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Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely have written a paper, Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time, which reveals something quite interesting about Americans they surveyed. Huge percentages across lines of gender, preferred 2004 presidential candidate and income levels miscalculated how upwardly skewed the distribution of wealth is in the United States, and similarly large percentages chose as ideal a level that comes closer to the wealth distribution in Sweden than of the U.S. Remember, this is accumulated wealth we're talking about, not annual income.

In the quintile chart below, the top row measures actual U.S. wealth distribution. The middle row is what respondents in the study thought wealth distribution is. The bottom row is what they thought wealth distribution ought to be.

You'll notice that the bottom 40 percent of the population owns 0.3 percent of the wealth, not enough to even show up on the chart. The top 40 percent owns 95 percent of the wealth, with 84 percent in the hands of the top 20 percent.

Horton and Ariely state:

Given the consensus among disparate groups on the gap between an ideal distribution of wealth and the actual level of wealth inequality, why don’t more Americans – especially those with low income – advocate for greater redistribution of wealth? First, our results demonstrate that Americans appear to drastically underestimate the current level of wealth inequality, suggesting they may simply be unaware of the gap. Second, just as people have erroneous beliefs about the actual level of wealth inequality, they may also hold overly optimistic beliefs about opportunities for social mobility in the United States (Benabou & Ok, 2001; Charles & Hurst, 2003; Keister, 2005), beliefs which in turn may drive support for unequal distributions of wealth. Third, despite the fact that conservatives and liberals in our sample agree that the current level of inequality far from ideal, public disagreements about the causes of that inequality may drown out this consensus (Alesina & Angeletos, 2005; Piketty, 1995). Finally, and more broadly, Americans exhibit a general disconnect between their attitudes towards economic inequality and their self-interest and public policy preferences (Bartels, 2005; Fong, 2001), suggesting that even given increased awareness of the gap between ideal and actual wealth distributions, Americans may remain unlikely to advocate for policies that would narrow this gap.  

So while Americans believe the distribution of wealth should be more equal, the country continues doggedly to pursue policies that are making that distribution less equal.

[h/t to James Kwak at Baseline Scenario]

• • • • •

At Daily Kos on this date in 2004:


Iraqi WMDs? Nope. It's Official. ... Again.

[T]here are 1202 Coalition fighters, at least 13,000 Iraqi civilians and thousands of Iraqi soldiers dead, and, according to the final report of the ISG, Saddam had no WMDs, or any concrete plans to develop them. Indeed, Iraq represented a "diminishing" threat when it was invaded by the United States. ...

Of course, as we were long ago told by Paul Wolfowitz, WMDs were chosen as a casus belli not because they represented a real threat but for "bureaucratic reasons." In other words, they knew they could simultaneously enrage and scare the shit out of the American people by saying that Iraq was joined at the hip with al Qaeda, and the next 9/11 might be a Saddam/Osama nuke in Seattle or a smallpox outbreak in Los Angeles.

The ISG report should provide great comfort to the families of soldiers and Marines returning lifeless to Dover Air Force Base.  

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting has published The Media's Construction of the 'Ground Zero Mosque'

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:06 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Strange that (14+ / 0-)

    So while Americans believe the distribution of wealth should be more equal, the country continues doggedly to pursue policies that are making that distribution less equal.

    How can that be, in our Representative Democracy?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:10:57 PM PDT

    •  Corruption of the "Representive" part (12+ / 0-)

      of Representative Democracy

      How can that be, in our Representative Democracy?

      •  Corruption to the Core of the Society (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rubine, Fixed Point Theorem, 2020adam

        Our very population has been corrupted by opportunists via advertising and careful message crafting. Combine that with a perpetual War on Education and we're in a ditch that will take generations to climb out of, if we ever do.

      •  Amend the Constitution: Wealth Tax (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on wealth, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

        -- proposed Amendment XXVIII

        Now how hard is that ???

        I like starting off at $10,000,000 with 1/10th of 1%.

        Go to 2% a year for net worth above $100-million.

        Pay off the national debt and level the wealth distribution. Same mechanism.

        Why not ?

        Career criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians =EQ= The GOPer Base

        by vets74 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:33:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Many middle class Americans were brainwashed (4+ / 0-)

      by the greedy rich who did an excellent job of convincing them that any manner of wealth redistribution that has as its goal anything but shoving ever more money toward the their leader Daddy Warbucks is immoral. For a long time, the nominal scapegoat was "godless communism" and the distinction between communism and totalitarian dictatorship was intentionally blurred as if the two are mutually inclusive despite the fact that a community can be voluntarily communistic, e.g., a kibbutz in Israel, a farm shared by hippies in northern California, or a small country in southeast Asia.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:27:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessarily. It's a uniquely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, RJDixon74135

        American perspective, based on centuries of the myth that we are more upwardly mobile than countries in Europe. If people are convinced that you can be as successful as you decide to be, the implication is that the poor are poor because they don't work hard or apply themselves. This is a myth, as the ability to rise out of your quintile in the US is not materially better than in most of Europe. But the myth persists, and there is no data I've seen to support the notion that the rich themselves either invented the myth or propagate it.

