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There is an inherent tension — and obscenity — in the wildly divergent fortunes of the rich and the poor in this country, especially among our children. The growing imbalance of both wealth and opportunity cannot be sustained. Something has to give.
That is the final paragraph of Billionaires' Row and Welfare Lines, the column for Saturday's New York Times by Charles M. Blow.

It is chock full of statistics.  Part of the title comes from this paragraph"

A report last week in The New York Times says that developers are turning 57th Street in Manhattan into “Billionaires’ Row,” with apartments selling for north of $90 million each.
Ponder that for a moment.

Ponder as well that there are now 442 billionaires in the United States.

Ponder also this:

According to First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization focusing on child and family issues: “The 1,168,354 homeless students enrolled by U.S. preschools and K-12 schools in the 2011-2012 school year is the highest number on record, and a 10 percent increase over the previous school year. The number of homeless children in public schools has increased 72 percent since the beginning of the recession.”
Something has to give.

And the answer is simple.

Raise taxes on the wealthy.

Let me explore this further.

Remove the cap on income on which Social Security taxes are applied and there is no problem funding the program beyond any foreseeable future.

Change the Medicare tax to apply it to all income, not just wages and related, and the problem of funding that largely disappears, while the rest is accounted for by controlling costs better.

But most of all, get rid of the carried interest exception, and change the rules on capital gains so that the lower rate applies only to the original investor of securities, not to speculators in the after market.  And do not apply the full capital gains tax break to those whose "original investment" is as the result of stock options as a form of compensation.  

Oh, and get rid of some of the exemptions for the wealthy and corporations, and raise the rates on the wealthy, so that incomes above some amount are taxed much more heavily - gee, how about total income regardless of the source above the $90 million cited as the average cost of those apartments at a rate of say 60%?

The billionaires will still have way too much money, but the government will be able to lots of things this country really needs

- rebuild our infrastructure, including public schools
- fully fund all elements of the social safety net for those who have been seriously hurt by the ongoing great recession - that includes SNAP, Medicaid, Housing  (think of all those homeless students) and many more things.

And while we are at it, lower the tax rates on lower incomes, so those people at the lower part of the income pyramid will have more disposable income, which they will spend, which will therefore create more demand of basic goods and services, which therefore will create more jobs, which of course will result in more revenue for government - at the state and local level as well as for the federal government.

Unless and until we change how our economy and tax system are currently structured, shifting ever more wealth to the already wealthy, starving governments of the funds necessary to provide essential services, and pushing ever increasing numbers of Americans further down the economic scale, we are headed for a cataclysm that will not be pretty -  and some on the right who have fought against sensible gun control may come to regret that decision when they become the targets of the disillusioned masses for whom there no longer is an American Dream, only the ongoing nightmare of increasing economic inequality and desperation.

Something has to give.

What will it be?

Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Pushing back at the Grand Bargain, Income Inequality Kos, and Social Security Defenders.

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    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:56:04 PM PDT

  •  I was just ranting tonight (58+ / 0-)

    about the Social Security cap.  With unemployment stubbornly high and so many low-wage, no-benefit jobs replacing good ones lost in the great theft of 2008, the wage base is shrinking.  If the cap were eliminated, those who have benefited from the wealth transfer would at least be paying the same percentage of their wages toward Social Security as the minimum wage worker.

    But much better to cut SNAP, cut Social Security benefits and continue redistributing more of our national wealth into fewer and fewer hands, at the expense of the truly needy.

    That worked well in France, right up until the Revolution.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 09:22:17 PM PDT

    •  Sometimes, I wonder if they're trying to force a (19+ / 0-)

      revolution...

      How else do you explain this degree of recklessness with our social and political stability?

      Patriotism is another word for nationalism. Nationalism is another word for bigotry.

      by Selphinea on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:46:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I understand the cap (13+ / 0-)

      Because the benefits are also capped.

      But the cap could be higher, and the benefits slightly adjusted. That alone would help.

      I would also apply Medicare tax to all income, regardless of source, but I would exempt the first $40k a year.

      Most people will never get that from their investments, and if you do, you can pay the Medicare tax on the amount over 40k without a problem. It likely won't be that much.

      I would also do away entirely with cap gains. All income is taxed the same. However, I'd apply that 40k exemption to cap gains, so you had an incentive to invest, but not to make all your money from investments.

      I would go back to the old rules for home sales, so you got taxed on the amount over that 40k if you didn't buy another house in a certain period of time, unless you were over 65. Then the proceeds from the sale of your primary residence would be exempt.

      And yes, no carried interest or whatever the hell it is. I would go back to income averaging though.

      I'd also enact a millionaires tax, which would kick in at 5mil, and would be 50% of the amount over that. It would increase 10% a year, to a max of 80% of the amount over 5mil.

      And I'd exempt state lottery winnings from federal income taxes. Not Medicare taxes though.

      •  yes, benefits are capped (7+ / 0-)

        but Social Security isn't a retirement plan for the ultra-wealthy, it's pocket change.  They already have pensions and 401Ks and IRAs.  To keep the program solvent over the long-haul, I think those who've benefited from the income redistribution give back a little to those who need it.

        And don't get me started on the 'carried interest' loophole.  The Romney's of the world paying 15% taxes while middle-class people pay much higher rates.

        There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

        by puzzled on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:45:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "carried interest" is a misnomer. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goodpractice, Sunspots

        It is the salary of a hedge fund manager, basically a fee for managing other people's investments, but the law pretends it is capital gains.  The money comes from capital gains in good years, but straight from the investments in bad years.  Regardless, it is still taxed at a 15% rate instead of the much higher top income tax rate.  Some of those hedge fund managers made nearly $1Billion in one year, and the loophole cut their taxes to less than half.  They had a lot left over to bribe, I mean contribute to the campaigns of, politicians, both Dem and Rep.

        •  it always comes from the gains. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          puzzled

          It never comes from the principal investment, because the carried interest is X% of profit.  ie, no profit for the investors, no carried interest gain for the manager.

          Whether it is taxed as long term capital gains or ordinary income depends on the fund.  Most hedge funds, for example, produce short term capital gains and ordinary income, and those are taxed at the top marginal rates. (ie, when we're talking about carried interest and capital gains rates? We're actually talking about private equity, not hedge funds)

    •  I would begrudge them less (12+ / 0-)

      if so many of them, and their minions in Congress, were not actively trying to take away what little the rest of us have, whether it's food assistance, access to affordable health care,  quality education, affordable higher education, transparent mortgages, ability to hold lenders accountable, or whatever.

