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Many Americans believe that the top 1% is responsible for the rising tide of inequality in America, which is swamping and drowning the other 99%.  Professor Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley says that they are wrong. The top 1% is not the problem, he says.  

 The top 0.1% is the problem.  

In a report that he issued in March (summary here), Prof. Saez examined wealth and income in America during the past century.  He found that wealth inequality is back to where it was in the 1920’s, just before the Great Depression.  And since this trend started in 1977, the only group that has taken a rising share of national wealth is not the top 1%, but rather the top 0.1%.  The 15,000 richest Americans.  

(Oh, top 0.9% not in the 0.1%, how we weep for thee!)

 In 1960, the top 0.1% had less than 8 percent of our national wealth.  Now it’s 22%, and rising.  Those who have a net worth of $20 million or more now own almost a quarter of everything that one can own in America.  

Folks who are in the bottom half of that one percent, the mere multi-millionaires ($4 million and up), actually have seen their share of wealth decline.  A little higher, between the top 0.1% and the top 0.5%, the share of wealth has been flat.  The share of the top 0.1%, though, has more than doubled.  And the share of the super-super-super rich, the top 0.01%, has more than quadrupled, from 2% in 1977 to over 11% today.

As for the Forbes 400, their share of national wealth has risen from 1% in 1983, when Forbes started the list, to over 3% last year.  If that percentage keeps tripling every thirty years, then  a century from now, in the year 2114, 400 Americans will own everything.  

Which stinks.  Unless you are one of those 400, I guess.

And what about just plain folks?  How have they been doing?  For the bottom 90%, since the late 1980s, the value of home equity has crashed.  The value of small businesses has crashed.  The value of liquid assets – cash, stocks and bonds minus auto and credit card debt -- has been wiped out entirely.  The only form of middle class wealth that has sustained itself is pensions/401(k)’s, and more than a quarter of all American workers don’t have one.

In a vain effort to pay all those credit card bills,  the bottom 90% in America had to spend more than they earned during every single year from 1997 to 2008  , until the credit wipeout during the Great Recession made that impossible.  And as a result, their share of national wealth has dropped from over 35% to barely 25%.

And the bottom 50%?  They have a net worth of zero.  Zilch.

Since America seems to have forgotten about the principle of progressive taxation, the rich now enjoy a return of 6% on their investments, after taxes.  That means that  anyone who works for a living has to get a 6% wage increase each year, just to stay even with the rich.  Good luck with that, buddy.  

In America, in sum, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

And during my entire adult life,  all that our political system has ever done has been to grease the skids.   As we hurtle down, down, down toward an America – if you can call it that -- where  a tiny group of people own everything, and everyone else is a slave to wages and debt.    Middle-Class America, we bid you adieu.  Farewell.  So long.  Good-bye.  Cheerio, and pip-pip.  Hasta la vista, ciao, and have a great day.

Our equal society – black and white, men and women, young and old, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking, and now straight and gay –  our equal society is what made America famous.    A light unto the nations.   And year after year, that light of equality gets dimmer and dimmer.

We can rekindle it.  Or we can let it flicker and die.

It’s up to you.  It’s up to us.