        I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

        by doc2 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 04:26:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonder if we'll ever know the true numbers (10+ / 0-)

    I suppose there's no way of knowing ...

    T]here are 1202 Coalition fighters, at least 13,000 Iraqi civilians and thousands of Iraqi soldiers dead, and, according to the final report of the ISG, Saddam had no WMDs, or any concrete plans to develop them. Indeed, Iraq represented a "diminishing" threat when it was invaded by the United States. ...

    I find it to be one of the tragedies of America today, that our leaders in government have not had to answer for the atrocious effects of the foregin war waged in Iraq, which was waged on lies and deceit of the American people.

  •  My ideal means of wealth distribution is... (7+ / 0-)

    inheritance.

    :-)

    *waits for heretofore unknown rich uncle to die*

    •  Uncle Scrooge McDuck (5+ / 0-)

      is not a rabbit. You must have some crazy DNA in your lineage.

      •  Do people care about inequality? Figures here. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Magnifico, 2020adam
        •  Almost strikes me as a given that people... (2+ / 0-)

          prefer low inequality to high income. I know we've built a massive myth in this country to claim otherwise, but the fact that said myth takes so much goddamn work to maintain indicates quite clearly that our Rulers worry what kind of crazy ideas we might get if we were thinking about the question on our own for ten minutes.

          Whether it's Reagan in the history textbooks, clean coal on TV, or Progress in Congress, you are constantly being sold a very expensive myth about your life. You (the royal (American) you, not you personally) think you can afford to buy more than you really can. You think you'll earn more in the future. You believe your children's children will go to college. You think your insurance will be there when you need it. You believe most of us have a job. You think you know which side you're supporting. You think we're the Good Guys.

          It's like we need to fight for people to understand the existence of reality before we can fight within reality. Facts mean nothing if others do not experience them. We can talk day and night about corn subsidies or filibuster reform, but most Americans don't even know what a filibuster is, and they've only ever heard of Monsanto during the commercial breaks on CNN, Fox, NPR or KRLA.

          I think Americans do care about inequality. And health care. And clean campaigns. There just isn't anyone able to represent those thoughts in Government (because of myth-based ignorance and unclean campaigns). It's a big nasty feedback loop.

      •  given the lineage of Huey, Dewey and Louie, (0+ / 0-)

        and all that pantslessness, Levi-Strauss may have been correct about the role of the uncle and the incest taboo so the rabbit did die.

        "calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni),Warning-Some Snark Above

        by annieli on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:05:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ideal (4+ / 0-)

    So the top 20% holding more than 30% of a nation's wealth is ideal? I suppose it is better than the actual, holding about 85% of the wealth, but still those two have weird notion of what is 'ideal'.

    I would think the ideal would have the middle 20% hold the bulk of the nation's wealth would be closer to ideal.

    •  That would be impossible (5+ / 0-)

      Whichever quintile owns the most wealth is the top quintile.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:29:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  people mistakenly think homogeneity... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda

      I suspect most people, when asked for the `ideal' don't think very hard and, if asking how to distribute the wealth among quintiles, divide the wealth into five equal blocks, e.g.

      |20|20|20|20|20|

      Naively this might look uniform, although it is far from being so.

      Clearly the 'ideal', reflecting essentially uniform distribution of wealth, would be

      |0|0|100|0|0|

      Also, many have mean ideologized to think that uniform distribution of wealth is undesirable because it is the goal of communism.

      •  something stupid in the comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda

        My comment is not well said.

        What would be better to say is that ideally there would not be quintiles.

        By posing the question in terms of some division, folks are steered into distributing the wealth unequally.

      •  That's ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

        Why should a 21 year-old have the same wealth as a 50 year-old?  Or why shouldn't there be a reward over a lifetime for being harder working or better? Or even just lucky?

        "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

        by Old Left Good Left on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:32:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Baseball postseason (5+ / 0-)

    NHL/NBA pre-season, and NFL in full swing.

    It is a coincidence this happens every year in the weeks before the election?

    I barely have time to focus on sports; most people are the other way around.

    Quit yer whinin' and GOTFV.

    by LaughingPlanet on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:19:29 PM PDT

  •  Got a mail piece from the DSCC yesterday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, squarewheel

    with a message from Obama on it.  Wrote on the return that I would give again when they start standing up to Republicans and change the filibuster rules for the next Congress.  No postage required.

    Enough of those and maybe they'll get the hint.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:20:13 PM PDT

    •  I dont know how Democrats can change filibuster (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Purple Priestess

      rules, when five years ago, when the GOP wanted to remove the filibuster, Dems were talking about how critical it was for democracy. I think it was Jon Stewart who said, "CSPAN doesnt just remove the old video clips when the administration changes."