      Some of these ultra-wealthy people have gone well beyond the clueless Marie Antoinette stage where they just don't get how most people live to the point of knowing and being so depraved they don't care.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:25:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't it called SS Insurance for a reason? (0+ / 0-)

        Please correct me if I am wrong, but it's my impression that SS is an insurance program, not a retirement plan. Its benefits should be there if life's circumstances demand that you (or your dependents) need them but if it turns-out that you don't-- well good on you!

        I fully expect that some will instinctively raise an objection based on the specious "but means-testing is wrong" trope; I just don't see it. I don't think Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, or their ilk in the 0.1% should collect a single red cent in SS benefits-- funded, at least in small part, by their payments into the system over many years-- but I think their participation in the system over those years, just as we demand of all wage earners, is essential for creating what we can hopefully agree is a social safety net. Trapeze artists don't need a net except when they do.

        Raise the cap to account for inflation and means-test recipients-- problem solved. Tell me where I'm wrong.

        "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Arabiflora on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 05:06:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As soon as there is a test, the door is open (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Al Fondy, Sunspots

          to dilute the program.

          If we were governing with an opposition party with good intent aimed at actual just and true governance, the idea of means testing can make great sense!

          However, that isn't what we are faced with.  Our opposition party has no interest in being an effective opposition.  They want to tear things down and that biases their intent toward destruction, never balance, or improvement.

          Because of that, we are better off not opening those doors.

          For a great case in point right now, look at Rand Paul and his desire to get some control over the Fed.  It's being framed as an audit, but "congressional oversight" means being able to break it, making sure government doesn't work, so they can continue to claim government can't work...

          A long running example of this can be seen in the current struggles of the Post Office.  Remember when Bush wanted to reform the post?  Now look at all the hassles they've got.

          Frankly, a few common sense rate changes and the Post Office would run fine.  Everybody knows this too.

          But those don't / won't happen so long as we've got people in power who really don't want Government to work or be effective, just or true.

          They want Oligarchy, and are working to get it by any means they can.

          So, you aren't wrong so much as they force a less rational discussion.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***
          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

          by potatohead on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 12:39:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's wage insurance (0+ / 0-)

          it has some other insurance benefits, but SocSec is primarily wage insurance for when you are no longer able to work. I wrote a diary about this. If you click on my name you will see the diary on my published diary list.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 10:12:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Raise the cap, yes. Eliminate it? SS will be dead (0+ / 0-)

      in an election cycle.

      Here's why:

      The cap went into effect under, what, Ford? at the present level (I'm so damn old I remember him sending out "refund checks" from the "Social Security fund surplus" in an election year -- he got a lot of votes that way in the Texas Panhandle, but Jimmy Carter won the general anyhow.  The "gentleman from Michigan" was in charge after Nixon's schemes (remember wage and price controls?) to "turn the economy around" went belly-up: Inflation hit 12% and unemployment 9% while he sat in the White House.

      Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure.[2]
      The original cap on the benefits contribution -- and never ever ever forget that FICA is taken out of wages and that the formal name of the program is OASDI, with the I standing for INSURANCE -- this is something you pay for while you're working, so it'll be there when you can't (think AFLAC without the duck) -- was about half what it is now. The benefit was lower -- ISTR reading somewhere the first check sent out was for, like, $13 to last a woman a month, for food, rent, &c.

      And somewhere around the middle of the 1970s, TPTB recognized people needed more to live on and the program needed to include more income to survive. So they raised the cap.

      That could be done again, but taking the cap off would turn the program into a nightmare: imagine having to provide the Walton family with the SSN-level percentage of their current income. Yes, SS would run out of money. Very quickly.'

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:53:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was always (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        puzzled, fladem

        a SS wage cap, since inception. Rates and caps can be found here

        •  I know there always was -- and a benefits cap (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terabytes, Sunspots

          too. Past the cap, you didn't "need" social security.

          Except money now doesn't go as far as it did when a NEW car could often be bought for less than $3,000.

          Annual incomes in good middle-class jobs ran $18-24,000. You could work for the USPS and make $40K a year and be considered upper-class.

          Money doesn't go as far now as when milk cost 59 cents a gallon and gasoline cost 89 cents a gallon. I was buying those out of my own income in my teens -- and making less than $400 a month, but still in better shape financially than a lot of my peers (I was USAF enlisted).

          Money doesn't go as far now as when you could rent an efficiency apartment for $185 monthly (plus electric). As a student at TTU in the mid-1980s my "living stipend" was $360 monthly. To cover quarters, food, transportation -- all my college expenses except books, tuition, paper, pens and class-required equipment -- imagine asking your prof to sign a note for your paper and pencils, as a college student, so you could get them "issued" through the VA (I don't know if they still require this. The "supervisor" of my "education plan" treated me like a parolee under his supervision more than like a student under his guidance. To be fair, he was a 60-something white guy....)

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:15:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe you misunderstood (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            puzzled, BlackSheep1

            I was just responding to your claim that the cap (take your pick, benefits or salary) went into effect under Ford. It didn't.

            I do understand about inflation. My first year of college, tuition and books were $200 a semester. I lived on $100 a month after that. My daughter's graduate degree will cost very close to $225,000. And that doesn't count her bachelors degree.  

            •  No, I think it was raised to its current level (0+ / 0-)

              under Ford. But it might have been earlier.

              I first remember hearing that SocSec would go broke soon under Reagan.

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:26:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That actually was under Ford (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BlackSheep1, puzzled

                Ford initiated changes in the way benefits were calculated. He was concerned with there wouldn't be enough to pay younger retirees, so benefits were greatly reduced for retirees born after 1918 (or somewhere around there). Those changes greatly extended the life of SS. The tax refunds that were part of his tax policy were not from the SS trust fund, but rather the general fund. Much like Obama's stimulus of a couple years ago, they were capped at $1,000 per taxpayer so the wealthy wouldn't get a bigger windfall than the working man, and the money would provide more stimulus. It was the anti-trickle down theory.

                •  thanks. I remember him going on TV (0+ / 0-)

                  talking about the trust fund and surplus and stuff ... but I wasn't out of high school yet, and it has been awhile.

