. And, she added, weren't her own children on welfare at one point? Yes, the woman responded, but that was different. Our grandpa used to own the town's flour mill.

What? Lol ignorance abounds as much today as it did in the 1970s in rural NC. What boggles the mind is that people are so invested in their social agendas that they continually vote for politicians who use their own racism against them and simultaneously enact legislation that keeps them poor and disadvantaged.

So yeah, you can be my new drunk uncle!

Nik,
The whole racism thing often seems to leave non-Americans quite confused about what the big deal is. It's all so exhausting, isn't it? And you're right about negative personality traits being colorblind and universal. Unfortunately, the stereotypes and stigma become more than just unfair when they become the basis of actual, quantifiable practices and policies. That's when things get really nasty and measurable harm to vulnerable classes is the result.


message 32: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments I think part of my problem is that I'm going through the phase of watching a lot of those 50s and 60s westerns where everyone is heading out west to make their own fortunes free from the overbearing government. Sure there are the outlaws, but they get dealt with in the time it takes for the show or movie to wrap up. sure it's idealized, but that's why we watch stuff like that because it's fun to imagine what life could be like.

Then again, those were that attitudes that took people out west in the first place whether they wanted to own a farm or ranch, or they were trying to make fortunes in the gold rushes. There were no safety nets to catch the majority of pioneers who failed in the process, then again life wasn't so complicated that you couldn't pick yourself up and try again. Still, it's the idea that you can take that chance to improve your life that's so romantic.

When it comes to the African American situation in our country, it just boggles my mind how even the most racist individual can think some of these measures are actually beneficial to their agendas. If we round up the entire population and throw them in jail, maybe they're out of sight, maybe they're not "stealing our jobs," but we still paying to house and feed them. If we underfund education and keep them out of the job market, forcing them on welfare, how does that benefit anyone because you're then paying a population to do nothing. And in our time we have poor communities where real crime flourishes because they have no other options. It's a theme I want to use in my next book: "if they're going to treat us like criminals, we might as well act like criminals."

Getting back to the rich, it seems the biggest issue surrounding the accumulation of wealth comes from their portion of the tax revenue. It's a strange conundrum because those at the top of the ladder are responsible for a disproportionate amount of government revenue, yet they take advantage of breaks to bring their tax payment down. The solution everyone seems to promote is raising taxes, but that's not going to change things when they can rack up more deductions to negate the payment. I would actually argue it would be more effective to lower rates across the board, rich or not, and eliminate all deductions - all of them!

It's an unpopular idea, and it kind of plays into the idea of entitlement that everyone is for those deductions they use, but let's face it, how much of a deduction is the mortgage deduction when interest rates are as low as they are? Is the middle class even deducting enough to itemize anymore rather than take the standard deduction? Then again, if we simplify our tax system, we're going to put H&R Block out of business...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I don't think there is an African-American situation. I think there are people who have a problem with African-Americans for their own reasons. I think the media and other vested institutions have an agenda to promote and are willing to create and control the narrative. I think most African-Americans are just going about their daily lives - it is often quite shocking and unsettling when we are reminded in big and small ways that others have a problem with us. We don't think about whites as nuch as some whites seem to think about us, yet we definitely are affected by the outcomes.


message 34: by Nik (last edited Jun 22, 2016 10:03AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "When it comes to the African American situation in our country..."

Let's not get into any racial direction, because with all good intents people might misinterpret them and ethnic generalizations may not do justice. Even a statement that all Russians love vodka is only partially accurate -:)

J.J. wrote: "It's a strange conundrum because those at the top of the ladder are responsible for a disproportionate amount of government revenue, yet they take advantage of breaks to bring their tax payment down. The solution everyone seems to promote is raising taxes, but that's not going to change things when they can rack up more deductions to negate the payment. I would actually argue it would be more effective to lower rates across the board, rich or not, and eliminate all deductions - all of them!..."

Sure, I think what you suggest is much better. I say collect the tax, not - raise it. What's the point to raise or lower, if they decide exactly how much they want to pay. The existing system, if implemented as designed, should be OK and higher taxes are only compensating for the lost revenues from money flows which under sophisticated schemes avoid taxation...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments You guys are correct in that raising taxes will only enrich the accounting wizards who help the wealthy find loopholes so pay less :)


message 36: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "I don't think there is an African-American situation. I think there are people who have a problem with African-Americans for their own reasons. I think the media and other vested institutions have ..."

I think it's like Nik says, it might be poor wording. What I think of as the "Af-Am situation" is the fact that black students are often turned over to the police for simple schoolyard brawls while white students are given in-house punishment. Before they even make a choice, those students are given a criminal record. You've probably just ruined any chance they have of getting into college at that point.

