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The impetus behind the Occupy Wall Street movement - a vague sense that the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else suffers - was confirmed by a recent report from the Social Security Administration showing that while total employment and average wages remained stagnant, the number of people earning $1 million or more grew by 18% from 2009 to 2010.  Those figures give real substance to the "We are the 99%" slogan, yet Republicans continue to insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that if anything those "job creators" deserve an even greater share of our national income.  The Tea Party, meanwhile, has launched its own "53%" movement, inexplicably rallying the working class to the defense of the wealthy.  The one group rarely heard from in this rancorous debate is the 1%, whose incomes and taxes are its focus.  I am one of them, and here is my perspective, which may surprise you.

First let me note that I am not part of the yacht and private jet set, which represents an even smaller subset of incomes than mine.  The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% of income earners in 2008, the most recent year for which published data is available from the IRS, was $380,354, enough for an extraordinary life but nowhere near enough for a harbor berth in St. Moritz.  Nevertheless, I am - for now - comfortably ensconced in that demographic.  Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would save me roughly $400,000 a year in taxes, and President Obama's tax proposals would cost me more than $100,000, yet I support the latter and consider the former laughable.

Thus you can imagine my amazement this summer when I watched the Republicans in Congress push the United States to the brink of default - and the world to the brink of ruin - over whether to repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise my taxes by 3.5%.  I know a lot of people with high incomes and even the conservatives among them were confused by that sequence of events.  Here is a secret about rich people:  we wouldn't have noticed a 3.5% tax increase.  That is not only because there isn't a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don't actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year.  Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains.  Profits are unpredictable and they tend to vary wildly.  At my own firm, the general rule of thumb is that if we are within 5% of our budget for the year, everyone is happy and no one complains.  A variation of 3.5% is merely a random blip.

I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as "job creators."  While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand.  Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none.  Let me keep more of my money without increasing customer demand and I will do just that - keep it.  Perhaps I will spend a little more of it, though probably not, but even if I do it won't help the economy very much.  Here is another secret of the well-to-do:  we don't really buy much more stuff than everyone else.  It may be more expensive stuff, sure, but I don't buy cars, or appliances, or furniture, or anything else more frequently than the average consumer.  The things I do spend more money on are services such as travel, entertainment, restaurants and landscaping, none of which generate well-paying middle class jobs.  There, in a nutshell, is the sad explanation of what has happened to the American economy over the last 25 years of "trickle down" economics.

That's why I was so pleased when the Occupy Wall Street protests began.  I support them wholeheartedly, for several reasons.  First, because I fervently believe in the exercise of first amendment rights, and I have been waiting for years for the American people to wake up from the torpor of the Bush years, when they were seemingly cowed into submission to corporate authoritarianism.  Second, because I am dismayed by the thuggish tactics of the NYPD.  I would have expected as much from Michael Chertoff or Dick Cheney, but not from the Bloomberg administration.  Third, there is no question that the increasing income inequality in our society is a bad thing, in the short-term and the long-term, for both workers and for business.  It is bad in every way and for everyone, with the sole exception of Wall Street itself.  Fourth, I love the hysterical reaction it has provoked from arch-conservatives such as Eric Cantor and Glenn Beck.  As George Orwell wrote in "Homage to Catalonia" about fighting fascists, I don't always need to know what I am fighting for when it is clear what I am fighting against.  Fifth, and most important, it changed the national media narrative and sucked almost all of the energy out of the tempest that was the Tea Party.

It is the Tea Party's effort to recapture that energy, through the "We Are the 53%" movement, that has truly bewildered me.  I have spent far more hours than I should have these last few weeks puzzling over the postings on that website, trying to understand who these people are and why they would possibly care about my taxes.  I don't really have an answer to those questions, but I do have a few insights.

To begin with, a fair number of the posters there don't seem to understand the actual issues, or even the meaning of "53%," which is supposed to refer to the percentage of people in recent years who actually owed - and paid - federal income taxes.  From their own descriptions of themselves as unemployed, underemployed, or struggling to raise families, it seems likely that many of these posters actually AREN'T part of that 53%, but rather, like most of the 47% they complain about, receive full refunds of their taxes each year, or perhaps even more thanks to the Republican-sponsored family tax credits.  I suspect they think that because they work, and have taxes withheld, and file a tax return, they are different than the "47%" they decry as lazy layabouts.  Of course they are not, but sadly they don't even realize it.  

Next, ALL of the posters there seem quite proud of themselves.  No doubt they should be, but they seem to have derived very different conclusions from their life experiences than I have from mine, which could read like an exaggerated version of one of their posts.  My family is from one of the poorest counties in the country, in rural Appalachia.  My grandfather was a coal miner who left school after 5th grade to help support his impoverished family.  My grandmother wasn't allowed to attend high school because according to her parents women didn't need an education.  I never knew my father.  My mother and I subsisted on food stamps for several years.  I got my first job at 13, working as a bus boy for $2 an hour, and I have never been unemployed in the 37 years since.  I worked my way through college, which I paid for myself. When I started my career I worked 60+ hour weeks every week for nearly 15 years before that effort began to pay off.  I employ nearly 20 people, I have no debts, and I have no doubt that I have earned every penny I have.

And yet, I am living proof of Elizabeth Warren's maxim that no one gets rich on their own.  If not for the UMWA helping to secure a living wage for my grandfather, I would probably have had to leave school to help support my family, as he had done.  If not for my grandmother's passionate belief in the value of the education she was denied I would never have aspired to go to college at all, and if not for my mother teaching me to love books, I would never have been able to succeed there.  If not for my wife I would never have been inspired to work as hard as I did to see what I could become in life.  How many smart, talented children don't have those positive influences?  How many have exactly the opposite?

My good fortune did not end there.  It was sheer luck, rather than moral virtue, that I never had the criminal record many of my less fortunate friends did when I was young.  It was sheer luck that neither I nor any of my family members ever had a major illness, or accident, or disability, despite lacking health insurance much of the time.  How different my life could easily have been!  How different the lives of others still could be.

I understand too that but for food stamps, I would have gone hungry as a child, that but for public subsidies and federally guaranteed loans I could never have afforded college.  I know that without the internet and airports, both of which were developed with federal taxes, I could not earn an income even close to what I make today.  That all seems so obvious to me that I don't understand how anyone could question it, and those are just a few of the many reasons I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes, whatever that share maybe.  Paying a lot of taxes just means you make a lot of money, and it is hard, frankly, to complain about that.

One last observation.  Many of the 53% crowd seem quite proud of their Christian faith.  I am not religious myself, but I am reasonably certain that Jesus would not respond to the poor and unemployed with shouts of "Get a job!"  I vividly remember what it was like to be poor.  To be concise, it sucked, and my heartfelt sympathies automatically go out to anyone who has to experience it, especially children who are blameless for their circumstances.  Whenever I meet someone who has not been as lucky as I have been, I recognize how easily our roles could have been reversed by the random forces of fate.  And despite my lack of religion, I instinctively think "There but for the grace of God go I."  If only those who actually believe in God would think the same thing more often they might not be so eager to cut my taxes

Originally posted to Gaius on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, The Royal Manticoran Rangers, Community Spotlight, Daily Kos, and Daily Kos Classics.

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    •  Yes It Does. That's a Terribly Damaging Part (18+ / 0-)

      of the last 40 year Democratic messaging catastrophe.

      They wouldn't be moving policy in this direction all this time if it didn't benefit them, certainly the top %.

      The entire bottom 90% of us can now only do half of US consumer spending. That's a hard numerical measure of an economy increasingly telling us "don't call us, we'll call you."

      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 21, 2011 at 01:41:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think a poor 90% actually does harm the top 1% (57+ / 0-)

        of the actual population in the United States.

        It's the 0.01% of international capitalists, and the large multi-national companies, which are not affected much by the misfortunes of most of the population of the US.  These days, we're just a market, and if we crumble then there are other markets to sell to.

        Back to the actual individuals who are in the 1% in the United States (and more broadly the top 5-10% or so who benefit most from regressive tax policies etc.), I think that a very high percentage of the people in that category have a very strong vested interest in the prosperity of the broader population of the Unites States.

        Those reasons go beyond economic, they include moral reasons described by the commenter, and also a wish to live without having to be sequestered in rich-only zones.

        I think that's why you actually hear a healthy number of expressions of support for OWS from individual people who are well off (and who happen not to be Kochpublican puppets), if not the MSM.

        •  I think your analysis is spot on (28+ / 0-)

          Impoverishing the bottom 90% only benefits the top 0.01% and increasingly shrinking number of 'beautiful people'.

          The "professional class" wich reside in the 95% to 99.5% category really benefits from broad based wealth.

          •  The kings' retainers live pretty well (5+ / 0-)

            and they don't want the kings to be overthrown.  The more impoverished everyone else is the better the retainers' position appears to be.

            The structure of our society at present is a lot like the feudal city states of old.  The states are no longer geographical, but based on monopolies (oil, food, housing, etc.).  The more tightly those monopolies are controlled, the longer they will last and the more profitable they will be as their power continues to consolidate.

            The 10% (or even 20%) are the monarchs and their courtiers, the rest us of are more valuable to them when we are at our most desperate.

            They don't want to have more players.  The fewer competitors they have the more easily they rule.  Broad based prosperity is the last thing they want.

        •  No it doesn't otherwise it wouldn't (9+ / 0-)

          have happened.

          They have so much; they don't know; don't care.

          The goal was to turn everyone into some kind of slave. get rid of the American Middle Class because we are way too much trouble. One way to get richer and rule the world is to make everyone else poorer, steal money, play both sides and get us to hate each other so that we fight over moldy crumbs.

          Worked fine for them, not so much for the rest of us.

          Someone lied a lot to make this happen. We got nothing for nothing.

          The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

          by a2nite on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 03:36:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Short term versus long term. (9+ / 0-)

            In the short term the professional class as James describes it benefits.  Some of them care about that and do not want the policies we have been following in the last 30 years.  Others know it isn't good long term but gamble that they can make it to the goal line - complete financial security for their family.  And yet others don't see, can't see, won't see or don't care that it is a dead end game.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:33:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Trade" functions on scarcity (9+ / 0-)

            The ruling class does fine when we're all serfs, slaves, and peasants --they can buy us for a potato if we're hungry enough.  The more static and uncreative society is, the more stable their position is within it.  The poorer we are, the safer they feel.

            •  Trade Unions are just Worker Monopolies. (0+ / 0-)

              They aren't the problem, but they're a distraction from the solutions.

              The ruling class does just fine when 5-10% of workers with relatively scarce skills form guilds.  They've proven it time and again.

              When those workers band together with "unskilled" workers, though....

              I have to laugh the complaints of every teacher crying about having to empty their own trash cans.  The same people who refused to act in solidarity when the janitors were on strike.

              Dear 1%. If you "stand with us", then move your fucking money.

              by JesseCW on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:35:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not really. Union contracts define job functions (4+ / 0-)

                then seek to keep the jobs filled within their membership and this all assumes a stable corporation that honors contracts.  Even so, the companies can still reduce or not fill positions without the contract being 'violated'.  

                But it makes no sense in 2011 to claim unions actually have any sort of monopoly power since they cannot prevent factory layoffs, shutdowns, closings and moves, nor can they prevent outsourcing work overseas, nor can they really stop automation, nor can they stop the busting up of the company with whom they had a labor contract when it splits into a bunch of new private entities where they would be presumed to have no valid contract.

                Investors and owners have become quite adept at taking a company private or public in ways which neuter labor contracts and there is an entire legal & financial services industry formed around busting and defeating unions, as well as in stealing pension funds and substituting junk benefits for good plans.  It is not really meaningful to suggest unions have any sort of viable 'monopoly' since they cannot really control even a majority of the variables against today's very sophisticated investor classes.  They can't on support from their federal and state governments either, since state legislatures are free to intervene, abrogate and void their contracts under the pretense of a budget 'reform' law or passing various forms of right to work legislation, or expansion of classes of work that are 'exempt' from unionization at all.  So, here in the US we cannot begin to claim to live in times when labor is king, when it rules with power with anything close to monopoly power.  The percentage of American workers in unions has precipitously declined to just a few percent since the 1970's and most unions feel they are lucky to be hanging on at all.

                When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

                by antirove on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 02:10:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can never figure out why virtually no one (3+ / 0-)
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                  here can seem to understand that not all unions are Trade Unions.

                  The objective of Trade Unions is restraint of trade, to require membership in order to do a certain type of work.  They strive to achieve monopoly power over a given sort of work in a given market, thereby gaining bargaining power.

                  They are nothing but the guilds of the middle-ages reborn.  

                  As opposed to Industrial Unions, which strive to get all workers organized together to end the system of exploitation of labor by capital.

                  It's weird to read your whole comment and realize that you never for moment even considered the plain point I was making, but instead just responded with a tape recording you had prepared for people bashing the concept of Unions.

                  Weird, and kind of depressing.

                  Dear 1%. If you "stand with us", then move your fucking money.

                  by JesseCW on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 03:43:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed it is justnsometing to get us to fight (0+ / 0-)

                    over moldy crumbs.

                    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

                    by a2nite on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:05:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  alas, labor unions in the US brought this idea on (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    brein, melo

                    themselves, by selfishly fighting for not only the narrow interests of their own industry, but only within their own country. That's why they were so easily whipsawed to death by multinational corporations who care not a whit for any "country" and can move their assets anywhere in the world on a whim.

                    The narrow nation-based unions long ago forgot what the word "solidarity" means.

                    But now they will be forced to re-learn it.

                    •  I see they're crawling out (0+ / 0-)

                      from under the rocks tonight....

                    •  Perhaps then you can explain (0+ / 0-)

                      why the Corporations are so afraid of the Labour Unions, that they pull underhanded tricks of such illegal dealing,   to make people think they have no power, to the point their courts found against them.

                      Maybe because we can cost them enough to make them take notice?

                      Or sir, do you think I am An Ass?

                      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France (16 April 1844 - 2 October 1924)

                      by PadreMellyrn on Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:56:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  perhaps you can then explain (0+ / 0-)

                        why you are responding to a comment that is almost four years old....?

                        BTW, I was a union organizer for almost ten years. I do not need any education from you, thanks.

                        Or sir, do you think I am An Ass?
                        I think you just answered that question.

                        In the end, reality always wins.

                        by Lenny Flank on Sun May 24, 2015 at 06:29:41 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes I think we know who is the ass (0+ / 0-)

                          since you have assumed that I am a know nothing grunt with no experience in the Unions. And that makes all an Ass. Good Sir enjoy your self inflation, may it sit well with as I am sure you believe you have no Peers.

                          "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France (16 April 1844 - 2 October 1924)

                          by PadreMellyrn on Sun May 24, 2015 at 07:10:44 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  You wouldn't last long (0+ / 0-)

                    down at the union hall.

                •  yes they can. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rgjdmls, offgrid
                  But it makes no sense in 2011 to claim unions actually have any sort of monopoly power since they cannot prevent factory layoffs, shutdowns, closings and moves, nor can they prevent outsourcing work overseas, nor can they really stop automation, nor can they stop the busting up of the company with whom they had a labor contract when it splits into a bunch of new private entities where they would be presumed to have no valid contract.

                  In fact, unions are the ONLY organizations that can do so. The only way to beat a multinational corporation and force it to give everyone what we want is to gain the power to shut them down completely, to idle every one of their international assets completely and totally, to halt all of their international operations, to make sure that not one single widget is produced, shipped or delivered anywhere on the planet, and to do it simultaneously and globally for as long as necessary.

                  Governments can't do that; progressive coalitions can't do that; voters can't do that; not even other corporations can do that. Only one group of people in the entire planet has that ability----the corporation's own employees.

                  THAT, my friends, is power we should use.

                  •  ok, that makes sense... (0+ / 0-)

                    so why the hate for unions?

                    •  uh, I've been a union organizer for 20 years (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      and served two terms as the Co_chair of the General Executive Board of the IWW (the Wobblies).

                      See what happens when you ASSume things?

                      •  good for you lenny (0+ / 0-)

                        i grew up reading keir hardie's biography (made a good remedy for 'atlas shrugged', lol), and had a somewhat romantic concept of unions, which was dashed by the shenanigans with the mob in the 60's, and the obvious corruption in the UK, where we watched union leaders become enraptured by power and the trappings of wealth themselves.

                        since then i hear much good and bad about unions, and while the concept seems vital as ever, what's it like on the ground these days? are unions still prone to corruption, shady stuff? do they remember their origins or start playing golf with the owners?

                        why? just kos..... *just cause*

                        by melo on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 07:38:06 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  I think there's a distinction (9+ / 0-)

            between the top 0.01 plutocrats (and their corporations) as opposed to the "regular" wealthy people, such as dentists.  [Dentists BTW are more like 5% rather than top 1%]  

            Dentists provide services to their neighbors and need them to be able to pay.  All the dentists I know also care about being able to provide quality care and for their patients to be healthy.  Somebody's desperation does not help them.

            This is a completely different situation and point of view than a corporation, which clearly may profit from the desperation of an impoverished work force, for instance Wal-Mart reducing health care benefits presumably on the theory that their work force has nowhere else to go.

            •  Would you be willing to pay higher taxes? nt. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Wells, SallyCat

              Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

              by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 10:24:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely! (17+ / 0-)

                I am not a dentist (but I play one on TV!).

                We (personally, our family) have had some tax reduction due to the Bush tax cuts (as continued so far in the Obama adminstration).  I would give it all back in a second as part of restoration of the prior  tax levels (you know, the ones where we had a balanced budget).

                Basically the paltry incluson of some of the middle class in the tax cuts was done to create the illusion of a distributed benefit.  The big issue is the general reduction of revenues for public goods, regardless of how the tax reductions were distributed.  

                It's stunning to see that we as a country are willing to short or eliminate essential public goods like, say, controlling infectious diseases and pollution control.  We need these goods restored and need to be willing to pay for it.  I'll ante up my share, no hesitation.

                •  I wonder how many people like yourself are (8+ / 0-)

                  out there?  I wonder how many agree with us, but were afraid to speak up - because some of their peers would shun them.  At this point in the drama that we live in, if I made the same amount of money that you do, I would feel both guilty and angry.  I would want to speak up and say, "Hey, I don't agree!  Taxes and regulations are necessary parts of the structure of what we all, collectively are - Citizens of the United States of America! How can we Provide for the Welfare of and Common Defense of the People, if we don't levy taxes.  Each should pay according to their ability to do so.  How do we prevent the spread of disease, keep people from dying en-masse from Listeria from Cantaloupes?  How do we educate our children? How do we manage our water supply? How do we stop poisons from being sprayed into the air?"

