Thursday, October 27, 2011

Everyone Is A Winner!

But a chosen few win a lot more than others ...

The Congressional Budget Office released the above yesterday, and it's making the media rounds. Hardly a surprise that, as our tax system grows less and less progressive, the lucky duckies at the top grow ever richer.

Many argue that this is the natural order of things, and that we shouldn't punish the winners and job creators. That we don't want to have "class warfare," etc. etc.

And that's all fine, up to a point. But there's a basic problem. When you have chronic income disparity, you end up with social instability. And with social instability comes problems. Just ask Marie Antoinette. Or Muammar Gaddafi.

Me, I vote for general prosperity for everybody. And if that means the Koch brothers have to make do with 26 billion dollars instead of 54 billion dollars, I'm okay with that.


Anonymous said...

To me, its not about "fair." If these "rich" get their money by hard work and innovation, great.

But if its via slave labor or sneaky financial practices, then that's the problem. I dont think taxing them more is the answer, I think making outsourcing less appealing and putting more restrictions on shady wall street practices is.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of billionaires in the US supported Obama and are democrats.

Bill and Melinda Gates $53 billion, Supported Obama, Democrats

Warren Buffett $47 billion, Supported Obama, Democrat

Eli Broad $5.9 billion, Supported Obama, Democrats

John Doerr, $1.7 billion, Supported Obama, Democrat

Gerry Lenfest, Supported Obama, Sestak, Democrat

John Morgridge, $1.6 billion. Supported Obama, Democrat

Paul Allen $13.5 billion, Supported Obama, Democrat

Laura and John Arnold, $4 billion, Supported Obama, Democrat

Michael Bloomberg, $18 billion. Supported Obama, Democrat

Michele Chan, $5 billion. Supported Obama, Democrat

Barry Diller, $1.2 billion. Supported Obama, Democrat

More big money democrats:

Arthur Blank........Barry Diller....Michael Eisner....David Geffen....Charles Gifford....Jeffrey Katzenberg....Norman Lear....Penny Pritzker....Goerge Soros....Steven Spielberg....Steve Tisch...Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Greene,Charles Ergen, Vance K. Opperman, Daniel Abraham, Robert F.X. Sillerman, George Lucas, Alice Walton, Sumner Redstone, William Barron Hilton, Eric Schmidt, William Randolph Hearst III, Marc Benioff, Anthony Pritzker, Ray Milton Dolby, Charles Schwab, Robert Kraft, Gordon P. Getty II, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Ballmer, Ralph Lauren, Jeff Bezos, Henry Samueli.

Over 75% of US billionaires are democrats.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't know why all the democrats don't just say "Let's reset the tax rates to where they were under Reagan."

That'll turn the republicans into pretzels trying to figure out how to reconcile the economic growth under Reagan with the higher tax rates we had under Reagan.

It's perfect framing. Which means the Democrats will never use it.

Anonymous said...

Anon, you got a source for your claim that 75% of American billionares are Democrats?

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of people voting for candidates who want low taxes on billionaires supported Republicans.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of billionaires in the US supported Obama and are democrats.

You're missing the point. It isnt:

rich = bad


Democrat = good

It's that the rich are MEGA RICH and are driven so intensely by greed that their business practices and techniques are at the expense of the American people. Our country's infrastructure and future is at risk if we continue down this path.

Having a financial super-elite doesnt help the country at large, it will destroy us

Anonymous said...

I actually don't mind a financial super-elite. I wouldn't mind it at all if wages for the rest of us weren't shrinking while theirs grows by 200%, and the taxation structure and all the financial structures kept that gap widening.

It's really amazing what is valued in this country. A lazy person who lives off their trust fund is more highly regarded than a poor person working 12-hour shifts as a janitor.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point. It isn't:

rich = bad or Democrat = good

It's that the rich are MEGA RICH and are driven so intensely by greed that their business practices and techniques are at the expense of the American people...

It IS the point. If the majority of the MEGA RICH support Obama and his policies, then why don't they voluntarily do the things that they want imposed upon the country, like redistribute their own wealth? Why don't they cut a humongous check to the government? Why wait for higher taxes to be imposed on them? Damn these rich folks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates! They've really screwed up the country!

Anonymous said...

why don't they voluntarily do the things that they want imposed upon the country, like redistribute their own wealth?

UGH. You're still missing the point.

