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Wed Oct 23, 2013, 07:55 PM

Ending Extreme Poverty is a Matter of Political Will


The new data from the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse put the world’s total personal wealth, as of this past June, at $241 trillion, an all-time record. The world’s richest 1 percent currently hold 46 percent of global assets. The poorest half of global adults hold less than 1 percent.

About 1.2 billion people in the world today live on less than $1.25 a day, a state of affairs that researchers define as “extreme poverty.” Only 26 percent of these extremely poor have access to clean water, only 49 percent access to electricity.

“If we had a magic wand and could perfectly target every extremely poor individual,” World Bank researchers note, the world would need “approximately $169 billion per year” to end extreme poverty.

A graduated wealth tax that averaged 0.5 percent on all personal wealth over $1 million would raise about $500 billion annually, nearly triple the $169 billion needed to lift every soul on the planet out of extreme poverty.

This article reminded me of the head of the IMF who recently proposed (SHOCK) that multinationals should be taxed.

Yes, the head of one of the most influential economic agencies in the world said every nation should tax the rich.


Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes.

Tucked inside a report on public debt, the new tack was mostly eclipsed by worries about the US budget crisis, but did not escape the notice of experts and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits.

But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled "Taxing Times", the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities.

I would say this was a eulogy for Reaganomics.

Tax discussions without revenue from wealth comes from zombies.

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Reply Ending Extreme Poverty is a Matter of Political Will (Original post)
RainDog Oct 2013 OP
ruffburr Oct 2013 #1
RainDog Oct 2013 #2
leftstreet Oct 2013 #3
prairierose Oct 2013 #4
RainDog Oct 2013 #5
RainDog Oct 2013 #6
RainDog Oct 2013 #7

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 08:13 PM

1. Why is it

That when one brings up the subject of rampant poverty, Suddenly no one has anything too say?

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Response to ruffburr (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 08:18 PM

2. dunno

but that sure was an IMPORTANT statement from the head of the IMF.

Game changing, even, in its import.

It will take a while for it to make its way to the land of the talking heads, maybe?

Especially when they rely on their salaries from those the IMF is talking about?

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 08:25 PM

3. DURec

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 09:20 PM

4. and another kick...

for an important story...

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Response to prairierose (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 09:33 PM

5. thanks!

to you and others here.

not full of anger or recrimination... so it's harder to reply, I guess.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 10:03 PM

6. The Happiest Nations in the World

are all located in northern Europe and they all use taxation to insure a basic, existential, level of security for their citizens via a social safety net.


This has been the case for decades.

Last year's study showed that whereas rich people are happier on average than poor people, increasing GDP in a country doesn't necessarily boost well-being. For instance, GDP tripled in the United States since the 1960s, yet well-being has stagnated.

"There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being," said study co-author Jeffery Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, in a statement. "More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world's well-being and sustainable development."

Happy citizens also make for better countries: The report found that happiness makes fore people who live longer, more productive lives, have higher earnings and are better citizens.


One of the things that intrigued the social scientists is the way Scandinavian countries have consistently topped the Prosperity Index since it began four years ago. That suggests that the Scandinavian countries -- which indisputably have large GDPs -- might hold the key to understanding what conditions in addition to wealth must be present for people to report a high sense of well-being.

Some of the conditions might seem obvious. For example: good health care, good education, and good safety and security. So, too, might economic opportunity and the freedom to start one's own business in an environment free from predatory officials and corruption.

But other conditions that lead people to report they feel their life is worthwhile might be less self-evident. And those are often the very same ones that authoritarian regimes claim are unimportant or which they themselves undermine.

Those things include enjoying the personal freedom to speak, read, vote, and worship as you want. And they include enjoying a sense of social trust -- that is, a sense that those around you trust in the society and are themselves trustworthy.


The thing the longitudinal studies show is that economic growth is not enough... how a government chooses to govern (including dealing with corruption) how they choose to treat and view their fellow citizens (as part of their community), these are the groundwork for happiness.

And, not surprisingly, everything the studies show is the opposite of the nihilistic, apocalyptic tea party political and personal philosophy. Seems like too many conservatives are dedicated to creating unhappiness.

sucks to be them.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 23, 2013, 11:39 PM

7. Interview with Philippe Van Parijs


The Need for Basic Income: An Interview with Philippe Van Parijs

Basic income is a particular form of guaranteed minimum income a scheme which gives all people access to some income irrespective of their current work performance or their past work performance. A guaranteed minimum income in this sense is something which has existed in several European countries for a number of years, but basic income differs from the existing guaranteed minimum income along three dimensions: first, basic income is strictly individual, given to all people on an individual basis irrespective of their household situation; second, it is given to all irrespective of income from other sources (labour income or capital income); third, basic income is not subject to whether people are willing to work. It is not restricted to the involuntarily unemployed, but it would be paid to people who choose to not to engage in paid work (for example, housewives, househusbands, students, and tramps).

