Aljazeera on Income Disparity in the US Posted on August 6, 2011 by Yves Smith Although this video covers ground familiar to NC readers, this video provides a useful overview of how income and wealth become so concentrated in America. Post navigation ← Links 8/5/11 Will S&P Downgrade Be Another Y2K Scare? → Subscribe to Post Comments 106 comments decora August 6, 2011 at 3:02 am nobody who is poor wants to be lectured to about why they are poor and what has to be done to make them unpoor. psychohistorian August 6, 2011 at 3:44 am After viewing the speaking truth to power that we can only now consistently get from place outside the US, one word stuck in my craw, Entitlements. Entitlements as a word being used to describe Social Security is a bold face lie. As someone who paid into SS for 45 years and watched it being gutted and made part of the budget by Greenspan and Reagan, I am livid at it now being characterized as a program that I don’t deserve to get my fair share of in return while those at the top including the 85% at Harvard from high income folks are the real class blind entitlement abusers. Those global inherited rich and their brainwashed entitlement minions are about to find out that they just think they work harder than the rest of us, are smarter and deserving of their entitled wealth. One believes in sharing or not. It is a value that you either learned or didn’t in your youth. I guess we will see if the school yard bullies like George W and others of his ilk can keep the current house of cards from crashing and taking them with it. The time for real change in how we organize ourselves as a society cannot happen too soon, IMO Thanks for the posting, Yves and providing others for a forum for communication and sharing. R Foreman August 6, 2011 at 4:22 am Entitlements for the wealthy is where the real problem is at. After spending $$Trillions$$ to bail out the criminal elite, now they want to cut spending on everything else. When you’ve stolen so much that the only way to pay for it is starve everyone else, then you know you have a real problem. Dale August 6, 2011 at 11:24 am How do you feel about “refugees” getting full Social Security benefits the minute they step off the plane…(ticket paid for by U.S. taxpayers), as well as free or subsidized housing, food stamps and medical? Hundreds of thousands of Somalians, Poles, Soviet Jews, Eritreans, Hmong, etc. Dave of Maryland August 6, 2011 at 11:47 am I keep hearing this lie. I’ve seen no evidence to support it. Where is this community of Somalis – thousands of them – to which you object? Valissa August 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm Oddly there is a large community of Somalis in Minneapolis, MN. Discovered this when I was there visiting friends a few years ago. I read a newspaper article about that when I was there that said they were the largest group of recent immigrants (big climactic disconnect there, don’t know original reason they came). Apparently at the time the Mayor of Mogadishu was a Somali refugee in Minneapolis that was talked into a 6 month stint to go back to Somalia to help rebuild (don’t know by who, but would assume the CIA or State Dept). His wife and kids stayed in their suburb of Minneapolis and did not join him. According to the article other local Somali refugees were also encouraged to return to Somalia to help rebuild but weren’t getting many takers. However that was NOT because they were loafing around on the gov’t’s dime, it was because they were learning English, gotting jobs and were in the process of builing new more stable and happy lives and had no desire in going back to a war zone. As far as I could tell the local Somali community was not considered a liability but more of an asset and on the whole an example of an immigrant success story (of course there were those who weren’t doing as well and had problems and may fit Dale’s overgeneralization, plus the article may may been slanted). If anyone here is a resident of Minneapolis or MN and has more recent info on this, it would be great to have an update. Capo Regime August 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm Info from MN is that many of the enterprising Somalis were active in child prostitution rings. Capo Regime August 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm Also up to 50% of the Somli kids in MN and Ohio are learning disabled. A troubled bunch. PTSD and well maybe cultural issues. I rent in a mf complex to Somalis in Texas and they are well, not ideal tenants…. Valissa August 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm Capo regime, the cultural problems were minimized in the article I read, and I know how huge those are for immigrants which was why I thought the piece may have been slanted. It’s one thing to say one wants the American ideal lifestyle (as immigrants do when interviewed by media) and quite another to adapt to a totally different world. It’s not surprising that immigrants from war torn areas would be scarred by those experiences and that would make it even harder to adjust and be successful per American middle or working class norms. Not sure what the answer is on tough issues like this. Anonymous Jones August 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm Yes, what he is suggesting is probably inaccurate, but that is not even the only problem with his assertion. His real logic downfall is of the same kind of widespread “undeveloped intelligence” we witness every day. Premise: I found a problem with this policy! Conclusion: Let’s get rid of this policy! Yeah, you know, this conclusion doesn’t really follow from that premise. Even if there are people who “unfairly” benefit from an “entitlement” program, even if there are a large number of these people, it does *not* follow that the alternative (dismantling such program) is the superior to the current state of the world (keeping such program). One has to, you know, actually *prove* that the alternative is better than the current state of the world. The alternative might actually have *more* problems. This is not rocket science, people. Just because you identified a problem does not mean you have identified a solution. Problems can be “solved” many ways. Maybe this “problem” would dissipate more if the entitlement program were increased. Ever think of that? hermanas August 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm Name one. (posted below) eyes on the ball August 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm Oh no, a few hundred a week for some immigrants!!!!! Did they give them 4 trillion? That’s what they gave the clowns who the ran their banks into the ground. rps August 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm “Refugees” as in human beings seeking a better life?, How dare they! What do they think the USA is; a country comprised of human beings who arrived as immigrants, refuges, slaves, trafficked human beings, and the few indigenous natives who escaped mass genocide. The display of arrogance of your calculated worth as a human being (who more than likely is a descendant of immigrants) in comparison to a “refugee is as compelling as a car crash in slow motion. Facts: SSA administers SSI. SSI offers Humanitarian Assistance of Last Resort. General revenues fund the SSI program NOT SSA. Maximum amount of assistance is $674 a month for individuals and $1,011 a month for couples. States programs supplement medicaid and SNAP -food stamps- benefits. There’s a process to receive SSI as a refuge; to file for SSI benefits, “you must give us proof of your immigration status, such as a current DHS admission/departure Form I-94, Form I-551 or an order from an immigration judge showing withholding of removal or granting asylum.” The refugee act of 2008 under the SSI program extends eligibility from 7 to 9 years. Many hoops to jump through to receive assistance. Plus SSI provides vocational training to citizens and non-citizens so may become productive and self-sufficient. http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-non-citizens.htm SSI administers to the bottom rung of society’s ladder. Every SSI dollar spent creates $1.60 in increased spending in the economy. Unlike the top 1 percent hoarders perched like vultures at the top. Unless you’re a full Native American you are not indigenous to the USA XRayD August 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm People who want to make a point always rely on the fact that nearly 50% of the people pay no income tax. (A single person is actually taxed at 10% on the first $8500 income, in addition to regular payroll taxed.) But a look at the US budget shows that 40% of the receipts are from social insurance (contributed on the first $106,000 of ‘earned’ income, including for the top 1%). However, presently, only 20% (i.e. half) of these payroll deducted revenues are paid out as social security reflected as an expenditure in the budget. A person who has worked for 35 years and paid in the maximum social security tax required, with an equal