Selling Out Middle Class America

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

Normally, when I work on a guest blog it takes me some hours of research and writing since I type slowly and try to be as accurate as I can be. This one will be a little different because it is written mainly to refer you to the transcript and/or podcast of a fantastic interview with the investigative journalists Donald L.Bartlett and James B. Steele. The interview was conducted by Rob Kall, whose OpEdNews website http://www.opednews.com/   is one that I look to for interesting insight into the political issues of the day. The interview deals with these authors’s current book which is called: The Betrayal of the American Dream”.

Rob Kall’s interview with the author’s is lengthy and so rather than my usual effort to provide a synopsis and relevant quotes of a position that I endorse, I’m going to give you a hint of what this interview contains and the provide you the links so that you can make your decision on the author’s thesis and hopefully be informed on some very important issues for all of us. Readers here know I supported President Obama for re-election, but have been critical of many of his policies. This interview and the book that it is about, demonstrate that the forces at play in the rapid decline of the American Middle Class seem beyond the power of our government to control, simply because they are backed by an elite that not only finances election campaigns, but that has also dominated the discussion with so much false propaganda, that today’s politicians who were born later than 1960 are not even familiar with the reality of how much our economic landscape has changed. Because of this unfamiliarity many don’t even have the conceptualization that things used to be different and why they’ve changed so drastically. In that sense this is less about conspiracy and more about the effect poor education, corporate media and propaganda can accomplish. When I say that the problem is beyond government’s power to fix, it is with the caveat that if the issues presented here were first understood, then maybe we could combat them. In some sense we are all blind men, hypothesizing the nature of an elephant by touching different parts. This interview and the book it is about can miraculously cure the blindness and start the discussion on how we can deal with this 3,000 pound elephant in the room we call America.

I will mention two, among many, of the major factors in the decline of the American Middle Class laid out by the authors. The first is that until the 1970’s our Income Tax was really graduated to the point that government had ample revenue to do its job. The second is that one of the major revenue sources for the Federal Government was tariffs. It was the dismantling of the graduated Income Tax and the proliferation of trade agreements reducing tariffs (and tariff revenue) that have been major pieces in the shipping of jobs overseas, increasing our national debt and destroying what was the greatest industrial economy in the World. For me, a child born to politically aware parents, before the end of World War II, I’ve lived through this history and watched in dismay as these changes took effect. Most Americans though, except for those most prescient, have no idea of what was done, simply because these changes took effect before they were born, or in their early youth. This election past and the polling of attitudes that went with it, show that the majority of Americans perceive that they are being cheated, but often their perception of how, has been skewed by the disinformation that is rampant to the extent that they blame it on the wrong source. If you read either the transcript of this article: “The Selling Out of the Middle Class is No Accident” at this link: http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/The-Selling-Out-of-the-Mid-by-Rob-Kall-121017-79.html or listen to the interview at this podcast: http://www.opednews.com/Podcast/Applying-Investigative-Jou-by-Rob-Kall-120915-680.html

I deeply believe that it will be time well spent.

 

87 thoughts on “Selling Out Middle Class America

  1. MikeS,

    You don’t belong to the “entertainment brigade” here. And have come with another epoch spanning job, only in this case you let their tale do the burden. A powerful introduction. Tnanks.

    Knowing history is to avoid repeating it. Well, we don’t know much of anything in this country and that is the intentions of the one percent.
    Yet we live, and I posed the question of what next in the next four years at:

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/11/07/the-akin-factor-how-extremism-and-egotism-has-crippled-the-grand-old-party/#comment-44720

    Thee I hope that my questions are relevant and help the reasoning here.

    Why post before reading? I can’t manage this tonight, it is too late and must stop staying up late as it does me out of Swede-time. So will see if there is anything left to offer after the folks here comment later. Cool to see if the folks rise to the challenge on a Saturday night. Bad slot.
    Here at least reality-bearers don’t get their heads chopped off.

  2. Mike, I appreciate your opinion, and agree with many of your arguments. I must confess that I’m having trouble with your writing style. You might want to review for inappropriate use of apostrophe marks and commas, as well as for run-on sentences.

  3. Mike:

    I am curious to what your and the others’ opinions are on the following tax structure:

    Income tax is payable by those individuals 25 to 65 years on all taxable earnings over $30,000 at a rate of 11%.

    (I had not enough time to run statistics but the high level is as follows:)

    Individuals are not taxed until they reach 25 years in age. This allows persons an opportunity to attend college, learn a trade, or otherwise establish / homestead themselves with less money devoted to borrowing for a home or higher expenses. There could be a factor where any amount earned over 100k would be taxable to help reduce tax shelters.

    Persons over 65 years would not pay income tax, since retirement means a less income there would be a benefit in reduced tax liability that could help others be more financially stable.

    Those in the middle age group would pay 11% of income that is in excess of 30K. Anything under 30k is exempt from taxes. This allows for a graduated exemption for those earning less money but will tax those equally.

    There would be no deductions for expenses other than medical and mortgage interest. Capital gains are counted as ordinary income as are dividends..

