Is being a billionaire immoral? Should they exist?

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This is a stupid question. It is neither moral or immoral to have any level of wealth. The actions taken to attain it may be judged, but not the wealth level itself.
I have to say no question is stupid. Sadly, taking billions from the economic pool of the world mostly takes more than an increase in productivity dramatically, many find disingenuous ways to attain it. By the way, I agree on wealth in and of itself is not immoral/moral, but detaching it from the method it was made from doesn't paint a complete picture, IMO.
 

Womb Raider

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Capitalism is brutal and leaves many behind.
Every system by your standards would qualify as brutal and leave many behind - capitalism simply does these things the least.

So you want to steal from billionaires. What is magical about a billion to make you decide that's the right cut off for forced redistribution of private property? What about $999,999,999? Notice that subjectivity isn't conductive to creating legislation.
 

Baron Samedi

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The fact that billionaires exist demonstrates the inherent flaws in the myth of "trickle down economics."
 
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sliceofbread136

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Not sure I follow your logic. Pretty much most billionaires built business (or several). Business provide jobs.
I think japan shows it nicely. All the money they are injecting into the economy is just hoarded by the rich and they still have deflation.

Here very little money at the top actually “trickles down” and we get stagnant wages and an ever growing wealth gap
 
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sb247

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I think japan shows it nicely. All the money they are injecting into the economy is just hoarded by the rich and they still have deflation.

Here very little money at the top actually “trickles down” and we get stagnant wages and an ever growing wealth gap
So? You don't owe everyone else money just because you may have more
 
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dpmd

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So? You don't owe everyone else money just because you may have more
If the government is giving rich people a break because they expect that money to make its way down to the lower levels, it is a problem if that doesn't happen. Now i know you will just come back with if the government is just stealing less from the rich people that is good, but you don't think they ought to only steal less from some people and not others (at least you are against it when the beneficiaries are poor people), right?
 
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sliceofbread136

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So? You don't owe everyone else money just because you may have more
the point is that the trickle down theory doesn’t pan out. we should find other ways to inject liquidity into the economy that doesnt go straight to a billionaire bank account
 

sb247

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If the government is giving rich people a break because they expect that money to make its way down to the lower levels, it is a problem if that doesn't happen. Now i know you will just come back with if the government is just stealing less from the rich people that is good, but you don't think they ought to only steal less from some people and not others (at least you are against it when the beneficiaries are poor people), right?
If you are stealing 35% of susan's income and giving a ton of it to jackie, you aren't doing jackie wrong if stop giving her susan's money and reduce the amount you steal from susan to 25%.

the point is that the trickle down theory doesn’t pan out. we should find other ways to inject liquidity into the economy that doesnt go straight to a billionaire bank account
The govt shouldn't be "putting" money into anyone's account. They should just leave everyone alone
 

dpmd

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If you are stealing 35% of susan's income and giving a ton of it to jackie, you aren't doing jackie wrong if stop giving her susan's money and reduce the amount you steal from susan to 25%.


The govt shouldn't be "putting" money into anyone's account. They should just leave everyone alone
Yeah but what about dick and jane who weren't getting any money given to them and still have to pay 30%.
 

sliceofbread136

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The govt shouldn't be "putting" money into anyone's account. They should just leave everyone alone
so I guess you are against quantitative easing? Or the central bank altogether?

In your opinion how should 2008 have been handled? Should we have just let it all collapse? It is easy to say leave everything unregulated until it all starts to fall apart.

imo if we had even less regulation we would just end up in a hugely leveraged derivative disaster like 2008 but on steroids
 

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so I guess you are against quantitative easing? Or the central bank altogether?

