The Disease of Inequality that’s Infecting America.

Our unequal society is killing off hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. A new study by the American Journal of Public Health takes a look at how certain social factors contribute to early deaths. Looking at just the year 2000 – the study found that 245,000 Americans died because they didn’t receive a quality education.

More than 160,000 Americans died because of a lack of social support. And – nearly 120,000 people died because of income inequality. Yet – Republicans are worsening the education system by gutting public schools – worsening our social supports by pushing for cuts to the social safety net – and worsening wealth inequality with their massive tax cuts for the rich.

We’re not talking about political differences anymore – we’re talking about life and death – and the disease of inequality that’s infecting America.


DRichards's picture
DRichards 12 years 50 weeks ago

Geithner: "[For A Lot of People] It's Going to Feel Very Hard, Harder than Anything They've Experienced in Their Lifetime Now, For a Long Time to Come"

AP notes:

Many Americans will face hard times for a long time to come.


Geithner says will be some time before many people feel like the country is recovering.

Geithner tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that it's a very tough economy. He says that for a lot of people "it's going to feel very hard, harder than anything they've experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come."

Of course, Geithner is a large part of the reason that it will be so hard.

Rick in Canadia's picture
Rick in Canadia 12 years 50 weeks ago

In Canada we now have Steven Harper, our own little neo-con, with a 40% 'majority government'.

His first move was to cut off funding of candidates; the conservatives are confident of money from business.. We just had our first Green Party member elected, but they will be left out there now.

Just like a Republican governor, Harper has already started a campaign against unions; legislating locked-out postal employees back for less than the post office had already offered. Not looking like a good 4 years coming.

Good luck,

Rick in Canadia's picture
Rick in Canadia 12 years 50 weeks ago

When Republicans, (I've started refering to them as Hooverites) talk about 'tightening our belts' they are really fond of the idea that in hard times, the (opposite sex of course) family sits at the kitchen table and decides what they have to cut back on to save some money and balance the houshold budget.

They like to show this as a model for the government to rein in the debt.. The difference is, they would want Dad to not buy that car, cut off the cable TV, that pricey oxygen bottle for gramps.. well, lots of cuts, but now they would want him to turn down that raise he is due to get at work, because he is sure that the bosses and owners of the company will put that cash to much better uses..

Cuts are one part but to say no increase in revenue (like a part time job for Mum..) is just nuts.

Good luck,


Rick in Canadia's picture
Rick in Canadia 12 years 50 weeks ago

Regarding economics, I think we have to see that every time tax rates are discussed the term 'Marginal' is used and explained, again and again.

The Hooverite Republicans and Fox News have too many people hearing '35% tax' and thinking that means if you make $100k they are taking 35% of that.

Any worthwhile economist needs to keep reminding people of this distinction. Remind people of the amount paid on say the first $250k.


RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 12 years 50 weeks ago


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 50 weeks ago

From a Truthdig article by Chris Hedges:

"On May 17 at 5 in the morning the Chicano activist Carlos Montes got a wake-up call at his home in California from Barack Obama’s security state. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s SWAT team, armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests, as well as being accompanied by FBI agents, kicked down his door, burst into his house with their weapons drawn, handcuffed him in his pajamas and hauled him off to jail. Montes, one of tens of thousands of Americans who have experienced this terrifying form of military-style assault and arrest, was one of the organizers of the demonstrations outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., and he faces trial along with 23 other anti-war activists from Minnesota, as well as possible charges by a federal grand jury. "

"Montes was arrested ostensibly because he bought a firearm although a felony conviction 42 years ago prohibited him from doing so. The 1969 felony conviction was for throwing a can of Coke at a police officer during a demonstration. The registered shotgun in his closet, bought last year at a sporting goods shop, became the excuse to ransack his home, charge him and schedule him for trial in August."

"“The gun issue was clearly a pretext to investigate my political activities,” he said when I reached him at his Alhambra home. “It is about my anti-war activities and my links to the RNC demonstrations. It is also about my activism denouncing the U.S. policy of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, their support for Israel and the Colombian government. I have been to Colombia twice.”

“I thought someone is breaking in, somebody is trying to jack me up,” he said. “I was a victim of an armed robbery in December of 2009 in my home. I do have a gun in my bedroom for self-defense.""

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 50 weeks ago

I don't understand how anyone can enjoy their Rolls Royce anymore. I would be embarassed to be seen in one.