Rep. Alan Grayson

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (136+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puakev, Simplify, run around, greenbird, AJayne, IB JOHN, Gary Norton, Brian B, Emerson, seabos84, Puddytat, gooderservice, Dood Abides, Timaeus, remembrance, BeninSC, Skennet Boch, a2nite, AmazingBlaise, schumann, elwior, KayCeSF, trkingmomoe, Josiah Bartlett, ericlewis0, Brahman Colorado, markthshark, ChemBob, eru, peacestpete, greengemini, Yang Guang, Ky DEM, Eric Stetson, JamieG from Md, fToRrEeEsSt, GayHillbilly, peachcreek, radarlady, Aaa T Tudeattack, SteelerGrrl, bluenick, eeff, maggiejean, FriendlyNeighbor, Patango, keyscritter, TheDuckManCometh, Words In Action, martinjedlicka, unfangus, blueoasis, kharma, Brecht, cotterperson, 2thanks, Joieau, kevinpdx, ItsaMathJoke, Thomas Twinnings, Kanscott, on the cusp, llbear, BlueMississippi, temptxan, LinSea, rapala, bluedust, CanyonWren, Floande, 3rock, Randian, NoMoreLies, reflectionsv37, divineorder, allie4fairness, Cat Servant, CharlieHipHop, annominous, Timbuk3, ChocolateChris, bkamr, NYFM, One Pissed Off Liberal, wasatch, Prognosticator, ichibon, quill, kurt, chuck utzman, markdd, katrinka, Teknocore, Situational Lefty, This old man, basquebob, SamanthaCarter, Youffraita, humphrey, Jeff Y, Cadillac64, elpacifico66, caul, OleHippieChick, 84thProblem, wolf advocate, DRo, artisan, Betty Pinson, J M F, Russ Jarmusch, The Omega Man, jeffrey789, bewild, allenjo, yoduuuh do or do not, vigilant meerkat, smokeymonkey, mkor7, poliwrangler, CroneWit, Santa Susanna Kid, TracieLynn, lms in mpls, TexDem, VeggiElaine, Sam Hill, Mystic Michael, Paragryne, letsgetreal, Andrew F Cockburn, ratprique, FarWestGirl, Linda1961, PSzymeczek, splashy
  •  The Republican Party is the (15+ / 0-)

    problem. They are the ones whose policies enrich the .1%, including those in the .1% who are liberals and don't agree with the direction things are going. It is not the .1% or the 1% that elects Republicans - it is always going to be at least 50%, so the vast majority of GOP voters are in the 99%. If the half of the 99% that vote GOP stopped carrying water for the greedy, the .1% wouldn't be a problem.

    •  Republicans are a big part of the problem (35+ / 0-)

      because they've more than willingly allowed themselves to become puppets of the top 0.01%.  There are Dems who also serve their masters well for campaign cash.

      Until we get money out of politics and elections (that includes the cushy lobbying jobs for out-of-office politicians and their staff members), we'll have no real change.  The rich will continue to buy elections and tug at the strings of their puppets.

      Vast corporate and billionaire spending on elections not only buys them politicians, it also buys them judges and justices since their puppets nominate and appoint the ones that do their bidding.

      Republicans aren't solely responsible for the destruction of democracy.  They've had plenty of help.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sat May 17, 2014 at 03:08:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its a very simplistic meme that the (13+ / 0-)

        Kochs trick half of the electorate to vote for the GOP. If only the rich Republicans didn't spend so much on elections, the Dems would win almost everywhere.

        The truth is that in the DVR era money's impact on election results is waning. Most people who vote for the right are not tricked by ads. They are religious people, or gun nuts, or uneducated and contemptuous of intellectuals. America is full of right-wing voters, even without Fox News, even without ads paid for by billionaires. There is no 99% when it comes to voting blocs.

        •  It's not just the right (10+ / 0-)

          We're duped on the "left" too.  Rep. Grayson and a few others notwithstanding, for the most part, politicians who make it to the top levels -- from both parties -- are bought and paid for by the .1 percent.

          We will not see any significant change because change would require fundamental reform to campaign funding laws, fundamental reform to the tax code, among other measures that would have direct negative impacts on the people who would be in charge of changing the laws, i.e., (corrupt, even if not overtly) politicians.

          They tell me I'm pretty amusing from time to time working with 140 characters or less.

          by CharlieHipHop on Sat May 17, 2014 at 08:24:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  DVRs not all that pervasive (3+ / 0-)

          Since I've had one, it's been pleasant; but many people I know do not have the money for cable let alone a DVR. They watch things on their phones or XBoxes, and those enslave the viewer to the ad (video will commence in 30 seconds...)
          just now, the Weather Channel page informed me (unbidden) that the ACA is a nightmare, and the dem rep from NH (Ann Kuster) is just plain baaaaad news. It was from the Kochs, it was full of shit, but they put it up anyway. Those guys are assholes, but they know business. There's a payoff of some level in carpetbombing disinformation, or they wouldn't do it.

