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Being Rich Does Not Make You More Generous. It Makes You Meaner.

Summary:
Yves here. Too many who ought to know better depict charity by the rich as a viable alternative to a decent level of social services and safety net. The sorry record of late Soviet era America should scotch any such delusion. Our average height, a measure of population-wide nutrition levels, used to be tops in the world. No longer. From Vox in 2016: Recently [Mariachiara] Di Cesare [a public health researcher with Imperial College London], along with several hundred researchers around the world, compiled data from surveys in 200 countries (in a some cases, they mined military records when no such studies existed). The data set, recently published in the journal Elife, spans a century and contains data derived from 18.6 million people born between 1896 and 1996…. In the early part of the

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Yves here. Too many who ought to know better depict charity by the rich as a viable alternative to a decent level of social services and safety net. The sorry record of late Soviet era America should scotch any such delusion. Our average height, a measure of population-wide nutrition levels, used to be tops in the world. No longer. From Vox in 2016:

Recently [Mariachiara] Di Cesare [a public health researcher with Imperial College London], along with several hundred researchers around the world, compiled data from surveys in 200 countries (in a some cases, they mined military records when no such studies existed). The data set, recently published in the journal Elife, spans a century and contains data derived from 18.6 million people born between 1896 and 1996…. In the early part of the 20th century, Americans were some of the tallest in the world. Now we rank 37th for men and 42nd for women.

The US also was once in the top rank for life expectancy. Again no more. From Our World in Data:

Being Rich Does Not Make You More Generous. It Makes You Meaner.

Why do Americans have a lower life expectancy than people in other rich countries, despite paying so much more for health care?

The short summary of what I will discuss below is that Americans suffer higher death rates from smoking, obesity, homicides, opioid overdoses, suicides, road accidents, and infant deaths. In addition to this, deeper poverty and less access to healthcare mean Americans at lower incomes die at a younger age than poor people in other rich countries….

In the 1970s the US didn’t stand out at all, it does so now because life expectancy increased much more slowly than in other countries. At the same time health spending in the U.S. increased much more rapidly, particularly since the mid-1980s. The consequence of these two exceptional developments is that the US followed the much flatter trajectory that the chart shows.

The unequal development over recent decades led to an inequality between the US and other rich countries. In the US health spending per capita is up to four times higher, yet life expectancy is lower than in all of these countries.

Elon Musk exemplifies what is wrong with the rich around the world. ProPublica used him and Jeff Bezos as poster children of super-wealthy grifters, by virtue of getting boatloads of government subsidies yet paying effectively nada in Federal income taxes on a long-standing basis. Elizabeth Warren used Musk’s dubious designation as Man of the Year to call out his welfare queen status (in nowhere sufficiently impolite terms). Musk could resist the opportunity to act like a spoiled child. From Bloomberg:

On Monday, the day Elon Musk was named Time’s Person of the Year, Senator Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter to comment on the tax code and its relationship with the CEO of Teslaand SpaceX.


Elon Musk responded Tuesday by tweeting a Fox News opinion piece from 2019 about the claims regarding her Native American ancestry.

Warren won the first round of the Twitter war by getting way more retweets and likes than Musk did, so he doubled down by calling her Senator Karen. Charming.

By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”. He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics. He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

As the Guardian notes this morning:

Approximately 344,000 highest earners who received more than £175,000 before tax accounted for 17% of the UK’s pre-tax income, including capital gains, over that period but made just 6% of all charitable donations.

Bening rich clearly does not make you generous: instead it makes you mean.

And this is getting worse:

Being Rich Does Not Make You More Generous. It Makes You Meaner.

Incomes of the healthiest have risen, as other evidence also shows. 

However, charitable giving has fallen.

As Thatcher’s children have come to be the rich, and get richer, so the country gets meaner.

No wonder we get people like Rish Sunak arguing that new covid boosters require the imposition of austerity. This is simply indicative of the self-serving thinking of the very rich in our society.

And it is because of the harm that these people cause, and the impact that their wealth has on growing inequality that we must tax the multi-millionaires more. We do not need their money to pay for public services. What we do need is to stop the power that they have to destroy wellbeing in our society.

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