This isnt about jealousy, or only taxing the rich, it's about middle-class Americans UNABLE TO HAVE JOBS because American job-creators send all the work overseas. Its about the financial sector taking advantage of loopholes in the system and and engaging in unethical trade practices to get super loaded, while the rest of the country sinks. And yes, it's partly about taxing the rich fairly.

I love Steve Jobs and Apple. But the 76 BILLION they have in cash reserves has a LOT to do with how much they took advantage of cheap labor. What if Apple had only 1 BILLION in cash reserves, but iPhones and iPads were made in, say, Nebraska? Would that be okay?

Steve Hulett said...

I think some here are missing the larger point.

It isn't "evil rich" or "noble poor." It's that we have the widest wealth/income disparity of any advanced, industrialized nation. And that dynamic, inexorably, leads to social unrest. You know, like the unrest in late 19th century and early twentieth century America?

Floyd Norman said...

People who live behind locked gates already know who they've screwed over.

They also know that one day those "unwashed masses" are gonna be coming for them. Like third world dictators they've got an escape plan in place.

yahweh said...

No one has a problem with the rich that earn their money honestly or the banking institutions that are honest (ie: the credit unions). It's the rich and the financial insitutions that have cheated and rigged the game.
It's like going into a Vegas casino where the casino has rigged their games. Everyone knows the casino will eventually win and make a huge amount of money off the gamblers, but do they need to rig the games as well so they make obscene amounts of money?
Everyone knows the CEOs and the bankers are going to make huge amounts of money, but do they need to cheat the middle class as well so they make obscene amounts of money?

I do not understand this Stockholm Syndrome that so many poor and middle class Republicans have that they will defend these thieves despite the fact that these bastards have their hands in our pockets and are trying to sodomize us at the same time. Has FOX news screwed you guys up that much?

Anonymous said...

"To me, its not about "fair." If these "rich" get their money by hard work and innovation, great."

"FAIR" has nothing to do with someone working hard and doing well. "FAIR" has nothing to do with rationing wealth.

FAIR has to do with transparency in financial dealings. The top 10% pay less taxes now than they have in MANY years. They hide their money in offshore and foreign accounts. And the socialist tendencies of the republican party giving big tax breaks to corporations to send jobs overseas is no one's idea of "fair."

"Fair" is having portable, affordable health insurance. Insurance you can't have pulled out from under your feet when you need it most.

"Fair" is not allowing corporations to poison OUR Environment with little or no repercussions, and then expecting the Taxpayer to pay for their lies.

"Fair" is undoing the ponzi schemes of Wall Street--betting on NEGATIVE influence of the market!

"Fair" is not bailing out Wall Street for bundling mortgages and selling them to each other, as bush did.

"Fair" is not invading another country (Iraq) with no way to pay for it, other than raising taxes. "Fair" is not giving the wealthiest 10% of citizens a massive tax cut and raising taxes on the middle and lower class to pay for this war.

Most corporations quietly and secretly take life insurance policies on most of their employees and collect the money if that employee dies.

Simple historical context leads an intelligent person to easily understand why we're in the mess, and why the gNOp's arrogant class warfare will end with them getting tossed out on their asses next election.

The party of NO has got to GO.

Anonymous said...

"The vast majority of billionaires in the US supported Obama and are democrats."

Who cares? They PAY their taxes. Gladly.

And they will help our President Obama coast to re-election. I've often been disappointed with Obama, but there is no other viable opponent, and seeing as will only have one more term, I support him because we'll hold his feet to the fire to not trust the lying republicans ever again.

Anonymous said...

I just watched "The 1 percent" documetary, available on Netflix streaming.

What's irritating is the rich are almost guaranteed to make money. They get subsidies and bailouts have access to lawmakers that you can't imagine.

People marching in the streets en masse is practically their only alternative.

Anonymous said...

"They get subsidies and bailouts have access to lawmakers that you can't imagine. "

Because they can afford to BUY the political machines. ALL sides. When corporations are considered "people," we no longer live in a democracy.

Anonymous said...

And of course half the members of Congress being millionaires has nothing to do with this division of wealth.

Where are the numbers to show how many jobs the 1% has created for the rest of us?

And I love the mentality of how "we're" attacking those hard working rich by making them pay more taxes, when all we are asking for is to end their "temporary" tax break. And not having our tax money bail them out or subsidize them as they are making record profits!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised all you folks have time to post comments while you're busy occupying Wall Street, screaming anti-Semitic diatribes and defecating on police cars.

Anonymous said...

