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Forum Post: Capping Lifetime Earnings/inheritance...

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 27, 2011, 2:47 p.m. EST by buphiloman (840)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I'm curious what conservatives would think of a policy that capped lifetime earnings and inheritance, so that no one individual could earn more than say, 10 million dollars in a lifetime, and could not pass on more than half that amount, 5 million, to their children.

The idea would be an egalitarian one, and of course the precise caps would have to be indexed to inflation and average income figures.

But it seems to me like there is no good reason to allow wealth-hoarding. Why should anyone (let alone mayor Bloomfool) be allowed to hoard more money then they or children could ever possibly spend? Who benefits, other than bankers?

52 Comments

52 Comments


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[-] 2 points by kingscrosssection (314) 2 years ago

Lets take the case of my family on the men's side. My great grandfather worked as a farm hand, hard all his life, in order to make sure my grandfather had a better life than his. My grandfather worked as a head on the farm working so my father can have a better life. My father got away from all of that and is now making money in what OWS would probably call 1%. Money was handed down each generation. And before you say anything, I expect to receive nothing of my father's so I'm not arguing for my own personal gain.

[-] 2 points by jgalt32 (6) 2 years ago

What would happen is simply that all innovation would cease. There would be no more Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. There would be no more serious medical research. There would be no meaningful product development. If you want to live in a world that regresses rather than progresses then push this agenda but be careful, that cell phone, computer, and new car that you drive would all go away.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Why would this happen?

Are you arguing that the ONLY reason anyone engages in research is to make billions of dollars and hoard that wealth for themselves? That making 10 million dollars would not be incentive enough for greedy humanity? That know one would engage in medical research for the sake of helping human beings?

As it is the largest contributors to new medical and technological research are not the 1% nor the comanpies they own, but rather University faculties, and public servants. For instance, there would still be a DARPA (arguably the single largest source of technological innovation in the 20th and a wholly PUBLIC enterprise).

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20440) 2 years ago

There is no need to cap wealth. The need is at the bottom to ensure a living wage for all. Let the rich have all the money they want, but make sure everyone can live a decent life. I think that is what OWS stands for. Posts like this, no offense, can really turn people off who don't understand this movement.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Those two possibilities nseem mutually exclusive to me. Short of printing money out thin air (resulting in ludicrous price inflation) there is NO way to raise standards at the bottom,without relocating funds from the top.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20440) 2 years ago

You don't need caps on the income of the rich to ensure that the bottom get their fair share!

[-] 1 points by ronjj (-241) 2 years ago

WHEE - I get to retire at age 32. I am maxed out on how much I can earn. Great idea.

HEEEEEEEEEEEE Reid and Nancy P are already maxed out - go fish guys.

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[-] 0 points by MVSN (768) from Stockton, CA 2 years ago

And so many OWS claim they are not communist or fascist.

[-] 0 points by MVSN (768) from Stockton, CA 2 years ago

So you want to take away a child's inheritance?

[-] 0 points by owsttruthtalk (3) 2 years ago

Yet another REALLY dumb idea.

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[-] -2 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

In a free market economy you are FREE to make as much money as you can and FREE to do with it what you choose to be it spend or save or pass on to family or charities. It's YOUR money.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I wasn't asking for an explanation of the current system raines. Although, it bears mentioning that we do not presently have the freedoms you imagine. Capital Gains tax, death tax, estate tax, inheritance tax, are all means of gov't appropriation of the wealth of the deceased before it is passed on your offspring. I am simply talking about a more robust tax, one that recognizes the absurdity and inequity of allowing wealth hoarding by the 1%.

[-] -1 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

Wealth hoarding? Sorry, what you do with your own money is your own business. Tax people for succeeding? No thanks. They should be congratulated.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Does that including hiring someone to kill or rob you, with my own money? What I hope you meant was that what I do with my own money is my own business so long as it does not unduly harm others. Wealth hoarding unduly harms others. Therefore, it should be capped, so as to minimize the harm.

[-] -1 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

Hoarding money harms others? Sorry, I was taught to save . What you can amass should never be capped. It's your business what you do with your money, save it or spend it, it's YOUR business.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

So because you were taught something, it is true? What a lucky person you are...to never have been taught anything false. I was taught lots of false things.

Would you really be okay with a totally FREE market where others use their hoarded wealth could contract for your assassination, imprisonment, or bodily harm?

[-] 0 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

I was also taught to kind to be kind to others. Your infatuation with assassination is demented.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

No it's to illustrate a point. Namely that you do NOT really believe in a FREE market where anyone can do whatever they wish with their money. You believe in regulation, because regulation is in YOUR personal best interest. Thus your protestations that you should be able to do whatever you want to do with your money are inaccurate.

[-] -1 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

I do NOT believe in regulation. Your money is your own to do with as you choose.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

so people should be FREE to hire their own armies and/or murderers w/o Gov't interference?

I call bullshit.