                  Come out, Come out wherever you are, and join us - the outraged, the poor, the middle, and all those that don't agree with some things that happened to our Country.

                  Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

                  by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:35:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed, taxes pay for civilization (4+ / 0-)

                    it isnt like GS or BP are going to come to our rescue when there is a disaster. They just create them then don't pay for the clean up.

                    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

                    by a2nite on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:03:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  (holds up hand) raise my taxes, please. (4+ / 0-)

                    Without taxes there is no government, and without government there is no civilization.  

                    I have no desire at all whatsoever to live in the libertarian paradise.  It's a hellhole.

                    But then, I'm not a greedy selfish bastard who doesn't care about anyone but himself.  That seems to be sort of a requirement to be a libertarian. (shrug)

                  •  Well, I'm one more. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Evolutionary, offgrid, melo

                    I don't consider myself wealthy, but I certainly do not lack in life's necessities. And, like Gaius, I consider myself fortunate beyond comprehension to have the life I have. But, like him, I know it didn't occur in a vacuum, divorced from my fellow human beings. I consider taxes as the price to maintain the more-or-less orderly society we have, and, as such, I pay them willingly, if not gladly, but I still consider it, for the most part, money well spent. We need to direct societal resources to the improvement of the condition of those whose condition can be improved, and to the support and care of those whose condition cannot be improved, if we hope to lay any claim to considering ourselves a compassionate society. I also claim spiritual kinship with Gaius when I think that "there but for the grace of God go I" - and, I would add, " or any one of us" - for, truly, no one of us is so superior a being as to deserve an exalted status in the world purely on our own merits. I'm not sold on the idea that a CEO works four hundred times as hard - or even twice as hard - as a line mechanic, and I see no logic to the idea that those who merely handle lots of money deserve lots of money. On the other hand, if you truly build and own the business you head, then you deserve to be rewarded for that, but that still gives no license to exploit those in your employ. Those who claim Christian virtue in the public sphere are almost invariably the same ones who demonstrate it by maligning the poor as "parasites" while they steal from what little those disfavored souls call their own. God willing, that they might reap what they sow...

                    Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

                    by OrdinaryIowan on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:54:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I argue against anti tax comments with people (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    all the time. I simply tell someone starting a diatribe that I live in the same world as others and if I don't want to pay taxes to even up things or provide necessities for people then I would become a target  no matter what my income. Besides which this is making my world which has other life to live with. To ignore their misery and their debasement is to set myself up to be treated  similarly if I stumble or suffer a set back... Life is not a game and others are part of my world I appreciate. Look at even people who live in poverty ... there are plenty who are desperate enough to steal from even the most destitute. It then becomes a daisy chain of increasing security expenditures and inhumane kick-back to maintain my stuff. (TO me stuff is a burden so I am working to shed any extraneous stuff. I give away and I actually try to help others. )

                    Basically I am saying I am not a lone actor amidst props and targets. I am part of a web of life and my life is better for that being a healthy web.

                    Fear is the Mind Killer...

                    by boophus on Sat May 23, 2015 at 11:41:26 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm for that! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    However, I'm on Social Security and I don't have much money, but I am paying for a house, so I don't pay any taxes. But many of the very rich, who have all the money and are determined to keep all of it, don't pay much, if any taxes either, because they have all kinds of options not to have to. I only had one. Each of us should be paying according to our ability to do so. If the rich were doing that, the government would probably be awash in money to benefit our country, but they are not, so our infrastructure crumbles before our eyes, people are homeless and starving, little old ladies beg on street corners to have enough to eat, young people have a choice of getting an education and hauling around a load of debt for years or passing on education and taking a job that will limit their opportunity to do well in life.

                    Rudy Giuliani says President Obama should be raving about American Exceptionalism. What American Exceptionalism? There was American Exceptionalism when there was a thriving, vibrant middle class that could have a good job, buy a house, send their children to college and have a little leftover for a vacation. That America has been gone for quite a while now, and unless we can get the rich to care about their country and give up some of their greed hoard, it is never coming back.

                    Warren Buffett says that we should stop blaming the rich for income inequality, because it is not their fault. Right. The failure of the banks is not their fault. The housing crisis was not their fault. The mortgage crisis was not their fault. Sending American jobs overseas was not their fault.
                    Middle management jobs lost, forcing people to stumble further down the ladder, forcing those underneath to stumble further down the ladder was not their fault.

                    His solution is expansion of the earned income credit. And who will pay for that? The tax payers. And who are the tax payers? The people who have the taxes taken out of their wages, so the middle class will subsidize the poor and the rich, who have multiple ways to not have to pay taxes, will escape again and on top of that, they will not have to pay a decent wage of say, $15.00, because it might cost jobs if the had to flick a few dollars out of their greed hoard.

                    We had better take our back country and our democracy  soon, or we will not have either. Oligarchy is on the way.

                •  I totally agree and I'm middle class. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  All I ask is that the very rich pay their share and that they don't consider the rest of us chumps or disliked by God for not being rich. All real success is a result of hard work AND luck, with numerous people helping along the way.   As Elizabeth Warren said we all based any success we have on roads, libraries, schools, etc. That seems so self-evident to me! There is no such thing as a self-made man.  I know this from experience.  While middle class, I am richer than my parents were and I only succeeded through scholarships, jobs at the universities I attended, and loans.  I did not get my education without professors who taught me.  I got some breaks because of some wonderful people who helped me.  Yes I worked, and I worked hard (I was hungry) but I had to have the opportunity first and to a great extent that was luck-  being in the right place at the right time, not getting into an accident or contracting polio when I was young, not being killed or badly injured in the Vietnam War, and so on.  The country needs all kinds and the majority needs to be middle class in order to keep the country sustainable.  All you have to do is look at countries that did away with the middle class, like El Salvador and you see the problem. Yes the multinational CEOs don't care- they can always find other markets (at least for now), but small and medium sized businesses need people who can afford their products or services.

              •  I'm in the "below $100,000" income bracket (3+ / 0-)

                and I would pay more in taxes.

                Especially if I could designate none would go to the military industrial complex.

                I suspect the Iraq/Afghan conflicts have sucked a LOT of air out of the room.

                Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

                by murasaki on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:38:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm in the 'below $60,000' income bracket, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  and I too would be willing to chip in a few more dollars if it meant Medicare for everyone, and Infrastructure building (no damn tax 'holiday' for corporations that hid their money from the IRS and cheated every day Americans), and lots and lots of Teachers and Firefighters!!!.

                  Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

                  by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:10:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've been poor for 48 of my 50 years (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cali Techie, Ahianne, melo

                    Until two years ago, the highest-paying job I ever had was $8.50 an hour.

                    Two years ago, I formed my own small publishing company, and now am almost exactly on the median line of income distribution--around $52k.  I am the Republican Dream--the selfmade man (literally--I have zero employees, and I do all the work myself. The only labor power I live on is my own.)

                    Alas for Republicans, though, I am not a greedy selfish bastard who doesn't care about anyone but himself. And unlike so many of the very few who successfully escape a life of shit jobs and poverty, I haven't forgotten where I came from.

                    That's why I'm still a syndicalist.

                    •  too bad you weren't in a union (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      you wouldn't have been poor all those years. Probably would have a nice annuity and pension built up.

                    •  What is a syndicalist? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Cali Techie, melo

                      And that's good that you haven't forgotten.  I came from homeless, and in the streets after a bitter divorce - to gainfully employed civil servant with complex duties.
                      I don't make so much (of course only from my own point of view), but I would gladly pay just as much as I pay in Health Insurance Premiums now, but to the government instead - if we had Medicare for all.  For the amount of money I have to shell out for "Health Insurance", I could pay in taxes to support health CARE for all.  And we could get rid of the parasites that are Health Insurance (for profit) Corporations.

                      #OccupyMarines - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

                      by Evolutionary on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 08:09:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The sad thing is (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Evolutionary, melo

                        Everyone would actually be paying LESS for healthcare coverage if we had Medicare for all. Costs would be contained and instead of taking at least 15% like the insurance companies do, the cost of administration would be closer to 3%.

                        But no.. We have the insurance industry and their shills on the right screaming "Socialized Medicine is bad! It's Socialism! You don't want that! It's what the Russians did! You'll live under a dicatatorship!" ignoring the fact that most dictators are actually capitalist even if they won't admit it. After all what's the point of being a dictator if you can't have all the wealth that goes along with it even as your citizens suffer and die from starvation?

                        Yet that's how the plutocrats get the commoners to vote against their own best interests giving them the illusion of democracy when it's anything but.

                        When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

                        by Cali Techie on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:14:24 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  You work (0+ / 0-)

                      There for you are not the Republican Dream ;-)

                      Just because you are a sole proprietor doesn't mean you cease to be working class.

                      As far as I'm concerned as long as you have to drag your ass out of bed every day to pay your bills you are working class.

                •  The freedom to choose (0+ / 0-)

                  I would love to have the freedom to say this.

                  But I don't.

                  I don't make enough money.

              •  I moved to Australia (0+ / 0-)

                So I already do.

                Top marginal rate here is 48%.

                And you know what? It's great. This is a great place to live.

          •  I don't think it's that simple (5+ / 0-)

            You're making the mistake of treating the behavior of the 1% as though their economic interaction with the rest of the economy behaves like a perfect market.  That's the same mistake the hardcore let-the-markets-decide capitalists make when they insist that removing all regulation will result in a market that is optimal for the economy it serves.  The problem is that the only truly perfect market is the law of nature, which is precisely what human beings were trying to circumvent when they invented civilization.

            I don't think the upper class, as a group, is trying to decimate the lower classes.  The individuals are simply doing what they have always done: make decisions that allow them to take advantage of the existing system to increase their personal wealth, often with more focus on the short-term than the long-term.  And, as this diarist demonstrates, they do that with varying degrees of attention to larger moral and structural considerations.  I don't think that's really very different from what the rest of us do, although obviously some of us spend more time and energy on immediate existential concerns.

            The problem is that somehow as a society we bought into the idea of trickle-down economics, and since the '80's we have been building a structure that is based on a fiction. And because its premise is false, it doesn't serve anyone well.  

            •  I appreciate that but I didn't vote (0+ / 0-)

              for trickle down. It didnt work for me. Rotten Ronnie lied and people were stupid and voted for him. They keep believing the lie. Not my fault, not my responsibility.

              Just like the American Revolution was a total lie for the non- white, non- penis people. Even many of the people with a penis got screwed even if they were an overseer.

              This country was created by liars, so not surprised that things are so screwed up.

              The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

              by a2nite on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:00:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think the problem is (0+ / 0-)

              that despite how wealthy the bottom 90% of the top 1% are compared to the rest of us the difference between them and the top 1-10% of their cohort is as obscene if not more so than between the top 1% and the rest of us.

              Most of the people in the top 1% still have to work to continue to enjoy the life they've grown accustomed to.

              The majority of the top 5% of income earners are simply paid agents of the truly wealthy.

          •  The goal is not to get rid of the American (0+ / 0-)

            Middle Class.

            The goal is to kick blue-collar workers back out of it, and into their historic place.

            Dear 1%. If you "stand with us", then move your fucking money.

            by JesseCW on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:36:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You mistake being rich for being smart (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Impoverishing the masses really is bad for the rich in the long run.

            But it turns out, rich people aren't any smarter than ordinary people, so they aren't any better at choosing good long-term outcomes for themselves.

          •  more like (0+ / 0-)

            we got nothing for everything...

            this diarist is no saint, he merely finds it comfortable not to be hated and envied by his neighbours.

            there are the rich who would like for everyone to be so, and there are the others, who get no great pleasure from their own riches, as they provide a constant source of worry, but enjoy thinking of how much they are envied.

            it's the latter who are the sociopaths! the former don't like the loneliness of being rich, and the fact many of their friends and relatives aren't.

            good diary.

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 07:31:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I heard a quote the other day: (13+ / 0-)
          I would rather be a poor man in a rich country, than a rich man in a poor country.

          Those at the very top who are completely blinded by greed may not have thought through what it is to be rich when everyone around you is poor.  

          There was an example of sitting in an airport in India with a man coughing terribly.  There was a 30 foot radius around him where no one would sit because he had TB.  

          When people are desparately poor they do desparate things.  They turn to drugs, drug dealing, kidnap, murder.  It is nice to think you can insulate yourself from all the misery around you, but it isn't really possible.  

          •  A rich man in a poor country is a prisoner (11+ / 0-)

            inside their fortified mansion or their gated, security guard protected community.  
            Right now, as we speak, there are plenty of very wealthy individuals who are afraid to go outside.  They have their toys, they have their supplies of emergency food, water, and ammunition,etc.  What they don't really have is the freedom to walk the streets with the rest of us.  Imagine one of the Koch brothers showing up at a protest, even with a couple of security guys - to hurl their insults in person.  What do you think would happen?  I pity the fool.
            Even the diarist, if confronted by a large group of protesters, would be in considerable danger at first, until he/she/other was able to express their wish to join them or agree with them (if first identified as the 1%).  Not all protesters are non-violent.  Not all protesters think things through before reacting.  I saw that first-hand at an Occupy.  Thankfully, we have delegated security authority to volunteers that do think things through.  If there is a loud argument or a situation, the security team is on it fast, and defuses the problem.  Thankfully for everyone, most Protesters are, in fact, intelligent and non-violent ;).  We aren't, however, automatons in an echo chamber.  Views vary widely.
            We can't make an enemy of just anyone who is rich!  We don't even know yet how many of the rich are even paying attention to what is going on (they tend to be isolated within their group), let alone what they think about all the commotion - it isn't really reported.
            The Diarist is one of the few that has spoken up, like Warren Buffet.  Kudos to the diarist for the intelligent words. :).

            Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

            by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:00:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fortunately, I think you're wrong about this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wishingwell, Evolutionary

              at least regarding the OWS folks. They are committed to non-violence. If the Koch brothers bothered to show up I believe they would be given an opportunity to speak just like anyone else. If they continued to support their idiotic ideology in a public forum such as OWS, it would be immediately waved down, and another, more rational speaker would take their place. They wouldn't be hurt, but they wouldn't last more than a minute. And--most importantly--it would be the cruel malice and stupidity of their ideas that would defeat them. Not the fact that they were wealthy.

              •  I have hope that you are right :). (0+ / 0-)

                I do hope for the best.  That would be the best possible way to do things.  Let them give their explanation for their bad behavior to the GA and see who agrees, and doesn't disagree.  The Koch brothers would be forced to listen to voices other than their own.  I like that.
                A very tiny voice inside me wants vengeance though.  Some part of me feels the need to punish them for what they have done to everyone.  I would hope for a humane punishment thought - like some prison time.
                The Koch brothers companies (wholly owned by them) have caused real death and destruction, for which they have paid enormous fines in several countries.  If I could afford to get away with any crime by paying a small portion (the enormous fines) of the profit from it, and I didn't care about any consequences for others, what incentive would I have to stop the behavior?
                I have been participating in Direct Democracy at Occupy Sacramento myself.  And what you said sounds like what the GA should/would do.  That's hope.

                Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

                by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 03:11:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps now but... (0+ / 0-)

                if things continue the way they've been going that could change.

                The truth however is that we need more people like the diarist to speak up and support the movement.

                The primary goal of the elites is to keep the masses divided. We have a caste system in the United States that's nearly as stratified as that in India the only difference is that everyone once in a while the elites will grant a title to one of the class below them to act as a buffer between them and the remainder of the population.

                This process is repeated each step down the ladder until you get to the lowest level of managers who've been enticed to side with their masters in exchange for advancement up the wealth castes.

                1%'ers like the OP just happen to be smart enough to understand where their true interests lie while the remainder of his class still see themselves aligned with their masters.

                Oh an no I don't mean this in the sense of some masonic cult that people join I simply mean that the system sets up a dynamic where this outcome results from people following their own short term interests.

                This is however the one silver sliver in thunderheads we face, this is the same class that brought about the enlightenment and the destruction of the older hereditary aristocracy.

                A class with sufficient education and leisure to pause and see how life really is. A luxury that the truly poor simply do not have.

                I think part of the reason why the masses haven't rebelled already is that most are so busy just trying to keep their heads above water that they don't have that time to look around.

        •  I agree wholeheartedly. And at a certain (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SallyCat, TDreamer, elwior

          point, the discontented 99% will storm their gated communities.

          When the least among us does well, we all do better!

          Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

          by the dogs sockpuppet on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:53:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are other markets...but only to a point (0+ / 0-)

          I read a post -- not sure if it was here -- that India has started to experience some outsourcing.

          So the domino effect has started -- or continued --

          Excellent post

        •  You are exactly right (0+ / 0-)

          The current situation is a crisis of globalization, and what we are seeing is a convergence of wages and benefits between the developed world and primarily China and India.  That necessarily requires a dramatic reduction in living standards fro Western workers.  The number of corporations which benefit from that process is actually relatively small - mainly large multinationals with narrow profit margins.

        •  the corporados have already written us off (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They are already positioning themselves to dominate the newly emerging markets in China, India, Russia and Brazil, which will be the most important markets in the 21st century.

          China will pass the US as the world's largest economy sometime in the 2030's. India will pass China as the world's most populous country shortly after that--and within a few decades afterwards, India will be the economic superpower.

          The US will decline into senescence, unnoticed and uncared about by the rest of the world. We will be regarded then the same way Indonesia or Russia is regarded now.

        •  Yes it does (0+ / 0-)

          I'm in the top 2-3% according to data I can gather and am convinced that the "rising tide lifting all boats" lifts mine as well. If the majority of my customers can't buy my products then... it sucks for me too. Just ask Henry Ford!

          The income inequality in our country is so unsustainable that it is not just immoral and not based in reality, but it will endanger everybody in the top wealth range as it falls apart.

          There was an amazingly simple and direct TED-X talk about "The Pitchforks are coming" from a pretty serious rich dude!


      •  But don't you think that is shortsighted (8+ / 0-)

        even if deliberate?  Parasites have been known to kill their hosts after all.

        ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
        "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

        by Chi on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:04:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hate to burst your bubble (0+ / 0-)

        The other markets have already closed their doors! You can bet, Cuba Id not going to throw open their doors to us capitalists all at once! They will Tarrif us to death! China is quickly realizing the folly of their billionaire ways! They will back down rather Rham face the wrath of their party faithful!
              India is flexing her muscles! The other end of Keystone is going liberal! And South America has decided : Drug Lords over billionaires! The rich have to pay taxes or leave for America! Japan's Donald  Trumps are putting guns to their heads because the poor simply refuse to hive them any more money to prop up their feudal system!
           If we start creating a Starhawk economy, we will create our own rich and the middle clas can not serve two masters. We will cling to our tax payers every time!

