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.”

 

 

 

 

  • 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

    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

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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/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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • cjmr

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

  • 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.

  • 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://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.

  • 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. :)

  • 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. 

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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://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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