Economic Inequality Threatens Human Progress.

Economic inequality is a major threat to human progress. According to a new report from Oxfam, 85 people control the same amount of wealth as half the population of the entire world, and the top one percent has 65 times the wealth of the bottom half. This concentration of money gives a few people way too much power over our economic and political systems. Oxfam's “Working for the Few” report says, “Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game.”

We know that economic inequality is a major issue in our nation, but the Oxfam report shows that this is a actually world-wide problem. They're calling on the attendees of the World Economic Forum to fight this inequality by enacting progressive taxation, instituting a living wage, and pushing governments to provide every citizen with universal healthcare. Oxfam says that it's time for the rich to pay their fair share, and that we must limit their power over government.

These are same arguments that many of us have made for decades, however, those at the top have fought hard to hold on to their power. For decades, the wealthy elite have continued to hoard money, and pushed lawmakers around the world to cut education, healthcare, and social services for the rest of us. The rich getting richer hasn't created more jobs or more prosperity, it made a very small number of people more powerful and left half of the world population out in the cold. It's time to turn these ideas into action, take our power back from those at the top, and ignite an era of progress.


Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 9 years 10 weeks ago

A good question, did WWI and WW II curtail human progress? The casualties of both wars were 80 million people, 2 1/2% of the world's population. Did the loss of those people and what they could have provided curtail human progress?

And if it did, was it the activity of the wars or the loss of the people that curtailed human progress.

If war can curtail human progress, what do our leaders care about inequality?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 10 weeks ago

Dwein --3 -- Since the 50's, 60's and 70's were the best economy the world has ever known, it is hard to understand what you mean by curtailing human progress. It seems the civil right's movement was borne out of the power the middle class that was provided by that economy.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

On the other hand, what would the world's population be today if it wasn't for the reduction in the world's population then? We will never know, I suppose, how the preservation of those lives would have affected the world we currently live in. I certainly am very glad that my dad wasn't killed in WWII or I would not have been born. And just imagine how much better the world is now that I am here to rally against the capitalist pig selfish bullies.

Would the world be overpopulated by many magnitudes of what it is today? Could some of those people have ended up destroying the world in a nuclear holocaust? Or maybe, some of those people could have gone on to solve some of the world's biggest problems? And if not them... perhaps their now unborn children. I wonder if there aren't powerful groups of people currently planning the next depopulation scheme... and perhaps they may even believe they are doing the world a favor.

The world is running out of resources and when you are in a lifeboat stranded out in a vast ocean with limited resources the 20 people in a 20 man lifeboat may have to resort to cannibalism in order for some to survive. That would be really tough for the vegetarians..unless they had plenty of seaweed. And the strongest will have the greatest chance of survival. Sounds almost like what Hitler would have said, doesn't it? But, I've seen the movie "The Life of Pi" and I still don't know what the heck it was all never mind!

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 10 weeks ago

Isn't "wealth equality" just a different way to say communism. Why stop at taxes. Here we have Hutterite Colonies everyone has the same size house, same meals, same clothes . They all get the same health care. All money and work is shared Equally. Sounds like a liberal utopia. If any one wants to sign up I can get you a contact.

douglas m 9 years 10 weeks ago

Just imagine a world were it was fair and just.

Now imagine what it would take to get there.

Any ideas?

There sure would have to be extreme rules for everyone. It wouldnt be the free for all it is now.

Imposed decipline as opposed to self dicipline to stop all the adults acting like children, everyone.

It will eventually I think be part of our evolution, but not by choice.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Kend, you are a virtual fountain of dumb-ass posts. I won't even bother responding to the parts where you bemoan everyone in the "same size" house, "same" clothes, etc... but the part about health care really bugs me. You still think health care should be a privilege, don't you? Pathetic.

Since you apparently think our uniquely American for-profit healthcare aparteid is so great, how about switching citizenship? I'm sure Blue Cross Double Cross, ODS or United Health would love your patronage. - AIW

ScottFromOz 9 years 10 weeks ago

The inequality and the capture of the political class by the 1% has already gone far beyond fixing by any civilised means. Those with the wealth (and power to sway the politicians) will NOT give up any part of that willingly. It will have to be taken by force.