amount contributed by the employer, would have paid in $268,000 into the system. His contributions, invested each year and earning 5%, would be worth a cumulative $590,000 if this money was in a personal IRA, which could be left to one’s children as inheritance if not used. The maximum social security benefit presently is just shy of $2500 a month for our maximum contributor. One could die three months after first receiving benefits. So, it is a fully paid for insurance. Could anyone but tea-party Republicans negate such promise – a “contract” with the government? Would they support any private annuity provider doing the same? So, I would guess that any reader NC who starts collecting social security today is not going to get his due. People can debate how this might be changed – specially for the wealthy who do not “need” social security to blow on a cruise or that annual European vacation say – but it should rely on facts. Huh? August 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm For one, I never trust these types of arguments. There are three people that rely on private pensions and their own investments decisions. Two are workers who have little time to do much research on investment, the other is incredibly rich and they hire a very good investor who has created a wonderful algorithm. The two workers could lose most of what they have with a very bad downturn and the rich person could make out like bandits. If we averaged their wealth after the crash we would get a high number thanks in large part to the rich. How would that wealth be spread out? How much tax payer money would have to be used to bail out the investments of those three people? Financialization, my god. Chile privatized the pension system. A good portion of the population will have nothing for retirement. Many of those that do won’t have enough to survive, which is why even the conservative candidate before last said that the system was a horrible failure in need of change. The conservative candidate called for the state to take on more old age pensions. A well respected, non-partisan Chilean polling firm, Latinobarometro, found that about 80% of Chileans would like to move towards a pension system directed by the state and not the market. Why, the private firms are far more inefficient. Much higher administrative costs, executive pay, marketing costs, administrative fees, profits, all waste as far as the pensioner is concerned. I remember a British official talking about five, six years ago, about Britain’s partial privatization of the pension system. His comment (which I can find if I look hard enough) said it all. “Elderly poverty, which wasn’t an issue before the privatization, is now back on the table.” http://www.eoionline.org/retirement_security/reports/PensionPrivatizationBritainBoondoggle-Sep00.pdf Britain’s experience with individual accounts has been troubling. None other than the businessoriented Wall Street Journal, in fact, headlined an article on the British experience: “Social Security Switch in U.K. is Disastrous; A Caution to the U.S.?” While the Journal article mainly focused on a multi-billion dollar fraud scandal in which British pension sellers gave workers bad investment advice, others have critically noted the system’s unexpectedly high administrative costs and the growing income inequality among the nation’s workers. anon August 6, 2011 at 4:22 am Also worth watching: the Fault Lines Extra video for this segment, in which the presenter, Zeina Awad, discusses: Why affluent Americans decline interviews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFYH4ROPgAo “We knocked on so many doors … and no one would talk to us.” aet August 6, 2011 at 8:45 am The reluctance to speak about money is a middle-class trait, and the reluctance to speak about mohey publicly, even more so. That is to say, that it is not only the wealthy in our society who don’t speak only of money. I suppose that generally people use money as a kind of yardstick, and don’t want to expose themselves to judgment – but they are mistaken as to money being any kind of yardstick at all. But just because they are mistaken about that, does not mean that they will ever stop – we’re primates, after all, and are social in nature. We will compare each other and our selveses, using some yardstick: looks, money, etc. So long as p[eople keep in mind the comparative nature of what they are doing, and its lack of any absolute value of the things being compatred, I I suppose that it’s ok. But people usually treat these things as measures of some absolute measure of of a person’s worth as a living being – and that is wrong. I can only hope that the tax authorities are more forceful when they ask their questions. Refusing to talk to them is a different kettle of fish. anon August 6, 2011 at 10:41 am I find Leo Hindery’s explanation more compelling (from the Fault Lines Extra video @0:34): “[Wealthy people don’t want to talk about their wealth b]ecause they know how they accumulated it. They know that it wasn’t accumulated fairly, and they don’t want to admit that in conversation with someone like yourself. I’m talking about this massive accumulation of wealth over the last roughly 30 years, that was achieved trough a manipulation of tax practices. So they know they’re at fault and they just won’t talk about it.” anon August 6, 2011 at 10:45 am trough through hermanas August 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm I’m thinking Balzac said, “Behind every fortune is a crime.” Carla August 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm Great quote. Sometimes the crime is simply that once enriched, people somehow convince themselves “earned” it. In a few cases, that might be partially true, but no one really earns, say, $500 an hour. Some people work hard, earn a good living, live simply, and save. This is not true of more than a tiny subset of the top 1%, if even that. XRayD August 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm This is a sad attitude, perhaps not surprising in light of the recent investment bankers shenanigans. The “rich” of course is relative. But there was a book published a few years ago – “The Millionaire Next Door” – in which many honest hard working Americans explained their wealth. http://www.amazon.com/Millionaire-Next-Door-Thomas-Stanley/dp/0671015206 Many were lucky enough to inherit wealth legitimately under our laws. Let us not rely on the small minority who cut corners and use influence to exploit corrupt politicians and cronys to amass fortunes, to paint all Americans with the same brush. anon August 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm I don’t think there was any attempt to “paint all Americans with the same brush,” just the top 1% – the ones who are the subject of the report. craazyman August 6, 2011 at 5:19 am Well well. That was very good indeed. Al Jazeera! Two thumbs up. Very well done with the 5 am coffee. What a brain drunk mind bender is that young buck from Harvard with the 2 start ups before graduation and the instant email contact with global execs from the same $cientolgy School cult there in Boston. Just watching all those pointy hats and red flags waving, looked like a Klan Rally. I mean really. ha ha. Just being honest. It was the Money Red Blood Clan of Domination and Delusion. Holy Cow what a pair of mind-forged manicles that dude has on his head. I mean wow. What a deafening roar of total cupidity, I would even say stupidity, but the dude isn’t stupid, he’s just narrow as a slice of prosciutto (pro shoot oh) if I can’t spell and full of religious zeal that should be restrained by sober and judicious sentiments that observe reality for what it is. God save us from this cult of morons and their money blood. They go to school for 2 years and graduate without a clue, armed to the teeth with self-sanctified delusions and the power to reak utter chaos. Oh well, ecce homo. It would be funny if it wasn’t so contemptible. required August 6, 2011 at 10:16 am Based on Al Jazeera’s reporting, they are clearly not owned by US corporations (aka the wealthy causing the income disparity) Dale August 6, 2011 at 11:29 am What kind of coffee are you drinking? Whatever the brand or the roast, I want to buy some! Cedric Regula August 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm He’s obviously one of those wealth creator/job creator guys. He’s in the “dot.com” MBA sub-school. There are also the schools of “Capture An S&P Company And Make It Your Own”, “Merger And Acquisition And LBOs” (light on the job creation part), “International Outsourcing for Fun And Profit” (ditto), “Wall Street Quant”, “Financial Engineering For Those Whom Can’t Engineer But Desire 20 Times The Income” and “Stock Churning Algos for the Frivolous Minded”. craazyman August 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm If it Was an Inflatable Ice Cream Shop I Woulnd’t Mind OK. Now I feel kind of bad, dumping on this dude at 5 am. I had gas pains and was a little sour. Seriously, If the guy wanted to start