What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor?
December 12th, 2011
04:42 PM ET

What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

How much money does it take to make you rich? Depends on who you ask.

A new Gallup poll shows more than half of Americans - 53% - say they'd consider themselves rich if they made $150,000 a year or less. At the other end of the spectrum, 15% of those polled say they would need to earn at least $1 million a year before thinking of themselves as rich.

The poll also finds higher estimates for what makes you rich among men, younger Americans, college graduates, people living in urban and suburban areas and parents of minor children.

In a separate question, half of Americans say at least $1 million in net worth would make them rich. That includes savings, real estate, investments, etc. But it's a far cry from what most people have in the bank.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual household income in the U.S. is about $50,000 a year. Income inequality is skyrocketing. It's estimated that between 1979 and 2007, the incomes of the poorest Americans grew by only 20%. The incomes of the richest 1% of Americans jumped up by 275%.

It’s no coincidence that the Occupy Wall Street movement is targeting this top 1%.

Most Americans agree that the rich - including those who make more than $250,000 a year - should be taxed more. But are higher taxes the only answer to growing income inequality?

Here’s my question to you: What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: On Jack's radar
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Increase dividend and capital gains tax rates, which will take away the incentive to reduce worker pay and give the money to executives and their toadies in management.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  2. Larry -Denver

    Apparently noone has that answer. Howerver if the taxes for the 1% were a higher percent and if the payroll tax were reduced for those making under 100,000 and the income tax system were overhauled , it could be a good start. It will take a full generation or longer for any noticable change to ever take place. Oh, yes, it takes political change as well, unlikely.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Stop exporting jobs.How about the media start teeling the truth and just report the news. We do not care about what you think someone ment to say. Let people (voters) figure that one out them selfs METALWORKER in ILLINOIS

    December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Jerry D. Carson City


    Stop the crony fasco-corporatism partnership between Big Business and Big Government. The amount of Tax Breaks/Credits/.Gov financing of corporations for campaign donations. Heritage Foundation just revealed that corporations paid 8.9& in federal taxes, I paid 42.25% in Federal Taxes and California took another 20% between state income, payroll, insurance, sales taxes, which that doesn't all usage; excise, fees, and taxes!

    Let people choose whether to paid into payroll and income taxes. When you put the money back in the people's pockets, The Economy Will then flourish. PS: End the OneTrillion Dollars sent overseas for Wars and Police too.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  5. Russ in PA

    You want to restore some balance? Then follow the suggestions of Ron Paul, and end the legal tender laws, allowing us to use gold and silver, rather than worthless paper money. This alone will put the Federal Reserve out of business, and force government to live within it's means, and put the control of money back in the hands of the average citizen. Also, end the bail outs, and return us to a free market system, as only such a system puts the control in the hands of consumers, not the producers. Ron Paul is right again: limited government, end the FED, and property rights will even out the playing field that attempting to prop up an over-leveraged, debt-based economy that puts the control into the hands of the high and mighty few.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Allen

    Very simple: Have a "Rich – Poor" lottery. Every person with an certified annual income under the poverty level puts their name in a lottery, and that name is matched with a "Rich" person making over $200,000.00 per year. On a specified date, A Rich person is matched with a poor one, then the Rich person begins supplementing the income of the poor person to bring them equal to "the middle class" of, say $40,000.00. "RICH" people making over 1 million a year will be assigned 2 extra poor families for every million. This includes professional athletes, so guys like Albert Pujos, A-Rod and Kobe Bryant may have to subsidize a small town, but it will certainly restore some balance for the poor.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  7. Norm M.

    Jack , was have listen to dinasaus like NEWT who now at 68 can't remember what he said before, what is he going to be like in 4 years at 72 and hang8ing out with the rich boys . He is now taliking in a trash can over his head and his old echos are still real when related to the rich verses the middle income family . Jack, you spend a lot of time reviewing his echos

    December 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  8. griffin

    get rick perry out of the race ASAP. he is dumbing the contest down. romney is the only person who has a detailed plan and understanding of the business community. newt wants to sell books and increase his bottom line. He will be a target and will lose in the general. didn't we learn from the 2008 nomination of mccain. put romney to the test and watch him reduce the debt while bolstering the manufacturing sector. that's where all the jobs were lost. then the working class people ran to their lawyers to collect disability.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  9. Gerry

    It certainly isn't by taking money from the successful. America is still the land of opportunity, ask any new legal immigrant? You might consider making the tax system more equitible in a National Sales Tax and eliminate the existing income tax system with its loopholes. A National Sales Tax would apply fairly to all. You spend money, you pay the tax. The plus side of this is tht people would probably start saving money again instead of living above their means.

    Ash Fork, Az

    December 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  10. RickFromDetroit

    Quit taxing the poor and tax the rich. Three years ago President Obama offered an agenda that included dropping the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and he swore on a stack of bibles that he supported Social Security. We have now thrown the Bush Tax Cut off of the table and are attempting to use Social Security to stimulate the economy. [payroll tax holiday] President Obama has gone from one end of the financial spectrum to the opposite end. President Obama' "unequal distribution of wealth" appears to be a bunch of lies since his "liberal agenda" ended after he bailed out the banks, wall street, the auto industry, and corporate America in general. President Obama now promotes a conservative agenda and his battles with Rep. Boehner appear to be a "second rate acting performance" for anyone who is naive enough to believe him.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  11. HJ - Saint Paul, MN

    Make people understand the rich dont have the RIGHT to be rich, they have the PRIVILEDGE. The country we live in allows them to accumulate immense wealth. If they choose to abuse that priviledge, the Constitution grants the people the authority for recourse. Once we have this common understanding, we can change anything we want. If we allow the oppression to continue, well then nothing will change.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  12. bonnie from NJ

    Regulate Wall Street, limit executive compensation (not just on Wall Street), lower corporate tax rate with no deductions so that companies will bring back their profits and jobs to our country. But first and foremost, fix the education system, if you don't get a good education you have no chance.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Mel - Houston

    Stop rigging the game for a select group of people. You wonder why legislation is 1600 pages long. It's because besides the simple statement of law there has to be a meticulous tilting of the field for the priviledged to be successful.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  14. John from Alabama

    Jack: Do away with the George W. Bush taxcuts, today. Do not let banks have anything to do with college loans, but let the Dept. of Education handle these loans. For Congress to approve the American Employment Act proposed by President Obama. There is a wing of the Republican Party known as the Tea Party who believe in doing nothing, and maybe the voters will wake up an put them out of office in 2012. This nation needs solutions and not Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor in Congress saying "no". Senator Jim Dement should be arrested on general principles.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  15. james in greenville nc

    Jack, has there ever been a balance between the rich and the poor? I have done well in my business and consider myself rich. However, compared to some I am poor. Sorry to say but the poor will remain poor unless they work themselves up. The current buffet of entitlements serves to make poor people content with the handouts rather than bettering themselves by working. I am one of those who still believe the American dream is possible but not without rolling up your sleeves and working.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  16. John Herling

    Train the poor to perform jobs that pay decently and have health benefits, and then provide them with those jobs.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  17. Jk from Minnesota

    It's going to take some ti9me to correct somtething that has been happening for the better part of 30 years, Jack. Eliminating the tax cuts for the wealthy for starters. Tax credits should be given to businesses that create jobs in the US. Campaign reform and having Term limits on Congress and change the presidential term to one 6 year term would help to prevent this favoritism from getting so far out of hand. The likelihood of most of that happening, sadly is pretty remote.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  18. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    I don't think the balance can be restored given the culture of greed that has taken hold of our society. I know wealthy and not so wealthy people and I have found the more wealthy a person is the more likely he is to be greedy. In the Grapes of Wrath Stienbeck's grandma character said it best. "If you need help, don't go to a rich person, go to a poor person." A look at House Republicans demonstrates most clearly.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  19. Ed from California

    How about getting all of our outsourced jobs back and getting all of our 50,000+ closed factories up and running again for starters. If it's legal(which I don't see why it's not), nationalize one oil company...lets say Valero. Have this new company (which is owned by the taxpayers....just like the Green Bay Packers, are) sell gasoline at the exact cost plus operating costs to the general public. If that gas is sold at even forty cents a gallon cheaper it would be a huge help, a dollar would be better...two dollars is more like it.. And let's have a fair tax for the wealthy as well. We have to pay, so shouldn't they? All their taxes now would go up 4%, the 1% can't cut it on a 4% tax increase? We can do a benefit concert for them.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  20. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, the answer is easy. Rich people should have more babies. Poor people should have less babies. Eventually, you will achieve "balance"

    December 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Terry in Virginia

    Let the Bush tax cuts expire, get out of Afghanistan and Iraq altogether, and take away all tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs overseas. Then the economy would recover. Ten years of trickle-down economics has failed. Tell the jokers in Congress who support it to grow up or get packing.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  22. Evan

    Hire a few Robin Hood like politicians who will take from the rich and give to the poor; oh wait that's POTUS Obama!!! I guess if we if we ask rich people nicely they will release some of there wealth to the poor in the form of jobs and extra temporary tax increases. These are the two things we need to close the gap and help the economy!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  23. Ken from California

    Move to Scandinavia.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  24. David of Alexandria VA

    Get a long term plan to incentivize corporations to hire people and pay them more, to educate people that education is the key to their success, and to get smart enough in picking elected officials to choose ones who, unlike the past 40 years, would not allow this to happen. Grabing the money through taxes won't do anything but briefly treat a symptom, not the cause.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  25. Jane in CA

    It is a combination of things. 1 – get Americans employed again. This could include everything from Buy American clauses to public works to tariffs and tax penalties for exporting jobs. 2 – Strengthen the union movement, or mandate a fair split for productivity gains. The problem began when management began taking all the gains instead of sharing them with workers. Encourage companies to put workers on their board of directors to look out for their employees. 3 – Increase services and support for the poor. Depriving them of the basic necessities of life degrades the entire society. 4 – Stop lying about the situation. Look at the facts and figures instead of relying on bumper-sticker ideology. A lot of things sound good but don't work in practice. Look to the data to see what really works to accomplish what you want, instead of making excuses for doing the same ineffective things over and over. 5 – Vote the politicians who won't do #4 out of office.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  26. Richard Texas

    Jack the government does not make people poor. What makes people poor is the choices they make. We are all born with nothing and from that moment on outside influences determine what we become. People in America can be anything they want to be with the proper motivation, determination and intellect. You can not make someone smart. Only the person themselves can do that. You can not make someone dumb. Only that person can do that. We get 12 years of education for free in America with incentives for academic and physical attributes if we exceed others. The same is true for careers. People that work harder then others to excel generally do.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  27. Phyllis G. Williams

    What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor?

    Remind them "the beggar dies and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom,
    the rich man dies and was carried into Hell (Luke 16: 22) we all come naked into the world
    and return naked (Job 1: 21). Those who add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,
    patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity enter into the everlasting kingdom of heaven
    (2nd Peter Chapter 1). We are all ONE in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 28) and must love one another
    regardless of differences as those in Acts 4: 32 (smile).

    December 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  28. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Eat the rich, an updated "modest proposal"

    December 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  29. Ed from MD

    Trickle up economics?

    December 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  30. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Jack I really do not care how much money the rich make. It is the way they make it. When I see all the tax loopholes and the wealthy paying less taxes percentagewise than their secretaries it makes me mad. When I see companies like GE get over $1 billion in tax incentives while paying no tax at all, it makes me mad. It used to be that American companies care for the people that work for them. Now they are willing to destroy their lives in a blink of an eye and send jobs overseas just to make an extra buck. To me that is nothing but greed. It should tell you something when you have billionaires knocking on the doors of Congress asking them to raise their taxes.Jack I really do not care how much money the rich make. It is the way they make it. When I see all the tax loopholes and the wealthy paying less taxes percentagewise than their secretaries it makes me mad. When I see companies like GE get over $1 billion in tax incentives while paying no tax at all, it makes me mad. It used to be that American companies care for the people that work for them. Now they are willing to destroy their lives in a blink of an eye and send jobs overseas just to make an extra buck. To me that is nothing but greed. It should tell you that something is wrong when you have billionaires knocking on the doors of Congress asking them to raise their taxes.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  31. Lori - PA


    Get rid of (vote out) the politicians that cater to the wealthy or are out for themselves. Once they're gone, get rid of lobbying, overhaul how election campaigns are funded, and set term limits. The time for career politicians has passed. Oh, and replace the ousted politicians with people who really care/are serious about getting the U.S. back on track.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  32. Rex in Portland, ORrrd

    I assume that you assume that some other balance of assets between the rich and the poor is either needed or desirable. What are you, a communist? This is AMERICA, where the chips lay where they fall, Jack, not some third world country where wealth is manipulated. I am surprised that your bosses let you think the way you do. Apologize.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  33. Annie, Atlanta

    The shareholders. I don't know how they haven't rebelled yet. Since when do CEOs deserve tens of millions in salary and tens of millions more in golden parachutes, while the work force that enables the companies to prosper struggle just to maintain shelter and food for their families. Forget about health care. You have to be a CEO to afford it. I never thought we'd revert back to the gilded age. All those years of struggle and bloodshed, and now we're going to have to do it all over again to take back control from the robber barons. Unbelievable.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  34. Gary H. Boyd

    For the United States government to declare bankruptcy and let the chips fall where they may. It would be survival of the fittest just like it was when this nation was founded.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    December 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  35. Bob in Texas

    Restoration of the middle class is not rocket science. A look at how the economic growth in the post WWII era happened provides the answers.