                  LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                  by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 12:12:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Incorrect (0+ / 0-)
        but taking the cap off would turn the program into a nightmare: imagine having to provide the Walton family with the SSN-level percentage of their current income. Yes, SS would run out of money. Very quickly.'
        Social Security has 3 tiers of return.  It's a good deal on the bottom tier, poor on second second tier, and hiway robbery on the top tier.  This is how SS meets its redistributionary goals.  So removing the cap would help financially.

        The problem is that if you start taxing rich people hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for and giving them a nugatory rate of return it will be worth their while to spend real money on gutting the program.

  •  and raise the minimum wage n/t (14+ / 0-)

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 09:22:51 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. We shall see in the election of (14+ / 0-)

    2014.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 09:23:12 PM PDT

    •  Wish you were right about 2014, but too many of (14+ / 0-)

      the truly suffering don't vote. If the poor were a major voting bloc in this country we'd have seen action by now. I keep hoping that the increasing and continuing one-day strikes by fast-food workers means that finally some low-wage earners are realizing that organizing and participating in the political process is the only way their lives will improve, that they have to demand change rather than rely on the benevolence of greedy owners.

      But I'm not counting on it.

      •  They vote if you talk to them, register them, (5+ / 0-)

        get them to the polling place, babysit or buy a little gas if they have cars, explain why your candidate is the best choice.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:30:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And they don't vote if (6+ / 0-)

          you throw up your hands and keep repeating over and over that they don't vote. Of course they vote if you give them a reason and make it possible and not too hard. I cannot tell you how many ballots I pulled for 2100 Lakeside (men's shelter) in the last election when I was working at the board of elections.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

          by anastasia p on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:29:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And I have a friend who is PROUD of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Patango

            fact he has NEVER voted! Blows my mind. Union sheet rocker. Recently retired. It really does just boggle the mind.

            if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

            by mrsgoo on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:28:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  if Democrats had something to offer (9+ / 0-)

        other than Republican-Lite, and we arent the crazy ones,  perhaps voters might be motivated to come out and vote.

        Where are the Dem candidates standing up and offering real Democratic-brand solutions, like a massive public works and infrastructure repair and upgrade program that puts people to work with real jobs?  Giving the voters a clear picture of a bright future they might be inspired to vote FOR.

        Give the voters a reason to give the Dems back the House.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:45:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have to agree with this! At least MY rep, John (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sunspots

          Garamendi is out there with those ideas.

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:29:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  you want better turnout? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom, goodpractice, mrsgoo, Sunspots

        Keep the ballot boxes open 24/7 for 10 days before the election.
        Provide free rides to/from the polling places.

        Sound expensive?

        How about going to nationwide vote-by-mail? Not email; it's not secure enough yet. But have every registered voter receive a ballot (with a number, or some other identifying symbol) in the mail 2 weeks prior to election day, and start a campaign of PSAs to remind voters to fill it out and send it back. The ballot comes in an envelope that must be signed for, and goes back in a (furnished with the ballot) envelope that also must be signed for, addressed to the voting registrar.

        Yeah, it bumps up the USPS load for around elections, but that's not, in my book, a harmful thing. They could set up evening-delivery and early-morning delivery, or actual, you know, at-work deliveries for voters' ballots.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:00:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If we had a functioning democracy, those (6+ / 0-)

          would be great ideas, but we don't.

          What we have is an entrenched oligarchy with all three branches of government weighted in their favor. If we want to change that system, we will have to be increasingly creative about getting out the vote. That's because those oligarchs have rigged elections for so long they wield undue influence in almost every aspect of government, down to and including local police forces.

          There are only two or three human stories,and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. ~ Willa Cather

          by 4Freedom on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:15:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  doesn't Oregon vote by mail now? How (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            potatohead

            does their turnout reflect and what are their costs-per-vote?

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:17:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oregon does VBM and it's excellent. (0+ / 0-)

              Turnout is high.

              I'm not sure about costs, but I don't think they are excessive compared to say, those voting machines and all the hassles associated with them.

              Oregon also has a verifiable vote.  Signatures collected at the DMV are used to validate votes, while not personally linking a voter to their vote.  (Double envelope system)

              In tandem with VBM, Oregon Democrats are well organized, and it's difficult to tamper with the elections.

              I believe VBM is one of the things that saved us from the 2010 wave.  Oregon ended up tied in the Legislature, so it came real close, but it could have been a lot worse.

              ***Be Excellent To One Another***
              IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

              by potatohead on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 12:47:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You forgot one thing... one party does not want (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leap Year

          people to vote and is trying to make it harder by the day. Otherwise, I think it is a GREAT idea!!

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:31:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Historically What Gives Are the Masses. (27+ / 0-)

    Since the dawn of agriculture, intensely concentrated wealth and power with the masses poor and working poor is almost incalculably the most stable configuration.

    It takes the metaphorical asteroid impact of plague removing half the labor force and stimulating technological innovation, or discovery of vast accessible territories and resources such that our prehistoric, evolutionary concepts of fairness based on individuality, and deference to the powerful among us, could temporarily support quasi democratic societies and economies while our traditions allow our betters to reap all they can carry.

    The cornucopia has run out, and our society is already around halfway along to returning to the historic norm.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 09:30:50 PM PDT

    •  Agreed. Even if "the revolution" does occur, (11+ / 0-)

      it will likely be political, not material. There is no particular reason to believe that at the macrostructural level the present regime of stratification will change.

      After all, those at the top now are in a much better position to come out ahead in times of unrest and to adapt to change toward their own advantage. They have what people want; they exert undue influence, as apart from the political system. That is the nature of power. The political system doesn't create it, but rather reflects it, contrary to popular imagination.

      Big shakeup? New system? Meet the new elite, same as the old elite.

      I (sadly) tend to be with the Frankfurt School on this one: not merely

      "the revolution will be televised"

      but rather

      "This revolution has been brought to you by Wal-Mart—Save Money, Live Better—by AT&T—Your World, Delivered—by Panasonic—Ideas for Life—by IBM—We Make IT Happen... ..."

      -9.63, 0.00
      "Liberty" is deaf, dumb, and useless without life itself.

      by nobody at all on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 10:39:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right, However (4+ / 0-)

      I think as wealth inequity grows and the several other major problems we're facing (like climate change) are ignored, a relatively small event or series of events will lead to collapse.