a portable ice cream shop that inflated into a twistee cone and brought smiles to little kids in the summer I’d probably buy his stock. I did, in fact, already. It was $2/share and I Lost everything I put into it. Even my girlfriend laughed at me. But dreamers dream. That’s what we do. Sad that the dream is now a sour delusion of efficiency and leverage. Sad that the dream teachers don’t seem to value the broad based social cooperation needed to make wealth. Sad that the cult of individual prowess has a choke hold on the altar boys of mammon. Sad that the rulemakers don’t see the value of rules. I was an altar boy of mammon myself, from age 22 to age 27, But I never believed the bullshitt I heard. This was Gordon Gekko dayz. I always saw through it — the stupid stink of the highminded concupiescence rationalizing its pillage. Always knew it was a sanctified lie. The way the money poured from somewhere to nowhere and the way each soiled hand, each privliged hand, took it’s tithe. There was a few pennies left by the time it landed. Yes it is worse when the Marxist take over. True. And it’s worse in so many other places. But the reason it was good is because there were rules in place to channel the flow of the blood. And those rules were taken down by the bloodletters who pretended to be doctors but were vampires. And now the medical schools produce vampires and not doctors. Vampire who think they’re doctors and don’t even know what blood is. You could tell it was getting bad when they installed the metrocard machines and fired the token booths. Some efficiency. Every time I buy a card it seems like it malfunctions and there’s nobody left to help when it does. The last thing the subway system needs is an MBA. It needs somebody who can understand why a token booth clerk is a socially valuable job. with the blue uniform and the MTA badge and the flashlight and the pressed shirt. And why a machine that takes your card and your money aftger you push 2999 buttons to scroll through 8 windows, and then just sits ther in an empty station. Why that is a form of pollution. ha haha. Cedric Regula August 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm I guess they didn’t have ice cream trucks in your neighborhood when you were a kid? Don’t worry about the crappy card readers. That problem will be history once we all get out RFID chip implants. Works for toll roads too. If you dig yours out, the machine will take your picture and sound an alarm. You are then a known anarchist. ytt August 6, 2011 at 7:27 am You are using a propaganda organ of our enemies to make your point? That is just what Aljazeera is. You should be ashamed of yourself. It s absurd to use this as a source of information. This is agitprop focused on a particular segment of the electorate. It provides an “overview” if absolutely nothing. And, on top of that, you cannot see what is in front of your face. The “Poor” who are obese. I do not think that you have ever seen real poverty, but if the Democrats get their way and take their Communist coup to its logical conclusion, you most certainly will see it. You will see it in the mirror. Perhaps “black men” as group ought to look to their life choices. Maybe they should stay in school, advance themselves, get married and work hard. It is difficult to see how they have not created their own problems–they do not have to vote Democrat. These people are just the sort of manufactured “lumpen proletariat” and “victim class” that the Democrats maintain and use to seize power and money. They almost always exist in the Democrat “Blue Hells”. All this rhetoric is straight out of the playbook of Mao, Peron and Lenin. you should ashamed of yourself for mouthing it. It s none of your business how much money someone else has so long as they came by it legally, and it is most certainly not the governments business. The government is there to protect property rights, not destroy them. How ever will we have wealth creation when a pack of politicians can incite mobs to steal that wealth? My guess is that 1% figure is a completely bogus confabulation of the Leftist propaganda machine (and you cite no proof of this BTW), but let us, for the sake of argument, assume ot is true. This leads to: 1) It is not a zero sum game. “The rich” are not stealing everyone else “wealth: (those people in that video are not wealth creators; they are clients of the socialist state) 2) Has it occurred to you that what is really happening is the willful destruction of the middle class by the Left? This account for the so-call “disparity”, and it comes from all fronts–economic environments, specifically taxation and salutatory, Union corruption, institutional corruption and general cultural rot. This is exactly the Leftist plan, and you people here buy into hook line a sinker. If you were to go off and steal the wealth of America and place it in the hands of these “poor people”, that wealth would disappear in a fortnight. What a den of Marxists you people are. This sort of rhetoric is straight out of the 1920’s and 1930’s and we know how to turned out back then. The problem is too little capitalism and too much socialism, and all the attendant vices of socialism, vices that are amply on display in this video. Wyndtunnel August 6, 2011 at 7:52 am Wow. I didn’t you had time to post here on Naked Capitalism Mr. President. Wyndtunnel August 6, 2011 at 8:00 am Jokes aside, ytt, your kind of peeps are in power in the Congress, and I hate the say, the White House. So what’s not to like? Sit back, enjoy, and see how long it takes America to get back on its feet. Of course your America clearly doesn’t include the less fortunate. So even while they are rioting in the streets and burning everything they see, you will no doubt continue to enjoy your Matrix-steak from the safety of your gated community. And if you don’t live in a gated community? You better find one soon. aet August 6, 2011 at 8:23 am For some rightwingers, things can NEVER be right wing enough. For some leftwingers, things can NEVER be left wing enough. For some religious types, things can never be religious enough. For some atheists, things can never be athes ist enough. I don’t know about you, but I have personally had enough of some people. The Government is there to compose our differences, not to take a side. People are more important than property, and always have been. Anybody who says differently is morally deficient. And how’s about addressing the arguments and facts, rather than telling us all about who the speaker is, or who you think they are, or who you have been told that they are. listen to what they say. I don’t care what your opinion of their opinion is: howe’sd about a debate, instead of a simple character attack. “How dare you listen to our enemies?” ? Anyone who talks like that IS themselves the enemy…. ambrit August 6, 2011 at 8:32 am Hear, hear. As you point out; the secret is balance. The poor man obviously lacks it. Peter Everts August 6, 2011 at 9:57 am In the US, balance seems to be letting lies from the right be given the same weight as the truth. “I can see Russia from my porch.” Sarah, unfamiliar with the truth, Palin. Foppe August 6, 2011 at 8:04 am Haha. I bet you have this post ready somewhere, and post it in reply whenever you are scared of a thought that is presented to you. aet August 6, 2011 at 8:49 am “You are using a propaganda organ of our enemies to make your point? That is just what Aljazeera is. ” No. It isn’t. And thus NONE of what you wrote after that sentence has any validity whatsoever. Why are you seeking to stymy discussion of this topic? And what is with your demonization of Arabs? Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm Hahaha. What about his demonization of Africans? Perhaps “black men” as group ought to look to their life choices. Maybe they should stay in school, advance themselves, get married and work hard. It is difficult to see how they have not created their own problems–they do not have to vote Democrat. Complete crackpot nonsense. And why does it look like a cut and paste job? JTFaraday August 7, 2011 at 11:23 am Clearly, because one of the Goldman Treasury boyz got loose and grabbed Obama’s laptop while he was bent over the Oval Office desk doing smack with Timmy. Gotta keep those speeches under password, Mr. President, lest they plagiarize all their favorite bits. (My sources, who work in the housekeeping department cleaning up after these frat parties, tell me this is *exactly* how policy gets made in the Bam White House). JasonRines August 6, 2011 at 10:28 am The Democrats joined the Fascists. As Dick Durbin said “The banks own the place.” 