[-] 0 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

Is that what people ( in the USA) with huge wealth are doing????????? NO !! More likely hiring accountants.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I am asking you to make a moral judgment, what do YOU value more: your precious, unrestrained FREE market economics, or your personal safety and life itself? If you really believed in unregulated FREE market commerce, then you should have no problem with a system where any who can afford to hire a hit man can kill anyone they please (why do we need courts...let the FREE market decide). BUT you do not IN FACT love deregulation more than life. You like all people, would rather have a Gov't regulated marketplace, where contracting for murder is forbidden and punishable by imprisonment (or death).

So we both AGREE, regulated markets are better than FREE markets. People should not be FREE TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT WITH THEIR OWN MONEY as you suggest.

When you are ready to grow, be adult, and admit that how other people use their money can seriously affect you, then we can talk.

And for the record, yes, Haliburton does have its own private army.

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[-] 1 points by kerbauer (74) 2 years ago

Your answer completely passes over who most of the truly wealthy are. They are folks who inherited their families money! I hardly feel like congratulating people who were born into massive wealth by no work of their own! Yes, they need to be taxed on that money like the rest of us are!!!

[-] 0 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

Provide a list of the wealthiest. Designate who inherited their money and who made their own wealth.

[-] 1 points by kerbauer (74) 2 years ago

First of all, I am not going to sit down and type all of this out for you. I graduated from college already, but thanks for the homework assignment. Most of the "wealthiest" have children (more than one) who will then inherit their parents or "family" wealth. This makes many more generations who will be wealthy, but of no effort of their own. I am sure Bill Gates will have generations of wealthy offspring that will no longer make these lists because the wealth has been diluted down through time. Nevertheless, they will all still be millionaires, and have influence, status and an important family name that will provide them with instant power that was never earned. That is really un-American if you ask me. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps??? The Bush family didn't make the top lists, but there is alot of inherited wealth and power with that last name!

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[-] 1 points by kerbauer (74) 2 years ago

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/

Top 10 wealthiest in America and only 5 of them Forbes calls "self-made". The other five come from two families. The Koch family and the Walton family!

It is actually good to sit down and look into what industries create these billionaires. The industries are technology, oil, hedge funds and casinos.

[-] 0 points by jaimes (86) 2 years ago

What about the rest of the people on the list? The majority of them self-made.

[-] 1 points by kerbauer (74) 2 years ago

If you want to look at where the real money and influence is, you must look at the folks at the top of this list. The Walton family alone accounts for over 80 billion dollars!! Along with the Koch family who is at 50 billion, that accounts for over 130 billion dollars of family money that was passed down through the generations, and will continue to do so for many generations. Also, every person on the list has children who will inherit money from their self made parents. This is what I am against. I don't like the fact that there isn't a law against how much one can inherit. What comes in with this money is power that the children didn't earn themselves.

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[-] 0 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

You conveniently left out the others on the 400 list. MOST of them self -made billionaires and millionaires.

[-] 1 points by kerbauer (74) 2 years ago

Yes, and most if not all have children who will split up this money that they didn't earn themselves and be wealthy from no actions of their own. Is that the American dream? Most of the children will have to split the money which will prevent them from being on "the richest" lists, but they are still the 1%, and will have more power and influence by no merit of their own work. This is the group I was referring too. Not all of the wealthy have earned their wealth.

[-] 0 points by raines (699) 2 years ago

you did not provide their names. What's the problem with hedge fund, oil, technology or casino wealth?

[-] -2 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

Thanks, but no thanks. I do not trust a single one of you schleps to hold that kind of power. By the way, in the old days, I thought wealth hoarding meant saving.

[-] 3 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

The people who talked about "a penny saved is a penny earned" didn't have $170 million dollars stashed in the cupboard and weren't talking about obscene materialism.

[-] -1 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

They have a right to save and keep as much as they want. End of story.

[-] 2 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

OK. Then workers have the right to everything they produce and all the profits thereof.

If only simple prescriptions were the answer to everything, huh?

[-] 0 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

Sorry, no, that sounds like the workers committees of Bolshevik Russia circa 1917. If I do not develop a product or service, then I do not deserve the same earnings as the individuals that have the idea.
A simple prescription might be 10% flat income tax plus a flat tax on all consumer goods. No capital gains tax, no death tax, no homestead exemption, and no child credits. Not enough money in the coffers? Cut back on the government programs, whether it is defense contracts or entitlement programs.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

Almost all new products and ideas are developed by employees in research divisions. We're talking about the real world here, not fantasy theories that look good on paper.

[-] 1 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

In the real world, there are the people who provide jobs and there are people who work for them.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

Generally speaking managers (also employees) do the hiring. In the real world, investors basically don't do shit except move little pieces of paper around and play a complicated card game that destroys jobs.

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[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I fail to see how your misanthropism translates into a valid argument against capping lifetime earnings. I assume you fly, and you drive, and you walk down the sidewalk/go to the movies/go shopping and do any number of daily activities that put you in close contact, in closed quarters, with the public. And in doing so you (at least implicitly) trust them not kill or harm you. So why are you more willing to gamble with your life than you (putatively) are with your money?