      "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

      by Superpole on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:43:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are 55 billionaires in Nigeria! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barleystraw

      55! In Nigeria! And look at Nigerians. The world is now so small at such an enormous human and technological scale that real time replays history in fast forward.  

      Soon criminal pirates risking their lives for ransoms will be hired into private contractors with slave wages to protect shipping lines and history will just keep on keeping on.

      You are so right and the sheer size and scale of these hyperconcentrated,  multinational, globally integrated geopolitical-economic resource pools speed up every lesson we even COULD glean from history even for the people paying attention.

      Democrats in DC don't know what to do. They're stumped and submitted.

    •  And there used to be an open and extensive slave (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkor7, barleystraw

      trade and crucifixions on public roadways, legions of armies blatantly conquering their neighbors for their goods, and gladiator fights to the death that served as public entertainment.

      Humanity has changed, gotten to be more civilized and conscientious of suffering. We've evolved, a bit so there's a chance we'll come up with better than feudal systems of rule.

      Unfortunately, real evolutionary change usually comes after a major disruption knocks the fittest off the pedestal or the conditions have become so abhorrent the prevailing system breaks down and a new, better one is born.

      We, inevitably, will see.


      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:05:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If antibiotics become useless due to resistance, (0+ / 0-)

      then "remove half the population" might come back into play.  See kenwards diary at http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  The National Income Identity (8+ / 0-)

    GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + net exports

    Gross savings is running at record levels, but manifestly not among middle- and lower-income Americans - it's mostly in the corporate and high-income sectors.  Investment is lagging.  So taxing the wealthiest won't affect consumption or investment by much, and could provide much-needed revenue for government spending.  Net result: economic growth and (gasp!) maybe even jobs.

  •  You always have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pvasileff, PinHole, NM Ray

    A way with words and a desire to bring truth and fact together. But.. Not so much with this post. I gree wholeheartedly with your underlying statement.

    The message needs to be: the tax breaks given to those who earn more need to stop. I'm not against the progressive tax, fundamentally it works, if you earn more you pay more but also get to keep more. What I am against is the the 'breaks' and 'write offs'. Simple math always prevails. Even President Clinton, who plays the game, said so. Change the words from 'tax the wealthy' to 'end the write-offs' and everyone will start feeling more equal. And become a bigger part of the total picture.

  •  Sorry, We do not get to decide. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    There are too many people with power who decide for us. Reality.

    The Fierce Urgency of Later

    by Faroutman on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 10:17:22 PM PDT

  •  The 2012 presidential campaign (31+ / 0-)

    was a sore disappointment. Neither Romney (no surprise) nor Obama (revealingly) had one word to say about children in poverty-- now about 1 in 4. It's a national scandal, and not even part of the political discussion!

    Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

    by RudiB on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:10:06 PM PDT

    •  Agree, and recommended, but if (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caryltoo, RudiB

      President Obama had spoken about children in poverty would it have hurt his chances? Do the voters have "ears to hear" and "eyes to see" economic injustice? I guess it is a chicken-egg problem, since the voters need to be educated but the leaders cannot afford to educate and remain leaders, at least with the "hear from both sides" media we have.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:42:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, it might have hurt his chances (4+ / 0-)

        but what's the point of being President if you are going to just ignore the plight of children? Used to be a time when JFK, RFK, LBJ, et al. would exhort the nation to do better--while they were in campaign mode.

        Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

        by RudiB on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:49:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed. This food stamp issue is literally an (0+ / 0-)

          existential matter that cannot be tolerated. It should be front and center every day instead of computer problems that, although significant, will soon be resolved.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 12:31:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Are you seriously implying that it's wise (0+ / 0-)

        for Obama to have ignored issues like poverty and food stamp cuts in the campaign because it "might have hurt his chances?"

        Aren't we supposed to be the Democrats?

        Do the voters have "ears to hear" and "eyes to see" economic injustice?
        What is this even supposed to mean?

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 01:31:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all. Just making a truthful point about (0+ / 0-)

          the sad state of the U.S. electorate.

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:18:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

            I think the American electorate would respond to a real populist message focused on strengthening the working class (wages and the social safety net), if the Democrats would actually put that message out there.

            Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

            by Boogalord on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:25:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think your quote says it all: (0+ / 0-)

          Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

          My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

          by Galtisalie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:27:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. In Teabonics, (0+ / 0-)

        mentioning class warfare is "class warfare"

        ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

        by in on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 12:15:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a word. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barleystraw

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

      What frigging ever.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:32:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the best video I've seen on (10+ / 0-)

    the disparity of wealth in the US.
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:20:50 PM PDT

  •  All good suggestions, but one question (0+ / 0-)

    With the cap removed on SS income, what would you do with the bend points - leave "as is" or add another one that would further reduce the tax to payout ratio?  Seems to me if the bend point already captures a positive return to the fund for what is paid out, you could leave alone, but if it still had a negative relationship, you might have to add another bend point.  I think I'd be more inclined to do away with 401ks, 403bs, etc., and restructure SS to be a true portable pension from job to job such that everyone that worked with a livable wage would be able to retire with a proportional retirement income.  If you wanted more, you could save in a Roth IRA (contribute post tax dollars, but take out tax free after age 59 1/2 or whatever)

    •  realistically no bend points (9+ / 0-)

      at least for the truly wealthy, since so much of their compensation is not subject to Social Security taxes.  One can possibly argue for a donut hole approach - that is, at a certain point stop collecting.

      Instead I would argue that in lifting the cap on the wages subject to the tax, it might well be possible to lower the rate, which would benefit both employers and employees, and very much the self-employed.  I'd have to have someone run the math, but I would guess it might be possible to get it down from the current figure of over 6% down to 5.5% or even 5% while still gaining enough additional revenue to ensure the stability of the system.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 05:06:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I understand "no bend points" (0+ / 0-)

        Are you saying:
        1.  The person who is paying FICA on 150,000 income has a benefit that is larger than the person paying FICA on the current max at the same payout ratio that exists for the current max, OR

        2.  Regardless of your income and the FICA tax you are paying, you are capped at today's maximum benefit amount?

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    Thanks for posting.