    •  No doubt (12+ / 0-)

      I heard recently that studies have shown that when the bulk of the $ are at the top, growth in the economy is slowed.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  If so few people have the wealth, they are not going to be able to support mom and pop business, etc. across the country!  You need to have more of the money in the hands of people that would spend the money.

      Contrary to the republicans spiel, sending more $ to the top hurts the economy rather than helps.  We need policies in place that will rebuild the middle-class - the true engine of growth in the economy.

      •  They don't really want it to grow (7+ / 0-)

        In an expanding society their power is less stable, their ability to dominate is constantly subject to change.  By definition "conservatism" is threatened by dynamism of any sort.  To remain on top in a dynamic and creative society requires effort, to remain on top in a suffocated one is easy.  Conservatives want to suffocate, to freeze everything right where it is.

      •  What is the purpose of the economy itself? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scarvegas, Urizen

        To the average citizen, it represents a measure of how most people, and the Country in general are doing.  To some of those at the very top, the economy has one purpose - a tool to bring every last possible piece of gold to themselves.  
        The 'economy' has already served its purpose for these few, sick individuals.  They don't need it any more.

        Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

        by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:05:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As long as the purpose of "the" economy (5+ / 0-)

          is to generate wealth (as opposed to things like clean air, general health, good education, etc.) what we're seeing is exactly what it will tend to do.  Anything else will just "trickle down".  

          Wouldn't it be better for the overwhelming majority of us if the things we want and need were the priorities of our society instead of the inconvenient afterthoughts?

          It doesn't have to be like this.

          •  if the purpose of ANY economy is to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            provide people with the things they need in life, then I submit that, by any rational measure, the entire global capitalist economic system has been a complete utter abject failure.

            •  i tend to agree (0+ / 0-)

              Daily Kos: A Voice From the 1%

              if the purpose of ANY economy is to (0+ / 0-)

              provide people with the things they need in life, then I submit that, by any rational measure, the entire global capitalist economic system has been a complete utter abject failure.

              but try telling that to a chinese who's chosen a sweatshop over starving on exhausted land...

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 07:50:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you mean those Chinese who have organized STRIKES (0+ / 0-)

                and driven wages in some industries up by some 35%?

                Those Chinese?

                I wish OUR workers were as "happy" with capitalism as the Chinese are . . .

              •  Um which ones? (0+ / 0-)
                   if the purpose of ANY economy is to provide people with the things they need in life, then I submit that, by any rational measure, the entire global capitalist economic system has been a complete utter abject failure.

                but try telling that to a chinese who's chosen a sweatshop over starving on exhausted land...

                Feb    19    2015    NYT Hopes India Can Avoid China's Plight: a High-Paid, Well-Educated Workforce
                Indian farmers (photo: Atul Loke/NYT)

                The New York Times‘ depiction of India, a high-riding land untroubled by soaring blue-collar wages. (photo: Atul Loke/NYT)

                A front-page lead New York Times story, headlined “As Rivals Falter, India’s Economy Is Surging Ahead” (2/17/15), is mainly valuable for the insight it provides into what the Times considers to be a healthy economy–and who that economy is supposed to benefit.

                “As other big developing markets stumble, India is emerging as one of the few hopes for global growth,” Times business reporter Keith Bradsher declares. Though the piece mentions countries like Russia and Brazil (both of whom are hurt by falling oil prices), it’s mainly a comparison between India and China: “China’s economy is slowing,” Bradsher writes, while “the growth in India’s economy, long a laggard, just matched China’s pace in recent months.”

                There aren’t a lot of numbers in the Times piece, so it’s useful to pause here and note that according to the IMF database, China’s per capita GDP (measured in terms of purchasing power) grew by 8.6 percent last year, vs. 6.0 percent for India. So any stumbling, slowing or faltering seen in China’s economy is based on forecasts of future growth–which are notoriously unreliable, though often given great credence in articles like these.

                So take Bradsher with a several grains of salt when he writes that “India is riding high on the early success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a raft of new business-friendly policies instituted in his first eight months.” What exactly, though, does he mean by “business-friendly policies”? He gives a for-instance:

                    Would-be builders of large factories also worry about India’s stringent labor laws, including essentially lifetime employment guarantees for unskilled or semiskilled workers with at least two years’ experience…. Those labor law protections are starting to erode. Many companies rely increasingly on contract workers, whom they require to leave after a single year, circumventing the employment guarantees.


                While India is “riding high” by taking job security away from Indians, other countries are taking a different route–apparently, from the Times‘ perspective, a misguided one, since it’s causing “troubles”:

                    India is also profiting from the troubles of other emerging markets.

                    China’s investigations of multinationals, persistent tensions with neighboring countries and surging blue-collar wages have prompted many companies to start looking elsewhere for large labor forces.

                Yes, “surging blue-collar wages” are included by the New York Times in the category of “troubles.”

                Another “problem” China has is that its workforce is becoming too educated; as the caption for a graph that accompanies Bradsher’s piece puts it:

                    The supply of 15- to 24-year-olds, the prime age for factory workers in emerging markets, is rising in India. By contrast, it is plunging in China because of the “one child” policy, and a sharp increase in college attendance has made the problem more acute.

                As economist Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 2/18/15), one of the most astute critics of corporate media business coverage, observes:

                    From the standpoint of businesses looking for cheap labor this might be bad news, but from the standpoint of those who would like to see poor people lifted out of poverty, this sounds like very encouraging news.

                It’s not hard to see from whose standpoint New York Times economics coverage is written.

                "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France (16 April 1844 - 2 October 1924)

                by PadreMellyrn on Sat May 23, 2015 at 09:30:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo and well said (0+ / 0-)

      Bingo and well said

    •  No, it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

      While we in the lower 99.00001% wail, and carry on, about how much will satisfy their greed. They have moved on to, 'we've got what we need lets rid ourselves of these peasants.
      Plunge the USA into 3rd world status and become Kings and Czars!'
      I could be wrong, and I so hope I am.

      George97 Good luck, and goodnight.

      by George97 on Thu May 28, 2015 at 07:57:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd suggest you send this honest, beautifully (61+ / 0-)

    written piece thru a blast-email to GOP congress-critters, but I'm sure they'd just call you a lying, dirty, hippy liberal, and dismiss it.
    One of the big problems with many of the GOP, which includes the wing-nut base, is that there is no self-reflection. Nothing is ever their fault, and everyone is always out to get them.
    My heart breaks for the poor fools who think - thru all the misinformation they are fed - that they are just like the 1% at the top of the Grand Old Party, but for a few million bucks, which they will surely win in the lottery one of these days.
    When you read the comments sections on some the red-state bulletin boards, it's staggering how little they know. And what they do know, is lies fed to them by Fox, Rush et al. I used to try to bring facts into the mix, but it's hopeless.

    The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato

    by manneckdesign on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 01:21:59 PM PDT

    •  The right wing media, and the gradual slant (14+ / 0-)

      in all other media, at least from my personal point of view, is going to destroy us if we don't stop it.  I'd put it at the top of the list as this country's #1 problem.  How to change it?  I've got nothing.  Some on the right do not believe a word unless it's delivered by rightwing news and blogs.  

      "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

      by AnnieR on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:03:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same here (7+ / 0-)

        what about someone with money like Matt Damon or Soros starting something? You're right that it's over unless we remedy their propaganda machine. We cannot compete with it to get the truth out the way things are today.

        The Bible is not inerrant, and corporations are not gods.

        by CoExistNow on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:00:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This has been my impression (7+ / 0-)

        for the last fifteen years, though it has been building up for fifteen years before that.
        Quite frankly, that was one of the main reasons my husband and I moved to England. This place isn't paradise by any means, and it certainly does have its share of rightwing nutjobs, but it is possible to read a fine paper like the Guardian that still does investigative reporting. Their work put cracks in Murdoch's empire, and they are currently working on the influence of lobbyists on the government. Let's hope they succeed.

        "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

        by northsylvania on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:51:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Read My Sig... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, AnnieR

        There is no equality of opinions on the airwaves. And as Ramsey Clark, Former U.S. Attorney General stated...

        "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

        by Mr SeeMore on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:58:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There's a reason freedom of the press in the (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnieR, Evolutionary, Tommymac, ilyana, elwior

        first amendment. The founding fathers realized that without the independent voices of the pamphleteers of their day the revolution would not have happened.

        The problem with media today is relatively recent and mostly stems from the Communications Act of 1996 that allowed too much concentration of media sources into too few hands. It has led to a saturation of the airwaves with right-wing ideologies with very few contrasting points of view.

      •  you're right annie (0+ / 0-)

        i live in italy, where we get international CNN, (terrible enough!).

        when i visited costa rica a couple of years back i flicked on CNN america while in the hotel room and watched the occupation/war of gaza by israel.

        the quality of reporting was so unabashedly right wing, unequivocally pro-israel, drooling over the whole thing, wolf blitzer coming in his pants everytime a missile made a big bang, then to really put the jackboot in, every 8 minutes of war slobber, 7 minutes of commercials for different pharmaceuticals! 'hey we know this will drive you all barking insane, but just numb out and you'll feel fine!'

        trust me, international CNN is freakin' Al Jazeera compared to what you guys are getting spoon fed, unless you go online, and even then the RW is all over the net like white on rice.

        then i saw a good documentary on BBC about the rise of right wing radio in the USA. the proportion is 1200+ to 1 stations relative to non kool-aide drinkers! they laid it out graphically, and it was like a spiderweb of hatred and evil skeining over the whole country.

        most americans have no idea what a tiny and artefactured news bubble they live in...

        unless/until that changes, no wonder there are millions of joe the plumbers out there,  public opinion is sewn up.

        why? just kos..... *just cause*

        by melo on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 08:05:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I share your sense of bewilderment (39+ / 0-)

    at those people who talk about the 53%.  I can't fathom how they are happy with their lot and want it to stay the way it is.  And I agree with you that I can't see anyway they can be at the income levels they are at and still be part of the 53%.  I am not in the 1% but I make a comfortable living.  I don't make enough money that any large share of my income falls in the protected areas that would subject me to a lower overall rate.  But for the very few deductions for charitable donations I pay every bit of the percentage people in my tax bracket have to pay.  But my children don't qualify for tuition breaks and I don't qualify for any kind of assistance from anyone.  And I still am willing to pay the taxes I am required to pay.  Because they benefit me in so many ways.  Including my desire to live in a moral and compassionate society.  

    •  "53%" thing must be related to identity politics (77+ / 0-)

      When people consistently, repeatedly vote against their own interests, it has to involve something other than economics.  That 53%er website is filled with statements from people that, underneath a thin veneer of pride, fairly glow with insecurity... insecurities that the Republicans have exploited in exactly the same way fascist movements exploited the working class in the 1930's.  Goodwin be damned.

      The people on that website are insecure to the point of reaction because on some level they, too, know that the US no longer occupies the undisputed position of supremacy it did in the post WWII decades.  They just can't articulate it or face it honestly.  They feel particular outrage when they are called racists, but they are insecure about that, too, because on some level they know that real social justice means eliminates the privilege they enjoy but can't articulate or honestly face. My theory is that this is part of the draw for Herman Cain - 'see, we're not racists after all'.  The anti-intellectualism, the refusal to seriously consider global warming and the excessive reaction to modern biology, is likewise rooted in insecurity.  The liberal elites want to make fun of God, because they think they are better than us.  Religious beliefs and nationalism all merge into an emotional amalgam of what it is to be an American, and to be powerful, and therefore wealthier and more free than others.  Seen through this lens, the health care debate is not about health care. It's about the a priori assumption that America is better than every other nation. Criticism of the health care system equates to criticism of American identity.

      But here comes the contradiction and the insecurity again.  "I hold all these beliefs, and I still have to work 60 hours a week at two jobs, and I'm one hospitalization away from bankruptcy.  I brag about being a success but in my soul, I know that I am a victim."  

      If you are a victim you better find someone to blame.  Enter the GOP politicians, who tie up all these insecurities into a nice package with a pretty little bow and provide structure to channel those resentments and insecurities.  Blame?  Easy, it's the hippies, liberal elites, minorities and gay people seeking special rights and advantages, migrants, etc.  Each group is carefully defined in opposition to this mystical but never formally defined American identity.  Remember how Santorum used "Let America be America Again" for his campaign slogan, without realizing that Langston Hughes was a gay black socialist? That summed up the whole GOP manipulation of American identity in all its irony and glory.  It's an American identity easily sold to the people on the 53% website... which makes this moment in history so dangerous.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:19:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow! Spot on! There may be a diary here... nt (10+ / 0-)

        The Bible is not inerrant, and corporations are not gods.

        by CoExistNow on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:02:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is indeed a dangerous moment. (21+ / 0-)

        I wrote about this on a different thread a couple of days ago.  Someone had brought up Nazis to say that I would have approved of the Nazis until they started killing people, completely misunderstanding the point I was making about the Tea party.  (This is the danger, BTW, of discussing the early 20th century with anyone...everyone thinks they know all about the Nazis and fascism, but they really mean just the 1938-1945 Nazis.)  

        I ended my comment by stating that our country right now stands in a very precarious place fraught with danger BECAUSE we have a group like the Tea party which (like the fascists of the 1920s and 30s in Europe) identifies its members as victims of their own government, angry and fearful, and is eager and willing to trade its original message for a place at the table.  In other words, the Tea party is willing to allow its members to be used for political purposes because it (falsely) believes that it can gain power that way and be heard.  

        This won't happen, of course.  Everyone else can see that the tea party people are being USED and the original issues they feel so strongly about, (ending the bank bailouts, smaller govt. and all that) will NOT be addressed anywhere.  Their frustrations instead are being channeled into racism, class warfare , homophobia, nationalism, you name it.  Meanwhile, their "leaders" get elected to congress and play the same old ball game and look the other way as banks continue to stack the deck and laws are crafted which actually increase the size and scope of government.  

        OWS is great and I am curious to see how they respond to the timid offers of support coming from mainstream progressive politicians.  My hope is that they will remain cordial to these politicians, but suspicious.  My hope is that they will NOT trade their message for a place at the table and allow the movement to be hijacked into something else.  Look at the tea party and you will see where that leads!

        •  I agree with you so much (12+ / 0-)

          It seems trite to talk about the rise of fascism because the allegations are thrown about so casually by all sides. (Though the Tea Party allegations are the most laughable). But if you look at post-WWI Germany up until the election of Hitler it's a pretty terrifying but familiar scenario. And you are spot on to recognize that it is the manipulation of the citizens in making them believe that it is the government that is their enemy. That and the creation of scapegoats through divisive politics. I constantly tell myself that I'm unduly concerned because I have always found that period of history repellently fascinating. That it's easy to draw parallels that aren't really there. But then I remember how many millions of people had to convince themselves that nothing bad was really going to happen for the Third Reich to succeed and I get worried all over again. I would love for someone to talk me down and tell me how it could never happen here. Why we are different. Why we are exceptional.

          Like you I believe that OWS is exceptional. But still it is tapping into an anger and distrust of the government that is a larger problem. Thankfully the Tea Party got derailed somewhat by their silliness. But whomever is able to successfully channel that anger is going to be very powerful. And certainly Hitler was no less of a ridiculous figure initially than any Tea Party politician we have now. Hopefully OWS will be able to channel the discontent into a more productive discourse. And to me that is the beauty of it's success thus far. Not accomplishing far reaching political goals but providing a reasonable, non- hate dependent conversation for the disaffected.  

          •  OWS differs so far (11+ / 0-)

            in that its foundation is community rather than individualism. Ironically, it seems that people who think they believe in individualism are the easiest to manipulate into regimented behaviour.
            Up to this point OWS has made a point of highlighting that very different people have been let down by the system in diverse ways. That's why the media is trying to manipulate them into a concrete set of demands that would undoubtedly leave out some of their number. Let's hope they don't succumb or get co-opted by a particular set of politicians or lobbyists.

            "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

            by northsylvania on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:01:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes clearly the very thing the media hates.. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, northsylvania, Dragon5616

              A lack of a leader and a "clear purpose" is the strength of OWS to me. I don't think it should be about effecting immediate change-though God knows we need that. It has to be about how we talk about the problems that face us. That's why the police brutality has been good for the movement (though not for those who are brutalized).

          •  I keep seeing t-shirts with the definition of (6+ / 0-)


            It seems trite to talk about the rise of fascism because the allegations are thrown about so casually by all sides.

            This is so right!  Maybe I'll make a sign with the actual definition to carry to the Occupy tomorrow:


               1. An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
               2. (in general use) Extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

            Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

            by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:17:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wish you would. (5+ / 0-)

              National Health Care is not fascism.  It scary to see how few people know what it really is.  Especially considering what a tremendous impact it had on the world.  

              •  Propaganda is a well known word because (4+ / 0-)

                Propaganda works.  Fox News is sophisticated propaganda.  I've spoken in argument with one or two conservatives (relatively poor people), in which they say they are angry at the government.  They can't express any specific reasons why they are angry, except actual sound bites.  When you try to understand the reasoning behind any of the sound bites, they get angry and use a different sound bite.  They don't really think at all.  They hear something, and repeat it over and over, even if they don't know what it means - because they are told to.
                The propaganda was winning until the explosion of the World Wide Web, and sites like this one.  Now, kids of the Internet Age, who don't remember a time without Internet Access, or a time without immediate communication - cellphones, etc., are using this technology to form large groups that agree with their ideas.  These young people are using organic Democracy to make decisions that are having an effect on the people and corporate machines that would destroy us.

                Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

                by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:55:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  There is a major difference here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          myeye, Dragon5616

          between the Tea Party and the early days of fascist agitation.  The fascists were a nascent political force, but the Tea Party is not.  In addition, the Tea Party is almost wholly astro-turfed.  Its paid for.  The early fascist groups were not.  

          I agree that ows should remain indifferent to party and personalities in the political sky.  Their best direction is that of exposing and demanding an end to corruption and unfair policies.  Campaign finance reform of a real and meaningful kind would be a wonderful result of this, if it does not deliver much else.  

          The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

          by not2plato on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:41:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The early Nazis were not at all "grass roots" (0+ / 0-)

            Oh yes, the rank and file Brownshirts  were for the most part enlisted and non-commissioned WWI veterans.  But the leadership ... Hitler being one of the few exceptions ... were high ranking military and well-connected businessmen from BEFORE the Great War.

            Short version: the early Fascist groups in Germany, at least, had enormous support from what today we  would call "The Military Industrial Complex".  

