Why are those OWS protesters so upset?

Wall Streeter Joshua Brown (a “Reformed Broker“) offers one answer in a post candidly titled “This Is Why They Hate You and Want You to Die“:

You want to know why everyone in this country hates you and wants you dead, you big stupid [frakking] bank?

Here’s why, pay attention:

Bank of America Corp will pay $11 million to ousted executives Joe Price and Sallie Krawcheck …

Let me clarify that “Hates You and Wants You to Die” refers to the bank itself and not to the flesh-and-blood humans who work for that bank. They’re bad people, but they’re still people and I don’t want them to die — I want them to become good people, or at least better people. I want them to repent, restore and be redeemed.

But Brown’s larger point — that the anger being directed at Wall Street is legitimate and reasonable, that it has reason and merit — is true.

Here are some more reasons, starting with this graph from Jared Bernstein, “a simple plot of real median income for families with kids, 1989-2010.”

Or consider this graph, from Mother Jones’ essential bookmark-for-reference piece, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America.”

Some more reasons? OK, how about these?

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion from Fed

Bank of America to charge debit card use fee

Bank of America CEO Defends $5 Fee Hike: We Have ‘Right to Make a Profit’

Citi Jacks Up Monthly Fees and Minimum Balance Requirements for Checking Accounts

NYPD Arrests Woman for Closing Her Citibank Account

Wells Fargo accused of forging loan documents

Wells Fargo Forecloses on Home Because the Title Was Never Transferred

With Only $37,000 Left on Mortgage, House Gets Foreclosed

And faced with all this, and with 14 millions of unemployed Americans in the fallout of a financial crisis created by the greed, corruption and incompetency of these same socialized millionaires, we also have been asked to put up with a Republican Party telling us that “we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed” that we must “accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed.”

We have presidential candidate Herman Cain quoting Depression-Era strike-breaker William Boetcker as his inspiration, falsely claiming that it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You don’t help the poor by hurting the rich.” And doing so while campaigning on a tax plan designed to help the rich by hurting everyone else.

We have Republican default-frontrunner Mitt Romney describing “middle-class” families as earning $200,000 a year — four times the median income — and suggesting that the best way to help them is cutting “any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains.”

We’ve listened to multi-millionaire lawmakers whine about scraping by on half-a-million dollars a year. We’ve had to put up with wealthy pastors and politicians lying about the poor. And with wealthy politicians and pundits lying about marginal tax rates.

We’ve watched politicians from both parties squander 18 months ignoring the jobs crisis while obsessing over its side-effect of budget deficits. We’ve heard politicians from both parties bloviating about fiscal austerity as some kind of moral virtue, as though there were anything virtuous about perversely denying a century’s worth of hard-learned economic truths. As though denying the truth were ever virtuous. And in the name of this vicious “virtue,” they’ve promoted budget austerity — pretending that austerity could ever beget anything other than more austerity.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt confronted the self-righteous cruelty of austerity proponents head on:

To those who say that our expenditures for Public Works and other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order. Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade. What may be necessary for those countries is not my responsibility to determine. But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed. On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed and that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return.

Economist Martin Wolf also denounces the waste of human capacity of our jobs crisis and our refusal to address it more vigorously:

The waste is more than unnecessary; it is cruel. Sadists seem to revel in that cruelty. Sane people should reject it. It is wrong, intellectually and morally.

Wrong intellectually. Wrong morally. This is why those protesters are so upset. Me too.

OK, that was a bit heated, so let’s end with a joke passed along by Steve Benen:

A public union employee, a Tea Party guy, and a bank CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the Tea Partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy; he wants your cookie.”

 

 

 

 

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  • http://twitter.com/CraftyTrilobite Stephanie Bowker

    The most excellent Fred Clark has a most excellent link farm post on why #OWS is right.

  • Tonio

    I’ve spotted at least one description of the OWS protesters as allegedly opposing capitalism. I’m dreading a rerun of the tactics used to bash Vietnam protesters.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Only one reference to the OWS protesters as opposing capitalism, Tonio? I’ve seen a dozen, all calling them opponents of capitalism, socialists, communists and leeches on society.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Only one reference to the OWS protesters as opposing capitalism, Tonio? I’ve seen a dozen, all calling them opponents of capitalism, socialists, communists and leeches on society.

    Don’t forget “stupid college kids” and the absolute worst thing right-wingers can think of to call anyone – hippies.

  • Tonio

    Only one reference to the OWS protesters as opposing capitalism, Tonio?

    Only one so far, and I avoid”right-wing commentators in general. (It’s been alleged that many of Limbaugh’s listeners are outraged liberals.) My summation of the difference between the OWS and the Tea Party – the first seeks to reduce economic privilege and the second seeks to preserve social privilege. Some of the stats I’ve seen on the Tea Party confirm what I already suspected – the vast majority of its support comes from older Southern fundamentalists.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    At least the ‘hippie spitting on a GI’ myth won’t work. Nobody is likely to get too mad if every single protestor spat on a banker every day of the protest. I’d consider it a waste of good saliva myself. 

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Some of them are opposed to capitalism.  Some of them are defenders of capitalism.  They’re a fairly diverse group.

    It makes sense that you’d have a broad range of opinions on capitalism there.

    If you love capitalism then the abuses of Wall Street are an example of capitalism gone wrong and it is morally necessary to oppose Wall Street for the good of capitalism.  And also because they’re hurting people.

    If you hate capitalism then the abuses of Wall Street are an example of capitalism gone wrong, and it is morally necessary to oppose Wall Street both because you think capitalism is wrong in general and because they’re definitely wrong in particular.  And also because they’re hurting people.

    If you’re somewhere in between then the abuses of Wall Street are an example of capitalism gone wrong and regardless of your feelings on capitalism they’re hurting people so it is morally necessary to oppose them.

  • Anonymous

    I’m dreading a rerun of the tactics used to bash Vietnam protesters.

    Why worry about something that has already begun happening?  You can’t stop them now. :P

  • Anonymous

    News Corpse’s Fox News’s Fox and Friends quoted nearly verbatim a piece by News Corpse’s New York Post on Occupy Wallstreet. Yes, News Corp is substantiating its own story with its own story.

    This is far worse than anything the Vietnam Protesters had to deal with when it came to the media.

  • Albanaeon

    Ahh…  They’ve created a perfect circle of self-reinforcing propaganda.  Great.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well-said! Lovely post. What’s interesting is that real family income came up smartly under Bush I and Clinton, both of whom raised the top marginal tax rate on income (though Clinton apparently felt he had to sign a law lowering the top capital gains tax rate in the late 1990s). Then under Bush the tiny Shrub, real family income flatlined.

    I’m sure it was a pure coincidence that Shrub so cravenly implemented policies favoring the haves and have-mores.

  • P J Evans

     Also a coincidence that it spiked (on a smaller scale, relatively) under St Ronny.
    I think politicians may qualify as slow learners.

  • Anonymous

    Assuming this was after Reagan raised taxes?

  • Lori

    I read the Joshua Brown blog post and generally agreed with him. The comments were just depressing though. There were several commenters who displayed exactly the kind of disconnect from reality that the post was decrying and seemed to have no sense of self-awareness about it at all. Oy. 

  • Albanaeon

    Fred, no need to worry about getting heated.  These are perfect times to get angry.  Things are badly out of whack in our system, but the levers of government are still within reach.  Our votes still count, the Bill of Rights is still in effect, we still have means to get our voices heard (thank you for the internet and a media that can’t ignore everything forever).  Now, while those things are under attack, they are still our and now is the time to fight to hold them, while we still have them.  Being calm and waiting until things are really bad means that protests become riots and bloody revolutions. 

    By all means, get angry, keep posting and keep fighting for what’s right.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “NYPD Arrests Woman for Closing Her Citibank Account”

    Are you fucking kidding me? (O_O) NYPD, Y U CRIMINALIZE THIS.

  • Lori

      NYPD, Y U CRIMINALIZE THIS.  

     

    It’s pretty clear from the video that the woman was picked up for something that has been criminalized far too many times—being in the right place at the wrong time. And by wrong I mean unlucky, because she had every right to be there. The NYPD seems to be behaving WRT the protests as if it’s impervious to criticism, which may actually be true. 

  • http://www.wiccanweb.ca Makarios

    ‘A public union employee, a Tea Party guy, and a bank CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the Tea Partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy; he wants your cookie.”’

    Whereupon the Tea Party guy grabs the remaining cookie, throws it onto the ground, stomps on it, and shouts at the union guy, “Lousy commie fascist!”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, it occurs to me that people who tend to vocally support “family values” are not associating those values with the OWS movement and rallying to it for that.  After all, a family with a stable financial future is much more likely to be stable and able to provide for itself.  A family with a financial future in doubt is more likely to be stressed, angry, and unable to provide for itself or adequately prepare its children for their own futures. 

    But no, they are too worried about gay marriage and the fact that a woman might refuse to see a pregnancy through to the end… 

  • ChrisH

    I’d be interested in what you think of the 53% tumblr meant to counter the 99%.  It’s been referenced several times how tragic many of the people posting there are, and a link on balloon juice implies at least one of the entries is a photoshop of a photo of a Nigerian writer living in Spain.