It seems to me like all of us place a great deal of trust in others, so trusting in elected officials to come to agreement on plausible earnings caps is no different.

[-] 0 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

I beg to disagree. Greed is good. A person with their own self interest at heart is a known factor. A majority of the people our there are not going to try to harm me because it will cause them more harm than good. The rest of them are a risk just like being hit by a meteor.
With regards to elected officials, once again I do not trust them to hold that kind of power over other people's money. Those officials, or those who back those officials, may do it for greed in which case they are transparent and can be voted out or ignored. Those individuals who do it for reasons other than greed quite honestly scare the shit out of me. What are their motives? What drives them? No one knows really. And people like that need to keep their hands out of other people's purse strings

[-] 4 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

So you trust the Gov't with Military power, the greatest military power the world has ever known, and with the ability to legislate laws and marshal the police force in ways that curtail your precious personal freedoms. But you don't trust them to determine appropriate tax levels?

That seems like a stark contradiction.

[-] -1 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

In a simplistic manner, I am saying that I am hoping the government will protect its people from invasion and attack, Hence a strong military. The government determining how much money I can have (i.e. savings cap) is a completely different matter and that was never a function of government. The government can tax. They have to in order to pay for services and such. I am OK with that.
There is no contradiction. I want the government to protect me, not take my money

[-] 2 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

You didn't really answer the question though. Yes we know what the military is supposed to be for, but that wasn't the question. The question was, if you don't trust the government to spend your money, why would you trust them with your life?

[-] -1 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

When it comes to international terrorism, nuclear weapons by rogue states, or maintenance of national sovereignty and prestige, I am less equipped to handle those issues than the government. An individual should have more rights regarding their own money and earnings.
I am not asking them to help me make personal or professional decisions; that falls within the realm of personal freedon and outside the realm of Washington DC influence

[-] 2 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

I disagree. The government both taxes and has the military for the same purpose: to safeguard the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for the citizenry. Of course as regards the "pursuit of happiness" it does not have to make everyone happy, only ensure that it is possible for every citizen to pursue happiness. And it must safeguard the life of the citizenry: it must not allow people to freeze to death or die on the streets. Of course some always will, but the government must act in the interest of mitigating this.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

So you want them to do something for nothing? Free defense?

[-] 0 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

No, as I stated in the above note, The government can and needs to tax for services such as our protection.

[-] -1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

So why not a tax to protect us from the harmful and undue concentration of wealth and economic power in the hands of a tiny minority? If twenty aliens, with superhuman power, came from space and tried to enslave the population of the United States with physical force, you'd want the Gov't to intervene militarily to stop them.

But when 20 humans, with the superhuman influence and power their enormous personal wealth grants them, conspire to control the electorate, and rob the 99.99% of their political power, you DON'T want the Gov't to fight back economically.

I fail to understand this incommensurate position.

[-] 2 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

You provide a thoughtful argument, but I am afraid I still disagree with you. I do not believe in the government fighting back economically against its own people. Even if it is a tiny minority. I am afraid that type of philosophy can only lead to abuse. What will be considered excessive wealth. And assuming someone can come up with an answer, what happens when the tiny minority's money is gone. Who do we go to next. This world is far from perfect.

[-] -1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

So it is better to continue to live in a society wherein we have no voice in politics, than to try and change that society into one that is just and equitable?

Just curious: If aliens invaded, would you also go along with whatever enslavement they planned for you, in order to avoid the messy consequences of acting against the status quo?

Change can be worrisome, granted. But clearly things cannot continue as they are. A critical point has been reached where (non-corporate) people are no longer represented by their elected Gov't.

[-] 2 points by tedscrat (-96) 2 years ago

If aliens invaded, I would try to take a picture of them. I believe non-corporate people do have a voice, and I do not mean the vote. I mean lobbying groups. Yes, I know that they are all-evil, all-vicious, willing to eat your children. But one person will not be heard in a nation of 300 million. That is where lobbyists come in. Corporations have lobbyists, but professional organizations, unions. Breast Cancer Awareness, etc, etc, etc, all have people in Washington who speak on their behalf. And these lobbyists have to be paid. Therefore, people will pay dues make donations, etc in order to have people in Washington who will speak for them. I seems like the line between corporate and non-corporate has gotten a little fuzzy. If you want to have Capital lifetime earnings and inheritances capped, you and other people with like-minded ideas will need to have someone speak for your behalf. Just as I and other like-minded people who disagree with you will need someone speak on our behalf. That is how politics works and the alternative would necessarily be a zero-tolerance for any political contribution and lobbyist of any kind. I imagine you would agree to this for Goldman-Sachs, but would you agree to this for Greenpeace? As a concept and general principle, I do not believe corporations are evil. But I sure would like to see some aliens!