Isn't it clear that peons and the serving class are not to become literate?

DOCTORS were once the highest wage earners in the community, and this has changed to LAWYERS.


David S. Lynch's picture
David S. Lynch 12 years 50 weeks ago

I've long held this theory that a few generations ago or less, all the world's most wealthy and powerful individuals got together at some posh, private European resort and took a hard look at the population explosion, realizing that the exponential population growth would soon overwhelm available global resources.

From that stark fact, their likely conclusion would be that the herd needed to be culled on a massive scale, and that they would have to install the architecture across the globe that would do exactly that.

In their hubris, these rich and powerful fancy themselves as Darwinian-style orchestrators who feel their actions necessary, appropriate - and perhaps even heroic. They would claim to be saving both planet and the human species. They would assert they had no choice but to promote selfishness and discourage compassion while slowly depriving the average person of life's necessities so that the "less worthy" or "less fortunate" would wither and die, thus allowing the "chosen" survivors to continue on.

I fear my theory is not so far-fetched, and this is the big picture that most people cannot see because their focus is upon the minutiae of specific corporations or governments, or relatively minor current events.

It's not about Michelle Bachmann. It's not about Goldman-Sachs (though these entities might well be participants in the plan.) It may very well be about a larger world plan that seeks to extinguish a large percentage of the current population because an elite group thinks it's the necessary pathway to future sustainability.

Am I way off base? Or could there be some validity to my cynicism?

mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 12 years 50 weeks ago

David, I believe that's exactly what's happening in Aspen right now! Have you seen some of the obscene press releases that are coming out of this $2300/person "ideas festival"?

desert fox's picture
desert fox 12 years 50 weeks ago

Unemployment, Social Support and Health Problems: Results of the GEDA Study in Germany, 2009. Results: Unemployed persons aged 30 to 59 years suffer physical, emotional, and functional impairment more commonly than employed persons. Men and women with little social support are more likely to be impaired in these three areas whether they are employed or not. Regression analysis reveals that unemployment and social support have significant, independent effects on both the incidence of such impairments (ORunemployed = 1.2–1.7, ORsupported = 0.4–0.9) and on their duration (IRRunemployed = 1.3–1.8, IRRsupported=0.6–0.8) after age, income, and education have been controlled for.

Conclusion: Physicians should be mindful of the deleterious effect of unemployment on health and should encourage unemployed patients to participate in social networks, as the evidence shows that social support can have health benefits.

David S. Lynch's picture
David S. Lynch 12 years 50 weeks ago

Looks like the perfect event for the YesMen to prank!

David S. Lynch's picture
David S. Lynch 12 years 50 weeks ago

“You can imagine a China in which there is a lot more individual liberty and still functioning…you can imagine it going that way.”– James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic

If only some of these big thinkers could imagine America going that way!!

Berry's picture
Berry 12 years 49 weeks ago

Thinning out the herd hey? There are many books written on the subject of over population from 60's into the 70's. Greed is one of its problems . Perhaps a universal understanding is needed? Not greed. War's are one way of thinnning out the herd along with pollution and other things also..

John Steinsvold's picture
John Steinsvold 12 years 49 weeks ago

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative". She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

John SteinsvoldPerhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.--Georg C. Lichtenberg

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 49 weeks ago

Capitalists don't cause global warming..(I mean climate change) is all of the hordes of peons and farting what to do? They create wars to cull the populations....mostly men because they have the potential of creating more babies. Of course, I say this in jest (partly) really isn't the farting cows fault or that of the majority of us peons. It is the greed of the capitalist pigs who use all their Madison Ave. psy-ops to make us want to buy things (to make them richer) and when we do..they say we are all at fault for not being thrifty and saving. Of course, when we do save...rather we are psy-oped into believing we have to "invest" (for the long term, of course) which we realize, down the road, that we were all "had" because the markets (controlled, of course) took a big dive...we lose our life's savings and retirement benefits because we "invested for the long run" and the CEOs and others "in the know" or "who helped engineer the whole financial pyramids schemes" were making very calculated short term bets. This leaves a lot of desperate people willing to sign up to the military so the gods can play their war games. They don't even need a draft. Our well armed soldiers manage to depopulate a good percentage of the world's population as well as losing some of their own. Now if they'd kill all of those farting cows we might not have a climate change problem...but then McDonalds would have to find a new line of about Polar Bear burgers? They are all dying off anyway due to the melting polar caps. And because I couldn't let a bargain go by today I went all around town slurping up all the free 7-11 slurpies I could get (but the "free" slurpies were only limited to tiny sample-sized cups so I had to find a lot of 7-11s). I probably spent a lot in wasting gas and polluting the atmosphere so free is not always free. Polar Bear Burgers....ummm...with a lot of Tobasco that's livin'! (actually, I only eat chicken, fish, and turkey)

