Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Digby quotes Joseph Stiglitz:

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

Digby adds:

In reality these Galtian heroes live in a world with a whole lot of other people. If they are too thick to realize that a stable society with a thriving middle class is more necessary to their survival than a quick buck to add to their already depraved level of wealth, then they aren't really masters of the universe after all.

I don't agree with either of these statements. Maybe they're true in the very, very long run, but I can't live on a planet in which North Korea's regime has endured for decades, thriving as its population starves, and believe that the overdogs in our society can't keep bleeding us relatively slowly for as long as we're willing to put up with it. They don't need for us to thrive -- they'll sell to a Chinese or Indian or Brazilian middle class if ours isn't thriving. Or they'll sell to one another. They don't need for us to thrive any more than they've ever needed a thriving middle class in any of the third world countries where they've long put their factories.

Over the weekend, Floyd Norris of The New York Times noted that corporations have more than ever before, and the rest of us have less:

IN the eight decades before the recent recession, there was never a period when as much as 9 percent of American gross domestic product went to companies in the form of after-tax profits. Now the figure is over 10 percent.

During the same period, there never was a quarter when wage and salary income amounted to less than 45 percent of the economy. Now the figure is below 44 percent.

For companies, these are boom times. For workers, the opposite is true....

Go read Norris's numbers and look at the charts. For the people who run America, this economy is working.

Would it work better if the middle class had a good job market and a sense of economic security? Maybe. Wall Street isn't exactly seeing its best year. Bonuses this year are expected to be down a significant amount.

But that just means they have a bit less. They're not suffering:

But there's no need to make an extra request with Santa on behalf of Wall Street employees, especially traders. Even with the drop in bonuses and overall pay, such positions are still expected to bring in what would be a great present for any other worker. A bond trader who is also a managing director is likely to make about $1.8 million in annual compensation....

Compare that to the average earnings for U.S. employees overall, which was about $795 weekly, or $41,340 a year, according to wage data for October released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They're not suffering enough. They're getting an eight-layer cake instead of a nine-layer cake, and they figure if they can keep us from getting more than a few crumbs, they're winning, even if a careful measurement shows that they're getting less cake.

They just figure they'll never push us so far that we'll go into the streets and burn everything to the ground. They're probably right -- hey, Black Friday was much bigger than all the Occupy encampments put together, right? We're not really going to revolt with this much inequality. Heck, we can probably stand a bit more.

I think they think they can wait this out until they reach the all-Republican, all-Rand, all-Norquist Promised Land, at which point they'll be handed all the cake. And if a revolt against that goes widespread? Well, they're betting it won't, which, in America, is probably a safe bet -- and they're betting that if it does, it will be repressed quite efficiently. That's probably also a safe bet.

1 comment:

c u n d gulag said...

I pretty much agree.

But if there is trouble, we need to remember that the top 1% will be depending on their protection from police and National Guard who are clearly part of the 99% of the rest of us.

And we need to remind the protectors that not only are they risking their own life, but their families lives, too, to protect people who, under normal circumstances, wouldn't piss on them to help them out if they were on fire - but would gladly piss on them just for the pure joy it gives them.

If I was a cop, particularly one with a family, I'd look at the odds and figure out that I just might be better off with the 99%, no matter how much the top 1% will offer to pay me as the unrest increases.
My family and I won't be able to spend money if we're dead.

That, and the fact that the 1% here seem to be under the impression that they could run away to some other part of the world and be welcomed with open arms.
I'm not sure there are a lot of places that will both take them AND protect them.
Sure, they may let them in, but the may decide to take all of the money from these parasites for doing that.
And there's nothing I'd like to see more than some former millionaires and their families, left out in the street in the poor section of a city in some 3rd World hovel these assholes have helped to create and maintain worldwide.
Then they just might wish they were poor, and back in the streets of the USA.