I think of New York's stop and frisk policy, allowing cops to stop anyone on the street and search them if they "look suspicious." Never mind that this flies in the face of our Constitution, but statistics show the stops are occurring almost exclusively with black and Hispanic "suspects."

What I mean to refer to with my statement is that we still have that problem or racism in parts of the country that go beyond 1st amendment rights. I hear too many of the arguments that the statistics on blacks in prison are skewed because they're the ones who commit the crimes. It might be true, it might not be, but you can't expect a segment of the population to be "law-abiding" if you're criminalizing them before they even make the choice, and worse criminalizing otherwise innocent behavior in those communities.

When I used that term, I wasn't trying to say we have a problem of African-Americans, but that African-Americans still have to deal with some of these issues. I know relations have gotten a lot better and we have a lot of people of color who have risen through the ranks in society, but even DiBlasio went public lamenting he had to give "the talk" to his bi-racial children, and I don't think anyone would claim he's in the ranks of the poor.


message 37: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments I think in most heterogeneous societies there are people that ascribe some evil features to a different ethnos. It's usually those, who automatically attach stereotypes to any nationality. They would hate people of some group sometimes without even knowing any one of them, maybe worship others.
In USSR some Russians hated Ukrainians and vice versa, Georgians, Kazakhs, anyone really and the other Russians and Ukrainians who thought of each other as brothers..
The stereotypes about Georgians (not from US state of Georgia) in USSR were that of womanizers and buying diplomas to look smart and hey I know a couple of Georgian womanizers myself, but what does it say about all of them? Not much really.
Unfortunately, sometimes the tension is in the air. In Latvia, where 51% are ethnic Latvians and 49% - Russians, I kinda felt it on the streets...


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
Well said.
Nik
Tell us more as I often forget that other people outside the US deal with versions of bigotry. Do you see a change in the younger generation? Also how can one know the ethnicity of someone if not based on physical appearance such as skin color? Is the bias cultural or institutionalized or both? Very interesting.


message 39: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2146 comments Tara wrote: "J.J.
Well said.
Nik
Tell us more as I often forget that other people outside the US deal with versions of bigotry. Do you see a change in the younger generation? Also how can one know the ethnicit..."


In Montreal it becomes a huge issue based on language with the English bigoted toward the French and the French bigoted toward the English. But like you suggest I'm not sure how you can tell them apart until someone opens their mouth.

But I'm going to try to bow out of the issue as it's starting to depress me...

If we're looking at the cost of goods and services between rich and poor, this analogy just struck me this morning. Think of it in terms of your decision on setting a price for your next ebook. Two trains of thought weigh the decision based on raw profit. If you price your book high, you might sell fewer copies, but make more per sale. If you price your book low, you'll make less per copy, but you might sell more units.

Retail and the service industries look at their markets the same way. Many businesses price their goods and services so only the rich or well-to-do can afford the products. They accept they will move fewer units to fewer customers because they can fetch a higher mark up. Conversely, you have companies like Wal-Mart that the price for the low-end market choosing to make their profit across a broader market base.

In many cases, it can be cheaper to market for the high-end, because if you're selling fewer goods, then you theoretically need fewer workers to produce those goods. But then again, the service aspect the rich expect can drive up costs on the customer end of the business. It's all a balancing act, some of which we struggle with when we release our books.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J.
Don't be depressed! This has been a great thread :)

Your last observations n was spot on. Production costs for items marketed to the wealthy are quite high. There are fewer laborers but they must be paid extremely well. Product cache becomes the most expensive component of the product. This is fine, in theory. The problem lately is that high end manufacturers are double dipping. Going cheap on labor and materials and charging 8x the price for perceived cache value.


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Tara wrote: "Tell us more as I often forget that other people outside the US deal with versions of bigotry. Do you see a change in the younger generation? Also how can one know the ethnicity of someone if not based on physical appearance such as skin color? Is the bias cultural or institutionalized or both? Very interesting..."