    1. investment in new infrastructure. I'm not talking about just fixing what we've got, I mean new investment in new more efficient highways, railways, the electrical grid etc. We need new highways, power plants, and high speed rail. Airports need to be upgraded to handle more traffic at lower costs.

    2. Sensible import tariffs. Every great society, from the Egyptians to the Romans to the Europeans and now the Americans has gone into decline when they decided they were too good to get their hands dirty. They imported labor, rather than using domestically available labor, and imported necessities rather than doing it themselves. Real wealth is generated by turning raw materials into useable goods. The globalization goofballs have almost completely given away our industrial capacity to nations that refuse to respect common sense environmental concerns. Tariffs should be implemented to help rebuild our industrial sector and create blue collar jobs.

    3. Eliminate so called "right to work" laws nationally and strengthen workers rights to representation. Replace the "at will employment" doctrine with a "implied contract of fair treatment" doctrine.

    The prosperity that we enjoyed for three and a half decades after WW2 were characterized by protectionist tariffs, strong unions and labor contracts, and a sensible graduated income tax structure. The decline since can be attributed to the decline of organized labor, flattening tax structure, and industrial "globalization".

    December 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  36. Loren

    Simplify the tax code. As long as Congress tries to use the tax code for economic enginneering, there will be an imbalance between the rich and poor. The rich, through access to professional advice, make use of the tax code to minimize their tax-paying obligations, tax avoidance, which is permitted. By reducing tax incentives, Congress will be allowing the free market to determine investment opportunities. One need only look at solar power as an example of misguided Congressional policies to realize how poorly government is at encouraging appropriate investments.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  37. Burt in Az

    The justice department can start by investigating and jailing the crooks on wall street who robbed the pensions and homes of many Americans through their illegal activities that led to the financial meltdown many people are now facing.
    Unless something is done soon about the bankers who with their paid lobbyists have a strangle hold on our Congress, I don't see much changing in the foreseeable future.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  38. Doug Ericson

    Easy. Eliminate Congress, The supreme Court, The rest of the Courts, The Joint Chiefs of their Staffs, The Execuctive Branch, Insurance companies, Every DMV, Every Bureaucracy and Government Department ever created, and every law ever written, and start all over again. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  39. Karl in Flint

    Very simple, Jack. If you make $25,000 a year, you pay taxes on $25.000. If you make $5,000,000 a year, you pay taxes on $5,000,000. No exceptions. In other words one flat tax. You get the dependent exemption and that's all. No other deductions.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Charles - San Antonio

    One positive step would be to eliminate all incomes taxes on everyone making under $50,000 and increase income taxes on everyone making over $500,000. We should also means test social security and fully implement President Obama's health care reform. The most important thing is for the media to quit constantly remining us of this imbalance.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  41. Pete from Florida

    1st, vote out ALL U. S. Congress incumbents. 2nd, repeat, 3rd, repeat. Because no matter what solutions we come up with for this or any of our other serious problems, the current crop of clowns in Washington AIN'T gonna do it! Only the voters can solve these problems.....but too many of the voters are too dumb or gullible to do what's needed. See you other question for today, then bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your butt goodbye. We're on the downhill side, and it's only gonna get worse.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  42. Bob from Bellmore, New York

    They’re called taxes Jack. The more you make, the more you pay. Isn’t that the system that was supposed to level the playing field in this country?

    December 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  43. Kevin in CA

    Have some leadership that isn't bought and paid for by the 1 percenter's.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  44. Pete from Georgia

    The fact that you ask this question demonstrates how the current President has successfully duped Americans into a "Class Warfare" mentality. America is not about restoring "balance" between rich and poor. It's about opportunity and personal performance and behavior. We have started to create an atmosphere where all you have to do is wake up in the morning in America and be guaranteed a certain standard of living whether you earned it or not.
    Pathetic, ridiculous, and damaging to our future.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  45. Ruth in Indiana

    1. Remove the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Make the tax rate on capital gains the same as the rate on wages.
    2. Remove the special tax breaks given to corporations. Why doesn't GE and Exxon-Mobile have to pay tax?
    3. Lower rates for corps that keep or return manufacturing jobs in the US and up the rates for out-sourced manufacturing jobs. Service jobs pay too little.
    4. Restore the strength of unions. Individuals cannot be at the mercy of powerful business interests. Working people can improve conditions only if they are allowed to work together for them.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  46. Bill of New Mexico

    1) Increase taxes significantly (and graduated) on incomes higher than $50,000 per year.

    2) Increase minimum wage 10% every year for the next 20 years.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  47. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    Pass term limits – 12 years and you're out – and public financing of campaigns to ensure that legislation is passed for the public good and not for the private greed.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  48. Bob D Iowa

    The poor will always be poor and must of the rich will stay that way but when the middleclaas can only see the bus going South and the North bound route has been cancelled we need to work on the schedule to get the north bound bues running again.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  49. Dan5404

    Jack, the only true way to get the imbalance that exists fixed is a solution that the right-leaning Supreme Court has made impossible. That solution is to eliminate unlimited spending and donations from big money special interests for either side. That money and influence has a lot to do with people's disgust with conress. If such money and heavy advertising right up to election time should be very limited, to help prevent

    December 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  50. Dan5404

    Jack, the only true way to get the imbalance that exists fixed is a solution that the right-leaning Supreme Court has made impossible. That solution is to eliminate unlimited spending and donations from big money special interests for either side. That money and influence has a lot to do with people's disgust with conress. If such money and heavy advertisingby those groups right up to election time should be very limited, to help prevent politians from literally being "bought".

    December 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  51. jenny seattle,wa

    .Build housing that is qualitative and noise abated .Stop building homes next to highways and all other roads.Shutdown Malt liqour in All nieghborhoods.Get rid of Drug pushers who always seem to implode poor and working class nieghborhooods..Stop allowing landlords to kick out u.s citizens for illegals willing to pay a higer rent with more people inside apartments and houses that already paid for themselves

    December 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    Jack, the first thing we have to have is for the two parties to work together. both sides have some good points. I would have them take a good look at the fair tax plan as it seems to share the taxes.with this plan all income taxes would be replaced by a federal sales tax on new goods only. the i.r.s could be shut down and loby people would have no power.
    corperations could operate in the U.S. competively. we should not quit helping the poor and afordable health care is a must. the fair tax plan should bring down prices in the long run. Jim, grand haven michigan

    December 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  53. thom richer

    Pay the working class a living wage, lower taxes on the middle income workers or equalize the tax burden. Do away with corporate/business tax breaks and loopholes or make them available to all taxpayers. Eliminate tax free status' on churches, hospitals, universities, charities and any other tax free businesses or groups. The Constitution, which everyone with an objection to anything touts loudly when pursuing a cause in their favor, states emphatically that all are created equal and entitled to equal rights. If this is indeed our belief then all workers should share the same tax breaks , deductions, exemptions, etc., as corporations, businesses, organizations or any enterprise in America. Equal can only mean equal for all...not just for some.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    December 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  54. Rena

    Give Americans our jobs back. Republicans send US jobs oversees and Democrats give our jobs away to everyone who
    tramples across our borders illegally. We're unemployed and underemployed with nowhere to turn. Everything politicians and the media says is insignificant when they've removed the right of citizens to support themselves.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  55. Gordon NJ

    Prohibit individuals from serving on more than one corporate boards of directors. The boards-of-directors are supposed to oversee companies and protect the stockholders from incompetence. Instead, thousands of these 1% clowns each serve on each others' boards of directors and then they vote each other huge salaries. In a sense, the whole network of corporate boards functions as a de facto labor union protecting the jobs and obscene salaries of the 1%.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  56. Ed Reed

    Change the tax code so work is rewarded. Right now dividends and capital gains are taxed at a lower tax rate than wages. The current system is great for trust fund babies, but not most Americans.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  57. Dennis north carolina

    We have two ways. one, change the form of government which is not likely. two, put all new elected officials in congress and keep replacing them until we get it right.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  58. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Send every member of Congress fishing for good, no medical benefits and no retirement. Jane Fonda said it well on CNN when she said unless we do something soon we will be a third world country. Go back to the Clinton era tax, double the capital gains tax and then make the minimum wage $20 per hour.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  59. John B.

    The last real budget surplus was in 1957 when the top tax rate was 90%. That's how you level out the playing field. Tax the super rich so the rest of us can get the services we need at a price we can afford.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  60. Jim, Denver CO


    First, get the money out of politics by reversing the ruling on Corporations are people too. Second, implement term limits for all members of Congress. Third, re-enact Glass-Stegall. Fourth, get rid of the visa programs that make it easy for companies to do wage suppression. Fifth, go after Wall Street and prosecute the idiots who crashed our economy.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  61. Tina Tx

    Increase the miminum wage to a more sustainable living would help but the rich do not want everyone to be on a level playing field. They think the poor should still be the slaves to them and stay in the poor house while they live like King Midas.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  62. Jeff In Minnesota

    We seem to have forgotten the adage that it takes everyone contributing to make a society. We no longer work as a team, it's now every person for themselves. It was a team at NASA that put men on the moon. It was a team in the US Armed Forces that defeated Hitler and Japan in World War II and did Afghanistan and the two Gulf Wars.

    Then there is the whole concept of corporate leaders making thousands of times their workers wages. Talk about imbalance. Back 30 years ago, a corporate CEO made around 50 to 100 times the average working AND they paid their fair share of taxes. Now we have the Gordon Gekko view of corporate greed because like little children, executives need to be wealthy, not successful. Take a look at the most highly paid executives in the Fortune 1000. Most of them have great compensation packages and get their compensation regardless of how well the company they lead does. Nothing like having your cake and eating it too!

    I blame this situation on The Apprentice/Survivor/et.al. for the glorification of step all over everyone else, every person for themselves, winning at all costs model. While the real world does have winners and losers in that sense, such programming reinforces (particularly to our children) that if you cannot brutalize and humiliate your neighbor to get ahead, then you are a loser. Unfortunately, such a model makes society as a whole lose.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  63. David from Herndon, VA

    Return the top bracket to 39.6%. End special tax treatment for hedge fund managers.

    Problem solved.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  64. pat Twin Falls, Idaho

    Take half of all the rich and half of all the poor and have them switch lives, that would really be interesting or one hell of a mess, the world couldn't handle that.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  65. jeff from PA

    Jack: It will never happen with this worthless two party system! The left in congress are getting rich while pretending to help the middle class. And the GOP are getting rich and making it known they intend to get richer no matter what! Do away with this party system! It's tainted with special interest's thicker than fleas on a hound!

    December 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  66. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Are there still poor out there? Ok, I assume there is. The first thing is get the students thru High School at least. Just the basic education. Then people will be able to apply for a job. All Social Programs should reside in the States as the people in each State decides. Most people can take care of themselves, in fact they have to.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  67. Greg Turman

    Leadership should be out front leading by example. All the people that believe the Bush tax cuts were evil should put their money were their mouth is and give back all those taxes. This would include president Obama, Michael Moore, John Kerry, Reverend Al Sharpton, the Clintons, the Kennedy's, Warren Buffet, Barabara Streisand, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, et al.
    Proverb's 14:23 says: "In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends to poverty".
    Gregory Turman
    Dallas, Texas

    December 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  68. Richard35 Canfield, Ohio

    Jack I am of the generation that remembers when the highest tax rate was 91% This occurred under President Eisenhower-a Republican President.In those a lot of jobs were created by infrastructure employment i.e. building interstate highways and bridges. Very little unemployment in the 8 yrs he was President. So yes let the rich pay their fair share.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  69. Jamie White, Tacoma WA

    Use an amendment if necessary to overturn Citizens United to get non human sources of money out of politics and guarantee every student who can qualify a free public education through college rather than blocking that source of upward mobility because of money.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  70. Troy Spier

    We will always see the dichotomy of rich and poor, but the best way to bridge this gap isn't just through taxation. Until some serious spending cuts are made, we will continue to see the poor becoming poorer by funding this spending.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  71. Darlene Williams

    The way to restore balance between rich and poor would be to first correct the tax code and make it the SAME for those over a set income level. Second would be to give more back to the workers when bonuses are issued because workers are the real laborers and without laborers how can the presidents and CEO's benefit? They have been compensated in a manner that makes it look as if they do ALL the work and the laborers continue struggling.

