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A beautifully concise description.. LQD to the max

by geezer in Paris Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 08:44:57 AM EST

For those of us still searching for a way to illuminate the often murky reasons why we all (or most of us) grow endlessly poorer and more desperate, here's a great post.
A Comment to Frank Richs' great column of yesterday, turned up on Krugman's blog this morning.

Damn! So THAT'S how it works!

Great Job, #81.

Read it and weep.

Here, it's comment #2 on Krugman's post.
 


I work on Wall Street, I'm a Democrat, and I read the financial news each day. I understand what Republicans are doing to the bottom 98% percent of Americans better than most. They are destroying democracy itself and our children's future and turning this country into an anti-democratic oligarchy.

It troubles me greatly that liberal media does not grasp how conservative financial propaganda (a la Milton Friedman) is being used as a blueprint for the cruelties dealt upon the American people by Congressional Republicans.

And it's clear the White House hasn't a clue.

For instance, Friedman/Republican propaganda preaches that government assets should be privatized. Hence, Gov. Christie in New Jersey, like the national Republicans, is searching for ways to privatize as much of what is currently held, and done, by government as possible.

Privatizing assets held by government simply means that one rich person, or one wealthy corporation, will make and keep the profits by operating what was formerly a public asset instead of the people at large. Privatize the New Jersey Turnpike? If so, one person or company makes a profit from commuters using it every day to go to work instead of the government, i.e. you and me. Oh, you say, the turnpike's not making a profit now and so is costing the state money instead of adding to our coffers? Okay, so increase revenues and fix the situation, don't sell it! The same is true for social security, Medicare, health care, etc.

Republicans want your government privatized because they know the few will get even richer as they exploit the people and it is only those few--the top 2% in net worth--that they serve.

Warren Buffet appeared on CNBC recently and said the 400 richest Americans listed in Forbes magazine earned an average of $ 348 million EACH last year, and paid individually an average of 17% each in federal taxes. Despite the fact that they were all in the highest NOMINAL federal tax bracket, after deductions, their average EFFECTIVE tax rate was 17%! (Buffet's comments were reported...nowhere...outside of CNBC.)

That means an individual American earning $ 60,000 annually shares his effective tax rate with the 400 richest Americans. Yet the Republicans say the rich pay too much in taxes and the American people nod their collective heads and agree. Lies!

Tax policy is about how much you keep AFTER taxes, not how much you pay. By promoting propaganda that focuses on how much in taxes the rich pay, Republicans distract you from seeing how much they keep.

Raising the effective tax rate on multi-billionaires to 50% means they would have to subsist on an average of $ 174 million per year. Such an increase would bring in an additional $ 45 billion into the federal treasury--from just 400 people! If we raised the effective rate to 50% on the richest 2% of Americans--six million in all out of 310 million people, i.e. those who earn $ 1 million or more from all sources, we could erase our annual deficits and run surpluses immediately. And we would not have to raise a dime from those who earn $ 999,999 per year or less.

Major American corporations--the Fortune largest 1000--pay only 10% of all tax monies paid annually into the federal treasury, or 2% of GDP. That is down from 6%, or 32% of all tax monies paid into the federal treasury in 1952. This amounts to a great "opting out" by major corporations from funding the federal government. The result is we now borrow an average of 15% of all monies taken in to fund the federal government (which, of course, covers the amount no longer taken in from major corporations), and which forces us to pay interest-on-interest as we sell greater amounts of US treasuries to foreign sovereign funds and wealthy individuals to finance our annual shortfalls.

This payout of interest on borrowing redistributes wealth UPWARD from the poorest 98% of Americans to the richest 2% since they are the principal purchasers of treasury debt. It also represents a bleeding of wealth out of the country to China, Japan and the Middle East, which is where most of our national paper is held. Finally, since much of the activities of the US departments of State and of Defense have been privatized, corporations and contractors principally benefit from the
$ 768 billion spent on defense and foreign activities, meaning that fully 40% of federal outlays flow UPWARD to the richest 2% of the population (since the richest 1% among us own 83% of all stocks).

The federal government has become an enormous engine for redirecting taxpayer monies up to the rich, who contribute only 17% of their income to inflows. Hence, the enormous spread between rich and poor.

Now, --since you live in the belly of the beast---what ya gonna do?

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European Tribune - A beautifully concise description.. LQD to the max
Now, --since you live in the belly of the beast---what ya gonna do?
Are you talking to me?

Uh, me, I'm just a small cell in the gut lining. Maybe you should ask a neuron, if you can find one.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 09:51:10 AM EST
I suspect that GiP's implication was that we all live in the belly of the beast and are in the process of being digested, unless we are among the top 0.1% for whom that digestive system works. I would say that your role is more that of a neuron in the central nervous system, one that signals "foul" to the beast when it is sniffing poison.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 01:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought he was talking to the guy who said
I work on Wall Street, I'm a Democrat, and I read the financial news each day. I understand what Republicans are doing to the bottom 98% percent of Americans better than most. They are destroying democracy itself and our children's future and turning this country into an anti-democratic oligarchy.



Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 02:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to know where he resides in the beast. But he does come off a bit Manichean in his view of who is doing what to whom. The Democrats are hardly without blame in this fiasco. And their portion of the blame increases with every day Obama continues the current course.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 03:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, did you enjoy Obama's petulant whining today about how nobody appreciates how much he's done, and how the left is all purists who would sacrifice all progressive gain to principle?

