Bags Of Money Showing American Finances And Economy

Does Inequality Matter Anymore?
by jdledell

Oxfam (one of my favorite charities) issued a report that the NY Times amplified. This report indicated 8 men have accumulated as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people on Earth. If one thinks about this for a minute, it can stagger the synapse of the brain. Here is the List:

1 – $75 billion – Bill Gates – Microsoft
2 – $67 billion – Amancio Gaona – Spanish fashion company
3 – $61 billion – Warren Buffett – Investor
4 – $50 billion – Carlos Slim – Mexican telecommunications
5 – $45 billion – Jeff Bezos – Amazon
6 – $45 Billion – Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
7 – $44 Billion – Larry Ellison – Oracle
8 – $40 billion – Mike Bloomberg – Bloomberg

This amount of wealth, closing in a ½ trillion dollars is mind boggling. Now a few of these people, Gates, Buffett and Zuckerberg have indicated that they will be giving away their entire fortunes over time. This massive concentration of wealth raises a number of questions we as a society should answer:

1 – Does this ability to amass gigantic fortunes produce economic benefits for the overall society that outweigh the disadvantages of wealth disparity on the majority of the populace?
2 – Should these fortunes be allowed to outlive their creators? In other words should the taxes on estates be punitively high in absence of charitable giving?
3 – Should there be limits on the amount of wealth that can be passed on to children and grandchildren and/or other relatives of the creators? Should there be limits on trust funds for offspring?
4 – Is the government, through taxes, a worthwhile recipient of these kind of massive funds or should the estate taxes be formulated to strongly encourage charitable giving instead of taxes.

Society need to answer these questions because as time passes the wealth disparity will continue to grow as the creators find more ways to minimize both income, capital gains and estate taxes. For example, my solid belief is that Trump ran for President to maximize the value of his brand so that he could use the Presidency to enhance the wealth he will pass on to his children. He is amassing this wealth as a scorecard to satisfy his ego needs in the present as well as the future thru his children’s continued use of the Trump name. What are your thoughts on these questions about wealth?

After a long career as a Senior Executive with Prudential, jdledell took early retirement to teach piano with his wife of 48 years, Cinder. The two of them established Castle LeDell Music in their home and have 130 weekly students spread out over 7 days a week. In spite of teaching being literally a full-time job, jdledell finds the time to consume vast quantities of Internet commentary and to communicate with his children and other relatives scattered around the globe. While jdledell got polio when he was two years old and now uses a wheelchair full-time, it doesn’t keep him from leading a rich and fulfilling life in Basking Ridge, NJ.

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