      •  If you remove the filibuster (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Purple Priestess

        Then you run the risk of letting flood gates open once your party leaves power.

        Could you imagine a GOP Senate without filibusters?

        ~shudders~

        The way you defeat the filibuster is by putting it on CSPAN.  You have to message it - you have to make it newsworthy.  

        "Ubermensch" is German for "Douchebag"

        by meatballs on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:50:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but that doesn't justify the anonymous hold (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Purple Priestess

          which should be abolished.

          Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

          by RJDixon74135 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:33:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If in power, Rethugs will abolish filibusters (0+ / 0-)

          if they need to.  As it has been, they have always found enough spineless Democrats to vote for whatever evil crap they're pushing.

          The filibuster is of no value to progressives.  Zero.  None.  Actually, the Senate isn't either, but that's another matter....

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 12:17:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am still flabbergasted (7+ / 0-)

    that George Bush et al., were not thrown into dungeons when no WMDs were found in Iraq. Not only were they not arrested, tried, and imprisoned, they were re-elected.

    What is up with that? I am still mystified.

    How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:21:45 PM PDT

  •  It's time... (14+ / 0-)

    to go all out for Russ.

    The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. -Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:24:55 PM PDT

  •  The Top 2nd Percentile is So Screwed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fixed Point Theorem

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Heh. 1% below the top and they think there are lifeboats for them too. Hell most of the top 1% are as screwed as the welfare queens.

    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 Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:27:23 PM PDT

  •  it's not enough to be depressed about climate (7+ / 0-)

    change.

    I have to despair because a majority of Americans are too stupid to vote for policies which would improve their lives and the lives of others.

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:27:29 PM PDT

  •  As somebody in that "4th 20%" (10+ / 0-)

    I'm fairly onto the fact that there's no money here, still getting up and going into work every day where I see literally millions of dollars transferred in front of me every day.  Older I get the more it seems likely it all will only end badly for me, and probably for US society in general as well.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:27:49 PM PDT

    •  Can you pull a Jerome Kerviel?.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ActivistGuy

      ...probably not.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:30:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's Us. We Touched the Highest 20% for 1 Year (4+ / 0-)

      before our high tech careers boarded the plane for Bangalore.

      We do have small state worker pensions coming, on the other hand the state will flip Republican before we can start drawing. No matter really; it wasn't going to be enough to retire prior to old age disability anyway.

      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 Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:31:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the longest time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        somewhere between 10-15 years, every year my income was within $1000 of the national median for full-time workers (median, not mean, it's both a more meaningful number, and a much lower one), but since my work is mortgage industry related and my hours are down sharply the past few years, I'm probably nearly at the bottom of the "4th 20%" now.  

        American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

        by ActivistGuy on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:39:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The uber wealthy... (5+ / 0-)

    ... have worked hard for decades to convince as many folks as possible that their interests and those of the uber wealthy were aligned.

    So, it comes as no surprise that a lot of folks who see a tax on the rich as hurting themselves also underestimate the wealth disparity.

    The inadequate is the enemy of the necessary.

    by JRandomPoster on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:29:56 PM PDT

  •  I'm wondering if the IRS designation (3+ / 0-)

    504-C4 for the new type of PAC was an inside joke given how this has issue has exploded

    We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

    by JML9999 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:31:26 PM PDT

  •  I just contruted... (7+ / 0-)


    fifty bucks I really can't afford to Feingold.

    The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. -Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:32:30 PM PDT

  •  Climate change news, not good (4+ / 0-)
    http://www.sciencenews.org/...

     Warming is accelerating global water cycle
    Stream flows into the ocean have been increasing annually, study finds

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/3/907363/-Once-you-poison-the-well,-theres-no-turning-back.-

    by shpilk on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:33:17 PM PDT

  •  Oh yeah, almost forgot (2+ / 0-)

    Yankees?

    FT[M]FY

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/3/907363/-Once-you-poison-the-well,-theres-no-turning-back.-

    by shpilk on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:36:06 PM PDT

  •  There's more redistribution on the menu (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, JeffW, Mike Taylor

    And here's one of the most succinct and clear analysis of recent memory. Generated by the IMF saying another $4T will need to be pumped into Europe and the US's banking system. To cover their insolvency issue for next year or two. (After that, there'll be more, of course.)

    See how that works? If people knew that the giant banks have created a black hole of debt large enough to suck most of the world economy into it, and that the debt was created through fraud and wild gambling and speculation, demands to break up the giant banks and imprison their management would be overwhelming.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:40:16 PM PDT

  •  Night Owls needs a logo (10+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    It's one of my favorite features.  Thank you, MB.

    Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

    by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:41:25 PM PDT

  •  the graph says 2th 20%? (0+ / 0-)

    2th? is that a mistake or am I stupid?

  •  Restore the Eisenhower Tax code (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess, Aquagranny911

    90+ % for the top tax bracket
    you gopers dare call IKE a commie?!?!