            Adolph Hitler, holder of the Iron Cross, 1st Class,  was recruited into  the Army's post-War  "Enlightenment Corps" and given the assignment of infiltrating the German Workers' Party  

            At each point between 1921 and 1923 whatever the NDSP needed ... a touring car for Hitler, a printing press for the Party newspaper ...  light arms, uniforms, and transport vehicles  and  for at least 15,000 men ... pretty much whatever the Party needed miraculously appeared from "somewhere."

            And then came the 1924 "Putch".  In the aftermath of that it was Hitler and Hess who were sent to prison and would ... while GENERAL  Erich Ludendorff was let off.

            It's very unlikely that General Ludendorff believed that Corporal Hitler was in any way his Superior or Leader.

            When Hitler came out of prison there was no shortage of support and sponsorship ... a publisher for Mein Kampf ... acting and elocution lessons for Der Furher, as he was beginning to be called ... light arms and uniforms for nearly 500,000 men ...   not much of this paid for by the 50 pfennig a month rank and file Party dues.

            Like Reagan, Hitler was apparently an enormously popular dinner guest of the rich and powerful and it was among them that he solicited both financial and political backing.

            The "Proletarian" wing of the NSDP leadership, notably Ernst Rohm, was eliminated in the 1934 purge called "The Night of the Long Knives".  What was left was the "reliable" and "sophisticated" leaders of whom Hitler was the only one with "street cred. "   The rest were Captains of Industry and Military Officers.

            Personally I believe that the "Godwin Rule" was written primarily to downplay and obscure similarities and connections between the American Right -- particularly in its  Reaganite incarnation  -- and the Third Reich

      •  Remember that 9 of those posts/photos on.... (16+ / 0-)

        ...Erick Erikson's 53% site have now been proven to be fake. Photoshopped pictures of random folks throughout the internet - including a man in Spain that had a "letter" photoshopped in front of him without his knowledge by someone at the site. I wouldn't doubt if over half of the photos on that page were fakes. Just a heads up.

      •  You must know my sister. (12+ / 0-)

        She is one of the most insecure persons that I know but she hides that behind expensive name brand clothing, such as a $300 dress from Nordstrom's.  She actually makes about $10 an hour at her job but her boyfriend pays all of her living expenses. If her boyfriend were to dump her today, she would have no place to live. And she hates poor people.  Don't have a job?  It is because you are lazy and feel entitled to her hard working dollars.  That is her view.

        I make way more money than her and she can't understand how I can defend poor unemployed people or why I despise Wall Street.  I see it as me being secure and realizing the way the "game" is played.  She is insecure and in total denial about the "game."  If only she buys enough expensive clothes and make up, some how that means she isn't poor.  

        And it makes her feel good about herself to look down upon somebody else.  As in "I may have a $10 an hour job, but I am hardworking.  Not like those lazy people protesting against Wall Street.  Those people just want my money and Wall Street's."  That is her view.  She totally identifies with the rich because to acknowledge her true position is too much for her psyche.  And I think for a lot of those 53%ers, the same holds true.  Who actually wants to acknowledge that their life isn't great?

        •  Ignorance is Bliss. nt. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

          by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:57:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But it's sad that the measure of a person's life.. (0+ / 0-)

 found in what they have and not what or who they are.

          "And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right." Alexander Pope -Essay on Man

          by DawnG on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:14:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  bullseye sarella (0+ / 0-)

          when fear and angry resentment mix, calm and reason go out the window.

          the teabaggers are like agents provocateurs, seeding discontent and rechannelling the rage due towards the 1% out into the poor community against gays and coloured folks, their own neighbours and family sometimes.

          divide and conquer, only education in history can break this black enchantment.

          many, many with the same mental architecture as your sis.

          kudos for laying it out so well!

          why? just kos..... *just cause*

          by melo on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 08:15:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  sent to Top Comments. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dragon5616, SallyCat, BlackNGreen, elwior

        Republicans 2012

        Keeping Millions Out of Work
        to Put One Man Out of a Job

        by smileycreek on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 02:00:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly - Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A sullen bitterness is what seems to drive these people.  That, and a fear they are just above the lowest rung of society, hating, not those who manipulate and limit their potential, but those with which they have much in common.

        I guess it must take both a willful ignorance and a fear of the world that allows appeals to a miserable victimhood.

        If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . . Barry Ritholtz.

        by Fossil on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 02:50:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nice comment (0+ / 0-)

        I agree completely.  The Tea Party isn't really a political phenomenon at all, it is a psychological one

      •  This is well-done also! (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks for the (obvious) effort.

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am with you. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, emal, kyril, SallyCat

      That fairly well describes my family's position and attitude.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:36:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very well said. (32+ / 0-)

    I especially like this observation you make:

    The things I do spend more money on are services such as travel, entertainment, restaurants and landscaping, none of which generate well-paying middle class jobs."

    Ahh. A fine example of the Rick Perry school of job creation.

    There is a subset of the 1% out there who will never understand your point of view, though. Some have never had to actually work or do without. Others are just pathologically self-centered and plainly incapable of acknowledging any responsibility for the commons.

  •  Thank you! (26+ / 0-)

    Its good to hear stories from citizens such as yourself.  It really helps to know there are people in the 1%  out there that care about us 99%ers. I must apologize, because lately I have been painting the 1% with a pretty wide brush and I forget sometimes that not everyone in the 1% is an evil, money grubbing bad guy.

    Thank you for sharing your story, it was a good read!

    "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny"

    by xylonjay on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 01:32:15 PM PDT

    •  I have no doubt that there are plenty of (7+ / 0-)

      enlightened progressive souls in the 1%.  And I am glad that this diarist took the time to explain his circumstances and that he didn't get to his position of income without help from society (read gubmint).

      I would like to see more of the 1% to take a stand and to be more vocal for a more progressive economic system that allows for the wealthy to pay their fair share and for the youth not to be crushed by college related debt.

      It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hahn

      by Frank In WA on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:40:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  BTW Almost Nobody is Talking About Actually Solvin (21+ / 0-)

    the problems yet.

    The only time we ran the economy with a stable or rising mainstream population, we had trade, individual tax, business tax and regulatory policies on business, finance and media that almost everybody I ever meet today opposes when I simply state the policy directly.

    Certainly both parties vigorously oppose them.

    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 21, 2011 at 01:36:16 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing - (21+ / 0-)

    I just looked up your profile and it looks like you just recently joined dKos. So welcome! Thank you for your perspective. I hope we hear more from you.

  •  Thanks for your story (4+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 02:48:18 PM PDT

  •  This is great to read, from someone who's been in (14+ / 0-)

    the top few percent, and also been struggling to get by at times. I feel as you do; I don't really notice a small change in something like taxes when making "good money." Investments and other things fluctuate more; and as you point out so well, at your level you just further ignore those things since they're within the margin of error.

    •  I would feel it. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psykos, BYw, SallyCat, virginwoolf, cyberKosFan

      But only when I pay that bill.  A little while afterward and then it will be forgotten.  Or if it comes out of my paycheck I might notice it for the first 2 checks as I adjust and move on.  Take 3% away from me and I will adjust and still live comfortably.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:42:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You appear to be part of the 1% that (30+ / 0-)

    Didn't have it handed to you by your family, didn't inherit it or start on third and think you hit a home run.

    I think that is the crucial difference: you know how hard it is and how lucky you are. Many that are born into wealth have no idea just how much luck is involved. They really DO think they are better and entitled.

  •  My opinion (5+ / 0-)

    " That all seems so obvious to me that I don't understand how anyone could question it"

    Wealthy republicans know it but don't care.  Non-wealthy republicans  believe the Fox News propaganda.

    Which is good news for John McCain.

    by AppleP on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 03:33:13 AM PDT

    •  I think the wealthier Republicans are the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      smart ones that have no sense of guilt or remorse for their actions.  


      noun ˈsōsēōˌpaTH
      sociopaths, plural

         1. A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience

      We are dealing with a few intelligent sociopaths that are forcing propaganda on those that just don't have the capability to understand the big picture.  The non-wealthy, and especially the poor ones always seem to vote against their own health.  These would be the 'low-information', or basically ignorant people that listen only to their fiery pastor, or Fox News.  With enough money, you can now be so loud that you are actually drowning out any other sound.  Money = Free Speech.

      Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

      by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:31:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Post too old to "tip", but I would if I could! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        We are dealing with a few intelligent sociopaths that are forcing propaganda on those that just don't have the capability to understand the big picture.
        Sadly, this strikes me as largely accurate, as does your final sentence.

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 09:13:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I can tip your comment :). Even as (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          there are likely many individual, leading sociopaths foisting their ideas and opinions on low-information citizens, there also seem to be Corporate sociopaths - since "Corporations are People", they would be immortal sociopaths in control of the country.  I wonder when "Corporate Persons" will start getting prosecuted and punished for their crimes?  As "persons", they are entitled to a jury of their peers.  Unfortunately, their 'peers' are other "Corporate Persons".

          #OccupyMarines - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

          by Evolutionary on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 09:31:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations on you success... (26+ / 0-)

    ... through your hard work.

    It must be nice to have a secure future.  I started working as a newspaper boy back when I was 13.  Until a few years ago I had never been unemployed.  Now I can’t get a job and have largely given up hope of finding work, among other things.  I have spent almost all of my retirement savings, and paid penalty taxes to do so, and have started selling possessions I accumulated when I was working.  I am 45 and see that I will be worse off than my widowed mother if I live to retirement age.  I am trying not to drag her down with me.  I am becoming sour and bitter.

    Well I guess I still have it better than many.  About 20 years ago I did a church work trip to Harlan County as a driver and chaperone.  We where helping out a group called C.O.A.P.  They seemed like a real nice group.  We were adding a cinderblock foundation and drain tile to a guy’s dirt floor house to help prevent the constant water infiltration he had to deal with.  He was badly injured in a mine rock fall and the mine company would not take responsibility for it.  I don’t know all the details.  He had no electricity and only a small coal stove.  The water for the whole community was from an abandoned coal mine and was brought to each house through garden hose like hoses laid out in the road drainage culverts.  There were little specks of coal in the water.  At least that is what it looked like.  When I was there a local kid no more that 8 was chewing tobacco.  I warned him that it would cause cancer.  He said his dad told him that only the menthol caused cancer.  So I have it better than that.

    I am looking at a Heifer International book I got today and am thinking how much I would give them if I won something like the Powerball.  So I have it better than that.  Still I will be homeless in probably a year or so if things don’t change.  I look at the local paper and see a half a page of want ads and over 7 pages of foreclosures.

    Oh well sorry for the rant, or more accurately the dirge.  I have to go home.  My mom will be up soon and will want to use the computer.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 03:54:32 AM PDT

    •  You are not alone. (13+ / 0-)
      I have spent almost all of my retirement savings, and paid penalty taxes to do so, and have started selling possessions I accumulated when I was working.

      My husband and I took out our 401k in 2009 and were hit with the penalty tax , too. This would be a big help to the middle class, if the IRS would forgive the early withdrawal penalty.

      We left the big city and move to a rural town. Paid cash for our new home, so no mortgage, no high property taxes, no high insurance. We are learning to live with a lot less of the trappings that we thought we had to have.  A big adjustment in our perspective and worldview. Guess you can say we got off of the merry go round of the "American Nightmare".  Now we have joy and peace along with the fresh vegetables from our garden.

      Keep writing about your experience it will help. I hope you will find the peace for you as we did for us.

      "He is no fool who forsakes things that he cannot keep, so that he might gain things that he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

      by looking and listening on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:26:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I heard on the radio.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the other day there is a bill sponsored by Republicans that does just that.  Too late for me though.

        I personally suggested this to Mellissa Bean and Dick Durbin years ago and it is the Republicans who are sponsoring it.  God some times it makes me really pissed that the Democrats do not take issues like this and run with them.  I am comming to the conclusion they are either clueless of complicit.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 09:46:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry for your struggles (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose

      And It is interesting that you mentioned Harlan County.  My family is from a place two counties away, and i have visited Harlan many times.  Most people have no idea how truly miserable it is there, or at least that it can be.  It is a truly a shame

      •  well if you ever come to Chicago and need... (0+ / 0-)

        ...a ride from Ohare send me a private message with enough lead time and I will pick you up.  I live 5-10 miles west of the airport and have a big car.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:07:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for your beautiful post. (12+ / 0-)

    I hope you send it to your local newspaper and I hope it spreads far and wide.  Perhaps it will influence some to join you in your understanding of luck and gratitude.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:02:36 AM PDT

  •  It is October. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, scarvegas

    It is October and soon the winds will whistle around the buildings in NYC.

    The movement needs a way to make a graceful exit. If they get chased out by the cold it will not be pretty and the conservative radio and tv will have a field day making fun of it.

    Someone needs to stand up and say it is time to disperse go out and have meetings in little groups and work from every corner of society. It will have a chilling effect on the very persons that want it to end. For now the protest will be everywhere and nowhere.

    Giving the conservatives on radio and tv the opportunity to make jokes about it is a very bad thing.

    •  It's pretty hard to disperse an idea. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, viscerality

      Whether protesters go inside for the cold season or not, the idea is now out there among a large percentage of Americans.  They may be fewer in numbers, and unable to stand effectively in defiance of the NYPD, and other PD's, resulting in an actual eviction from the parks and town squares - but come spring time, they'll be back.  There are other parks.  Some lawsuits concerning the First Amendment have already been filed.  Decisions will be made in courts of law.
      The Overton Window is being shifted to the left, and it's already having an effect.
      As long as there is this level of injustice, there will be people that cry out against it and take action when it begins to affect them directly.
      We have already heard all the insults that can be hurled, and all the accusations that can be made.  We have been called Dirty Fucking Hippies, Homeless agitators, "unwashed", Communists, Marxists, Socialists, Pinkos, Scumbags, Dregs, Dumb Kids with Nothing to Do, "Liberal Trust Fund Babies", and now even, "Radical Islamists".
      Conservatives in the media spouting nonsense about us isn't new.  We will prevail.  
      Conservatives have no idea how to handle criticism.  We have it hurled at us every day.  I think those that protest, and those that support the protests have thicker skins than these talking heads on the fantasy world of Conservatism.
      We can take it, they can't , and we will win.
      "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
      Never forget.

      Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

      by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:46:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Years Ago (7+ / 0-)

    There was a Daily Kos meetup downtown where Markos came for a book signing.  I think he was on tour for Crashing the Gates.

    We were joined by a very elegant older lady from the Upper East Side whom I gathered was a Democratic Party booster and had been drawn into the Howard Dean movement.  She had her copy of the book and was charging around trying to find him to sign it.

    I thought to myself.  "Oh, my.  If many of the people here had their way, it would cost her quite a bit of money."  But I learned later that having a bit of money doesn't mean you are incapable of taking a big picture view of things and having an agenda politically that goes beyond stuffing your pockets.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:16:17 AM PDT

    •  Having money is not a sin. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renbear, melo

      And it's not even close to "The problem".

      The problem is with people who make darned sure no one else can have money.  I'ts the mentality that the more others have, the less I have so let's do everything we can ot make sure they don't have more at my expense.

      "And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right." Alexander Pope -Essay on Man

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:21:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice story. (0+ / 0-)
      But I learned later that having a bit of money doesn't mean you are incapable of taking a big picture view of things and having an agenda politically that goes beyond stuffing your pockets.
      Besides, I figure when Clinton tripled the stock markets, rich folk probably did OK, too.

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 09:22:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ive never "worked for a rich man", never want to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, greengemini

    Either.  I don't get it, it is like americans aspire to be gardeners.

  •  Can I just say (21+ / 0-)

    that I love this quote:

    As George Orwell wrote in "Homage to Catalonia" about fighting fascists, I don't always need to know what I am fighting for when it is clear what I am fighting against.

    This was a fantastic, well-written diary with a whole lot of intelligence and heart just shining through.  Kudos.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:31:02 AM PDT

  •  I enjoyed your story. (21+ / 0-)

    Several points resonated with me. I've never made 1% money, but I've made between $125,000.00 and $150,000.00 for several years in a row as the owner of a small business.
    I had adjusted my "lifestyle" to that income. Well, I got caught in the downturn, like everyone else...saw the value of my house drop 35%, saw my SEP IRA lose 60% of it's value, saw my income drop by 45%.
    I had accumulated some debt. Typical American story.
    I've liquidated my childrens 529, half of my meager SEP IRA, refinanced my house (lucky to be able to do that), trimmed all our expenses, sold stuff on ebay, and we're still spending more than I take in.
    That said, I feel pretty lucky.
    My business is helping to decorate high end homes. I'm a rare case. My job IS created by the 1%.
    During "fat" times, I was somewhat bemused by standing in a mansion, in Greenwich, CT, with a decorator, contractor, architect, and home owner having oh so serious discussions about the perfect shade of, it seems criminal.

    In the beginning there was nothing...which exploded.

    by lucysdad on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:41:01 AM PDT

    •  You ARE the 99%! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, greengemini, ozsea1, ChemBob

      Funny, when these "53%'rs" talk about the 47%, they don't understand that the 47% they speak of actually do pay some heavy taxes, just not income taxes.
      In  addition, this 47% includes children, retirees, disabled people, the unemployed, the bankrupt (due to health 'insurance'), etc.
      People making $125k to $150k have it better than most, but are still Middle Class, and still part of the 99%.
      You are getting screwed along with the rest of us.

      Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

      by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:52:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some great points... (10+ / 0-)

    about the 53%.  

    I do have to disagree with you on one thing though.  You do buy more things.  In this economy people who have nothing extra at the end of the month, or are underwater in their mortgages, buy nothing but the essentials.

    That can mean food only, and not quite enough of it, or it could mean that while you still eat well, you'll buy new underwear next year and mend what you've got.  The same goes for new clothes and shoes.

    Extras like new decorative lamps for the living room or bedroom are unthinkable.  So don't think about it.

    These are not the worries of someone who is wealthy.  But they are the factors that affect more and more Americans.

    Thank you for your post.  Very nicely done.

    •  Yes! We recently moved to a (5+ / 0-)

      cheaper rental house, and the bathroom floor is in terrible shape. I have been wanting to buy bathroom rugs for months now, but just can't spend the extra money...

      There are so many small items I would like to have purchased by now...shelf paper for kitchen cabinets (using newspaper), dryer anti-static sheets, pillowcases, curtains or blinds for one of the bedrooms, a Brita water container (dropped and broke mine) for which I have a whole box of filters from the food pantry, aluminum foil, a rake (many more trees on this lot, which I love!).