Just like the teabaggers do--only with more empathetic purpose, and genuinely grass roots. And percentage-wise--far fewer nuts. The so-called "anti-Semitic" non-event was an argument between two Jewish people--unlike the white teabaggers using the "N" word against President Obama.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to play the blame game here. Let me just say that Canada is no better condition.

Just a few weeks ago our Parliament was going around saying we were doing well and could survive another recssion, now a few days ago they just noticed that it just wasn't true. Most people I know, make an avergae of 30,000 dollars a year with few benefits if any and almost all with no pension plan. 88% of young voters in the last election didn't vote. Our educational system is getting more expensive by the year. We've lost a lot of jobs to company's outsourcing important jobs. We are literally a mirror to the united states. That chart represents exactly the state our country. Our prime minister is hell bent on reforming the country to an american one despite all the problems the untied states are facing. The untied states is still seen the ideal nation of capitalism.

The problem with that chart is lack of stability.

All I know is today's empires tomorrow's ashes.

For those who want an alternate solution check out the term Parecon.

Anonymous said...

Government of the people,by the people, for the people needs to include ALL the people.

Not just the people who are friends with Rupert Murdoch.

Anonymous said...

My gosh, the jealousy! The frustration! At first it was kind of funny. Now it's getting a little frightening.

Some douche of a news organization put out a poll with the question: Do you think that wealth is distributed unfairly in America?

What the hell kind of a question is that? America doesn't DISTRIBUTE WEALTH. There is no single entity with huge buckets of bread handing it out in fair shares. Whatever the fuck "fair" means.

Wealth in America is EARNED (or in some cases, inherited). If you don't earn it, you don't get it. That's the hell of reality for you. People who think that's unfair and want to change the capitalist system to get freebies, such as those "Occupiers", are whiners, losers, douchebags, socialists, anarchists, slackers, leeches, or people who have been unlucky. Oh, and definitely Democrats.

There are some people who don't get ahead because they rely solely on their employment. If their employment doesn't pay them the wage they want, they suffer. The way to fix that is to get a new, better-paying job, or do something innovative on your own. Create a new business, new product, new service. THAT'S how you get rich, or at least, better off. That's how America became the most innovative and prosperous nation in the world. So why change it now? Because whiners have become more vocal and get more media coverage?

You see, Steve, comments like yours are what give unions a bad name. And it's pretty irresponsible. Remember when England had such a high tax rate that most of its rich left, including the Beatles? And here's a quote from Keith Richards: "We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar." Sticking it to the rich sounds good on paper (especially the paper Democrat fairy tales is printed on), but it can result in the company-building, job-creating, benefit-providing evil rich leaving the countries they founded their fortunes on, leaving said country in even worse shape.

Now some conehead will probably pop up on the board and call me a teabagger. Fine. Better that than a douchebagger who wants money he didn't earn handed to him by somebody who probably suffered and labored and risked and sacrificed to get it. And had the talent and BRAINS to get it. Wow, how unfair is that?

Anonymous said...

You're a douchebagging Teabagger.
No one wants money from those that earned it. As Yahweh siad above they just want the rampnat cheating and rigging of the system to stop so the middle class has an even chance of living a decent life.
You are obviously an ignorant Fox news watcher who believes anything you are told by those actors that claim to be concerned about you.
You are not one of them and they don't give a fart about you. Whether you like it or not, you are one of us. One of the 99%

Steve Hulett said...

Okay, I love the name-calling. But the basic problem remains -- wide wealth disparity leads to social instability.

So, what do we do?

See, we can let the market take care of it ... and I believe it would have in 2008 if the Bush Administration hadn't covered all the bad bets. Banks would have liquidated, and the financial sector would have shrunk. Probably at great economic cost, but it would have shrunk.

There was also pretty systemic fraud going on from 2004-2008. Nobody has been brought to account. I doubt that many ever will. That's America in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

The way to fix that is to get a new, better-paying job, or do something innovative on your own. Create a new business, new product, new service. THAT'S how you get rich

Many of the newly rich found niches in the financial sector where they used quantitative techniques, arbitrage, and other trading tricks that suck off investment income from investors (like us and our pension funds) without adding any value to the economy. It's basically a game where those who have worked their way into privileged positions in the finance game work the system at our expense.

Yeah, they're smart, and yeah, they had to compete like hell to get to those positions, but they victimize the rest of us, and they aren't doing anything remotely like what a Warren Buffet is doing with his investing. John Bogle has had a lot to say about this, but unfortunately both the Dems and the Repubs are beholden to this fucked up system, which functions largely to increase the income disparity. It is organized, legal theft.