260,000 lobbyists. There were eight Czars in the first term of GWB. Toward the end there were thirty and now it is over 40. The model of the U.S. is Mussolini Corporatism. In the end, only a fee hundred oligarchs remains as ALL the other people are impovershed. Then, the elephants fight and the ants get trampled. That is called WW3. Was Al Queda friend or foe of the US? Friend when being used, foe when US broke promises. I am a red blooded American. I want my Repulic back and the law applied to all. If it continues to be applied to all but elite, the result is that the elite will eventually find themselves with libery or security. JasonRines August 6, 2011 at 10:36 am Typo at the end meant to say without liberty or security. As for me, I couldn’t support a media outlet like AJ. Taking the finaceers money and killing them witg it as shown to exacebate losses (Muhammed’s teaching). I am a Ghandi man myself. Paul Tioxon August 6, 2011 at 10:32 am Capitalism is cannibalizing its own by S&P attacking its government, weakening it in the eyes of the world, and by China in particular. We are now open to blunt attacks on the structures of our society, held for decades as the very identity of what it means to be America by the Chinese, for spending too much on social welfare, the military and generally living beyond our means via debt addiction. The Chinese state will hammer us with the tea party propaganda and boldly lead a coalition of the willing to avenge their past grievances using the S&P reports as evidence of decadence. That is the propaganda that is being used against us, our own internal political fight to the death has not gone unnoticed by those who would displace asap. http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/business/20110806_ap_chinablastsusovercreditratingdowngrade.html?c=r China blasts US over credit rating downgrade ALEXA OLESEN The Associated Press BEIJING – China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, demanded Saturday that America tighten its belt and confront its “addiction to debts” in the wake of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. China currently owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt, the largest stake of any central bank. The commentary carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency was Beijing’s first official response to the S&P decision. “The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” Xinhua said. It said the rating cut would be followed by more “devastating credit rating cuts” and global financial turbulence if the U.S. fails to learn to “live within its means.” “China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” it said. Xinhua said the U.S. must slash its “gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs” and accept international supervision over U.S. dollar issues. Last month, China’s top general, Chen Bingde, also linked America’s financial woes to its military budget and asked whether paring back on defense spending wouldn’t be the best thing for U.S. taxpayers. JasonRines August 6, 2011 at 10:46 am Paul, China becoming the next reserve currency peg is a FEATURE not a bug. It’s a game within a game. The American people are sadly completely unnaware. It all reminds me of the book Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein is the CFR/Tri-Lats and the monster created is China. It will not be tamed as expected. Lots of us will die for this miscalculation. Huh? August 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm China would not want the US to “tighten its belt” by decreasing spending on consumer goods. China has its own problems, I lived their for a year and a half and saw some of them with my own eyes. They don’t want to add to those problems by having us spend less on their goods. What they DON’T want is to prop us up while we use that money to surround them and to threaten them. As far as currency manipulation goes, did the US not go off of gold because of its war debts and spending? That is pretty extreme currency manipulation. Did it not ask Germany and Japan in the mid 1980’s to change their monetary policies to allow more US exports? Has the US not used its status as the world’s reserve currency in ways that has, for decades, angered other countries (see de Gaulle in France)? What was QE1 and QE2, if not at least partially a means to drive the dollar down and increase exports (I know that QE2 also went to bail out European financial capital)? China is simply beating us at our own game and we are furious that China is prioritizing their domestic economy and not simply Chinese firms. We prioritize American companies, whether or not it is good for the country is secondary. Maybe we should rethink that, no? Yves Smith Post authorAugust 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm China’s navy is surpassing the US’s in number and in the next decade will probably surpass it in materiel. They want us to cut military spending big time. They don’t want to become the reserve currency, the need to continue to be a net exporter to maintain their social contract (having the reserve currency means you run trade deficits). Not that we shouldn’t cut military spending. but China is playin’ this to the max for their own benefit. Quelle surprise! selise August 6, 2011 at 10:59 pm how does being a net exporter maintain china’s social contract? Yves Smith Post authorAugust 7, 2011 at 2:40 am You use other countries’ demand to support domestic employment. The government’s political legitimacy is based on rising income standards (funny, that used to be the case in the US). So employment and rising incomes is key. Conversely, when we buy from abroad, our demand is supporting jobs in other countries. 983h98phal August 8, 2011 at 6:20 am Chinese inscrutability factor high. Strategy unknown. Chinese elites or some fractional faction thereof may actually prefer US to continue pouring massive funds into military budget, as it’s perversely only a weakening influence by misallocation of scarce resources. The stimulus aspect of military spending has no productivity/commerce multiplier effects that technologically similar spending on e.g. high speed rail and updated metro-rail lines would have, fiber-optic lines, other things… These harebrained military binges: Like blow, it’s blown. A little burst of energy and then the comedown. Even in purely military terms, it’s reasonable argument to assert that most of the money has been horribly misallocated. More explicitly, if we look at total military expenditures over the past decade and ask whether those expenditures constituted the most efficient allocation of resources on purely miltary return among the total set of possible expenditure scenarios, we’d come up with a big No. Justifying this assertion way beyond the scope of the comment I want to be shortly finished with writing, but take a look at some assorted exhibits: Iraq (success?), Afganistan (success?), for starters. How would they fare in a land war vs eg Pakistan or China? Answering such a question very non-trivial, very open-ended technical, and subject to much debate, but I suspect we wouldn’t correlate the hypothetically divinely yielded correct-answer closely with conventional wisdom assumptions of big huge budget equals unbeateble WWF hulk hogan type organisation. Big huge budget might just mean big huge waste, period. Lots of money, insufficient intellectual development. (though I’m very intriqued by and respectful of (in my limited knowledge) of the US military academies professorship) Anyways, a valid argument would be that they’d be better off with the US in classic imperial overstretch situation continuing. Classic imperial overstretch implies continued high military expenditures in a context of decaying infrastructure, stagnant culture, decadent political class, and declining production. Also maybe social chaos. Cutting back on military spending might correlate more strongly with a programme leading to US resurgence on healthier footing. In the same vein, a hostile Chinese strategy might see an oligarchic corporatist parasitic and predatory destruction of US with extractive tendencies as positive to Chinese relative power. Therefore they might conceivably clandestinely encourage such. Interesting thought. Changing topics to the global reserve currency question, I was wondering if they’d be interested in inquiring into the possibility of becoming reserve currency and just exporting internally, so to speak. Why do they need the export markets, except to get dollars with which to buy treasuries and commodities like crude oil, LNG, food &c..? They might prefer to *not export* so much, and consume more internally. Would renminbi becoming global reserve currency and fiat printing power (currency sovereignty?) give them the flexibility for this? No need to comment I’ll figure it out eventually. alex August 6, 2011 at 10:58 am ytt: “You are using a propaganda organ of our enemies to make your point? That is just what Aljazeera is.” We’re at war with Qatar? It’s so hard to keep up. Or is it just that anyone who disagrees with your views is an enemy? Blunt August 6, 2011 at 11:01 am I’ve often thought that perhaps the major reason that the capitalists and their lackeys are always so vociferous in their designation of “Marxists” as if they had just shouted “Satanist” during a high Latin Mass as St. Peter’s Basilica in order to have the Swiss Guard