      Obviously, I can live without all of these items (I have so far!). But they are things I would have purchased in the past with hardly a second thought...not exactly luxury excess items.

  •  A vague sense? (4+ / 0-)

    I don't think there is a vague sense that money has concentrated at the top.  That has been clear for a long time.  What's new is that it motivated people to take action.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 04:43:39 AM PDT

  •  So good Gaius (19+ / 0-)

    This is a beautifully written and heartfelt diary. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have a brother-in-law who claims to have a similar story but unlike you, grew up in the upper-middle class. He purports to be a self-made man because he insisted on paying for his own college and law school. They have only contempt for those who have less and consider themselves the American royalty job-creator class (he has his own firm). I discussed the Bush tax cuts with her last week. You'd have thought I had suggested the guillotine the way she reacted. They'd probably have to give up one sushi night for God's sake. She was so angry about it I had to wonder where all this was coming from. After all, she wakes up every morning with the freedom and resources to do anything she damn well pleases. What's her fucking problem? In spite of her wealth, I wouldn't trade places with her for anything. Would you and your wife like to be my sister and brother-in-law? You seem like much nicer people to be around. These right-wingers have no compassion. There but for the grace of God is not something they can relate to because they believe they are superior to those who have less.

    Hate is the new black.

    by rivamer on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:15:26 AM PDT

  •  The common-sense truth the right doesn't... (22+ / 0-)

    want known.

    As a business owner myself - and one who built his company from nothing - I can't tell you how many times I shouted "Absolutely right!" while reading this diary.

    Your post clarifies single biggest misconception of that 53% and the fact that they have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how jobs are created and businesses are run.

    And given their perspective is identical to their party, it boggles my mind how such ignorance about the one issue that everyone should be educated on is not only accepted, but praised.

    Why is half our population disconnected from reality? This fact will never cease to amaze me.

    "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose. It's how you ladle the gravy." - Felix Ungar

    by Verbalpaintball on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:39:10 AM PDT

  •  This is why class warfare sucks (10+ / 0-)

    Because if things don't change for the better incrementally they are likely to change drastically, and Gaius is as likely as anyone else to get attacked by the pitchfork and torch bearing mob, even though he's a Good Egg who gets it.

    It's really not the 1%. It's an evil subset of the 0.1%. Probably if God would activate the SMITE button on about 100 people the Republican Party would suddenly lurch to the left.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:42:20 AM PDT

  •  This teacher says: you made a division error. (21+ / 0-)

    This isn't the 99% who aren't over-wealthy vs. the 1% who are.
    It is those who want economic justice, those who value human life above material gain, vs. those who do not.
    You are in the 99%! Congratulations! Welcome.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

    by kareylou on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 05:54:55 AM PDT

  •  Wait a minute... (0+ / 0-)

    Lots of statistics going back and forth these days, but curious.  How is an increase in the number of people making  more than $1 million a year a bad thing?

    •  Wealth continues to be concentrated (6+ / 0-)

      in the hands of a few. It's not good morally, when there are so many struggling, and it is not good for the economy because they tend to just sock it away and earn interest, rather than spending it on things that help get the economy going.
      (my take)

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

      by kareylou on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:03:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Still not seeing it... (0+ / 0-)

        What does the expansion of some arbitrary percentile towards the top have to do with wealth concentration? The implication here is depressingly Hobbesian.

        •  It's not arbitrary. (8+ / 0-)

          The middle class, the number of people making enough to eat well and educate their children and take a vacation once in a while, is shrinking. The number of people, as well as the proportion of people, making over a million dollars a year, is expanding. It depresses me too, and I have no idea what Hobbesian means outside of the cartoon page.

          To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

          by kareylou on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:40:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Basically, (9+ / 0-)

            the rich are getting richer at the expense of the middle class and the poor - and they've pulled up the ladder behind them.

            Fifty percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 last year, reflecting a growing income gap between the nation's rich and poor, the government reported Thursday.

            There were fewer jobs, and overall pay was trending down -- except for the nation's wealthiest.


          •  Hobbesian - nature red in tooth and claw (6+ / 0-)

            To Hobbes, the natural state of man was a continuous war of all against all.  Here's a passage from "Leviathan"

            In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

            I don't think that Cera means Hobbesian in the way that Hobbes would have.  

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:18:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How is it not arbitrary? (0+ / 0-)

            Why not talk about the expansion of the 95th percentile?  Or the 80th?  Income growth starts flatlining around the 60th.

        •  Here, let Stiglitz (0+ / 0-)

          explain it to you.  I suggest you read the whole article.

          Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity, in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important. America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise: the chances of a poor citizen, or even a middle-class citizen, making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries of Europe. The cards are stacked against them.

          "If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life." — Albert Schweitzer

          by mozartssister on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 02:51:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If more people were making (6+ / 0-)

      more money overall, it would be a good thing, but to have simultaneously overall lowering of wages, higher unemployment and more millionaires, it is a sign that wealth is being concentrated, which is not a good thing.

      #Occupy Wallstreet - Politicians will not support the movement until it is too big to fail.

      by Sychotic1 on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:37:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When everyone else sees a 1,300 dollar a year drop (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      in income to finance it, it's a bad thing.

      Dear 1%. If you "stand with us", then move your fucking money.

      by JesseCW on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:40:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because the pie isn't any bigger? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Because their rising tide isn't floating all boats?

      As the economy, and the income inequality, presently sits; for every new person making more than $1mill a larger number of people are falling closer, or well into, poverty.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 01:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The only reason your question arises (0+ / 0-)

      is because the diarist isn't really very good at explaining the relevant facts.  The increase in people making more than 1 million/year is not very relevant to the OWS position.

      Being in the 1% has very little to do with INCOME.  It has a good bit more to do with wealth.  OWS has very little to do with how many people make more than a million each year, and certainly people making 400k per year in some sort of salary from work are not the top targets of OWS.

      In the end it's the disparity between the top 1% and the bottom 99% and the rate at which the share of the country's wealth for the 1% is increasing while the share going to the 99% stagnates or gets lower. And it's what the 1% are doing with that that vast wealth to ensure that the 99% have no chance of improvement.

      A lot of people keep talking about the 1% as though they are the people one might casually see having their mercedes valet parked at the nice restaurant on a friday evening.  I don't think those are the 1%, and I don't think we ever see the 1% among us.  They are truly separate beings. There's a reason they're rarely heard from.  With the exception of a few individuals, the 1% doesn't usually consider the fact that we exist.   They are in their own universe and they like it that way.  They would no more communicate their feelings to the 99% than they would ask their gardener about his arthritis.

  •  This is such a great diary (5+ / 0-)

    And I will be printing and handing it out to help educate and enlighten those people in the 99% who weep at the thought that the 1% might have to pay even an extra penny in taxes.

    Thank you, Gaius.

  •  The congress is not listening to us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Sychotic1, ozsea1

    not even the 1%. Congress is only serving the whims of the huge corporations. The situation is destroying our country. Pretty much a case of treason in the capitol. Every poll shows that the majority on Americans want the jobs bill. How can EVERY republican vote against it and claim that they are doing the "will of the people?"'

    As elected reps. of us, we the people, they are SWORN to execute our wishes. Not doing so would be an act of broken oath of office. Probably a serious crime, punishable by firing squad or hangin'. We need to investigate.

    Things are more the way they are today than they ever were before. -Jimmy Flynn

    by onionjim on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:11:50 AM PDT

  •  How I wish (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Evolutionary, SallyCat

    more—many more— of the 1% saw things as you do. Thanks for this.

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

    by mofembot on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:22:57 AM PDT

  •  "don't pay taxes" = "get refund" (7+ / 0-)

    A not so subtle use of framing to obscure the lie in that claim about 47% "not paying (any) taxes" is that really means "pay but get a refund next April". I don't even hear democrats pointing this out; everyone jumps on the lies that stem from the conclusion of that statement, not the claim itself.
    They steal our language as a first blow in every fight they pick.  
    But more than that, this invites many of those in the 47% to assume they are in fact part of the 53%; the winners, the good Americans. Because they know there are federal deductions from every paycheck, but often don' t know FICA from  income tax, or how that relates to the refund in April...
    Steal the language, then set the frame. Over and over again.

    Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

    by kamarvt on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 06:30:47 AM PDT

  •  It's not just the 1% who can pay more: it's the (18+ / 0-)

    top 10% to top 20%.

    My wife and I combined are in the top 10%. We didn't really notice the payroll tax cut and our income and property taxes are too low by a (combined) 5-10% (easily). If our marginal tax rate went up by 5% and our property taxes by a mill or two we'd notice it, but it wouldn't be onerous, or really much of a burden at all (and it would not impact our savings rate, but our entertainment budget instead).  

    We're affluent. We know we're affluent, and we know we can afford to pay more in taxes. We try to help (I'm not going to elaborate; suffice it to say we give here and there), but we could help more if, en masse, the taxes on our income cohort were raised by 5-10%.

    My view is that people in our income range (or higher) who don't want to pay even a few percentage points more on their highest marginal incomes in spite of having the ability to afford it are sociopaths or psychopaths (literally, as in they have a psychological disorder that requires treatment by medication and therapy).

    •  completely agreed (0+ / 0-)

      I completely concur with this point from the OP also:

      Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains.

      Whilst it's not the case for me that most of my income is in that form, there's a pretty substantial chunk of my income that comes from a once-a-year bonus of a highly variable amount (I fall into the 96-99% bracket, though).

      I certainly wouldn't notice a marginal change of 3.5% in the bonus amount (let's be honest: I have really no idea how the gross amount, or the tax, is actually calculated. It's some weird chunk of money that just gets calculated somehow and I'm always pretty happy however much it is).

      As for the effect of a change to the top marginal tax rate on my regular income? Really wouldn't matter much, since only a small percentage of it falls into that category in any case.

      It's frankly just beyond me what the problem is with increasing the top marginal tax rates. You'd really have to be something of a sociopath to be one of those affected by it and actually care about it.

  •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

    This is elegant and right.  Thank you for posting, and please find ways to disseminate this more broadly.

  •  Amen. (9+ / 0-)

    From those to whom much is given, much is expected.   That sense of noblesse oblige has dissipated here, and that dissipation will undermine the public's willingness to tolerate increasing inequality.

    -9.00, -5.85
    If only stupidity were painful...

    by Wintermute on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Thank You For This! (8+ / 0-)

    I continue to be befuddled by those that think somehow they're above complaining simply because they work and pay taxes. I suppose it's very much the media's portrayal of the OWS movement that leads people to believe they're all sitting on Wall Street waiting for someone to give them a job, pay their bills, forgive their loans, etc. That said, it only takes a few moments research to learn that that is far from the case. Moreover, there are more people involved in OWS that are exactly like this group calling themselves the 53%.....they're just wise to the fact that the corruption at the very top and within our government is causing an unnecessary and dangerous disparity.

    I think it's safe to say very few actually want the rich to suffer, or be broke. Anyone with half a brain knows that were that to happen, the effect on our economy would be disasterous. I myself am a small business owner and many of my clients are's a tad surreal to be involved w/ OWS and in the same day doing an interview with luxury travel magazine Departures. It certainly highlights for me that I have a level of dependency on that 1%.  Of course I also realize that the idea that the 1% can provide more jobs by having more money is a joke. That said, like you mentioned....many of them wouldn't notice paying a bit more in taxes, and many would be completely fine with it. This is where the disconnect's warping of the situtation for ratings sake, people's lack of desire to do a lick of research for themselves and the Republicans (and some Dems) loud "defense" of the rich that donate to them.

    At any rate, this was a tremendous read....congratulations on your hard work and perserverence.

    "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

    by vintage dem on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:14:35 AM PDT

  •  "I have no doubt that I have earned every penny (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Evolutionary, ozsea1

    I have" seems to contradict Elizabeth Warren's maxim that no one gets rich on their own.

    For people who do hard physical labor to earn a living, sometimes barely a living wage, for all their working lives, they believe they earn every penny too.

    The 53% website has proven to have faked images so I don't see it as a grass roots creation and I don't give it any attention. None of the people there seemed to have faced a major illness or disability. Lucky for them.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:16:29 AM PDT

  •  i don't understand the issue, (0+ / 0-)

    if you would like to doante 3.5% of your income to charity
    or to the federal gov or to your local school system or your
    local hospital, just do it.

  •  Welcome to DKos (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this well articulated diary.  You've been blessed by an incredible family -- which is your greatest fortune.  I look forward to more contributions from you.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 07:53:20 AM PDT

  •  You sound like somone I'd have a beer with... (4+ / 0-)

    your shout!

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

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:07:03 AM PDT

  •  Superb diary....we are not 1% but probably (11+ / 0-)

    somewhere in the upper 20%. I remember being a trailer park kid and the church bringing food and gift boxes at Christmas. My parents worked hard and the year the church came was because of a work related injury for my Dad. The GI bill in the 70's got me through college. We are lucky as well that we haven't had major illnesses or injury.

    I vote to raise my taxes, my job is long hours to make a difference for others, and the wingnuts think I am crazy. I can't publicly participate in OWS because of my job but I send money and warm clothes.  Above all I hope I never forget that there but for the grace of some higher power I could be back where I was as a child.

    So, we'll stick together...and hopefully make a difference for future generations.

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:16:15 AM PDT

  •  I've got some relatives (5+ / 0-)

    who, like you, are in the 1% by the numbers, but the 99% at heart.  I will share this with them.  Thank you for your wisdom and compassion, for adding your important voice to the mix.  We need you.

    The meal you make together far surpasses what you'd be alone.

    by avidpollinator on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:29:30 AM PDT

  •  Excellent writing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Evolutionary

    I don't think I even found a typo!  

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:32:25 AM PDT

  •  A Page 1 NY Times article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, sentinalnode

    makes ludicrous comparisons between the tea party and OWS.

    The article somehow leaves out actual evidence of the greatest difference between them -- that the tea party was funded by wealthy interests and relentlessly pushed by Fox, while OWS struggled for media coverage until it could not be ignored.

    It also quotes one poll that suggests the popularity of both is similar, when all other polls show 2 to 1 greater support for OWS.

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:51:06 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for writing this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, northsylvania

    Well written, very good points.

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

    by ARS on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 08:52:30 AM PDT

  •  We are 53 is faked by 1 person (4+ / 0-)

    It pains me to see how many people are reading the "We are the 53%" diary and being so troubled by the stories there.  The man behind the diary, Eric Erickson is a liar and a right-wing shill whose list of journalistic lies, falsehoods, misleading statements, whatever you want to call them, go back years.

    He is paid by right-wing groups to blog.  He is paid by Wallmart to blog favorably about them in opposition to any other blog that discusses unfair labor practices or other problems with WallMart. He has been paid to blog and promote rallies for 3rd world countries with human rights problems, so as to see them as good, strong governments beset by communists or radical muslims.  I can't begin to explain how odious this man is.

    There is plenty of proof that both the Marine and the Black Nigerian fellow were photoshopped.  The Nigerian gentleman is a real blogger from Spain.  As of 2 days ago, no one has found the Marine, but his picture is definitely not real, the shadows on his letter don't match the shadows  on his face.  The pixels are different, also. The fake that bothers me the most is the girl holding up the framed picture.  The picture was photoshopped out of the frame and the copy inserted. I believe that picture was of a beautiful painting the girl had done, maybe for a state fair or an art class, and she was sending the picture to family or friends to show them what she was up to.

    A handwriting expert has posted that most of the hand written copy is written by the same, male, hand - even for the women's picture.  People who teach English as a 2nd language say the patterns of speech in the foreign born bloggers is not the way those people typically speak, the slang and the use of tenses and the meter of the speech is off.

    As each fake has been exposed he has taken the picture down, without explanation, but they are saved on 'screen capture' shots.  I'm sure at this point there are some real posts, he has been on Fox and all the other right wing blogs to promote his site.

    Please don't waste a minute of your time on this.  He's a master at getting people to feel sympathy through lies and half-truths. If I had $10,000 I'd hire a P.R. firm to drag him through the mud and destroy his credibility, because whatever new, good thing comes up he's going to campaign against it through lies.  He even cheats his 3rd world clients by faking the town hall meetings in their favor, to make copy for his and other blogs.  The closest parallel I can get is McCarthy, who made a career out of nothing but lies.


    •  Do you have links? (0+ / 0-)

      I keep hearing references that many of the photos have been debunked, but it's all hearsay and rumor.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 01:52:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I could do a photoshop eval (0+ / 0-)

        I'm going to be away from my main computer for the next few days, but if nobody has posted one I will do an analysis.

        •  The comment I responded to, and others (0+ / 0-)

          Have implied that evidence has already been amassed and posted somewhere(s) - I was hoping for a pointer to same.

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 11:11:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ("we are the 53%" fake) is search phrase (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            There is a post on Kos, also if you go into google search there are many entries.  I saw quite a few on Reddit, there is a whole thread there.  I am not computer literate enough to pave a trail to this stuff, but it's there.

            •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

              As with the original diary here, the only definitive debunking I can find remains the Nigerian guy living in Spain.  Someone here in one of the threads did say he recognized one of the photos as someone he knows personally, and whose presented "story" was not true.

              from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

              by Catte Nappe on Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 01:01:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The Orwell Quote (0+ / 0-)

    is one worth remembering when frustrated and angry with this administration for dicking around as long as they have with the wrong guys in the wrong spots.  Though I am well and truly disgusted with Obama's leadership on the economy, it does my heart good to read that quote and to reflect on what we're all up against.

    Maybe the White House should read it, since being against the restrictive right is certainly something libertarians (the center) might respond to.

  •  Welcome (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your voice is both important and welcome.
    And you write very well so the time spent in higher education was well spent.

    "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

    by northsylvania on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:18:38 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for your story. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    Other than one major difference (your father) and a few very minor details, I think I'm just past halfway into my 15-year grind and continue working towards an outcome such as yours.

    Luck smiling upon you makes a world of difference. If you don't make something of that world, then success will always elude you. Recognize the landscape before building upon it.

    I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV.

    by zeitshabba on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:25:10 AM PDT

  •  Mitch McConnell (0+ / 0-)

    Is the epitome of the King's right hand.  He will do anything or say anything that will further the Republican rich and corporate kingdom.  He hates Obama because Obama is trying to make things better and the egotistical and tyrannical Mitch does not want Obama to become the people's man.  Obama so far, has done Mitch's bidding so why should Mitch change his tune?  Mitch also owns Boner.  So Boner is the lackey to Mitch and Mitch wants it to stay that way.  So who's steering the ship? Seems to be floundering!