    The sentiment you see on the 53% seems to line up eerily with the undertones of Left Behind and various evangelical movements.  First there is the addiction to indignation and offense from the tragic posters who’s stories would be right at home on the 99% tumblr, but then end their story of how they are barely making it by with “but I’m not a whiner and don’t blame Wall Street”

    Then on some of those pictures is a deep triumphalism.  Several posts I saw amounted to “I’m John Galt, bitch!” Bragging about their successes.

    I believe the 53% tumblr is highly revealing.  A direct comparison could be made between those who have become led astray on religious issues, and those who have been led astray on economic issues, as well as the mendacious who lead them there.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Did you see the Open Letter to the 53% guy from one of the 99%? http://politicsforabetteramerica.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    The sentiment you see on the 53% seems to line up eerily with the
    undertones of Left Behind and various evangelical movements.  First
    there is the addiction to indignation and offense from the tragic
    posters who’s stories would be right at home on the 99% tumblr, but then
    end their story of how they are barely making it by with “but I’m not a
    whiner and don’t blame Wall Street”

    And most of them aren’t actually earning enough to pay income taxes (which is where the 53% number allegedly comes from)!  Hence, the response: http://actuallyyourethe47percent.tumblr.com/

  • cjmr

    I wonder what the ‘change in share of income after taxes’ graph would look like if you could pull the top 1% number off the top 20% line.  I have a feeling that would make that line go mostly flat or even negative, too.

  • Lori

      wonder what the ‘change in share of income after taxes’ graph would look like if you could pull the top 1% number off the top 20% line.  I have a feeling that would make that line go mostly flat or even negative, too.  

     

    I’ll have to keep looking because I can’t find the data right now, but I don’t believe this is the case. The 2-20% folks have not seen their income rise as dramatically as the 1% people, but it’s not flat either. The wage issues that have killed income gains for the folks at the bottom have had much, much less effect on the top 20%. 

  • Kukulkan

    “Bank of America CEO Defends $5 Fee Hike: We Have ‘Right to Make a Profit’”

    “NYPD Arrests Woman for Closing Her Citibank Account”

    Given these two headlines I think it’s only a matter of time before they formally reintroduce serfdom. We’re no longer customers or clients or even consumers, we’re just a source of revenue. Just as serfs were bound to their Lord’s manor and required to work the Lord’s fields, we’re bound to the corporation and required to contribute to the corporation’s revenue.

    If we try to do anything that may affect that revenue — such as, I don’t know, trying to take our business elsewhere — that would be violating the corporation’s “right to make a profit”.

    Of course, serfs had certain rights and could depend on their Lord’s protection and justice. However, that arrangement is associated with taxes and, as so many defenders of the one percent tell us, taxes are bad. Instead, in this arrangement: we’re obligated to provide the corporation’s revenue, but they’re not obligated to provide anything it return.

    I just didn’t think it would get this blatant this soon.

  • ako

    Given these two headlines I think it’s only a matter of time before they
    formally reintroduce serfdom. We’re no longer customers or clients or
    even consumers, we’re just a source of revenue. Just as serfs were bound
    to their Lord’s manor and required to work the Lord’s fields, we’re
    bound to the corporation and required to contribute to the corporation’s
    revenue.

    If anything, I’d expect attempts to formally legalize debt bondage.  Sadly, I think the idea could sell well in the current political climate.  A lot of people already buy into the idea that it is perfectly acceptable for corporations to charge as much as possible even for necessities and people who end up owing money are lazy bums who deserve to suffer for their bad decision-making, so why not extend that to requiring them to work for the company until the debt is paid off?  With continued charges for any company-provided housing and food, of course.  And if the kids (who grow up attending the company-provided worker training facility school) inherent the debt and end up having to work for the same company, well, isn’t that a lesson to lazy parents everywhere?  After all, many people already agree that it’s okay to leave kids hungry and suffering from treatable diseases if their parents don’t earn enough.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m not sure I think that’s likely. Probably not as likely as “The whole system overbalances and collapses and we’re left wearing a lot of leather and riding motorcycles and everythign has inexplicably turned into the outback because that’s what happens after  the collapse of civilization”.  The reason I don’t find it likely isn’t that I think the people wouldn’t go for it or that the politicians wouldn’t go for it; it’s that I think the corporations do not actually have a vested interest in *formalizing* a debt-slavery relationship. Because once they do that, they have to start treating their serfs as *assets*, and every time one of them dies from malnourishment, disease, or falling into the needlessly sadistic manufacturing equipment, they’d have to mark it down as a loss on their balance sheets.

    (Incidentally, years back ,I wrote a video game, a small part of the premise to which was that after a nuclear war in the middle of the 21st century, a conglomorate of international corporations bought up all the world’s debt, foreclosed, and formally took over the world — something they got away with largely because there’d just been an apocalyptic nuclear war and no one particularly wanted to take responsibility for putting the world back together again.  Their rulership lasted exactly seventy days before they discovered that you couldn’t run the world-as-a-whole profitably and went bankrupt. But not before attempting to downsize canada with killer robots.)

  • Kukulkan

    “Bank of America CEO Defends $5 Fee Hike: We Have ‘Right to Make a Profit’”

    As far as I’m aware, they don’t have a right to make a profit. Like other people, they have rights to life, liberty, freedom of speech, religion, assembly, to bear arms, from illegal search and seizure, and so on. But they don’t have a right to make a profit. If they don’t make a profit, their rights have not been violated and they have no cause for redress.

    They certainly have the right to try and make a profit, but if they fail to do so, that’s just the way it is.

    Or is Brian Moynihan, the Bank of America CEO, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would establish a “right to make a profit”? Would this right apply to all people, including the natural born, or only to corporate persons? And how would this “right” be enforced?

    Sometimes the presumptions of privilege are truly staggering in their arrogance.
     

  • Anonymous

    Like other people, they have rights to life, liberty, freedom of speech,
    religion, assembly, to bear arms, from illegal search and seizure, and
    so on.

    I know there is the legal fiction that corporations are in fact people, but I can never figure out how it is that an entity that has no corporeal body can have corporeal rights. With no mouth, yet it has speech rights? Yes, I know the CEO speaks for it, but isn’t the CEO speaking for himself? So, the CEO gets double rights?

    The corporation can “bear arms” even though … it has no arms. Yes, there are hired guards, but isn’t the corporation piggybacking on their 2nd amendment rights? How is it possible for a corporation to bear arms without using someone else who has those rights? For instance, if a corporate computer controlled a gun and shot someone with no human decision-making or action involved, would it be argued that the corporation was exercising self-defense? If it were an intruder? What if it were a maintenance or cleaning person?

    Corporations appear to be in the position of someone judged incompetent or in a coma. Someone else gets to handle their affairs and speak and act for them. But, the people acting for actual humans are subject to challenge and oversight (ask Michael Schaivo). Increasingly, it seems that corporations are not.

  • Hawker40

    I’ll believe that corporations have the same right as human beings when Texas has one executed.*
    I’ll believe that corporations have the same right as human beings when one is drafted into the army and sent to fight in Iraq.

    *Bonus points if it’s for a crime that it couldn’t have actually committed, on flimsy evidence.

  • Albanaeon

    I personally like this one:

    If corporations are people, does that mean we can prosecute them for treason?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Dangit, Hawker, stop ninjaing my jokes!

    (Currently, the US doesn’t have a draft.  And I’m SURE  drafted corporation could get a deferment.  :-P )

  • Hawker40

    “(Currently, the US doesn’t have a draft. And I’m SURE drafted corporation could get a deferment. :-P )”

    Probably for having a pimple (excuse me, “cyst”) on thier butt.
    Or get into a National Guard unit that will never, ever deploy.

  • Kukulkan

    ohiolibrarian wrote:

    I know there is the legal fiction that corporations are in fact people, but I can never figure out how it is that an entity that has no corporeal body can have corporeal rights. With no mouth, yet it has speech rights? Yes, I know the CEO speaks for it, but isn’t the CEO speaking for himself? So, the CEO gets double rights?

    I don’t pretend to understand it either. Like you, I just know that there is a legal fiction that corporations are people and that the recent Citizens United decision decided that limiting the amount of money a corporation could spend on an election campaign was an infringement of the corporation’s right to free speech.

    I’m just assuming that the same reasoning would apply to all the other rights — no matter how silly it may seem.

    I’ve always wondered why corporations get to be legal people, but other forms of collective such as unions, clubs, families, gangs, and the like don’t. Seems a bit unfair.

    I’ve also wondered why collective bargaining is a good thing when corporations do it — a corporation being a collection of people — but a bad thing when unions do it — s union also being a collection of people.
     

  • Kukulkan

    ohiolibrarian wrote:

    Corporations appear to be in the position of someone judged incompetent or in a coma. Someone else gets to handle their affairs and speak and act for them. But, the people acting for actual humans are subject to challenge and oversight (ask Michael Schaivo). Increasingly, it seems that corporations are not.

    I think corporations are more like a feudal lord, with the various governing officers being like the lord’s retainers, carrying on the lord’s business in the their absence. The corporation isn’t assumed to be incompetent or in a coma, it’s just off fighting in the Crusades or something and the retainers have to buy, sell, hire, borrow money, pay off debt, etc. until the lord gets back. Only the lord is never actually coming back.