In your opinion how should 2008 have been handled? Should we have just let it all collapse? It is easy to say leave everything unregulated until it all starts to fall apart.

imo if we had even less regulation we would just end up in a hugely leveraged derivative disaster like 2008 but on steroids
Yes, I am against quantitative easing

And yes, companies that don’t manage themselves well should fail. That is appropriate
 

sliceofbread136

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Yes, I am against quantitative easing

And yes, companies that don’t manage themselves well should fail. That is appropriate
A bold claim. It would have been interesting to see what would have risen from the ashes without bail outs. Maybe it would have been better than what we have. Who knows
 
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billionaires are just people who don't want to ever retire. Imagine having a net worth of 20 million dollars and deciding to show up to your regular 9-5 while still driving a 5 series bmw and living in a 900k home. That is how you become a billionaire.
 
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Wealth isn’t some conservative entity like matter. It can be created or destroyed. In the 1800s 95%of the global population was living in abject poverty today it’s only 10% of the global population even though there’s been a 10 times increase in the size of the population. This suggests wealth was created. Simply distributing it among everyone doesn’t generate wealth. So billionaires aren’t just taking money from the honeypot like you make it sound. Consumers are giving them that money of their own free will. Take Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon for example he’s worth billions and makes millions in income but made it fairly (as far as we know). If he distribute his income to his workers their pay increases would be a few cents more. So if we ask consumers would they be ok with increasing the cost of shipping by $2 to put in Amazon workers pockets I’m sure most would have an issue with this even though this would help works more that just taking ole Jeff’s money and tossing it around. I think nowadays the topic is focused on income inequality (relative income) which isn’t immoral. The whole world doesn’t have to be filled with millionaires and billionaires. Generating wealth to prevent poverty however is moral future we should be striving for.


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billionaires are just people who don't want to ever retire. Imagine having a net worth of 20 million dollars and deciding to show up to your regular 9-5 while still driving a 5 series bmw and living in a 900k home. That is how you become a billionaire.
What? Just....what?

No billionaire was ever created from a wage. Billionaires are created from equity. Of course they work hard, but your example of working a 9-5 is completely off base.

Again...what??
 
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What? Just....what?

No billionaire was ever created from a wage. Billionaires are created from equity. Of course they work hard, but your example of working a 9-5 is completely off base.

Again...what??
A pharmacist saving 30k a year from 25 to 65 would be worth like 7 million. If they lived off of 45k a year they would be worth like 30 million at 85. Most people would retire once they had four million and live off 120k a year.
 

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I agree with the above.

Every penny earned by that billionaire required the trade of an item or service, basically exchanging something of value to the consumer, for money. The money came for the billionaires because they invested in the massive risk of starting up a company, offered something consumers may or may not want, but it worked out and paid off in the end. When both their business and profits expanded exponentially, so did the number of consumers getting the stuff they want from the company. Forcibly taking money from the company to give to the less fortunate, is stealing. I would advise directing your attention to helping the impoverished rise to the middle class instead of thinking about ways to make the wealthy less wealthy. As well as to introspect on your motives, whether it stems from sympathy for the poor or envy towards the ultra-successful.
 

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I agree with you; it's theirs. I don't think hoarding such amount from the total economic pool is an optimal decision to make because of history. Looking at the bigger picture, If let's say 75 years from now, this trend continues, I'm afraid 1917 Russia,1789 France, 2008-09 Occupy wall street, etc. will probably repeat itself, even to greater extent. But I could easily be wrong, and everyone could live peacefully, this is not meant to be sarcastic.
Those tycoons are always paying tens/hundreds of million for expansion, payroll, and equity at other companies. It doesn't just stay static in their bank account. Though in the end their savvy decisions reaps for them a net profit many times what they invested. It's also those people who donate tens to hundreds of million at once into charity and research. The moment society threatens to take it away, you won't see that happen anymore.

"I agree with you; it's theirs."
End of story. Both you and I don't get to take their stuff, nobody gets to take their stuff.
 
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Baron Samedi

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A pharmacist saving 30k a year from 25 to 65 would be worth like 7 million. If they lived off of 45k a year they would be worth like 30 million at 85. Most people would retire once they had four million and live off 120k a year.
Okay so I'm not sure if you know this, but 7 million dollars is several orders of magnitude away from being a billionaire.
 