  •  So, tell me then WHY it is this way. (3+ / 0-)

    Finally, and more broadly, Americans exhibit a general disconnect between their attitudes towards economic inequality and their self-interest and public policy preferences (Bartels, 2005; Fong, 2001), suggesting that even given increased awareness of the gap between ideal and actual wealth distributions, Americans may remain unlikely to advocate for policies that would narrow this gap.  

    This is an American phenomenon. Why is it this way? How did this develop?

    It looks as if the American population has been successfully conditioned, also known as softly bullied, armtwisted, threatened and brainwashed into acting against their own self-interest, which is to the advantage of people whose interest it is to remain in power as to retain the wealth to themselves.

    If you don't fight against that kind of abuse, isn't such behavior defined among psychiatrists as a certain syndrome?

  •  The mal-distribution of wealth (2+ / 0-)

    needs to be the focus, front and center, every day.

    We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I'm kidding. - Kurt Vonnegut

    by not a cent on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:58:01 PM PDT

  •  honestly, how is the bottom (3+ / 0-)

    20% supposed to have 10% of the wealth?

    That group includes

    people who never graduated high school

    new college grads with student loans to pay off

    those in jail i suppose (not counting Madoff)

    anyone going through bankruptcy

    young people in general who have not had the time needed to accumulate any wealth

  •  One thing I just don't understand (4+ / 0-)

    is a poll I saw today (it snapped by on the TV while I was working so I don't have the details) showing that "working class" (hey!  isn't that most everyone these days?) people without college degrees are overwhelmingly supporting the GOP.  I just don't get this at all -- this is the GOP that CREATED the wealth inequality and is doing its level best to make it part of the fabric of America -- they appear to be in favor of transforming this country into a latter-day reincarnation of a banana republic (what would be the correct fruit-label here?  apple republic?) . . . and yet they play all the fear cards and here we are.

    Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

    by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:10:08 PM PDT

    •  there is more to life than (0+ / 0-)

      the distribution of wealth. There is the size of the pie too.

      I'm facebooking with a mother of 6 in the Philippines (we support one of her kids through a charity). Their nipa hut is something like 3 meters by 5 meters.

      See is getting by as a maid/babysitter for her sister in law, which is the only way she even can access the internet. Of course she has not seen her kids in 2 months.

      We have poor in America, but our poor have cable TV and cars. It's all relative.

      •  while I agree that there are many people (4+ / 0-)

        who are in horrific straits all over the world, the notion that "our poor have cable TV and cars" is just ridiculous . . . they do not.  This is a right-wing talking point; as is the notion that because poor people in this country may have access to a struggling foodbank, they are "lucky."

        The whole point of what MB was writing about is that THIS IS THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET and yet most of its wealth is NOW being held and "earned" (I use that loosely, as the "earnings" are from stock dividends and investments) by a tiny fraction of this country.

        This country became the country that it is because of its investment in the middle class -- good public education, union jobs that paid a fair wage, affordable housing -- all this was GOOD.  All this BUILT our country and provided the means for Social Security, Medicare, etc.

        We are NOT the Philippines.

        And I sure don't want the Philippines as my standard for how this country should operate.

        Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

        by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:29:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  some government stats for the lowest 10% income (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uncle Milty

          http://www.heritage.org/...

          Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

          Ninety seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

          Seventy eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

          I was not suggesting the Philippines as a standard, but using it to give a sense of how different our sense of poverty is compared to people elsewhere.

          The important difference between us and them is not the distribution of wealth, but the amount of wealth. Our pie is so much larger that even a tiny sliver allows our poor to live better lives than 90% of the world does.

          •  citing the Heritage Foundation (5+ / 0-)

            for this nonsense proves my point . . . these are right-wing talking points and have no place here . . . and saying that "how different our sense of poverty is compared to people elsewhere" does nothing to answer the fundamental question MB raised tonight regarding INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES.

            Your ridiculous suggestion that "our pie" is "so much larger" that a "tiny sliver allows our poor" to live "better lies than 90% of the world does" is just . . . in a word, offensive.

            Our "pie" is now being given in huge hunks to the richest Americans, while 90 percent of the population waits for crumbs.

            This is NOT a Third World country (yet, anyway) . . . ONLY because good Dems and Progressives are doing their level best to make sure that we don't slide into a banana Republic . . .

            I am shocked and horrified to read this absolute nonsense on Daily Kos!

            Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

            by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:05:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  they are either (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uncle Milty

              true or false. Shouldn't that be the criteria for whether they have a place here? And Heritage is getting the data from the US government.

              If they are false, what are the real results?

              •  Prove it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Purple Priestess

                And on top of this: explain why you think that income inequality in a third world nation justifies the radical pro-income-inequality position of the Republican party in the United States . . . and how that benefits our nation.

                Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

                by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:24:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  easy to prove (0+ / 0-)

                  "The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:"

                  i think you've missed my point...which is that looking only at the distribution of wealth, without looking at how much wealth there is, isn't a good way to look at the data.