    It’s like there was a real Earl of Salisbury who owned all the property associated with the Earldom and who had a bunch of retainers who administered it for him and there was a fictional lord of London who owned the town hall and other property of London with the elected officials being like his retainers, acting on his behalf. The Corporation of the City of London was like the Earl of Salisbury and, when the Earl were away for any length of time, it was just retainers dealing with retainers. It’s just that one set of retainers were serving an actual flesh and blood person and the other set serving an imaginary person. However, if neither was ever around, the difference would be moot.

    Corporations are like absentee aristocrats.
    And like all aristocrats, they are above the rules that apply to the little people.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think corporations are more like a feudal lord, with the various governing officers being like the lord’s retainers, carrying on the lord’s business in the their absence. The corporation isn’t assumed to be incompetent or in a coma, it’s just off fighting in the Crusades or something and the retainers have to buy, sell, hire, borrow money, pay off debt, etc. until the lord gets back. Only the lord is never actually coming back.

    In this case, the “Lord” is the corporation’s shareholders, and the corporation is legally required to maximize the return on the investment the shareholders have placed in them.  However, while the shareholders reign, they do not actually rule.  While they can, in theory, vote to dismiss any of their retainers, it rarely happens.  Those retainers who ascend to high enough positions to be in the shareholders’ attention tend to be good at deflecting responsibility for failures and claiming responsibility for successes, as such skills are required to climb the ladder to such influencial positions.  Add to that the fact that many of those retainers often own quite a few of the company shares themselves, and that they tend to word their contracts in such a way that it would be more costly to dismiss them rather than keep them, and the issue of ensuring accountability is muddied even further.

  • Kukulkan

     FearlessSon wrote:

    In this case, the “Lord” is the corporation’s shareholders, and the corporation is legally required to maximize the return on the investment the shareholders have placed in them.

    Who are the shareholders in the City of London Corporation? The inhabitants of the City of London? If so, then some of them are involuntary shareholders since the City of London levies taxes on them to support itself and pay for it’s activities.

    A publicly owned corporation has shareholders, but a corporation does not need to be publicly owned. That’s just one possible form of organisation. A corporation can be privately owned by an individual (a number of authors, for example, incorporate themselves for the tax benefits), or a family (many of the oldest surviving corporations in the world are basically family-owned businesses. Like municipal authorities, various organised Churches are corporations with assists and liabilities separate from those of their members. The idea of a separate legal entity which can own property in it’s own right is an idea that goes back to ancient Rome and the Maurya Empire in India.

    I don’t disagree with anything you say, I just think it’s a limited way of thinking about corporations.

    Also, to pick up on chris the cynic’s point about words and definitions, the term “corporation” is a word made up to describe the idea of a legal entity that can have assets and liabilities like a person, but which isn’t a person. The phrase “legal person” is the definition of the term, not the term itself. If there’s confusion about whether “legal persons” enjoy the same rights as natural persons, it’s a deliberately created confusion. After all the idea of the corporation has been around for over two thousand years, but it’s only last hundred-and-fifty-odd years that the notion that these “legal persons” enjoy all the same rights as natural persons has arisen. The confusion is entirely the product of individuals deliberately muddying the waters for their own benefit.

    It’s not dissimilar to how people in the Bush administration played with the definition of “torture” so they could define their activities as “not-torture” allowing them to engage in torture while still abiding by the letter of their various legal and treaty organisations. It’s all word games designed to create confusion and allow actions that are forbidden.

  • Kukulkan

     FearlessSon wrote:

    In this case, the “Lord” is the corporation’s shareholders, and the corporation is legally required to maximize the return on the investment the shareholders have placed in them.

    Who are the shareholders in the City of London Corporation? The inhabitants of the City of London? If so, then some of them are involuntary shareholders since the City of London levies taxes on them to support itself and pay for it’s activities.

    A publicly owned corporation has shareholders, but a corporation does not need to be publicly owned. That’s just one possible form of organisation. A corporation can be privately owned by an individual (a number of authors, for example, incorporate themselves for the tax benefits), or a family (many of the oldest surviving corporations in the world are basically family-owned businesses. Like municipal authorities, various organised Churches are corporations with assists and liabilities separate from those of their members. The idea of a separate legal entity which can own property in it’s own right is an idea that goes back to ancient Rome and the Maurya Empire in India.

    I don’t disagree with anything you say, I just think it’s a limited way of thinking about corporations.

    Also, to pick up on chris the cynic’s point about words and definitions, the term “corporation” is a word made up to describe the idea of a legal entity that can have assets and liabilities like a person, but which isn’t a person. The phrase “legal person” is the definition of the term, not the term itself. If there’s confusion about whether “legal persons” enjoy the same rights as natural persons, it’s a deliberately created confusion. After all the idea of the corporation has been around for over two thousand years, but it’s only last hundred-and-fifty-odd years that the notion that these “legal persons” enjoy all the same rights as natural persons has arisen. The confusion is entirely the product of individuals deliberately muddying the waters for their own benefit.

    It’s not dissimilar to how people in the Bush administration played with the definition of “torture” so they could define their activities as “not-torture” allowing them to engage in torture while still abiding by the letter of their various legal and treaty organisations. It’s all word games designed to create confusion and allow actions that are forbidden.

  • Albanaeon

    And you’ve gotten to the heart of what is wrong with the “corporate personhood” idea.  While being able to treat a corporation as a single entity is helpful for legal purposes such as lawsuits, going and saying they get rights from it is absurd.  There is not a body to exercise those rights.  But giving a corporation “personhood” status gives it a whole bunch of advantages with no disadvantages of an actual person. 

    And let’s not forget that Citizen’s United has other gifts that keep giving.  Anonymous donations, while good on paper, suck in practice combined with “corporate personhood” and the other much more insidious thing.  It made freedom of speech synonymous with spending money.  Again, I can somewhat see the point, but it has the effect of making a basic freedom of our country a function on how much money you have.  And that means that it is not a freedom anymore, but a privilege and one that concentrates power in the few.  Which means our great experiment with giving the citizens in general the power is effectively dead. 

    Thanks Robert’s court. 

    Also, there’s a grim joke somewhere in here about conservatives wanting to make people out of things that aren’t people, and unmake people that are. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I know there is the legal fiction that corporations are in fact people, but I can never figure out how it is that an entity that has no corporeal body can have corporeal rights. 

    My favorite protest sign from Occupy Boulder:  “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

  • Madhabmatics

    Holy moly!!

  • Madhabmatics

    Holy moly!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428470021 Jonathan Hendry

    I’m actually not convinced Krawcheck was let go for *actual* failure, rather than a typical political pissing match during a restructuring, possibly combined with sexism.

    Here’s what Wikipedia says about her departure from Citibank in 2008: “Krawcheck left Citi on September 22, 2008. The move followed months of tension with Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, particularly as Krawcheck said that it was Citi’s responsibility to reimburse clients for defective investments distributed by Citi wealth management’s brokers and bankers.[10] Pandit and other chief officers at Citi disagreed, arguing that Citi had no legal obligation in the matter.[9][11]”

    If that’s accurate, it sounds like she wasn’t an example of the worst people in banking, but rather someone who other bankers should emulate.

    And if she got turfed because of politics, rather than performance, I’m not sure I’d begrudge her the money.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Thing is, American corporate culture has inculcated the notion that firing a CEO or other high muckity-muck from a corporation involves being as generous as possible, even when incompetence is clearly the factor, but firing the janitor involves making sure the company does the absolute bare minimum required by law to avoid hassles with the IRS and the Dept of Labor.

    I’m really not inclined to be that sympathetic to someone who gets a million bucks in severance pay. I could live for twenty years on that kind of money.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I think it has to do with having more definitions than we have words.

    The term “legal person” refers to non-person things that are treated as if they are a person in one or more ways.  So, for example, a corporation is allowed to legally buy things, legally sell things, be held financially liable for things, and so forth in a way that a person would and a rock would not.

    When you’re checking to see whether or not a corporation owns something you’re essentially treating it like a person in that respect because the process is pretty much the same as if you are checking to see if a person owns something and completely different from when you’re checking to see if a rock owns something (the rock doesn’t.)

    So we’ve got the term person, and we’ve got the term legal person, and corporations are legal people.  Which is all well and good.  But then at some point someone decided to argue that person and legal person both contain the word person, so a corporation is therefore a person, and thus shouldn’t a corporation have the same rights as any other person?

    Which is a completely bullshit argument, but it can sound like it makes sense because both terms do contain the term person.  If instead of “legal person” the term had been “blahdeeblah” then no one would be able to make the stupid argument.

    As near as I can tell, that’s where “corporations are people” comes from.

  • Kukulkan

    chris the cynic wrote:

    I think it has to do with having more definitions than we have words.

    And yet we don’t have any difficulty in coming up with new words — blog, tweet, defriend, paywall, bromance — when we need them to describe new concepts.
     

  • Emcee, cubed

    I’ll have to keep looking because I can’t find the data right now, but I
    don’t believe this is the case. The 2-20% folks have not seen their
    income rise as dramatically as the 1% people, but it’s not flat either.

    This graph at least notes that while the top 20% of incomes have gone up 95% in 27 years, if you back out the top 1%, it has only gone up 31%.