          What we see in those who vote against their economic interests is fan behavior. there is a sense of belonging that is expressed through voting, and call-in voting shows like Idol do much to cheapen the entire concept of informed voting. when one is taught through the many avenues of behavioral modification available to the mainstream (white) culture, it is logical to assume that loyalty to one's team is sufficient to ensure a brighter future; it goes back to tribalism, a trait we really need to be done with. Coupled with the societal pressures of constant distraction and deference to very questionable authority, this is my best single explanation for the voting patterns we see. I don't agree with the idea that everyone, or even a large majority, voting for the nihilistic, cruel bastards on the Right is doing so fully aware; on issue after issue, the American people side with the democrats, often by large majorities. But come voting day, all that goes away and millions pull the lever for the team with their logo on it.

          Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

          by kamarvt on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:44:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Trying to meet nihilists halfway is never a good (17+ / 0-)

        idea.  Continually trying to compromise w/ crazy ultimately makes a party half sane.

        The CFC, the repeated attempts at the "Grand Bargain," and the push for the TPP have only tended to embolden the opposition.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:00:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And they keep on compromising (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          as Republicans keep moving the goal posts farther right each time.  That's what makes me angry.

          IMHO you stand for something or you don't.  Yes, you can give a little, but you can't give nearly all of it away for the sake of the illusion of bipartisanship.  That's what's called losing.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:40:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The only way you'll get money out of politics now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, allie4fairness

        is to embezzle the campaign funds through electronic funds theft.
        Don't ever expect any laws or court decision to do it. Not in what is known as "America". You'd need a whole new country to start over with.

        Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

        by fourthcornerman on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:58:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They've had plenty of help. (4+ / 0-)

        Yes, they have, sadly.

        There are Dems who also serve their masters well for campaign cash.

        Republicans aren't solely responsible for the destruction of democracy.  They've had plenty of help.

        _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

        by allenjo on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:59:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By a vote of 96-3, the Senate this week (4+ / 0-)

          Congress Takes From The Poor, Gives To The Corporate Rich...........

          The most dysfunctional Congress in U.S. history has finally found something that can attract bipartisan support: an expensive package of tax breaks that mostly benefit corporate interests.

          By a vote of 96-3, the Senate this week advanced an $85 billion bundle of breaks known as "extenders," so named because they supposedly expire every two years. Included in the $85 billion proposal is an expensive break used primarily by large multinational companies with lending arms, such as General Electric and Morgan Stanley, to avoid paying U.S. taxes on interest income earned abroad.

          Extending this "active financing" exemption for two years will cost $10.3 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Another extender, the "CFC look-through," which lets companies defer paying taxes on royalty income, will cost $2.4 billion in lost revenue. The bill also includes a bizarre collection of breaks that benefit a few wealthy interests, including millions of dollars in savings for builders of Nascar speedways and owners of race horses.

          _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

          by allenjo on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:50:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (24+ / 0-)

      The Money Party, comprised of most of the GOP and a significant part of the Democratic party, along with the extremely rich people and corporations who basically own them and a large part of the establishment media--also owned by same--are the problem. Also, and American people who do little more than whine about this, many of whom keep voting for these same jerks.

      It's easy to blame only the GOP, Kochs and Fox Nuz, but that's a huge oversimplification that lets a lot of others off the hook.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:30:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yeah, its the Republicans fault. Pfftttt. (14+ / 0-)

        Except when its the Democrats fault.

        I turn green everytime I think of how our Party has fallen over the last 30 years...

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Sat May 17, 2014 at 08:09:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In some states there are no good alternatives in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, Mystic Michael, FarWestGirl

        many races.  Progressives in conservative areas of red states can face serious harassment if they make their views known.  Political activity can cost progressives their jobs.  