                  Imagine 2 countries with identical populations. In country A, everyone is 10x as wealthy as his twin in country B.

                  Those 2 countries will have identical wealth distributions, but the condition of the people will be far different....because the pie is 10X as big in country A.

                  •  I haven't missed your point (4+ / 0-)

                    I GET your point -- you believe that because the wretched circumstances of those in poverty in Third World countries are somehow worse (although you still refuse to say how) are somehow less awful than those who live poverty in the United States - that this somehow invalidates what we are saying about income inequality in the United States of America.

                    Again, this is just plain nonsense -- unless you think it would be a GREAT IDEA to turn the United States into a third world country, which is what those you cite as "sources" seem to believe.  

                    And PS: you have proven nothing.

                    Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

                    by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:50:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not sure you do... (0+ / 0-)

                      By your logic, the US should submit to global taxation to redistribute our wealth to poorer countries.  How many of those respondents would be in favor of that?  Everyone is in favor of taking money someone else earned and giving it to them.

                      Without controlling for age, education, talents, etc, the question is meaningless.  No one has a problem with pro athletes or Brad Pitt being rich.  

                      If you asked people, "How much wealth will you have at 20 vs 40 vs 60?"  For most Americans, the wealth they have at 60 is vastly greater than when they were young and likely insolvent.  Does that mean we are all in favor of income inequality?  Most of the people at the bottom are young, uneducated, mentally ill, illiterate, etc.

                      If you ask people the same question about the tax burden, most people would skew similar "ideal" percentages, but they don't realize they would be arguing for tax cuts for the rich and massive increases on the middle-class.  Few people realize that the bottom half of income earners pay almost no taxes and a family earning 45k (median wages) doesn't pay much at all.  In fact, if they have a few kids, they often get cash back.

                      Lastly, if we remove the amount of wealth that is (or will be) donated (see Gates, Buffet, Bloomberg, etc.) and paid in taxes, the true amount of consumption is per person is probably much closer to what people feel is ideal.

                      •  This isn't even true. (0+ / 0-)

                        For most younger Americans, based on current trend, they have less wealth at 60 than at 40.  You have no idea what's been going on in this country.  It is impossible to get ahead unless you're extremely lucky, a supergenius, or extremely criminal.

                        Lastly, if we remove the amount of wealth that is (or will be) donated (see Gates, Buffet, Bloomberg, etc.) and paid in taxes, the true amount of consumption is per person is probably much closer to what people feel is ideal.

                        No, it's not.  You're making shit up.  After tax the distribution is most outrageously skewed in favor of the superrich, the worst in the developed world.  Donations?  Well, if you include the Koch Brothers' "donations" to their own political causes, that would make the numbers seem more "equal", but that counts as consumption to any normal person.

                        You fail to realize that Gates, Buffett, and Bloomberg are actually outliers in terms of generosity among the superrich.  And even they aren't that generous: the poor give more to charity than the rich as an income percentage.

                        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                        by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 12:22:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  maybe you should go buy (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Fixed Point Theorem

                    a clue

          •  And this (5+ / 0-)

            "The important difference between us and them is not the distribution of wealth, but the amount of wealth" is RIGHT WING BULLS**T.

            As is this:"Our pie is so much larger that even a tiny sliver allows our poor to live better lives than 90% of the world does."

            That somehow JUSTIFIES the income shift?

            Nonsense.

            Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

            by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:09:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  some of the poor who "own" a car (6+ / 0-)

            live in them, which by the way is a hut smaller than 3 meters by 5 meters.

            fact does not require fiction for balance

            by mollyd on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 12:18:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Most poor people are FORCED... (3+ / 0-)

            ...to acquire "assets" that are not in their long term economic interests.

            Number 1 being a car. And I use the term loosely, because many working poor cannot afford to LEGALLY maintain ANY car, if one includes insurance and safety maintenance in the calculus. Real and practical Public transportation in our mass transit challenged metro areas (Phoenix, Houston, etc.) could get well over a quarter of working poor out of that particular drain on household income - as much as rent for many people.

            "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

            by Egalitare on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 02:34:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)

        people in America are homeless and starving- dont fool yourself

      •  yes, how lucky you are that (0+ / 0-)

        the self-proclaimed richest and most militarized and powerful nation in the world can always point to other nations that are poorer and more totalitarian than they are themselves.

        No problem, you won't run out in "selling" your ideas to happless new immigrants, who will do everything for you just to make $5.00 an hour instead of $5.00 a day or month. Which doesn't mean that $5.00 an hour is the policy of distributing the wealth within the US fairly.

        It's telling that the most right-wing politicians always point out how "evil" other dictators are to justify their own lack of it.

        It's like reacting to a person who calls you a racist to point out that others are more racist that you are. A common reaction and one that doesn't make both less racist.