    Darlene Williams
    Philadelphia, PA

    December 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  72. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    We can thank the Republican God Regan for starting this decent and misguided concept that didn't work then and isn't working now, as we are all still waiting for something to trickle down other than the rich "tinkling" down on the poor.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  73. Martin

    Find ways we can make getting an education simple for people that may find it difficult and affordable to the people that can't afford it.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  74. Roger Fulton

    I don't vote anymore...if voting actually changed ANYTHING, it would probably be illegal.

    Roger Fulton

    December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  75. s in fl

    Easy, Jack. Regulate hoarding.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  76. Rick McDaniel

    Restore the manufacturing sector, to America, which has been, for a century, the backbone, of the middle class, from which to seek opportunity, especially for one generation to the next.

    That sector is all by dead, buried by China and other off shore countries, because Corporate America cared more about profits, than they did about their country...........and government did nothing to stop it.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  77. kim smith, Dodge City, Ks.

    The balance of wealth and power has been the most basic struggle for all of mankind. No matter what one defines as wealth and power, the dynamics will always be the source of that struggle for eternity. In our own particular situation balance is not often, or for very long, sustained.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    How about electing a President who actually understands how creating a better environment for American business will allow more people to have jobs as businesses expand? Or is that just asking too much?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  79. Rob in NC

    There isn't any way to do it as long as we keep electing millionaires to government postitions. Why should they do anything to hurt themselves?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  80. Paul - North Carolina

    No, higher taxes aren't the sole solution, but repealing the Bush tax cuts would be a good place to start. The best thing we could do is pass a constitutional amendment banning supply side economics. Ever since St. Ronnie sold this snake oil to the far right income inequality has been accelerating at a dizzying pace. The whole principle behind the trickle down theory is a crime against human nature. They claim a rising tide lifts all boats but that still puts some in yachts and leaves the rest of us in dinghys. The very fact that so many think a $150,000 income or $1 million net worth makes you rich is proof of just how poor the majority of our citizens are. And that gap will continue to get ever wider until voters come to their senses or our system of government collapses under the weight of it's own hypocrisy.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  81. Rob in NC

    Just to throw my 2 cents in...I would consider 80,000 a year to be rich, but I'm a teacher of 14 years who doesn't make 1/2 that so what do I know?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  82. Sandstone.

    "Maybe by clearing out some of the gear you have stashed away, and having a few market-stall sales. Of course that would mean you'd have to replace that stash, so it would also increase sales in the stores? The government won't do it, and neither will commerce!"

    December 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  83. Larry in Houston

    ""What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor? """

    Good Question, Jack. Let me give you the most respected answer, ( and the most truthful answer) ( in my opinion)
    To be perfectly honest, I've been waiting on this question from you, for awhile, now.

    1. Any money from ALL the Bailouts ( incl. TARP) and I mean ALL Money – – That Has Not Been Paid Back, or Returned to the U.S. Government ( from All Bailouts) Should be returned , AND GIVEN TO THE STATES !
    Divided Equally !! ( and I mean to every State ! ) ( by the way – this money should be from the Banks that is currently sitting on ANY Money, that they did not Pay Back !! )

    2. Then the State Government(s) should do what is Best for THEIR State(s) whether it should go to welfare reform, or however or wherever it should be distributed within their State.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  84. Robert Florida

    Make America a more competitive environment for business by doing the following
    1. Measure regulations by how they impact the economy not the environment.
    2. Do whatever it takes to make America more competitive tax wise.
    3. Change the NLRB and EPA to advisory roles not regulatory.
    4. Make all States right to work states.
    5. Regulate Labor Unions and have the Justice department investigate for RICO violations.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  85. Ronald

    Keep the GOP/Tea Parties insane ideology out of politics.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  86. Ronald

    People with money can buy influence and power. With influence and power you can affect the outcome of politics and legislation to go "your way" and make it easier to continue to make even more money. This is one of the basic problems and why things are so out of balance and why the GOP/Tea Party wants to get rid of regulations and keep tax breaks for the wealthy.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  87. Jack Be Humble

    I think eliminating the capability of congress to make trades based upon insider information would be an awesome start.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  88. John Ruthinoski

    Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone had a list of "demands" he recoomended to the Occupy protestors over the Summer that would be a good place to start:

    1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called "Too Big to Fail" financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term "Systemically Dangerous Institutions" – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

    2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it's supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

    3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer's own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can't do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.

    4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.

    5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company's long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  89. Matt N

    Print tons of money so it all becomes worthless and we will be equally poor. What, that's what we're doing !

    December 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  90. Indiana Bill

    We need to give trickle-down economics a chance! It's only been policy for a little over 30 years now and the rich aren't quite rich enough, yet. Once the rich are even richer, it will start to trickle-down to the 99%. Stay the course!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  91. Mark

    Leaving aside the question of what the proper balance between rich and poor is, it is not the government's role to redistribute wealth. Government should be making sure that the conditions exist for anyone to get (whatever they define as) rich.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  92. loathstheright

    Anyone who has been in business knows that you don't get rich by working, it's all about connections, and that is a very tight closed circle they have. The chance of even getting out of the "working poor" category is nil.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  93. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Read Gresham's Law or Gresham's Copernicus Laws of "Good Money-Bad Money" written 1550. It's been a best seller for 500 years. Noteing nothing is new under the sun.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  94. DaveinSC

    The only way to restore some balance with the economy is to revise the tax code to make it more profitable to invest in people rather than their portfolio. Ethics in business and politics is dead, and many laws and regulations reflect that model. A great example is the Citizens United decision. I would have never thought a ruling like that would ever have been possible in this country. It ain't like it used to be.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  95. PK

    What ???? – "A new Gallup poll shows more than half of Americans – 53% – say they'd consider themselves rich if they made $150,000 a year or less." – So 53% of American's think making LESS THAN $150,001 is Rich ?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  96. Paul

    Our tax code is based on this concept. Before we do anything else, we should simplify it by removing the opportunity to treat income from different sources differently. We should retain an graduated structure to recognize that a certain amount of income is needed for basic needs like food and shelter.

    When the middle class shrinks and the few control vast wealth and resources, then we should be mindful of history. A failure for all to participate in the effort to restore balance leads to bad things happening. Better to adjust the tax code than to watch the wagons on the way to the guillotine.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  97. Sean from Maryland

    Campaign finance reform. Stricter ethical guidelines. Make insider trading illegal for elected officials. Restrictions on lobbying. Get to the root of the problem - money in politics. Our politicians are incentivized to sell us out in order to get the cash they need to get elected. Let's instead create a system that rewards politicians who serve the people.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  98. Paulette Bent

    Making wealthy people and corporations pay higher taxes is a start. Today in my local newspaper a headline is "Northeast Cuts Heating Aid to Poor." The Federal govenment is cutting back on heating funds assistance to the states. Freeze out the elderly and the very young while the rich get richer. I advise All politicans connected to these and other terrible cuts to see review the history of the French Revolution. Hungry peole did not appreciate Marie Antoinette directing them,"Let them eat cake!" Occupy Wall St. is just the beginning here on American soil.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  99. Keith

    Tax the hell out of corporations who outsource jobs.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  100. Donaldo in ATL

    Ultimately Jack it is up to each of us to do our part. I always believe it you want something bad enough, you will find a way, in most cases, it means working your butt off, getting more education or both. I grew up in the 60's, my parents were both blind, they both worked hard to provide for their family. They never complained about not having enough. They taught me to get an education and to work hard, which is what I have done my entire life. I know own a small business, I am part of the 99%, and I count my blessings for what I have worked for. Stop complaining!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  101. Roger Ogilivy Thornhill

    In 1991, I could open a CD and earn 8% interest, while my mortgage was just shy of 12%. So the bank was charging 50% interest more for my loan than they were paying me for my CD. Fine. Nowadays, the best interest rate I can find on a CD is 1%, while the best mortgage I can find is 4%. So now the bank is charging 400% for the loan they give me over the interest they pay me on my CD. The banks are getting 8 TIMES the mortgage/CD ratio they were getting in the early 90's. Why? What could be done about it? Everybody hates the word "regulation" when it comes to the precious banking industry.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  102. Snehal

    Nobody can make anybody rich or poor. It is the individual's choices in life that will enable them to earn money per their aspiration. Giving money to poor by taking from rich just sets up stage for handicapped society who thrives on welfare. Where are the values that says that there is no shortcut to being rich? And for that one needs to get up from the couch being a potato and study hard, work hard and make smart choices in life.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  103. Dave

    Some interesting solutions, ranging from downright socialism (the rich-poor lottery) to overhauling the tax system and/or the fed. I certainly agree with Gerry that taking money away from the successful isn't the answer. However, a common thread appears to be the need to de-couple the government from the corporate world through all the loop holes and complex laws that favor specific groups. Right now it appears to be the banks and auto companies getting special treatment, but in the past it has been the railroads and other elite businesses or groups in favor with the administration of the period. Americans can succeed on their own and government should not be selecting the winners and losers in the economy.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  104. Jim-Charlotte NC

    Call me when you figure it out.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  105. Mark in Las Vegas

    The best way to restore the inequality is for the Corporations to restore the jobs they exported to foreign countries. The United States is now industry poor. Not everyone was rich before our jobs were exported but Americans made a decent living. Today jobs pay less and everything cost more. Not everyone can be rich but there should be an opportunity to make a decent wage.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  106. Sean

    End the idea that "income inequality" is a problem. Neither life, nor the law, guarantees equal outcomes–the best that can be done is to ensure equal opportunity.

    If you don't want to be poor, use your talents and determination to improve your standing. The rich are not standing in your way–and if we're all lucky, the federal government won't get any further in your way than it already is.

    Unfortunately, if the envy that leads to the furor over "income inequality" becomes institutionalized in our government, chances are that new laws will come down that will enforce mediocrity–to the ultimate detriment of all.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  107. Scott

    Why? There isn't a fixed amount of wealth. Just because one persons wealth grows by over 275% doesn't mean someone else is not capable of the same thing. They are not linked in any way other than the environment the government creates. The government should create an environment that treats everyone exactly equal, not giving preference to any because of race, sex, religion, national origin, or income. Currently the government wants to choose the winners and losers of society and take from those based on their capabilities and provide to those based on their need.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  108. Jim-Charlotte NC

    When you come up with the answer to that call us and let us know.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  109. John from California


    I have a simple 3 step suggestion that will never happen.

    1. Undo ALL actions of the last 20 years in the area of banking, trade and taxes. This has been a methodical plan by both sides.

    2. Get money out of politics with a constitutional amendment that states no money, gifts or favors will be given to members of government elected or not. Until the ability to elect or reject someone based on big money interest continues, we the people don't have a government for us.

    3. Put together a law that enacts term limits with the expressed goal of eliminating career politicians.

    Jack, you and I know none of this will ever happen but we can dream of getting our democracy back, cant' we?

