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Should Billionaires Exist?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Feb 21, 2020.

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Should Billionaires Exist?

  1. Yes

    43 vote(s)
    69.4%
  2. No

    16 vote(s)
    25.8%
  3. Undecided

    3 vote(s)
    4.8%
  1. Aleron

    Aleron Contributing Member

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    The issue is Bernie, without him, the issue wouldn't really exist except in wing nut land, but when the person leading the primaries and is looking increasing like the presidential nomination barring a contested convention (if he's ousted in a contested convention, there will be blood from his looney followers).
     
  2. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    I think this would make for an interesting thread topic.
     
  3. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Far too early.
     
  4. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    I said no, but I don't necessarily fault someone for coming into a billion in wealth just because that happened. Sometimes it happens without corruption of the system.... but I will say that eventually when you have that billion +, you want to keep that billion +, and usually that turns into looking to law makers to help sustain & grow your wealth. That's where lobbying & simple contact with politicians starts, and then one thing leads to another and next thing you know you are corrupt.

    Money is certainly the root of all evil. Look at all of these big moments in history of evil. Money or power/global wealth always is the heart of where things start. Even slavery in the South had mostly money at the root of the problem with the advancement of the cotton gin which led to essentially oligarchs of the south who were corrupted by their money & they were evil men who viewed African American slaves as nothing more than a pay day, and saw them as less than human.

    So should Billionaires exist at least in a personal sense... probably not. Mostly because it's probably a sign of a inflation & wall street's influence when one person can just land billions in funding from banks, and other financial backers who create wealth without liquidity.

    But they also shouldn't exist in a healthy democracy and democratic economic market in a way that has no wall between that billionaire, corporations, financial institutions, etc. and politicians in government who are supposed to be civil servants.

    I think Billionaires could exist in a healthy way IF our government was create that wall... first by writing law a bill that strikes down Citizens United, and addresses other forms of corruption.
     
  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Thank you for the thoughtful post
    I'm still curious about this idea that money is the root of all evil. What to do you think about people like Bill Gates who has pledged to give away most of his money and is convincing other billionaires to do the same. The Gates foundation is tackling many issues such as climate change in ways that governments aren't or aren't willing too.

    Also consider that a lot of evil hasn't been done in the name of money and certainly not global wealth. Consider the all the people who died under the Great Leap Forward and the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Those weren't done in the name of money and in fact they opposed the idea of individual wealth and part of the suffering of caused in those cases was because of the mass scale confiscation of individual wealth.
     
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  6. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    No...until I hit the 999 million mark.

    Then **** yeah
     
  7. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    I think Bill Gates is basically a saint when it comes to billionaires. I think you put billions of dollars in anyones hands in 2020 that basically comes from wall street investment (not truly liquid), and you put that billionaire in a position to need to sustain & grow their business/wealth which has an affect which I spoke of.

    I believe that assuming that everyone will have the morals of Bill Gates is just too risky for the US government. Even with people like Gates, you still have the risk of political pressure even with a billionaire who is a major philanthropist with a good heart. My point is that it is just too easy for someone in that state to maybe even non-purposefully make connections in the political world to influence business that ends up ultimately in soft or hard corruption that hurts the American people and our consumer based economy. I'm simply arguing for a stronger wall between a billionaire and the US government. Not saying that necessarily billionaires are all evil, but in our system, it's waaaayyyyy too easy for that money to corrupt. Again the best example is what we are seeing in broad daylight with Zuckerberg and Facebook.
     
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  8. jiggyfly

    jiggyfly Member

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    This is not just a billionaire issue corruption is an issue all its own.
     
  9. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    Exactly which is why my post was so long. It's not just a billionaire issue. It's the lack of a wall between the government and influential money in politics that leads to corruption. The conditions our economy produces around Billionaires just heightens the risk profile for corruption without that much needed wall.
     
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  10. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    A separate far reaching question is whether the children of billionaires should be allowed to inherit an insane amount of wealth
     
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  11. Nigel Thornberry

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    ARE THE MODS TRYING TO GET ME PREGNANT?!?! @Deckard
     
  12. HTM

    HTM Member

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    Sure. It's how the person who earned the money wanted their money distributed. We already have an Estate tax for estate's which exceed $11.4 million. What is the alternative? Have the government confiscate it? If the deceased wanted to leave it to the United States Treasury or any other organization or individual, they could have.
     
  13. AleksandarN

    AleksandarN Member

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    Greed and power is the root of all evil. Money is just the means. I say our society tend to look up and value people who have money. The idolizations of the super rich and the American dream is linked together unfortunately. We need re examine our value our as a society as a whole. What is the American dream?
     
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  14. foh

    foh Member

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    Corruption, based on my superfluous understanding, is when people don't follow laws or create laws that help one person (effectively making this person above law). Citizen United is bad I concede, but oligarch's influence in politics is not unquestionably bad which Rocketsjudoka's main point of interest in this thread it seems.