Obama really tore the stuffing out of those straw men. I guess this is going to be spun as Obama developing a backbone - against his base.  

I'm impressed at Obama's compartmentalization. I'm half ready to attribute it to growing up black, and the sucking up and swallowing needed to get ahead while blackish.

I wonder if Michelle is giving him any shit about the caving...

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah. Pretty incredible.
I'm printing a part of a letter to a friend (I know he won't mind) that expresses my view fairly well--
Sadly, his list of disasters and failed policy is pretty much my view too.
I also see Obama as essentially a quisling, but I don't see the same level of duplicity that freeman does.
The wreckage-strewn landscape of his first two years is partly a result of the shadow deals that have eaten him, but I see another element.
I think a good case can be made that Obama is not very sane.

The complex, evil stew that is the social matrix that any successful black American must deal with is very hard on the head. Read James Baldwin, (and perhaps at least a dozen other good black American writers) for a little insight into the price of success.

Obama's greatest skill is, I think, finding rationalizations, justifications and evasions----for himself, for everything.

Milton Friedman's professional deceptions needed to be carefully polished, all handles removed, all loopholes rendered logically watertight, at first. As time went on, his followers became more and more willing to assume he was right until proven otherwise. Eventually his influence became pervasive, almost beyond question by the faithful. That situation is being eroded a bit at a time, mostly by the death of the faithful.
Authoritarian personalities are pretty much impervious to factual revelations of failure by their authority figure.

 Publicly, for the proles like us, Obama's political strategy was to fabricate a persona that was an anti-bush.  He also needed to create rationalizations and empty but sweet generalizations that could be sold to a poorly educated and desperate public, and for the oligarchs, he needed to find a path of least resistance among all competing influences- a task that Obama had been doing all along anyway. and a quisling persona that would be non-threatening for everyone.

It's a terrible place to be. I'd go mad. Baldwin describes it well, in "Black Like Me".

Gore Vidal is right.
Obama is weak and incompetent as a wielder of power, but I think he's a genius at negotiating the landmines, and deceiving himself.
But he's up against that part of reality I spoke about in my post about Pinocchio-- the real, solid part. Hunger. He's useless there.

Here I was just impressed by a very clear description that one could employ to help those to understand who still want to- and who dare to- go where this george Carlin piece goes. #81 is a bit more---diplomatic.
Your Owners


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 04:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been too engrossed watching the train wreck that is European economic policy to pay attention to Obama much, but what I'm gleaning from comments here lately really is incredible.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 05:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once again reading ET is like getting the news two years early.

Reading the expectations in that thread is an unhappy experience.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 05:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many Mad Emperors in a row is that now?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 05:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on whether you give Carter a pass. I tend to do so, more on the grounds of his grasp of reality and where his heart is than on his accomplishments as POTUS; then on how you judge the tragic figure of LBJ, who at least had the grace to see that he had lost the center of the electorate in his doomed effort to stave off Goldwater's inevitable demagoguery of "who lost Vietnam" had LBJ NOT decided to escalate in '65; then on whether you think JFK was arrogantly delusional in thinking he could accept the Chicago Mob's help in the '60 election and then allow RFK to burn them with investigations.

So my vote goes for Eisenhower, particularly for his farewell address about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, his deep understanding of the implications of the mentality of military leaders and his sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock in '57 and his disdain for McCarthy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 11:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Clinton was unambiguously mad?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 11:33:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He dutifully drank his poisoned political chalice at the end of his term by signing off on the repeal of Glass-Steagall, etc. He was rewarded with the funds for his presidential library and kept the faith with his hedge fund backers. I don't think he was crazy, but he was corrupted and compromised by the necessities of the politics of his time. I do think he would have had much more likelihood of turning on the banks and reforming the system had he been presented with the opportunities Obama inherited in Jan. '09. I think Hillary might have as well.

Pope put it nicely:

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen.
But seen to oft', grown accustomed to its face
We first pity, then endure, then embrace.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 12:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So my vote goes for Eisenhower, particularly for his farewell address about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, his deep understanding of the implications of the mentality of military leaders and his sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock in '57 and his disdain for McCarthy.

While Ike may have warned about the MIC, it certainly ran amok during his administration, I'd even argue that by the time he warned us about it it was too late.

At this point it is clear that the American political system is broken through and through. Obama's recent actions may have the long-term effect of creating change by generating further cause for rebellion; in the near term it may help to further awaken democrats from their illusions about American politics.

by US Blues on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 01:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's recent actions may have the long-term effect of creating change by generating further cause for rebellion; in the near term it may help to further awaken democrats from their illusions about American politics.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
Man never is, but always To be Blest. -- A. Pope

And while we are on the subject, perhaps someone should give Bo Obama a collar with another Pope epigram:

I am my master's dog at Kew.
Pray tell me sir, whose dog are you?

Then Obama could have a greenhouse installed by the White House garden and call it Kew.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 02:32:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha,Ha, Ha---
A Kewt idea.

We could all individually send him a dog biscuit.
But they'd probably consider it bio warfare.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 10:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was indeed speaking rhetorically to the guy who wrote it.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 04:20:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like that better than my actual thought.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 04:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read the other day that the privatisation of Swedish pharmacies has cost about 50 million euros in direct payments to private corporations, to make sure they could make a big profit.

As market economy, it is a joke.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 04:09:53 PM EST
I am awaiting the return of awarding patent monopolies on essentials such as salt as practiced under James I.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 9th, 2010 at 11:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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