arrest the one at whom they are pointing is because Marx made such a pointedly accurate analysis of both capitalism and discovered that the cutting edge of wealth creation was the work provided by workers to turn raw matter into something practically utilitarian and helpful to for the vast majority of other human beings. And at the same time was able to pin=point the fact that without the “wealthy” the world might actually do better in toto and not miss their absences in the least. “You are using a propaganda organ of our enemies to make your point? That is just what Aljazeera is. You should be ashamed of yourself.” Your enemy, sir, for you can be no other than a patriarch or a patriarch-to-be, is yourself and the robber barons you shill for. One of those who will not be missed much at all except by those who actually love you. gs_runsthiscountry August 6, 2011 at 11:08 am “All this rhetoric is straight out of the playbook of Mao, Peron and Lenin.” I cant stop laughing, if you think that is the play book, maybe you should realize the background of one of the main subjects in the story, Jeffery Sachs. ———– “you should ashamed of yourself for mouthing it. It s none of your business how much money someone else has so long as they came by it legally, and it is most certainly not the governments business. The government is there to protect property rights, not destroy them.” I have to agree with you here, you are absolutely right. You will notice, then, how and why labor attempts to throw money at the political machine and also rewrite the laws of this land in their favor. Unfortunately, they do not have enough money to compete on that huge stage in DC. However, assuming they did, and the laws were changed, that would be fair right, because their new found gains via well written laws made them “legal”? Your commentary seems to only play on legal grounds, with total disregard to who writes the laws or how they get written, thus, a disregard to any thoughts of moral or social justice. Richard Frost August 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm “Your commentary seems to only play on legal grounds, with total disregard to who writes the laws or how they get written….” Excellent point. Surely one of the greatest ironies (or obscenities) of our time is the manner in which the agents of the rich have railed against Big Government – brainwashing the populace into thinking that government is the problem – while systematically co-opting that government into promoting their selfish interests. Government does not exist in a vacuum; it is not some random, independent force. On the contrary, it is a tool of the factions that capture and control it. For the American oligarchy, government has been no problem at all; in fact, it has been a huge part of their solution. Dale August 6, 2011 at 11:31 am Yeah really! I mean let’s watch Fox News, that’s fair and balanced…no propaganda there, only hard hitting and dep reporting without bias and any forced perspective. me August 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm Enemies? Who’s enemies? Huh? August 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm “It s none of your business how much money someone else has so long as they came by it legally” Nonsense. It is not possible to earn a billion dollars with your own hands. To make that much money you must monopolize the work of someone else. You might invest in a company, that company makes a profit and give you a dividend payment. Did YOU earn that? No, you came along and took the surplus that the people at that company created. You might play around with some currencies on a computer screen and make that money, none of that is earned in the traditional sense. You might be a smart guy and start a company. The company could grow to employ thousands of people. Will YOU and the other executives earn all the money that funnels up to you or will you collectively monopolize the work of the thousands of workers at that company? Will you not work to drive wages down any way you can to take the surplus those people create? What if a corporation sees lots profit increases by creating tons of externalites, if they make their money by pushing their costs onto other people or the general public? There are many other examples. Someone making a few hundred thousand is much different than someone making a billion dollars. Once they begin to make that much money it makes sense to look at how they got that money and if it should have been theirs in the first damn place. How we share the surplus created by the company or institution we work for is always up for debate. People like you are always on the side of the rentiers, although you won’t call them rentiers. “How ever will we have wealth creation when a pack of politicians can incite mobs to steal that wealth?” You are a tool. Finance is not wealth creation, it is a claim on wealth. It is what Soddy called “virtual wealth”. Finance’s product is debt, it doesn’t produce anything tangible. Besides, that pack of politicians in today’s world are much more likely to pass the costs of private capitalists onto the public when their plans go wrong. They are much more likely to prop up capitalists than they are to take the damn wealth from them, to give them subsidies and tax write offs. For a century and a half the US protected domestic industry more than other modern developed country (as did most every country that has developed). “The problem is too little capitalism and too much socialism” This comment is the cherry on top. In every country in the West we have seen individual and corporate tax decreases, more not less “free trade”, more financial liberalization, privatizations, attacks against unions & “labor market reforms”. We have seen at the WTO a very protectionist intellectual property regime that benefits the rich countries and giant corporations. On every single issue the countries in the West, and most of the developing world, have moved to the right. What has been the result? Big increases in inequality (within and between countries), financialization, ecological destruction, very little actual development for poor countries. Here in the US we have done all of that and we have seen decades of stagnating wages, wealth inequality has exploded, the country has become de-industrialized, the economy financialized. Ireland was the darling of the IMF, the Celtic Tiger. They did more of the capitalism you want to see. Now what position are they in? The countries in Latin America instituted more capitalism like you want. Not only was it a disaster in practice, it is not possible to get elected in the region (which has moved steadily to the left in response to your policies) if you mention the IMF and IMF style policies. You live in a fantasy world. Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm Wow. big cigar August 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm Dude, all of us here are about 63 times richer than you. On what planet do we listen to you about creating and destroying wealth? Huh? August 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm “Dude, all of us here are about 63 times richer than you. On what planet do we listen to you about creating and destroying wealth?” What an argument. I have more money than you, done. Brilliant! big cigar August 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm Works like a charm on tea partiers, who are all poor people waving signs for rich people. noe August 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm .There is much speculation about the similarities between pre revolutionary France [the weather, income disparities, tax loopholes for the nobles and church ] and no shortage of French Revolutionary metaphors in the news. The conservative blather above [al jazeera is an enemy publication – those who complain about income distribution are socialists, marxists etc]-such talk reminds me of the political rhetoric of the 2nd estate toward the bourgeousie the hatred between the 1st, 2nd, and 97% of the population which made up the 3rd estate in France resembles today’s environment it also explains the murderous glee of ordinary merchants, tradesmen and peasants when posters like the above were dragged from their chateaus and beheaded. the vitriole is measurable – and at a tipping point. Greg Colvin August 6, 2011 at 10:59 pm Ytt, many poor people are overweight, even diabetic, because processed food high in carbohydrates and hydrogenated fat is a lot cheaper than fresh food high in vitamins, minerals, and protein. And just try to get a decent job with a ghetto-quality education in a racist society: I’m having a hard enough time as a white PhD with 27 years of engineering experience. Jim A August 6, 2011 at 7:35 am Well that was depressing. And it’s interesting to compare that piece with the pablum that we usually see. Even though it was a piece with a point of view, they DID seem to do a reasonable job of letting the opposition make their point, quite in contrast to what we’re becomming used to in our