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 12 years 49 weeks ago

How do we stop rising inequality? The little known FACT that a European style representative democracy promotes both prosperity and happiness for all needs to be communicated to citizens. It's no coincidence the #1 country in this category, Denmark, has a 72% tax rate on the highest income Vikings!

It's clear despite the great efforts by our elected progressives, the political will to represent the other 98% of us is not going to happen without a massive Ghandi style resistance movement. We must take actions like everyone on the same day pulling money from the too big to fail banks and redepositing into local not for profit credit unions. This could apply to 401K's also, just do it in unison.

I know this would primarily be a middle class action that will hurt us all, but at least those who created the financial collapse to begin with are included, and the message could be a nonviolent shot "heard round the world." We have to break through the Fox iron curtain and get the truth out to the working class voters somehow. Let's have Democratic Functionalism.......a Democracy that functions!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 49 weeks ago

"We must take actions like everyone on the same day pulling money from the too big to fail banks and redepositing into local not for profit credit unions."

Great idea!! Vote with what counts...not with what has proven to be a waste of time and false hopes.

Renaldo7's picture
Renaldo7 12 years 49 weeks ago

Short of a required course of Compassion for all legislators and the President, these folks need to feel the pain to realize where they are. The pain should take the form of term limits with no pensions or health care after the one term. The pain should be a minimum wage position while in office, as public servants. We the people need to vote on all issues, at least 85% of the issues before congress. Congress and the president should be advisory only with the bills ultimately going before we the people to settle. These steps would go a long way to correcting the inequalities that now exist and give we the people the Democracy we should have.

jdjay's picture
jdjay 12 years 49 weeks ago

They are covert death camps, that is all they are. They have learned how to conceal our death camps. All of the above mentioned categories of death are representative of covert death camps. Hitler was not at all shy about choosing to scapegoat the Jews for his mass human sacrifice. Today they have learned to use social engineering to disguise the very same process. The truth of the matter is they purposefully manufacture death in so many ways, is it not?

The next logical question is why does there have to be a mass human sacrifice? There are several reasons. The laws of karma say that every action generates an equal and opposite reaction. These death camps are an attempt to mitigate the karma that is due for the activities of our military industrial complex and our practically unrestricted slaughter of animals (just to name a few). This is how the powers that be balance things out. Who the actual "man behind the curtain" is that is orchestrating everything is another complete book in itself.

Berry's picture
Berry 12 years 49 weeks ago

The home of he Brave in a way is not new. There are centers or group societies already doing just that, living free which one must say," brings with it great responsibility. They grow their own food publish their own books, music, medical help etc. One has to be responsible for one self and everyone around them even outside the center. No need for money but they do work with it. Someone bought hundreds of acres and people would just come from all around and worked the land. They put together homes, farm the land, set up tents, watch out for each other. I do not know if it exist today ! You know who is watching all the time.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 49 weeks ago

"The dynamics that have fueled the 30-year stock and bond run-up since 1980 (and especially since 1990) are nearing their terminal stage. Economies have become much more highly debt-leveraged, without using credit to put in place the means to pay it off. It was the exponential rise in credit that fueled asset-price inflation, enabling debtors to “borrow the interest” by pledging their “capital” gains to take out ever-rising loans – without actual income keeping pace. Today, Sovereign Wealth Funds are banking on a renewed rise in financial asset prices. But this can be achieved only by loading down economies with even more debt overhead.

This is in fact the aim of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: to rescue banks from their negative equity by re-inflating real estate, stock and bond markets so as to enable banks, homeowners and real estate investors to “earn their way out of debt” by higher asset prices.

