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Alex Meseck

Student, UW Whitewater

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How can we lessen the disparity between the rich and the poor in America?

According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country. On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.
Statistics like these show the massive disparity between the rich and poor in America. I feel the need to do something about this, but I'm not sure what i can do to make changes. Any ideas?

Update: Ive got three good stories to include in my letter thus far. Theres ten days left before this conversation gets closed. I'd like to get two or three more statements before i write up this letter to be sent to senators/congressman. I probably wont write the letter until I go on christmas break. Please, anyone who may be interested in receiving a copy of this letter to send to their own senators and congressman should send me an email. My email address is meseckaj20@uww.edu

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Closing Statement from Alex Meseck

As is clear to me after all this, making these changes in the distribution of wealth will not be easy. But being the optimist I am, I think we can make this change happen if we work together. I am in the process of writting the letter, anyone interested in recieving a copy should email me at meseckaj20@uww.edu and thanks for the variety of ideas.

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    Dec 5 2013: I for one am at a loss on how to redistribute wealth in America. This country was based on individual freedoms with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a foundation for the nation. You can tax those who have accumulated wealth at a cap, it would be legal under current law. But is it fair?
    Recently at my local watering hole, I engaged in a conversation where the discussion was "Why should Bill Gates have all that money and I don't." I took the Bill Gates side of the discussion.
    Why shouldn't he have all that wealth? He earned it, legally, I presume.

    I am not wealthy because..... I didn't write a couple of million lines of computer code for a great operating system. I didn't guess those 7 numbers for the mega-million lottery. I can go on but you get the idea.
    On a personnel level, I see wealth envy as destructive. It leaves people to do stupid things or get conned by the really bad people.

    If there is a concern about some disparity, the real question is, are the opportunities for gaining wealth available to all? Wealthy people seem to have had great educations... do our schools provide great education? Wealthy people have focused on that activity that will bring them wealth. They don't spend hours on Facebook or Xbox. Wealthy people seemed to have been successful on overcoming reams of forms to complete and regulations to follow... this is one area that escapes me. Today, many wealthy people have said that they could not have succeeded in today's regulatory environment.

    So, if the government suppresses people from being successful and the wealthy have escaped, it would follow that the disparity would grow.

    It would make sense that new government policies would encourage people to go and create wealth.
    Or we could have many poorer people so that the government could tax the wealthy and redistribute the wealth to the poor to lessen the disparity. So it would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul... But you can only do that once
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      Dec 5 2013: You may want to check out Bill Gates before you take his side. Bill Gates never made any money off his own code.... ever! However he is a very clever manger of other peoples code that he buys or steals and a shrewd business man. He got his first break when IBM was looking for a small operating system for their PC's. He was aware of some software that he knew would do the trick but he did not own it or write it. He sent a proposal and exclusive contract to IBM who bit hook, line and sinker. Bill then took the down payment and bought the software then hired a couple guys to modify it into DOS and the rest is history. Even after IBM found out they were locked into a air-tight contract and had to use his software on all their PC's. He milked that cow for years and made his first millions slowly buying up other software that would also run on DOS. Then along came Apple with fancy fonts, menus and windows. Bill saw the writing on the wall so he paid some spy's to work for Apple and feed the code back to him. In no time he had all the same bells and whistles on his "new" (stolen) software called Windows. Both Jobs and Gates were already rich, friends and occasionally hung out together so when Gates stole all of the Apple software, of course Jobs was livid. Which is probably why when Apple was going broke, Gates loaned Jobs $100 million dollars to keep it going. They were certainly the odd couple in a love-hate relationship. Jobs never wrote a lot of code either but his employees certainly did. He like Gates was a man who could drive other people to do extra ordinary things. To both of them NO was simply not acceptable.
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        Dec 5 2013: Just saying that Gates made his money legally as far as I know. He has done some good things in giving it away, whether he personally wrote the code or just saw that it got done...ok.
        The important thing is that he did it and made a fortune. I am saying that if Bill could anybody could.... except me maybe.
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          Dec 5 2013: There always two sides to a coin. On one side you have what a wonderful thing to give your money to charity and on the other side you have, it is all tax deductible so what is the bottom line? Well for one as usual the rich instead of paying their share of taxes simply donate "to their own charity". Why do they do that? Because all the expenses of travel and accommodations are also tax deductible in other words they get to travel the world in high fashion at the public's expense. The bottom line is only the middle class pay taxes, the poor don't pay taxes and the rich play charity games and hide their fortunes in the Bahamas.
          By the way I heard Bill and Warren were going to give most of their money to charity years ago and yet both still have their fortunes. Is that like politicians that say "I am Responsible" and yet they don't lose their job or money or ever go to jail, even though their mistakes cost lives and fortunes. Why don't they just tell it like it is "I am not responsible because I have diplomatic immunity"!
        • Dec 15 2013: Mike, if he'd made his money legally, why was he hauled up before the senate on illegal business practices?

          http://ethics.csc.ncsu.edu/commerce/anticompetitive/dominance/microsoft/study.php

          http://www.slashgear.com/us-senate-claims-microsoft-avoided-paying-6-5-billion-in-taxes-20248748/
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        Dec 6 2013: Keith,
        I can't speak for the intentions of Bill or Warren, all I think I know is that they have made large contributions to many charities and have helped many people.

        So, they give much money to charities in.... Africa. They go to Africa, first class, drinking... Dom Perinom... I am not sure you can take a tax deduction on a tax deduction but... for sake of this argument...
        Here is my point... what would the needy people of Africa had gotten if Bill and Warren had not gone in that luxury jet?