        •  Whatever (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          One Pissed Off Liberal, caul

          You're either a Dem or you're a Republican. There is no meaningful center anymore. If it votes like a chicken, it is a chicken. Or, I should say elephant. And your meme about how only ConservaDems, er, Repubs in Dem clothing, can win, is becoming increasingly outdated.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:05:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are Independents. (0+ / 0-)

            Dems are the center to me.  I am strongly opposed to drone bombing, indefinite detention without trials, criminalizing free exercise of speech, and forbidding government employees to talk to the press or anyone else about anything whether it is classified or not.  It is immoral to bomb other countries that did not attack us first.  Too many Dems are supporting these things while expressing regret; Republicans sincerely cheer the bloodlust.  The results are the same for the victims.

            Obamacare is better than anything the Republicans have done or proposed.  Even so, ACA is still welfare for insurance companies.  MDs who tried to get a seat at the table to discuss single-payer were arrested.  There are some serious problems with ACA in states that did expand Medicaid.  People over 54 have to reimburse the state for Medicaid costs.  Each state can decide to limit the Medicaid estate recovery to expenses for those who need nursing home care.  States also have to option to impose this Death Tax on the Poor for every cent of health care the Medicaid recipient received.  Most states have not posted clear explanations of their current policies anywhere I could find.

            The Obama administration encouraged the Supreme Court to force citizens to participate in sectarian prayers.  When a minister faces citizens petitioning their government, and the minister demands that the citizens rise and bow their heads, and then the minister forces the citizen to listen to sectarian beliefs or be excluded from full participation in activities of their government this is state imposed religion.  

            I want to vote for people I can respect.  This is not some football team with a Red team and a Blue team.  This is about the lives of real people.

  •  Nice diary, Congressman (28+ / 0-)

    and on a side note, I really, really hope you get chosen as the only Democrat on the Benghazi committee.

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Sat May 17, 2014 at 01:56:25 PM PDT

    •  puakev (3+ / 0-)

      I agree that Rep. Grayson would be great on that committee but how would you like to see him respond to the nutjob wackos gotcha "questions"? It seems to me, no matter what is said, the repubs will do what they always do, monopolize the questioning, interrupt, etc., etc. As much confidence as I have in Rep. Grayson, and as much as I would like for him to kick some RWNJ ass, I'm afraid it would end up being a colossal waste of his time.

  •  Scientific American Graphed This in 2001 or 2002 (10+ / 0-)

    for the Reagan thru Clinton eras, based on US treasury data. I no longer have a copy of the chart in my library to post here. It was in a February issue one of those 2 years.

    Measuring family net worth, it showed that the infamous 1% had not gained a dime of family net worth through the end of the boom.

    --When the Forbes 400 richest families were taken out of the 1%. So based on other credible data, the problem could be as small as the top 0.01%.

    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 Sat May 17, 2014 at 01:57:15 PM PDT

  •  So what are we going to do about it?? (12+ / 0-)

    I'm thinking that top .01% just isn't gonna say, "Darn, you're right. Take me back to Eisenhower tax rates."

    I agree with you wholeheartedly but how -- between the TeaPeople and the Republicans who enable them -- do we fix this utterly broken, completely inequitable mess???

  •  what would it take to get you... (18+ / 0-)

    ...and Bernie Sanders to start a presidential ticket? That would definitely rekindle me!


    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Sat May 17, 2014 at 03:23:35 PM PDT

  •  The problem with ownership is that it's really (7+ / 0-)

    a bundle of obligations and, when too much is owned by a few people, it's simply impossible, given the fixed number of hours in  a day, to carry out those obligations. So, whatever is owned deteriorates.
    The irony is that ownership is actually a sop, a distraction to compensate for the fact that every single person is liable to being dissed and disrespected and/or consigned to the fates.

    by hannah on Sat May 17, 2014 at 04:27:24 PM PDT

    •  That is incredibly profound (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, JG in MD, vigilant meerkat

      The burden of ownership should be spread around to as many people as possible so that all the associated responsibilities can be properly executed.  Many hands make light work and all that.

      Very interesting take.  Jibes with the decline of our society (in many ways) that corresponds with the consolidation of ownership into fewer and fewer hands.