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Okay so I'm not sure if you know this, but 7 million dollars is several orders of magnitude away from being a billionaire.
Warren Buffet is 89 years old and still grinding. If he was a pharmacist saving 30k a year he would be worth about 45 million dollars. My point is that once people reach F you money they quit working and a lot of people believe F you money is closer to 3 or 4.
 

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Warren Buffet is 89 years old and still grinding. If he was a pharmacist saving 30k a year he would be worth about 45 million dollars. My point is that once people reach F you money they quit working and a lot of people believe F you money is closer to 3 or 4.
but you said billionaires are people that don't want to retire. The point is billionaires don't become billionaires by working, they do it by founding successful companies. Many billionaires have very little money until all of a sudden in a few year time span they have ungodly amounts of money as their equity is turned into cash. Billionaires don't get that way by working 9-5.

If you work for a living you will never become a billionaire.

If you can found (or help found) a company that eventually is taken public and valued at 10s (or 100s) of billions of dollars you can become a billionaire.
 
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I think theres something to the idea that billionares are immoral. Wealth represents inequality and ultimately, the existence of a billionaire demonstrates a degree of inequality that some will consider unacceptable.

Money is a finite resource. If one person is wealthy, that means another person is necessarily poor. If one person is a billionaire, that means a lot of people are necessarily poor because thats where the money is coming from
 
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dpmd

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I think theres something to the idea that billionares are immoral. Wealth represents inequality and ultimately, the existence of a billionaire demonstrates a degree of inequality that some will consider unacceptable.

Money is a finite resource. If one person is wealthy, that means another person is necessarily poor. If one person is a billionaire, that means a lot of people are necessarily poor because thats where the money is coming from
Do you also think that graduate students and those who have graduate degrees are immoral because that represents inequality of education and the degree of inequality between advanced degrees and primary school or less educated people is unacceptable? Educators are a finite resource and people who don't get educated are missing out because teachers are teaching the advanced degree classes.
 
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Do you also think that graduate students and those who have graduate degrees are immoral because that represents inequality of education and the degree of inequality between advanced degrees and primary school or less educated people is unacceptable? Educators are a finite resource and people who don't get educated are missing out because teachers are teaching the advanced degree classes.
Thats ridiculous. Education is absolutely not a finite resource.

Let’s say everyone in the world knows physics. Thats possible, right?

Now lets say everyone in the world was a millionaire. Simply not possible. Meaning, everyone might have a million bucks but the value of their money would not be “millionaire” value. One person being a millionaire NECESSARILY means someone else is poor. This concept is intrinsic to the idea of wealth.

Education is absolutely not a limited resource. Educators might be, books might be. One person knowing the first principle of thermodynamics does not take away from another person’s ability to know the first principle of thermodynamics.
 

sb247

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I think theres something to the idea that billionares are immoral. Wealth represents inequality and ultimately, the existence of a billionaire demonstrates a degree of inequality that some will consider unacceptable.

Money is a finite resource. If one person is wealthy, that means another person is necessarily poor. If one person is a billionaire, that means a lot of people are necessarily poor because thats where the money is coming from
Why would it be immoral though just because someone is jealous or covetous?
 
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dpmd

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Thats ridiculous. Education is absolutely not a finite resource.

Let’s say everyone in the world knows physics. Thats possible, right?

Now lets say everyone in the world was a millionaire. Simply not possible. Meaning, everyone might have a million bucks but the value of their money would not be “millionaire” value. One person being a millionaire NECESSARILY means someone else is poor. This concept is intrinsic to the idea of wealth.

Education is absolutely not a limited resource. Educators might be, books might be. One person knowing the first principle of thermodynamics does not take away from another person’s ability to know the first principle of thermodynamics.
Formal education requires educators which are finite (as I said before but you apparently misread). But you are ok with the inequality between those with minimal formal education and those with lots?

And your concept of money as finite is off. One person having a dollar absolutely does not impede someone else from getting one.
 