        By the way, it's been reported that Bill flies commercial and uses Southwest Airlines a lot. Warren lives a small 3 bedroom house on a nondescript residential street and drives a 5 year old car.

        You seem to imply that wealth is bad and wealthy people are immoral. Well, I don't know that many wealthy people, but I know many not so wealthy... I can say from my experience that the not so wealthy have their full share of immorality.
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          Dec 6 2013: The people of Africa would not be so needy if rich people in our country did not demand cheap diamonds, gold and slaves all of which they steal from Africa! They are slaves in their own country and killed if they refuse to participate. America and other countries are rich because they steal from other countries that do not have the ability to protect themselves. We steal their resources and force them as slaves to mine their own resources and when they stop working like slaves we kill them. If Africans got even a small portion of the resources we steal from them they would live like the Saudi Kings. But they do not! We take it all and give back nothing, nada, zip, zero, nix, zilich! Is that clear enough? They work for nothing or die!

          Then we have the nerve to fly over there and pass out a few care packages and bask in the "glory of philanthropy" while the slaves as we speak are being massacred on the ground for your pleasure. Now go back and enjoy your cappuccino and when you look in the mirror at your gold necklace or down at that beautiful diamond ring, think about how many Africans(men, women and children) were killed for your pleasure.
          No worry, a couple sips and you will forget all about it and feel as right as rain...
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        Dec 7 2013: Well, Keith, I guess everyone who does go to ... say Africa, should just stop going and bringing anything. You make it sound so hypocritical of them. I guess no help would be better then just a little.
        All us rich nations should just continue to exploit all these less fortunate nations. That sure makes me feel better.
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          Dec 7 2013: Mike I know you are a reasonable guy, if you really want to help them or us... Just take 90% of their resources and give them back 10% that sounds reasonable to me. Put it in their bank and issue each adult a debit card that only works on face recognition. Every week the 10% of resources withdrawn from the country is deposited plus the interest on the account and divided by the number of adults and that amount it transferred to each adults account. They do it in Alaska with Oil profits. It should be done all over America, right now it goes into the state fund and we all know what they do with it.
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          Dec 8 2013: That is just transferring fraud.
        • Dec 15 2013: Sorry to inform you both Mike and Keith, that the so called philanthropy in Africa, is nothing short of a joke. As one who HAS lived there, I can tell you the crimes that are committed again the peoples of various nations (you know Africa is not a country but a continent) is nothing short sometimes of geocide. Shell Oil alone has cause so much damage, if it had been done anywhere but in Africa there would have been an outcry. Heavy metals (for your iphone) are mined daily with no protective equipment, the only equipment used is an ak-47 to force people down the mines. Gates sterilization plan for Africa is an abomination, that would never see the light of day in any other continent. Look up Gates polio vaccines for india, where the version used was know to cause deformities. That version of the vaccine is not used in the us or anywhere else. There is NO philanthropy here.

          Just that people have short memories and can be sold any pile of shit, as long as it's packaged well, and he has top people doing that.

          http://nsnbc.me/2013/05/08/bill-gates-polio-vaccine-program-caused-47500-cases-of-paralysis-death/

          http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/bill-gates-africa-and-population-control/

          Many vaccines, especially multi-dose vaccines that are made more cheaply for sale to the Third World, contain something called Thimerosal (Thiomersol in the EU), a compound (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate), containing some 50% mercury, used as a preservative.

          In July 1999 the US’ National Vaccine Information Center declared in a press release that, “The cumulative effects of ingesting mercury can cause brain damage.” The same month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the public about the possible health effects associated with thimerosal-containing vaccines.


          If that's philanthropy, you can keep it.
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        Dec 7 2013: Keith,
        How can you take 90% of anything from anybody?
        That violates every principal of civilization from the Laws of Moses, to Hammurabi's Code to English Common Law to the US Constitution. And I can't even begin to list the Asian Civilizations that would be offended.

        You would just take something because you believe they don't deserve it or need it or want it?

        Do you even begin to understand what you are saying?

        Are you just being provocative or do you really believe that?
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          Dec 7 2013: Right now we are taking 100% and then killing them. Is that what you call civil or fair? I am saying give them just 10% and leave them alone. Mine you own damn diamonds and gold or offer them a descent wage with benefits to attract them to work. If they are happy with the 10% and do not want to work, tough, get your slaves somewhere else (I hear their are a lot of slaves in Britain & America, out of work, hire them).
    • Dec 5 2013: You ask a vital question here: are the opportunities for gaining wealth available for all? Especially the question of education. Children born in to a poor family will probably get some education, so long as they're family is not so deep in poverty they need all family members to be working to stay above water. But one of the problems is that more and more employers are requiring a college degree for a person to get a job. For those in poverty, even if they can manage to make it through high school, will likely not have money to go to college. This can perpetuate the cycle of poverty for generations.
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        Dec 5 2013: Alex,
        I can't buy the "I am poor and so I am stuck in poverty because no college, no job" story.
        You see, i came from a poor family and couldn't afford college. I am the son of an immigrant family and I'll match anyone's poorness and raise you.... But, I got an undergraduate degree... it took me 27 years, but I got it done. I almost got my master's degree... class work done but didn't finish the thesis. Long story...
        So... anyway... I got jobs and was employed. "In the if I can do it you can do it" rule, there is no reason for someone not to get a college education. It was hard, I'll admit. but it can be done.
    • Dec 6 2013: Wealth is redistributed with guns. If wealth redistribution is your goal, you will ultimately always have to resort to violence.
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        Dec 6 2013: Money is distributed with guns... I consider myself one of the wealthiest people alive and my income is below the poverty line.
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        Dec 8 2013: No we do not. We just need honest government that IS NOT GIVING FAVORS TO ANYONE.

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