      They tell me I'm pretty amusing from time to time working with 140 characters or less.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sat May 17, 2014 at 08:30:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You Sir. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, dagnome, elwior, la58, Paragryne

    And I REALLY, REALLY need you to be our Point Man on this idiotic benghazi clown car "INVESTIGATION", to drive these defective Goopers nuts. Well, farther nuts.

  •  A tired argument. The top 1% (or .01%) don't (0+ / 0-)

    vote GOP.  And even if they did they are only 1%.  Nor do they influence elections very much despite popular myth.  Sheldon Adelson wasted a couple of hundred million backing losers.

    I would rather have Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett on my side than the Kochs.  Money in politics tends to get diffused and wasted.  Buffett and Steyer talk to the media and are effective - for what it is worth.

    Politics is cultural for the most part.  Tell me a voters religion, geography, and education and I can predict how he/she will vote far more accurately than if I only know their income level.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 04:59:17 PM PDT

    •  Yeah tell that to the SC and our tax rates... (8+ / 0-)

      Obviously reality is not a strong point for you. Anyone who has been keeping score can see the 'nice' billionaires don't counter the 'mean' ones.

      The fact you would make such an unfounded claim makes it difficult to take you seriously. This has nothing to do with left or right. It has to do with the 'owners' and the 'rest of us'. Buffet is no angle and though I like him,I don;t see him going out of his way to help the lower classes politically.

      If you really believe you are right lets see the evidence.

      Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

      by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:10:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've done this on a bet - went over the entire (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Forbes 400 list and the liberals easily outnumber the conservatives (based on political donations).

        Silicon Valley and the Upper East Side in NYC are filled with billionaire liberals.  Bill Gates in Seattle donated to Obama.  The Google billionaires (Brin, Page, Schmidt) donate Dem.  Yahoo's CEO and founder do.  Oracle's CEO and founder did.  Facebook's top execs do.  Netflix and Tesla as well.  You have Soros, Fink, and countless others in finance.  Hollywood and media billionaires support Dems.

        The only conservative bastion is in Oil & Gas - go figure.  They want to plunder our resources and deny climate change.

        I won that bet by the way.

        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

        by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:33:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Liberal and conservative confuse you... (5+ / 0-)

          those are social issue designations and both parties support the top .01%

          If you think this is about party or social views, there is little I can say to you that will make you see how incorrect your point is.

          Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

          by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:36:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're confused. You shouldn't be here if (0+ / 0-)

            both parties support the 1% over the rest of us.

            The 1% sure as hell didn't need the ACA, or the stimulus, or the CFPB, or the top end tax hike to 39.6%, or dozens of other bills Obama fought for.

            "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

            by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:41:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The ACA gives money to insurance companies, (7+ / 0-)

              The stimulus was for banks and financial institutions, The CFPB is one where I agree, top end tax rate doesn't effect the very wealthy, they all work on capital gains a much lower rate,

              Like I said not much I can say to sway you....

              Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

              by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:57:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ridiculous fiction on your part. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The stimulus was for banks and financial institutions

                The stimulus went for unemployment, Medicaid supplements, infrastructure, SSDI, payroll tax cuts for the middle class, green energy, child credits, homeowner mods, and the like.

                Nothing was for banks.  This place has gone nuts with this bank nonsense.  

                "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

                by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:17:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're the one who believes in fiction. (6+ / 0-)

                  Apparently you are unaware of the banking industry and how the fed provided liquidity to the banks by buying up the bad assets [saving the banks from their bad investment decisions] and how it provides lending to the banks at incredibly low rates.

                  These actions are [part of] the bank bailouts.

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:52:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That has nothing to do with the Obama stimulus (0+ / 0-)

                    of Feb 2009.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


                    On a side note the Fed has never purchased "bad assets" from banks.  It is DKos myth.

                    The Fed does purchase Treasuries and MBS of the Treasury backed GSEs - Fannie and Freddie.  Those MBS must contain only conforming loans.  Bad loans are put back to the banks.

