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Wealth is being concentrated



Published: Fri, April 9, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Wealth is being concentrated

In the 1880s there were 70 peo- ple in our country with a total of $2.7 billion, or about $37.5 million each; 30 others were worth upwards of $30 million each; 25,000 people owned about half the national wealth.

It was suggested at the time (1889) that if the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few continued, the United States of America would “be substantially owned by less than 50,000 persons” within 30 years (Thomas G. Sherman, Forum, November 1889).

In the second decade of the 20th century, President Taft was aware of the problem of the concentration of wealth and tried his best to curtail the rise of monopolies. He did some good, but in 10 years or so, the Great Depression of 1929 devastated America.

It is interesting to read of the profits of Wall Street kings in 1880. Vanderbilt made $30 million; J. Gould, $15 million; Russell Sage and Sidney Dillon, $10 million; James R. Keene, $8 million and several others made a million or two each, making a grand total for 10 or 12 estates of about $80 million (”Our Country”, Dr. Josiah Strong, p. 103). In 1880, 12 men, speculators in Wall Street, received a greater sum than 182,000 laborers in the manufacturing establishments of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island by some $10 million and nearly half as much as 527,533 laborers in like establishments in the whole state of New York (”Our Country”, p. 103).

Now compare those figures with some recent confessions. Incomes of some citizens are now in the billions of dollars. Is it any wonder that a second great depression descended on America?

Cities are not immune to the virus of concentrated wealth; they are struggling financially, and citizens will pay the price.

How many persons or countries now own America?

Robert E. Hopkins, Hubbard


Comments

1Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I do not believe that there is a finite amount of money in this country and would not begrudge anybody the right to earn. A rising tide lifts all boats.

The problem is that corporations now rule our country. People have been led to believe that corporations are like people.One thing that affects all of us mortals is death and taxes. Because of their control on government, by "lobbying," some corporations are now immortal and exempt from taxes.

Ms. Bartlett, the predicate to Mr. McMullen's letter was a rant that was not based on fact. I think that the better tact is to amend the Constitution to decry the notion that money is speech. In many cases, campaign contribnutions are now "legalized" bribery. The best example is Massey Energy's "contribution" to West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Benjamin's political campaign. BTW, this is the same Massey that owns the mine where 25 miners died the other day and the same Massey that owned the mine in Utah where some other miners were killed a couple of years ago.

Corporations have been able to convince willing idiots that they should not be regulated. A lot of people have bought this line. If you are one of them, you need to buy another bridge over the Mahoning. Common sense says that we desperately need better financial regulation, consumer protection and need to take money out of politics as much as possible.

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2eagleye(59 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I think that the only "immortal companies" these days are those that Obama saved with out tax money. Corporations are NOT exempt from taxation. Current laws that exempt certain types of corporate income are laws that are passed by Congress and incorporated in the tax code. Lest we forget, Congress has been controlled by the Democrats for most of the past 60 years. As to the insiduation that campaign contributions to the GOP by the CEO of Massey Energy somehow has a direct like to the mine accident this week is absurd. Both Senators for West Virginia are Democrats, as are most of the representatives. Get real.

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3jojuggie(1471 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey springman, could it be that these billionaires acculated their billions by starting a business in their basement, then moved it to their garage, then bought a piece of land, built a building on the land, stocked the building with machinery, hired labor, and managed it successfully, expanded the business etc. etc. GET THE DRIFT??

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4Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I take these responses to mean that all of you think that money=speech.

I think that everyone should have a right to seek advantage or "redress" from govenment based on merit and NOT on an ability to bribe a legislator or two.

Yes, Mr. jojuggie we need more individuals like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett, etc., all of whom pay their fair share. I don't think there is one guy like that in the entire Mahoning Valley. If there were local people like that, the jobless rate would not be at 14%. As I say, I would not begrudge anyone the right to earned money. I make money that way myself and invest in some companies, mostly through mutual funds. If you had a good idea and a good business plan, I might even consider investing in you.

However, Mr. Eagleye, many large corporations receive tax breaks that no individuals can get, not on based on merit at all but through lobbying and access to politicians that little guys do not get; and yet many of the largest corporations that have benefitted shift their assets offshore and pay NO taxes. I say that if they want to sell here and otherwise do business here, they should be taxed here.

However, this is not the issue. The issue is whether you'd support an amemdment that would state that money is not speech.

I'm not suggesting it is entirely one sided. I DO suggest that if someone gave YOU money, they'd want a quid pro quo.

BTW, the Benjamin case went to the Supreme Court and Benjamin was ordered to recuse himself. That's because Benjamin is a judge and is subject to high ethical standards that I think should apply to everyone else.

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5Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

GE, Exxon Paid No Taxes in 2009

"With the federal income tax deadline looming next week, people can expect Tea Partiers and others to moan and shout about giving some of their money for the common good. If those tax protestors really wanted to make an impact, though, they’d focus on making sure large corporations pay their fair share."

Forbes magazine reported last week that General Electric had $10.3 billion in pre-tax income last year but ended up paying nothing in federal income tax. Instead, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil had a record-breaking $45.2 billion in profits last year, but paid no taxes to the federal government. Of the $15 billion it owed in taxes, all of it was legally channeled to corporate tax shelters in nations overseas.

As expected, corporate shills defend the practice. They allege if companies are forced to pay more, they will either pass the cost along to consumers or eliminate some jobs."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1...

'...Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales, a government study released on Tuesday said."

Tax reform anyone ??

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