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Stroganoff

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I cant tell if you’re seriously asking or ****ing with me lol
Go troll somewhere else. I'm so incredibly cynical that a forum full of geniuses still produces posts like these. Because someone incredibly intelligent wouldn't be asking these types of questions unless they had some kind of M.O., so that introduces a ton of cognitive dissonance. The only thing that makes sense is you made this series of posts to troll people, and you're consistently staying in character by masquerading as someone pretending to be clueless about wealth or currency.
 
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The biggest issue I have with formal education is that it pushes you to do things at a fast pace. Most people could get straight As if they did things at a slower pace. Instead of completing an easy degree in 4 years I would push someone to complete a hard and rewarding degree in 6 years.
 

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The biggest issue I have with formal education is that it pushes you to do things at a fast pace. Most people could get straight As if they did things at a slower pace. Instead of completing an easy degree in 4 years I would push someone to complete a hard and rewarding degree in 6 years.
You can graduate from college in however many years you want...
 
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To get back to the original question, this is a simple but yet very relevant question for our time. On the surface I think people want to say it's not immoral to be a billionaire if you made that money fairly. Anand Giridharadas is apposed to the billionaire class and he makes some great remarks. For instance, Bill Gates is seen as the best example for billionaires. He donates literally billions of dollars to charities. Although this seems great he also gets a lot of benefits from doing this. It's one thing to donate money to your favorite cause but when you have literally billions of dollars at your disposal you have such a great influence over people and society.

To expand on this example, Bill Gates is a big proponent of charter schools in Washington state. Despite several failed ballot referendums, he was able to see that a charter school law get approved. He essentially threw money at what he thought deemed worthy despite society voting it down several times. We've become a plutocracy. I don't believe billionaires are evil people for having such large amounts of money but we have to ask ourselves when is it enough?

Now before people go on a rant and say that the government is going to tax everyone to death why should one person like Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates have such power and influence on the vast majority of people. These billionaires benefit on our tax laws without contributing their fair share to society. Examples include Amazon not paying taxes on any federal income tax in 2018 and there's countless examples of this.

A small group of people disproportionately reap the benefits of society without properly contributing to it. This will most likely continue unless we change this.
 
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sb247

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To get back to the original question, this is a simple but yet very relevant question for our time. On the surface I think people want to say it's not immoral to be a billionaire if you made that money fairly. Anand Giridharadas is apposed to the billionaire class and he makes some great remarks. For instance, Bill Gates is seen as the best example for billionaires. He donates literally billions of dollars to charities. Although this seems great he also gets a lot of benefits from doing this. It's one thing to donate money to your favorite cause but when you have literally billions of dollars at your disposal you have such a great influence over people and society.

To expand on this example, Bill Gates is a big proponent of charter schools in Washington state. Despite several failed ballot referendums, he was able to see that a charter school law get approved. He essentially threw money at what he thought deemed worthy despite society voting it down several times. We've become a plutocracy. I don't believe billionaires are evil people for having such large amounts of money but we have to ask ourselves when is it enough?

Now before people go on a rant and say that the government is going to tax everyone to death why should one person like Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates have such power and influence on the vast majority of people. These billionaires benefit on our tax laws without contributing their fair share to society. Examples include Amazon not paying taxes on any federal income tax in 2018 and there's countless examples of this.

A small group of people disproportionately reap the benefits of society without properly contributing to it. This will most likely continue unless we change this.
You are conflating a corporation and people here

You are also using a snuck premise that they don’t pay their “fair share”. How much of a billionaire’s money is “fair” for you to take because you don’t like how much they have?
 
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People don’t have equal talents, abilities, effort, or luck. Why should outcomes be equal?

This whole thread is moot. Billionaires do exist. Millions of millionaires exist in the US alone. If you feel they ”shouldn’t” exist, are you going to steal their assets to make it more “equal”?
 

Mman

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Thats ridiculous. Education is absolutely not a finite resource.

Let’s say everyone in the world knows physics. Thats possible, right?