The main economic effect would be on the labour market. Its an essential part of the proposal that it would make a number of jobs possible for example part-time jobs which are currently not viable because the net income from undertaking them is less than people currently get from benefits. However, because basic income would not initially be at a level that would altogether replace means-tested benefits, the possibilities of these low-paid jobs would still be restricted by the existence of those benefits. Nevertheless, a number of paid occupations that are presently unviable would become possible. What is very important and something substantial in the proposal is the differential effect on pay levels. It does not follow from what I have just said that there will be a massive or significant decrease in the pay for the jobs that are currently being done. It is essential to understand that the impact on pay levels will not be unambiguously to lower pay. For one should bear in mind that basic income is given unconditionally, so that it wont work simply as an employment subsidy to lower labour for the employer. It can be used that way by the beneficiaries of basic income, who are enabled to accept jobs which pay less than those that are currently available; but they will do so only on condition that these jobs are sufficiently attractive to them, compared to the alternatives on offer. They may be more attractive because of some intrinsic feature, or because of the training they provide. For other jobs that are unattractive and provide little training, the long-term impact will be to raise the amount of money that employers need to pay.

This is an idea that would drastically decrease the cost of govt, btw, which is why it has had some support among libertarians in the past... or so I have heard said. Hard for me to reconcile that with the current Republican iteration, tho.

The argument that people would not work seems to be disputed, thus far, in the Manitoba experiment. The result, so far, was a reduction from 40 to 38 hours a week, and those who opted out were mothers who stayed home with their children and teenagers who had been working to help out their families. They were able to put their focus back on school.


1970s' Manitoba poverty experiment called a success

Evelyn Forget, professor of community health science at the University of Manitoba- spent three years comparing the administrative health care records of Dauphin's citizens between 1974 and 1978 with those of a control group of people living in similar Manitoba communities at that time.

She said her research suggests that people appear to live healthier lives when they don't have to worry about poverty. "Hospitalizations for mental health issues were down significantly," she said, adding that teenagers stayed in school longer as a result of the initiative.

The initiative, which started in 1974, was terminated in 1978 as political support for the experiment faded.

Martin Luther King talked about this concept, as well.


One of the more under-appreciated aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy is that by the end of his career, he had fashioned himself into a crusader against poverty, not just among blacks, but all Americans. In the weeks leading to his assassination, the civil rights leader had been hard at work organizing a new march on Washington known as the "Poor People's Campaign." The goal was to erect a tent city on the National Mall, that, as Mark Engler described it for The Nation in 2010, would "dramatize the reality of joblessness and deprivation by bringing those excluded from the economy to the doorstep of the nation's leaders." He was killed before he could see the effort through.

So what, exactly, was King's economic dream? In short, he wanted the government to eradicate poverty by providing every American a guaranteed, middle-class income -- an idea that, while light-years beyond the realm of mainstream political conversation today, had actually come into vogue by the late 1960s.

To be crystal clear, a guaranteed income -- or a universal basic income, as it's sometimes called today -- is not the same as a higher minimum wage. Instead, it's a policy designed to make sure each American has a certain concrete sum of money to spend each year. One modern version of the policy would give every adult a tax credit that would essentially become a cash payment for families that don't pay much tax. Conservative thinker Charles Murray has advocated replacing the whole welfare state by handing every grown American a full $10,000.

King had an even more expansive vision. He laid out the case for the guaranteed income in his final book, 1967's Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Washington's previous efforts to fight poverty, he concluded, had been "piecemeal and pygmy." The government's believed it could lift up the poor by attacking the root causes of their impoverishment one by one -- by providing better housing, better education, and better support for families. But these efforts had been too small and too disorganized. Moreover, he wrote, "the programs of the past all have another common failing -- they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else."

People do all kinds of work that isn't compensated anyway, because they have the time or the skill.

Imagine if our society encouraged people to put their best skills to work to better their communities as the goal.

Here's some of the good doctor for the Cruzader -

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! ~Dr. Seuss

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