    I wanted to touch on a couple of seemingly objective points that haven't been addressed.

    We say that billionaires are using our great infrastructure, human capital and markets without paying for it. I don't think that is true. They do pay for this and not only via progressive taxes. With their innovative ideas (in spirit of Ayn Rand), they raise the overall economy of US. We have number one GDP in the world and one of the highest GPD/capita for a reason. Capitalism and the spirit of hard work and entrepreneurship. Historically speaking, you can see China and Japan rising through GDP ranks as soon as they have embraced capitalism. This is not just a number. This is yours and mine buying power - this is our conveniences of life. We have greatly benefited from Steve Jobs of the world making their billions. We have gained Iphones. Capitalism (controlled but not so as to not be competitive with other nations) is damn good to us. Even when considering a median income (to account for wealth disparity).

    The other thing that should be mentioned is that the top tax bracket of 90% or close to it was in place only during/after the two world wars. It is not normal for capitalism to have a tax bracket that high as far as I understand.

    Emotionally, it seems that people forget that capitalism benefits them, because of 1) envy and 2)fear of lack of control. But billionaires don't have extra sense of happiness compared to someone earning 100K. This is proven by behavioral psychology. So there is no real reason for envy.
    This will likely change if corruption will truly take control of our government.
    When it comes to corruption and the lack of control that comes with it, we can take it upon ourselves to try and convince our own family and friends to vote against corruption instead of not talking about politics and inexplicably being divided by oligarchs into political tribes based on other less important cultural matters (religion, immigration, guns). Then again, maybe conveniences of life and self-actualization are not important enough values. I tend to think that they are. But then maybe self-actualization becomes less achievable when the goal of making it (becoming a billionaire) seems insurmountable.

    I guess in that sense Citizen United is really bad because it allows for oligarchs to be able to work more effectively into dividing us and into lowering progressive tax too much. But this only means that it is citizen united that we should fight against and not billionaires per se. Which is probably what you mean by creating "the wall".

    Build the wall! (by 1st voting Trump out - the irony. haha)
     
    #94 foh, Feb 27, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  15. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Another thoughtful post.

    Yes one of the issues I'm addressing is the Adam Smith and Rand idea that the pursuit of personal wealth is the primary driver of societal advancement. I think there is a fair argument for that. I agree there are practical arguments against it but part of that is why I raised this thread to see what sort of thoughts are on this idea and because this has been raised in our current political debates.
     
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  16. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    Amazon paid zero dollars in federal taxes. Many massive publicly traded corporations find ways to pay a effective tax rate of 0% at the federal level. So yes, they do leech.

    And I'm sorry, the vast majority of ground breaking revolutionary advancements in technology have come through public funding. Yes, the capitalist system allows for tax revenue to be generated where as a society we can dedicate that revenue to public funding of research but the vast majority of major breakthroughs come from public research either through grants or through research in universities.

    The "innovation" that happens today in large publicly traded companies finding ways to monotize on new discoveries. Think about how most of our large massive publicly traded corporations work. The shareholders are merely temporary investors who reshuffle their investments often. The executives are merely temporary employees who's average tenure is 1-5 years who answer to the shareholders' desires to maximize their investments. These shareholders don't care about revenue making 10 years down the line. They want to see a cash flow diagram of a project that sees profits in the near future. Hence, these publicly traded entities couldn't give two ***** about putting in research on technology that is 10 years away from monetization.

    When quantum level study of the atom began, no one knew that it would lead to the modern microprocessor revolution that our entire society is based on today. In today's setting of massive publicly traded corporations, there is no insentive to do research on something so early where they don't see an avenue in monetization. But unfortunately with science, many early discoveries don't show immediate avenues of how the new discovery could be monetized.
     
    #96 fchowd0311, Feb 27, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  17. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I personally am uncomfortable with the idea of inheriting vast amounts of personal wealth. While I believe there is something to the pursuit of personal wealth advancing society inherited wealth isn't the case. Generations of inherited wealth does just lead to aristocracy living off of the achievements of ancestors rather than adding more to society.
     
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  18. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    And in the modern age of algorithmic stock market trading, it is so much easier for idiots born into wealth to significantly increase it without any discernable skill sets.
     
  19. jiggyfly

    jiggyfly Member

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    What does any of this have to do with what FOH posted?

    Did he say Amazon should not be taxed.

    Did you post this in the wrong thread?
     
  20. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    My argument also addresses the common misconception that advancements in innovation and research predominantly happens in the private sector.

    But I doubt you are willing to actually read anything I type and have a good faith response to it because it seems like you have a grudge with me. You reply to me incessantly but with very little worthwhile content. Mostly just insults and questioning my motives. I think I'm done with you.
     

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