    •  We need fairness doctrin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Purple Priestess, Noamjunior

      People are told over and over 24/7 to support repub policy.  If they buy entry level satelite, they get Fox but not MSNBC.  I will say this again, I can hear Rush on 4 stations at once but I cannot hear any progressive radio.  Many of us can only get dialup where we live because Obama and his FCC wont mandate broadband coverage for fear of offending someone.  Thats why people are propagandised to vote against their self interest.  And for those of us that can get free over the air TV.  We are swamped with commercials from unknown entities promoting repub candidates and policy.  If we dont change something about this situation how can we win hearts and minds of the underinformed??

      •  Great idea... (0+ / 0-)

        Government control of free speech will solve all our problems, won't it?  It may be Fox News this time, but eventually those guns will get turned on you, this website, etc.  Don't forget that Republicans do control the gov't from time to time, and they would be in charge of administering the fairness doctrine.

        If progressive radio could compete and make money, they would get more air time.  There's no conspiracy.  It's demand driven, like anything else.  McDonald's may not be healthy, but people like the taste.  Banning McDs won't make people healthier because it doesn't address the root problem.  People like to eat crap because it tastes good.

        •  The Fairness Doctrine (0+ / 0-)

          is NOT "government control of free speech" -- it's fair use of the AIRWAVES.  It has nothing to do with free speech.

          And it has nothing to do with this site, either, or any other.

          Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

          by noweasels on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 09:46:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sore Loser? (0+ / 0-)

            What's the difference between the airwaves and (whatever the technical term is for) Internetwaves?  

            How in the world do you regulate the fairness of ideas?  Do the wackjobs from Iran who want to exterminate Isreal get their fair turn?  How about the KKK?

            It's a dangerous road that can only lead to the government telling people what they can and cannot say.  Do you really think the corporations who control the airwaves won't be able to buy off the politicians and get what they want?  At least the current system is responsive to consumer preferences.

            Just because Dems and progressives can't compete in the market for talk radio doesn't mean shutting it down is good for the country.  The key is to find a better way to compete, not to outlaw the game.

    •  it's not that uncommon (0+ / 0-)

      look at what happened in Weimar Germany... replace the faithb-based religious rightish working class in the US with the cult-based arian right-wing believers of the jobless poor national socialists in the late twenties and early thirties and you see that being in the poorer working class doesn't mean can't believe in "anything".

  •  NASA Image of the Day: Spectacular (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Purple Priestess

    VERY disappointing that NASA seems to have embedded its photos with some sort of code that no longer allows us to post them . . . but please see this beautiful image -- with a spiral!

    (Don't we pay for these?  Shouldn't we be allowed to share them?)

    Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

    by noweasels on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:19:52 PM PDT

  •  So if Bill Gates and (0+ / 0-)

    Warren Buffett and Donald Trump and a bunch of billionaires moved to Sweeden...

    Sweeden would have less wealth equality than it does now.

    The USA would have more wealth equality than it does now.

    Which country would be better off, and which would be worse off in that case?

  •  need some bars that show taxes paid (2+ / 0-)

    and then we'll really be pissed off

  •  On Olbermann... US Republic in deep danger... (3+ / 0-)

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:22:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm rich, beeyotches (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    The Easter bunny left me thousands in chocolate gold    dub-loons!

    meteor blades speaks for me no more!

    WOOO HOOOOO

    Always speak your mind. If you are wrong, someone will correct you and then you will be wiser.

    by Krush on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:31:31 PM PDT

  •  it feels (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    just
    like
    it
    looks...

    and i can't hold my breath much longer.

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:44:34 PM PDT

  •  Did anyone else see David Axelrod on (0+ / 0-)

    David Letterman tonight?  I thought it was a good interview.

    VOTE and GOTV in 2010!!

    by thoughtful3 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:00:22 PM PDT

  •  People are voting with their pocketbooks, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty

    but it’s often a lesser-of-two-evils vote. When they buy imported products (because in most cases there’s no US alternative) they are putting more money in the hands of the global hierarchy (some portion of which is then funneled to the "bipartisan" political establishment in exchange for their support of "free trade"). But it’s either that, or do without.
    Nothing sends more money to the top quicker than unrestricted international trade (globalization). The real voting is being done with pocketbooks (and it’s pretty much a forced vote).

  •  many thanks for that graph and link, MB (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    "Unlike every other nation in the world, the United States defines itself as a hypothesis and continues itself as an argument." - Lewis Lapham

    by Miep on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:49:42 PM PDT

  •  Just saw your War Tax Resistance diary (0+ / 0-)

    from three years ago, my friend.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I guess I've been resting my fingers away from here.  Am I losing the calluses on my blogging fingertips?  ("I've got blisters on me fingers!")

    I'm also avoiding the constant heartache of the brightest people not "getting it" and "doing the same thing over and over, expecting..." eh, you know the rest.

    Hey, the Repubs have driven us all a little bit insane, and, depending on where your starting point was... oh, was I saying something?