Now lets say everyone in the world was a millionaire. Simply not possible. Meaning, everyone might have a million bucks but the value of their money would not be “millionaire” value. One person being a millionaire NECESSARILY means someone else is poor. This concept is intrinsic to the idea of wealth.

Education is absolutely not a limited resource. Educators might be, books might be. One person knowing the first principle of thermodynamics does not take away from another person’s ability to know the first principle of thermodynamics.
You seem to fundamentally misunderstand economics. Wealth is not inequality, wealth is the accumulation of value that other people have paid to you for worth you brought to them. It is not a zero sum game or else we would all be still living in the stone age with no improvement in overall standard of living ever.

In 1900, the wealthiest people in America could watch a silent movie and listen to the radio. When the sun went down, they probably were able to use the relatively new invention of electric lightbulbs instead of lighting a lamp but if it was hot there was still no such thing as air conditioning. They may have even had a fancy invention called a toaster and could afford to send a telegram to a distant friend or relative.

Today, at even the 10th percentile for wealth in American you are probably sitting comfy in AC, surfing the web on your smart phone and texting whoever you want while streaming any kind of music you can dream of, and microwaving food to be hot and ready almost instantly which are things even the wealthiest people on the planet could not even dream of back then.

While you say that not everyone can be a millionaire, you are mostly correct only in the sense that there is only a finite amount of money in circulation (although we could always keep printing more). But you seem to mean that there is only a fixed amount of "wealth" in that if one person is richer that necessarily means others are poorer and that is about as incorrect as possible. If every person was working hard and creating value that others were willing to trade money/effort for, then everybody would be wealthier.

As you use your analogy of physics, if one person is creating something valuable to everyone else that does not prevent someone else from doing the same. Over time everybody gets wealthier as our standards of living continually improve over decades. Extreme poverty on the planet has gone down considerably the last 10 or 20 years.

If Jeff Bezos gets wealthy, it is not because he is making other people poor, it is because other people are willing to pay for the service his company is providing to them.
 
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FutureInternist

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Well.... Bezos does make other people poorer by not paying proper wages, lobbying for laws that allow Amazon to be paid some of the taxes that come out of the workers’ paychecks, and ofcourse not paying taxes on billions in profits while using up city resources etc.

Its easy to tell people to get better jobs but they are limited, and require more training, education etc that so many cannot afford.

This isn’t about stealing $ from them to “give” to the poor, it is about having them not continue to avoid taxes and changing the laws that allow them to do so.

As mentioned before, we rely so heavily on minimum wage workers in our daily lives, yet having them be comfortable enough to live a life where they are not worried about making rent, having enough food, etc is somehow an abhorrent idea
 
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Well.... Bezos does make other people poorer by not paying proper wages, lobbying for laws that allow Amazon to be paid some of the taxes that come out of the workers’ paychecks, and ofcourse not paying taxes on billions in profits while using up city resources etc.

Its easy to tell people to get better jobs but they are limited, and require more training, education etc that so many cannot afford.

This isn’t about stealing $ from them to “give” to the poor, it is about having them not continue to avoid taxes and changing the laws that allow them to do so.

As mentioned before, we rely so heavily on minimum wage workers in our daily lives, yet having them be comfortable enough to live a life where they are not worried about making rent, having enough food, etc is somehow an abhorrent idea
Does he force then to work for him? Is he following current tax law?
 
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FutureInternist

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Does he force then to work for him? Is he following current tax law?
By that logic no interns/residents have a right to complain about how overworked they are for the pay they get.... or anyone else for that matter.

Like I said, telling/expecting people to get better paying jobs is not easy when so many companies that hire cashiers, stockers etc pay so poorly.

And, again, as I said before, we need to change the laws... I did not accuse them or breaking the law, just buying politicians that then make the laws that are beneficial to them.

Everyone seems to think that they are on their way to becoming rich and so they dont want the “lazy people” to mooch off them, yet most folks (even docs) are 3-4 missed paychecks from a ****show.
 