This is not the kind of environment that created the half-century of stock and bond market run-up post World War II. That world is over, given the debt corner into which the bond market, real estate and stock market have painted themselves. How can stock and bond prices rise at their former pace in the face of economies buckling under their debt overhead? Families and companies, cities and states, and even national governments from Iceland and Latvia to Ireland and Greece find themselves obliged to pay down debts by diverting their spending away from the purchase of goods and services, new investment, employment and consumption.

Bond prices cannot rise further, because interest rates have fallen nearly to zero. From the time interest rates peaked at 20% in 1980 through today’s rates of less than 1% – the largest decline in interest rates ever recorded – the U.S. and foreign bond markets experienced the greatest boom of any bond market in history. But there is no further room to decline. And as for high-yield bonds of governments on the brink of fiscal crisis, it is difficult to see how current risks can be averted, headed by U.S. state and local debt and that of debt-strapped European countries.

Real estate accounts for 80 percent of bank loans in most English-speaking countries, and is by far the largest asset category. Investors enjoyed nearly three decades of being able to borrow to buy properties whose price was being inflated faster than the rate of interest that had to be paid. Falling interest rates and easier lending terms fueled capital gains. Consumers re-financed their mortgages at higher debt levels to support living standards that their take-home pay was not sustaining, as real wages have not increased since 1979 in the United States."

"Stock markets no longer serve primarily as a vehicle to raise funds for tangible investment. Instead of expanding production by industrial engineering, “financial engineering” is a tactic of debt pyramiding (and in due course, fictitious statistical reporting, Enron-style). Corporate raiders and ambitious financial empire-builders use high-interest “junk” bonds to buy up other firms and “take companies private” by debt-leveraged buyouts (LBOs). Financial managers of these firms have run up corporate debt increasingly to finance stock buy-backs and simply to pay out as dividends to “engineer” price gains (and hence the value of their stock options).

In short, the stock market no longer performs the functions that textbooks describe. The stock market has become a vehicle to replace equity with debt. A much larger value of stocks have been retired than issued over the past three decades. Of the stocks that remain in the market, corporate managers and venture capitalists on balance have sold their holdings to pension funds and mutual funds – and to Sovereign Wealth Funds."

SOOTY's picture
SOOTY 12 years 49 weeks ago

Raise the Taxes on the rich, and start prosecuting the CRIMINALS on Wall Street !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and IMPEACH the 5 re"thug"licans on the Supreme Court who CLEARLY don't belong on ANY COURT ANYWHERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 49 weeks ago

My Transcription of a Max Keiser interview of Michael Hudson called IMF The Economic Hangman--July 8, 2011