USSR had a long story of inequality based on racial or class belonging. To describe it all, I'd need a book format and after just releasing one recently, I'm not in a shape to write another just now -:)
Anyway, few examples:
In general and in non-ethnic context - the serfdom (pretty close to a slavery), applicable to the majority of the population, was fully abolished only towards the end of the 19-th century. During Soviet time - peasants didn't have passports for many years, so they wouldn't have been able to leave their villages and move to town.
Examples in ethnic context:
In tsar Russia - there were restrictions on where in the empire Jews were allowed to settle - a so called Pale of Settlement.
The notorious pogroms at the turn of the 19-20 centuries...
In Soviet times - some Jews were coerced to relocate to Far East and many were denied an opportunity to enter prestigious faculties in the unis or occupy high positions..
Ukrainian singer Jamala won the Eurovision song contest this year, with the song dedicated to forceful resettlement of Crimean Tatar by Stalin to Central Asia.
Millions of Ukrainians died in 1932-1933 famine, which many historians claim to be premeditated to kill by starvation. And that when Ukraine has one of the most fertile soil in the world.
In general - it was never about people in USSR - it was always about ideology.
The convicts were sent to fight Nazis with their bare arms, while behind them were armed barrier troops who shot anyone who retreated.
When Chernobyl exploded, no one cared to inform the public about the dangerous radioactive leak until very late. People were sent on May 1 proletarian demonstrations to prove 'business as usual'.
Examples are abundant.
In today's Moscow or Saint-Petersburg from my own observations, about every third person is of Asian ancestry, comprising of Asian people of Russia herself or immigrants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and so on. And so many native-born Moscowites and Petersburg people complain and despise them! Pathetic, unpleasant. I don't think either policy is good, but if anything Slovak prime-minister saying, that they don't accept Muslim refugees in Slovakia, because they don't have Mosques there and they won't be happy is more honest, since I believe you have a right to decide whom you want to host at your home, than encouraging people to come and then despising them and treating like 2-nd, 3-d sort.
Whether the situ is acute? Hard to tell. But the atmosphere is often unpleasant..


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Nik,
I have no words...I had no idea...


message 43: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments J.J. wrote: "Two trains of thought weigh the decision based on raw profit. If you price your book high, you might sell fewer copies, but make more per sale. If you price your book low, you'll make less per copy, but you might sell more units.

Retail and the service industries look at their markets the same way. Many businesses price their goods and services so only the rich or well-to-do can afford the products. ..."


Yep, pricing is certainly an issue to consider.
I understand why Mercedes is more expensive than Hyundai, leather finishing - than synthetic. I can understand why Gucci charges 10 times more for his clothing item than costs an unbranded one, but in this case I'm not prepared to pay that much more just because of the brand.
I believe with the book pricing the decision shouldn't be entirely random. Price is a sort of declaration. If a reader paid dearly and on page 17 ran into a couple of typos, s/he's likely to return the book and claim a refund.
If Grisham charges 10 for an ebook of similar length, being a much less known author I need to come with a reasonable pricing and hope to have a similar quality, so the word of mouth would spread. The higher one prices, the more marketing and PR it requires to corroborate the 'expensive' image. I know a fellow author charging 10 for his ebook. I've checked its ranking now and it looks pretty high, so I guess it sells


message 44: by Nik (last edited Nov 25, 2016 02:53AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Some recently joining members may have opinions whether it's expensive to be poor


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) Interesting topic. We are in dire straits right now, but we don't want favors. We need help without their being stipulations attached. We want a bank to refinance our mortgage at a lower rate without requiring us to owe at least 80% of the home's value. It shouldn't matter how much we owe on our mortgage. Our income has dropped significantly and we need help. Affordable healthcare just isn't available to us anywhere. To make matters worse, you get fined at federal income tax time for any month you are without coverage. It's ridiculous! That's another issue we've been discussing. Also, I know there are income tax brackets, so the more you earn, the more you pay. However, I don't like that excessively wealthy people get away with using illegitimate write-offs and loopholes in the tax laws to avoid paying. I've had many ups and downs in my financial life, but I'm a scrappy person. I know I'll eventually work to claw my way out of this hole, but it hurts like hell being stuck in it for the time being.


message 46: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13507 comments Sue (Rescue Dog Mom) wrote: "I know I'll eventually work to claw my way out of this hole..."

Hope it happens soonest, Sue


message 47: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments Nik wrote: "Inspired by the interview of Dan Schulman - PayPal's CEO, that I've just read, who says that PayPal shall extend it's helping hand to those needy, who aren't too favored by banks and trad financial..."

I would like to see interest rates the same.

In the UK, the more you earn the more the rate of tax you pay. whilst I am no where near a high earner, I feel that those who earn more are being penalised for doing so. A friend of mine told me that he declines his annual bonus cos accepting it takes him to the next tax bracket and he takes home less pay than if he didn't accept the bonus.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) Nick, Thank you.

Segilola, That's just not fair Perhaps it's time for them to readjust the brackets. I believe it's been awhile.


message 49: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments The argument about interest rates is that they're calculated on risk, so the poor pay higher rates as they're statistically more likely to default. At the other end of the scale, high earners get a very low interest rate on borrowing, so effectively it is poorer people who subsidise their borrowing. The extent that the lowest income families are paying extortionate rates has been a huge scandal in Britain in recent years, especially over payday loans where the APR could be as high as 3000%. This has been addressed but campaigners still say that there is much to be tackled.


message 50: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments I know right, I feel everyone should pay the same rate. Then ask high earners to make voluntary contributions to local services. I think you would find less and less people would find ways to avoid paying their taxes.


« previous 1
back to top