Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: 1% - It's not about your bank account but your patriotism. 28 October '11
The bankster 1% in Chicago had a little message they wanted to get out to the 99% movement camped out on the streets below.
So someone at the Chicago Board of Trade poured leaflets out the window - to rain down on the demonstrators below. The leaflets read:
We are Wall Street, it is our jobs to make money... Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourselves. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours.
As we all know today - that's not a threat...it's a promise - Wall Street has never had a problem taking what's not theirs.
Whether it was the trillions they took when the economy blew up as a result of the housing bubble scheme - or the trillions more they took from the taxpayers when they demanded a bailout - Wall Street just churns other people's money and skims their vig off the top.
And they've been doing it in a pretty outrageous way - what once was considered both immoral and illegal - for the 30 years since Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust act it is now normal, leading to an explosion on Wall Street - it started back then, continuing to this day - of what was then called M&A or Mergers and Acquisitions business.
From 1947 through 1979 - before Reagan and M&A - as America got wealthier and wealthier - that wealth went to everyone - we all got wealthier.
But then came Thatcher and Reagan and Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, and this bizarre notion that playing games by rules that work for everybody is just a quaint idea and instead the world should be reformed to make it easy for the predators.
As a result over the least 30 years most of all the new wealth created in America went to just the top 1%.
When Reagan first began to really corrupt capitalism - as I noted in my book Unequal Protection - most Americans didn't even notice it.
"Greed is good" sounded reasonable to many people - and for the first time in history school kids started saying they wanted to grow up to be rich instead of wanting to grow up to be somebody who changed the world like Washington, Lincoln, or Martin Luther King Jr.
But then - after Reagan kicked off today's massive concentration of wealth - the top 1% just started TAKING more and more.
They took it all...after all, Reagan made it legal.
In the last generation - the richest 1% have seen their incomes almost QUADRUPLE - while the average Americans have seen their paycheck increase by only $1.23.
The average wealth of the top 1% is 225 times greater than the average wealth of the typical family.
Thirty years ago - the typical CEO made about 40 times more than their typical employee.
Now they take as much as 200 times more than their employees - and on Wall Street - as much as 2,000 times or 10,000 times more than their employees.
Take, take, take.
But after 30 years, we're now clearly seeing the results of trying to play a game with no rules - or rules that are so skewed as to make things easy for the rich and hard for working people.
It's why working people took over Madison, Wisconsin.
It's why working people are taking over cities all across America.
And because in that Reagan era, so-called free market capitalism was all the fad - from here to Thatcher's UK to Pinochet's Chile - we're now seeing the 99% revolt in nation after nation after nation.
But even though the 1% sitting high above Chicago think it's their job to take from everyone else - a majority of one-percenters actually think it's their job to give.
Earlier this week - filmmaker Michael Moore expressed the mentality of most one-percenters who want to give back to the nation that made them so wealthy:
Even though I do well, that I don't associate myself with those who do well, I am devoting my life to those who have less and who have been crapped upon by the system. And that's how I spend my time, my energy, my money on trying to up-end this system that I think is a system of violence, it's a system that's unfair to the average working person of this country.
And it was a mistake to ever give me a dime...
And Michael Moore isn't alone.
Warren Buffett, for example, famously called for his taxes to be raised in fact he's been calling for it for years - noting that there is class warfare going on in America alright - and it's his class - the rich class - the 1% class - that's winning.
But there's more - as I said - there's actually a majority among that 1% who are on the side of the 99%.
A new survey of millionaires by the Spectrum group finds that 68% of millionaires - people earning more than a million dollars a year - in this nation support increasing taxes on millionaires.
That’s right - most millionaires want their own taxes to go up. You know, it's that old interview with the German businessman who said, I don't want to be a rich man in a poor country.
Because over the last 30 years - millionaires have pretty much gotten whatever they wanted - from Free Trade deals that make CEOs incredibly rich while working wages plummet - to enormous tax cuts that created huge national deficits - to corporate welfare in the form of Wall Street bailouts and big oil subsidies.
But now that a majority of millionaires want their taxes to go up - they can't even get Republicans in the Senate to drop their filibuster and allow a debate on the issue.
The point is - it's not about how much money you make that makes you the 1%.
From Michael Moore to Warren Buffett, there are plenty of patriotic one-percenters.
It's about whether or not you think it's the job of the rich to give back to the country that made you rich - or if it's just the job of the rich to keep making more and more and more money.
To make more money than they can spend in their lifetimes, their children's lifetimes, their' grandchildren's lifetimes, or their great grandchildren's children's lifetimes - while the nation around them deteriorates.
It's not about your bank account - it's about your patriotism.
The 99 percent movement is the most patriotic thing happening in America.
Let's just hope our politicians catch on soon.
That's The Big Picture.