increasingly partisain media. aet August 6, 2011 at 8:26 am How dare they allow the “opposition’ – our ENEMY ! – maske any points at all! Shut down their TV cjannel with bon mbs now! Peter Everts August 6, 2011 at 9:55 am Indeed. Just as in Nazi Germany, the right opposes any opinion but their own fascist, racist hate speech. Eric "Asshole" Kantor August 6, 2011 at 9:27 am Starving in Somalia, dying of bacterial and protozoal diarrhea in Haiti, truly America doesn’t care too much. The wealthy luv their Pentagon though – consider that things that are completely out of control under any delusional pretense of Democracy. Any bloke who becomes a powerful so called elected figure is indemnified by this kleptocraptic structure. Ah, but “Keep voting and use your credit cards kids, we’s got to spend for da man!” Jake August 6, 2011 at 9:38 am I wonder if Al Jazeera hacks the voice mail of the family’s of murdered children to get a scoop? Peter Everts August 6, 2011 at 9:54 am The comments from the bigotted, religiously delusional right would make the founders puke. Apparently for the rightist, fascist, teabaggers and corporatist suck-ups, ignorance truly is bliss. A lamppost awaits you. don August 6, 2011 at 10:44 am your comments have about as much value as this poor video.the only thing that this video states is true is the disparity of wealth. Most of that comes from our government itself.No person paid 91% tax.If you made that much you found ways to avoid the tax.We have way too many individuals with no skills competing with a snowballing population that cares more about sports than providing jobs and making money.Who is to blame? Jealousy is an ugly emotion Dave of Maryland August 6, 2011 at 11:32 am And the way the rich avoided paying 91%? They went looking for new schemes to invest in. Those who got rich from royalties – Mark Twain, the Beatles come to mind – found themselves investing in hairbrained schemes. These were nouveau riche. But it was those scattershot hairbrained schemes that eventually gave us many of the inventions we find essential today. So the best thing to focus the mind of an entrepreneur – presuming he is honest – is a 91 or 95 or 99% tax. They will do anything to avoid paying it. The worst thing, the single thing that leads to lazy, smug, arrogant self-congratulation, is low taxes on the rich. don August 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm I know of no person that is self made who is lazy. your premise is silly. maybe you should hang around different bars Anonymous Jones August 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm don’s on a roll today. “Jealousy is an ugly emotion.” You know what else is ugly? 1. An undue sense of self-importance. 2. A mistaken attribution of success (inaccurately divided between hard work and talent on one hand and luck on the other hand). 3. A lack of concern for one’s fellow human beings. 4. Determining that the solution to an staggeringly uneven distribution of wealth is to stop redistributing wealth through the taxing power of the state. [quite amazing how you’ve twisted your mind around enough to get yourself to believe in that one!] “I know of no person that is self made who is lazy.” 1. I’m sure your experience in evaluating billions of people on a daily basis and investigating whether they meet your definition of lazy is quite important, but forgive me if I seek a second opinion. 2. Does it never occur to you that you might possibly have a cognitive bias that when you see success, it makes it more difficult for you to also attribute laziness to such person? 3. Do you believe that all people who aren’t self-made are lazy? Is it possible that some non-lazy people still end up unsuccessful because of social policies that have inhibited their opportunities? [Just askin’, you know] You discredit yourself with almost every word. Huh? August 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm We wouldn’t have the internet, satellites, computers, civilian aircraft, amongst many other things, if it weren’t for the government. The rich have personally profited from that far more than working people. We have socialized the losses of the rich time and time again, especially in finance. The rich use, and abuse, the commons far more than working people do. They use our public services, like the courts and roads, more than working people do. One that alone they should pay more in taxes. Why should I pay the same as a person polluting more than me (I don’t own a damn polluting factory), using the courts more than I do, using the roads more than I do, benefiting from state protection and support more than I do, profiting off of wars? Jeff L August 6, 2011 at 10:05 am As a registered tea partier, let me describe my position. I want justice. I want fair scales. I want laws that protect my family and not corporate interests. Our government has been co-opted by banks and corporate entities to the detriment of the average American. Our judicial system only serves to propagate the injustices imposed by the elites. So if that makes me facist, so be it. alex August 6, 2011 at 10:48 am “As a registered tea partier, let me describe my position. I want justice. I want fair scales. I want laws that protect my family and not corporate interests.” Unfortunately the Tea Party does none of that. If they supported what you want, I’d happily join it myself. The Tea Party members in congress support the evisceration of financial regulation even more than the bought-and-paid-for Democrats, hence protecting corporate interest instead of your family (or mine). In the debt ceiling negotiations they even opposed eliminating tax breaks for corporate jets! Anonymous Jones August 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm Yes, JeffL has confused a discussion about means for a discussion about ends. Personally, I believe that the policies ascribed to the Tea Party would exacerbate the issues that JeffL seeks to remedy. I think I have sound reasons for that belief, and many of the high-level posts and comments on this site work to describe all the logic and empirical data that support this belief. It seems very unlikely that you can fix the problems JeffL cites without reducing the division of wealth. The amount of leverage that wealth gives one (whether in private negotiations or in influencing the spoils rendered by the state) is almost impossible to contain. You have to destroy the division, because it cannot be contained. The problem with JeffL is the means he selects to achieve his goal, not his goal and not whether he falls into the “facist” box or not. I applaud his goal. I don’t think he is a fascist. I think he is misguided. Sounds awful, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes. don August 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm Anonymous Jones is on a ramble. I’ll bet you employ no one,produce nothing, and wouldn’t know logic if it bit you in the …….. alex August 6, 2011 at 10:52 am “if that makes me facist” Fascist? More like populist (in its positive sense). In fact the abuses you complain about are key aspects of fascism, which Mussolini described as the fusion of state and corporate power. Ethax August 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm What you left out is that tea party leaders are required to lie for the cause. The problem with the tea party isn’t so much the intentions – it’s the reality that cults attract con artists and repel independent thinkers. Dave of Maryland August 6, 2011 at 10:27 am Harvard = Bastille. Don’t occupy the campus. Raze it. PaulArt August 6, 2011 at 11:10 am The more money the rich are allowed to keep from their earnings the more they use it to tilt political support to their side. Peter.G.Peterson sets up a $1 billion for a foundation to shill for the rich. One wonders if he would have done this if he had to run a brick and mortar real business that used human labor and made a useful product. Henry Ford could see from his window his workers everyday come in and sweat it out for him ergo Ford realized the human cost to making money. Today the financialization of the economy has taken labor completely out of the equation. Peterson has no clue about labor – he made all his money gambling with hedge funds just like so many other billionaires in this our ‘new gilde’d age as Jeffrey Sachs puts it in this Al Jazeera piece. One hopes future leaders are taking note of what was unraveled and unloosed in the last 30 years to take us back to where we started when along with Upton Sinclair and others we asked the question of how to muzzle, shackle and control the built-in weakness of greed especially on the part of the rich. The top marginal rate of 90% makes a lot of sense when seen from this angle. This appears the sine-qua-non, the corner stone on which we must build Society upon if we seek to enforce equity. Take away 90 cents of every dollar made over $1 million. This will serve as a solid disincentive for the SAME individual to make more and more money instead of a lot of other