Unless and until the people in this country realise that they are headed for living standards equivalent to those in Bangladesh, and stop voting against their own interests (yes, I'm looking at YOU Kend) we will just get more of the same.

STOP drinking the Kool-Aid people! Wake up and see how you've been defrauded by the rich and powerful. How you've been manipulated and used by the greedy politicians. Then get off your posteriors and start doing something about it.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 10 weeks ago

ScottFromOz -- Your words are motivational. I do not want to distract from their motivation, but I can't help myself. Things were much worse in the late 1800's and the early 1930's than they are now. We overcame them.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 9 years 10 weeks ago

The REAL problem, which is the cause of the accelerated growth of economic inequality, is that the system, as presently structured, empowers a narrow group of Americans to CONCENTRATE OWNERSHIP of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets––the non-human factor of production (primarily productive structures, machines, tools, super-automation, robotics, digital computerized operations, etc.). Productive capital is non-human and is the result of technological progress, which never ceases to march forward as it makes jobs in every sector of the economy more scarce.

See "Economic Inequality: The Widening Gap Between Rich And Poor" at and at

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 10 weeks ago

Alice I was just trying to make the point that what makes our countries so great is that we are not all the same. We can have anything we want if we work for it. I don't think anything is a privilege. I don't want your health care system any more than you do. but I know how much better ours could be. Everyone should have health care just as much as everyone should be working to pay for it. When people are down on there luck we should all pitch in to help them. I have a hard time with the concept that just because someone has more money than you that you believe it's your privilege to take it.

Please people you write on this blog like America is some third world country, if it's so bad why do so many people want to move there.

Alice you don't want me there. I am a self suffeint, hard working, job creating righty. My tax dollars maybe. But me. I don't think so.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 10 weeks ago

We have never actually had an era of progress. The same people have been garnering it unto themselves, their heirs and assigns, since The Old World. What was once gained is lost, in family after family. Bank of America can turn your father's Will into a trust for Bank of America, not even giving you fair funds to fight back with in court for your own father's hard-earned living.

I think this estimate of 85 Big Fish is incorrect. They seem to have left out the 700 Princes of Liechtenstein. The 85 might be front men for a more extensive power grid, rooted underground, like fungi.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: You've got me laughing so hard that I can't even hunt and peck at my usual lame pace. No offense intended Kend!

I'll give it a shot though.....It's a fact, the rich getting richer has not created jobs, but it has created a small number of people who have become more powerful than their respective Democratic States/governments, so I agree, it is a global problem. We can call this growth of private power whatever we want.....oligarchy, plutocracy, corporatocracy...... or fascism, which is what many of us are calling it. I don't really care, it's still arbitrary power in the hands of scoundrels. It's government by and for the wealthy few and thus government against the working class many. The social contract has been blatantly violated, and we the people should not tolerate this any longer.

"Before this miserable system of wreckage has destroyed the life germ of respect and culture in our american people, let us save what was here, merely by having none too poor and none too rich, the theory of Share Our Wealth Society is to have enough for all, but not to have one with so much that less than enough remains for the balance of the people." Huey Long...Share Our Wealth Society.... 1932

Another quote by the Huester...."Always take the offensive-the defensive ain't worth a damn."

The Teapublicans and Fox News have done well with this offensive advice.... I say it's time for we progressives to go on a massive offense, and also demand it of our elected reps. I think the talking point that 85 out of control citizens, have as much wealth as half the worlds population......this because those same monied Fascists have political control of their governments.... is a good place to start.

flyguy8650's picture
flyguy8650 9 years 10 weeks ago

Nice! Right on the money! Forgive the pun. Things will change and balance will come in time, I am glad I will be gone before the any real ugly outbursts..Worry for my grand kids however. Give Peace a Chance....(the Good Lennon)

RACadmin 9 years 10 weeks ago

List of members of the American Legislative Exchange Council

Note: most on the board of directors and every other level are Republicans and most of the companies are big corporations... i.e., government by the corporation for the corporation ...with lobbyists accepting super PAC $ for legislated favors such as tax loopholes etc.

