Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rich Wiping Out The Middle Class

An interesting read. I suggest you read all of it. Here is the salient point made at the end. By Thom Hartman:

Sam Pizzigati over at Dollars & Sense writing about this last week, the headline: “Have the Very Wealthy Achieved Victory in Their Class War?” And he lays it out. He says, "In 1974, the most affluent 1% of Americans averaged, in today’s dollars, $380,000 in income.". That puts you in the top 1%. Today to be in the top 1% you gotta have 1.4 million dollars. So, you know they’re doing really well, in real dollars. In other words it’s gone up, you know, substantially

On the other hand, the other 90% of us, from 1974 to today have seen an average annual increase in our paychecks of $47. This is pretty startling stuff. But if you look at the very rich, the top 400 in America. In 1955 their average income was 12 million dollars a year in todays dollars and they were paying 51.2 percent tax in 1955. That was after exploiting every loop hole they could get. Today, instead of making 12 million dollars, those 400 richest people in America are making an average of 263 million dollars a year. That’s over a million dollars a day, given the number of working days in the year, assuming that they don’t work weekends. Over a million dollars a day in an eight hour day that’s you know well over $100,000 an hour.

What can anybody do that’s worth $100,000 an hour? And their income that they’re paying, their income tax that they’re paying is averaging 17.2 % for the very richest. It’s lower than the income tax paid by the average working person in America. They had, in 2006, they had 84 billion dollars more in their pockets than they did in 1955. I mean these, some, I guess, at a certain point these numbers just, people just kind of numb out. But what the bottom line is is that there’s been this enormous concentration of wealth at the top. And it has come at the loss of wealth in the middle and the bottom. That the American middle class has been, you know, largely wiped out and eviscerated. And the result of that, as Warren Buffet has said, 'yes there’s class war in America and my class is winning' and pointing out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary does. And there’s something fundamentally wrong about this. And I’m telling ya, the teabaggers get it. [my emphasis added]

And progressives get it as well and we need to figure out a way, and I think it’s very simple, I think that, we should all sign up for the tea party stuff, get on their mailing lists, show up at their events, and find those areas of agreement, you know. Stand up with a sign that says “stop international trade deals.” “No more NAFTA and CAFTA.” “No more tax breaks for billionaires.” I mean pretty straightforward stuff, right. “America for Americans.” “Bring our jobs home.” “Stop the insane trade deals that help the corporations.” “Buy American.” I mean, you know, we could actually if we got organized, not even do we have to get particularly well organized. We could have a profound effect on this “movement.”

I think I was already going there with my posts from yesterday wherein I suggested the teabaggers may have a point. Taking the ideological part out of the teabagger movement (the "I hate anything Democratic and I hate Obama" part), and the revolt is pretty much as outlined above by Mr. Hartman. The people out of work aren't the rich. The people losing their homes aren't the rich. The people who lost money thanks to Wall Street aren't the rich. The rich have secured their wealth by moving their money off shore. The rich have secured their business profits by moving their factories off shore. The truth about the rich is not reported because the rich own the newspapers, the television stations and the radio airwaves. Hell, the rich own Washington. When was the last time Washington did anything for the middle class? Let's be real about this. The stimulus was a joke, and the joke is on the middle class. What should have been a true stimulus was watered down, and included more tax breaks for the rich, just so a few Republicans could hold their nose and vote for it. Otherwise, all of the financial assistance from Washington has gone to the rich, i.e., bailouts for the banking industry, propping up Wall Street finances, and lending a hand to the auto industry (although that last one did have some impact on the middle class, but only for a short while). Health care has not been reformed, and what has passed, which won't really help anyone anyway, won't come into play until 2014. And now the rich in Washington, the ones that are supposed to represent the very constituents that are the middle class and who are dropping like flies, don't want to put any of the taxpayer money (which the rich in Washington actually believe is their money, not taxpayer money) into the taxpayer's hands. They still, of course, want to give it to the rich people, those same people that have been stealing from the government for the past 30 years, but really outrageously so in the past ten years, including the war profiteers that have benefited extremely well with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When it comes to these aspects of our government of the rich, it's hands off!

This country's tax dollars come from the middle class. The rich don't pay taxes! Be real! The corporations don't pay taxes. Do the research, as Thom Hartman has. I don't give a fuck at this point in time who is president next, or which party takes over, because it is clear to me that neither party represents the American people. Those in Washington are all about themselves. Their job is to keep their job. Their job is obviously NOT to represent people. We, the People, don't mean squat to them. Even our money is nothing to them when they get billions from large corporations (thank you very much SCOTUS) with agendas that are averse to We the People.

So, yeah, I think the teabaggers do have something going on when they want to "throw the bums out of Washington." Although, remember, be aware of those that are "rich" and riding on the teabagger bus. They aren't one of "us," but are just making sure they (the rich) are in control of the movement. Bait them with racial overtones and political divisiveness. But if one can get past (or rid of) the rich controlling the teabagger express, the true anger regarding the rich beating down the middle class might actually pick up speed (not to mention other non right wingers) and amount to a movement that could represent the middle class against "big (rich) Washington government control."

I've seen my pay remain stagnant for 25 years. I make exactly the same as I did in the 1980's. Yet, I've seen the per hour charge of lawyers go from $150 to $700 in that same time frame. I see more and more of our clients unable to pay their legal bills, and plenty more coming in for bankruptcy protection (including from paying our bills). Most of our clients are not rich, they are what we used to call the middle class. Many have lost everything. Their houses went upside down. Their businesses lost thanks to skyrocketing commercial rents and high insurance costs. The free trade agreements killed middle class Americans as factory after factory closed up and moved offshore where labor was cheaper. The profit margin for the upper management was all that was of value to many corporations and manufacturers. And I am not even talking about stock shareholders' dividends. Those shrunk as well, as CEO's and their ilk upped their salaries and perks much to the dismay of the shareholders, many of whom never have much of a say in how the company they invest in does their business.

Politics in Washington as it is practiced today is killing America, bit by bit. It's everyone's fault in Washington. It's hard to tell if there are any good guys left, because both parties are beholding to the big money donors and have all but blown off middle America. Out of work? According to Washington, you just are lazy. Can't pay your mortgage? According to Washington, you just overspent and don't know how to budget. Need a gazillion dollars for an imaginary war on terror? Ok, here's the blank check. Forget the talk about "illegals" in this country. I say to the unemployed, move to Iraq Afghanistan and go on the American's payroll! You just might actually make more money over there, instead of being trapped in this nightmare that used to be called the great middle class.

H/T to Crooks and Liars.

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