Skip to main content

Thesis:
Wealth does not create more jobs; need does. In a healthy capitalistic system, one which creates a long term economic stability, satisfying the needs of the bottom 90% of workers provides the greatest stability. Wealth becomes a byproduct of employment. Guarantying high levels of wealth to the top 10%, and especially 1% creates an overall unstable economy for the vast majority of Americans, the bottom 90%. Plutonomics is a hindrance to stable high employment and sustained new job creation.

Econ 9-1-1: Part I: Wealth, huh, good God. What is it good for?
Econ 9-1-1: Part II: "Taxes? We don't want no taxes. We don't need no taxes! I don't have to show you any stinkin' taxes!"

Why doesn't our government do something about plutonomics?

Definitions
Plutocracy: An elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth. Government controlled by the wealthy. (Basically, the richest 1% of U.S. Households)

Plutonomy: A term coined in 2005 by Citicorp's Ajay Kapur to describe the economy of the past three decades. Economy controlled by Plutocrats; Economic system run by and for the benefit of the Plutocracy.

Why doesn't our government do something about plutonomics?

They have. They've adopted it. They love it. They can't get enough of it. It has become clear that, for several reasons, plutonomy is now the economic system preferred by the majority of congress, the previous four presidents, and possibly our current president. It's easy to understand why. First, it provides members of congress with a readily available source of large campaign contributions (with the Supreme Ruling, even larger in the future). It is the lifeblood of their reelection, their further employment, their continued affluence, and their growing influence. Second, protecting the plutonomy is a guarantee of a place in the sun after resignation, electoral defeat or retirement. Terms in congress have become internships for corporate boards of directors, lobbying firms, think tanks, well paid corporate positions, lucrative speaking engagements and paid gigs at main stream media outlets. Third, and not insignificantly, they are lifted into the upper echelons of high society. They get to breathe the rarified air of the rich, powerful and famous. Fourth, they wanted to get rich and at the same time believe the bottom 90% would be alright. That way they wouldn't have to nudge their conscience from its thirty year nap; so, they decided to ignore the obvious. For wishful politicians plutonomy was a case of, "please be true, please be true, please be true - whoops - well, I'm rich, too bad for you." Then to hold their job they took a page or scene from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." They blustered, blew hot air, stirred emotions and created mush. It's really not hard to understand; it's just hard for the working class to justify.

Thus, Libermann's support for the public health insurance option vanishes as he approaches retirement and looks to position himself for a seat on the board of directors of an insurance company. It wasn't a change in position over principle; it was an audition. Since 1989 Chris Dodd has received $13.9 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector. After Dodd announces his retirement he no longer has to pretend to support strong financial regulation. He declares a two man regulatory finance subcommittee, then cuts it in half and pushes to replace the proposed independent, standalone Consumer Financial Protection Agency with a weak Bureau of Financial Protection inside the Treasury. It is a Wall Street job interview.

Why don't the invisible "average consumers" do something about plutonomics?

First, part of it has been the great selling job that the Republicans and many Democrats have done. In fact, even though he sent this snowball rolling down hill, some Democrats still admire Ronald Reagan, the sacred icon of the Republican party. On second thought, many Americans are unaware of his responsibility for the debt, demise of unions, depressed wages and decreased services. They see him as the nice old man sitting atop his steed with a smile and his hat stylishly cocked to one side. His promise of a good life for everyone was too tempting to ignore. The promise that we could have it all was an allure that we couldn't resist.

Second, they gave us an enemy. Never mind that it was our own government. The presentation of a scapegoat for our failures was soothing. It wasn't us; it was them, them out there. Government is not the solution; it's part of the problem. They let us separate America from the government of the United States. They were able to separate the Constitution from the government that the Constitution set up. We had found the enemy and it was us, no them - wait - we're not too blame. As my daughter humorously says to every mistake, "I didn't do it." We had separated ourselves from our government. It was no longer what they did, it was what they were and we had nothing to do with it. All we had to do was convince ourselves that we didn't live in a democracy; so, even though we elected these people, we yelled, "Tyranny." Even though we could replace them we shouted, "Sic Semper Tyrannis." Very clever self deceit.