PS: ALEC almost all are Republicans & big corporations...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Kend says "We can have anything we want if we work for it." Tell that to the greeter at Walmart, or one of those warehouse workers for Amazon, or the guy at McDonald's. They CHOOSE to be poor; to work fulltime and still be poor. Right, Kend?

And where do you get this idea that any of us is interested in taking your goddam money? Or anyone else's money? Gimmie a break.

You said you didn't like the idea of everyone having the same healthcare, equating that with "communism". That sounds pretty lame, Kend. I happen to be a socialist at heart; I've no interest in living under a communist regime where all property is owned by the state. However nothing would make me happier than to live in a socialist system with this thing called the commons, which translates to non-profit, tax-supported infrastructure including the post office, fire department, utilities, schools, law enforcement, and a healthcare system that delivers the SAME quality of care to EVERYONE, rich or poor. Hallmarks of a civilized society. - AIW

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 10 weeks ago

Alice, Ray Kroc worked the floor at McDonalds when he started, Mr Walton greeted people coming into his first store, and Jeff Bezos stocked the first shelves at Amazon. It wasn't below them. It was a stepping stone.

what do you call tax increases. That is taking someone's god damn money. Isn't it?

those same fire dept. , infrastructure, law etc are delivered equally just the same in a capitalist system, health care ihas a way to go Down there but even in Socialist Canada it's not delivered Equally.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 9 years 10 weeks ago

1.6 Billion DHS bullets can't be wrong.

ScottFromOz 9 years 10 weeks ago

@chuckle8 wrote "Things were much worse in the late 1800's and the early 1930's than they are now"

Agreed and fair point. However when things are heading south at a rapid rate of knots, what does it benefit us to say "things are not yet as bad as they once were"?

"Others see things as they are and ask 'Why?'. I see things as they could be and ask 'Why not?'"

Must we wait until our living standards and our wealth inequality are on a par with the poorest countries before we decide to do something about it? If we wait much longer will we be able to do anything about it? Short of some kind of overthrow of the plutocracy, are we able to do anything about it now?

Yes, things were worse in the 1800's and there was a kind of revolt against the robber barons, but the robber barons now have much more pervasive and sophisticated propaganda machines. Witness the power of the Murdoch media on uncritical individuals like Kend.

Even in the 70's we revolted against a government that had dragged us into an unjustified and unwinnable war. When W and Cheney dragged us into Iraq on false pretences, where were the protests? Where was the critical journalism to expose the lies and deceptions? The corporatised media can no longer be relied on to give us the critical scrutiny of the powerbrokers anymore. The media are now part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Over the past 30-odd years our political position has been shifted so far to the right it is barely distinguishable from Fascism. This is the role of the Tea Party. To be a party that is so far out in the extreme, they make the modern Republican party look moderate by comparison. They are anything but moderate.

Finally, every call for some form of moderation is met with responses like Kend's that "this is a move toward Communism" (where they mean Totalitarianism rather than actual Communism). In actual fact, the concentration of wealth and power has brought us closer to Totalitarianism than all but the worst of the dictatorships.

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 10 weeks ago

Scott to me it doesn't matter whether it is Totalitarianism or Communism I don't won't the government controlling any money of mine. i earned it it is mine. I know some on this blog believe all of what the we earn is the governments and the government should decide how much they give me back but I believe it is all mine and I will decide how much I should give to the government.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Kend, bully for them. Most people in minimum wage jobs nowadays aren't getting a stepping stone; they're stuck in a trap with no exit. For you to use Mr. Walton as an example is patently absurd, since he owned the friggin' business. (HELLO) I can't give an answer regarding Jeff Bezos or Ray Kroc, who I know nothing about (altho Mr. Kroc's name seems vaguely familiar). But you are missing my point. I'm not saying any job is below anybody, as long as there is reasonable opportunity to improve one's lot in life and move up the socioeconomic totem pole. At this time, and in this country, those opportunities no longer exist. Social mobility is dead in the good ole USA.

When it comes to the issue of taxes, you conservatives remind me of five-year-olds throwing a massive hissy fit whenever they're told to share anything: "Waah! That's mine!" It's about being an adult, Kend, and paying your fair share for infrastrastructure we all use. As Thom keeps pointing out, the wealthier one is, the more that person uses the courts, the roads, airports, etc. So why shouldn't they pay more, then? These things all cost money. And shouldn't the amount of tax be based on a person's ability to pay?! My only problem with taxes is the unfairness of our tax system in this country, which routinely places the heaviest burden on those who can least afford it. Meanwhile approximately 25% of major, privately owned corporations pay no taxes at all; not to mention how much of our tax $$ gets sucked into the war machine, instead of going to things that are useful and actually benefit us. But you seem resentful about paying regardless of where the tax $$ goes, which is extremely shortsighted. And selfish. Anyone who owns as much property and stuff as you do has nothing to complain about, and frankly Kend, I don't give a damn how hard you worked for it. Time to grow up, put on your big-boy panties and stop whining. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Palin, I concur.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

It's really odd how people who were lucky enough to get a pile of wealth always claim they worked hard for their money. I believe that is a "Kroc of sh!t" (pun intended). Of course, I no longer eat sh!t burgers (that's what I call them because of what's in them...what! you didn't know? where do you think the e-coli comes from?)

In many cases they don't even work as hard as the lowly peons sweating in the fields or the service people who sweep the floors. Many of these wealthy people were just lucky to have made the right decisions, investments perhaps, accepted a position perhaps, that led to opportunities that they took advantage of. They were just plain lucky! I think we can find at least a few examples where education sure didn't help them "get lucky". ;-}

And, by the way...don't overlook all of those acts of violence that occurred in our history. Nothing would have changed were it not for those downtrodden and exploited finally fighting back against those who were beating the crap out of them for daring to protest against their conditions.

It is no accident that the ruling elite propaganda machine tries to down play those historic acts of self defense and try to emphasize the icons of peace as the vehicle of change. They would much rather you go out and get your heads cracked open by the fascist police than for you to actually fight back. They want you to be like Gandhi and MLK and not like those who stand their ground and inflict as much pain as the bullies inflict upon them. That's why they, after these icons are dead, use them as models of the way they want us to act...non-violently...the thing that never really works unless it was coincidental with major acts of violence.

And the masses could very well overwhelm the few jackals that are dressed as jackbooted Nazis. And that's what they don't want us to know. Look what's happening in the Ukraine. Look what happened in Egypt and Libya. Look what happened in the French revolution, in the Iranian revolution, the Russian Revolution. The people amassed and violently overthrew their corrupt leaders.

It always starts out with people getting really fed up and taking to the streets in protest. Then the cops or company bullies are hired to crack heads of the protestors. Eventually, insurrections break out like at Matewan. This puts the exigency of realizing that the capitalist-industrial bullies and their toady politicians had to finally relent a bit.

The alternative is complete breakdown and potential mob violence against the criminal elite who stand to lose everything they have stolen. But now, they use the corrupt two-party ruse to keep hope alive always to be shot dead after their newly elected Democrat "savior" wins the election. They know that if they can keep fooling people with false hope they will continue to push us all into slavery all without having to fire a shot.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Oops, I did it again! Sorry!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Excellent article, Gary. Thanks.

Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 9 years 10 weeks ago

I am more concerned about resource wars and their aftermath, than the notion of human progress. The way it looks today, the oligarchs could care less about people, human progress and more about indebting the rest of us as serfs.

I think the real question should be does classwarfare lead to resource wars and impede human existence.

I believe we as a culture define human progress as better Ipads, TV sets, cars and wind turbines, all feats of modern engineering requiring complex supply chains provided by cheap carbon. None of our modern marvels can exist without fossil fuels. So, if you define human progress at the twentieth century price of a barrel oil, the buring of finite carbon which is analogous to millions of years of plant decay which was created a long ago by sunlight millions of years ago compacted into a barrel of oil at a set price below $100 per barrel than what good is your progress!

Thus the real question is are we fodder for resource wars or is the human condition something more important!

Sunlight, wind can be real human progress with less material goods dependent on finite resources. Human progress should be defined as more leisure time and less materialsim. I for one am tired of busting my butt to secure an existence that will never be fufilling, how about you?

*Info on Resource Wars: The Carter Doctrine was used in 1990 to justify the first Gulf War.Following the oil shocks in the 1970s, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger toldthe editors of Business Week that the United States was prepared to go to warover oil and that Washington would have no hesitation to use force “where there’s some actual strangulation of the industrialized world.” Klare (2001) argues that the Caspian Basin and the South China Sea are the most likely regions towitness large-scale warfare over oil in the future. War over water is another pressing issue in international politics. For example, in 1980 Boutros Boutros-Ghali commented that “The next war in our region will be over the waters of the Nile, not politics

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Dweinstein says "Human progress should be defined as more leisure time and less materialism." And I say YES!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 10 weeks ago

ScottFromOz -- I agree with what you say. We need to do everything we can to reverse are slide into oligarchy. IMO, the best way to do that is to overload congress with dems. I say this because of the laws that Nancy P and Obama passed during the 13 weeks of his 5 years in office in which the dems controlled both houses. My favorite being card check since I think it has the most teeth which was actually passed by the house and filibustered by the senate during the other 247 weeks when the dems did not control the senate..

My point was there is hope no matter how dire it becomes. It seems that the more dire it becomes the more power the 99% gain.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 10 weeks ago

AIW -- This reply is talk about critical thinking being taughtl. However, I first would like to remind people, that according to what Thom has said, the average work day for native americans was 2 hours. That was before the mentally diseased Europeans arrived.

Now to critical thinking. IMO, I think you were taught critical thinking from kindergarden to the end of your formal education. I think you would believe the same thing if you were to compare the teachings in a fundamentalist religious school to how you were taught. I think the Texan repug party had fundamentalist Christian schools in mind when they entered that plank about no teaching of critical thinking.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago


What you are promoting here is called a false dichotomy. The Hutterites', the Soviets', the Franciscan monks', etc. ways are not the only ways to make a just and equal society. The Hutterites were a religious community somewhat like the Amish or Mennonites and as such have severe prohibitions against vanity to the extreme of forbidding not only any self aggrandizement but any distinguishing of one's self in any way ("hochmut" for the Amish - who are also Anabaptists like the Hutterites). That, by the way, is a central social/psychological componant of what would be called a "cult" or a "cult mentality".

The Soviets were authoritarian and Leninist, i.e., revisionist Marxist. I am intending to post a blog article on Marxism and Leninism, the similarities, differences, histories and meanings to the world.

There's nothing that says legitimate freedom has to be curtailed in any way by justice and equality. They do not mean "sameness", quite the contrary. All that's necessary is for free people to share a value of justice and equality of entitlement.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

All wars are resource wars. We know from reading our Marx and Engels that economic concaetcerens are the "prime movers" in politics and everything else., The policies of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Obama are in response to the Mid Eastern countriesa nationalizing their oil industries, and so, ending the imperial, colonial hedgemony over them of the United States and Western Europe.

A good a story was published in Mother Jones in 2002 in the run up to the invasion of Iraq written by the former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia of the Nixon Administration of that period describing how it was already the newly adopted policy then that the Western Powers should take the Mid East oil back by force. That action by the nationalist mid eastern governments is what really ended our care free economy of the '50s and '60s, not Ronald Reagan like Thom says (Thom acknowledges that U.S. wealth peaked in 1973, the year of the O.P.,E.C. Oil Embargo). Reagan was only reacting to it. We didn't have recessions before that like we do and did since.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

Mark S -- A plot of productivity vs median wage (see Aftershock by Reich) gives more creditibility to Thom's hypothesis than yours. Also, for whatever reason our care free economy took a hit (reduction in rate of increase of the GDP) with the Kennedy/Johnson tax cuts.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

Capital flight, the flight of manufacturing, in the United States began in the '70s (well before Reagan) for a number of reasons. Among them were high taxes, environmental regulations, union collective bargaining contracts increasing the cost of labor, etc. but they all added up to a "per unit cost of production", or the cost of manufacturing goods, here in the United States that manufacturers felt was too high for them to make the profits they wanted. The final push, however, was the sudden skyrocketing of the price of oil.

First, in the '70s manufacturing began to move out of the U.S. cities and into the suburbs and suburban "industrial parks" because the taxes were higher in the cities than in those suburbs and many suburbs tried to lure manufacturing by promising low tax rates. Industry, until then. had been the tax base of the cities and when it moved out property taxes became the tax base. Thus the numbers of the homeless exploded by the '80s not only because living wage jobs for the uneducated and unskilled were gone but the property taxes' exponential increase brought about rapid gentrification of the cities steadily eliminating any affordable housing (Reagan helped by deregulating the housing industry and eliminating housing subsidies. He always greased the skids for what happened but he didn't initiate it.). Thom likes to blame homelessness on Reagan's closing of mental hospitals, and so, dismissively stereotyping the homeless as all being mentally ill - not unlike H.W. Bush while president, tried to do when he said, to paraphrase, that the homeless were all "undereducated and crazy". (Don't get me wrong, I agree with Thom 90% of the time BUT not this time.)

What Reagan and Thatcher represented was the wealthy elites in our civilization preparing to have us, their working class fellow citizens, for lunch instead of the coolies of the "underdeveloped world" that hitherto kept them satiated. England was far more feeling of the economic pressure from declining imperial hedgemony as it, a small island nation, was far more dependant on it and had been steadily losing colonies to their indigenous nationalist movements (whereas the United States, with its duplicitous method imerialism and colonialism of pretending to respect the independence and self rule of less powerful, less developed nations all the while establishing and maintaining puppet governments in these nations that keep their economies in an export, service role to ours - and which received many of our factories thus making them more of the service role - effectively making their populations our coolies, was greatly aided by the Cold War as it gave us a pretext to actively oppose the indigenous national liberation movements as they naturally gravitated to Leninist Communism because of its doctrines for the inalienable right of self determination for all ethnicities.). The current "free trade agreements" also exemplify this as does, in general, "globalization", i.e., dropping the pretense of national divisions being a significant, compelling and just cause for exploitation of other humans and a more open and frank class exploitation of one's fellow citizens.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

When gasoline costs 15 cents a gallon all you gotta worry about is getting high and getting laid.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

Mark S – You are describing the building of pressure on capital to leave the US (high median wage, environmental regulations, Carter’s oil embargo etc.). You are not describing capital leaving the country. To keep capital in the country even when there is so much pressure for it to leave, the government needs to build a “dam”, that is, tariffs, no tax credits for moving factories out of the country, all government expenditures go to USA companies etc. Even with all these “dams” I am sure capital leaks out of the country when the pressure is great enough. Hopefully, that would be only a little. I think the reason Thom says it began with Reagan is that Reagan started tearing those dams down.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

You're right chuckle8, Reagan greased the skids for capital to go but it already wanted to leave. Germany and France have retained their industrial base by putting those dams in place but before the oil embargo and control by O.P.E.C.the elites didn't mind letting us have something, it was chump change to them. But that might also be due to pre-Reagan tax policy. The 70% tax kicked in after $3 million of year so business owners would require $3 million a year from their business and they would let you (the people who worked for them) have the rest. Now, they want every bit of it and don't wanna let you have shit.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 9 weeks ago

Funny, America was perfectly comfortable with severe income inequality for years. It only seems to have become an issue as middle classers are starting to feel the pressures of the policies and politics that they, themselves, chose. Sorry, folks, but what the rich are doing to the middle class is simply what the middle class already did to the poor. We were warned back in the 1980s that "trickle down economics" would only result in trickle-up austerity.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 9 weeks ago

The Reagan administration convinced the public that businesses were being "forced" to leave the US by high taxes. Those taxes were slashed, corporate profits boomed (as wages fell or stagnated), and THAT was when the great job drain began. Since Reagan, several trillion dollars have effectively been redistributed upward. Meanwhile, the "peace-loving USA" was remained engaged in wars, usually by choice, almost constantly for a full century now, keeping budgets drained, neglecting the most vital needs of the country. We no longer invest in the people, and decided to stop building a world-class workforce. The middle class is oblivious to that mass of the population not as well-off as them, so they're unaware of the inevitable social consequences. In short, we broke the country, and it's not possible to fix it under the conditions we chose. We've been in similar situations before, when too much wealth and power was concentrated at the top. Each time, the poor and middle class ultimately united to push back, to everyone's benefit. That can't happen this time, of course, as the middle class and poor have been deeply divided. President Obama will continue to "stay the course," keeping these conditions in place. If anyone can put a positive spin on any of this, please do.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 9 weeks ago

Wish we could get over the propaganda crap about "the value of work." The richest work the least, and those who work the hardest are often the poorest.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

Alinsky wrote about what happens when the poor enter the middle class. When he first started organizing poor Stockyards' laborers they were all beat down, had low self esteem, were relatively powerless and poor as all hell. They crafted a manifesto in which they declared that all men are equals regardless of race, color, creed or economic class. Then what happened? They won. They gained power, got a better deal and started making money. They moved out of the Back of the Yards neighborhood into a nice little subdivision in Bridgeport. No sooner had that happened than they started to talk about how they didn't want any of "these people" or "those kinda people", any riff-raff or racial minorities coming into their nice, new neighborhood.

And did I ever tell ya about Pat Brown, former governor of California and the current governor's father, about how he wrote in a book about Ronald Reagan that the Democratic Party was "a victim of its own success"? It ended the Great Depression, moved the working classes out of poverty and into the middle class. What happens when people start making money? They start buying stock and voting Republican.

I have a friend whose mother is a doctor at Cook County Hospital. At CCH doctors are salaried employees who sometimes get taken advantage of and lately more and more. Relatively recently they started to unionize joining S.E.I.U. Healthcare. My friend's mother will go on and on about the need for the doctors' union and how necessary and important it is. When asked about the nurses' union, however, she'll suddenly start spitting venom about how nurses shouldn't be allowed to unionize. So when she's not the boss unions are good and necessary but when she's the boss unions are bad and evil.

Most people in the United States are worthless POS who don't care about anything but their shit selves. I'd think they rather deserved each other if I didn't know it was the effect of many generations of capitalism causing them to be that way. Americans stand out in their self centeredness among peoples of the world and that's how they cut their own throats.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

Ain't that the truth? Propoganda is just what it is.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

Some of that is by "intelligent design" as well. The Reagan era PR machine skillfully effected a Maoist styled Cultural Revolution from the Right in the '80s. To dismantle the New Deal they first had to dismantle its underlying, supporting, Depression Era culture and ethos of egalitarianism and empathy for the poor. They, in effect, had to supplant those values of humanity with a sociopathic nihilism.

"Greed is good" became the slogan and the poor, instead of being empathized with as equal fellow human beings, became villified and looked down upon. The ostensible justification was some supposed laziness on their part but really, because this PR revolution so promoted greed and bogus, superficial values like status and power over, say, honesty and virtue, it was really for the simple reasons that the poor were not esthetically pleasing, prestigious or too helpful to anyone's bottom line.

Resultant was a tremendous status insecurity for relatively rich and poor alike and nobody cared anymore what happened to society or to anyone else but themselves. The rest, as they say, is history. Everybody just fights with and engages in rivalry with everyone else and nobody can unify about anything. #Occupy was the first time since that anybody dared come together about anything and acknowledge that they were anything but "temporarily inconvenienced billionaires".

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 9 weeks ago

Mark, just one point if I may. We needn't assume Thom was stereotyping all homeless people as mentally ill, just by emphasizing Reagan's disasterous cuts on mental hospitals. He's talked about other causes of homelessness as well, for what it's worth... - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 9 weeks ago

Positive spin? In this context?! Like a new coat of paint on a collapsing bridge.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

Okay here is my positive spin -- the Pope, Facebook/Twitter (power to the people; please use it for our own good), and the expanding Lationo population (is it racism to point out a positive trait about an identifiable portion of the population; various polls about happiness have shown that to the culture of S.America happiness is not so strongly correleated to wealth).

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 9 weeks ago

Changing demographics! Now that's the ticket.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 9 years 9 weeks ago

He always repeats the "homelessness in America is because Reagan emptied the mental hospitals" thing and I almost never heard him say anything else about it. I understand he wants to blame Reagan but there are more accurate and more substantive accusations he can make - like deregulation of the housing industry and eliminating housing subsidies and whatever he did to help manufacturing leave the country.

It's unlike Thom to stereotype like that but it's "fightin' words" for me when I hear somebody do that. I even wrote a member blog about it once.

I mean, he's still okay with me, i.e., I agree with him 90% of the time ...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 9 weeks ago

Not a bad ratio, considering the sad state of our media these days.

Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 9 years 9 weeks ago

Economic inequality, but not poverty could be fixed by raising the reserve ratios (in same cases are less than .5% when you consider GSE's and ABS lending).

The reserves ratios are what allows the banks or other lending institutions such as GSE's to lend against deposits. For instance if you deposit $100 in a bank and the bank has a 20% reserve ration it can lend $80. The person or people it can lend $80 too will also deposit the money in a bank and that bank will reserve $16. The next bank will get $64 and reserve $12.80 and so on. If you do all the math, all the banks together will lend $400 and reserve $100. A $100 deposit therefore creates $500 in assets or a multiplier effect of 5.

Other countries such as China are printing money and using their trade surpluses, the multiplier effect to buy US Assets to create Asset inflation. By printing foreign currency and buying dollars, it makes their currency weaker to the dollar, allowing them to increase their trade surplus. The bigger the trade surplus, the greater their ability to make the dollar weaker to their currency. Asset inflation makes their products cheaper than US products and it bids up the wealth of the rich elite. One person's asset is another person's debt. Asset inflation is making the wealthy very rich. While it should be taken into account that because the US is the largest economy in the world, our trading partners don't have anywhere else to put their dollars, strengthening the US dollar does cause their exports to priced less than US goods.

Debt deflation is what happens when assets such as homes, stocks and bonds (which lower interest yield when bond prices increase in value) all increase in value. An inflated stock market leads to debt deflation because people have to work longer before they can retire becasue stocks yield les than they did before. Low interest rates allow corporate raiders aka stock activists to use debts, derivatives (options, credit default swaps. secritzation) to drive stock market prices higer. 2013 was a record year for stock market activsim.

The greater the asset inflation, the greater the leverage until the whole thing crashes down. The government is the biggest enabler of it all by taxing unearned income not at all or very little. The deduction of interest allows for manipulation not to pay any tax at all.

Government leadership could simply fix inequality all by allowing debts to be written off and increasing fractional banking from 0% to a level where the productive economy is more advantegeous than risk arbitrage. Tax policy should also be changed to tax unearned ncome as much as earned income.

Once income inequality is fixed, then we could get back to the hard job of fixing poverty which will require progressive actioin. Tomorrow's words will just be some reassurance, feel your pain that does very little to cure inequality.

Total credit growth of the US 52 trillion dollars (3 times US GDP)

Rest of the World investment in the US.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 9 weeks ago

Dw---003 -- Did not Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Protection bill raise capital requirements? After which the repugs got control of the house. It seems that they lost house because people, like Thom, on election day 2010 pointed out how wimpy that consumer protection bill was. I think a lot of dems stayed home on voting day because they got the impression that the dems and repugs were the same.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

You're right Chuck, about why so many dems stayed home through the last midterm elections. But I say (as I've said all along): no excuse!

I get as frustrated and disgusted with the Dems as everyone else on this forum... but I challenge anyone claiming both parties are the same to look at the detailed voting records of all members of Congress, such as Project Vote Smart painstakingly digs up every few years. Trust me, folks; both parties are not the same. Anybody who bothers to examine these Congressional voting records will see they're not the same. I swear by this even though there've been plenty of times when I'd have liked to throw the whole Democratic Party out the window. - AIW

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

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