    " A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine." Unknown author

    by libbie on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:30:17 AM PDT

  •  I am not as concerned (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scarvegas, SallyCat, Kurt Sperry

    with the Republican's anti-democratic, greedy, and sociopathic agenda as I am with the Democratic version of the same free market/trade, neoliberal global capitalism. We are seeing globally what a fail this extreme and virtulant strain of capitalism is. I do not for one minute think just taxing the top a little more is the solution. The problem is systemic and neither side is willing to regulate or rein in the too big's. We no longer have a government that represents the people. It is simply an ATM for the wealth creators.

    Instead the Democrat's continue ahead with the 'world as we find it' proclaiming it as Clinton did inevitable and good, the predatory natural way of the world. Profit over people and even over our planet's well being, all for the wealth creation of  those that win the race to the top.        

    Your story is the Horatio Algiers myth personified.  I have no idea how you make your money or what you invest in, nor do I care.  Color me skeptical but imho your dairy somehow misses the whole point of OWS. Taxing the rich a little more would help but it leaves in place the 'vampire squid on humanities face'. It does not stop outsourcing jobs, it does stop our government form being run by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Chase and GE, it only gives them more revenue to distribute to the owners of the place.  

    Until we have economy and society that provides a way for people to live and work decently, instead of thinking of humans as a profit loss or as Obama called them in 06 'losers', nothing will change. The common good comes to mind and this good is not served by having a global economy based on inequity and global pillaging for profit of the top. It is too top heavy not to fail.

    Nice to hear from someone in the 1% who is not as greedy and viscous as the Republicans but on the other hand paying your taxes does not address the root of the problem. It is not a solution that enables those of us who are not lucky or do not want to play the get rich game, a way to live a decent life. An ownership society where the top pays more in taxes which in turn is eaten by the privatized government and funneled back to the too big's just keeps the beast feed.                    

    •  "A Tale of Three Democrats" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, ozsea1, SallyCat

      Picking up on the best (and rather lonely) post here by Shaharazade:
      It seems the majority here are sort of 'Go-Cap Dems', those applauding a thoughtful and decent 1%er willing to toss some cash back, and sort of frame OWS in terms of tinkering with the tax rules a tad of Capitalism while getting a radical buzz off the OWS energy, but who are generally cool with the rich being rich, because as a post said up top 'anyone would half a brain' wouldn't want to hurt the economy.
      There seem to be fewer who are 'Slo-Cap Dems',who want absolutely massive changes to the rules of Capitalism such as in the 'slow-money' movement, and fewer still of more radical 'No-Cap Dems', who think there needs to be a 'systemic' redo or tossing of Capitalism because the present system is rotten from top to bottom, and has nothing to do with the 'common human good' or the future of the good earth.
      A 'No-Cap' Dem (if he or she is a Dem still) might ask: 'if how you made your money does harm to the 7th generation, it isn't allowed'. A 'No-Cap' is is so idealistic they want to question everything, to find a new way of living on a small planet with too many people.

      •  Nicely said thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I's settle for the slo-cap solution as I'm a pragmatic lefty and see no way to dismantle capitalism peacefully. However it may be to late for anything but the No-cap. Even FDR did not go far enough to save capitalism as economic inequity is an essential part of how it works. It's destruction seems built into it's basic intent which is profit is all that counts.

  •  I truly appreciate your diary and you should not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    allow yourself to be a victim. Just because congress is gridlocked over raising your taxes and probably won't any time soon doesn't mean you can't make a difference to the economy. Take the $100,000 you would have paid under Obama's plan and spend it locally in meaningful ways. You would be amazed at how many locally owned businesses need and would appreciate your support. Go to restaurants owned by people who live and work in the community. If there are none that you care for then find someone who can cook and invest with them. If all the small businesses in your area have been shoved out by corporate big box stores then shop at Costco where they treat their employees better than Sam's Club. The 99% want opportunity and not charity. There is much good a person like you could do without waiting for government to get its shit together. The time for us to act is now in whatever manner we can.

    Tears come to my eyes when I think about how the coal miners had to fight and die to achieve a decent living. I guess the fight of working people will always be ongoing.

    Thank you for your sensitivity to others not in your situation. Thank you for remembering that you did not get there alone.

  •  Say brother, can you spare a dime? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginwoolf, SallyCat, jan4insight, Lensy

    Loved it when you lumped Eric Cantor together with Glenn Beck as two sides of the same coin.

    May the poetry of your life never be beaten into mere prose.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 09:44:40 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am also probably in the top 20% or so, but that isn't so hard to do at this point, if you are still employed.  As more people lose their jobs, homes, bank accounts, etc., more of those that do still have employment will be shifted upwards in that calculation.

    My boots are on the ground after work on most days, and on the weekend.  Not all of us can be at the protests all of them time, and many that support us can't be there in person for various reasons.

    But those of you out there that have been sitting on the fence, please DO SOMETHING.  This Diarist DID SOMETHING, and he/she/other is part of the 1%!!  
    This idea we have is contagious :).

    I look forward to additional contributions from you!

    Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies

    by Evolutionary on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 10:09:39 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! here's IRS data for the curious: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, ozsea1, Catte Nappe, ilyana, marmar

    (For loading your argument cannons for debate w/ wingers *g*)

  •  Hello Dolly! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, SallyCat, jan4insight

    Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow. (Dolly Levi)

    If CEO's and their brethren have employment contracts, why do they insist that their employees don't need one?

    by JDPITALIA on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:08:47 AM PDT

  •  "There but for the Grace of God goes I" (5+ / 0-)

    that is one of my favorite quotes and I tell that to my winger friends on a regular basis.

    In 2008 I was caught in a downsizing of my company.  I was only unemployeed for 5 months, but when I took the new job, I took a 35% cut in pay.  I had gotten a great severance package, which included 6 months of health insurance, so again, I was in good shape, but with the new job paying so much less, we quickly worked through the severance.  We cut down bills everywhere we could, but it still wasn't enough.  I had to start looking for another job to increase my income, and I was successful.  (I'm lucky, I work in IT and my services are very much in demand).

    This is what drives me nuts.  When in financial trouble we did 2 things, we cut expenses and looked for ways to increase income.  It was common sense, unless your a winger.  We couldn't possibly cut enough to make up for that lost income.  (I am the main income in the family, my husband works as a consultant in the entertainment industry and business has been slow).  

    I will gladly pay that little bit extra to make sure that no one ever goes hungry,  lacks medical care, shelter, and heat.  A way to get through a difficult time and not be too devastated to continue when you get to the other side.  I want single payer health care, I want to know that come hell or high-water, my health care will be ensured.   I hate the people who scream they don't want to pay for others health care, don't they realize that if they have insurance they already do?  (Then I get a "yes, but it's my choice!")

    I am in good shape now, but there, but for the grace of God, go I too......

  •  Nevertheless, the sad, no less obvious fact is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoxNDox, jan4insight

    that, even if every single member of the 1% asked to be taxed at a higher rate, this vote would still represent a minority opinion against that segment of the 99% conned by Republicans' voodoo economics and rhetoric into voting to protect the wealth of that 1%, not their own or the country's interests.

    Freedom to die from no access to health care brought to you by the "Right to Life" GOP.

    by vahana on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:28:45 AM PDT

  •  A little too perfect? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This diary very eloquently hits on all the points I now of that are out there to be made about expecting the 1% to pay more in taxes.    But it's all so perfect that I checked to see what else Gaius has written on Dailykos to try to get a sense of whether this is a real person or not.:  um.. nothing.  Not a diary or even a single comment before this one.  He/she hasn't responded to any comments, either.  I don't doubt that Gaius could exist, and believe what has been written here.  But I'm a bit skeptical that this persona isn't just invented by a talented and well-informed activist.

    •  Meh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      virginwoolf, BoxNDox

      check the profile. Joined 13 Oct 2011.

      Skepticism is fine, but your comment is borderline concern trolling.

      Give it time; let's see what develops, m'kay?

      Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." ~ Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

      by ozsea1 on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 01:30:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I agree (0+ / 0-)

      This diary seems a little too perfect.
      I have to wonder if it's a right wing set up.

      •  to be clear... (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think this is a right-wing setup, because I don't think you can write on this topic as persuasively as Gaius did without believing it yourself.  But Gaius could be a well-meaning progressive who's projecting how he would want a 1%'er to think.  Time will tell, and I hope my mistrust was a false alarm.

    •  Oh, please (0+ / 0-)

      Don't be so cynical!  It is all true.  To be honest, I don't really have much time to post, write or respond.  I hope to do so more over the next year, but we shall see.

      •  Thanks for coming back, Gaius. (0+ / 0-)

        I look forward to reading more good diaries from you. Sorry if my truth-meter had a false alarm.  My critical eye when reading about politics is hard-won, and I think on the balance it's a good thing.

        There's a big difference between anonymity and pseudonymity that people sometimes gloss over.  In the latter case, the author can invest time and effort to build up trust, trust that she's not likely to squander making false statements.  I don't have a lot of built-in trust for anonymous posts (or reported quotes from anonymous sources), whether or not I agree with what the source is saying.

        I certainly agree with everything in your diary, and I find it very persuasive.   Keep up the good work.  

        •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

          And I understand your initial skepticism.  I have been reading this site for years, primarily because of the excellent election coverage.  Writing posts seemed somewhat pointless, though, because it seemed like preaching to the choir.  With this topic, i thought I might have something to say that Kossacks hadn't already heard and besides, it gave me an opportunity to vent my frustration over the tax debate.  I have literally been cringing every time I hear the phrase "job creator" because it is such a misleading - and yes, Orwellian - effort at political manipulation.  (I particularly enjoyed Jon Stewart's take on this issue, though, as i usually do).  Amazingly, people seemed to buy it, at least at first.  I started seeing arguments against taxing the "job creators" all over the internet, despite the fact that history proves exactly the opposite, and that the Bush tax cuts completely failed as a living experiment of the theory.  Arguing against people who have no regard for facts and evidence, indeed who often reject the very concept of "proof," is very frustrating.

    •  You're being paranoid (0+ / 0-)

      While I was in America, I was in the top 11%.

      Other than the income levels, and the fact that my family was somewhat better off, Gaius didn't write a word I couldn't have written.

      In any case, it should be obvious by now that the divide is not really between rich and poor. It is between white Christians and everybody else. The 53% are united by the idea that white, male Christians do all the work in the country yet are losing all their rights. If you see things that way, you don't really care about economics; and if you don't, you ain't part of the Tea Party.

  •  When Decency Speaks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem, ceebee7, ozsea1

    of the indecency it observes, it's worth our notice.  You've written a gracious diary from the point of view of one on whom The Age of Enlightenment was not wasted.

    Thanks for you eloquent defense of basic human rights and the truth that opportunity is not equal in an increasingly plutocratic America.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:22:07 PM PDT

  •  20 people bust their asses (0+ / 0-)

    and you horde that much of the wealth they (not you) produce?


    Dear 1%. If you "stand with us", then move your fucking money.

    by JesseCW on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:31:42 PM PDT

    •  Don't jump to conclusions, Jesse (0+ / 0-)

      I don't own a widget factory where I exploit low wage labor.  I'm a professional, and most of the people who work for me make a lot of money too, and they have the opportunity to make as much or more than I make when they reach the same point in their careers.

  •  Thank you for a wonderful diary that states what (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem, countwebb, ozsea1, sentinalnode, ilyana

    should be an obvious fact:

    there is no question that the increasing income inequality in our society is a bad thing, in the short-term and the long-term, for both workers and for business.  It is bad in every way and for everyone, with the sole exception of Wall Street itself.

    Although I disagree with your exception, as John Steinbeck wrote:

    And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact:  when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away.  And that companion fact:  when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need.  And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history:  repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

    Come the revolution, Wall Street will not be spared.

    Another mystery about the 53% people:  do they really think that the working poor, the 47% who pay no federal income taxes, do so by choice?  That they choose to work so hard for so little income that they qualify for the tax break?  Do they think that any of them wouldn't accept an income increase that would require them to pay more in taxes?  How crazy is that?

    There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. - Elizabeth Warren

    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:38:52 PM PDT

    •  Much of the time I feel that nothing short of a (0+ / 0-)

      full revolution will really change things. We have so many agendas that people want to achieve it is hard to get the momentum focused enough in one direction to accomplish anything. I see why eventually it all boils over and tends to wash everything away.

  •  Well, I thank you, sir, for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    extremely well written and heartfelt diary... and congratulations on overcoming childhood hardships and attaining a part of the so-called American Dream... but most of all, congratulations for your ability to hang on to enough humility and common sense to keep those values and beliefs you learned as a child to write a diary like you have written...

    With your permission I am copying the entire thing and saving it, to use at another time when someone deserves to hear from one such as yourself.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 12:57:24 PM PDT

  •  examine the human condition for empathy... (0+ / 0-)

    ...self-awareness, and vision and you will find the answer to the question: "That all seems so obvious to me that I don't understand how anyone could question it."

    The bear and the rabbit will never agree on how dangerous a dog is.

    by fromer on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 02:36:15 PM PDT

  •  I remember, I think it was last November, (0+ / 0-)

    last year, that Obama, when asked why he wasn't more aggressive in trying to save people's homes, said that it was because he didn't want to help the people who didn't deserve it.

    So when you talk about how much you, as a wealthy person consume, I think about all those undeserving people that have no home that don't consume as much as they used to, CAN'T consume as much as they used to.  And that has to effect your bottom line.  

    I'm not lecturing you, mind you, about something you already know; just reinforcing you.

    Poor people are bad for rich people.  Too bad our ruling class doesn't get that.  They see, like David Brooks, and like Obama, too, I guess, some good moral lesson in the spread of poverty.  Sort of like, "That which doesn't kill me, makes me stronger," only they might translate it as, "What doesn't kill the poor makes everybody richer."  Not true.

  •  Pardon my french, but fucking oustanding. (0+ / 0-)

    Great diary.

    From the heart and evidence-based.

    Thanks and welcome to dkos.

  •  I like your attitude (0+ / 0-)

    but I'm not sure I like the diary.  I'm not sure whether you're part of the 1%, and by a number of measurements I don't think you are. A highly paid professional is still a person who works for their money, as opposed to someone who makes their money from their money.

    It says something very important about who we are that we can't help thinking in terms of how much someone EARNS when we discuss income inequality.  Many Americans get stuck in that mindset.  

    We also need to distinguish wealth from income. Income is what people earn from work, but also from dividends, interest, and any rents or royalties that are paid to them on properties they own

    (But it's important to note that for the rich, most of that income does not come from "working": in 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries. See Norris, 2010, for more details.)

    Also, I find the first sentence in the diary really puzzling.

    The impetus behind the Occupy Wall Street movement - a vague sense that the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else suffers - was confirmed by a recent report from the Social Security Administration showing that while total employment and average wages remained stagnant, the number of people earning $1 million or more grew by 18% from 2009 to 2010

    This is cited as the key statistic driving OWS, and it is really an insignificant factoid having little to do with what precipitated the OWS movement, and in fact, depending on what's underneath those numbers it might be seen as a good development by OWS.  (What were these people formerly making before they hit the million mark?  60k?  That's good news.  900k?  Not so much.)  We don't know enough about that number to judge it either good or bad, and in a larger sense we don't really care.  The problem isn't summed up in that way.

    The rich are taking an ever increasing share of the wealth of the country, and they are using it to buy the government, and to retain their wealth.  The argument for OWS is not simply about wealth or perhaps even mainly about wealth.  It is about the power to suppress the 99% by the use of that wealth.

    Who is meant by the 1%?  Who is meant by "the rich"?  It's probably not some doctor making 400k per year.   The 1% probably contains very few people who actually work for their money.  It probably contains very few people you would ever see or hear from.
    The lower half of the top 1%

    Until recently, most studies just broke out the top 1% as a group. Data on net worth distributions within the top 1% indicate that one enters the top 0.5% with about $1.8M, the top 0.25% with $3.1M, the top 0.10% with $5.5M and the top 0.01% with $24.4M. Wealth distribution is highly skewed towards the top 0.01%, increasing the overall average for this group. The net worth for those in the lower half of the top 1% is usually achieved after decades of education, hard work, saving and investing as a professional or small business person. While an after-tax income of $175k to $250k and net worth in the $1.2M to $1.8M range may seem like a lot of money to most Americans, it doesn't really buy freedom from financial worry or access to the true corridors of power and money. That doesn't become frequent until we reach the top 0.1%.

    (bolding added by me)

    In conclusion to this (very) long comment.  I like your attitude.  I like that you identify with the people who work to earn a living, but I think you exist in space in between the 99% and the real targets of the OWS movement.  I think the movement is not so much against professionals who have made comfortable lives for themselves, but against the strata of money that we never even get to see, and who considers themselves masters of the universe.   ......and for whom the idea of actually speaking to the issue or to the 99% would seem ludicrous.

    •  Well, I think that was my point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells, Clues, delver rootnose

      You're right that i am one of those highly paid professionals, that I have had to work for a living and still do, and that there  is a very big difference between income and wealth, which is exceedingly difficult to accumulate.  However, i didn't come up with the "1%" slogan, and there is no doubt that I fit within it, as do hundreds of thousands of other professionals and small business owners many of whom, perhaps most of whom, are surprisingly liberal.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, voting percentages for Democrats tend to increase with both education and income levels.  The "masters of the universe" are indeed a MUCH smaller subset of people, really the top .001%, whose average incomes are $27 million per year, and to whom most of the national income gains have been flowing for the last ten years.  However, "We are the 99.99%," while perhaps more accurate, isn't quite as catchy.  And even that group is politically diverse.  The real "enemy" here is two groups of people, who can't really be defined demographically.  the first, and most dangerous, are a small group of conservative zealots with the means to fund the political exploitation of the fears and anxieties of the white working class.  Think Koch brothers.  The second is Wall Street itself, which isn't even trying to be evil.  The people there are simply trying to maximize their gains within the confines of an inherently corrupt political structure that has, over the time, allowed them too much latitude and too much money.  There aren't a lot of Tea Partiers on Wall Street.

      •  Oh I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I guess I can't help but draw parallels to our recent situation where the tea party somewhat successfully managed to turn middle class and working class people against those in public unions.  It makes me think we have to be really careful where we draw our lines.  Someone making 25k per year should not be fighting against someone making 45k per year with benefits.  It's the wrong enemy.

        Similarly, middle class workers who consider themselves part of the 99% should recognize that the 99 percent slogan is a slogan.  It's a damn good one, but we need to make sure we're not including working professionals in our more detailed rhetoric.  That's the wrong enemy, and we have to be sure to be clear about that.