  •  No one should have more than $100,000,000 (5+ / 0-)

    We need the economic equivalent of separation of powers.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 02:53:05 AM PDT

    •  Huey Long had issues, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify

      His Every man a king speech was interesting – many of the issues from 1934 seem identical to today.

      We have to limit fortunes. Our present plan is that we will allow no one man to own more that $50,000,000.
      According to the site above, he subsequently continued to revise the $50,000,000 downward to $5M - $8M ($60M - $96M in todays dollars) which is the number I remember from high-school history class.
  •  Good to hear you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, caryltoo, teacherken, 4Freedom

    speaking truth to power.
    Wishing you and leaves a colorful autumn.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:01:03 AM PDT

  •  For a democratic socialist analysis of Mr. Blow's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caryltoo

    excellent piece, please see "Something has to give," at http://gardenvarietydemocraticsocialist.com/....

    Great diary.

    My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

    by Galtisalie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:13:45 AM PDT

  •  Thanks nt (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:23:18 AM PDT

  •  You know. Just tax like 1950s, when America was... (10+ / 0-)

    economically vibrant and prosperous, with a flourishing middle class.

    It's not like we don't know what works.

    •  But we don't... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Turn Left, johnny wurster, JerryNA

      ...a serious problem with history is we don't get to run experiments. In the 50s, the world was a wreck and the US had been spared, so we were at the top of the heap. That, rather than or maybe along with or even despite our high marginal tax rate may have been the bedrock of the boom.

      Anyway, we all agree on the arithmetic. Republicans don't want to talk about arithmetic because a deficit comes from the difference between A and B, uh, revenue and outlays.
      Just moving toward the tax structure of the 50s would be a good step. I don't know how far we have to go. This should be a problem for economists, as long as they are not Rogoff or Reinhart.  

      I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by voicemail on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 06:34:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But we do. (6+ / 0-)

        Clinton increased taxes on the wealthy and the economy boomed. Tax cuts for the wealthy under Reagan and Bush instead led to ruinous concentration of wealth and the strip-mining of the middle class though 'rent-seeking'.

        The escalating concentration of wealth is socio-economically and politically ruinous. In the progressive era this was understood explicitly, and stiff estate taxes were imposed consciously to mitigate such concentration of wealth into massive hereditary estates, more than to generate revenue.

        The notion that we need to encourage investment by cutting taxes is quite literally perverse. We already have massive concentrations of wealth seeking ever higher returns on investment, destroying our infrastructure and the middle class in the process. Such 'investment' never means building new factories. Instead we see the ability of the extremely wealthy to change the rules in their favor, pillaging America's economic core by imposing tolls on every transaction and by the 'financialization' of the economy.

        •  Trying taxation on only the taxable portion, (0+ / 0-)

          to redress the theft,
          is less effective than preventing the initial theft.

          Clinton increased taxes on the wealthy and the economy boomed
          Probably had no effect on the overall economy. Bush2 cuts had no effect.
          But obviously, revenue  makes a difference to the deficit (or surplus)
          Money transfers are just transfers. They incur little friction (transaction) cost.
          The damage caused by "income inequality" (legalized theft, more accurately)  is what is produced to meet the demand of maldistributed purchasing power.
          Thus, underfunded schools and other investments, while excessively funded tycoon holiday estates, yacht collections, and other pure waste.

          ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

          by in on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 12:57:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't phrase that clearly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ralphdog

            I meant:
            taxing only a portion of the stolen amount is less effective than preventing the theft of 100% of the stolen amount.

            ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

            by in on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 01:00:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Au contraire. (0+ / 0-)

            Bush2 tax cuts were catastrophic, in that they starved government of the resources needed to accomplish anything, even as the Bush/Cheney cabal ran up colossal deficits to fund massive military spending, two failed wars, and a huge wet kiss to BigPharma.

            One consequence was that the crash of 2008 found the Federal Government with less 'ammunition' to deal with the crisis because it was already indulging in massive deficit spending.

            I'm not quite sure what you mean about frictionless transactional costs. Yes, nanosecond trades by giant Wall Street firms have miniscule transactional costs per se; but the resulting strip mining of the larger economy for every last nickel of value which is diverted into the pockets of the already fabulously wealthy is disastrous to socio-economic justice, actual productive investment, middle class prosperity and infrastructure funding.

            •  diverted (0+ / 0-)

              We agree about where the major cost is.
              "diverted ... [from] actual productive investment"
              Instead,  a rigged economy allows (encourages) poor spending decisions. An example of the almost pure waste (yacht collections...) that i mentioned:
              The cost of building and maintaining  10,000 sf buildings containing few residents (nearly unused). And the social disease trickles up/down to upper middle class 5,000 sf residences.

              Bush/Cheney cabal ran up colossal deficits to fund massive military spending
              especially in the case of the suicidally timed (claimed) attempt at liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, resources down a deadly rat-hole.

              ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

              by in on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 07:00:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Tax rates could just go back to pre-Bush2 levels. (0+ / 0-)

        Those times were not that long ago, not that different from now, and would bring a lot of money back to the gov't.  No more fake-austerity, at least.

  •  Cake (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, beverlywoods

    will be eaten.

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:18:09 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (10+ / 0-)

    Charles Blow's column is a must read.  Also the comments below his column.  

    Back in 2009, I remarked here that I was shocked that the Obama Administration never mentioned the poor in this country.  In fact, I honestly cannot recall any time in recent years that the poor have been talked about or anti-poverty programs have been presented by any of our elected officials in DC.

    Meanwhile, more and more of our citizens have become impoverished with a very heavy and long lasting toll on the youth and children of this country who may never recover from the neglect that has been foisted upon them by this administration and Congress.  It is immoral and fiscally irresponsible.  How much more tone deaf can Washington get?  

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:24:58 AM PDT

  •  We will give, of course.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dinazina

    I've been pondering what will happen when the rich people have ALL the money.

    Will we actually stand up and fight back then?

    Cheers.

    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

    by databob on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:29:29 AM PDT

  •  Very good post. Thanks for steering me to Blow's (0+ / 0-)

    column. I usually like his work.

