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  Sure, for humor, I turn to listen to Jon Stewart and Colbert. But, really, if you want the funniest laughs you have to mix in Republican leadership talking points. Seriously.

  Ah, yes, the "class warfare" inherent in Harry Reid's proposal to apply a 5 percent surtax on millionaires. Except it isn't so--not surprisingly--as the Citizens For Tax Justice points out:

Only one-fifth of one percent of U.S. taxpayers would pay the surcharge proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to offset the costs of President Obama’s jobs bill.[emphasis added] quote the president, it's just math to understand that one-fifth of one percent is not the "middle class"'s not the middle of anything, except perhaps if you belong to a billionaire's country club.

    As for this being a wide-spread surcharge that will hurt a lot of people across the nation, you would be hard-pressed to run into any of these people:

Only in one state, Connecticut, would the share of taxpayers paying the surcharge exceed one percent.

Originally posted to Tasini on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos, In Support of Labor and Unions, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Innumeracy comes back to bite us in the ass. (7+ / 0-)
    to quote the president, it's just math to understand that one-fifth of one percent is not the "middle class"'s not the middle of anything, except perhaps if you belong to a billionaire's country club.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:32:55 AM PDT

    •  Yes, indeed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Our ability to parse even very basic math and statistics is part and parcel of the "low-information voter" that the Repubs are counting on to put them back into power.

      As Alan Grayson pointed out, the banks got secretly bailed out to the tune of $16 Trillion, but that number is so hard to grasp that he used "$50K per person" to help us wrap our heads around it. Even that seems unbelievable.

      People will consistently think there is more liquid in a tall glass than in a wide glass, even when the amount is even or even a little less in the tall glass. People will let their aspirations of wealth blind them both to reality and to the circumstances that reduce their ability to actually attain wealth.

      Just because it's made up doesn't mean it isn't true.—Plan 10 from Outer Space

      by mofembot on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 07:03:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice analogy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        where persistent misperceptions of volume attend vessels of different shapes.  I can't judge volume worth a crap myself, as it happens.  

        As my sig line suggests, I worry, about ou society's  inability to face up even to simple orders of magnitude.  Fallacies of scale drive me nuts, but most folks confronted with any such challenge go into "same difference" mode.  Well, no.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 04:49:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The conversation is beginning to change. (8+ / 0-)

    It helps to have multiple points of expression.

    Ocuppy gets out the word in a way different from President Obama (and part of the emssage is different), but when the Presdient talks, it gets media coverage.  So does occupy.

    The messages overlap on a key point, one John Edwards called the Two Americas.  

    one-fifth of one percent vrs. 99.8%

    Class stratification is made visible notwithstanding the money and effort spent to mystify it.

    Many people know, but they need to hear it also.

    More jobs equal less debt, even our kids can understand that.

    by TomP on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:41:51 AM PDT

    •  And Almost Nobody Yet Realizes How the Dems (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, tardis10, kurt, ocular sinister

      have contributed to this.

      The fact that the jaw dropping division is so incredibly high up within the top 1%, and the fact of how much Democrats have contributed to that, is shown here:

      Image Hosted by

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

      by Gooserock on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:59:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a general quibble. (0+ / 0-)

        Is there no way to show graphs without the darn axis being labeled on a neck twisting vertical?   What would be so hard to understand if it were to read

        Average                                 Average
        Net                   Graph            Net
        Worth                                    Worth (etc.)
        Households        Area.

        Democrats - We represent America!

        by phonegery on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:30:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They May Have a Point. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, lgmcp, ocular sinister

    Historically the middle class has been quite small. Dickens' fictional Ebeneezer Scrooge was middle class. It's been mainly business owners, professionals, government officials who are the immediate supporters of the rich.

    If you apply these ideas to America today, our middle class certainly extends into millionaires, and probably is limited to the top 15-20% minus the very rich.

    Most Americans probably are working class, working poor or poor. We don't have much upward mobility for either ourselves or our descendants, most of us can't leave an inheritance to our families, most of us will die poor if we don't die suddenly before our natural lifespans.

    That description doesn't apply to what we knew as the great mid 20th century middle class. Factory workers and other kinds of laborers had better lives and prospects in the mid 20th century than many educated knowledge workers have today.