Keiser: Ok, Michael, your thoughts on Greece....what's happening?
Hudson: Well, it's as if finance has become the new mode of warfare there. The Financial Times reported that when Parliament passed the agreement to surrender to Europe, it was done to the smell of tear-gas and to sirens. And The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article saying that..."well, it's time for them to sell off the Parthenon, to sell off the Greek Islands...". It used to take an army to achieve what today is being done financially. So, finance and bankers are the new "army". And so instead of an army coming in to seize the land, which involves people dying, you simply have the IMF representative...say look "give us your land, give us your property". This is phase 2 of the financialization program. And I can't believe that this is going to actually succeed. If a country is going to impose poverty on itself, reduce wages by 30%, and forfeit the entire public sector to foreign creditors, then people should have a vote because otherwise it is not legal. There is no referendum in Greece over whether the people are going to democratically acquiesce and surrender. This means that when there is an election if there is, then Greece can say..."Look, this was imposed upon us. We didn't vote. It's not democratic. It's not binding." And they can take back whatever is being given. Because certainly there will be another default. Certainly, the way to ensure there is another default is to follow another EU plan, and another IMF plan, and impoverish the economy. Because an impoverished economy makes it less of an ability to repay...not more able. This is the one thing that the whole world has learned from the IMF austerity programs from the 1960s and the 1970s and the 1980s.
Keiser: Ok, so, when you hear people today, when they bring up Iceland, they also bring up Argentina. They say that you can't make a comparison with Iceland or Argentina. In Iceland's case, they say "well, the Krona, it wasn't part of the Euro while Greece is bound by the Euro....Well, how do you come back and talk about those concerns and say that you can't really compare the two?
Hudson: Well, when Greece joined the Euro, what it thought it was doing was joining a United Europe. And the idea of a United Europe...the European Union was...Europe was never going to go to war internally with each other again. Somehow, the idea of a European unity became hijacked to surrender to a financial oligarchy, and turn over all the property to the wealthiest 1% of the pyramid....and roll back the last 1000 years to neo-feudalism. Greece didn't realize it was deciding on neo-feudalism. And that's what the European Central Bank is all about. It's not a Central Bank. It doesn't do what a Central Bank does. It doesn't finance government budget deficits. Which is what the Bank of England and the New York Federal Reserve, or the US Federal Reserve, or what other Federal Reserves do. It simply stands by and forces government deficits to result in more and more debt to commercial banks so that instead of government deficits expanding the economy with new investment and employment and full market demand, a government deficit shrinks the economy by leading to foreclosures and forfeiture of the public domain, forfeiture of houses, and mass
impoverishment. That is not what Greece thought it was signing on to. So what it should do is say "This is not the Europe we thought we were signing on to. We're withdrawing. We're with Spain, Portugal, Ireland..withdraw.??? ...just as Ireland voted against the Lisbon constitution They should just say "This is non-sense...this is war.. and we're pulling out and we're putting our economy up for grabs for those countries, probably in the BRIC block that will accept us into their currency arena....'cause we're just not going to stand for this.
Keiser: Ok, you mentioned Germany there...Germany is portraying themselves as the victim...that Greece has feckless characters, or something, that don't pay their bills...that are undermining their economy...and they (want to suicide?) for Germany. ?????....Is Germany the victim of is Germany the predator?
Hudson: Well, both! Because what you should really be asking is "what is Germany? Is Germany the banks or is Germany the population? " The German banks have recklessly lent out money, as did French banks, to Greece. And they are holding Greek bonds at who-knows-what value. We don't know how the German banks are valuing the Greek bonds on their balance sheets. Right now, if a German or a French or a European bank can buy a Greek government bond at say 50%....pledge this to a European Central Bank and get a full Euro...get 100% full money by speculating. We don't know whether the German banks or the French banks, that are carrying this Greek debt, are at market value or some nominal face value. So, Germany, itself, is being sacrificed to the banks. And I don't think you can say that on the interest of the banks, the 1% of the interest of Germany, unless you are redefining Germany ...and redefining Europe as a kind of neo-feudal oligarchic society run by the banks. And that's why Angela Merkel, herself, is losing electoral support in Germany. That's why the whole political spectrum in Europe is so in to disarray by the fact that...what do the words "left" and "right" mean...when you have the whole issue, basically, one of finance. Finance cuts across the political spectrum of "left" or "right". It cuts across the spectrum of "what is Germany" or "what is France" or "what is Europe"? And it has really put the "class war" back in business in a very different way than what we were seeing in times past. It's a "class war" of banks against all the rest of society....banks trying to grab all the property. And the political spectrum has not been able to deal with this except the socialist party and social democratic party and socialist international of which President Papandreou is the head, in Greece, are on the far right of the political spectrum now. And the old right wing party, the Conservatives, are moving to the left of the socialists. Everything is being turned upside down by financialising the economies in this way.
Keiser: So, financial engineering has become the new means of production...setting up the ancient class war has reemerged but the classes that are getting disenfranchised are not even aware of the fact that they are being occupied by these weapons of financial mass destruction...these financially engineered's a "self coup"...the people of Greece... they don't know that they are being attacked in this way.
Hudson: Well, if you relate financial engineering to the means of doesn't, in fact, create a new means of strips assets...and this is what has been happening in America since the 1970s with the junk bond takeovers, with other financial takeovers...almost all these takeovers have ended up impoverishing the companies. You have a financial takeover followed by a wipe-out of the pension funds...of the employee stock-ownership plans. You have a wipe-out of what these companies owed to pensions...and you have, really, a looting by the financial sector. This is not a production function...this is a looting function. And that is what the financial sector has turned in to today....looting, not financing the means of production.
Keiser: ......Let's say the European banks...they are buying Greece debt..they stand to lose a lot of money if/when Greece defaults....however, there's another wild card here....and apparently, the American banks have taken out insurance toward the Greek...rather the European banks and ??? in terms of Credit Default Swaps...who stands to lose the most here...the European banks who own the bonds...or the American banks who insure the bonds?
Hudson: There are a lot of financial analysts asking that. And what they have noticed is just the EU and the European Central Banks who has taken a more lenient position toward have US Treasury Secretary Geithner saying "Wait a minute...take a hard line toward have to crush it because we ...the US Bank financial casinos have insured Irish debt. Same thing with Greece...Its the US Treasury that comes in and says "Wait a minute...our financial system has turned into AIG...we've insured the Greece debt and we can't afford to take a loss so your Europeans have to take a loss. You have to impoverish your labor so that our financial Wall capitalist firms like Goldman Sachs can make a killing and they can't pay their people $100 million a year salary if you don't impoverish your labor. We're making money off you and that's what we call the financial system. That's what we call stability. So, you may think it is our risk but it is not our risk so I'm telling you what to do. What you refer to as being a risk is not a risk if you let the US Treasury act as the battering ram for the Wall Street firms that ensure the risk and say "You think there's risk....we're going to make sure that all the risk is on the debtor and if the debtor can't pay, then the creditor doesn't lose, and the insurers don't lose because we are going to take it out of Greek hide. Give us your Parthenon, give us your Islands, give us your ports and water supplies, and your sewer systems, for us to put toll booths on. That's the sort of risk that the US is talking about. What Greece is risking is something worse than what it suffered under the Ottoman Empire in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Keiser: Is the IMF solvent?
Hudson: It depends on what you say "solvent" is. It was almost out of business two years ago when they had Turkey as their only client. What has saved the IMF has been the Wall Street crisis. That put it back into business. Essentially, it is the hangman of (accountage?). The IMF has been called a group of mafia assassins to kill the labor union organizers in a company town. And that's really the IMF's role. It's the assassin of a company. If solvent, well then it's backed by the's backed by the US Government..and the IMF. The very fact that they've appointed such a notorious, anti-labor advocate...a Christine Lagarde...should lead all the countries to say "You're've got to start over again...we're just not going to stand for it"