  •  We need to add drag to the wealth engine (9+ / 0-)

    When you already have effectively unlimited security, flexibility and opportunity in your economic life, what possible need is there for more money, except to pursue an unending arms race of consumption with your neighbors? By definition, "luxury" is more than enough. More than "more than enough" must at some point become too much. We need to make it more inconvenient to increase one's income above and beyond the cost of a luxury-level lifestyle. A 60 percent top marginal income rate would help with this. So would recalculating corporate tax formulas to discourage excessive executive pay and encourage sharing more of that wealth with employees.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 05:41:44 AM PDT

    •  The corporate end is important (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan, Turn Left, tofumagoo, JerryNA

      Maybe change the tax structure so that there was a penalty on companies where the top executives made more than x times the lowest paid worker.

      Or take the median wage, and apply a penalty per worker if it's too low. That actually makes sense, since the companies that pay workers a non living wage get indirectly subsidized by the govt.

      So if your median wage per worker (hourly, to account for part time) is less than $20/hr, maybe you pay a penalty of 1% of your payroll.

      The amount would have to be worked out, of course.

      But it wouldn't put any hard and fast rules on what the CEO could make, just that everybody else had to make a decent amount too.

    •  Very interesting point. (0+ / 0-)

      There does seem to be a point at which only those with the most obsessive, nefarious, compulsive extremes of desire are motivated.

       

  •  You say you want a revolution? (0+ / 0-)

    Watched Russell Brand's call for one. He's right, we know it. Will we? When? What will be the catalyst?

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 06:40:41 AM PDT

  •  everyone should read (0+ / 0-)

    Progress and Poverty by Henry George

    Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy was written by Henry George in 1879

    My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

    by JLFinch on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:00:38 AM PDT

  •  ... (10+ / 0-)
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

    – John Kenneth Galbraith

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:05:34 AM PDT

    •  Actually, I think these people are selfless (0+ / 0-)

      and unintentionally self-destructive. They are wallowing in figments of the imagination and apparently totally unaware that food does not end up on the table by magic.

  •  Money Should Be Like Beer - You Only Rent It (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolinW, hannah, Brooke In Seattle

    This money idle capital - maybe once a month Scrooge McDuck rolls around in it.

    These are not capital assets or productive capacity  that generate streams of revenue and wages every month, it's simply stockpiles of money that are not benefiting the America economy at all - heck most of it isn't even in america.

    If these people were hoarding the worlds supply of zinc or ball bearings, it would be an international crisis and they would be a Bond villian living in volcanic island shaped like a skull.    But as they suck the money out of the international economy, the world shrugs.

    The rest of us have to go out there and earn a new paycheck every week.  We don't get to have a couple good quarters and retire - we have to keep earning that money.  And as we do so, we make the wheels turn.  The rich no longer have their shoulder to the wheel.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:20:42 AM PDT

  •  I'm optimistic that taxes will go up. (3+ / 0-)

    It'll be a series of increases not a balloon increase, but the "job creators" bubble is fully burst and our wealthy benefactors are now seen as greedy bastards unwilling to pay a fair share. Watching Republicans fighting small tax increases could end up being closer to their Waterloo than fighting immigration reform or gun management.  

    I think the first salvo will be changing how SS and Medicare are funded, with a small side of taxing certain Wall Street transactions.

    The best possible move would be a national minimum wage of $15 an hour.  It may force some poorly run companies out of business- if you can't be profitable with a far larger customer base with far more money, maybe being a business owner isn't your forte.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:26:56 AM PDT

    •  Nice to think about but I think we are many years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David PA

      away from having the kind of progressive majorities at the state and federal level that might implement this kind of agenda (if ever).

      •  That's what everyone said about turning (4+ / 0-)

        Texas Blue, but a whole lot of people decided to bust their asses making it happen instead of waiting for something else to fix it. I'm not waiting for 2020 demographics, or an end to gerrymandering, or a progressive wave that sweeps the nation.  I'm going to be PART of the wave.  And I'm living in hope that Wendy Davis takes Texas in 2014, with my help and that of millions of Texans.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:28:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for sharing (6+ / 0-)

    My participation here of late has been minimal at best due to real life events.

    That said if I could rec this diary even once I would, but for some reason I no longer have that capability ( guess I have been away for a while and obviously that has changed)
    At least I was able to tip you.

    On my drive into work yesterday I had similar thoughts about our diverging society and worries about my own kids future having to come of age in the reGilded age. It sickens me.

    And it depresses and just sickens me because my own values are the polar opposite of the bajillionaires that rule over and control it. The robber barons of the 21st century...the Kochs, Adelsons, Popes, Murdoch's  of the country, sometimes hiding behind token acts of "philanthropy" to the masses. Ugh while they fight tooth and nail to demolish safety nets setting up fake Orwellian front groups and political parties or buying media to tout their greedy hate filled divisive propaganda that serves only one purpose...to further enrich themselves and their already massive wealth. Ugh ugh ugh.

    Exactly ...something.has.to.give. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:30:32 AM PDT

    •  satisfied enough that you read & found it of value (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal

      recs or nor recs - if what I write speaks to one or more persons, that justifies the effort I put into it

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blow echoes Brand's "unsustainable". (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, Turn Left, David PA

    They will popularize the theme, but it will be too late and besides, those who are in a position to affect change will not. They will post more sentries at the gate.

    The tension will turn to fear, the fear to panic, panic to violence, violence to change. That is the only way. History bears this out.

    "Even in the remotest regions of the country, where we were in the valleys around Wiwili along the Rio Coco to Waspam, where we had lived since the beginning, only los indios knew where the trails went and how to read them, my sisters and I......you could taste the panic in the air as if it were the stench of rotting corpses carried by the winds from a hurricane....that is what revolution is like. It is like death in the air. You breathe it and you are infected."

  •  Velocity. (4+ / 0-)

    The Fed tracks the velocity of three kinds of money.
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/...
    It is my contention that it doesn't matter how much money the Fed pours into the economy. If it moves like molasses, we don't get the benefit. People exchanging $90 million for an apartment is just another form of hoarding.
    Only this graph of the velocity of money on which no interest is charged or paid suggests that the free-fall of the rate at which it moves has stopped.

    One is reminded of the poem
    "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink"

    In this case, there is more and more money, but the trickle has been reduced to a drip and with the shut-down Congress shut off the flow entirely. Fortunately, the shadow economy has now grown to $2 trillion. That's money on which Congress does not get to lay its paws.

    •  The New York Times had an article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David PA

      about London property.

      The article considered London property a new form of money.