  • Lori

     This graph at least notes that while the top 20% of incomes have gone up 95% in 27 years, if you back out the top 1%, it has only gone up 31%.

     

    If anyone in the Top 2-20% wants to argue that a 31% increase constitutes “flat” income I’m all ears. Such an argument has serious comedy potential. 

  • http://danel4d.livejournal.com/ Danel

    It is slightly less of an increase than the fourth 20%. It pretty much leaves everyone except the top 1% at about the same level (with the exception of the very bottom, who are still somewhat worse off). 

  • cjmr

    I guess you’ll be amused by my previous comment, then.

  • Lori

     I guess you’ll be amused by my previous comment, then.  

    No, because unless I totally misunderstood your previous comment you were not claiming that a 31% increase in income is “flat”. What you were claiming is that your family did not have a 31% increase in income and in fact may have experienced a decrease in inflation-adjusted dollars. That’s a completely different issue. Being part of a group is not the same thing as being representative of a group. 

    I don’t know what is or is not true for your family, but the numbers do not indicate that, on the whole, people in your income group have been losing money in recent decades. It’s possible that if you shave the data differently and look only at people in the 10-20% group they have overall not seen an increase in salary (indicating that all the 2-20% gains actually went to the 2-10% people). I’m sure the same is true at the lower percentages though and that there are groups within those quintiles who are doing worse than the quintile as a whole. That’s the nature of stats. 

  • cjmr

    Emcee posted: “This graph
    at least notes that while the top 20% of incomes have gone up 95% in 27
    years, if you back out the top 1%, it has only gone up 31%.”

    I’m still wondering, though.  Based on all the figures I’ve seen for the income level that defines the various deciles, quintiles, etc., we’re somewhere in the top 20% but not in the top 10%.  cjmr’s husband’s pay increases are only barely keeping up with the annual increases in health care costs and gas/food/heating fuel prices.  Also, he makes about the same salary (with 20 years experience in his field) this year, as my father did (with 20 years experience in the same field) 20 years ago.  Actual dollars, not adjusted ones.  Once you get done adjusting the dollars, I’m sure he makes less, but I don’t know how to do that calculation myself.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    it has only gone up 31%.

    Oh, “only”. My heart bleeds. Really, it does.

    Not.

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi

    (It’s been alleged that many of Limbaugh’s listeners are outraged liberals.)

    Speaking of that bloated sack of shit…

    I suppose it’s just possible he confused the LRA with Joel’s Army…

  • http://brandiweed.livejournal.com/ Brandi

    (It’s been alleged that many of Limbaugh’s listeners are outraged liberals.)

    Speaking of that bloated sack of shit…

    I suppose it’s just possible he confused the LRA with Joel’s Army…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Oppen/594893122 Eric Oppen

    You know—you guys on here, or a lot of you, really love to make a big flapping fuss about being “Christian.”  I’m no Christian myself, but last time I looked, “envy” was on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins, right there with “covetousness.” 

    And a lot of these protesters strike me as more the victims of unscrupulous higher education honchoes than of evil, wicked Wall Street.  A degree in fine arts, unless you have major, major talent, is not going to get you a good job, particularly in these hard times.

  • Anonymous

    And a lot of these protesters strike me as more the victims of unscrupulous higher education honchoes than of evil, wicked Wall Street.  A degree in fine arts, unless you have major, major talent, is not going to get you a good job, particularly in these hard times.

    Define ‘good job’. If the definition is, as I suspect, ‘forty hours a week for four weeks of work with paid sick days and vacations equals enough money to support oneself for a month with some to spare for savings and entertainment’, then that’s something everyone should be entitled to, regardless of their education level, skill level, or training.

  • Tonio

    And there’s no reason to assume that most of the protesters have fine arts degrees. Again, that’s the Vietnam era stereotype. I still remember how angry I was on the 20th anniversary of the Kent State massacre, when some alderman from Kent peddled the ongoing lie that the college’s protesters were being manipulated by “outside agitators.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XXCAJ2ASBA3KJGMCSLD6VBIBNM Isatu Elba

    Should you really be lecturing members of a religion that contains millions of adherents of hundreds of different denominations and traditions about how to interpret their own religion? Especially when you admit that you’re not a Christian and you probably have no idea where the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ even come from or if they even mean anything to all Christians?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Yup, and so is avarice.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Care to define, “a lot of you”?  Because as near as I can tell most of us here are not Christian.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    I would explain that your smug stereotyping is inaccurate and offensive but it’s pretty obvious you’re a sack of shit. You know you’re lying. Engaging whatever ‘point’ you think you’re making is therefore completely pointless.

  • Anonymous

    And a lot of these protesters strike me as more the victims of unscrupulous higher education honchoes than of evil, wicked Wall Street.  A degree in fine arts, unless you have major, major talent, is not going to get you a good job, particularly in these hard times.

    I like how you picked fine arts, in particular. It’s a lie, but at least slightly less of one than this argument normally results in. Fashion design is a fine art, and it is a better degree, that pays more, than a business degree. So are literature, and philosophy degrees. As do Political Science, American studies, global studies and linguistics degrees. History only earns you ever so slightly less.

    Oh, and a business major only starts out making $5,100 more than a generic fine arts major. So, are you willing to claim that anyone who got a business degree is the victim of unscrupulous higher education honchos?

  • Zackp

    Also, let’s drop the straw-man about “envy.” I’m so tired of hearing the “they’re just jealous they’re not rich” argument. Absolutely NO ONE is arguing “If they’re going to be rich, I should be too!” They ARE arguing that corporations have an unfair advantage over human beings with respect to governmental influence and society, and that top %1 are not treating workers fairly, not pulling their fair share for society, and are actively making things worse for people who are struggling to make a decent living.

  • Lori

     Also, let’s drop the straw-man about “envy.” I’m so tired of hearing the “they’re just jealous they’re not rich” argument. 

     

    This. I’ve gotten to the point where every time some boot-licker brings up this envy business I have a hard time controlling my slap reflex. I am not jealous of the rich. I do not envy the rich. I have no expectation that I ever will or ever should be rich. That’s because unlike a high percentage of the wealthy I did not have the good fortune to inherit money and money doesn’t matter enough to me to drive me to do what is required to amass large amounts of it on my own initiative. 

    Envy is not the root of the disgust and anger that people are feeling over the greed-driven fraud and malfeasance that is rampant in the FIRE sector of the economy. When the rich talk about the envious poor they’re simply trying to deflect attention from their own sins. When the not-rich talk about the envious poor they might as well have the word SUCKER tattooed on their foreheads.  To quote a comment that I saw on another blog, “I am so sick of the house slaves acting like they’re better than the field slaves just because the master occasionally allows them to eat the scraps leftover from a fancy dinner party.”

  • Anonymous

    To quote a comment that I saw on another blog, “I am so sick of the house slaves acting like they’re better than the field slaves just because the master occasionally allows them to eat the scraps leftover from a fancy dinner party.”

    That is an appalling comparison.

    And part of the reason it’s appalling is it rings true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    That is a brilliant quote at the end there, Lori. I might shamelessly steal it the next time I need to blaze away at a piece of crap such as Eric Oppen above.

    (Not to imply all of your comment isn’t good. Your posts often express, far more eloquently than I know I could, what many others may be feeling about a topic.)

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    …the greed-driven fraud and malfeasance that is rampant in the FIRE sector of the economy.

    Question: What is the “FIRE sector”?  I’m guessing an acronym starting with Finance, Insurance, but I’m drawing a blank past that.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Googling tells me Finance, Insurance, Real Estate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    The Wikipedia article looks like a disaster, but you’re right about the first two. It’s Fire, Insurance, and Real Estate, apparently. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIRE_economy)

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    Oddly enough, I also typoed my comment with “Fire, Insurance” at first. :)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh. Jesus Christ on a bicycle, not this envy thing again. It’s a favorite buzzword used by right-wingers who seem to think that their straw-figure version of a leftist is the real deal.

    I sometimes wonder if the “envy”-ists aren’t doing a lot of projection, because of the ones I’ve known quite a few are, while by their own lights living pretty comfortable lives, somewhat taken with the idea that someone else wants their stuff.

  • Anonymous

    According to the latest labor statistics, there are currently 4.6 job seekers for every job opening.

    Even a fine arts major can do that math.

  • Anonymous

    And a lot of these protesters strike me as more the victims of
    unscrupulous higher education honchoes than of evil, wicked Wall
    Street.  A degree in fine arts, unless you have major, major talent, is not going to get you a good job, particularly in these hard times.

    Lemme tell you something, kid.  Before the recession, an educational degree was pretty much a guaranteed job.  Not the best pay in the world, but because there will always be public schools (we hope), there will always be a need for teachers.

    The recession has caused A LOT of school districts to cut back, so that instead of having enough teachers to keep class size down to say, 20-30, you have classes of 40 or more, and a lot of unemployed teachers.

    I tried to get a job teaching in either a public or private school in 3 counties, and nobody would hire the new college grad with no experience.  If I hadn’t been qualified for a 2-year-college job, I would be unemployed.

    Not everyone in the 99% has a liberal-arts degree.  A lot of us have degrees in things that are supposed to be useful, but in this broken economy aren’t.