    Of course, maybe blogging's not for me.  You know, the Thoreau family was big on pencils; My, er, Henry's dad started manufacturing them in Concord, and Henry discovered the European secret of mixing clay into the graphite to control hardness.

    Maybe if we blogged with pencils?

    So, what about your mention of WTR here? I haven't read through it completely.  Testing the limits of Liberal Cognitive Dissonance, prime examples all around us here, eh?  Pretty strong.  Coulda had this crimewave wrestled down way back in Ronnie's day.  But no-o-o-o-o-o, hadta let it run the rest of our lives, and then some.

    Having my conscience somewhat more clear than it otherwise would be has been a blessing over these past 25 years.  Never got rich, but then, who did?

    Everytime a slightly less-than-white baby comes up splattered with Zyklon B, er, depleted uranium, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl is raped, murdered and burned (along with family) by a patrol of her liberators, or a "liberal" President caves to incipient Fascism, well... guess you understand.  Your, er, their tax dollars at work...Count Me Out.

    Hey, I read "Profiles in Courage" when I was 11; talk about setting up for high expectations, and a few bullets later, the beginning of learning that I was going to be allowed to roll on through an entire lifetime in political America on four nearly-flat tires, one or two of them given me by "my own side."  "Cowards die a thousand deaths..."

    So it goes. (?)  Just wanted to say 'hi', my friend.  (Just curious -- any estimate on the paid troll count around here?  They've probably picked up quite a few tricks since I've been away.  Remember back when creative people like them used to work on ideas to FTS, instead of working for O'Brien in the MOT to keep us all down?  Sigh...)

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 12:40:12 AM PDT

  •  Gingrich labels Democrats food stamp party. (2+ / 0-)

    http://www.rawstory.com/...

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is advising Republican candidates on November's ballots to frame the choice for voters between Democrats as "the party of food stamps" while selling the GOP as "the party of paychecks."

    With a month to go before the election, Gingrich brought his branding effort to Minnesota on Wednesday. He raised money for Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer and the state GOP during a private fundraiser.

    He told reporters later that Republicans can campaign as the party of opportunity.

    "Most Americans would like to get a paycheck," Gingrich said. "Most Americans would not like to be forced to have food stamps handed out by liberal Democrats."

    I'll bet if he was up to his neck in quicksand and I threw him one end of a socialist rope, he'd refuse to grab on.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 01:42:48 AM PDT

  •  In the US, race trumps class (0+ / 0-)

    The ruling class in the US has stirred racial animosity in the interests of preserving class inequality.

    A poor white person in the US is brainwashed to feel that if he identifies on the basis of income he is counted among the "losers"; but if he identifies on the basis of race he is counted as white and thus among the winners.

    It is a divide and conquer strategy that has been pursued by the rich for as long as this country existed and it continues to play working class whites for suckers.  

    A unification of poor people, white, black and brown is what Martin Luther King tried to achieve and it is what the ruling class fears most.

  •  Another addition to the list of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Massman

    why it doesn't matter if Democrats win or lose.

    In an amazing feat of rapid, bipartisan consensus, both the House and the Senate have passed HR3808, a bill that would make it "more difficult and costly" for home owners to challenge the validity of notarized documents pertaining to foreclosure.

    As comments echoing the sentiment below reverberate through America and the halls of blogs everywhere - except dailykos......

    by hedgeless_horseman
    on Wed, 10/06/2010 - 21:42
    #631122

    This bill looks to have the vaunted bi-partisan support so seldom seen.

    Red team, blue team, they both are part of the same league.  Keep cheering and buying giant foam #1 fingers for "your" team and booing the other team.  Your vote really does make a difference, just like your cheering from the cheap seats at The Big Game.

    They were even too cowardly to take a roll call vote.   How does this shit even get out of committee?  Dems my foot.

    Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

    by dkmich on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 02:41:40 AM PDT

    •  I just read this story. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      I came here looking for info and found nothing.Until your comment of course.
      Wouldn't this be an ideal time for the President to take a stand for Main St. and veto this crap? Seems like it would be an extremely popular move.Fire up the base as it were.

      Peace

      •  I think a veto would be a great act and move by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Massman

        the President, but I'm not holding my breath.   I don't know why dkos is so late to the game - all of the time.   I come here looking for Kos' fire and brim stone, but I seldom find it.  I so miss the dkos version 04.  

        Don't tax the rich, starve the poor.

        by dkmich on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 04:46:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Its all about capital ownership.... (0+ / 0-)

    I've laid out an economic agenda on my site for how to permanently foster greater economic equality in America in a way that would be pro-growth and reduce income inequality, and reduce the reliance on income from wages for everyone:

    http://www.rationalrevolution.net/...

    It's all about capital ownership and changing the taxation system so that all income is treated the same, instead of having different taxation rules for wage income, capital gains, dividends, inheritance, etc.

  •  Temp hiring (0+ / 0-)

    Temp hiring is back - maybe permanently.