    San Jose, CA

    December 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  110. Don

    The idea that the inequality between the rich and poor will ever be resolved in this country without a major revolution of sorts to wrest the control of our politicians from the rich and put it back in the hands of all Americans is about as likely as Newt Gingrich maintaining fidelity in the next 4 years. The ONLY thing Newt is fidelitous to is huge amounts of wealth and fame and anyone who ever forgets that is a fool Jack. So if you think this inequality is ever going to return to what it was better get a pitchfork and a musket and head to the town square and put the politicians and rich on nopotice. First of all return the taxes on the top 1% to what they were before Bush bankrupted the country by giving away the treasury to Wall Street, and while you are at it, don't you think 5% tax on capital gains is a little piggish of the rich? Lets put that back where it was as well, the same tax rate as ALL income especially that of those who work, that is before Bush gave away the treasury to the rich and financial sector. Wonder where your 401K went? Guess who Bush gave that to as well!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  111. Daniel Thomas

    Unions with enforced labor laws.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  112. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, we need to end the 30 year experiment in trickle down economics. It doesn't work and was never going to work. In fact, the only thing that has trickled down to the middle and working classes in this country is tough times.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  113. Chris

    My grandfather had a huge salary adjustment over his working lifetime due primarily because of union influence that gained him overtime, paid time off, profit sharing, etc. I think profit sharing should be mandatory.If you work hard for a business that makes money, all that profit should not go to the CEO.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  114. Chad J. Los Angeles

    Too much of anything is bad, and yes, even true with capitalism, as the last 30 years has proven. Get rid of NAFTA, tax the rich at pre-Reagan rates, and things would swing back in favor of the average American.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  115. Gary, Arlington Heights, IL

    I disagree the rich should be taxed more. If they earned it honestly, they should keep it. People who think they should get more of the rich people's money are lazy and greedy. 70% of American billionaires are self-made – the opportunity exists, that all we were promised. Oddly, higher taxes will not reduce the wealth of existing millionaires (they have theirs), but will make it harder for those who are trying to get their by stealing their income. Moreover, I think the government takes in enough and is not the engine of redistributing wealth. Government should be scaled way back and everyone pay less (right now, my niece is taking student loans for college – in short – she is borrowing my tax dollars – that is just broken). That said, the fear of most is not paying higher taxes but that it will be paid to the same politicians who squandered the last $15 trillion. I for one would prefer to pay for a little less corruption and incompetence.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  116. conoclast

    Restoring Glass-Steagall would be a good first start, followed quickly by a nullification of the Citizens-United decision, which is seen by some as tantamount to a plutocratic coup d'etat! If our form of "democracy" is to function at all it needs to confront the disenfranchisement crisis.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  117. UtahProf

    Taxes on middle class = down (max 20% if under $250,000) or Flat Tax ONLY

    Taxes on people making over $250, 000 = up (capital gains, etc – I don't care, just make it equitable)

    Corporate tax loopholes for large businesses = closed

    Tax breaks for Small and Medium Businesses = up

    Incentives to start Small and Medium Businesses = up

    Deficit Spending = down

    Balanced Budget Amendment = Passed

    Lobbyists = gone

    FED = gone

    IRS = gone

    UN = membership cancelled

    IMF = membership cancelled

    NATO = membership cancelled

    Term limits = 2 terms at 3 years each LIFETIME (this needs to be at the City Hall level all the way up to DC)

    December 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  118. John T Draper

    Eat the rich.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  119. andyz Lynn, MA

    How about starting by shipping 20 million or so illegal immigrants back to their country of origin. Next change the Bill of Rights so that a child born in America has the citizenship of its mother. This is how the rest of the world works. And while we're at it, why not make this change to the Bill of Rights and make it retroactive to 1950. The illegals get their health care free. Those of us that are citizens have to pay. What kind of stupidity is this?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  120. Lindy Loyd

    I work 2 jobs (single mother of two girls in college) keeping me away from home and a real life for 65 hours a day...I still make less that $45,000. Here is my proposal: I have no problem paying taxes on my full time job where I work 40 hours per day. I believe anyone making below $60,000 per year working more than one job, should not be taxed beyond the first, most prominent job. We are working insane hours and barely making it, but in the process, we end up in a higher tax bracket. I don't ask for food stamps, medical care (I pay for my daughters insurance), or anything else. My daughters do qualify for Illinois state scholarship, but remain at home and work jobs themselves to living costs and make college more affordable. After taxes and required insurances, there is not much to go around.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  121. Lindy Loyd

    Sorry, I meant to say 65 hours a week!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  122. Thomas in CA

    Education Education Education. Jack there are janitors who make more than math teachers. We are always saying children are our future. So why arent we investing in our future?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  123. Don from Florida

    The poor will always be with us so the Bible says. The rich are that way because they made it. Take their money away and they will leave the country just as they are doing in California.We have 1 hundred million Americans out of 3 hundred million getting some kind of government check weekly.47% of citizens pay no federal income tax. 10-15% are getting food stamps.
    Get the govt off business's back and in 2 years we will have full employment.Go to school, learn new technology and get rich instead of complaining.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  124. Ted from Oshawa

    That's easy, Jack locate.... capture..... and breed.... the near extinct MIDDLE CLASS.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  125. Dave

    Why would we want the government to establish a rich to poor balance? What exactly would that look like? 50-50? I'd hate to be in the designated "poor" column just to meet some predetermined ratio. I thought in America you were free to move between the classes based on your own merits and hard work.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  126. Reilleyfam

    Stop funding everything for the poor off the back of the middle. The middle should only pay for what they use: Police, Fire, Roads, Parks. ALL entitlements for the poor should be paid by the rich exclusively. They can argue over what and how much but the middle should not be paying for anyone but themselves.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  127. Ed in California

    Good jobs create a middle class. We lack those because this country no longer produces products, other than agricultural, which the world scrambles to buy. We no longer have the factories or the machinery to manufacture most of the items the world markets desire. Our labor force is mostly unskilled. So to answer your question:
    Vision, machinery and skilled workers are what we need.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  128. Robert Williams

    Make the minimum wage $50k per year.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  129. Larry - Columbus, OH

    I'm not sure we can 'restore' something that never exsisted in the first place.

    Income equality/balance between the 'rich' and the 'poor' is a myth we seem to want to believe in.

    Somebody will always make more money then somebody else.

    Someone who makes $7.75 an hour may well consider someone who makes $35.00 and hour to be 'rich'.

    The fact is...the 'rich' will ALWAYS have more...thats why tehy are called 'rich'.

    The focus should be on the grossly wealthy who are not paying a large enough tax rate due to loop-holes that are available to them, but not to the aveagre working man, woman or couple.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  130. Ralph Naylor

    Elect people who do not talk about encouraging capital investment when what they are really doing is making laws that preserve capital. Too much wealth is just sitting.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  131. Gary, Arlington Heights, IL

    Does anyone ever notice that the statistics cited by those who want government to tax the rich more are actually defective? In this case, according to the stat, the rich make 275% more than they did, but that begs the question – are they the same rich? You see if the top 1% from 1979 are the same as now, then that is a damning statistic. But if some of the 1% have fallen out, while others have joined it, then as long as Americans have an opportunity to join the 1% through education, ingenuity and hard work, I have no problem with the wealthy getting wealthier. As long as I have an opportunity to join the 1%, and as long as they make their money legally, who is government to take it from them?

    December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  132. Jeremy

    How about decreasing entitlements. How about teaching people about hard work again, about earning a dollar again. How about showing people that a strong work ethic is going to get you further than sitting, waiting for a government check. How about we stop saying how bad the poor have it on one hand, and then demonizing those that have been successful in their lives on the other. How about we stop complaining that the wealthy aren't paying their fair share, when 50% of taxpayers in this country pay zero for federal income taxes. And how about, at some point, we come to the conclusion that throwing money at people (free or tax-payer subsidized healthcare, education, housing, transportation, food programs, general welfare, cell phone programs, etc) to make them productive is, and always will be, a failure.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  133. Larry

    Stop griping about the disparity and get an education. Too many people have been satisfied to goof around in school and get a GED if they even made the effort to do that. Get an education. Stop looking at what everyone else has and get your act together.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  134. jon

    The CEO's pay should not exceed 100 times their employees pay. The CEO's and the companies have hoarded the profits long enough and it's time they start rewarding their employees with reasonable pay and cost of living increases.

    December 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  135. Wade Wilson Salt Lake City, UT

    Cafferty, you know this is a loaded question and one with no solution. Period. The rich and influential have the means to continue the status quo and nothing is going to change. Benefits will continue to erode, jobs will continue to go overseas, and wages for lower and middle class will continue to stagnate because all the rule makers are rich and have the game rigged in their favor. And before all the right wing parrots say I'm looking for a hand out, yes I have a job, yes I am well above the poverty level and no I have never received any handout from the government.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  136. Tristan Raymond

    The best way would be a progressive tax system without loopholes for capital gains, etc. Since we're America we'll probably just let the free market solve the problem. Uber rich, meet America's uber liberal gun laws.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  137. Ralph Mulls

    Most of the suggestions involve redistribution. Not good. America is still the land to which people flock because you can succeed. Give those already here the tools: education in important fields of real wealth generation (STEM) and fewer in social service.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  138. mannycl

    Education and training are the keys. Times are changeing and so is technology. Income re-distribution of wealth, taxes or band aids will do little if anything to solve our problems. We cannot expect much from the professional politicians nor are they willing to do much except for endless talking and fingerpointing. However a strong policy toward China and other countries that are using us could benefit us in the long run and create an environment so businesses will invest again in the US rather than sending jobs abroad. It will take a man or a woman with a real vision but it is just wishful thinking. Do you know anyone?

    December 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  139. Jim in NJ

    If you listen to the President (Obama) you'd think the last 30 years in this country have been worse than the medeivel dark ages. Really? During that time I've seen the so called suffering 90% buying multiple flat screen color TV's, cell phones, Xboxes, and eating so well that the majority of them may be considered obese. I know I'm not part of the 1% wealthiest and I'm certainly not part of the 'Occupy Wall Street – Not shower, Not Work, and ask for Handouts 99%... where does that leave me. How's about we each start occupying some personal responsibility for our own destiny.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    make a sliding scale of pay, where the CEO of a company can only make a percentage more than the bottom paid person.if a CEO can make as much as they do then there is no reason everyone shouldn't be make proportionately more

    December 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  141. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    The goverment has NO RIGHT to even be considering something like this.......I guess this is the basic differance between a conservative and a liberal. I'm an Independent but lean right.....This issue is NOT the goverments concern in the least. Keep the roads maintained, maintain an Army, Nave and Air force and protect our borders (which they are failing at) is all they need to be concerned with. We need to slash federal goverment and get rid of all those goverment workers that create nothing but a drain of our tax dollars. The federal goverments role is not to try and "make things more fair". Take care of yourself.....stop worrying about what other people make....it's really none of your business.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  142. Cohen the Barbaran

    Revolution – is the only solution! You want equality? Destroy the rich! Take their money and give them to the poor. Or, better, do away with the money at all! If there is no money, there will be no rich or poor.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  143. beevee

    The skill levels and education of the working class has to improve to lift them to high wage earning status, not just doling out money to them. At the same time though, taxing the upper income group of americans a bit more than the rest and giving the latter a tax break will help narrow the gap a bit by increasing the affordability of the low- middle income groups. It is all about affordability that balances the equation.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  144. Butch New York

    Ok. So ask yourself, why are the 99% doing terrible, and the 1% doing better than ever? Answer= cheap labor. The price of labor has been destroyed because some elements of the 1% have elected to outsource jobs to China. So there are 4 workers for every one job. The rich have delivered outsize bonuses to their CEOs and paid shareholders well over the 20 years this has happened. And those outsourcing profits. . . They are taxed at 15% instead of the 36% or so the worker would be paying. . . beyond this, the government is on the hook for medicaid, welfare and unemployment. So all that outsourcing has damaged the government's bottom line. The wealthy, who now scream class warfare actually thought that they could get away with taking huge profits, exporting American jobs, and then not get hit with the tab at the end of the night. Well, it's time to pay the piper.

    Tax capital gains at 25%. Cut the corporate rate to 20%. Let the Bush cuts expire. Retain the payroll tax cuts and pay for it by increasing the amount subject to it to 150K. If the Yuan is undervalued, set a Tariff on imports from China across the board.

    How hard was that?

    December 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  145. Mike in Pekin

    The more we give money to people, the less they will do to earn it. Wealth redistribution schemes are actually counterproductive. The reduce incentives to work by the poor, since some one will give them money anyway. They reduce incentives to the rich, because there is no point in working hard if you just have what you earned taken from you. As the number of social welfare programs increases, so does income inequality. Some people are driven to success by a hunger to succeed. Others simply by hunger. Wealth redistribution effectively kills all incentives to improve yourself.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  146. Shane in FL

    Restore tax levels to what they were during the Clinton administration — when everyone prospered, rich and middle class alike. Establish penalties for corporations who outsource and import labor. Stop the wars in the Middle East. Nobody is prospering from those wars except oil profiteers and no-bid contractors.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  147. Pete/Ark

    The answer to your question is in the old saying "the rich get richer and the poor get children". In other words Jack... nothing.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  148. Bill Kirchner

    The only fair was to tax is to throw out our insane tax code and make it as fair as possible to all levels of our society. Sounds good but you could never get it done in the no compromise congress we have today, for the immediate future the only way to raise more money coming in is to put a surcharge on wealthiest 1% who can well afford to hire a good accounting firm to find every deduction they can and reduce their taxes to nothing.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  149. Branden in UT

    You don't necessarily have to tax the rich to close the divide. You can penalize companies that offer golden parachutes and enormous bonuses based on being high management (not on effort), as well as the bonuses themselves and use the money to fund tax cuts for the low and middle class. Then you can reward companies that create jobs and offer raises to their non-management workers. May be hard to legislate, but it may be better than simply taxing the rich (not that I'm against that either).