  • P J Evans

    A lot of the ‘occupy’ people aren’t kids in or just out of college. A lot of tem are people whose jobs disappeared to Asia, and no one is hiring. If you’re over 50, most companies won’t even bother with your resume. If you’ve been out of the market for any length of time, they won’t look at you. Yes, there are laws about that – but the government has to enforce them before companies will take them seriously again.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    If you’ve been out of the market for any length of time, they won’t look at you. 

    Yep.  “There’s a Gap”, as Barbara Ehreinreich heard a few thousand times when she tried to get a white-collar job in her book Bait and Switch

    That infamous hippie muckraking rag Forbes, on the “No unemployed need apply” problem.

    And here’s Time magazine on the subject.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but when there are no jobs for the fresh-from-college crowd EITHER, that means that a 50-year-old layoff with a newly-graduated son or daughter is doubly screwed, because zie can’t get hired anywhere AND zir kid, who now has a ton of debt racked up, can’t find a job to pay that off OR support Mom and Dad.

    And guess what the only form of debt is that doesn’t go away if you file bankruptcy!  That’s right, your student loans.

  • cjmr

    The_L1985 said: “Lemme tell you something, kid.  Before the recession, an educational
    degree was pretty much a guaranteed job.  Not the best pay in the world,
    but because there will always be public schools (we hope), there will
    always be a need for teachers.

    The recession has caused A LOT of
    school districts to cut back, so that instead of having enough teachers
    to keep class size down to say, 20-30, you have classes of 40 or more,
    and a lot of unemployed teachers.”

    Sister-in-law’s school district laid off ~20% of their teachers this year.  I have two friends from high school who teach at schools that weren’t closed this school year, but which are on the short list to be cut next school year.  ENTIRE schools!  Teaching is no longer a secure career.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Sister-in-law’s school district laid off ~20% of their teachers this year.  I have two friends from high school who teach at schools that weren’t closed this school year, but which are on the short list to be cut next school year.  ENTIRE schools!  Teaching is no longer a secure career.

    I hope at least the Very Big Stupid got a good meal from all this because I’m thinking the rest of us won’t from here on out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Oppen/594893122 Eric Oppen

    You know—you guys on here, or a lot of you, really love to make a big flapping fuss about being “Christian.”  I’m no Christian myself, but last time I looked, “envy” was on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins, right there with “covetousness.” 

    And a lot of these protesters strike me as more the victims of unscrupulous higher education honchoes than of evil, wicked Wall Street.  A degree in fine arts, unless you have major, major talent, is not going to get you a good job, particularly in these hard times.

  • Don Gisselbeck

    I’m sure someone has done the analysis, but I haven’t seen it: if wages had kept up with productivity gains (tax brackets staying the same) we surely would have a massive government surplus by now.

  • Dannysmythe

    Your unsubstantiated claims against Herman Cain discredit all you say here. it seems to serve the poor the rich must be penalized. I wonder what you would say to Jesus if here were to say something lie, “The poor you will always have with you.”

  • Anonymous

    Your unsubstantiated claims against Herman Cain discredit all you say here.

    Do you understand what “substantiated” means? Because either you are ignorant of the definition of the word, or you are openly lying. Fred substantiated his claims about Herman Cain three times over. You see where the black lettering turns to blue lettering? That’s called a “link.” If you click on it with your mouse, it will take you to a different website (in this case three different websites), which is where Fred got his information from.

     it seems to serve the poor the rich must be penalized.

    Again, I must ask you if you understand what the word “penalized” actually means? Because there is no intellectually honest way to look at our current economic situation and think anything close to punishment is happening to the rich. You can say that the poor are being penalized for being poor. Frankly many members of the rich should be penalized for their rampant crimes, but that’s not going to happen.

    But let’s take a reality-based look at this, shall we? America isn’t a nation, a people, land, instead it is a structure, an organization. As a structure it allows a degree of economic, political, and social movement. This structure allows certain people to accumulate assets. In exchange those people have to provide for the maintenance of the structure, because its existence is what allowed them to accumulate those assets in the first place, and protect those assets in the second place. Right now, those people whom the structure has heavily favored are shirking their duty to maintain it, and pushing it off onto those whom the structure has not worked out so well for. In fact, they have asked for those people who have been exploited by the structure known as America to pay them large amounts of money with zero accountability.

    Adjusting this structure is not punishment, in fact, it is in the wealthy’s best interests.

    I wonder what you would say to Jesus if here were to say something lie, “The poor you will always have with you.”

    Wow, just wow. I think I will link to Fred on this subject. Needless to say, when Jesus said that, it was a bitter, angry rebuke and a condemnation of the people of Israel for their failures.

  • Matri

    Do you understand what “substantiated” means? Because either you are
    ignorant of the definition of the word, or you are openly lying.

    Maybe he thinks using big words that sound important will make him sound smarter than he really is. It’s either that, or he’s got the right-wing blinders on, which keep him from acknowledging that everyone has actually backed up their statements just so he can focus on taking parts of statements out-of-context so he can continue attacking reality for not conforming to his fantasy.

  • Lori

     Your unsubstantiated claims against Herman Cain discredit all you say here. it seems to serve the poor the rich must be penalized.  

     

    Herman Cain’s economic plan (and I use that term very loosely) is a regressive tax (look it up). That means that it benefits the rich by punishing the poor. Apparently that’s fine with you. That indicates a problem with you, not with the rest of us. 

    I guess I can’t really be surprised that a Cain apologist doesn’t understand the actual implications of the 999 plan since Cain himself doesn’t seem to understand what a regressive tax is and why it’s bad. Either that or he is simultaneously the most heartless and the most clueless serious presidential candidate the US has had in my lifetime. His plan would seriously screw the poor in order to give gifts to the rich and he isn’t doing even a remotely credible job covering that up. 

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/09/339783/herman-cain-tax-food/

    Note: If Cain gets elected I’ll be looking for partners to help me start a food resale business. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Herman Cain has to know what a regressive tax is. He was a businessman and used to be on the board of directors for the US Federal Reserve bank. I think he’s just hoping that no one will care enough about poor people to hold his tax plan against him. I also think the only reason his plan is popular is that it’s really simple — it can fit on a poster or a sign really well.

  • P J Evans

    His plan seems to rely on most people buying clothes and furniture at yard sales or second-hand stores.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Herman Cain has to know what a regressive tax is. He was a businessman and used to be on the board of directors for the US Federal Reserve bank. I think he’s just hoping that no one will care enough about poor people to hold his tax plan against him. I also think the only reason his plan is popular is that it’s really simple — it can fit on a poster or a sign really well.

    I do not know what is the scarier possibility:  That Herman Cain thinks the voting public is so stupid that they will not see through this kind of thing, or that there are actually enough American voters out there who want to “stick it to the poor” enough to actually base their vote on it.  

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton
  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know, I do not like to Orwell a thread, but damn.  I guess it proves that you do not need government sanctioned memory-holes to try and rewrite the past… 

  • Anonymous

    Jesus HELPED THE POOR. That in itself makes him the most liberal who ever liberaled, compared to 9-9-9 Herman Cain.

  • Anonymous

    Your unsubstantiated claims against Herman Cain discredit all you say here.

    Where did Fred say anything about Herman Cain?

    it seems to serve the poor the rich must be penalized.

    Not ‘penalized’. ‘Made to pay their fair share’. Yes, their fair share is bigger than ours; that’s because they’ve got more of the pie than we do.

    I wonder what you would say to Jesus if here were to say something lie, “The poor you will always have with you.”
    That’s an IS statement, not an OUGHT statement. Even if everybody were subsistence farmers, there would always be people getting too little rain and people getting too much and people getting the right amount, so there would always be people growing too little and people growing just enough and people growing enough and to spare, so there would always be poor and rich, by the standards of that society. The poor you will always have with you because it is not humanly possible to create a society where no one is poorer than anyone else. Not, the poor you will always have with you because that’s the way things are supposed to be and no one should try to change that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Harms/602268732 Katherine Harms

    Just curious. What makes up the staff and administration of a bsnk? People. Forgive me while I point out that a bank, like any other corporation, is people. People who invested. People who work there. People who save money and have checking accounts. That is what a bank is. You cannot hate the bank without hating people.
    I think about all the stories people have told me over the years of the ways they escaped taxes or hid income or pulled the wool over somebody’s eyes in a private transaction, and I think it is just exactly what everyone seems to want to be able to do. However, when someone gets the bad consequences instead of the good ones, they get mad and cry “Foul!” How come it is foul when someone else gets the benefit and fine when you get the benefit? Let’s be real. Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversations. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

  • Lori

     I think about all the stories people have told me over the years of the ways they escaped taxes or hid income or pulled the wool over somebody’s eyes in a private transaction, and I think it is just exactly what everyone seems to want to be able to do. However, when someone gets the bad consequences instead of the good ones, that person gets mad and cries “Foul!” How come it is foul when someone else gets the benefit and fine when you get the benefit? Let’s be real. Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY! 

    Speak for yourself. You may very well be greedy, selfish and envious. If your post is accurate you definitely know people who are. That seems to have given you quite a warped view of what “everyone” does. You’re certainly completely clueless about the bank issue. Don’t try to put your issues and your ignorance off on the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Just curious.

    No, you’re not. In the future, please don’t say things you do not mean.