people to make money. This seems the only law that would ensure the flowering of a million entrepreneurs. Busting Heads August 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm Ford despised unions, fought like hell to keep labor down, which included all sorts of terrorism including beating to death some of his workers. Persistently, the fact that workers could save up enough to buy a new rust bucket at the company store means that this antisemitic slave driver is an “‘Murican hero.” Why is it that the most heinous of mobsters, that once filthy rich, aren’t such bad guys after all? Another little unpleasant shit named Bill Gates comes to mind. No crowbars to heads this time, but using hired legal goons this to seize lottery earnings and technology. After those heady days of aggression and ascendence into uber-wealthy royalty, we see Bill is going to educate and save the world from itself. Get fu#$ing Real! Dirk77 August 6, 2011 at 11:40 am A pinko commie friend sent me this. “Entrepreneurs, Chance, and the Deterministic Concentration of Wealth” http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0020728 Susan the other August 6, 2011 at 11:44 am AlJazeera and RT are not the propaganda outlets of our “enemies.” Grief. They are some of the best sources of information out there. Compare their reporting to the intimidated talking heads we have – if they want to keep their jobs they have to tone it down. Its disgusting. MSNBC even dictates ruthlessly. One minute Dylan Ratigan is telling it like it is and then suddenly and for the next 6 months he acts like he can’t remember anything. Not a single MSM national outlet speaks against the war/s we are engaged in. Don’t you find that odd? Nor do Colbert or Jon. The problem is, we are faced with our own perfect storm. All our chickens for the last 40 years are coming home to roost. Congress doesn’t know how to deal with it, even though they created most of it. Our President, any president, is utterly powerless to do anything against the laws of the country. And the “rich” have long since forgotten how to create jobs. Funny, Lyndon Johnson pushed us into Vietnam because he and the powerful people behind him didn’t want to become “fortress America” in a world of countries that did not share our values. They deluded themselves into thinking they were going to spread the wealth! But I believe that is where we now stand – in fortress America. And worse, even inside this country the barricades of the factions are going up. hermanas August 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm Name one. hermanas August 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm Scratch me out here, this was meant at the top, sorry. PeonInChief August 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm Unfortunately this hasn’t been news for about 30 years. Any number of people noted this then, but the press wasn’t paying attention. Ep3 August 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm Good story. Run Ryan run! I guess my big issue is, why is money our driving force in life? Shouldnt I be doing things to make the world a better place? And to that young punk, so if he keeps that money so he can reinvest it, and it grows ten fold, who gets a part of that? Because as the author and Jeff Sachs says, as the pie grows bigger, the poor are left to battle over the same small amount as their numbers grow bigger and the wealthy have a bigger share to fight over. capo Regime August 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm Kudos for putting on the AJ segment. Odd indeed that RT and AJ actually still carry on Journalism rather than state propaganda. How the times change….Great piece. Opps, have to get back to see what CNBC has to say about debt downgrade and what Bieber is up to this weekend… rf August 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm One interesting portion of this piece came towards the end when the speaker gets into how rich people become rich. In the past it was mostly through inheritance says the speaker but now the source is earned income.The speaker suggests that this has created a sense of entitlement and then she visits HBS, etc… The two thoughts that come to mind: 1. If we go back to 90% marginal tax rates, we go back to that situation where unless you’re rich already, you’re not getting rich in the USA. Just like the old days…(think about Bill Gates microsoft earnings taxed at 90%). 2. Taxation as a method of leveling income treats the disease (if it is a disease) after the infection is in the body rather than inoculating the body before the infection starts. If you smart enough or lucky enough to go to HBS should there be some limit on your income versus the guy digging ditches? baldski August 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm We have to go to Aljeezera to find real journalism these days. The Cyrillic letters “CCCP” used to stand for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics now they stand for “Corporate Controlled Conservative Press”. Capo Regime August 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm As good as the piece was, it underestimates the severity of the issues in the U.S. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is underreported. Also, the issue of crippling student loans, high crime relative to most developed countries and poor education. The low quality of education plus expensive higher ed conspire to keep people poor–ad in crony capitalism and well U.S. will be like Brazil but with nukes and less attractive people…..Actually, in 20 years we could aspire to be like Brazil. Hugh August 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm I would just repeat that the three principal features of the world we live in are: 1) wealth inequality 2) class warfare 3) kleptocracy Wealth inequality is created through looting, and the proceeds of the looting are retained by the rich through class warfare. The primary weapon in class warfare is distraction. It is how a very few can keep so much from so many. Distraction can take many forms. It goes far beyond the standard fare of infotainment and propaganda put on by the media. Much of it is about setting one group against another. Non-union workers are pitted against union workers. Races against each other. Private employees against public employees. Region against region. Generation against generation. Then there are the kabuki political fights between the two parties. As their corporatist agendas become increasingly the same, the need for distraction grows and the tone of their conflicts becomes increasingly bitter. And there is the poisoning of discourse so no effective counterweight to the rich and their looting can form. Reading through the comments here, I am reminded that everything we learned and thought we knew about economics and politics in the last 35 years is wrong. With regard to wealth inequality, the extremeness of it is ignored or downplayed. Few Americans know how much the rich really own and control of the nation’s wealth, or how little they, the many, have of it. Similarly, they do not know how criminally and parasitically these fortunes came into being. It is one of the great victories of class warfare that those who will never be rich are persuaded to support the policies that keep the rich rich and make sure they will never be rich on the basis of a mythical shot at becoming wealthy themselves. Or even if they realize the impossibility of this, that they still accept that the rich deserve to be rich, and that their wealth is “theirs”. I cannot overstate what a coup this is. The transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich is always portrayed as legitimate, while the reverse is stigmatized as theft and socialism. It of course does not stop even there. Transfers of wealth from the rich to the rest of society are demonized because they will just be wasted by government and politicians. Left unstated is that the rich own the government and the politicians so if such transfers are wasted its really on their head. But that is what distraction is all about. The point is to keep any logical coherent critique of the system from forming and propagating. It is how trillions are always available to the rich for tax cuts, bailouts, and wars but when it comes to us, we are told there is no money. In fact, cutbacks, trillion dollar cutbacks, are needed. It says so much about how effective the class war has been that we the many in the face of these depredations that ruin, kill, and impoverish so many of us don’t rebel, are incapable of even forming a critique, and indeed continue to support those people and policies who have done this to us. Sufferin' Succotash August 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm Sounds like the U.S. could use a class-oriented leftist political movement–and that doesn’t mean the Democratic Party! So where the hell has it been for the past 30 years? noe August 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm its the social issues that keep people defending the GOP terrified of homosexuality and the dark cultural death of America = many tea party types vote R because of xenophobia and loathing of the new culture of hip hop, tattoos and sexual depravity the Koch brothers enjoy the support of their natural economic enemies because people are terrified of the culture of the left i know i’m not happy with mainstreaming doo dah parades and all that goes with it…. if homosexual liberty just meant suburban dads — at the park with their twins, i’d have no problem…. but the gay thing is stuck somewhere in pre pubescent exhibitionism…. acceptance will not clean up their celebrations… but make them more destructive to the kids colinc August 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm Outstandingly stated, sir! A more succinct synopsis of the conundrum we peons find threatening us cannot be made. However, begging your forgiveness, I would also include a couple of other equally(?) significant factors. First and foremost of those would be our ill-designed system of “education.” Only a minute, perhaps minuscule, fraction actually acquire any “knowledge” or “ability” since the compartmentalization and specificity of “subjects” was obviously(?) created for “programming” automatons who can be easily distracted. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Secondly, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” (Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”). The egregious, systematized “dumbing-down” instituted by “schools” results in “politically correct” speech which is exhibited only in the form of euphemisms, malapropisms and mixed-metaphors to such an extent that “meaningful communication” is obviated. Why is it that most political pundits and “news” anchors babble incessantly about “rhetoric” rather than anything said of a substantive (or lack thereof) nature? Not that there is anything “substantive” revealed in any political or corporatist speech in the past 20-30 years (or longer). Personally, I’m kinda’ hoping that Betelgeuse has already gone supernova ~639+ years ago and produced a GRB aimed directly at this utterly insignificant rock which will end this abject nightmare for a few [hundred?] million years. It seems to be the only way to assure the complete elimination of the parasites. psychohistorian August 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm Yves, As I read and thought about the posting/vid and comments what came to me is the crying need for a similar vid that shows American Imperialism in all the countries we have a presence. Showing how the multinationals rape and pillage the natural and human resources of countries as they turn the populace into debt slaves of wester consumerism….of course in the name of Freedom, Liberty and Gawd. Showing how our military supports the corporate agenda to Americans is necessary because the economists will never speak of such things. Thanks again for your untiring (I don’t know how you do it) efforts on behalf of a public that will never really appreciate you and others in you current circle of true American patriots. Mentalic August 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm I completely agree… colinc August 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm Ask and ye shall receive. These first 2, which I saw years ago, are at least a “step” in that direction. They are both outstanding and highly recommended. “Why We Fight” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/why-we-fight/ “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/iraq-for-sale-the-war-profiteers/ I found these next 2 referenced and recommended in the comments-sections of the above 2 and have not seen them, yet, but almost certainly will in the next day or 2. “Money Masters” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-money-masters/ “The Fiat Empire” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/fiat-empire/ Ransome August 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm The movie needs a part 2, a look into the future. There has been another change in the past decade that is never discussed. Corporations really, really, really, like communism. While the TP tries to shrink government to nothingness, what will replace it? Most likely communism, and the TP with their muskets and their socialist-Marxist rants will be the first to be done in by the force of technologically enhanced assassin supermen. American corporations do not want to see democracy in China, and probably find the regulations, the scolding, the expensive lobbyists, fickle Congressmen, too unwieldy in America and long for a comfortable top down government much like the structure of a corporation. The wealthy probably don’t want to govern, they want compliance, safety and low costs as they accumulate increasing wealth. At the local level capitalism and democracy work well. At the top nothing gets things done like communism, where the wealth of the nation can be shared by the 2%. China’s criticism of the down grade and the foolishness of our so-called “leaders” is also a message to the world and to their people of the failure of democracy, with quiet agreement from corporate America. Who knew the Koch’s were closet communists or the entitled chap dissing entitlements now that he found his purpose in life. As far as wealth, throughout history wealth was primarily stolen. It is not possible to earn substantial wealth. It has never been possible. Scholars, artists, craftsmen, landowners, like Washington and Jefferson died broke. Merchants, industrialists and bankers can become moderately wealthy as well as those with intellectual property rights to a piece of code, but that is a historical fluke of today. Most of those with outsize wealth have stolen it in sophisticated ways not much different than sending in an invading army and sacking a city or a country and stripping it like a swarm of locusts. noe August 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm Second that — and i make a payroll every week! extreme wealth is not the result of capitalism but government socialism == again much like the system in pre revolutionary france = wherein an undeserving monarch bestowed favors for political support.. the tax loopholes and favors of Louis XVI created a system that had vegetable farmers and vintners paying tolls to bankrupt nobility to access the city to sell their goods! there were huge disparities because of corruption Fred August 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm And meanwhile, the american poor keep getting told about the American Dream: that if they behave themselves and are nice to the rich, they will get a slice of the wealth. Of course, that’s the biggest lie of all, used to keep them in their place. Studies have shown that the US has the lowest social mobility in the developed world. In other words, your father’s income is more likely to determine your success in life than in any other developed nation. In fact, the real land of opportunity is Denmark. Knative August 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm I think the natural order of things is for the rich to dominate everything. This whole democracy thing will be an abhorrent phase of history. Capo Regime August 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm History can be abhorrent. Perhaps an aberration? Aberrant? Concerned Citizen August 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm What’s with all the hate of HBS? Do people realize business school costs like $100K? Do people realize how freakin lazy the average person is? Most folks can just barely graduate high school. Everyone expects instant gratification. “I don’t want to do homework!” Most people are fat too. I’m sick of everyone expecting the government to be able to solve every freakin problem. I’m glad its a mess in Washington right now. It means people are actually scrambling around a little bit. Democratic Governments shouldn’t proceed with the order of the Chinese Communist Harmonious Happy Society Party. It’s meant to be a mess. It’s the only way gov is kept in check. Laura August 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm THIS WHOLE VIDEO IS A LIE!!!!!!!!!! There is no such thing as wealth disparity in America, this is part of the New World Order LIE. NObody is poor because someone else is rich. There is not ONE big pie, this is all LIE. I am living proof that someone poor can do well IF they stay off Uncle Sam’s Plantation! Stop spreading this LIE!!!!! David August 22, 2011 at 1:22 am @Laura What do you mean there is no such thing as wealth disparity? That makes no sense. Wealth disparity is synonymous with wealth distribution. The video is trying to get across that the distribution of wealth gap has widened due to the bush era tax cuts and modern politics that reduced taxes on the super rich. And I’m not sure that you get the whole pie metaphor. There is one big pie, it’s just not strictly one size. The pie can expand and contract based on GDP. Comments are closed. Tip Jar Please Donate or Subscribe!