Watch and listen to the interview here:

TimeLord's picture
TimeLord 12 years 49 weeks ago

Yes it will be hard. It will be harder than it was in 1789. It will be harder because we are exponentially more urban and electricity dependent than the sans-coulottes.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 12 years 49 weeks ago

Well, David, maybe partly correct. I think the wealthy need us, the masses, as cannon fodder in wars that protect their business/money interests and as drones to produce and consume their business waste, and to do the dirty jobs that must be done, but I think that they do want the weak and old to die so that they don't have to be bothered with their care, which here in the US they don't do anyway; the middle class taxpayer takes care of most of those needs.

Though I am also just a tiny insignificant cog in the class wheel and a concerned citizen of the environment and care about the world I will pass on to my children and grandchildren, I still think population control is a must, but through education and access to birth control and choice, which the minions of the wealthy (teabaggers and neoconservatives) seem to think is something bad--so their "logic" seems oxymoronic and runs a little contrary to your not-so-far-out theory.

I personally think that fuedalism never completely died. There will always be those who think that, because they won the ovarian lottery, they are most certainly better than those who did not--when, thank goodness, we have simple genetics to show us that the wealthy are just as prone to diease and idiocy as commoners. The scientific truth remains that a poor but diveresly genetic couple can spawn a genius or successful individual more often than an exclusively money-rich closed gene pool.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 49 weeks ago

There are two aspects to the inequality between hyper-wealthy and regular people:

1. The external aspects, such as congress, the White House, and the Judiciary being bought and paid for by the hyper-wealthy. This aspect is very difficult to cure. In fact, without curing the second aspect, the external aspect is impossible to truly cure.

2. The internal aspect, the internal inequalities within each person. This aspect can be cured by each person resolving their own internal inequalities, through psychotherapy, shamanism, prayer, meditation, qigong, yoga, properly-done positive thinking, and other such disciplines. When the people in a country are not free within their own psyches- when their actions are more determined by their problems than by their internal peace, the actions of their leaders reflect that fact. But it is just as true that our political leaders and corporate executives, who are addicted to unwholesome power in their own personal and professional lives, have a very strong vested interest in us not healing our own psyches, because with every additional person who seeks and begins obtaining internal healing, this world gets closer and closer to a critical mass of the good kind, where unhealthy leaders and pathological corporate monsters are in a steadily-decreasing minority and are being squeezed out of this world because their attitudes and energies do not fit here anymore.

