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Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, now a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies and Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, writes The Rise of the Non-Working Rich:

In a new Pew poll, more than three quarters of self-described conservatives believe “poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything.”

In reality, most of America’s poor work hard, often in two or more jobs.

The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.

In fact, we’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history.

The wealth is coming from those who over the last three decades earned huge amounts on Wall Street, in corporate boardrooms, or as high-tech entrepreneurs.

It’s going to their children, who did nothing except be born into the right family.

The “self-made” man or woman, the symbol of American meritocracy, is disappearing. Six of today’s ten wealthiest Americans are heirs to prominent fortunes. Just six Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined (up from 30 percent in 2007).

The U.S. Trust bank just released a poll of Americans with more than $3 million of investable assets.

Nearly three-quarters of those over age 69, and 61 per cent of boomers (between the ages of 50 and 68), were the first in their generation to accumulate significant wealth.

But the bank found inherited wealth far more common among rich millennials under age 35.

This is the dynastic form of wealth French economist Thomas Piketty warns about. It’s been the major source of wealth in Europe for centuries. It’s about to become the major source in America—unless, that is, we do something about it.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Why the complaints matter:

Soldiers, as a rule, especially combat infantrymen, take pride in their stoic nature. After all, you have to volunteer to be an 11 Bravo, so you can't blame fate if you're walking point in some third world hellhole. You have to choose it. Same with Marines. No one makes you be an infantryman in today's army.

But it's not the Roman Legion. You don't sign your life away. You are deployed for a few months and then come home. The problem is not that the soldiers don't like the heat or even the Iraqis. They're professionals and they chose this life. Liking all aspects of it is not on the enlistment contract.

The problem is that the soliders seem to have lost all faith in their leadership. Not just at the national level, but at the command level as well. They trust their junior officers, but that's it. They no longer seem to believe their leaders are honest nor do they trust them to act in their own best interest. They don't believe in the mission or the men who ordered them to carry it out. They are coming to believe that their only goal is survival.

Rotation is always an issue and extending the tours like this just rips the basic trust between soldier and commander. Soldiers will always complain about conditions, as would anyone else thrust into the middle of Iraq in summer. But what seems to be growing, and deeply disturbing, is that soldiers now seem to have begun to mistrust their leaders.



Tweet of the Day
40 yrs ago today (7/16), Richard Nixon called Watergate "the broadest but thinnest scandal in Amer. Hist." #TheNixonDefense
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On today's Kagro in the Morning show, even as Netroots Nation 2014 draws near, Greg Dworkin continues manning his post! TradMed insistence on a Clinton/Warren schism. CBO numbers on health care get better & better. Why don't they just Moneyball government? Because like in business, the boss won't listen, anyway. Then, "How to mobilize reluctant voters." And how doing that in George can get you arrested. Thanks once again to our sponsor, Harry's! Best shave available, and first-time customers can prove it for as little as $10 for the works: blades, razor handle & shaving cream. Use promo code "Kagro" to save $5 on your first order.



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