    December 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  150. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Two words: universal healthcare. Everyone agrees that health care costs are killing our budget, even the military agrees with this; as long as we put a premium on individuals health, individuals without health care will feel unequal. You want to balance that, give everyone access to better health care, regardless of if someone can afford an education or a car, at least they'll feel their body is worth the same as a rich persons'.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  151. Kevin Gunderman

    A voluntary,provisional corporate tax deduction.

    We let companies reduce their tax rate by, let's say, 10 percent. However, half of that has to be spent to increase salaries of employees making less than 50 k per year and perhaps toward new hiring. The only provision, if their are layoffs in same year from the company, they lose the deduction.

    That would increase midclass income, reduce corporate tax rates. Seems like everybody would win.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  152. midwesterner

    Ok, enough about income growth only at the extremes. I'm certainly not in the top 1%, realistically not in the top 10% but when you look at my income between '79 and now, it has grown at roughly the same percentage as often quoted for teh top 1%. How about you look at the working professionals out there and throw some numbers about them into the mix rather than only the extreme low and high ends of the scale? I suspect people would be very surprised to see that for people who have useful degrees in science and engineering but aren't in that magical top 1% have also experienced real income growth over the past 30+ years.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  153. Stephen Herzog

    Tax investment income and capital gains the same as income earned from working. Close loopholes. Make everyone pay something.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  154. Tony

    Maybe if the wealthy started paying their fair share of the American deficit that was being run up while they were reaping the benefits, there might be more equality to the services available to all. That will not happen, however, as corporations are now people and will fight any sort of equality tooth and nail. It's time to move to Canada.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  155. Jeff Benoit


    Secure jobs.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  156. Give Me A Break

    Do you think one of the reasons that the lower income haven't gone up is because the government is paying them to stay poor. What incentive do they have? I think I will go on government assistance when I retire with no money. Wait that is what everyone will do. So who will support us then? Obama is right many have become Lazy.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  157. billy joe bob

    It seems to me that no one addresses the central question of how the discrepancy between rich and poor develops. The assumptions are that the rich are privileged and advantaged....and the poor are exploited and without opportunity. What I have concluded is that the rich....at least most of them...weren't just lucky or smart or talented....but that they risked more and worked harder to succeed than the majority of the lower social class or poor. So it seems to me that a person should be entitled to eat what they kill. And those that achieve less should accept their situation on it's own merits and not expect someone else to give more....simply because they earned more.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  158. Ferris Shelton

    For every company that has moved jobs off-shore, go to China and recruit 10,000 CEO's that would be willing to perform those duties for a fraction of what these greedy, selfish, American execs make. Why should the workers only suffer from lower wages overseas?

    December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  159. Don Murray

    What is "fair" will always be open to debate. It depends upon where you personally are on the bell curve. Here is my idea of what is fair: Most middle class americans pay about 40% of their income in taxes (sales, income, payroll, property, gas, etc taxes). It will be fair when the rich also pay 40% of their income in taxes. Heck, the way things are now, I would settle for the rich paying what the working poor and below the poverty line pay and that is still north of 20%.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  160. Jenna Roseville CA

    What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor?

    1. Get rid of the unfunded Bush tax cuts for the wealthy immediately – it's unfunded – unfunded!
    2. Allow the weathy to opt out of Social Security and Medicare – let them buy the privatised health care that the GOP has been chomping at the bit to sell.
    3. Raise taxes to the wealthy on the level that it was when Reagan, their hero, was president
    4. Close all loop-holes, if I can't get it with my tax bracket then they can't get more with theirs.
    5. End pay and benefits for life for those in the Senate and Supreme Court
    6. Public Financing of candidates ONLY. So that seats can't be bought by the wealthy or corporations/lobbyists. They caN lobby until the cows come home but they can't give you a penny, a 'favor', a ride, or a meal. NADA!

    This would be a good start.

    Roseville CA

    December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  161. Johnathan Schury

    The problem lay in the system its self a bipartisan Government Is useless and allows nothing to be accomplished since each side doesn't want the other to succeed, not trying to accomplish anything. Multiple parties allows them to actually negotiate and join together on certain issues only. Other then this the problems arise from politics being a career and not a volunteered side job as it was meant to be when America was founded. CEO's giving a 1-2 year term away from work to give their expertise on a giant corporation like the U.S.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  162. Matthew

    Restore the tax code to that of the Clinton era, and raise the capital gains tax to 30%. The country is being run entirely for the benefit of the wealthy, and ten years of the Bush tax cuts proved without a doubt that supply-side economics does not work. As an added tactic, I'd make sure this country is never again run by a Republican administration, or influenced by the Tea Party.

    New Orleans, LA

    December 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  163. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I love our language and how it can facilitate subtle communication. For example using a"balance between the rich and the poor" rather than say financial opression. For years it was predicted that the conflict, excuse me, contest ,will be between the "haves" and the "have nots". I fear that what history depicts as the conclusion of the exclusion is not for the meek. There is a lot of meek out there, Jack. Anything good on the tube tonight ?

    December 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  164. Mike, Calgary


    The top tax rates are at the low end of historic norms- As recently as 1980 the top rate was 70%. How anyone can claim that eliminating the Bush tax cuts is punitive is beyond me. Add the income disparity on top of that, and society will surely reach a breaking point.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  165. Paul in Dallas

    2 things. Pay people more so they can earn a fair wage. Increase taxes on the rich back to what they where under Clinton. A strong middle class will make the rich richer in a consumer driven economy.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  166. cobra Montana

    Part of the problem is when you look at the credit card debt that people are carrying and what the money was spent for. There are a lot of people that lived beyond their means and now are losing a lot of what they had. If people would keep some of their money instead of thinking they have to have every new thing that comes out the could fund their retirement better and not be is such dire straights today. So when the so called middle class drops down lower on the financial chain it distorts the equation of the middle class. There always have been rich and poor, it is the people in the middle that work hard and don't spend on frivolous things all the time that are the true middle class and they are not in trouble financially.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  167. Ozgur

    Punish corruption and greed equally and effectively for all income levels. This translates to taxes, welfare, capital gains, job outsourcing, street crime, arms sales, etc. Let morals be dictated by sense AND reason rather than dogma, greed, and political correctness. As the terms I'm using imply, there is no one party or societal level that is responsible.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  168. Willie12345

    Not to worry. Obama will make us all poor. He just needs another term to do so.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  169. Tony

    The best way to create equality is for the government to get out of the way and let the free market work.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  170. Stiky Foot Studios

    Don`t vote for a republican.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  171. Randy

    End free trade, tax capital gains at 65%, make all elections publicly funded, arrest the corrupt and the corruptor, real jail time for financial terrorism, tax 150,000+ incomes at 40%, halt all immigration for 20 years, deport illegals, end all foreign aid for 10 years, and jail anyone who uses any form of tax evasion for a mandatory 10 years. And that's just scratching the surface.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Lou

    Many of the obscenely wealty got that way through fraud and corruption, which used to be illegal. Solution: make faud and corruption illegal again and enforce the laws with fines and jail time.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  173. Bill Spring Hill FL

    The 14th Amendment come to mind.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  174. Lisa Petrov

    Everyone should be making more! I am a college professor in the Modern Languages department of my university and I make $53K a year. That's with a Ph.D., 2 Master's degrees and over 4 years at my rank (with many more years of experience teaching at the college level from graduate school). And, this year there were no increases in salary for any of us faculty at my school. The rich don't necessarily need to be taxed more, but it's certain that we all need to make a lot more!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  175. Scott

    From Baltimore, Maryland...

    The best way would be to require Congress, Senate and Presidential candidates to have civilian salairies less than $250,000.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  176. Ken - Montreal

    Simple – Get money out of politics. Stop letting the rich and special interest groups write the rules and skew them in their own favor.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  177. barbara turpin

    That's an easy one.


    That will bring back American jobs , money, equality and the middle class.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  178. Harry


    It depends entirely where you live. Living in California you can make a million and still feel poor. Alternately, if you moved the say Colorado you would be feeling pretty good.

    ~Harry from Concord, CA

    December 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  179. TomInRochNY

    Eat the rich to feed the poor,
    Until there are no rich no more.


    Tom, Rochester, NY

    December 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  180. joe jarc in iqaluit nunavet

    Well here in Nunavet the poor pay less for price of food. its called subsidy, people who make less should pay less.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  181. Steve

    Jack, I'd consider myself rich if I had my old job back for in 40 years, it was the best job I had ever had, and was let go for because I was too good.

    Royal Oak, MI

    December 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  182. Mike, Calgary


    Anybody want some tax history? When Reagan became president, the maximum tax rate was 70%! And, it kicked in at $215,400. Then it was dropped to 50% in 1982, but kicked in at $85,600! The maximum rate stayed at 50%, albeit at different thresholds, until 1987 when it dropped to 38.5%, and to 28% in 1988. Of course, this led to the national debt under Reagan going from $600 billion to $2 trillion (something that is glossed over by Reagan worshippers). Then poor Bush senior ("read my lips, no new taxes") had to deal with it. The maximum rate went up to 39.6% under Bush senior, and stayed there during the phenomenal growth of the 1990's. Bush junior dropped the rate ("Temporarily") to 35%, and that's where it stands now. Read this and tell me it's outrageous and draconian to go back to 38.6%, where it was in 2002.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  183. Duke B

    Do not allow companies to invest in elections. There is no way that everyone's vote can be considered equal when money has some influence in the final decision.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  184. Jacob Scott

    As a 20 year old Undergraduate student, Its pretty clear to me it doesn't take a PhD to recognize the problem and the solution. The notion buyer beware holds true as it is our responsibility to ensure that we are making good fiscal decisions. If people live within their means and don't allow themselves to fall into debt on unnecessary expenditures, all students including myself should live a pretty good American lifestyle

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  185. Ed Fertik

    The President must create a culture of work rather than a culture of government dependence as he has been doing. The President must also applaud those honest people who have become financially successful instead of making it something to be ashamed of as he has been doing. The President must promote business rather than Occupy Wall Street and capitalism rather than socialism. These basic things will help restore America to what it was.

    New York

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  186. Saul

    It begins and ends with education. Education is what will save our country in more ways than just economic.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  187. J Goldenbroit

    The best way to restore the balance between the rich and the poor is to regulate. Capitalism, which is not a form of government but an economic policy, thrives with the underlying rule that whatever is the most profitable is the best, no matter the sacrifice. A regulation of that economic policy will restore balance to the American people and improve the lives of countless Americans. The needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  188. Henry

    The answer is simple Jack, vote Democrat next election

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  189. Erik Laurant

    It's common sense .... the poor and the middle class fuel the rich, we buy their products and consume their garbage. If we the 99% stop consuming then the rich will truly feel it where it hurts..in their pockets. Then they will have their drones in congress agree to pay the taxes and pass the bill.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  190. Fubuh A

    Simple Jack!! Tax the top 1% according to how much they make. Within the past 20 years they have grown richer more than 250%......it is only fair they pay accordingly.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  191. bratt

    the big time crooks on so called wall street and big biz and are so so called gov needs to be hung out to dry in a big time federal prison at the least its a crime what they ALL are doing they gotta go yano!!!!!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  192. Erika - St. Louis, MO

    How about a sensible plan to strengthen our public schools, especially in urban epicenters. No wonder there is income inequality when students graduate who can't read, or don't even graduate.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  193. Bob

    You won't until the American people decide they have had enough. Put a 20% import tax on all items coming into this country. This will bring back manufacturing. Look at the automotive industry, they are making more and more models in the US each year. They pay good wages but are still selling cars. America wake up, quit letting the 2 parties tell you what to think.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  194. Golda McKenny

    Need to require that employers pay living wages. Once upon a time the labor unions in this country had a major effect on all employers to pay living wages just because of thie strength and ability to organizeall workers.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  195. Chris

    Using the tax code to redistrbute income by increasing taxation on the wealthy is not a long term solution for myriad reasons. Moreover, the US already has the second highest corproate tax rate in the developed world and the most onerous regulatory scheme. So why would people invest capital and therefore earn income in the US? No capital = no jobs which means no long term solution to the problem. The income gap is real, but it's not because of the Wall Street people traditionally think of as being the villan. Bankers didn't cause this income gap. Non-financial corporations have been systematically shipping "middle class" jobs overseas for 30 years so that all we have left are service jobs. Fast food pays poorly while banking pays well, but both are service jobs. The real answer is to grow the pie and that means cutting taxes and spending!!!!! And just for the record, $250,000 job is a lot of money in many places, but if you live in NY, SF, LA or many other cities, you can't even afford to buy an apartment. Rich is relative. In my opinion, it's un-American to punish success – it's what has made us great. We need to revive the American dream and grow the economic pie. If people are really outranged then boycott pro sports. In what world does $25mm a year make sense to play a kids game that a family can't afford to attend......

