Thoughts on wealth, and power.
Regarding economics, and "the 1% vs the 99%".
Of course we all know who the 99% are - that's us! But who are those 1% at the top of our financial heap?
Professor G. William Domhoff makes the point that it is a mistake to lump all "the 1%" together. Even at this income level, wealth distribution is heavily skewed upwards.
The 99th to 99.5th percentile is simply comprised of "well compensated workhorses".
They will make $250 or 300K in annual income, and retire with assets of $1.2M or so, usually after decades of education, hard work, and saving.
These are the guys and gals busting their butts, putting in a 60 to 80 hour work week.
You may know some of them, without realizing it. They often combine their hard work with frugality, and live modest lives.
Pulitzer prize winning Reuthers columnist David Cray Johnson points out that this bottom 1/2 of the top 1% have little in common with those in the upper fractions of a percentile.
Compared to the average American family (with around $50K of pre-tax income), they do have a lot of money, but it's not enough to shield them from financial worry.
We have to take another giant step upwards - to the top 1% of "the 1%" to find the real divide of "them vs us".
And the difference is: those in the top 0.01% and above have enough money to significantly affect our political and legislative process. Those in the top 0.01% will have net assets of $110 million or more. The access to power which this buys has enabled them to put into place a highly complex set of laws (and exemptions from those laws), to both protect and increase their wealth.
Representative Dave Camp, while chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, commented that there have been so many revisions to the U.S. tax code that it is now "ten times bigger than the Bible, but without the good news".
Sadly, that's merely the tip of the iceberg. Remember the crash?
In 2008 there was an unprecedented and enormous transfer of public money (that's your money and mine, friends!) into private hands. The cash didn't go to those in need - it went to straight to the biggest Wall Street banks, and made the fattest of our fat cats even fatter.
So: forget "the 1%"! Such talk is obfustication, intended to misdirect us, and to divert our attention from what the 0.01% and the politicians they buy are doing in plain view, right before our eyes!
How could we be upset with folk who merely work hard? And if somebody gets lucky and lands a great gig, oh well. God bless them!
On the other hand, we should be outraged when wealthy criminals conspire with our government to actively steal from us. That's what rankles.
Legislators who take a bribe (in the form of a generous campaign donation), and then reward the donor by acting against the public interest, are corrupt. These crooks prattle on about "the 1%", hoping to lay down a smoke screen and shield what they are doing to benefit their 0.01% sugar daddies from public view.
Don't let them get away with it! Let's pay close attention to those who write our laws.
Stay alert! Be aware, wake up your friends, and VOTE.