                    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

                    by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:11:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Here you go. (3+ / 0-)

                      Timothy Geithner is putting the finishing touches on a plan that will dump $1 trillion of toxic assets onto the US taxpayer.  The plan, which goes by the opaque moniker the "Public-Private Investment Fund" (PPIF), is designed to provide lavish incentives to hedge funds and private equity firms to purchase bad assets from failing banks. It is a sweetheart deal that provides government financing and guarantees for illiquid mortgage-backed junk for which there is no active market.

                      The Geithner Put

                      Do you see that sentence right up there that says,"provides government financing and guarantees for illiquid mortgage-backed junk..."  

                      The treasury was buying [and/or facilitating the purchase of] back the troubled assets, including mbs, because they were not creditworthy and did not contain conforming loans.  

                      And bad loans aren't "put back to the banks," whatever that means, because the banks have to meet capital ratios, and they can't meet them if they have too many bad assets. [but Geithner could have made other arrangements about capital ratios - who knows]

                      And look here:  Fannie and Freddie also needed a bailout, which was 'coordinated with the Fed.'

                      Fannie Freddie bailout

                      So I guess Fannie and Freddie loans weren't 'conforming' after all.

                      I should have said US Treasury instead of the fed - close enough, though. However, the poster you originally responded to referenced "the stimulus" and not ARRA specifically.  I think it would be correct to believe that the poster was referencing all of the stimulus efforts rather than only the ARRA, and you incorrectly assumed that the poster was talking about ARRA.

                      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                      by dfarrah on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:02:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, you should have said US Treasury. (0+ / 0-)

                        But now we are getting somewhere.

                        You reference PPIP, fair enough.  It was the part of TARP designed to buy toxic assets from banks in a partnership.

                        Here is the ProPublica scorecard on PIPP:


                        In short, only $18 billion was distributed and over $16 billion has been returned to date.  The program was small and not costly at all.

                        As far as Freddie and Fannie go - they have been nationalized (Socialized) and have repaid their loans in full.  Future profits will pay down our national debt.

                        Non-conforming loans ARE put back to banks:



                        Bank of America may be the most exposed to mortgage put backs. But on Monday, the company addressed part of this exposure.

                        The bank said it paid Freddie Mac FMCC -0.47%  $1.28 billion in cash on Dec. 31 to extinguish “all outstanding and potential mortgage repurchase and make-whole claims” from alleged breaches of representations and warranties on home loans sold by Countrywide Financial to Freddie through 2008. This covers 787,000 loans with a total unpaid principal balance of $127 billion, the bank noted. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

                        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

                        by shrike on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:35:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  shrike (6+ / 0-)

              I agree with your point , but I also agree with Grayson's point , the mentality of the majority business community is to treat workers like dirt , and that keeps everyone down

              To your point , imo , the majority of voters and politicians support this business model , or have never been given an opportunity to refuse this business model , it is overly frustrating to watch the working class do things that undermine their own economic status , while political leaders refuse to stand up to the status quo

              I worked for a wealthy defense contractor who had a weak union , the people voted themselves a 10 cent an hour yearly raise over and over again , and the wage was below LIVING to begin with , anyone who stood up to managements "anti worker"  tactics were run out of the company , by the workers , the majority of VOTERS and politicians have the same mentality    

              Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

              by Patango on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:19:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  thanks for the serious reply. I agree with you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but would modify it a bit.  That plant management is not the 1% - they are likely mid level $70-80,000 types trying to squeeze every dime out of those they can control.

                Stockholders (the 1%) don't get into that.  They just want earnings.

                Look at the Googles and Microsofts - employees are treated extremely well.  It is industry specific and unfortunately those who suffer most are the ones who are paid the least.

                "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

                by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:29:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  CEOs aren't 1%ers? You are are trying way to hard (0+ / 0-)

                  to make lemon-aid out of dog shit.

                  You are actually blaming middle management for corporate policy?

                  I don't even remotely take you serious anymore.

                  Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

                  by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun May 18, 2014 at 01:35:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Where you go off the rails (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, NoMoreLies, caul, vigilant meerkat

          with your theory of culture is how our politicians are selected and culled from the herd.