    What makes up the staff and administration of a bank? People. Forgive me while I point out that a bank, like any other corporation, is people.

    No, they aren’t. Any sociologist and any psychologist will tell you that an organization is most certainly not people. And people within an organization are more than willing to perform actions that they would consider morally abhorrent otherwise. An organization is an authoritarian thing, it encourages obedience and rewards submission. It cheers on treachery and betrayal. People have to actively work in order to prevent organizations from becoming sociopathic things, which is particularly difficult in business organizations, as their entire point of being is profit. Making sure that “at any cost” is not added onto that point is a lot of hard work, and often fails.

    People who invested.

    Who are often being robbed blind by their CEOs and Board of Directors. Shareholders don’t exactly have a lot of rights, you know.

    People who work there.

    Who are being horribly screwed over. Note the regressing wages, the non-existent benefits, the lack of opportunities.

    People who save money and have checking accounts.

    Who are also being horribly screwed over. Their currently trying to roll back the legislation that prevented banks from stealing their money with ridiculous fees.

    That is what a bank is.

    But that’s not what a bank has to be. It can be something better.

    You cannot hate the bank without hating people.

    Why yes, you can. You can absolutely hate a system that privileges and rewards atrociously immoral behavior without hating the people stuck in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    No, you’re not. In the future, please don’t say things you do not mean.

    Oh my God, I hate when people do that. The cutesy little, “Just curious”
    or “I’m just asking, is all”. OWN YOUR OPINIONS. If
    you want to say something, just say it — don’t add a little phrase that
    makes it look like you’re just asking a question or pointing out
    something weird that you noticed.

    Thanks for calling it out for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Oh my God, I hate when people do that. The cutesy little, “Just curious”
    or “I’m just asking, is all”.

    In my experience, prefacing questions like that is a passive-aggressive means of bullying someone so that when called out on their attacks, the “curious” party can make themselves to look like the victim of bullying and not the bully.

    “Why are you so mad that I asked why you hate America? I was just curious, and you responded to my desire to understand you with anger!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804043045 Abdul Jah

    Katherine —

    Think of it this way. If I make a bad investment, I’ll probably lose all of the money I put in. If things get really bad — I get sick, or I become disabled, or I get hit by a bus, or the company I work for shuts down — I’m pretty much screwed.

    If I’m a bank and I make a bad investment, the government gives me billions of dollars. If I’m the CEO and something gets screwed up — regardless of if it’s my fault or not — I’m guaranteed a golden parachute and there are almost no consequences to my actions; I’ll have no trouble finding another job and even if I don’t I’ll be rich for the rest of my life.

    I think that’s the issue. You’re trying to compare the consequences and results of a bad decision made by one person with a bad decision made by a large corporation. One of them can devastate a dozen people — the other can ruin the lives of thousands.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I think that’s the issue. You’re trying to compare the consequences and results of a bad decision made by one person with a bad decision made by a large corporation. One of them can devastate a dozen people — the other can ruin the lives of thousands.

    “Can ruin the lives of thousands”, NONE OF WHOM will be the person making the bad decision.

    Republicans seem to be perfectly OK with this.  “Party of Personal Responsibility”, my butt.

  • Anonymous

    I think about all the stories people have told me over the years of the ways they escaped taxes or hid income or pulled the wool over somebody’s eyes in a private transaction, and I think it is just exactly what everyone seems to want to be able to do.

    You can think that, but it doesn’t mean it is true. In fact, it says more about you personally than it does about anyone else.

    Some of us don’t actually spend all our times thinking “how can I screw the system to get more?”

    However, when someone gets the bad consequences instead of the good ones, that person gets mad and cries “Foul!”

    Generally when people are caught doing something illegal that is their first response. We don’t like feeling guilty about crimes, so we construct elaborate justifications for why we never committed a crime in the first place.

    How come it is foul when someone else gets the benefit and fine when you get the benefit?

    It isn’t. You know what, allow me to make a book recommendation. Dr. Bob Altemeyer’s “The Authoritarians”. You can read the entire thing online for free. Needless to say, he goes into great detail about how there are two segments of people in the population, one of which has a destructive “screw everyone else” view in almost every situation, the other of which wouldn’t even have that idea occur to them.

    Let’s be real.

    Oh, good.

    Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation.

    No, they’re not. And if you think that way, well, again, that says more about you than it does about “everybody.”

    It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    Nope, it’s the rich and those they’ve deluded.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s be real. Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    I’m greedy for wanting my full-time job to pay me enough that I don’t have to live with my parents? I’m selfish for wanting to be able to afford health insurance? I’m envious because I look at the one percent of the country who have all the money and I think maybe I’d be better off and so would they if they had a smaller share of the country’s money?

    I think those words do not mean what you think they mean.

  • ako

    I think about all the stories people have told me over the years of
    the ways they escaped taxes or hid income or pulled the wool over
    somebody’s eyes in a private transaction, and I think it is just exactly
    what everyone seems to want to be able to do.

    Possibly if you associated with a wider variety of people, you would have a less cynical view of human nature?  It sounds like something is biasing you towards seeing the worst in people, and it might be associating with people who consider cheating others something to brag about.

    I can assure you, being so proud of how you scam a person that you actually brag it is not a universal human trait.

    Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    On what basis are you categorizing people as greedy, selfish, and envious?  Because if you’re categorizing a person as greedy, selfish, and envious for having any feelings of greed, selfishness, and envy, that might be universally true.  It’s also irrelevant, because no one’s criticizing corporations for being run by people who have bad thoughts.

    If you’re talking about people being primarily motivated by greed, selfishness, and envy, that’s not true.  I know I make an effort to restrain my urges in that direction, and I’d want other people to stop me if I let my greed and selfishness run to harmful extremes.  When corporations become engines of uncontrolled selfishness and greed, it is a good thing for people to speak out against their actions and seek to stop them.  (I think envy is a red herring – it keeps being brought up in order to suggest bad faith on the part of the protesters, but they seem to be directing their complaints primarily against people who they believe are doing concrete harm, not merely people who have a lot.)

  • Tonio

    If you’re talking about people being primarily motivated by greed, selfishness, and envy, that’s not true.

    That assertion may be the nexus between traditional conservatives and religious fundamentalists, assuming that we’re talking about two distinct but allied groups. The Tea Party belongs in the latter group because their talk about small government is a proxy for preserving social privilege.

  • Albanaeon

    Well, I’m going to pass on if everyone is being greedy, selfish, and envious, or if we are even capable of being as greedy, selfish, and envious as the one percenters have shown themselves to be, and examine the effects of our actions.  As our “greed” and “selfishness” and “envy” results in EVERYONE getting the advantages of a wealthy modern nation, the effects of us getting our way and the 1% getting theirs shouldn’t even spark a comparison.

    That’s the difference between most of us here and the 1%ers.  Our desires help everyone while theirs only help themselves

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    I am reminded of Roman Polanksi defending his drugging and rape of a 13-year-old girl, with the claim “everybody wants to f**k young girls.”

  • Anonymous

    Let’s be real. Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    Hello, I’m an American living on her own.  Thus, I presume, I am part of “everybody.”  Let’s look at how greedy and selfish I am!

    – I get 90% of my reading material from the library.  The only books I don’t, are…let’s call them “non-mainstream religious texts.”  You can’t often find those in libraries or mainstream bookstores, and I generally limit myself to 3 or 4 per year, because I want to take the time to thoroughly digest each such book before moving on to another.

    – I haven’t been to the movies since 2009.  I don’t particularly care to go–the lack of BRAND NEW movies to watch honestly doesn’t bother me.  I don’t even watch DVDs that much. I don’t have a Bluray player and see no point in getting one until they stop making regular DVDs.

    – Once or twice a year, I will purchase a used video game for the console that my brother generously gave me (by which I mean, he didn’t want it anymore, so he passed it on to his sister instead of throwing it away).  It is extremely rare that I buy a NEW video game, because I usually don’t care enough about having games to get them as soon as they come out.

    – I can’t afford to go on fancy vacations.  They would be nice, sure, but I live alone and thus have no real time to plan, pack, and finance a trip somewhere.  My vacation spots tend to be local parks or the beach (which, in Florida, is never a long or expensive trip).  You know what?  I don’t care.  Going away for your vacation is nice (my parents made sure to drag us somewhere new for EVERY holiday and summer vacation), but not necessary, and for a single person with a dog it can be far more of a hassle than it’s worth.

    – My mother has to BEG me to buy enough new clothes to replace the old as they are wearing out.  I tend to go for practicality over fashion trends, and won’t be caught dead in stiletto heels.  I refuse to buy shoes that cost more than $60 (and the line is only drawn that high because shoes under $50 tend to be made of flimsy plastic and canvas), and have never had the desire to own designer-brand clothes, shoes, or purses.  They just don’t appeal to me.  I tend to hang out in the Clearance section when shopping time rolls around.

    – To me, “eating out” means getting out a coupon for fast-food and using it.  I do this about 3 or 4 times a month.  I like nice restaurants, but get much more satisfaction out of a meal that I cooked myself at home and didn’t have to pay an obscene amount of money for.