    December 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  196. Dan in SC

    It seems a consumption tax would help level the playing field. The rich spend a lot more on luxuries, let the luxuries be taxed heavier. Also, a tremendous number of our good paying white collar jobs have gone over seas by way of consulting firms. All large corporations are paying so called consultants in India, China,etc to do the jobs once done by well paid Americans. These so called consultants do not pay US Taxes, do not spend here, and most of them do not even like us. Bring our jobs back home by putting a 200% surtax on over seas consultants when we have folks right here ready and willing to do the work.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  197. mike

    The answear is real simple, let somebody else set the tax codes instead of the rich who write these tax codes.
    We all know that the middle class pay for this country, because we have no off shore accounts to
    hide money & can not find a cheap lawyer to help us find all the tax breaks.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  198. Ed in Atlanta

    At least part of the answer lies in eliminating the interlocking boards of directors of companies. The CEOs get all their cronies on their boards, and then they vote for each other's raises. Top management salaries have spiraled out of control.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  199. Chad c

    Ive always said if they had an even percent that we all paid it would be somewhat fair. If it was say 5% or 8% it would be fair because we all would pay our share. The rich shouldn't have to pay more because they're rich. I'm not rich, I'm a machine operator but I think it's wrong to keep raising taxes on the rich and keep giving breaks to the poor. Educate the poor so that they can move up in society, don't just give a few handouts.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  200. Jim

    Jack – who ever said that the balance between rich & poor has to be fair? Best way to restore the balance if you must...tell the poor to work harder!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  201. Marina in South Carolina

    simple, the rich make more money and the poor make less. Therefore, the taxes placed upon each class should be proportional to how much each individual makes. Of course the rich don't want more taxes placed upon them, they're rich and want to keep their money. Same goes for the lower classes, they want to keep the money they make as well. But it is absurd for the lower classes to be paying more in taxes than those who make more money. A set percentage for taxes for everyone would soleve the problem simply. Although the gap will remain, as it always has and always will unless we choose to move towards a socialist direction, an evening out of the tax distribution among the classes will help remove problems for the lower class and allow for the rich to have a little "reality check."

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  202. Geno

    Whooooa! 1 thing at a time now. Let's tax the rich now and figure out the rest later. If you have any objections to this, then most certainly must be rich.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  203. Dan in Seattle

    LOL~! Your question makes for a good Monday laugh Jack. Ask the same question after the 1% introduce their new "soluation" to this problem: The new American currancy, the Amero. Seriously though, until the elite and their NWO buddies are in jail, there will be no lessoning of the gap ... But then, we won't need money if they still are "running the show".

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  204. Bob

    Get rid of all lobbying. Use only tax funds to fund an election. If a candidate runs out of money then so be it.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  205. Mark, Round Hill, VA

    As it is said in the book "Rich Dad Poor Dad", the wealthy make the rules by which we all live. The middle class has ceded much power to the aristocracy and the corporatocracy. After two decades of class warfare - the war of the wealthy on the middle class in a grab for more wealth and political power, the middle class has shrunk and the poor have increased in numbers. To restore balance, we have to restore political power to the 99% - middle class and the poor. We do have the power to effect change - by voting wisely, participate in government (by knowing what your elected representatives are doing and contacting them), and by demanding change.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  206. TomInRochNY

    American corporations will have to start paying their employees a living wage. I know, if we have to wait for that in a few years most people will be starving to death.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  207. Pat Herring

    Do what they've done in Europe. If Jack Ant has earned $1,000,000 and Joe Grasshopper has earned nothing, you must give Joe half of Jack's money. Isn't everyone in this country guaranteed a median income regardless of ability or effort?
    Pat Herring
    Huntley, IL

    December 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  208. Tony

    Quit paying people (ceo's atheletes exec's)more money than they can spend. You need to lower their pay to a rate that paces the same rate the blue collar workers are at. Look at what a nice pick up truck costs or even a hot dog at a ball game. Its so sad that the average working guy has to save to take the family to a baseball game but you pay these exec's so much. Its ugly. Sick.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  209. Thebottom99%.com

    Simple: 1: go back to the way things were under Clinton. A TINY (3%) additional tax rate on the ultra-highest incomes. 2: tighter regulation on derivatives, which have turned Wall Street into a casino where the house (the top1%) always wins. 3: Dems take back Congress so the GOP can't filibuster to block appointment of a consumer watchdog, as they just did.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  210. Linda W.

    The easiest way to restore some semblance of balance is to have the rich pay taxes and to let the poor have jobs. The talking heads claim that low taxes on the wealthy will lead to the creation of jobs, but they don't tell you that all of those jobs will be overseas.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  211. jim

    To reduce income disparity all that is needed is a near total inheritance tax. This would lead to the rich spending most of their money before their death. They would benefit more from their wealth. When they died the federal government would secure their icomes generating revenue. This would stop people from being born into a disadvantage. If you are destine to inherit one or two thousand dollars and your neighbor inherits millions you are at an unfair advantage. You don't have equal opportunity for success.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  212. John

    Lets talk about the insane wages and ridiculous perks that corporations pile on their executives and members of their boards who happen to be other corporate executives. If we want to get back to a realistic wage scale lets bring back the wages of corporate executives to no more than 30 times the wages of the average worker in their corporate structure. Until we start to talk about a maximum wage law for all corporate executives we will be left with an American dream that only exists for those who already have too much, but can't seem to get enough.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  213. Jeff Whitehouse Station New Jersey

    Restore the Middle Class. I repeat Restore the Middle Class. This is something the Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together on. If you restore the Middle Class that would solve 90 percent of our economical problems. It's a shame because right now the Middle Class has no dog in the fight and has been getting destroyed by both the Dems and Repubs for years.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  214. charlie

    the best way is to make everybody, rich and poor alike serve some time in a national service program.most people who are in the military are by far poor and middle income people.just like poor people do not hire anyone , most rich people are not in the military.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  215. Christos

    First $40K of earned income should be tax free. This would definitely spur consumer consumption ultimately resulting on econimic growt. Any income up and above this $40k minimum should be taxed by brackets, i.e a regressive system. All deductions (nome mortgage, medical, charity etc.) should be faced out.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  216. Robert Whipkey

    Greed is like any other addiction. The first step is to admit it. The 9th step would be to make amends for it.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  217. chicagok

    Stop big government! Run the Liberal Democrats out of the country! Improve education by shutting down the teacher unions. Neuter people who don't have a high school diploma by age 20! Double all prison sentences for people without a HS diploma! Use RICO to stop drug dealing- users forfeit their possessions! Sellers spend their life in prison.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  218. Teaparty01

    I think If all our legislators, regulators and judges took two years off and just sat home with the grandkids that would solve the problem. We would feel safer.

    Manhattan ,New York

    December 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  219. Dave

    Dave from Erin Ontario

    The rich get rich on the shoulders of the middle class and stay rich by abandoning workers when times are tough. There is nothing wrong with being rich, but the wealthy should also have a legal responsibility for employment. Better the rich manage employment than their taxes pay for the unemployed.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  220. Jeff K

    Start by separating business tax rates from those of the private individual. Individuals and families that earn over 250k per year should pay higher taxes. Do not tax companies at a higher rate so that we can reinvigorate our nations manufacturing which would in-turn support our middle class. Place a cap on CEO/company-leadership yearly income and support that cap with laws that would bar them from leadership roles in any company if they knowingly exploit loop holes for personal gain. But most importantly end lobbying practices permanently and limit congress and the senate to a single term. Just saying... if you want "change"... CHANGE something!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  221. Rick, In Livermore, CA

    Profit-Sharing is the answer, do away with unions & pensions, but that is about as likely as winning the lotto

    December 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  222. Yuri from florida

    Most people with an income of $50,000 per year earn about $2 million in their 40 year career. Most movie stars, professional athletes, politicians, ceo's and such make over $7 million dollars per year. I do not want to sound like a communist but there is no good reason as to why people in public eye get paid obscene amount of money. Most people in public eye blow thousands of dollars per day on fancy cars, 5 star service, personal butlers while majority of people in this country struggle to survive between paychecks. We may have outgrown feudalism but monetarism is not much better. Earning gap comes from earning invisible digital money and it is ohh so easy to write a few more 0's and that is why rich get richer.
    Take a good look at this Jack: Tom Cruise's "Last Samurai" cost $140 million dollar to make... I am sure that most of it went to pay his salary. On the other hand Japanese movie "13 Assassins" cost $6 million dollars to make and was by a huge margin more complex and memorable. Why is it that here in the good old USA someone says that such and such gets to make no more than this while for rich people there is no glass ceiling? What constitutes giving Johny Depp $25 million dollars per movie? Why 25... why not 2.5? Why not $25,000? When we can answer those questions... maybe we can resolve earning gaps between rich and poor.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  223. ed c

    I read an article where an MIT professor suggested raising the minimum wage as a way to inject cash into the lower portion of the economy. I agree with this as one way to close the gap of rich and poor. It isnt so much that goverment workers are overpaid its that the private sector hasnt kept up with modern wages. They can outsource most of their production work to China and the goverment cant outsource. The upper one percent has to high of a proportion of the money and it is being hoarded and this causes stress in the money supply .Im currently looking for work here in florida and if you could find work it wont pay anymore than it did in the eighty's. Yet fuel prices and food prices have doubled. The other thing to do is stop the over speculation inthe fuel and food markets. This is cutting into your discretionary spending money.

    ed c in florida

    December 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  224. Marge

    As long as we have republicans in congress and they continue their obstruction and denying ways, this country will never turn around. The people that elect them lack the intelligence to understand that republicans are for the corporations and the rich, the republicans will always be for the corporations and the rich. That's the way it is. If the people who voted for them would just get pass the hate and violence republicans preach they would come to an understanding as to what they are doing to the country and the middle class and the poor while they are at it. Of course most republicans and Democrats in congress are among the one percent and they want to stay that way.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  225. Jean Sartre, Milwauke, WI

    The ony way to restore income equality rich-poor is another Amercan Revolution; the financial system is rigged and broken... the only solution(s) from our government – which spports this rigged and broken system – is the usual blah, blah, blah...