          The people in power ensure that it's the BOs and HRCs [and neolibs at the local level] that make it while taking out other potential candidates.

          The people you mention donate so that they can have influence over the party to ensure that nothing too changey ever happens.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:44:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Once I looked up political contributions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of every professional athlete I could think of. They overwhelmingly gave to Republicans. I think professional sports mights be a conservative bastion too. (Admittedly I can't name all that many professional athletes and only watch certain sports.)

          When people talk about liberal Hollywood, I always think, "But that's only one part of the entertainment complex in this country. Professional sports is another."

    •  While it's true that 40% of voters will almost (7+ / 0-)

      always vote for one party or the other when they do vote no matter who runs and what's going on in the country--there's plenty of data to support this--by and large elections are decided by partisan turnout, and the squishy center, that tends to lean one way or the other, but just can't seem to make up its mind about anything. And that top X%, while obviously not having enough votes to meaningfully influence most elections (except perhaps for mayor of Greenwich, CT), certainly has much disproportionate electoral influence through the money they spend on state and congressional elections, and by their ownership of and influence on media outlets. It's absurd to deny this.

      The Kochs, Rupert Murdoch and big oil and coal don't buy elections? Uhuh.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:37:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We almost agree. That squishy middle you mention (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, kovie

        which often decides elections is just as tough to "buy" because they don't think alike and basically don't think much period.

        They vote for "the man (candidate)", likeability, looks, or some other dizzy reason.  

        Have you ever watched a focus group of genuine undecideds?  It is scary.

        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

        by shrike on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:47:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And people who can't think for themselves (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, shrike, vigilant meerkat

          tend to respond to money-driven, not fact, logic or decency-driven persuasion. Which is what gives rich people an edge. Not always, but often enough.

          That said, I agree that likeability and charisma go a long way with such types. Dems have kind of sucked at making themselves likeable. Folks like Clinton and Obama are still the exception, not rule. That said, Repubs have become good at making themselves unlikeable. Also, the rich. So perhaps there is hope.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:11:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They BUY GOP and D.C. (7+ / 0-)

      Whether they use intimidation, bribery or extortion, they wield decisive influence over every elected official, and many who are not elected. Consider Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, Tom Wheeler...

      The .1% is a cancer on civilization, and the champions and devotees of mainstream culture are radiation.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:00:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not just unfair, it's unhealthy (7+ / 0-)

    An economy can't flourish when it's this lopsided in terms of wealth and income distribution--and recent economic performance is a testament to that. Today's uber-rich mostly got rich and are getting richer through parasitic, unproductive, race to the bottom shell games that extract wealth from the economy without putting anything back in its place. Our economy has an abundance of surplus capital, but it's not infinite, and we've long since passed the point where such parasitic economic activity is sustainable. These people are the actual takers, not makers (sorry, Mittens, but you're a parasite). They need to be reined in, through higher taxes and stronger regulation. Or else we're screwed.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:44:09 PM PDT

  •  Within the top 1% are those folks who played the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, elwior

    game correctly and saved. They now have 2 to 4 million dollars in an IRA and are retired. We need to differentiate between them and those that continue to suck resources from the 99%.

    When the F**K are we going to wake up and do something about this mess?

    by keyscritter on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:54:36 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this education, Alan. We will need (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, divineorder

    that courage you refer to but I think we are up for the fight.

  •  After starting to read Howard Zinn's (0+ / 0-)

    A People's History of the US, turns out this income inequality and striving to remedy it has been part of  our national scenario since whites landed on this continent. Finagling to make poor whites less resentful of the .01% has involved petty bribes and favors to allow them to feel superior to anyone who isn't white.
    The M.O. of vicious capitalism in the US has been 'divide to conquer' since Day One.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:27:24 AM PDT

  •  From Charles Ferguson, creator of the "Inside Job" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeffrey789, vigilant meerkat

    Charles Ferguson: The Financial Crisis and America's Political Duopoly

    "...My answer is this: far from being in an era of brutal partisan warfare, as convention­al wisdom holds and as watching the nightly television news might suggest, the United States is now in the grip of a political duopoly in which both parties are thoroughly complicit. They play a game: they agree to fight viciously over certain things to retain the allegiance of their respective bases, while agreeing not to fight about anything that seriously endangers the privileges of America's new financial elites. Whether this duopoly will endure, and what to do about it, are perhaps the most important questions facing Americans. The current arrangemen­t all but guarantees the continuing decline of the United States as a nation, and of the welfare of the bottom 90% of its citizens.