    – “But you have a COMPUTER!!”  Yes, I do.  I NEED IT for work, to pay my bills, and sometimes, as now, I use it to relax.  I deliberately bought a laptop in just the right price range that it will last me several years, and I will run it into the ground.  MP3 player?  I will use that sucker until it literally does not play music anymore.  Cellphone?  I only replaced mine last year at my mother’s insistence because it was literally FALLING APART (the casing would not stay on).  I had had that phone since 2005, and deliberately got a “dumb phone” to replace it because I didn’t care for the expense of a smart phone.

    I don’t want to be rich–the very thought makes me cringe because then I would have all that money and all  those possessions to worry about, and I am a world-class worrier.  I don’t want to take anything I have for granted, or to teach my children the same.  All I want is for everyone to be able to survive working 40 hours/week, and for the wealthy to pay their share in taxes, just as I do.  I want these things not because they would benefit ME (I don’t see that they would, at least directly) but because I want other people to be happy.  It hurts me to see people suffer, and I see all too much of that.

    So, does all that make me greedy?

  • Anonymous

    Just because you have surrounded yourself with jackasses does not mean everyone in the world is a jackass.  Some of us are not sociopaths.  But holy hell is your post hard to respond politely to.

    I have no desire to escape taxes, hide my income, or cheat anyone – in fact, I recognize that I’d have to pay higher taxes to get what I want.  So be it.  I want a world in which everyone has a roof over their head, food on the table (safe, affordable food), and health care (the tax funded universal kind, so they can actually use it).  I want there to be jobs for everyone who’s able to work and support for people who can’t.  I want every worker to have paid vacation time, paid sick time, and paid parental leave (maternity, but for both partners regardless of gender).  I want couples to have the choice of whether their a one or two income family.  I want there to be free or extremely low cost child care for single parents. I want our schools to be well funded so that people can get good educations.  I want college to be a possibility, but not a necessity.   If that is greedy, selfish, and envious, those words have ceased to have meaning.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    Right. Because the “greed” of being able to provide for yourself and your family by working a full-time job is SO comparable to the greed of getting everything you can even if you destroy the world economy in the process.

    So are you being disingenuous, or are you really that much of an idiot?

  • Emcee, cubed

    Everybody is greedy, selfish and envious in this conversation. It isn’t the rich; it is EVERYBODY!

    Right. Because the “greed” of being able to provide for yourself and your family by working a full-time job is SO comparable to the greed of getting everything you can even if you destroy the world economy in the process.

    So are you being disingenuous, or are you really that much of an idiot?

  • Emcee, cubed

    What makes up the staff and administration of a bank? People. Forgive me
    while I point out that a bank, like any other corporation, is people.
    People who invested. People who work there. People who save money and
    have checking accounts. That is what a bank is. You cannot hate the bank
    without hating people.

    What makes up the staff and administration of a government? People. Forgive me while I point out that a government, like any other organization, is people. People who are elected. People who work there. People who vote and who are governed. That is what a government is. You cannot hate the government without hating people.

    Same logic. Why do I think you won’t agree with my version?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    No, you’re not. In the future, please don’t say things you do not mean.

    Oh my God, I hate when people do that. The cutesy little, “Just curious” or “I’m just asking, is all”. OWN YOUR OPINIONS. If you want to say something, just say it — don’t add a little phrase that makes it look like you’re just asking a question or pointing out something weird that you noticed.

    Thanks for calling it out for me.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The fact that this person seems to know like a zillion people who cheated on their taxes sounds to me like they’re just jelly they didn’t muster the chutzpah to try and slide a questionable tax deduction past the IRS, and are now taking it out on all the “ENVIERS” of the rich.

  • Anonymous

    Luckily the free market has a solution to the Catch-22 of being unemployable while unemployed: work for free.  Per the linked article:

    With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.
    “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please, they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. “From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it’s huge. Especially if you’re a small business.”

    You heard it here first.  Unpaid labor: good for companies, good for workers!

  • Anonymous
    “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary

    You know, I bet that’s very often true!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Yeah, it really sucks. As PJ Evans and Consumer Unit 5012 said, if you have a large period of unemployment on your resume — or if you’ve been working in a job unrelated to your technical skills — it makes it much harder to get a job (employers will assume that if you’re a computer programmer or something like that your skills will be rusty and out-of-date compared to someone who has been working / interning / volunteering in the field for the same amount of time.

    Speaking of interning, this isn’t a new thing. a lot of companies have been illegally using interns as free labor. They would use unpaid interns desperate to break into an industry by making them work basically the same as a regular employee, generally without educational training and sometimes with fake promises that they might be hired even though the company knew full well that they weren’t planning to hire anyone. President Obama has been cracking down on them lately.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html?pagewanted=all

  • P J Evans

     I believe that the company I work at pays its interns. (Otherwise there wouldn’t be anyone wanting to be one.)

  • Lori

    If you don’t have a pretty well-off family to rest on, you can’t really afford to work for free for a random amount of time with no hope of getting a job at the end of it, even if you didn’t have any student loans to worry about.  

    A while back I had a contract job for a firm that runs development projects in 2nd & 3rd world countries. It’s a well-respected firm in the field and there are lots of people who want to intern there. However, the company limits the number of interns it takes on because they only offer paid internships for exactly this reason. They recognize that unpaid internships unfairly advantage the already-advantaged students who come from enough money that they can afford to work unpaid. As a company they’ve opted not to be hypocritical by limiting the opportunities of the disadvantaged in this country while trying to help the disadvantaged in other countries. Sadly, that unwillingness to exploit interns is far too rare. 

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    In what sane world does this article show up anywhere but on The Onion??

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    In what sane world does this article show up anywhere but on The Onion??

    The operational word in the above sentence has been emphasized.  

    (And it’s PERFECTLY ‘sane’ from the companies’ point of view.  Free labor, every corporation’s dream.)

  • Anonymous

    You heard it here first.  Unpaid labor: good for companies, good for workers!

    Wow, we are literally going back to slavery…

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Wow, we are literally going back to slavery…

    Of course not, that would be HORRIBLE!

    Slave-owners have a responsibility to feed their slaves.  The Modern Efficient Corporation refuses to be held back even that much.

  • Albanaeon

    Holy crap, that’s disturbing.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, it might be worth getting your mitts on a book by Linda McQuaig, called The Cult of Impotence. Canada has been a laboratory for all kinds of monetarist experiments since the 1980s, because the Central Bank has, until about the early 2000s, been obsessed with inflation control to a degree only matched by the Deutsche Bank and later the ECB.

    http://www.goodreports.net/reviews/thecultofimpotence.htm

    Fiscal policy has worked in concert with this under the steerage of Michael Wilson and Paul Martin, until he became Prime Minister and had to begin loosening the purse strings following Jean Chretien’s own shift leftward in his final years as PM.

    Lars Osberg and Pierre Fortin, respected Canadian economists, have written of this obsession with hobbling the Canadian economy in books which I have linked below. I used to read a lot about this but it was a decade in the past. Nonetheless, here’s the basic sketch as I still remember it from McQuaig, Osberg, et al:

    http://www.betterworldbooks.com/unnecessary-debts-id-1550284967.aspx

    http://www.betterworldbooks.com/hard-money-hard-times-id-1550286129.aspx

    Canadian monetary policy, by sacrificing output and employment for inflation control, has caused a milder version of European “hysteresis” in which attempts to control inflation simply induce a permanently higher level of unemployment. This has been reflected in the Bank of Canada’s central focus on the NAIRU as a viable metric of a lower “unemployment rate barrier” below which it cannot fall lest inflation begin creeping upwards (more below).

    Canadian fiscal policy has joined monetary policy in the tax code, which went from combined Canadian federal/provincial marginal tax rates in the late 1970s of 65%, to a combined 50% by the late 1980s with substantial transfer of “tax head room” to the provinces so that the federal top rate was only 29% plus a couple of deficit reduction surtaxes. The provinces took up the remainder so that the top marginal tax rate was still effectively around 55% (on paper), but provincial governments are more susceptible to being played off one against the other by right-wing organizations like the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, so the top marginal tax rate, in some cases, has fallen to 40% today (on paper; the real tax rates have been worked out and it’s been found Canadians regardless of income pay an effective combined payroll + sales + income tax rate of somewhere around 30% on all income – this is an average tax rate).

    Add to this income tax policy a tax-shift policy, centered around the GST, which considerably broadened the tax base and added a milksop in the form of a quarterly GST credit (even so the GST racks up, in revenue, about 1.5x what the old tax used to do) while also making the overall tax system more regressive. We may then build in the way payroll taxes have increased.

    The Unemployment Insurance scheme in Canada used to cover, depending on your metric, somewhere around 80% of all Canadian workers until the late 1980s. Changes to the formula for eligibility reduced that number to, again, depending on your calculation, 30% of all workers by the mid 1990s. Paul Martin has been widely accused of taking advantage of this to illegally take billions of dollars out of the “pool” of unemployment insurance funds to help balance the federal budget.

    All this can be made sense of in the light of the NAIRU theory of unemployment, which borrows heavily from Robert Lucas’s “rational expectations” model of human behavior (to get an idea of how bizarre this model is, this model implies that the Great Depression was caused by people purposely losing their jobs and then goofing off for years on end because they weren’t willing to shine enough shoes or pick enough apples). The NAIRU model, among other things, implies that the lower level of unemployment which can be tolerated without inflation blowing up can be reduced by making workers more desperate for jobs – i.e. by reducing the social supports which the model would have you believe keeps unemployment higher than it needs to be.

