Friday, December 31, 2010

Good To Know

The rich are much richer than you and me
No shit, really? Thank you CNN! Boy that's a swell effin headline to read! But I think it's just a teensy bit too subtle. Why not just run a headline that says:

"God-damn! Y'all Some Broke-ass Motherfu@&ers"-?

Or how about this:

"Your Teacher's Salary Ain't Shit"-?
"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The gap between the rich and the middle class is larger than it has ever been due to the bursting of the housing bubble.

The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. That's up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004.

The widening gap came even as wealthy households' average net worth tumbled 27% -- to about $14 million -- between 2007 to 2009. That's the first time that they suffered a decline since the three-year period of 1992 to 1995.

Meanwhile, the average family's net worth plunged 41% -- to just $62,200 -- from 2007 to 2009, according to EPI's calculations."
* bold & italics mine

At first I was all: "Well at least some of those rich fu@&s are taking a hit too - 27%!"

Then I saw that the average family's net worth fell 41% between 2007 & 2009. 41%!?!?!?!

Now I'm like "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn! We are broke as heeeeeeyellll!!!"

Now our right wing friends will no doubt place the blame squarely on President Obama, even though he wasn't President until January of 2009. Some of the less myopic of the bunch will have the intellectual honesty to blame only the Democratic Congress between 2007 & 2009.

Thankfully we're not all such morons, and a great many of us know EXACTLY which party (predominantly) and which President (until about a week and a half ago) is responsible for these "Holy Shit! You're Broke!" headlines. This is the long-term upshot of about thirty years of economic policy geared towards making sure the richest of the rich get theirs first, and telling the rest of us to "get in where we fit in." Ever since Reagan and his advisers dreamed up 'trickle-down' economics in a Singapore opium den, real wages in this country have been stagnant and in fact, since the Bush era, have declined. (That's 20 years of RepubliCon Presidencies and 10 years of Dems if you're keeping count.)

But I have to thank the good people at CNN for linking to this headline right there at the bottom of the story. (I included a screen shot cuz I know they change these pages up pretty often.)
First of all, CNN, thank you for calling it "the death tax." Sure we called the tax on wealth passed down from parents to children "the Estate Tax" for the first 220 years or so of its existence, but I wasn't sure exactly if the conversion to Orwellian Newspeak had been completed. Tonight I can ring in the New Year sleeping more easily knowing that that battle, at least, has been lost. So from here on out we'll call the tax that some of our earliest founding fathers put into law to mitigate the accumulation of wealth into an American aristocracy "the death tax."

Hmm, now that I've been told that "The rich are much richer than you and me," I wonder if I could find a story about billionaires getting away with not paying their taxes. Boy that would really bring in my New Year with a satisfying "Pop!-" like the cork shooting off the champagne bottle I put on my high-interest credit card. Y voila!
5 billionaires who skated on a death tax

Tally up the lost estate taxes from the superwealthy who passed away this year, and that's about $9.9 billion that Uncle Sam missed out on.
And heyeee!! You can click on through the pics of these old dead white-folks and pick out which likeness of Monty Burns you like the best! It's like baseball cards for rich tax cheats! As a long time baseball fan I had to go with Steinbrenner, although I was intrigued by the the "mystery woman," Mary Cargill, the deceased heiress to the agriculture fortune.

I want to thank CNN and Fortune Magazine for helping me make a point for me. Every time we start talking about the income gap in this country - you can set your watch by it - some smug right wing bastard trots out the old Ayn Rand canard and says:
"Well rich people have more money because they're smarter and they worked harder."
Thus did a rhetorical turd drop into your discursive cocktail. Now there are exceptions to every rule, but in general, this is just a blatant lie. Rich people aren't rich because they worked harder, or are smarter. THEY'RE RICH BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS WERE RICH. Think of the rich people you know in your life. How many of them had rich parents? That's right . . . just about all of 'em, eh? This, "oh the rich are just better people" canard needs to die. "Canard" incidentally is also French for "duck," so I'm thinking just grabbin it by the neck and bashing it against a wall will do. Let's call that wall "reality," shall we? Okay. Let's do that together.

And if you want to follow me even further down this li'l rabbit hole of mine, I'll just HAVE to show you another screenshot.
Just check the headlines on that sidebar over there!
Rich make out in tax deal

The tax deal's biggest losers
And who, oh who could it be who doesn't fare so well under this saucy "compromise" worked up by President Obama and the GOoPer Senate leadership? Why it's your broke ass of course!
It's easy to declare the winners in the new tax bill, but let's not forget the unluckiest of them all -- those who have been jobless for 99 weeks.
Boy are we livin in some surreal effin times or what folks?-when it's up to Fortune Magazine to remind us that we've got people who haven't been able to find work in 99 weeks?!?!

No doubt our right wing friends will cluck and and pooh-pooh and say: "Well why don't they just get a job already?" . . . these smug self-righteous pricks. Ooops! There are six available workers for every job opening in the country!!!!
"Well why don't they just split a job six ways?"
See, this is why we need a robust union movement, and the decline of unions has been such a disaster for the country. (Proud dues-payer here, by the way.) Back during the Communistic Eisenhower era, the richest Americans paid 90% of their wealth into the general coffers!

90%!!!!

And around 35% of the American workforce was unionized. It was one of the longest and most productive periods in American history. And the so-called "Economy," was not "so-called" at all, because - to vastly greater degree than it does now - it worked for everyone, and a much higher percentage of Americans were able to find meaningful work.

The rich fu@&s are obviously doing fine. They always will be. Clearly, these folks can take care of themselves, because they make the rules in this economy, and can hire high-priced attorneys so that they actually DIE before they pay the DEATH TAX! The average people, on the other hand - you know, folks like you and I - can only fend for ourselves by banding together. Money is a unit of human power, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Luckily it's not the ONLY unit of human power.

Only by working together can Americans reclaim our dream. The 2%ers at the top will never hand it over willingly. Their attitude has been made manifest over the past thirty years of Reaganomics:
We got ours, so screw you.

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