Third, we admire the wealthy. We are 90% of the population, and although we are more angry, we continue to grovel at the feet of the powerful and wealthy and to be used by them. With the Supreme Court ruling on corporate political contribution, we could be groveling even more. Too many people in this country still worship the wealthy because they worship wealth. They want to be them, so they dare not attack them. It's the same psychology that causes people to buy Inquirer, Star, and People and tune into a tour of an athlete's "crib."

Fourth, we don't know what's going on until its already gone on. We really don't know who these politicians are before we elect them; so, it's hard to know how important their personal wealth is compared to their constituents well-being. To top it off, they have no compunction about lying to us about the importance of wealth or the extent of their personal wealth. Add our gullibility and carelessness to that, and artful politicians know that we can be swayed by clichés, and cleverly crafted sound bites that edge the truth aside. We have allowed politicians to sell bribery as lobbying. The main stream media's reliance on advertising from the plutocrats has made their judgement unreliable. They are part of the plutocracy and are dependent on a vibrant plutonomy. While we say that we don't trust politicians, we keep trying to. Their reelection is almost assured. We let media labels and revelations about their personal lives influence our decisions about their qualifications as lawmakers.

Fifth, We are easily distracted by side issues that have no effect on our economic well-being. We vote based on abortion, stem cell research, gun control, illicit affairs, religion, gay-rights, immigration, marijuana legalization.

Sixth, We're just f'n lazy. We do not take the time nor put out the effort necessary to find out the truth. The information is available but it is up to us to look because MSM has a vested interest in believing the information of the plutocrats.  

We need to grow up. The childish admiration of the plutocrats (the wealthy and famous) is an insidious distraction. It blinds us. It prevents us from seeing what is really happening, and if we can't see, we can't act. Time is running out if we want our children to have a prayer for a decent life. They deserve it more than we do. We are letting this happen.

This brings me back to my thesis. Wealth does not create more jobs; need does. In a healthy capitalistic economy, one which is satisfying the needs of all the people (even the outcaste 90%), wealth is a byproduct of employment, and it rightly should be. A capitalistic system that does not create products and services intended to satisfy the increasing needs of the vast majority of people does not create stable employment; thus, it results in an unstable economy for the bottom 90%.

We need to replace the Plutonomy with Populonomy, a populist economy based on the needs of the 90%, an economy that benefits the 90%. Money needs to be shifted from the top 1% of wealthy people and corporations to the 90%. That means a return a the 1940's and 1950's graduated income tax scale and an increase in capital gains taxes. Only then will we see a true change in the employment and spending power that will stabilize the economy.

A final note: In this disastrous economy, raising taxes on wealthy people and corporations is not redistribution of wealth. It is re-employment. It is money for job creation.

Originally posted to professorfate on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 07:33 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Out of hope, out of rope, out of time

    by professorfate on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 07:33:47 PM PDT

  •  T&R-ed. Not that what you propose will ever (0+ / 0-)

    happen. We have no chance of restoring the American economy for at least a generation.

    All evil needs to succeed is for good people to say "the votes aren't there in the Senate."

    by Jacques on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 07:50:12 PM PDT

  •  The problem is that when it comes to economic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocbytheBay

    matters, the two parties are not as far apart as they are on social issues.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 07:57:00 PM PDT

  •  Best diary ever... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocbytheBay

    I don't think anyone could say it any better.  And we are primarily to blame for all this because we don't stand up for ourselves.  We let fear and apathy rule the day.  It's time to say enough...we just need a straight path to do it.  

    •  Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      we known the path, but as long as the recession doesn't become a real depression we shall not overcome. As long as we have enough gas to get to the mall, we shall not overcome.

      My hope lies with my daughter's generation (she's a sophomore in college now). I'm telling you, these young men and women are different. They care. They're better informed and they're louder. They're not as gullible. They're also a lot more fun.  There aren't a lot of them like that but there are enough of them to rattle the cages.