    It is a unique perversion of socially conscious and morally correct ideas that a theory about the natural level of unemployment insists it is more compassionate to drive the unemployment rate down by making workers so desperate to take jobs that they will do anything to get one.

    And Canada has been a uniquely hothouse lab for these ideas.

    It is a testament to the ridiculousness of the NAIRU model that these things have quietly happened:

    1. The Bank of Canada, about ten years ago under the successor to Gordon Thiessen (who had continued John Crow’s insistent pursuit of low inflation to the point of instituting inflation targets), David Dodge, quietly shifted from “overall inflation” as the benchmark to “core inflation”. This has effectively represented surrendering the uselessness of NAIRU, since core inflation targeting implicitly builds an inflationary bias into monetary policy (“core” tends to be lower than “actual”).

    2. The eligibility criteria of unemployment insurance have been quietly eased, and the income replacement level has slowly increased again; in the 1980s, it used to replace about 70% of income or more. By the 1990s, that figure dropped to 50%. By 2001, when I went on UI for about six months, it appears that based on my data point and some other glimmerings I could snag from the newspapers, that level had been bumped up to 55% and possibly even 60%.

    3. The unemployment rate in Canada, long unofficially believed to be NAIRU-limited to 7%, slipped to around 6.7% by the late 1990s and then fell to 6% by 2007. The United States’ example of falling to 4% official-measure unemployment by the late 1990s and the fall to just under 5% by 2007 was further proof that the NAIRU model was bunk, pure and simple.

    Keep in mind, however, that Canada’s 15-year experiment (1987 to about 2002) in inflation-obsessed fiscal and monetary policy has mostly been ignored in terms of the very real effects it has had on Canada’s society, because we started from a much different position than the USA did in terms of what we were willing to do to ourselves in the name of dismantling the welfare state.

    To put a bit of a cap on this writeup of mine I’ll point out one figure that proves that this whole exercise in monetarism was utterly useless: 85% of the deficit reduction in Canada that occurred in the 1990s was due to increased tax revenue due to economic growth, rather than any of Paul Martin’s handiwork.

    http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/apr04/stanford.pdf

    http://www.csls.ca/cpp/1/Stanford.pdf

    http://spe.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/spe/article/download/9377/6329

    So much for Canada as a model of “fiscal discipline” paving the way to a brave new world!

    Alll impoverishing Canadian workers does is let you balance a budget on the backs of the poor, and permanently weaken the social fabric that keeps us together instead of drifting apart.

    All this was completely unnecessary and simply an exercise in social engineering.

  • Tonio

    That’s saddening, because I had pictured Canada as learning from the mistakes of the US, with national health care, a stronger safety net in general, more polite drivers, more attractive currency, the metric system, using real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and far less religious fundamentalism. I’ve been there three times and, looking at the cars, have seen no bumper stickers and only one Jesus fish.

    to get an idea of how bizarre this model is, this model implies that the
    Great Depression was caused by people purposely losing their jobs and
    then goofing off for years on end because they weren’t willing to shine
    enough shoes or pick enough apples

    The Just World Fallacy keeps raising his scabrous head. I’m tempted to think that such rationalizations stem from a subconscious refusal to accept the reality of suffering.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Tonio: We have our faults. For all that we were at least not possessed of governments willing to destroy universal health insurance (which I think has been a pretty important mitigating factor against the dangers of weakening the social safety net), we have had governments willing to tinker around the edges, and those same governments have also messed around with welfare eligibility rules – though they have generally been quietly eased over time. In Ontario, for example, a lot of the Harrisite mean-spirited stuff was dismantled by Ernie Eves in the lead-up to the 2002 elections.

    We’re not perfect. :)

  • Tonio

    I wasn’t suggesting that Canada was perfect, merely that your nation doesn’t seem to have the same level of authoritarian insecurity and hatefulness that I notice in so many of my own countrymen. Did the opponents of metrication in Canada echo their US counterparts in viewing the system as “European Big Brother socialism,” which I felt was a petty and small-minded reason for opposing it?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Tonio: It is true that we lack the strange intensity of Republicanism in Canada, though Stephen Harper and the Cons seem to try sometimes (usually with dismal results); that’s probably the biggest factor that keeps our politics more reasonable.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I remember reading (somewhere) that back in the 1970-1990(?) period, the US government deliberately tried to keep the unemployment rate around 9%, specifically to keep wages down.

    THANKS A LOT, FED!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease in July 2007, and spent the next 2 1/2 years on dialysis, unable to work. In December 2009, I received a live kidney transplant from my cousin, and after recovering from surgery I set about trying to re-enter the workforce. I could not get a single response to my job searching, so I paid for a pharmacy technician course and became certified as a pharmacy technician. For the next six months, I continued to receive no response to any of my job searching efforts.

    The stress of this exacerbated my existing mental illness such that I ceased to be able to function from day to day, much less job hunt or work. I’ve spent all of 2011 so far in therapy, and under my doctor’s direction have applied to have my disability status reconsidered due to mental health. Which turned out to be very important because the SSA had just decided that having one functioning kidney meant I should be able to start working and paying for my medical costs right away, no problem. Said reconsideration is still in process, further exacerbating my conditions.

    When I was working, I paid taxes and did not complain, because it was my responsibility as part of a civilized society. I am currently part of the “lazy” 53% because of my low income. The Social Security Disability payments I receive are based on the my post-college earnings, which unfortunately doesn’t amount to much because I became disabled only five years after graduating college.*

    The reason why I was able to get the medical treatment I needed, both
    for my renal condition (my dialysis, transplant, and anti-rejection meds are all paid for) and my mental illness? Expansion of Social
    Security and Medicare by that socialist, Richard Nixon.

     In the America desired by today’s Republicans, the Tea Party, libertarians, and such, I would not be such as social parasite costing the government thousands of dollars a month in medical care and (very, very expensive) anti-rejection medications, because I would be dead and thus no longer part of the “problem.”

    My death by renal disease (very slow and painful, incidentally) would have been the natural consequence of my lack of “personal responsibility” for… well, clearly it was somehow my fault. Just like my mental illness, which I have been told isn’t real or is just a sign of how I would prefer to be a parasite on hard-working Americans.

    * Why yes, I DO have to continue paying off my student loans out of those Social Security benefits, at the same rate as when I was working.

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    I am currently part of the “lazy” 53% because of my low income.

    Aside: Actually, the 47% are the supposedly lazy, and the 53% are the good honest God-fearing taxpayers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Aside: Actually, the 47% are the supposedly lazy, and the 53% are the good honest God-fearing taxpayers.

    Thank you for the correction, I have edited my post.

  • Quizboy

    In the America desired by today’s Republicans, the Tea Party,
    libertarians, and such, I would not be such as social parasite costing
    the government thousands of dollars a month in medical care and (very,
    very expensive) anti-rejection medications, because I would be dead and
    thus no longer part of the “problem.”

    My death by renal disease
    (very slow and painful, incidentally) would have been the natural
    consequence of my lack of “personal responsibility” for… well, clearly
    it was somehow my fault.

    Republicans aren’t the Party of Jobs, they’re the Party of Job’s Friends.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Peeps might find this both amusing and something to agree with http://files.neilgaiman.com/mirror/111017162300/occupywriters.com/by-lemony-snicket.html

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://imgur.com/gallery/KI7Lj

    http://imgur.com/gallery/ICTAa

    Relevant to the issue of Occupying Wall Street, methinks.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Have y’all seen this? http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/10/13/342979/kentucky-gop-official-i-feel-like-going-taliban-on-wall-street-protesters/

  • Anonymous

    He…what? I just. *boggle* Who would be proud of being an oppressor?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    See, when he compares himself to the Taliban like that, as “resisting the occupiers”, it seems to me like he is coming out of his underground camp and waving his arms at the sky yelling, “Predator drones!  I’m right here!  This is your bullseye!”  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    O_O

    I’ve said it before – there are a scarily large number of Conservatives in America who talk like they could die happy as long as they get to murder a hippie on the way out.

  • Anonymous

    What.  The.  Fuck.

    This is why I’ve given up and decided it’s okay to call at least some of the current crop of conservatives evil.  What the hell else do you call it?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    While we’re sharing WTF links: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/18/1027737/-Tea-Party-Nation-asks-businesses-to-stop-hiring-as-expression-of-tea-party%C2%A0solidarity

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Stop hiring?

    I just don’t even.

    This strategy would make a lot more sense if the USA were at absolutely full employment (unemployment <2%) and hiring sprees needed to slow down just to keep from overhiring when it's not necessary.

    But to not hire in the midst of stunningly high unemployment?

    These Tea Partiers really are the living embodiment of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    While we’re sharing WTF links

    O_o

    One of the many things I dislike about the Teabaggers is how much they make me wish Obama was the radical leftist dictator they keep claiming he is, so that he’d put all those loudmouthed morons in gulags.

    Then I remember that I still value freedom more than schadenfreude, and I go back to just being annoyed at them for being pathological liars.

  • Anonymous

    While we’re sharing WTF links: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

    Yeah, that’s guaranteed to improve support for the Tea Party. (I have no idea if I’m being sarcastic.)


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