  •  As a writer, you totally ROCK! (0+ / 0-)

    I plan to use your diary here, with your permission of course, should you grant it, as an example of an outstanding Personal Essay. It is honest, based in fact, has strong moral underpinnings, is logical and ethical, and wins the point being discussed in every possible Aristotelian angle of anaylsis. Your Orwell quote, "Homage to Catalonia," is brilliant and prompted me to re-read it after many years.

    Speaking as a literature and writing teacher, you, an honest American businessman, have restored my faith in the value of a liberal education AND American Capitalists. With people like you, American can show the world what Capitalism with a Moral Conscience looks like and operates like. That is the path to leadership again in the world.

    Thank you.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 05:59:25 AM PDT

    •  Thank you very much (0+ / 0-)

      Of course you may use it, and my apologies for the typos.  As for Orwell, I hope you enjoy the book.  It is one of my favorites.  Orwell is a brilliant writer, and a fascinating man, and the Spanish Civil War is one of the most interesting episodes of the 20th century.  The combination is powerful.

  •  "there, but for the grace of God go I". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If there is nothing else one should mind in life, it should be that.

    "And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right." Alexander Pope -Essay on Man

    by DawnG on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 04:42:04 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully you educate them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    juliesie, melo

    Post this on the tea party or we are 53% blog.  THis people are in a bubble and brainwashed.  They were taught not to listen to the TrutH and only to FOX or Rush Limbaugh.  So you need to go to where they are and educated them.  They wont read daily kos or watch MAddow explain the chart thus they remain ignorant.  People need to educate them and pierce that bubble blocking out truth.

    Root of Job Loss: Low capital gains (tax incentive) for stock market casino compared to real businesses that produces Jobs.

    by timber on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 06:37:26 PM PDT

  •  What a powerful and insightful diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itskevin, melo

    The clarity of this piece is amazing.  It cuts through all the wingnut talking points with ease.

  •  Good on you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I too wonder why the "54%" don't get it. They tell of their hardships and think that they don't deserve a better life? It has puzzled me.

    And, as you say, the rich won't even feel a tax increase much. Drew Carey said the same thing this summer. he said he would still be able to buy anything he wanted even if he pays more in taxes.

    Also, in August this year, there was a Mexican gentleman named Carlos Slim who went to a Red Sox game because he and Adrian Gonzales' dad played baseball together years ago. He is the richest man in the world (worth $74 billion). The article in the Boston Globe ran about his visit mentioned how he lost $6.7 billion in the market crash after the US credit rating being downgraded after the Republican hostage taking. That's BILLION, folks. He didn't miss it. It was a blip. Not quite pocket change, but it barely made a dent in his enormous wealth.

    Thank you for your diary. I imagine it is how many in the upper ranges feel, but we never hear it from anywhere in the media.

    Perhaps there should be another group of like-minded souls such as yourself. Start a "We are the 1% and we stand with the 99%" - although something much more clever.

    As they say, tip'd, rec'd and hotlisted.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by MA Liberal on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:05:30 PM PDT

  •  I was out of town this weekend, with no access to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Internet, so missed this diary before it was reposted as a front-page article tonight. I am so glad that I've gotten a chance to read it; it is excellent. Hope you don't mind that I'm going to share it not only on my Facebook status but also with some friends and family. It's a keeper--thank you. :)

  •  I appreciate the time you took to write this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontario, JohnB47

    and the help you are giving this new movement to restore the American dream

  •  This is a wonderful piece, capturing so much. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It  got me thinking again about a table I saw on dailykos within the last 12-16 months. It showed the relationship between periods of higher taxes on the rich, lowered taxes on lower classes and prosperiity in those periods. The opposite also held true, lower taxes on the rich, raised taxes on lower classes, occurred in periods of depression, recession or stagnation. I can't find it, after much searching tonight. Anyone else know where it is to be found?

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

    by ontario on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:23:40 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've seen others who are well-off (although maybe not 1%) standing with the 99%. Some people realize that it's not "us against them." They care about other people, whether they're rich or poor. They realize that the 99% help the rich become rich, that driving people down too far will only cause them to rise up, and it'll all be that much more painful for the people at the top when they do.

    On a side note, I'm not sure which percent I'm in. One year recently, I got a $7 refund. Another, I owed $1. I'm kind of 52.5%/46.5%.

    "With a keen eye for details, one truth prevails." - Detective Conan

    by onetruthprevails on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:27:30 PM PDT

  •  Another Voice from the 1% (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dube, Yahzi, renbear, melo

    I make my living off the internet and airports too.  I attended a top ten university with a combination of Pell Grants, GSL, work study, two other jobs, and the largesse of wealthy donors.  My family was foreclosed on (actually a short sell for those who care).  Utilized county services such as heating oil assistance, free school lunch, and others I'm sure.  I remember a lot of eggs for dinner nights - didn't quite qualify for food stamps.  

    Now the important stuff.  I didn't get hurt.  I didn't get in an accident.  I had good public schools.  I didn't get arrested although I should have.  

    Here is why I pay my taxes.  I am not nearly smart nor clever  enough to think up Pell Grants, GSL, work study, food stamps, Medicare, the internet, airports, highway system, the commerce clause, or a thousand and one other innovations provided by my government.  

    If you want to talk about innovation in this country, don't look to me - the so-called job creator - look to the millions of hours put in by government engineers, scientists, economists, and policy wonks that gave me the opportunity to be a job creator.

    Without them, I would be a rodeo clown (apologies to Glenn Beck).


  •  | wish that Chris Hedges/Richard Wilkinson (video) (0+ / 0-)

    would team up. To me, Wilkinson is just as important as Hedges, to finding the way ahead.

    Please watch video of Richard Wilkinson regarding his book with Kate Pickett, "The Spirit Level".

    Wilkinson is a  British epidemiologist whose research led him to understand the effects of heightened income inequalities in developped societies, damaging the quality of life and social fabric for everyone. The US, and its individual states too, fare the worst against 30 or so developped countries on a whole host of social measurements. Truly shows the deleterious effect of huge income disparities.

    His findings are what is behind the OWS movement, and if they are unable to be specific about their aims, Wilkinson's book will help every participant find their answers. It is almost a roadmap for remaking society

    If Sweden, Finland, Norway are among the healthiest, safest, most trusting, best educated, low crime, fewest teen pregnancies, less mental illness, less drug use, longer life, lower infant mortality societies etc. etc, , why not find out what they do. This book shows you.

    Please take the time, I beg you,  to watch the video.

    Here are three more important links on his work.

    The video presenter is Ed Broadbent, a former leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada.

    I intend to post this same comment on as many threads as I can, hoping that more and more people begin to watch Wilkinson for themselves, and make thier own judgements.

    Please try to inform as many folks as you can of his work and the links, and please leave some feedback notes.

    Maybe we need a Wilkinson Group on

    One other thought. Yesterday, a Canadian economist from the Ivey Business School writing about the protests in  Canada noted that taxing the incomes of very fast-growing rich in Canada an extra 10% would raise maybe $4 billion, while a 1% hike in the HST (VAT) would add $5-6 billion. His conclusion was simple. It's needed for the USA, especially.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

    by ontario on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 07:39:37 PM PDT

  •  I wonder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dube, melo

    What Boner and Cantor would say to you, good sir?

    I mean, really, at what point can they just come out and admit that they only care about rich conservatives who can line their campaign coffers and get conservatives re-elected so that more conservative policy can get rammed through the Congress?

    Cause that's what it's all about.

    If every millionaire in the country excluding the Koch Brothers stood up and said "Really 3.5% isn't gonna hurt me", these fascists would still fight to give those sick fucks more money.

    God, I can't wait till all the nails are put in the political coffin of the current Republican Party.

  •  gimmie a break (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    Gauis, your 1% Democratic perspective sucks as much as the Republican version. different style different 'concessions' but still the view point from the top. So you are a 'professional' who isn't, and if people aren't they should just go fuck themselves? Your Horatio Algiers story is impressive you pulled yourself up by your Appalachian boot straps and here you are ready to pay more taxes. Big Woop.    

    Of course the rich top should be taxed but that is just the tip of the iceberg  as far as whats wrong with our and the worlds economy. Find this whole I'm the one percent and I don't mind being taxed a little more totally obnoxious and what is wrong with the Democratic party at this point. As if a small increase in taxing the rich or 'professonal' class would make a dent in this inequity and messed up ass backward economy that is all geared for your 1%.    

    It's not about you it's about the majority that has to live in a world where if your not a professional  or a player your a loser and you  do not count. Basically a yuppie expressing his noblesse oblige,  

    •  You, sir, are a moron (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxNDox, ontario, melo

      I actually do live in a world where you don't have to be a professional or a player to count.

      it's called Australia.

      You know what the single largest difference between here and there is? A 48% top marginal rate.

      Here, everybody pays more taxes. And because they do, we can afford national health care, and education for anyone who wants it, and all sorts of other stuff.

      You have mistaken cause and effect. The top 1% are not taking everything in America because the social fabric is failing; rather, the social fabric is failing because the top 1% are taking everything.

      This entire mess has a one-word origin: Reagan. The fantasies of supply side economics, libertarianism, Austrian economics, are all merely excuses to cover up an act of theft. Stop letting them steal, and everything else will fix itself.

    •  Namecalling. HR'ed. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

      by renbear on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 06:45:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh for fuck sake (0+ / 0-)

      "Find this whole I'm the one percent and I don't mind being taxed a little more totally obnoxious"

      I find it damn refreshing, and we could use a whole lot more of it.  Will that solve all our problems?  No, but it's a good start.  the problem isn't a system that rewards someone who's successful after busting his hump for 15 years, it's the system that is quite happy to leave those who don't make it out in the cold.

    •  Good luck with that! (0+ / 0-)

      The revolution isn't coming to this country anytime soon, friend.  And if it does the other side has most of the guns.  In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I can, and expressing my own opinion - regardless of whether it concurs with yours.

  •  Oh,... this is a LOVE LETTER! (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you SO much for this lovely essay. It is indeed a love letter. For what is love but TRUTH.

    OWS (Occupy Pittsburgh) - REAL MOVEMENT of, by, for AND from the people!

    by waiting for lefty on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 01:59:47 AM PDT

  •  Occupy Wall Street Demands (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't know how this will end, but the first thing to demand is to roll back the bail out.    My preferred  method might be to jail those responsible, but there is a normal legal method as well.  
     The initial TARP payout of $125 B to AIG, and through AIG to Goldman Sachs and other big players, was based upon a law that required listing of collateral.  AIG listed all its CDOs and CDSs as assets at face value.  Usually you have to use market value, but there was no market for these investments (which was what TARP was supposed to restore), so everyone knew that face value listing was bogus, but the FED and US Treasury thought they would have value once the market was restored.  However, AIG and Goldman knew the CDOs were not at face value even if there was a market, because the underlying mortgages were already in default.  They lied to the FED about that (internal FED documents were discussing AIG's alternative of selling the CDOs, not knowing that AIG already knew they had NO value).  The FED relied on those lies, and under existing law could now unravel the loans/investments in AIG.  

  •  I concur on every point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have a similar view as the OP though I am not as well off as they appear to be and I didn't grow up poor. In any case, I am also baffled by the working class who support tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. Personally, I have been hit hard in the past by economic downturns. In 2001 and 2002 I was unemployed for 14 months. It sucked and I hope never to experience it. Before that, I made a good income. So good that my federal and state income tax bill came to ~$30,000. During that period I was able to bank $20,000 and still drive a luxury car, live in a nice apatment and vacation in Europe. Bottom line: I lived a great life and didn't resent paying the taxes that I did, which BTW were at a higher effective rate than almost anyone else because I was single and didn't own property. It is difficult for me to understand why some people respond to personal economic success with thanks for the opportunies they have been given and others react selfishly with calls for even more advantage so they can get even wealthier. It's just a fundamental difference. Today, I am in a different boat. I am earning 25% less than I was 10 years ago. I have recently lost 20% of my income, my condo is hugely underwater and I am struggling to maintain my lifestyle. I don't want a tax increase, but if that is what it would take to get the country back on track, I would accept one. Even with all of my setbacks, I have a job and still make 3x the median income in the United States. No matter what the 1% says, I can afford it and so can they.

  •  Preach it brother (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It never ceases to amaze me how much traction this whole "tax cuts encourage investment" meme gets, when anyone who gives it even the most cursory examination will understand that investors don't generally invest simply because they have money they invest because they expect to make a profit on that investment.

    What isn't said anywhere enough is that the reason the economy is in such poor shape is that for the last 40 years all the gains from our increased productivity has been handed over to the 1% their wealth has been steadily increasing while the wages the rest of us receive have largely remained static or even in decline.

    Cheap easy credit allowed the 1% (lets just call them the bosses) to not only get all the money the rest of us were making but all the money we'd ever make.

    The reason the economy finally ground to a halt is because the majority of the American People are tapped out. We're not just broke but have a negative net worth.

    My definition of profit is the difference in the value of your work and what they pay you for it. And for most of the last 4 decades the owners have taken a larger and larger share of the value of our labors.

    All the crying the right does about class warfare and income redistribution leaves me womperjawed, For the majority of my life I've watched the elites wage class warfare against the rest of us, I've watched them redistribute the value of our work from us to themselves and it drives me batty that the majority of the remaining 99% of us can't see this.

    I get that it's primarily the result of propaganda spewed by our mass media which is of course owed and controlled by the bosses to push their line.

    This of course is the result of the abandonment of the fairness doctrine so that the bosses could now marginalize and ignore the voices calling foul and continue to spew their propaganda unopposed.

    Here is a graphical illustration of what I'm describing.

    Income distribution trends

    The gap between the top 5 and top 1 Percent represents wealth that is being expropriated from the hands of the remaining 99% of the population.

    The worst of it is I suspect that if we could get the break down of the top .01% it would look even worse. And we're not even talking about wealth where the truly wealthy don't actually generate income via wages relying rather on rents to make them money while they go around being "important" and as such are probably not represented in this graph.

    TLDR: here is the same argument in musical form for the attention span impaired.

  •  A Voice From the 1% ~ A Peek at Gaius (0+ / 0-)

    Can we get a peek at Gaius, yes we fully appreciate that every writer is entitled to use a pseudonym; however we know that Mark Twain was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

    I'm not asking for a full curriculum vitae, but just some basic facts, so as an example, we can assuredly know that Gaius is in reality who he claims to be--a 1%er.

    I for one sincerely have my doubts, as Gaius, seems to be much too empathic to be a true 1%er.  The rich I've known, even those that give away much to charity (money is easy to give away*), are too self-absorbed to care that intensely about the other 99%.

    You write well Gaius, but you're not one of the 1%!  

    *by-the-way most charitable giving is made by the middle class & not by the rich; see charts:

    Read full charitable giving report;    

    •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for the compliments on my writing, but your skepticism isn't warranted.  I'm also not sure how I could satisfy you.  Am I supposed to provide you a tax return?  No thank you.

      To broaden the point, I also don"t think you can generalize from you own experiences with "rich" people to reach a conclusion about all the others.  That is one of the most basic logical fallacies.  The "1%" is roughly 1.37 million wage earners.  Counting their families that would be roughly 3 million people.  It isn't possible for you to have enough personal experiences, or to have known enough people, to be able to reach a definitive conclusion about 3 million people.  Since you seem interested in supporting data, though, you should do a little research.  People with higher incomes tend to be more liberal than the general population, and gave a higher percentage of votes to President Obama in 2008.  Also, a recent survey showed that 68% of millionaires support a higher tax on millionaires, the same level of support as the general public.   Don't take that "1%" too literally.  It is a just a slogan.  A good one, I admit, but a slogan nonetheless.

      •  I can't speak for the country at large, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Desert Scientist, SGA

        I can speak for where I live.

        In contrast to many of the 1% of whom you speak, many of the very bottom layer where I live (Arizona generally and a small community specifically) rant and rave about how awful Obama is and they can't believe how stupid the Democrats and others who voted for him are, etc., ad infinitum.

        The thing is.....those people who rant and rave are virtually all on the public dole in one way or another.....the very public dole that the Republicans keep talking about privatizing or eliminating.

        We have a community van service administered and driven totally by volunteers.  Many of the folks 2 paragraphs above ride the van free to medical services fully paid by taxpayers.  I find their "Oh, really?" reaction ironic when I remind them that we have the van because of the early stimulus funds that Obama put forth.

        I ask them what they would do if the Republicans were able to make good on their threats to repeal many Social Security benefits, since many of them are on SSI.

        Why do they act this way?  Oftentimes as I sit in the driver's seat of the van I hear comments on what good stuff they heard last night or (enter a time frame).  What they're talking about is what they heard on Fox News.  They can't meet their co-pays for medicine (which I often helped with until I wised up), but they make sure the cable bill is paid so they can worship at the Fox altar.

        They vote Republican and are proud of it.

        Don't get me wrong.  I genuinely empathize with anyone who is down and out and have helped more than is good for my own financial well-being.  But when they don't try to help themselves, I eventually back away from financial help and try all the harder to educate.  I figure if I can win over only a very few, it's worth the effort.

  •  Beautiful Soul (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your understanding and experiences have also gifted you with an incredible heart! Regardless of your annual income, you are a breath of much needed dialogue in a nation that operates, from the top down, insanely. Are your feelings the same today?

  •  Why are you posting this old crap? (0+ / 0-)

    This was posted in 2011... In the last 14 years haven't the found a way to hone this misleading message?

  •  One of them (0+ / 0-)

    Technically you may be "one of them" but not really.  Twenty employees?  That's a still a small, maybe a medium sized business.  This country was built on small to medium sized businesses.  People who started a business, worked hard at it, and put their blood, sweat, and tears into it to make it work.  You also worked more overtime than I ever did.

    The businessmen who are ruining this country are the type that use "other people's money", borrow from Peter to pay Paul, and generally shuffle money around to keep things going - until they collapse (which they inevitably will).

    The former is free enterprise, the latter are capitalists.  There's a big difference.

  •  Is "Enough" in the Eye of the Beholder? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, loco moco

    Well, not if it's not adequate to provide basic needs, of course.  But for the rest of us, I think it's pretty relative.

    I grew up in a home that had everything BUT money.  As an adult, I chose to divide my time between being a political activist and working at jobs that really interested me and where I learned some useful skills, like working effectively with people different from me and applying logical/rational thinking skills to real-life situations.  I ended up with enough Social Security income (and a smallish pension) to allow me to live comfortably.  In addition, a forced sale of our family farm gave me a nest egg which bought a nice house in a coastal area, where I can practice the hobbies I never had time for in my working years as well as getting involved in local issues.  