It's easier to complain about the externals than to do something about the internals, but it is more effective to spend a significant amount of time every day dealing with our own internal inequalities. And because the hyperwealthy people who are actually running most of the show understand the power of internal healing, they try to distract us with external desires like wanting new cars and huge houses, and with threats to our wellbeing. And if there aren't enough threats to our wellbeing to distract us from doing the internal work, they manufacture threats and enemies for us. And if we don't believe those threats and if we don't believe that our leaders can keep us safe from those threats, our leaders escalate the threats, manipulating others into attacking us. And the leaders of our "enemies" are doing exactly the same thing, saying, "Oh look at those terrible Americans, there is no time to meditate, no time for education, no time to just sit and think, no time to wander around finding yourself; there is only time for hating, lying, and making war." And of course there the famous, "In order to protect your freedom, we have to take away your freedom, because if we don't take your freedom, our enemies will come over here and take away your freedom."

One of the things that many people don't know about Thom Hartmann is that he has spent a very significant portion of his life doing internal work. And one of the reasons they don't know this, is because Thom spends virtually all of his radio time talking about what is wrong in this country and what is wrong in this world and talking about people who are doing the external work of trying to force our leaders and corporations to be more human.

I'm glad Thom talks about the problems that government and corporations create, because I have gotten most of my political education from listening to him, and like many people I have really needed the information. But when I listen too much to that sort of thing, I get to feeling that this entire world and everything in it is an impossible-to-escape-from and impossible-to-deal-with maze of sleezy politicians and corporate psychopaths. I feel that if I hear one more awful thing that's wrong with this life... And when I feel that way I have to stop listening to Thom talking about what's wrong, and listen to people who are talking about the things that are right, talking about how to feel better inside. Or better yet, I need to take time every day to calm myself, quiet my heart and mind, slow things down, seek the deep, quiet Center of life within me.

Thom is very highly qualified to speak about healing and resolving inner conflicts, and from time to time it would be inspirational to hear him talk about and interview people whose lives reflect deep inner peace- including his own teachers. Inspiration is very important in helping people to feel that we can in fact heal this world. Just my two cents-worth.

dsmiley1's picture
dsmiley1 12 years 49 weeks ago

Just wondering since our former president was able to write an order abolishing about the last of our rights of privacy. would it be legal for this president to write an order reinstating the highetst level of taxes ever placed on the rich ?


bicyclingjroad's picture
bicyclingjroad 12 years 49 weeks ago

You need to add a third button. In addition to Reply, and Flag AS Offensive, how about a Flag As Nut option?

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 49 weeks ago

Actually, I think Obama should issue an executive order raising taxes on the rich, because if the republicans say, "You can't just issue an executive order to tax the rich," Obama could very publicly reply, "So you're saying that only republicans should be allowed to issue executive orders, that it's only legal for republican presidents to totally ignore our constitution?" It would be an interesting dialog, if Obama had the cojones to do it.

kayakersandcat 12 years 49 weeks ago

I'm 60 years old. I've signed a zillion petitions, hundreds (if not thousands) of letters, made phone calls, demonstrated, etc., etc., etc. trying to get government (currently Obama) and our Democrat "representatives" to do the right thing and stand up for the working people of the U.S. instead of the wealthy and corporations. I've watched people like Bernie Sanders (a hero!) trying to shame the Republicans into stopping their attacks on the "bottom" 2/3 of the country.

For a long time I assumed it was unrestrained greed that was drving the insane dismantling of our social systems, health care, education, etc. Very recently I've had a sobering realization. The Republicans, their wealthy owners, the corporatists and bankers are, for the most part, fully aware that we live on a finite planet that is being destroyed by humans (in large part by capitalism). Resources are being depleted at a totally unsustainable rate. What is happening now worldwide with "austerity measures" is a very CONSCIOUS DECISION by the ruling elite to try and kill off a significant portion of the world's population. You see the numbers of annual deaths in the U.S. listed above as a result of increasing inequality. This number is going to skyrocket as the middle class disappears, the working poor become even poorer, access to education is affordable only to the rich, climate change causes increasing horrors, etc. It does no good to raise these issues to the Republicans (and in many cases Democrats also) in an attempt to make them care or shame them into it. They simply don't care. They WANT the poor, the unemployed, the homeless, to die. It's going to take a lot more than signing petitions and making phone calls to congress to change this direction.

Thom and others may think this idea is over the top, but I hope he'll consider it and even discuss it. Looking at what's going on, I believe it's becoming clearer every day.

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