      London is known for its famous estates where one paid land rent on property leased for 99 years from an earl or duke.

      •  The art market is another haven for the (0+ / 0-)

        wealthy right now. Paintings that would sell for $20-30 million, are now selling for $60 million. The same is happening in the precious gem market.

        The rich are stashing cash in anything tangible right now, because they have the money and can't spend it as fast as they are accumulating it. Quantitative easing has debased the value of the dollar to a near-historic low against other currencies, so tangible assets are attracting more and more investment.

        This can't continue, but the end of the cycle is nowhere in sight because the rich control the mechanisms that contain their wealth accumulation.

        There are only two or three human stories,and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. ~ Willa Cather

        by 4Freedom on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:45:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "7,000 Millionaires Paid No Income Tax In 2011..." (8+ / 0-)

    22,000 people made between $500,000 and $1 million but paid no income tax...

       ...81,000 people made between $200,000 and $500,000 but paid no income tax.
        381,000 people made between $100,000 and $200,000 but paid no income tax.

    So that's 491,000 Americans who made more than $100,000 a year who paid no income tax. (Clearly dependent victims who refuse to take responsibility for their lives!)...

    Yes--something has to give, and a good place to start would be with the super-wealthy slackers to whom much has been given but from whom little has been contributed toward the maintenance of civilization and quality of life in this country.
  •  Anybody that pays more than a few million (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, 4Freedom

    dollars for a place to live is an idiot.

    turning 57th Street in Manhattan into “Billionaires’ Row,” with apartments selling for north of $90 million each
    As for 57th Street, it was once home to Mr. Whitney (streetcar fortune) and Mr. Huntington (Southern Pacific railroad fortune).

    I think a Vanderbilt mansion was also on 57th Street and extended to 58th Street. It was torn down in 1929 I believe after the Vanderbilts got tired of paying about $129,000/year in New York City property tax and a Bergdorf-Goodman Department Store was built on the site.

    I believe Teddy Roosevelt once lived on 57th Street.

    57th Street became commercial about a century ago. I believe it was once the preferred street for selling high-end art and antiques in my youth.

    One could buy a few hundred acres for $90 million and invite some rich friends to buy lots. Think Tuxedo Park north of New York City.

    Also note the word "selling" implies actual sales have been made. Perhaps asking is a more appropriate word.

  •  Estate Taxes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tofumagoo, 4Freedom

    Estate taxes were fairly punitive after the $3 million
    dollar mark, so that the system would reset generationally.

    Now smart super wealthy types would bury assets in
    foundations, preferring to maintain control and give away 5%
    in charitable giving and being able to have the kids draw
    salaries from the foundation,  but, maintaining a
    noble obligation towards the poor.

    •  Eighteen billionaire families, including the Kochs (0+ / 0-)

      the DeVos/Amway clan, the Mars Candy family, and the Waltons of WalMart wealth, are out to abolish what they refer to as the Death Tax.

      With there minions sitting on the Supreme Court and dotted throughout Congress and our state legislatures, I don't think there will be much significant estate tax legislation passed anytime soon.

      There are only two or three human stories,and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. ~ Willa Cather

      by 4Freedom on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:49:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's not very common. (0+ / 0-)

      there's a lot of scrutiny on those sorts of arrangements, and they ultimately just trade a 40%-ish estate tax for a 40%-ish income tax.

      I've done this sort of stuff for a decade and have never seen a family member take compensation from a family foundation.

  •  Tobin Tax, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, 4Freedom, teacherken

    Tax all financial transactions at 1 BASIS point.

    That means all ATM transactions, mortgages, stock purchase,
    Deriivatives, etc.

    That means you go to the bank, draw $500 from the ATM,
    you pay 5 cents as a tobin tax.  

    You go sign a $250K mortgage, you pay $25 tobin tax.

    However, it also means a million dollar stock sale, pays $100.

    •  correct me if I'm wrong (0+ / 0-)

      although I don't think I am

      several thriving European economies have such a transaction tax, do they not, Pat?

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:36:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   Some wealth is being fuel by the poor (0+ / 0-)

    Wanting to live like the rich ,you have poor people buying designers label ,when a cheaper brand will do ,the basis essential of life now is food ,shelter ,some form of healthcare,you have   some people wanting stuff that they cannot really afford or do not need in the first place

  •  Throw the Tea Party, GOP out in 2014 and 2016, (0+ / 0-)

    let the wins be monumental against them and then comes the tax rise on the super wealthy, long overdue, with their gravy train for the past 30 years.  Enough, pay your share and more in taxes since you super rich folks get the most out of this society.

  •  It's capitalism that has to give... (0+ / 0-)

    over to a form of eco-socialism. But its the people that has to make it give. Don't depend on the democrats for this.

  •  Our political system has to give. It's broken, (0+ / 0-)

    corrupted, and as shown by the recent shutdown fiasco, completely incapable and unwilling to address the important problems we face.  The problems keep mounting and keep getting worse.  Another election will NOT change that.  At all.  I think most people realize that but can't seem to envision other possibilities.  

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:16:47 AM PDT

  •  Concept of "Billionaire" is hard to grasp... (0+ / 0-)

    Imagine having a thousand dollar bill.

    Now imagine having a thousand of those bills.  

    That's a million.

    Now imagine having a million x 1000.

    That's how much money a billionaire has.

    •  I saw the one billionaire I know this morning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J V Calin

      Dennis Bakke, who made a fortune in the energy business, and then went into the charter school business - and yes, to him it is a business - is part of a group of guys with connections to a private school near where I live who play basketball every Saturday morning, and them come to the local Starbucks.  I have on occasion talked with them, including with Dennis.  So I can say I personally know one billionaire.  

      He is an ordinary guy, bright but not brilliant, who happened to be in the right place at the right time and made a fortune.

      In his case, he does not spend it on 90 million dollar apartments or gems or art.  

      I knew some people in the NYC area, both growing up, and when I was in my early 20s in the city, who were wealthy, but not on that scale.  Think about it -  $100 million in wealth is now "nothing" - although I would have trouble spending the interest on 1/10th of that.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 04:40:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It'll have to be the Republican Party (0+ / 0-)

    They will resist to the death (ours, if they have their preferences) any attempts to raise taxes, or make the government something besides a wealth transfer machine filling the pockets of the 1%.