    People who should be aligned in calling for fairer taxes, campaign finance reform, stricter financial regulation, better public education, and investment in America's infrastructure are instead divided by their opposing views on gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. It is a strategy that has worked remarkably well for both parties.

    Even so, the American people have begun to sense that the system is rigged, and the recent election results are partially a consequence of this.

    The USA Bankers Magazine famous quote :

    “If we can divide the electorate this way, we can have them expending
    their energies fighting amongst themselves, over issues that for us,
    have no meaning whatsoever"

    That was from the USA Bankers Magazine, "August 25, 1924" , Yes 1924

  •  "And what about just plain folks?" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, vigilant meerkat
    And what about just plain folks?  How have they been doing?  For the bottom 90%, since the late 1980s, the value of home equity has crashed.  The value of small businesses has crashed.  The value of liquid assets – cash, stocks and bonds minus auto and credit card debt -- has been wiped out entirely.
    the value of home equity has crashed.
    Before signing on to dkos, I had just looked up foreclosures and sales in my neighborhood.

    One house nearby which sold for 142,000 in 2005 when I bought mine, sold last month for $ 37,000. So I am perhaps years away from being able to sell and move.

    I would never have imagined that all these years since 2008 that things could continue to be so bad for so long.

    This economy sucks big time for just plain folks.

    _______________The DOD/ War Department, which consumes 22% of the national budget, is the world's largest employer with 3.2 million employees.

    by allenjo on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:56:20 AM PDT

  •  Looks like we're headed for equality all right (0+ / 0-)

    Where everyone is equally likely to be poor and desperate.

    So much of what is wrong in our society could be solved with a guaranteed minimum income+healthcare+public education.

    At a stroke, all of our complicated insurance-based and need-based programs end.  No need for health insurance, disability insurance, aid to xxxx programs etc.  Just give people enough to live on, health care and access to information so they can educate themselves if they choose to.

    If you could just live, regardless of what life threw at you, even at a subsistence level, you really would have the right to life and pursuit of happiness.  And the odds that out of desperation you'd commit crimes that would deprive you of liberty would also be greatly reduced.

    Plenty of people would still do productive work.  People like luxuries, status, accomplishment, mastery of a skill or trade.   But the fear aspect of it would be gone.

    We're entering a world where there are more people than jobs that need doing.  It's time we woke up and recognized that instead of insisting that it is vital that everybody work a third to half of the hours of the day until they're bodies and spirits are broken...and those unable to work or unable to find work are tossed out on the streets.

    Or to look at it another way.  Breaking Bad would have had no plot had the protagonist had health care and a basic minimum income.  Ditto Weeds, Falling Down or any other story where the basic plot is a privileged person having bad luck and becoming desperate to hold on to what they're about to lose.  Or at least if the person behaved the same way there would be nothing "heroic" about it.

    •  You have hit the nail of the head when it comes to (0+ / 0-)

      providing everyone with a minimum of food, shelter, healthcare and educational opportunity.  

      There are plenty of 'jobs' that people could pursue if they did not have to depend on the whims of the rich for their bare survival.  Bacteria are becoming drug resistant, there are active volcanos near population centers, the climate will keep changing and someday a large asteroid will hit the Earth if we do not figure out how to stop it.  

      People could grow fruit and vegetables in their organic gardens, housebound disabled people could have more visitors and helpers, small bakeries could provide newly baked hand-formed loaves, parents would have time to cook balanced dinners from fresh ingredients, grandmothers could bake apple pies from scratch, poets would not starve, and musicians could pursue their muse.  

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