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By that logic no interns/residents have a right to complain about how overworked they are for the pay they get.... or anyone else for that matter.

Like I said, telling/expecting people to get better paying jobs is not easy when so many companies that hire cashiers, stockers etc pay so poorly.

And, again, as I said before, we need to change the laws... I did not accuse them or breaking the law, just buying politicians that then make the laws that are beneficial to them.

Everyone seems to think that they are on their way to becoming rich and so they dont want the “lazy people” to mooch off them, yet most folks (even docs) are 3-4 missed paychecks from a ****show.
Like i said nobody is making them do it
 

FutureInternist

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Like i said nobody is making them do it
Somehow I doubt that you have gone through X years of your life without any job related complaint.

If no one is forcing you to do a job then you have no right to complain.
If someone is forcing you then you are a slave and hence have no right to complain.

Your arguments and logic seem to not know each other very well.
 
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Mman

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Well.... Bezos does make other people poorer by not paying proper wages, lobbying for laws that allow Amazon to be paid some of the taxes that come out of the workers’ paychecks, and ofcourse not paying taxes on billions in profits while using up city resources etc.

Its easy to tell people to get better jobs but they are limited, and require more training, education etc that so many cannot afford.

This isn’t about stealing $ from them to “give” to the poor, it is about having them not continue to avoid taxes and changing the laws that allow them to do so.

As mentioned before, we rely so heavily on minimum wage workers in our daily lives, yet having them be comfortable enough to live a life where they are not worried about making rent, having enough food, etc is somehow an abhorrent idea

Saying that maybe lower paid workers need better protections and a higher minimum wage is completely different than saying that if somebody is rich that by definition that is making somebody else poorer.
 
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sb247

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By that logic no interns/residents have a right to complain about how overworked they are for the pay they get.... or anyone else for that matter.

Like I said, telling/expecting people to get better paying jobs is not easy when so many companies that hire cashiers, stockers etc pay so poorly.

And, again, as I said before, we need to change the laws... I did not accuse them or breaking the law, just buying politicians that then make the laws that are beneficial to them.

Everyone seems to think that they are on their way to becoming rich and so they dont want the “lazy people” to mooch off them, yet most folks (even docs) are 3-4 missed paychecks from a ****show.
Change the laws to what? Be specific
 
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FutureInternist

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Change the laws to what? Be specific
Laws that allow corporations to not pay taxes.

Currently, from my understanding, they pay taxes on profit and not revenue (which would be like us paying taxes only on the $ left over after we’ve paid our mortgages, food, cars etc). - Movie companies create separate mini-companies and then charge the parent company a buttload of $ for their needs in order to show a “loss” and hence pay less to none taxes.

There are tax havens that allow them to house a company in that city/country where it is nothing more than a storefront while all the actual business is still done in USA, but this allows further avoidance of taxes.

The laws that allow corporations to donate unlimited $ to candidates who then help make laws that further increase the profits of these corporations, sometimes to the detriment of the workers.

The law that allows someone to deduct the cost of a yacht for tax purposes but only allows a maximum of $250 for our underpaid teachers in education expenses when they buy classroom supplies due to poorly funded schools.

I wasn’t saying that for someone to be rich someone else HAS to be poor, but there is definitely a “keep them miserable and needy and they won’t have time to bitch about anything” mentality that corporations have.
You are less likely to protest or stand up against an injustice at work if you are so reliant on that job and its meager benefits (GM cancelled the medical insurance on all of its workers who were striking recently).

As someone who moved here and initially worked for 5.15 an hour, I don’t begrudge someone having it “easier” than me.... that should be the goal of each generation to make it easier for the next.
I got the Pell grant for college and then in b/w medical school and residency, due to a family medical situation, was on food stamps for a year before applying again the next year.
People all over paid taxes for me to be able to eat for a year, and while I have paid that back many many times over in taxes, I would much rather have paid more and have it be used for social and education programs than giving yet another tax break to millionaires.
 
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