    If we're going to call mid 20th century factory workers who could send their kids to college to graduate debt free into a higher standard of living, "middle class," we can't call scientists, systems analysts or accountants today who are unable to accomplish that same feat, "middle class."

    We have to acknowledge that they're working class, like Dickens' Bob Cratchit.

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

    by Gooserock on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:57:06 AM PDT

  •  Hell, few here in 'affluent suburbia' qualify (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, kurt

    being in the 'second class' burbs - where you go when you can't afford Bronxville or Scarsdale or Greenwich or Great Neck, I can say that even here you''re not going to have very  many people qualifying.

    I was hearing a lot of bitching a few years back at soccer games when the AMT started really biting people here..... now you've got an awful lot of 'consultants' - code for the unemployed who lost their corporate spot and are getting by on any wonk they can dig up.  I was told by a friend in Real Estate you'd have 200 houses up for foreclosure if banks wanted to move - but they are trying not to - to keep full value on their books and give people a shot at selling.  But even with reduced prices the banks are not being real pains about mortgages ( they tried to reneg on a commitment to a a friend putting 40% down - earning well into 6 figures, wanting him to pay a higher rate).

    There's a huge gulf between the top 2-3% and even the top 1%.  That income curve goes exponential after $200,00.

    And while $200,000 - actually just under the median income around here - sounds like a hell of a lot, it's not worth as much as you'd think with NY income tax and local property taxes well above $20,000 a year on a 'starter' house.

    Not complaining- am thrilled and thankful to have gotten this far - but my brother in NC had a far better lifestyle earning far less.  His whole house cost what out downpayment was - for 4x the property and his taxes are less than a tenth of ours.

    Just saying that the REAL wealth is pretty far up the curve - well into the top half of one percent and most of the wealth is in the top one tenth of a percent.

    What's the stat - 400 families in the US have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 40% of the nation?   None of the former are living around here though there are enough of the latter within a mile or two.

  •  But one percent... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aznavy, lgmcp

    That's like more than half, isn't it?

  •  class inflation (0+ / 0-)

    How does less than 1% of something constitute a "class"? Maybe a "classlette" or a caste.

    Besides, people like Cantor obviously have no class.

    A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

    by Karl Rover on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:18:21 AM PDT

  •  the more things change... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the more they stay the same:
     the quaint language is a giveaway, but try to place this quote:

    "Tell me, Lord, if you please, by what right or title does a villein eat beef?...And goose, of which they have plenty? And this troubles God. God suffers from it and I too. For they are a sorry lot, these villeins who eat fat goose! Should they eat fish? Rather let them eat thistles and briars, thorns and straw and hay on Sunday and peapods on weekdays. They should keep watch without sleep and have trouble always; that is how villeins should live. Yet each day they are full and drunk on the best wines, and in fine clothes. The great expenditures of villeins comes at a high cost, for it is this that destroys and ruins the world.  It is they who spoil the common welfare. From the villein comes all unhappiness. Should they eat meat? Rather should they chew grass on the heath with the horned cattle and go naked on all fours..."

    note: villein in this application translates to "welfare queen".  please let me know if you can guess the time period this came from. (haven't researched it yet, but am wondering if that is also where we get "villain")

    •  Yes and yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ocular sinister

      Here's the wikipedia on that:

      Villein (pronounced "vill-ain") was the term used in the feudal era to denote a peasant (tenant farmer) who was legally tied to the land he worked on. An alternative term is serf (from Latin servus = "slave"). A villein could not leave the land without the landowner's consent. Villeins thus occupied the social space between a free peasant (or "freeman") and a slave. The majority of medieval European peasants were villeins. Basically, they are villagers.

      The term derives from Late Latin villanus, meaning a man employed at a Roman villa rustica, or large agricultural estate. The system of tied serfdom originates from a decree issued by the late Roman Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284-305) in an attempt to prevent the flight of peasants from the land and the consequent decline in food production. The decree obliged peasants to register in their locality and never leave it.

      Because of the low status, the term became derogatory. In modern French vilain means "ugly" or "naughty" and in Italian, villano means "rude" or "ill-mannered". In modern English villain means a scoundrel or criminal.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:44:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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