I guess you could argue that even thieves earn what they steal, since it takes a certain skill, talent, and brains to do this, and I'm sure for people like you that makes it okay.

Anonymous said...

@ANON 8:58

How did the oil companies earn subsidies? How did banks and brokers earn bailouts? Funny when you people bitch about welfare except when the rich get it. Yeah and those who inherit fortunes and win the lottery EARNED their wealth too.

And those who get their jobs sent overseas are at fault for being unemployed? Contractors who use insider information to get government contracts and those who get no-bid contracts are practicing in a fair open economy?

Congressional millionaires who continuously get raises, yet raise minimum wage law once a decade, also see it fit to force us to buy health care, when they get theirs free and this is something they earned?

I think most of us wouldn't have a real problem with your philosophy if the playing field was level and rules were not skewed in favor of the 1%

Anonymous said...

Do some people imagine the heads of corporations to be some sort of open society that actively encourages others to "work their way up"?

They don't.

They don't want competition. They will do what they can to crush you. They put their resources into it every day. Try and open a retail business within 20 miles of a Walmart. Try and open a coffee shop someplace Starbucks hasn't.

Teach your kids to pick vegetables, and they can get a job in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Oh whine whine. I expected such responses. I'd call you all good Communists, except Communist China has largely embraced capitalism because it's the only way a nation can become prosperous. True, China treats its people like REAL wage slaves. Perhaps the douchebaggers ought to live out there for a spell. Might give them some perspective.

And Steve, I do respect unions a LOT. I read here about animators working for unpaid overtime which is OUTRAGEOUS. THAT'S when unions should step in, or be invited in, to right that wrong. And if studios across the board are doing it, I'd like to know who they are. Because I guarantee I will NEVER watch a movie put out by a studio that abuses its artists. THAT'S not the American way. That's 19th century Dickensian England.

As for companies getting tax breaks and so on, well, that's when competition comes in again. That's how our leaders get companies to build in their states and provide jobs for their citizens.

If there is true abuse going on, then that should be corrected, and the way to do that is to elect officials and then bend their ears. NOT by condemning capitalism and camping out in Central Park, or blaming Republicans or conservatives who clearly aren't the only ones responsible for the mess.

And BTW, no way is Obama getting re-elected. His social justice method of handling the economy is an effing disaster. There are plenty of good Republican alternatives, such as Herman Cain, which the "racist" Tea Party is supporting. So out with "Hope and Change". Obama won't get my vote a second time.

Anonymous said...

Nobody calls it "whining" when a sports team owner demand hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to build a new stadium.

Nobody calls it "class warfare" when it's a teacher's union who is being blamed

The American dream is dead. But fat OLD teapartiers want to believe it still exists. The corporations imagine we'll still be a consumer economy with no middle class.

Anonymous said...

Oh whine whine. I expected such responses.

So instead of addressing points of substance, you just complain that anyone who shows how wrong you are is a whiner. To be honest, I expected that from you.

If there is true abuse going on, then that should be corrected,

That 'if' is such a cute word. Naw, must not be any abuses going on. That's just people whining. Because our system is designed to 'correct' those abuses. Yeah, sure, I'll just keep telling myself that, cuz the rich and powerful are just superior to me.

Steve Hulett said...

Here's what I urged my congress persons to do in 2008, and they ignored.

Let the Banks (and investment Houses on Wall Street) go Bust.

Iceland did that, and civilization hasn't come to an end.

I would have let the bastards drown in their own red ink. I've never been a believer in "Too Big to Fail."

Anonymous said...

So according to Anonymous 2:54 pm the income disparity is at an all time high, and this is fine and is simply because the rich work harder and are more productive or more inventive or more innovative?

So does that mean the middle class has become lazier over the last few decades? That CEOs and the Wall Street crowd are that much better than they used to be? That were not actually in the midst of what some call 'The Great Stagnation'? That our economy is actually great, because there is so much more innovation and invention and entrepreneurship than ever before by that top 1%?

I'm no economist, but something about that doesn't add up. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that anyone who could conclude that the current wealth disparity is because the lower 99% just isn't doing enough to earn such wealth, and that the upper 1% have earned what they have, is a complete maroon.

Anonymous said...

"As for companies getting tax breaks and so on, well, that's when competition comes in again. That's how our leaders get companies to build in their states and provide jobs for their citizens."

Yeah and this has worked out so wonderfully right? Maybe look around and see what's going on. Plus subsidies aren't tax breaks.

Anonymous said...

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