    December 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  226. Dreaming of Being Rich

    I think that people have the wrong strategy in mind to gain equality. It's to simple to use more taxation as a way to even things out. The root cause of the inequality is the earning part of the equation. The rich are simply earning more and a higher level of taxation will not fix things. Actually, its not even fair. Taxation seems to be a penalty for higher incomes. THAT IS NOT what we should be about. Quite simply, the economic reality is that WE give more to the rich. WHat I mean by that is that we use Facebook, we give our money to Apple, the WalMarts and Targets of the world. WE eliminated the small mom and pop shop. WE killed the small banks and manufacturing businesses. Our high income jobs in manufacturing have gone away. All that remains are a few positions and business that concentrate wealth in the hands of a few. More taxation as a single solution (this is the simple solution for those who are unable to think beyond Jealousy) is not the answer.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  227. jean2009

    Cut the wage of congressional pay to what a waitress makes per hour, do not let them have benefits, do not allow them to accept money from lobbyist, and only tip them if they provide good service for the 99%.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  228. mycountry2

    "The more you make the more taxes you pay" seemed to work fine until the republicans turned it upside down with tax breaks and multi million dollar subsidies. Fix it and it will work again. If we don't fix it, we deserve what we get = everything to the upper 1%.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  229. Mohammad Karaki

    The ideal solution is very simple. People who work must get equal pay +/- 50%. It does not matter what type of job they do. Some jobs such as doctors, engineers and lawyers work hard using their education and get the benefit in working in safe and clean enivronment. Dirty and phyiscally demanding jobs are equally important such as construction work, restaurents, firemen, etc who also risk their life to do their jobs. Why should they be much less compensated than a wall street executive? The problem in the communist system is that it did not encourage people to work as it treated everybody equal, while capitalism is proving to be failing us as few people rise to the top and control the wealth of everybody else.
    Imagine a doctor and a lawyer going to a restaurent and be treated super well since all the restaurent employees are making good money, which they deserve, just like the clean and safe jobs the doctors and engineers have...I hope you get my point

    December 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  230. Julnor

    Of course income inequality is growing. Those at the bottom who make minimum wage do so because their skills do not warrant higher pay. Hence their incomes will stagnate. On the other end there will always be people who are more and more successful regardless of the econominc climate. Personally, I could care less how much someone at the top makes. I am concerned about what I make. That is the only thing I can (and should) control.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  231. Scott Stodden

    To Restore Balance Between The Rich And The Poor You Have To First Roll Back The George W. Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich, Raise Taxes On Rich People Who Make $150,000 Or More A Year And Rich Couples Who Make $250,000 Or More A Year Because The Rich Are Going To Spend No Matter If Taxes Go Up Or Down And The More They Spend The More Revenue The Economy Creates And Then They Should Give Those Tax Cuts To Poor And Middle-Class So That Everyone Can Have An Opportunity To Spend And Generate Revenue For The Economy! Also, Like Bill Clinton Said On "The View" Last Week "You'll Never Get The Economy And The Deficit Under Control Until You Get Control Of The Housing Market" Something Must Be Done For Homeowners In The Country That Way We'll Start Seeing Real Change In America.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    December 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  232. surprised

    As an immigrant, Ican tell you i do not believe in leveling the playfield. the idea that i could one day own a business that turns into an empire, allowing myself to take home however much money I want from my own profits is the American Dream. Taxing me more once I make it with special millionairs taxes is not right. it is stealing. apply a simple tax rate accross all americans, period. rich will pay more as a percentage. end loopholes for the rich (especially those living off of stock dividends). PLEASE DO NOT KILL MY AMERICAN DREAM WITH ANY REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH. that will only promote castes.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  233. Phil

    Hi Jack,

    I began the process of restoring some balance between the rich and poor some 8 years ago. I got let go by my employer and instead of getting into the unemployment line, I started my own company with another business associate. We worked hard and oover the next 8 years added 4 additional full time employees who receive health benefits, 401 K plan, qtrly bonuses, profit sharing and free coffee. I restored wealth to me and our business by working hard, taking risk and believing in the american dream. Now we have a president who doesn't think it's possible to do what I did, but he is wrong. It's not easy but it is doable but first you must believe in yourself. My wife believed in me, my kids believed in me, at at the time we started our business, the President, oh yes that terrible President Bush believed in what keeps this country moving is supporting the future job and wealth creators. So believing in myself was easier than it is now. Our President doesn't believe in us, he thinks we all need a big parental government to take care of us and in doing so is killing the belief of many who would try to do what I did. The best way to become rich, is to have a society who rewards hard work, not one where the rich are seen as villans. For anyone who believes in themselves, everything is possible but it takes time, it's not instant, it takes time.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  234. CJR

    Your question is completely flawed. Unless you are a socialist, it is not the role of any institution to equalize income. You also ask whether "higher taxes the only answer to growing income inequality," which is yet another imbecilic question. Wake up America! Taxes were never meant to equalize anything or anybody. They are meant only to cover the basic costs of running constitutionally required federal offices. Did you ever take a civics course, or are you just inciting the flame of class envy, of which you yourself are a great beneficiary? I speak as one at the bottom of the financial spectrum, but even I know better than to think that the government should bring your own income down, Jack, and redistribute it to me.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  235. Jess F

    Get rid of the simple mentality in our great country that personal responsibility is no longer required. Taxing and government is not and will never be the answer. Reliance on them makes us stupid and weak. There is simply no equality in earnings, we earn what we work for. If we make bad decisions or good ones we deal with the relalities of those decisions, deal with it! Ohhh and corporate greed and electing bad people is also our responsibility, let's get off our butts and buy and vote for those doing the right thing rather than blaming our problems on rich people.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  236. Burbank from CA

    One of the best ways is to limit family size. We have become seriously overpopulated and coupled with advances in technology reducing the need for human workers more and more each year, there are fewer and fewer jobs to go around. Until the population goes down, this problem is not going to go away.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  237. Clayton

    A "fair" tax rate would be the same percentage for everyone, and no loopholes or deductions that are not available to everyone. Sales tax, for instance, affects everyone equally. That is the very definition of fair.

    The whole idea of the statistical top 1% being meaningful in the discussion of income distribution is bogus. What matters is the distribution of the entire income spectrum. A chart of income versus number of people with that income would tell a more meaningful story.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  238. Gigi Oregon

    It is the elitist attitude of the wealthy that has bankrupted the American dream. And passing on their share of the taxes to the middle and lower class in the United States. Corporate America and government has schemed their way into our paychecks from every angle. Taxes, banking, insurance, mortgage. retail and health services each taking a bigger cut of our paychecks. It is time to say NO thank you. If 99% of us can't fight the 1% percent we are not worth helping. If you can't join those who are marching on the streets because you have a home and a job. . Support them in attitude. It's not how much money that makes us rich. It's how much we can hang on too. And keep from being eaten up by greed. If Congress ignores the working class this year it's time to replace them.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  239. Judy - WA state

    Throughout the years – corp owners / investors have found ways and loopholes to be sure THEY benefited the most while keeping wages at a bare minimum. They only way to restore some decency into society is to think back to the 80s where I used to make 50% more than I do now & survived well! Corporations were generous then. Insurance barely cost anything. Greed has taken over. Here's a start to the problems – Owners / managers / financiers: lower your wages / bonuses, give employees a raise to make ends meet at a bit above the bare minimum, hire more workers. In turn – people will have $$ to spend and economy will be back on the roll again. What are the millionaires and billionaires doing with all that money anyway? I do not think the well to do families even need that much money. Hell – hope they can take it to their graves and pay off the Heavens if that is what their personalities are like! If they even give a hoot about America – give it up for a spell – you will still make the $$ more than we ever will!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  240. Janet Pelosi, San Fran

    Are you people high?!! If you want to balance out income then I suggest those people wanting more income get out there and earn it. Be on the clock 24/7 like most those "RICH" people are. Stop asking for someone else to do it for you. Earn it yourself. I, by the way, am far from rich but I understand that if I want more, it's my responsibility to make it happen.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  241. Peter Liederman

    Progressive taxation – and government sponsored programs generally distributing tax receipts to the less wealthy is the way to do it. Economies of scale and the power of the wealthy to manipulate the market tend to make the rich ever richer; a predictable, transparent system whereby that concentration is reversed keeps the economy (and the political system) going by allowing the majority to be consumers and to have enough to live on while being ambitious for more and better.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  242. Proverbs 10:22

    The one trusting in his riches – he himself will fall, but just like foliage the righteous ones will flourish." – Proverbs 11:28

    "The blessing of Jehovah – that is what makes rich and he adds no pain with it." – Proverbs 10:22

    December 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  243. Nick

    Definitely don't tax us making around $250,000 even more than we already are taxed. Even a 1% increase would be a loss of $2,500. By me 'loosing' this amount, I will end up spending around $2,500 less each year. And where will this tax money go? 20% to the military, 20% to medicaid and medicare, 10% to WELFARE...and more. In the end the 1% increase is given away to programs that will help others, but not the economy necessarily. If I were to keep the $2,500 and spend it though, that would be more sales tax generated for states, and would be much more money going towards small businesses, larger, golf courses etc, which will help generate more income and more jobs. Now multiply that by thousands and thousands of people and the economy won't go downhill anymore. (opposite would happen if taxed just 1% more)

    December 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  244. Bob

    1. Tighten regulation of the stock market and all financial transactions. Make hedge funds and default-swaps illegal and make it impossible for investors to make money off of money itself. Make it impossible for people to manipulate the markets which results in the price of oil, food, and similar products going up in price. Prosecute, imprison and heavily fine the white collar criminals responsible for the worldwide economic meltdown. 2. Name and investigate the uber-wealthy: what are their investments, holdings, directorships and political contributions and to whom/in what companies/fronts (they often spend millions on right-wing 'non-profit' 'think tanks')? 3. Pressure all media outlets to report on these issues, not to be a front for conservative, right-wing wealth/power peddlers. 4. Americans should stop investing in or purchasing from companies who ship jobs overseas, who underpay or treat their employees unfairly, or who overpay their management, regardless if it would result in a lower return on investments or having to pay more for goods made in the US. 5. All Americans to get some backbone: have integrity, ethics and morals. If you claim to be Christian, then BE it – help the poor, the sick, the suffering, the disenfranchised: don't vote for people who claim to be religious but whose actions and votes result in the persecution of the sick and poor, ie do NOT vote Republican or Tea Party in any election. They are the ones causing the poverty, sickness and unemployment in this country.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  245. jim

    Start using the tax dollars I give to my government for the benefit of the majority of the people: Subsidize higher education so middle income families don't have to go into debt to send their children to college, create a reasonable single payer health plan so the middle class doesn't have to go bankrupt paying for health care and businesses don't have to supply insurance, invest in this country's infrastructure, negotiate international treaties to equalize labor costs so that corporations won't ship jobs to countries where workers make 10 cents an hour.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  246. Jovita

    There should be a living wage. I think it is the most obvious way to lessen the income gap between rich and poor. The country needs a minimum living wage that is adjusted for inflation and is based on a healthy and middle class standard of living. This would also help the economy because the most basic reason people don't buy things is because they can't afford them. Also it is unfair that people who work eight hours a day or more cannot afford to provide their family with a decent standard of living and that they would need to turn to the government for assistance while working in a country as wealthy as ours is absurd. Businesses are robbing the U.S. government and citizens by not paying living wages to American workers.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  247. Drew in Indiana

    We have to reform our government so that candidates for federal office do NOT need to focus single-mindedly on fund-raising. Right now they are beholden to corporations and super-rich individuals that pay for their campaigns. What if all federal races were limited exclusively to debates, wire stories and other forums paid for by public funds? Only then will the candidates support policies that are good for all Americans, not just for the rich minority.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  248. mach1pony

    Is it really so hard to figure out? You have to make it easier for those with less to improve their lot, while making it harder for those with enormous gains to not do so at the expense of the defenseless. One example, prevent huge corporate profits on oil and prescription drugs since it takes too much disposable income away from the poor. To balance a budget, stop cutting programs for the poor and ask for sacrifice from the rich. Regulate capitalism for both freedom and fairness.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  249. kathleen

    What's the best way to restore some balance between rich and poor? Keep bashing the rich, the successful, those who work hard. Soon enough they will move out of the country and you will be left with your income equality. It seems to me that since obama was elected, it is evil to work hard and succeed.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  250. Nofah Kingweigh

    Make poor school children clean classrooms, put out fires, and direct traffic. I guess they could fight wars and pepper spray true patriots also.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  251. Frank LaSaracina

    Ensure that all children – including those trapped in inner cities – get the best education possible. The biggest barrier to upward mobility is lack of a solid education. Equiped with a good education, the sky is the limit.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  252. Jimmy

    Let's tax the rich 1% until they are part of the 99%.
    Wait a minute that won't work.........
    Let's tax everybody who makes more than anybody else until everybody makes the same.......
    Wait a minute that won't work either.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  253. Steven in Greensboro, NC

    The short answer:

    1. Increase income taxes on the top 2% up to a top rate of 50% on AGI over $5 million
    2. Reduce federal spending by 10% (target bad contracts and fraud/waste/abuse first)
    3. Reduce the corporate tax to 20% with less loopholes (based on current global rates) to capture more off-shore revenue.
    4. Tax Capital Gains as regular income
    5. Tax Wall St./executive bonuses at a 50% rate to pay for worker re-education in green/biotech/industrial disciplines at the community college level
    6. Disable Congress from being able to put Social Security on budget.
    7. Enable SBA to directly provide small business grants and low-interest loans (instead of banks) for start-up industrial businesses (not the colossal amount like the one given to Solyndra).
    8. Allow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate big-ticket pricing versus minimum wage to keep prices of goods affordable.

    Additional information:
    Since the federal income tax program began in 1913 until 1981 (the beginning of the Reagan administration, there was never a year that we were at war that the top 1% of Americans were taxed lower than 70% on the highest portion of their income (not all of it). During WWII and Korea, the highest tax bracket was over 90%. The poor and middle class in this country have shown their patriotism to the country by sending their children to be military members. The upper class was made to show their patriotism by funding the war efforts.... prior to 1981.

