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Rich keep getting richer while the rest of us stagnate or fall behind

Monday, December 10, 2012
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Rich keep getting richer while the rest of us stagnate or fall behind

John A. Gaetani’s Dec. 2 letter argues that taxing the rich takes away America’s motivation. He apparently has not noticed that the rich are doing exceedingly well in our country.

While there has always been a gap between the rich and everybody else, in the past decade that gap has grown exponentially. Not too long ago the salary of a CEO was about 20 times that of a wage earner in his company. Now it is over 200 times that amount. In recent times, wages have remained flat. White-collar work is being spread over a shrinking workforce.

Many blue-collar jobs have been replaced with robotics and outsourced to cheaper labor countries (consider the sweatshops manufacturing our garments). Still, the rich gained most of the income. Last year, for example, the very rich received over 90 percent of the nation’s income.

Where does their wealth come from? Some is derived from their ability to increase profit while reducing labor costs. This includes flatter wages, reduced pension plans and health care benefits. Some financial folks created toxic products in the marketplace that tanked our economy while they reaped huge bonuses. Some exploited the assets of companies with workers losing jobs, while the “investors” took the money. Some have extracted rich resources from the earth while degrading the environment.

While it is true that all of the rich do not exploit their workers or the environment, it is also true that their wealth continues to grow while everyone else stays flat or shrinks. According to the National Taxpayers Union, the bottom 50 percent earned less than $33,396 last year. Our poverty rate has increased.

I personally am not envious of the rich, but I believe that they can afford to invest in our country more than they now do, while we struggle to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and transition to a more robust economy.

Charles R. Blunt

Middle Grove

‘Takers’ have gained upper hand on ‘makers’

America is in the midst of a major, historically important class war. However, no one has correctly identified the classes. Some have said it’s rich vs. poor, haves vs. have-nots, black vs. white, etc. None of these is correct.

America’s class war is simple and basic: It is between the “makers” and the “takers.” The “makers” (whatever their income level) are the ones who toil every day; who go to work, invest, create or hold jobs; who produce the products, services and income. The “takers” (whatever their color or creed) are the ones who whine, complain and attempt to benefit from the efforts and successes of the “makers.”

Takers do this through ever-increasing reliance on maker-funded “social programs;” through increasing tax burdens on makers; through demands for more programs, more “benefits”; through changing the concept of a maker-funded benefit program to an “entitlement”; through more shouting for “fairness.”

There is nothing fair about seizing the fruits of a maker’s labors to give to a taker who has not labored, and there is definitely no entitlement to do so.

Our last election has proven that the “takers” now outnumber the “makers” and, I’m afraid, signals a continuing decline in our society and culture.

Doug Cohen

Rotterdam

Christmas really doesn’t start till Christmas Eve

Does anyone know when the Christmas season is?

It starts with Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day, followed by the 12 days of Christmas to Jan. 6, known as Little Christmas. (Remember “a partridge in a pear tree?”)

Some Eastern countries celebrate Christmas Jan. 6, when the three wise men followed the star, paid homage to the newborn Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Why do so many radio stations carry Christmas music from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, and none during the Christmas season? Why are all the parties, stage productions, concerts now, and none during the Christmas season?

People are busy writing cards, cleaning and decorating homes, baking, cooking, buying and maybe mailing gifts — then the Christmas season starts and all is quiet after Christmas night — no parties, no music, no concerts.

It would be awesome if all Christmas lights didn’t go on until Christmas Eve, then stayed [on] until Jan. 6. I think the whole early Christmas is pushed by the malls and other stores. We don’t shop much after Christmas Eve.

I agree with Arlene Shako [Dec. 5 letter, “Respect religions by using proper sacred terms”]: Every time someone says “happy holiday,” I want to ask “which one?”

Charlotte Distel

Schenectady

But where will freed sick and dying inmates go?

Despite the “kindness” intended in your Dec. 6 editorial [“Release sick, dying inmates”], suggesting that old, enfeebled and terminally ill nonviolent inmates be “freed” so as to lower prison costs — where are all of these sick people, most without any social net, going to go?

Never mind, at least the prison system’s bottom line will look better.

Ken Bress

Scotia

 
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comments

December 10, 2012
4:17 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Hey Doug Cohen - I have worked 40 years and paid my dues as a "maker" through my income deductions. I also pay gas tax, sales tax, property tax and school tax at a higher total tax rate than the former Republican Presidential candidate. I don't consider that I am now a "taker" just because I collect my hard earned Social Secuity and Medicare, (as many of the 47% do). Am I whining? You betcha! Let's stop classifying those "social" programs, Social Security and Medicare, as "entitlements"; they have been earned.

December 10, 2012
8:42 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Charles R. Blunt the very rich also pay 90% of the taxes. If you want to blame jobs from leaving America, blame unions. I spent yesterday with some people that can not manufacture some of what they sell in the U.S. because the cost is more than five times what they pay to manufacturer it in Holland. It is also the regulations put on manufacturer. You can't tax yourself into prosperity and the government cant give you anything that it did not first take from someone else.

December 10, 2012
2:23 p.m.
rpterry says...

Doug
If your thesis is true, why has the nations wealth been transferred to the top 1% with everyone else facing stagnant wages and fewer or no benefits?
You need to read Who Stole the American Dream by Hedrick Smith.

December 13, 2012
7:07 p.m.
tonijean613 says...

Doug, you seem to ignore that who you thing the "makers" are - got their on their own- ie- endless tax payer funded subsidies to big oil despite their billions in profits, tax write-offs to conglomerates like GE despite their record profits-
tax deductions for mortgages on luxury homes and second, and third and 7 homes in Rommey's case- who has not a Maker for anything productive, but only a taker by dismantling companies and shipping jobs to slave labor countries. You have your people reversed- your "Makers"- take and pillage resources from the earth, and exploit people for profit and greed- your "takers" are toiling and working hard at below poverty wages-$7.25 hr- which is sadly why so many in this country need to seek government assistance- If they can even get a job. The CEO's and owners of Walmart, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, EACH make millions of dollars per year that would take one of their USA employees over 180 years of working full time to earn what make what they supposedly "earn" in 1 year. AOL has the feature story today.

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