    What I see now are attempts, primarily from those to whom "enough" is not a valid concept, to keep people like me from succeeding even modestly and, sadly, being supported by many of those who have benefitted or could benefit from more liberal domestic policies--a practice my family referred to as "biting off your nose to spite your face".  Jay Gould said, "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half": what's implicit in that statement is "Then, when the second half are dead, I can fire the first half."  

    Our job is to work to help people see--either in groups or one at a time--where their genuine interests lie.  I was lucky in that my parents knew they were among the relatively fortunate in having good values (taught by their own parents--there's a strong Quaker strain in my heritage) and some opportunities, and they didn't blame people with less for their own relative poverty.  It's the greedy rich who steal from working people, not the very poor; and raising those at the bottom also helps those in the relative middle, assuming they have roughly equal desire and opportunity to work compared to those "below" them.  

    Our country has the capacity to educate and employ all our citizens who wish to work--without the wealthy having to give up their second homes or their country-club memberships.  It's the absence of good education--including teaching the skills of logic and reason, which are sadly missing from most of our schools--and the distaste for self-knowledge and self-honesty that, I believe, has the greatest role in dividing us.  When I was younger, in hard times I sometimes found myself asking "Why me?" and then often thinking, "Well, why NOT me?"  If everyone (or a simple majority) actually followed up in practice Reinhold Niehbur's "serenity prayer--"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"--we'd be better people, living in a better country.

  •  Not in his Class (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I was a 1% for 3 yrs just before the crash and was happy to be paying extra taxes because I made a lot of money. I agree with him completely. The GOP just gets ridoh people because they can and because they do not believe in customer service.

  •  Not Job Creators (0+ / 0-)

    "Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none."

  •  As relevant today, if not more so! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loco moco, BlueinNH, PoliticalAnimal

    I have never been in the 1% - in fact my family was pretty close to the bottom when I was in my teens.  Because of a number of good breaks I managed to attend college and eventually get a professorship in biological sciences.  Many people helped me get there, but I also worked my butt off sometimes, leaving my second post doc with over 30 days of unused comp time.  My wife was perhaps the most important person in helping me succeed, but many others as well, so I have very little use for the "self made man."  What such people mean is that they want to ignore the contribution of others and the government institutions that helped them, as well as good luck (they could have gotten cancer at 12 and died by 16, for example) and take all the credit for their success without any gratitude.

    If it would help I would even be happy to pay more taxes, but I want the super rich and corporations to pay their share as well.

  •  I don't think the 1% knows (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loco moco

    how to create one job let alone the millions of jobs we need to reach full employment.  What they know how to do is what I call lazy business and economic policies that increase their profits in any way they can get away with.  The real job creators are a thing of the past so in light of this the government needs to become the employer of last resort through reinvestment in infrastructure, social programs, education, civil engineering projects and health care.  Were it not for the obstructionists in congress who would rather see a billionaire get another tax cut than invest in America we would be living in another and better society.  If the trade deal becomes law we are going to once again pull the plug on any hope of a real economic recovery.  These are end times.  

  •   Gaius on the 1%: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeninSC, SGA, PoliticalAnimal

    I just wanted to say thank you. And I'm happy for you and your family, that you are able to have the dream that you saw for yourself; more than that, it feels good to know that someone in this country can see that having been given a hand is a good thing. I didn't have all mine filled, but my kids are doing better than I did, so for that, I am also grateful, and they, too, were fortunate to have helping hands. I hope they, also, all can realize their good fortune in that.

  •  So, what does this guy support, exactly? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loco moco, BlueinNH

    Other than higher taxes on the rich, I can't really tell what this guy is in favor of.  I would rather the rich pay off their damn debt, which is the biggest threat to to all of us. And the government should stop subsidizing the rich with low interest rates.

  •  I live from investments, too. Regulating financial (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    markets enough to prevent crashes would make me more secure than the current system, even if that meant paying a tax on every stock or mutual fund transaction.  The very least we can do is to demand that the majority of corporate profits be put into US banks, particularly smaller local banks. Sucking vast sums out of the economy and hoarding it overseas harms everyone, even the very rich, ultimately. I don't understand those who want to be so wealthy that it means that they have to live in fortified compounds surrounded by the desperate poor.  If I wanted to do that, I could live like a king in India or Mexico.

    If my Father had not gotten a union job at Caterpillar Tractor Co., I surely would not have had adequate health insurance or been able to go to college, and then on to a series of good jobs.

  •  Hardly nebulous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "a vague sense that the rich are getting ever richer while everyone else suffers"

    There was never, nor is there presently, anything the least bit "vague" about Occupy's understanding of the poverty gap.

  •  Necessary is not sufficient (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      Available capital is necessary for our economy.  This is the role of capitalists, but it is not sufficient, it is not enough to shove your spare cash under the door of your factory and wait for stuff to come out.  Labor creates and government protects.  These players are as important as capital, if not more so.  The trouble is that enshrined in our society and culture is the belief, an irrational one really, that the capitalist owns it all and therefore gets to set the rules for everyone else.  Re-balancing the relationships is the role of the unions, which empower labor, and government, which enforces limits on the rapaciousness of unbridled capitalism.

      That balance was the creation of the New Deal, the assumed social order from the great depression to Reagan.  Republicans have been trying to repeal the New Deal since 1945.  It has taken time and they have destroyed almost all of it.  That has made them arrogant and intellectually lazy.  We have an opportunity to roll back the tide now.  Moderates, the middle of the road, the independents, are increasingly aware that something is very wrong.  The pendulum will swing the other way.  Mark my words.

  •  I was starting to read through the replies (0+ / 0-)

    and thought better of it, because I wish to make my own statement to you 'personally'.

    Though I am in the 99%, you the 1%, I say sir, your are True Gentleman. You speak plain, and you understand those below you. I am willing to bet you would pay a man the work he does at true fair cost of market. Quick Side note: both Myself and Spouse came from families with 'money' and titles, her Father would be 1%er if alive today; mine was my Grandfather. Seems we traded sides. (-:)  Who knows maybe we even have shook hands as we crossed,  as I have worked in the past for those were the 1%ers in the past.

    You sound like you fully understand the people standing below are people with families, not greedy "Union bastards" who only care for their salaries. I will have to say I have heard that just far too many times, while we walked the lines to gain better, Safer conditions for patients in hospitals and clinics, saner working conditions for every worker and patient in same, steady paychecks even if they don't pay a full living wage, Safe, affordable housing for Residents of State Institutions and U.C. System Colleges, the list goes on. I often work as a Union Rep, and have really great working relationship with my immediate bosses, and make sure there is only one thing that happens twixt worker and Management and that is 'Fairness'.

    But for all that sir, I would like to say 'I sir, I am an Ass' - Dogberry (my favourite line in Much Ado about nothing, as played by Micheal Keaton) I am called Odious for putting my self on the line in LA, protesting the foolish actions that cost an innocent man his life at the 'Ronald Reagan Medical Center, a patient, that for nothing more than cutting costs to shove move dollars more in their pockets of the CEO, a man walked away from a mental health unit and died in the hills of exposure. We stood with our Brothers and Sisters in solidarity, getting arrested by the L.A. PD, (who I take my hat off to also) were wonderful in the helping of us perform Non-Violent Civil Disobedience in the middle of Beverly Hills at 4:00PM on a memorial day weekend.

    There were times when we stood in solidarity with the Brothers and Sisters and ridiculed to him to his Face, the Retired President of the University of California, while choose to cut all the Pensions for the workers, to the point a person retiring in 10 years after putting in thirty year of work, would have to pay the University for the Privilege of retiring, while he and his Cronies walked with $250,000 a year pensions for the rest their lives for parking their butts on a chair for 10 years and cutting our pay.

    For that sir, we are called "Ass", and get told that we 'aren't worth it', though we made the money the uber-riche fools know is part of their income. We are told we are greedy, grabbing, money hunger little dwarfs for asking that in return for work we do, we get enough to buy Food, Medicine, Clothing, Shelter and Transportation, not Food, Or Medicine, or Clothing, or Shelter, or Transportation, pick one only for the month.

    So I would like it written sir, if need we can call back the Sextant to record it.... No, just remember sir, We are an "Ass" good sir!!

    So I say to you sir, though you are in the "1%" In reality you are not he that I would have quarrel with, and if I worked for you no matter if you made  $1 million or $100 Million, I would proudly work for you and do my job to its fullest, as I have done for others in the past asking only Fair Wages for Fair Work.

    Having said all that, I do realize that I often blow up, and rain down with the Epitaph of "Corporate Lord and Masters". I don't make that call lightly, considering many of Family and Friends pasts were checkered, or Honourable,  but were CEO's of Large Corporations. But when I say it, by that time I am grinding my teeth in frustration over the people that call us, The Unions, Odious, Greedy, Lazy and Stupid.

    One point I made sometime back to another poster over on Yahoo when I used to go there, Who Told us "liberals" that 'CEO's are special Snowflakes and require lots of training' therefore are worth the money; Where as a Fry technician in MacD's was a no nothing, no training job. I pointed out the Fallacy of his statement noting that in order to operate a deep fat Fryer, you have to know Fire Codes, Food Safety Codes, Safe Food Handling Techniques, OSHA Requirements  and must be qualified on a regular basis. Whereas if he just headed over to the BBC, there was an article about the 11 Year old Boy who CEO of multinational corporation he founded, ready to make nearly a Million a year in income for his work.

    I will say with Smile, You are not a 'Corporate Lord or Master', and if one calls you 'an Ass' I will gladly toast your health and happiness, and bid you come to us and be greeted as Friend.

    "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France (16 April 1844 - 2 October 1924)

    by PadreMellyrn on Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:27:45 PM PDT

    •  Speak for yourself (0+ / 0-)

      and not for other working people.

      •  Pardon was your named mentioned. (0+ / 0-)
        and thought better of it, because I wish to make my own statement to you 'personally'.
        Oh and by the way, being a Union Rep, I can say that I speak for my workers, with whom I work and serve, and in some cases supervise, as they come to me regularly to have me speak for them.

        To Guis:

        I will say with Smile, You are not a 'Corporate Lord or Master', and if one calls you 'an Ass' I will gladly toast your health and happiness, and bid you come to us and be greeted as Friend.
        You sir on the other hand, may go nurse your wounded ego bruised by whoever else and cry in your beer.  Good day.

        "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." - Anatole France (16 April 1844 - 2 October 1924)

        by PadreMellyrn on Sun May 24, 2015 at 07:17:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "vague sense" indeed! (0+ / 0-)

    I read through parts of this but honestly its a long screed and I hear enough about what the poor embattled wealthy folks and upper middles and middle class wants and needs all day, everyday, nonstop.

    Thanks but no thanks.  So you get it, you think.

    Come and walk down here, on the lowest end of the low, where children eat Ramen for breakfast lunch and dinner, where jobs last only a matter of weeks or days, where landlords bang on doors for rent that you don't have, where the concrete is cold, raw and bitter.

    Come down here, walk with me, shed your privilege and maybe, maybe when you've felt the pain and misery of seeing no end or hope in sight.  Maybe when you can't stand another god-damned bleeding bullshit mantra about soldiers fighting wars that send us nothing home but dead bodies and maimed loved ones.  

    Maybe, just maybe then I might be inclined to patronize your blather for a minute.

    Otherwise, its just another privileged person trying to get me to tell them they really aren't that guilty, they really aren't that privileged.

    You are guilty. You are part of the problem, you are privileged.  Shed your money and your pride and come walk with me.

  •  Despite my lack of religion I instinctively say... (0+ / 0-)

    Despite my lack of religion I instinctively say, "God bless you!" I wish I knew who you were. I would pay good money to get on a plane and go to wherever you are just to shake your hand.

  •  the one% speaks out (0+ / 0-)

    What a crock of shit!
    Reading this over is like what a one% would view the world. That's it, you view the world and you do nothing.
    Oh you "have been waiting for years for people to wake up from the torpor of the Bush years". There you have been for years doing nothing but wishing things would change for the little people. But you never thought you could do anything, maybe give to a charity that helps people do just that!
    And then you "watched in amazement" at the funny people in government as they "pushed the US to the brink of default, and the world to the brink of ruin". Gosh that is amazing! Maybe you could have done something?
    Then you just watch as the little people are "seemingly cowed into submission to corporate authoritarianism". Gee, maybe that is because that was exactly what was happening!
    But you stood there making your millions and could not see one thing you could do with your-oh so much money-for your country.
    But you know you are not in the jetset crowd you are just a, you know a regular guy...and you just like to watch as the country heads from one war or disaster after another.
    And wasn't it just something to see those 99%'s out there getting beaten, pepper sprayed and/or going to jail. That just made your heart beat for them, it was oh so nice to see them there.
    You, whoever you are, you are the problem in this country. Just sit back and watch as black men get murdered, as our country is turning into a police state and democracy is turned into a four letter word-KOCK, that's right, I spell it like that!

  •  1% (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder if the majority of 1%, especially the Koch brothers and their cronies, are money-addicts?  If so, shouldn't President Obama create a cabinet to rehabilitate money-addicts?

  •  If I were to be honest I guess I am also a 1%er (0+ / 0-)

    though I keep most of mine tied up in properties across 4 or 5 states. I have never fudged on my taxes, I don't even itemize because I think it is petty and childish to try to get my neighbors to make up the difference.

    There is one itemization that has always given me the creeps and that is the one for charitable deductions.

    I got it in my head early one that it was really just money laundering and there is nothing that I have learned over the years that has disabused me of that notion.

    As a matter of fact what I have learned is that it IS in fact money laundering in the strictest sense for some religions. Take the Mormon church for instance, the rich 'give' millions to the church then the church turns around and 'loans' the money back to them all fresh and clean with no tax stink on it. They take in billions every year but spend less than 1% on actual charity. It became impossible for me to eat at Burger King after I learned that.

    Most religions have some form of this and all of the so called endowments to the arts are just the rich paying for their places to play and have fancy parties.

    Charity should be given with no strings attached...period!

    I no longer give to organized charities because all of them are just there to make some rich asshole richer with huge salaries and off the books perks.  

    Now I ask around about who needs some help in my community and give it directly. I have friends and relatives who always know someone in need of a helping hand.

    I never use my vehicles for trade ins, you get nothing for them because that is the price they were going to sell the new car to you to begin with, why make a rich car dealership owner even richer? I keep them until I find someone who needs a car and give them one.

    I am retiring to my farm to grow apples, I plan give apples to the local school and let them come for school trips. I also plan to give apples to the food bank or shelter and I can honestly say that I will never ask for a receipt.


  •  This is one of (0+ / 0-)

    the most excellent, well written and honest assessments of the reality of the 1% vis-a-vis the 99%, as you could conceivably find anywhere ...ever!  I applaud your effort here ... kudos to you!

    "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by tahoebasha2 on Sun May 24, 2015 at 08:37:20 AM PDT

  •  Beautifully said! (0+ / 0-)

    Beautifully said!

  •  53% Hypocrites (0+ / 0-)

    The ones I hear screaming "Socialism" the loudest are often the ones whose lives would crumble if it wasn't for roads, computers, and the internet.  The loudest one of all has barely worked a day in his life, derides education, and has nearly bankrupted his parents supporting him.  But he's not mooching off the government, so I guess it's OK...

  •  What a great essay! This should be on the edito... (0+ / 0-)

    What a great essay! This should be on the editorial page of every major and local newspaper. It might help the terrified tea party adherents turn away from hating to actual compassion. That republicans have used the fear of winding up destitute thanks to a layoff or medical bill to direct the resulting destain and anger at those who have already passed through the disaster and are trapped.

  •  Capitalism Will Never Survive (0+ / 0-)

    as a one way street. The vicious and greedy capitalism displayed in the U.S. and the poverty, hunger and unrest that it will eventually cause is the very same thing that enabled men such as Stalin, Mao and Castro to take control of their nations.

    If capitalism does not return to the two way street it must be to function and be successful there will be a revolution in our nation that will set us back decades, if not a century. It's coming. It's not a matter of if but when.

    Conservative politicians who are nothing more than shills, lapdogs, puppets and whores for corporations and the wealthy must be voted out of their state and federal positions.

    "It is the responsibility and duty of everyone to help the deserving underprivileged and less fortunate among us."

    by sichuan on Tue May 26, 2015 at 03:39:41 PM PDT

  •  As I suspected… (0+ / 0-)

    …there are well-to-do people who actually do have a realistic understanding of life for most of the rest of the world.

  •  At the .1% level (0+ / 0-)

    With the Koch brothers, it  isn't about money. Any entity or individual which/who can throw billions at political candidates & not blink an eye is about power.

    Money is boring at the .1% level. It's an abstract. Power is the goal - to have ultimate and complete control. Money is simply a means to obtain power when you have more than you and your heirs could possibly spend in their lifetimes.

    The Koch brothers do not relate to the middle class or the poor, nor do they want to - humanity isn't a priority. We are chattel to be bought & sold, to serve, & to keep compliant through substandard education and religious dogma. Infighting also helps control the great unwashed. We are here to consume goods, work tirelessly during the majority of our lives to produce those goods, serve in the defense of the country (and die), advance the oligarchy, & be thankful for whatever crumbs are given us.

    This is what power buys, and when money is boring, the .1% buys influence to stir things up one direction or another depending on what is amusing, needs sanctioning, increases personal influence, advances selfish and often obtuse causes, and is profitable.

    Imagine instead all that money going back into the U.S. economy through food, housing, medical, infrastructure, scientific research, and jobs for the masses. Think of what we could accomplish as a nation.

  •  The Tea Party Faithful (0+ / 0-)

    Believe in the 3 G's; God, Guns & Greed. Except That Their God is CERTAINLY NOT gentle Jesus of Nazareth, They only believe in THEM having Guns & Greed is the overwhelmingly important ideal in their vile little lives.

  •  Just to say (0+ / 0-)

    total employment and pay haven't remained stagnant. Since 2008 both have dropped. And out of proportion to any baby boom retirement statistics.
    Despite the monthly employment figures, a lower proportion of the population is employed and at lower pay.
    Those are the facts.

  •  There is no way I could provide a better descri... (0+ / 0-)

    There is no way I could provide a better description or analysis, so I add no more than "thank you". Wish I knew who you were.

  •  One Genuinely Nice Human Being (0+ / 0-)

    This was a joy to read ... and I'll bet the man who wrote has "A Wonderful Life" ... filled with family and friends who value him as he deserves to be valued.  This is someone who lives what Jesus preached ... and he would be what I would call a Christian ... i.e. one who actually follows the teachings of the Christ ..

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