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Based upon the results of a Senate cloture vote on the Buffett Rule (i.e.: “Paying a Fair Share Act,” and/or S.2230), late Monday, what passes for so-called, two-party governance in America these days is little more than a deeply-captured train wreck.

Has the self-evident, complete takeover of the U.S. by the one percent in this election year become so obvious that what we end up witnessing down in Washington D.C. is little more than really lame kabuki and wishful thinking about change that’s going nowhere fast?

That would appear to be the case.

Republicans are behaving little better than terrorists.

And Democrats (as of last night not including the absent Daniel Akaka [D-HI] and Joe Lieberman [Benedict Arnold-CT] and the physically present but mentally absent Mark Pryor [D-Wal-Mart]), in a well-intentioned effort to spin our still-faltering economy’s talking points, frequently and conveniently overlook some very basic and inconvenient facts, often times distorting truths about the degree of status quo capture within our own party. And, which we’re reminded about on the front page of this morning's New York Times: U.S. income inequality, today, is the worst it has ever been, at least since reliable metrics were first implemented to accurately measure this statistic, back in the nineteen-teens.

I’ve written about this quite a bit; most recently HERE, a little over a month ago.

So, what we end up with is a story on Tax Day on the front page of the NY Times which highlights the greater truth that, when it comes to implementing effective policy—such as a relatively paltry 30% minimum tax on the highest income segment within our society, and despite bad-timing of the headline, below--we won’t even “start” to address this disparity anytime soon.

The lead in today’s NY Times…

For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start
New York Times (Front Page)
April 17,  2012


…Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression…

 …“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical…”

… their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent.

The two economists argue that even Democrats’ boldest plan to increase taxes on the wealthy — the Buffett Rule, a 30 percent minimum tax on earnings over $1 million — would do little to reverse the rich’s gains…

…They have found that the trends have mostly continued. From 2000 to 2007, incomes for the bottom 90 percent of earners rose only about 4 percent, once adjusted for inflation. For the top 0.1 percent, incomes climbed about 94 percent…

…The recession interrupted the trend, with the sharp decline in stock prices hitting the pocketbooks of the rich. But the income share of 1 percent has since rebounded. Data that the two economists released in March showed that the top 1 percent of earners got nearly every dollar of the income gains eked out in the first full year of the recovery. In 2010, the top 10 percent of earners took about half of overall income…

…“Thirty percent is three times smaller than the 91 percent of Roosevelt,” Mr. Piketty said, responding to the Buffett Rule proposal and referring to the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who engineered the New Deal. “And inequality is greater than in the time of Roosevelt.”

Here are links to three excellent graphics on this story…

Graphic: Income Earned by the Wealthiest

Graphic: Who Gains Most From Tax Breaks

Graphic: Whose Tax Rates Rose or Fell

Essentially, when it comes to effectively addressing our nation’s economic problems, what we’re ending up with is…just a little more than nothing.

The majority of jobs that are being created, to use a technical term and for the most part, SUCK. Check out Robert Oak’s excellent analysis on this, from last week: A Peek into the Employment Report Establishment Survey, Economic Populist Blog (4/9/12).

Read more about this here: The US Has the Highest Share of Employees in Low Wage Work, Economist’s View blog, University of Oregon Economics Professor Mark Thoma (4/11/12).

What about the folks that are getting the few decent jobs that are out there? Checkout this: Displacing American Labor Through Foreign Guest Worker Visas, Economic Populist Blog, Robert Oak (4/12/12).

What Today’s Job Numbers Mean
Robert Reich
April 6, 2012

President Obama will claim the economy is improving – and, technically, it is. Growth this year will most likely average around 2 percent. The problem is, most Americans aren’t feeling it in their paychecks.…

…The President has already announced that this election is about America’s surge toward ever-greater inequality. He’s right. And this painful recovery shows it.

It would be sadly ironic if Obama lost the election because the economy responded to widening inequality exactly as expected.

If our elected leaders in D.C. keep doing what they’re doing, we will keep getting what we’ve got…or, worse.

And, if you're looking for answers here, such as a petition to sign or a phone call to make, I'm sorry to say that those really don't even appear to be pertinent solutions to the situation at hand.

Regardless of any polls or whether the President gets re-elected or not, this is all either going to, somehow, miraculously be transformed from the bottom-up over the next few months; or, more likely than not, it will not end well.

(I apologize for this being somewhat of a rant...but, frankly, I find this all to be really quite pathetic.)

Originally posted to on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 04:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Jobs Wages and Community Investment Working Group.

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