    No one is asking anyone to be in a 70% bracket under. But a more progressive tax code at the top, capped out by a 50% bracket for those having an adjusted gross income over $5 million would more than fund the cost of war and the obvious education/R&D deficit this country has. Cutting the overall budget from $3.1 trillion to $2.7 trillion (not counting Social Security funds)... we might actually balance the budget while taking care of our troops and past war debts.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  254. rick

    Take a away all the ridiculous tax cuts for the rich that have been going on for the past 10 years. Then use 1/2 to put towards the debt and half to give real educational opportunities to those who can't afford them. Education costs FAR too much in this country, just like health care does. The rich getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer thing will never change if the poor can't get access to the same education that the rich can, and that simply is not the case currently.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  255. Tony

    Short of camping on their doorsteps for handouts, oops Occupy Wall Streeters are doing that now; I'd say a new Revolutionary War against the 1%ers & Corporate Special interests. That would require turning off the TV & getting off our couches first though.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  256. MNindy

    Restoring the balance starts with our Congress wanting balance. The fact is the multinational companies do not want balance, they want profit for investors. They want cheap labor and low overhead and big payouts. The majority in our congress since 1982 has been pushing for a supply side econmic policy in the U.S. this is one biggie reason why we have been losing balance faster and faster since the 80's. The idea that "if you make it they will buy it" is killing smaller companies and start ups. It also kills paying a living wage for corporations that look for cheapest materials and labor above quality and ingenuity. Remember the biggies of our technology industry all started in the 60's – 70's when the we educated our people, gave them a living wage so they could struggle to work on new innovation, When having a good idea meant you could drive it all by yourself without big investment to "break out". America needs to embrace health care costs and take out the HMO's to balance one growing huge aspect of this trend. America needs to follow suit with Japan and only allow the highest paid at a company only make XX% more than the lowest paid or some other measurement. America needs to stop rewarding the rich for job killing policies like offshore corporations that get to file as an American HQ. We need to re-write the tax code to a more structured simple code with less deductions for the haves and more incentives for the have nots. We need to believe that we are only as strong as our weakest link as a society. Lift up the bottom through education and wages and make the top 1-2% support programs for the "people" and make corporations understand who their customers are and to give better quality to the customer and better choices to the customer and we will be on track.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  257. marybeth, massachusetts


    Nothing will ever change because people don't want it to change. They keep voting in the same multi-billionaires into office, who don't understand how hard it is for the poor today. There is no middle class anymore.

    Changing the tax code won't work because the rich, with their power lobbyists and even more powerful tax attorneys, can have tax shelters written specifically for them and they have the money to buy government. If you're poor, you don't have money to donate to politicians' re-election campaigns, so you're not important and don't matter. Only if you're rich do you count.

    When people stop voting against their own best interests, then maybe we'll see some changes. Only if we get the money out of politics, meaning politicians are accountable to everyone, not just to those who write fat checks and expect tax cuts, bailouts, and incentives in return.

    There was a huge income and wealth imbalance in another country–so great was it that people were starving, the government had gone into debt for a foreign war, and the government was spending like crazy. The people finally realized that they had no representation, that no one cared about them and their interests, only the interests of the wealthy and the church. There was a revolution, mild at first, then growing bloodier and more violent. This was France in the late 18th century. King Louis and Marie Antoinette were guillotined, as were thousands of other aristocrats (wealthy), their land, income, and other property seized. I don't know if we're headed for a revolution, but if our government continues to be as blasé and indifferent about the plight of the poor, there may be. People revolt when they have nothing to lose.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  258. Chris Brown

    We already have a minimum wage, why not have a maximum wage? However, instead of making the maximum wage be a set amount, make it based on the amount that other employees in the company are paid. For example: if the law was that any person in the company cannot make more then 50 times what the lowest full time employee in the company makes and the lowest paid full time employee made $10 an hour($20,800/yr) the highest an executive could make would be $1,040,000 / yr. If they wanted to give themselves a raise, the would have to give raises to the lowest paid employees as well.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  259. Jenifer peterson

    We can not share and balance between rich and poor. Rich wants take more wealth, and the poor want to loss more wealth. We're selfish people, and look around us to find the balance.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  260. marita

    Hello Jack – Same tax rate for everyone, socialize healthcare + stop big industry from buying the next president so he can do their bidding! – loosing hope – Marita.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  261. Steven in Greensboro, NC

    To add to my earlier comment, a minimum living of $10.00/hr would match inflation increases of 3% from 1996. Most folks don't remember that minimum wage stayed at $5.15 from 1996-2007, which has devastated the poor/low income class and, now, the middle class.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  262. humtake

    Easy...get the unemployment rate back down to a reasonable level. This all started because people are sick of being out of work while the rich keep making money. It's a really ignorant viewpoint by the non-rich people, but regardless of how illogical it is that is their perception.

    Put it this way, if the economy had never collapsed, we wouldn't be having this whole issue. At least not for another few decades or so. The economy goes bad, which pretty much only truly impacts those with little money, so they get upset at the rich who aren't impacted as much because it's hard to lose so much money.

    Get the people more jobs, get them back to their comfort level like they were before the economy busted, and this whole argument goes away.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  263. Thierno

    I am still trying to understand what we call ” poor“ in america, when the so called poor are carrying benefit cards for $1000” s of food stamps and free heated or cold apartments rent free. Free cellphones, etc... I came to america bear feet from africa, I worked hard and learned how to get rich from the rich, today, im feasting on crab meat. The so call poor, need to learn how to get rich .

    December 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  264. Mark McAllister

    Anyone who measures "richness" as related to income is too ill-informed to register an opinion.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  265. Chris

    Why narrow the gap? I don't blame the top 1% for being successful, isn't that what America is all about after all? Here's an idea: let's raise the level of income for both the rich and the poor by boosting this economy and making it more compeititve to do business in the US again. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, a small bussiness has to pay an average of $10,000 per worker in regulatory costs, and we wonder why jobs are going over seas? Unions have killed more jobs in this country than they have saved. Americans need to recognize it's not the responsiblity of the rich or the government to find them a job.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  266. Mike in MI

    Is there anything absurdly wrong with a flat graduated tax? IE 0-10k is 1% 10-20k is 5% 20-30k is 10% etc. I unfortunately find great fault with the republican party going for support for "Job creators" who haven't created jobs. I equally am infuriated that there is no solution from the democratic party for sustainability that calls on all persons to pay some share. Everyone should have some skin in the game – those at the higher end should have a greater percentage. Deductions should be severely limited. Maybe just dependent/mortgage up to $500k and nothing else. Same rate applies to cap gains.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  267. Steve, Houston TX

    Jack, well we can start by not blaming the successful people. Its a fact that the top 1% already pay almost 40% of all income taxes and the top 5% pay almost 60% of all federal income taxes while the bottom 48% pay NO federal income taxes. The second thing we can do is take a good look in the mirror. We complain about executives outsourcing jobs, but then we are the ones who buy cheap junk at Wal-Mart. If the masses insist on buying a 50 dollar cheap Chinese BBQ, for example, instead of a good American made one for 199 dollars that will last years, then its basically malpractice for the executive NOT to outsource the jobs and make the 50 dollar one. If he doesn't, then they go out of business. This is what the masses demand with their purchasing behavior. If someone is out there complaining about not having a job, the first question that should be asked of them is "have you ever shopped at Wal-Mart". Executives don't shop at Wal-Mart, Jack, WE do.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  268. TomPaine32

    People with money have an enormous advantage in influencing law making. Now, with a little help from the Supreme Court, corporations can pretend to be very rich individuals and have an even greater influence. Unless someone finds a way to weaken the link between money and power, the laws will keep helping the rich get richer. Still, a poor person's vote is as good as a rich person's, so if there is enough awareness and outrage at the growing income gap, there is a chance that something can be done for the middle class.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  269. EricksLV

    Don't try to control things with taxes or redistribution of wealth. Let the free market reign. Simply pass a law barring the federal government from giving contracts to any business which pays its upper management (bonuses and stock options included) more than fifty times the pay of the average employee. If they want to pay them more, fine! Just don't expect to get any federal contracts. This includes Lockheed, Boeing, Haliburton, Delta, the big banks, etc.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  270. Mary Steele

    Stop trying to employ and educate the world and make sure limited resources, especailly jobs and benefits, go to those here legally so the American Dream is realized and not keep us borrowing and spending money we don't have to!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  271. Casey

    It's not cutting taxes for the rich, its empowering the middle class. No job is created by a great product, it is created by the consumer demand for that product, and if the middle class doesn't have the money, the business won't have a reason to create jobs. Fair wages and higher taxes on outsourcing would be a good start.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  272. Ed from Colorado

    All companies should adopt a full share policy–If a company does well, ALL employees share the same percentage bonus. If the company does not do well, no bonuses for anyone. Execs should earn no more than 25 times the average employee in salary.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  273. Valerie in Ohio

    One of the best ways to accomplish this mission is for poor people to educate themselves about the issues/candidates and vote! There are certainly enough impoverished/struggling citizens to make a tangible difference in election outcomes if they would only participate. By becoming informed, they would see that conservatives clearly do not represent their interests and would thus boot them out of office in favor of progressives who do support their interests. With progressives dominating government, the poor would benefit enormously and the country would be much better off in general.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  274. Proud Daughter

    This whole "poor people just need to work their way up" mentality is ridiculous. My father works harder than anyone I've ever met, without complaining, and takes the time to educate himself about how to invest his money wisely. But he probably will never get to retire because the little money he does make and put away doesn't go very far. And for the record he's not an illegal immigrant or high school dropout – he's a trained maintenance technician with a nearly impeccable working record. But his jobs keep getting moved to Mexico. If money were awarded to the hardest workers, he'd be a billionaire, so when I hear that the poor/lower middle class aren't working hard enough, I want to scream about the injustice of it all.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  275. Chuck Saylor

    The pay disparity will never be changed because all Americans support it. Athletes make huge amounts of money because the average American will pay the price to watch the game and won't give it a second thought! Corporate CEO's keep getting more bonuses because we buy their product without a squawk . Entertainers make big bucks because they can. We buy their music go to concerts, plays and movie, with out question. We give the rich exactly what they want and have no business whining about it.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  276. dennis, in the real world

    1. Restore the family unit
    2. Teach the importance of education to your children. It's not the govt's or schools responsibility
    3. Teach the value of a honest days work and some ambition. The days of entitlements are numbered
    4. Teach financial responsibility.
    5. There are no free lunches and people need to live within their income. Not within what credit they can get.
    6. Accept personal responsibilty for yourself.
    7. Don't blame all your problems on the 1%. They earned it by following the American dream. Don't over tax the goose that lays the golden egg. They earned it.
    8. If you think rich is $200,000 per year guess again.
    9. Remember over 50% of Americans pay no income tax now.
    10. Remember the childs story about the grasshopper and the ant?
    11. An old saying goes, good luck is the result of responsible choices. You can figure the rest.

    Before we play robin hood any more than we already do let's be sure we're not throwing good money after bad.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  277. smithsdawg

    A lot of good ideas so far. As concerns publicly owned only (not private), mine falls in line with Annie's from Atlanta...restrict the shareholders and board of directors from granting a salary and options to executive officers of a company within a certain percentage of their lowest paid first line managers. For example, the CEO can be offered no more than 35% total (options and salary) above the lowest paid first line salary. Executive officers no more than 30%, and so on down. This would also allow us to open up more job opportunities as more labor funding would be made available.

    Then if you end golden parachutes once and for all, you are heading in the right direction.

    I don't believe this would ever happen voluntary, so as much as I regret it...it would have to be legislated. Maximum wage and minimum wage. 😉

    December 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  278. I Am the Siphon

    I think, although I am not sure, that revolution comes from within. It is not an overthrow of capitalism we need, for capitalism keeps us afloat atop a floundering world, nor is the heavy hand of taxation in a country founded on the ideals of personal liberty a path we need consider, for this would violate the ideals of our nation. But yes, I too believe that income inequality must be addressed, because a country whose laws uphold the equality of all people should not stand by and allow this equality to drain away.

    But how to right a rapidly disintegrating system. I do not believe large sums of money should be handed to those who did not earn it just as it should not be taken from those who did, but look, for a minute, at our school systems, at our public libraries, at our after-school enrichment programs. If income inequality begins anywhere, it begins there, before any child has a chance to earn a living, they are funneled into a system which is at heart, unequal.

    Do we have a right to take relatively large amounts of money from the rich to invest in our education infrastructure? No. Absolutely not. Should money travel along this path? Yes. How? It will be given willingly. I am the 1%. This is why I give. Join me and let us start a revolution. I am the siphon.

    Merry Christmas!

    December 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm |