Rich vs. Poor

The rich love to demonize the poor, but it turns out that the wealthy are the ones who need a little shaming. Paul Buchheit over at Alternet compiled various reports, studies, and analyses, and found clear evidence that the poor are way more ethical than the one percent. In fact, after reviewing all the data, Paul found clear correlations between wealth and unethical behavior, between wealth and a lack of empathy, and between wealth and being unproductive. In other words, the rich work less, care less, and cheat more often than the working poor.

For example, an analysis of seven psychological studies found that so-called “upper-class individuals” were more likely to lie in a negotiation, break traffic laws, take valued goods from others, and even cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize. Numerous studies also found that those in a higher social class were more narcissistic than poor individuals, to the point of even looking into the mirror more often. In addition, the wealthy didn't fair well in studies about understanding the needs and feelings of others, about contributing to charity organizations, or even about taking on the risks of an entrepreneur.

For decades, we've heard right-wing memes about welfare queens and takers, but it looks like all of that was just a diversion to keep us from figuring out that the rich are scoundrels. The one percent has tried to convince us that it's our fault we can't get ahead, and that it was hard work that put them at the top. Now we know that it was actually a complete lack of ethics that made them their fortunes, and that kept us from sharing in the prosperity. We need to disprove the cliché that “nice guys finish last.” Let's take our economy back from the cheaters and the crooks.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#1

JEEZ Robin & Marc... we're not saying all rich people are evil miserly bastards. Do you honestly believe these folks need you defending them? C'mon guys, lighten up! - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 28 weeks ago
#2

Aiceinwonderland ~ Yeah! You do make a good point. Kinda like a Tweety Bird trying to defend a Tom Cat. "Kitty wouldn't do dat. He my fwend! Him soo tweet".

RACadmin 8 years 28 weeks ago
#3

After all of "this" A-hole Paul Ryan wants to appease the Koch Brothers, reject the Bi-Partisan Health care bill, and start all over with a blank sheet of paper rather than agree to a compromise. In other words, he is saying Screw the Poor...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#4

Marc- very , VERY well put, my "fwend"! Funny too.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 28 weeks ago
#5

Way off topic.... Minimum Wage....Why hasn't anybody pointed out that minimum wage when frozen is a reduction wage...why the F do we call it minimum wage? It's a god damn reduction wage. Why are we progressives such wimps when it comes to messaging? ...but who really cares?

I'll keep this simple....reality!!!!....most voting citizens have no clue what Thom and other progressives talk about or anything related to representative democracy...the ancient Athenian's would have kicked their sorry asses out of town. With this in mind I'm thinking that I either eat drink and be merry as the empire shits out, or I join a vigorous group of individuals dedicated to the overthrow of this FASCIST BILLIONAIRE REGIME...any takers...please reply!... I'm way ready to go!

I'm sick and tired of progressive verbal timidity giving way to the ignorance of wealthy ugly Americans a -holes like Turtleman McConnell and his twin Donald Sterling...wake up...we need to take to the streets and take back our liberty now!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#6

10K, I feel your frustration and impatience. I share it. But we've gotta get into lockstep behind some sort of strategy. That hasn't happened yet. Just taking to the streets without a strategy or a plan won't get us very far. I don't know what it'll take to make it happen... More pain, perhaps? - AIW

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 28 weeks ago
#7

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

John F. Kennedy

People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they're right. The system is rigged.

Elizabeth Warren

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

Confucius

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 28 weeks ago
#8

Aliceinwonderland: I was wound up last night after being at a campfire into the wee hours with a bunch of distance running pals...including a young couple from Seattle. Had everybody from a hardcore Libertarian to a Public Policy degree holder there. We steered clear of political discussion other than me giving a nod to the Seattle folks regarding their $15 minimum wage. Too much fun being had...LOL! But this got me thinking on the way home about how unfair a frozen minimum wage really is. I just needed to vent, it's all so frustrating....I realize most voting citizens don't even know the basic fundamentals about how our government works, makes them easy targets for the scoundrels after all of the nations hard earned wealth....Jefferson must be weeping. I'm way ready to join a large group that could make a real difference, why don't we have a loud progressive group to counter the Kochbaggers?....It just seems like we progressives are to polite, no fighting instinct.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#9

2950-10K -- Only 17% of the populace know that the repugs are in the majority in the house. We have a lot of work.

With regards to loud progressive group to counter the Kochbaggers consider this. Those kochbaggers were trained by faux news. Per Thom, faux news lost $100 million a year for the first 5 years of its existence. Air America, on the other hand, could not come up with $6 million to stay in business for another year. Faux news is given free to all cable/satellite providers. MSNBC is provided at a $5 per customer charge. This condition exists even though MSNBC is corporate controlled. The powell memo described how to create this situation.

goat-on-a-stick's picture
goat-on-a-stick 8 years 28 weeks ago
#10

I will definitely bring this up next time someone brings up the old "the poor are lazy" argument!

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#11
I wonder if there's a genetic coorelation between being wealthy and immoral/unethical. If there is, perhaps we should prevent the wealthy from reproducing, with the goal to eventually cleanse those bad genes from the pool. And maybe a DNA test for those bad genes to identify the closeted wealthy wanna-be's.

Wow. Normally it's the righties who are called fascists on here, but I have to call you out on this one. Genetically testing people and weeding out traits you find undersireable? Very, very Nazi-esque of you. Why not "cleanse out" other traits while you're at it, to create your "perfect" American?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 28 weeks ago
#12
Quote Aliceinwonderland:10K, I feel your frustration and impatience. I share it. But we've gotta get into lockstep behind some sort of strategy. That hasn't happened yet. Just taking to the streets without a strategy or a plan won't get us very far. I don't know what it'll take to make it happen... More pain, perhaps? - AIW

Aliceinwonderland ~ Well said! I can only suggest Move to Amend, and Campaign Finance Reform. Like we've both said ad nauseum before, nothing will happen until these two gems become law.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 28 weeks ago
#13
Quote ChicagoMatt:Genetically testing people and weeding out traits you find undersireable? Very, very Nazi-esque of you. Why not "cleanse out" other traits while you're at it, to create your "perfect" American?

One hates to admit it; however, he does make a very good point!

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#14

I'm just going to throw this out there and see what you all think:

Doesn't Thom constantly complain that politicians have to spend more time raising money than working for us? If so, doesn't it make sense to elect a billionaire who doesn't have to worry about raising money?

Wasn't that Ross Perot's thinking too? I'm a little too young to remember much about him, but I do remember the "giant sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico" he talked about. And it seems time has proven him correct.

Also, when you talk about the minimum wage and the working poor, there is one headwind stronger than any others against Progressive ideals - most people in that catergory, the "working poor" just want to make more money, not change the entire Capitalistic system. They don't think, "I'm getting screwed over by the system," they think, "If I work more hours, I can make more money. Or if I go the extra mile at work, I might get a raise." At least that's the impression I get from my "wage slave" friends. If the majority of the people you're trying to help don't have the time or the energy to get involved, or don't care or don't have the education to understand, your movement seems doomed from the start.

K. C. Rourke 8 years 28 weeks ago
#15

Thom, I hate to be rude, but after all the intelligent, thought-provoking topics I've read in your column, I can't believe you're responsible for this drivel! Did someone pay you to discredit yourself publicly? Did they put LSD in your morning orange juice? Did they inoculate you with Rush Limbaugh's DNA?

Any statement that all < _____>s are <_____> is by definition false, superficial, divisive and counterproductive. This "essay" is one of those. There are people, rich AND poor, who have the ethics of a cuckoo and the empathy of a disease bacillus. There are people, rich AND poor, who are dedicated to leaving this world a better place than they found when they arrived.

How about canning this crap and substituting real support for everyone who behaves ethically and fairly, and exposing the crooks and cheats, on the basis of what they DO, regardless of their economic position, political party, gender, religion, occupation, hobbies or the color of their pubic hair? Is that too much of a challenge?

I hope you recover soon.

best

kcr

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#16

K.C., Take a deep breath and read posts #43, #52 & #53.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#17
Quote Kend:

If money is the root of all evil why do Democrats want to take it all from the Republicans. Wouldn't that make them evil.
Funny I never thought of Oprah, Gates, Buffett, Clinton, Pelosi etc as evil. Huh.

Actually Kend, that is a misquote, originally it was "The love of money is the root of all evil". But Oprah, Gates, Buffet and the others can do with less also.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#18

All ethics are situational and a single, bourgeuois code of ethics for everybody is fallacious.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#19

It has been found by sociobiologists (Wilson and Freeman) in the late '70s that the rich, being more sheltered from the forces of natural selection, are not, in fact, superior biologically to the poor but inferior to them. The poor live much more in environments where the stupid do not survive and in a very few generations outstrip the rich in evolutionary progress. Check my blog post at http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/mark-saulys/blog/2014/01/social-darwin...

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#20

Sure Matt, now that we have warped campaign finance laws it "just makes sense" to elect a billlionaire, Ross Perot or how about the Kochs. That's the logical progression from the laws as effectively that's what happens already. You think the privileged classes dictating policy will result in a fair system for everybody?

That the working penurious can't afford the luxury of philosophizing doesn't mean they would choose this system if they had a choice. That kind of thinking requires a certain amount of education - either from the schools or self teaching or other informal means - and a certain sense that they are able to think that way without futility, that what they think matters at all Anyway, don't be so sure they aren't thinking about what scam and sham capitalism or the prevailing system is. As someone who organized poor laborers and minnimum wage workers for nine years I can tell you they do.

There is in fact a great history of very massive, powerful movements by self educated, poor workers.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 8 years 28 weeks ago
#21

Smile when you read this:))

“The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.”
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#22

Chi Matt -- Nazism is not Facism. Fascism is the merging of state and corporate interests. Nazism is a cult (just ask Thom). Of course, to know this you need to a dictionary published before 1980. In the '80s a multi-national corporation bought Meriam-Webster and eliminated that merging of state and corporate interests from the definition of fascism.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#23

Thank you Chuck, for pointing that out. You just spared me the trouble.

Sorry Matt and Marc, you both missed the boat on this one... - AIW

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#24
That the working penurious can't afford the luxury of philosophizing doesn't mean they would choose this system if they had a choice.

First of all, as an English teacher, I just want to congratulate you on using not one but TWO ACT-level vocab words in a single sentence. I'm guessing you're an avid reader, since that's where most vocabulary- acquesition comes from.

Second of all, you're falling into a Progressive mindset that, while well-intentioned, is also very egotistical. The thought that "I'm here to help save these people from their situation, even if they didn't ask for or want my help, because I know better than them what is best for them." It's the Progressive White Knight, here to save the day, that I've talked about before.

As someone who organized poor laborers and minnimum wage workers

I was actually thinking about you two weeks ago during the McDonalds HQ protests. Did you have any involvement with those? They were the first or second story on the local news that night. They said about 1,500 people showed up to protest, but they didn't say how many were McDonalds workers, and how many were just marching in solidarity.

They also said that the McDonalds shareholders just moved their meeting somewhere else. It seems like that's the view that a lot of people in positions of power take to protesters today - the same view that a parent might have of a child having a temper-tantrum. Kind of a "fine, get it out of your system, so you feel better and we can go on with our lives" kind of thinking. I could be wrong, but wouldn't you have to go back to the 60s to find a protest that actually had a measurable impact on public opinion or policy?

There is in fact a great history of very massive, powerful movements by self educated, poor workers.

The Khmer Rouge, for example...

ChicagoMatt 8 years 27 weeks ago
#25

There's a saying I've heard before, but I can't remember where. You've all probably heard it before to. It goes:

"If you see someone riding in a limo, and you say to yourself, 'what can I do to get myself into one of those,' then you're a Republican. If you say to yourself, 'what can I do to get that person out of that limo', then you are a Democrat.

Re-reading through the comments on here just reminded me of that. I see a lot of talk about taking down the rich, but not much about bringing up the poor. Is it really about helping some people, or punishing others?

Assuming you could take a billion dollars from someone who had it, which you can't because they don't actually have that money, just that worth, which is different. But assuming they actually had one billion dollar bills, and you took it all from them, you could give every American about $3 a piece. They could buy a McChicken, small fry, and sweet tea with that. I suppose that's something, right?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 27 weeks ago
#26

Matt says "Re-reading through the comments on here just reminded me of that. I see a lot of talk about taking down the rich, but not much about bringing up the poor. Is it really about helping some people, or punishing others?"

What a load of crap.

Saving the commons (including public education) is about giving folks a ladder; we've sure talked a lot about that. Universal single-payer healthcare would help lift a lotta boats while keeping the rest afloat, and we've talked at length about that too. Card check would have given workers a voice at the table, which we discussed at some point. We've talked about ending drug prohibition, letting all those nonviolent, victimless drug "offenders" out of jail. We've talked about saving the internet from corporate monopoly and sabotage. We've talked about tax-funded education pre-K thru PhD, about student loan bailouts, about raising the minimum wage; even about a guaranteed minimum income for every American citizen, regardless of employment status!

These are but a few of the many topics we've covered in this forum, all of which concern the wellbeing of millions of working class and poor Americans. What the hell more do ya want?! - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 27 weeks ago
#27

Chi Matt -- Have you listened to the hour of Thom with L Randall Wray? I noticed Thom liked it so much that he repeated it on Friday. In a nutshell, he was saying too many economists are focused on dollars vice worth.

Quote Chi Matt quoting someone:If you say to yourself, 'what can I do to get that person out of that limo', then you are a Democrat.
.

I think that is what republicans say about dems to distract from what the dems are really wanting. The dems are really wanting the billionaires to do their fair share. They want them to avoid paying taxes by investing in America.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 27 weeks ago
#28

I was talking about this particular thread, not the whole website. There was a lot of wealthy-class-bashing, which makes sense given the topic of Thom's blog.

According to Forbes, the top 400 richest people in the USA are worth a combined 2 Trillion dollars, or roughly the same as the entire GDP of Russia.

Assuming you could take everything from every one of them, which you can't because that's they net worth, not their actual cash, but if you could do it, you would have enough to give every American a little over $6,000. That's just a one-time payment. I suppose that would help people for awhile. Then what? Once that money is gone, then you're going to have to go down a notch on the economic ladder and take from those people, and so on and so on. It wouldn't stop until we hit the average, which would be individuals with about $40,000 in net worth.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 27 weeks ago
#29

Matt, you did not clarify that you were talking about this particular thread as opposed to the whole website. Given the topic Thom introducted, what do you expect?

You keep submitting the same argument repeatedly; that if we were to take all the money away from the 400 richest people (or whatever) in this county and split it between the rest of us Americans it would only be a small amount. Okay. So what. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 27 weeks ago
#30

I think it is interesting that the $2 trillion number was front and center (actually off to the left) in the stimulus package discussions in 2009. Robert Reich, Thom and others were saying the stimulus package should be $2.1 trillion to bring full recovery to the economy. They also stated that none of it should be tax breaks for the rich. With republican obstructionism and blue dog help the number was reduced to $0.8 trillion (AKA 800 billion). In addition, 200 billion was tax cuts (mostly for the rich). I think this whole debate happened while Obama had a filibuster proof senate. Robert Reich and others were correct. It did not bring about full recovery; however, it did change a 700,000 per month job loss into a 200,000 per month job gain. Just imagine what a great stimulus $2 trillion would have been.

Chi Matt that was only $0.8 trillion, and it happened only once. It has kept that 200,000 per month job gain going. It has been 5 years. Chi Matt, you need to realize the power of that ripple effect. You have mentioned the ripple effect, but you seem to have underestimated its power.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 27 weeks ago
#31

That makes sense. I remember Thom talking to someone - maybe it was Reich that I heard - and they said that the worst thing that could happen would be for a too-small stimulus to pass, and it not do any good, and righties would use it as proof of government ineptitude.

I wonder how many people, if they were given a check for $6,000 today, would buy something with it, versus how many would pay off debt with it. Granted, paying off debt would help too. So I can see your point.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 27 weeks ago
#32

Chi Matt -- No one was handing out checks to individuals with the Obama stimulus. Handing out checks was the dubya approach. Those ripples died out quickly.

leighway's picture
leighway 8 years 22 weeks ago
#33

You have stated the case with such eloquence, sir.

leighway's picture
leighway 8 years 22 weeks ago
#34

A history professor I know thinks we're heading toward that violent revolution. I hate to think it would get that far, that I myself might get that angry and lose some of my humanity is very distressing to me. However, I am relieved to see some people are agitating for the peaceful revolution (Occupy Wall Street and others). Thanks for the quote.

leighway's picture
leighway 8 years 22 weeks ago
#35

I am a major fan of Huey and love your button. He did so much for Louisiana that lifted the whole state, all the infrastructure, LSU, the charity hospital (which I think was destroyed in Katrina and will not be rebuilt, no surprise). You are right, we are the kind people and that makes it hard, but I think it's getting so bad people's fighting instincts will be ignited, especially the younger people. I have a wonderful niece who I think will grow up to protect the innocent and kick those corrupt bastards where it hurts. She's got heart and strength.

But I wanted to reply to the main thread. Sorry, not tech savvy.

I think what you said about the callous indifference the upper classes have toward our hardships is very true. I have seen the truth that people who hold wealth in such high esteem tend toward the sociopathic end of the spectrum. The truly caring people I have been fortunate to know all struggled financially. The best evidence I can think of about the poor being more caring is that Mississippians were rated the most charitable people in the nation percentage-wise, the poorest people in the poorest state giving the most.

Some people think it would be great to have a close relative who is wealthy, but I have one and can tell you it's not. Mine "checks in" and shows no real caring. It's like they're missing something inside. Also, my famly went to Saudi Arabia to make more money and came back looking at me as very much less than, especially my younger brothers who had a much better education. The most successful and entitled brother was put in charge of the inheritance and all my pleas for help were ignored as "low priority," which left me very depressed by the lack of caring in addition to the financial problems.

There is so much more involved than job training. The Child Protective Services kidnaps poor kids whose parents don't have the money to fight to get that big federal money. Suicidal and poor? Less civil rights than a criminal, a permanent record as a mental defective that ruins job prospects, and to top it off they will put your mugshot on the internet (if jailed awaiting a bed). And how are we supposed to keep up? Even if we live frugally it's an internet world and you either go to the library all the time (some are disdainful) or pay for all the bug fixes, etc. 70% of prisoner's first interaction with the law was a traffic stop, can't pay those big fees, jail, can't pay that, do something desperate, end up in prison. The list of things we go through goes on and on.

And the thing that gets me most of all is that they're so concerned about "life." Love those fetuses. Gotta stop those suicides. Hypocrites!! They let you know in a million ways you're not wanted. No shade at the bus stops and some places have seats that incline to dump you out. The anger at food stamps like someone can live on minimum wage. All the criminalization of homelessness. "Right to (get fired) work" laws that get out outta there faster than a fart in a dust storm. Oh, I love all the drug tests, too. I'd rather have my surgeon drug tested than the person that helps me to the bathroom, but there you go. And even though there is some "boom car" equality I guess, I hate those damn things. But if you get low-income housing they have no police to stop complaints or the drug trade, so that's where they boom the loudest. America may sound good as "the wealthiest country in the world," but I wish all the decent people could have our own country separate from those sociopaths who cut us and blame us for bleeding.

If people tell you you're worthless long enough, you begin to believe it. Except for my niece, that is, who fought for her rights as a 9-year-old. I'm so damn proud of that girl, a true dragonslayer.

leighway's picture
leighway 8 years 22 weeks ago
#36

Big fan of Ross Perot, sorry his campaign went bust. He spoke honestly, and that was something special, wasn't it?

I agree most of the working poor think it's over their heads (or, yikes, believe in the trickle-down theory; or that if you're Christian you have to be Republican, double yikes). But after seeing there is some progress being made, I think there is reason for hope. One reason is because of the jobs going overseas whole industries are having their wages go even below minimum wage for some jobs. For example, Medical Transcription. Used to be a great job. I did it for clinics. So, with the new competition I was upgrading to acute care. That's your surgical reports, people, not basic stuff. Working in my home, paying for internet, resources, etc., Nuance esp. (check GlassDoor) people making $7-10/hr. MT's used to make $25/hr or so, as they should, but are being fired en masse. I read about companies being successful not by innovation but "ruthlessly driving down wages," like Nuance. This is what's happening in the MT industry. I'm hardly over the shock myself. It seems to un-American, bashing people's dreams of bettering themselves. It's give a lot more and get a lot less. It is a good example of shocking people out of their malaise.

The other thing is there are a lot of well educated people helping our side, like OccupyWallStreet, and once people see we are being heard, we will learn how to strategize as we go along. I was very pessimistic about all this too but it's getting things in the media, getting heard, and NOT being polite about it either. Arab Spring and other things happened because finally technology can help us come together.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

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Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

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