    And there's a lot of reclamation work to be done in the Democratic Party as well. Hillary Clinton, for example, is looking more and more like the most probable candidate to run for the White House in 2016 - yet has anyone forgotten how she once sat on the board of Walmart?

    There is a class war going on in this country - but one side seems unable to admit it publicly.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:25:22 AM PDT

  •  Marat Sade - we can identify today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beverlywoods

    Marat we're poor
    And the poor stay poor
    Marat don't make
    Us wait anymore
    We want our rights and we don't care how
    We want our revolution now
    Why do they have the gold
    Why do they have the power
    Why why why
    Do they have the friends at the top
    Why do they have the jobs at the top
    We've got nothing
    Always had nothing
    Nothing but holes and millions of them
    Living in holes dying in holes
    Holes in our bellies and holes in our clothes
    Marat we're poor
    And the poor stay poor
    Marat don't make us wait anymore

    Loud doesn't make you right.

    by molunkusmol on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:25:37 AM PDT

  •  I Can Assure You That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tofumagoo

    The plutocrats at the top did not get to distort & pervert the system by writing articles, blogging & advocating.

    Sure, they did all the foregoing - but that was just a small part of the big picture

    They lobbied, bribed (legally), rigged elections whenever possible, however possible, organized PACs, Super-PACs, think tanks, offered jobs to legislators and government officials, etc

    My question is - what practical, actionable things are we willing to do?

    Beyond articles, and writing about how government should do this or that - when we full well know that the government (i.e. the large corporations - their owners/managers/controllers) is going to do the opposite (chained CPI social security cuts, medicare cuts, service/benefit cuts - food stamps for example, etc)

    When are we going to realize that the Democratic Party (alone, on its own) is not the saviour?

    Working through the party can solve a few problems - but the larger problems are going to require more than that.

  •  No amount of common sense proposed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tofumagoo, 4Freedom, detroitmechworks

    solutions are going to make any difference.  I think that's where the disconnect is.  The common sense solutions are not being applied by those in power because the government has been captured by the wealthy elite.

    I't s big club, and we ain't in it.  The wealthy elite, and functionaries at different institutions, including academia, government, law, make up the ruling elite, which basically operates in a debased self-serving manner that ultimately exploits and subjugate the population, and destroys natural resources.  It's tyranny, in the final analysis.

    Like in any time in history, these debased greedy people will have to be forced to relent in their oppression.

    There is no talking, convincing, reasoning, etc., with these people.  They really have no respect for the citizenry whatsoever.  Only when the population is able to organize in such a way as to being able to project raw power capable of really pushing back against these corrupt tyrants, will any of these issues be addressed.

    All this can still be done peacefully, but it requires people to understand that there have to be head on confrontations.  The ruling elite needs to be made feel highly uncomfortable, pressured.  And the pressure needs to be relentless...

    •  And the tv goes blah blah blah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      and the media goes blah blah blah
      and our politicians mostly go blah blah blah.

      This week it's gun violence.

      Last week it was a Roma child.

      The week before...........???

      And next week?

      Blah, blah, blah!

      If we want to make anything of the situation, we have to embed ourselves in our local culture and attempt to make as many people as possible do that task nobody seems to want to engage in - thinking! If thinking was truly engaged, "the people" would be truly outraged.

      But there's the Kardashian diamond, the World Series, various military conflicts we are engaged or not so engaged in to distract us from the reality of our material existence. I'm really too old to be shocked at the level of distractability among the electorate, but I am.

      It appears that until all that is left is the lint in people's pockets, voters will continue their ostrich-like behavior regarding the villains behind our current economic blight.

      There are only two or three human stories,and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. ~ Willa Cather

      by 4Freedom on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:00:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  two corrections: (0+ / 0-)

    - The ACA did extend the Medicare tax to investment income.

    - stock options, by and large, are taxable compensation rather than capital gains.

  •  It's not all about raising taxes on the rich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, SME in Seattle, Mark Lippman

    But that is going to be an essential component of any effective attempt to fix the economic ills that plague much of the country. Always has been.

    However, we're also going to need a whole set of new regulations and incentives both positive and negative to move the economy is a fairer and more sustainable direction and limits the worst excesses of runaway greed.

    Finally, we're going to need a ton of new spending, on schools, infrastructure, high speed rail, green energy, basic science, R&D, the arts, parks, etc., to give us an economy and country fit for the 21st century.

    Teddy Roosevelt said it best, I think, over 100 years ago:

    At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. That is nothing new.
    ...
    Practical equality of opportunity for all citizens, when we achieve it, will have two great results. First, every man will have a fair chance to make of himself all that in him lies; to reach the highest point to which his capacities, unassisted by special privilege of his own and unhampered by the special privilege of others, can carry him, and to get for himself and his family substantially what he has earned. Second, equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest service of which he is capable. No man who carries the burden of the special privileges of another can give to the commonwealth that service to which it is fairly entitled.
    ...
    I stand for the square deal. But when I say that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service.
    ...
    Now, this means that our government, national and state, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. Exactly as the special interests of cotton and slavery threatened our political integrity before the Civil War, so now the great special business interests too often control and corrupt the men and methods of government for their own profit. We must drive the special interests out of politics. That is one of our tasks to-day.
    ...
    The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.

    There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done.

    We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that the people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.

    It has become entirely clear that we must have government supervision of the capitalization, not only of public service corporations, including, particularly, railways, but of all corporations doing an interstate business.
    ...
    I believe that the officers, and, especially, the directors, of corporations should be held personally responsible when any corporation breaks the law.
    ...
    The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need to is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which it is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise.
    ...
    We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.

    No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered-not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective—a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.

    Were Roosevelt alive today, he would be a progressive Democrat, and have no place in today's GOP. To them, he would basically be a communist.

    Amen.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 05:39:32 PM PDT

  •  Look down upon your fellow man (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 07:38:38 PM PDT

  •  job discouragement (0+ / 0-)

    My adult daughter has worked at a hotel for over a year. Although she has worked full time, her status is part time.
    She was making $14 an hour. She has been let go, even though her review indicated "excellent" in all categories.
    Others have also been let go.  The new hires will be making
    $9 per hour.  The hotel is always full to capacity, and the rooms are expensive, and the company is making a profit.
    This is what happens when unions are destroyed.

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