    Conventional wisdom has it that an increase in temporary hiring is a harbinger of full-time jobs to come.

    At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.

    But so far, that hasn't happened this time.

    Jobs in the temporary services industry are up 22.1% year-over-year, according to the Labor Department. But the overall job market expanded only 0.2% during the same period. And the outlook is still pretty grim.

    "By this stage, we would have expected to see businesses add on larger numbers of permanent workers," said Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association.

    As a general rule, the rebound in the temp job market precedes the rebound in the permanent job market by 6-12 months.

    But it's been 12 months since the temp industry started to pick up and there are still few signs of an overall jobs recovery.

    About 80% of employers surveyed by Manpower last month, indicated they would not be increasing their hiring in the fourth quarter.

    Temp jobs used to be a gateway to full-time status. Employers often hired full-time workers from their temporary pool.

    "I went along for five months thinking I was going to be hired at some point, but wasn't," said Elizabeth Fraizer of Casa Grande, Ariz., who's been laid off from two temp jobs in the last two years.

    Fraizer took both jobs thinking they would transition into permanent positions, but to her surprise, they didn't end that way.

    Her stint as a receptionist at First American Title ended after five months when the company said it was cutting back and couldn't afford her anymore, she said.

    The same thing happened after working about a month at a commercial construction company. Now she's looking for a job but won't go the temp route again.

    A euphemistic description of this tactic of substituting full-time jobs with temporary positions is workforce flexibility. Yeah, workforce flexibility appears to be coming on especially strong these days. No doubt we will be told this growing trend toward lower levels of job security and the abandonment of other old-fashioned policies, such as employer provided healthcare benefits, are all part of the sacrifices we as Americans must make for the national economy to remain competitive with the rest of the world. But does this concept of flexibility extend beyond the workforce? Ask your bank whether it plans to implement a policy of payment flexibility to accommodate mortgage and credit card customers whose temporary worker status renders their income stream unpredictable and inconsistent, subject to the whims of employers, who fire them or cut their pay at a moment’s notice. Funny how the concept of necessary flexibility does not thump business entities with the same remorseless verve with which it strikes workers.

    [S]taffing firms are expecting demand for temps to continue through the year, they're not necessarily optimistic either. Most are forecasting job growth -- both temporary and permanent -- will remain sluggish this year, and possibly longer.

    "It's the toughest employment market in most our lifetimes, and hopefully it won't get any worse," Wahlquist said. "But it's not likely to get any better in the coming months."

    The trend of wealth inequality, therefore, continues with no end in sight.

    And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out. --DFW

    by klingman on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 03:33:17 AM PDT

  •  plane crash nearly kills billionaire (0+ / 0-)

    on the news right now, a lucent exec flies his plane into a gymnasium. They showed the community he lives in where the homes have private hangers. A poorer man would have died.
    Bokonon tells us God loves people in sailboats better than he loves people in row boats.

  •  This is saying what I often point out- (0+ / 0-)

    that it is not the rich that dictate that we remain such an unequal society. There just aren't enough of them. It is everybody. The poor and middle class, which make up 90% of the population, do not vote in their best interests.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 04:22:58 AM PDT

  •  This seems appropriate here: (0+ / 0-)

    This is this morning's "Molly Ivins Moment" in C&J:

    [A] 1995 study by the Federal Reserve says the top 1 percent of American households (that's everybody with more than $2.3 million) own about 35 percent of the nation's wealth, and that figure gets worse every year, too.

    Looked at from the other side of the Income Gap, we find that those in the bottom 20 percent have actually lost ground in the nineties, while simultaneously piling up a staggering degree of debt.  Why would anyone deliberately aggravate what is already a ridiculous imbalance?

    We've just finished with a Congress that couldn’t bring itself to raise the minimum wage by a whopping $1 over three years.  And I remind you that the R's loaded that even that pitiful gesture with $40 billion in tax breaks for the rich.  Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma, that nasty man, even tried to use the minimum-wage bill to sneak in an additional tax write-off for the three-martini lunch---what a highly developed sense of class he has.

    That was written in December, 1999

    "The GOP: We'll Stick a Firecracker Up a Frog's Ass!" (Jon Stewart)

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 04:51:41 AM PDT

  •  It's only going to get worse, as rich people (0+ / 0-)

    buy up foreclosed properties to either hold or rent.  Of course, at the lower levels, most "wealth" is owned by the bank in the form of a mortgage. Government programs won't fix this.  Capitalism certainly can't fix this.  A Land Value Tax might fix this - but the really wealthy won't let that happen.  The radical change that might fix it is for employee-owned firms to begin offering mortgage loans directly to their workers, rather than simply starting a credit union.  Then, expand employee-ownership among both union members (repealing Taft-Hartley concentrated pension fund investment prohibitions) and shifting part of the employer contribution from FICA to the purchase of employer voting stock.  In a generation, it will be hard to judge who is in the upper class and who is in the lower class.

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