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Out of hope, out of rope, out of time

      by professorfate on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 09:53:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The only path I see is a long one. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      It's a Constitutional amendment that declares that a corporation is not a person and does not have the same rights as individuals. The essence of a corporation is  its buildings, its land, its real property, its fixtures. The essence of an individual is thoughts. An individual can think and then vote. A building cannot think; thus, it cannot vote. A corporation can not speak as a single voice when it is composed of a multitude of voices who gather not because they are speaking with one voice on an issue but, rather, because they were hired.

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Out of hope, out of rope, out of time

      by professorfate on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 11:05:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what has happened to DKOS? (0+ / 0-)

    From my point of view--this is a thoughtful diary on an important topic and yet very little activity. I don`t understand why diaries about Glen Beck or Sarah Palin attract more activity than a great diary like this one.

    •  Thanks, but I'm never surprised (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocbytheBay, ozsea1

      Glen and Sarah (weepy and creepy) are easy targets. They require little thought. They provoke a visceral reaction that is simple. It's like the old smear football some of us played as kids. It's easy to pile on and if its the bully who has the ball, we relish the opportunity. They, however, have little to do with the future of this country. They are a distraction from the real business on which we should be concentrating. We have far more important things than those two bozos and the other tea party and far right circus.

      My major concern, well, one of my concerns, is the lack of understand of economics, from a technical point and an emotional and psychological point. Too much is accepted from the media. The acceptance of "common economic wisdom" disturbs me. People do not take the time to figure out how economics works. It's just too damn boring.  

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Out of hope, out of rope, out of time

      by professorfate on Mon Jul 12, 2010 at 09:43:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check out this wonderful video which (0+ / 0-)

    demonstrates Neoliberalism with the help of a balloon :

    http://vimeo.com/...

  •  I will also describe our economic/political (0+ / 0-)

    system as a Kleptocracy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    An example is the Wall street welfare payout a.k.a bailout. Other example is Obama's deficit commission which has been stacked with social security/medicare haters.

  •  professorfate - just a nit (0+ / 0-)

    You reference in your diary the SCOTUS decision (Citizens United) and the impact on campaign contributions. The 1907 law that prohibits direct contributions by corporations to candidates for federal office is still in effect. It was not part of the CU case or decision. CU allows corporations to make independent expenditures, not campaign contributions. There is a case coming through the system that will challenge the 1907 law and the prohibition of direct contributions. It is my view that the SCOTUS will allow the 1907 law to stand, and the distinction will be clear.    

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 07:07:33 AM PDT

    •  Nit or no nit, Thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zedaker, VClib, swaminathan

      Thanks for the clarification. It is greatly appreciated. As for what will happen in the future with the current court, I do not have much faith and for that matter, I do not have much faith in the Congress we've elected (with a few exceptions and it certainly isn't my representative Jerry Lewis). I am still bothered by the notion that corporations are treated as individuals. That's simply insane. Nonetheless, thanks for the info.  

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Out of hope, out of rope, out of time

      by professorfate on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 10:33:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Effective of CU is nearly as bad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zedaker

      Details are worth noting, as the whole truth is important.

      However, direct campaign contributions are not needed when you can 'independently spend' as much as you like against the candidate who doesn't do your bidding.  This tool will be much like the filibuster, wherein the mere threat of it will be enough to influence the behavior of already too-much-influenced representatives.  Corporations will get a win-win: the reps will do their bidding AND they won't even have to spend the money.

      If you want a discussion, please stick to arguing the point. If you wanted something else...please exit the vehicle.

      by robizio on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:47:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  robizio - I think that's a risk (0+ / 0-)

        While it's certainly a risk, we don't yet know if it will happen. Several states allow unlimited corporate spending in state and county races, and there certainly have been abuses, but the practice you outline has not been common. We shall see. I do think there is an important difference between direct campaign contributions and independent expenditures.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 07:22:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree, Demand is what makes the economy work. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swaminathan

    The broader based the distribution of wealth is, the more stable the economy.  The tough part is how do we replace the current system and what do we replace it with?  Not enough people, and especially not enough with political influence, are thinking about these questions.  Somehow the majority of people have to understand what is happening.

    "For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air."

    by Thutmose V on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 09:08:15 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site