    I’m not trying to force this on anyone, just curious of what others might opin. I believe this help those less fortunate but create a lower tax rate for the middle class and eliminate some deductions that some view as being unfairly in the advantage of the wealthy. Your thought?

  4. Darren,
    I don’t think your tax plan would collect enough income taxes or SS taxes. I also do not think the Mitt Romney’s of the world would give up their capital gais tax rates. Also, the taxes should be based on income and not age. In your system someone making millions is paying the same rate as someone making $50,000. Taxes should not be equal for those with large incomes.

  5. It is a conspiracy of the rich and powerful to kill the middle and upwardly mobile working class. This conspiracy was born of the hate of the New Deal and reved up steam as the privileged elite noticed that working class children were going to college and going to law school. As a result, the elites saw that education must be stopped and or crippled and so be fan the war on teachers. The working class lawyers knew what was going on and so began the attack on lawyers who worked for the middle class and workers. The elites also noticed that unions started to matter to Washington and so began the war on unions. The elites notice that reporters actuall looked into their back room deals and so began the war on journalists.

    It’s a conspiracy alright. Now I’ll go listen to what the experts say but this is what I know from experience and the oral history of my father.

  6. Politely disagree that the problems “seem to be beyond the power of government to control”. Government created them as the fruit of large campaign contributions and pressuring Congress to control THAT will clear the way for reforming tax policies, restoring protective tariffs and all the rest.

    Electing more Buddy Roemers, Alan Graysons, Bernie Sanders et al. types
    would help. ATTN: NPRers: Democrats are as much to blame as are
    Republicans. THINK Green.

  7. Taxing the rich won’t solve our problems or restore the middle class. What really happened was that in 1971, Nixon de-tethered the dollar from gold and the dollar became a 100% pure fiat paper currency that fed big government, endless wars, unaffordable entitlements and Banksters Gone Wild.

    The entire article is something right out of the Marxist playbook – a regurgitated Francois Hollande. You want to solve economic problems? End the wars, kill the military industrial complex, abolish the corporate tax and allow folks to be economically free. Of course, shrinking government would go a long way in restoring prosperity.

    BTW, I utterly despise both political parties but did vote for Gary Johnson.

  8. nick,
    I am not saying tax the rich till their death, but when you earn more you should pay a higher rate. I can’t take advantage of the capital gains rate or off shore tax havens. Why should the Social Security tax be capped at $115,000 of income?

  9. One problem with a gold standard is a finite amount of available gold pegged to an economy that can grow beyond the reserves of that gold. Moreover, there does not as easily exist a mechanism unless vast amount of treasury gold is held in reserve to inject into the money supply to stimulate growth during a recession.

    Additionally, countries having great supplies of gold ore have comparative capital advantage over nations that do not possess such natural resources which can affect the trade imbalance greatly. A nation possessing few natural resources could see its currency devaluated if gold holding countries mine high amounts of gold which then gets included in the value of that country’s currency and since the lesser country has little gold, the market could value it’s currency lower since it does not have comparative gold reserves to back the currency.

    But if the gold reserves are fixed and the economy is growing the gov’t might lower the gold reserve amount in relation to the dollars in circulation, then it becomes increasingly fiat like so we’re back to that again

    lastly, pegging a currency to one index (the price of gold or silver) can make for some violent shocks to the currency’s valuation due to the price of one item (a large mining strike by a large gold producer, that is one business, could affect all currencies world wide if all adopted the standard) , as opposed to a fiat where the entirety of the market forces tend to dampen these spikes as its changes have vastly more variables.

  10. rafflaw, I do agree w/ you on ther SS tax being capped. And, being self employed for 30 years I paid BOTH ends of SS which I assume you do also? There should be a cap. I paid myself a salary[I was an S Corp] and many years my salary exceeded the cap. As much as I despised paying both ends of SS and Medicare, it always seemed like a low cap. At this juncture, just shooting from the hip, I would say the cap should be 150k and adjusted annually. The way things are going the adjustment may be downward!

  11. Darren, if everyone paid an equal percentage, I think it would be better in a lot of ways. I have always wondered WHY we should penalize people BECAUSE they are lucky enough to make more money. I think that having the taxes START at $30,000 is a good idea (since it would let me out). And I don’t think 11 percent is a too high rate. It might STOP the ultra rich coming up with loopholes to get out of paying anything at all, and for that reason might bring in more in the long run. But HERE is a novel idea! If there’s not money for it coming in, DON’T BUDGET IT! There might not BE enough money for stupid senseless wars, that do nothing but kill our families and other people’s families. That would be a shame! There might not (GASP!) be enough money for TSA and DHS and FEMA! We might have to actually let people’s donations trucks go through to help people out, instead of telling them to go back home we have it handled, as FEMA collects more and more taxes (mainly for ammunition and stuff like that)! I actually think it could work out really well. IF the income tax is legal at all, which you will still need to work out with Ron Paul first!

  12. bill mcwilliams: “Politely disagree that the problems “seem to be beyond the power of government to control”. Government created them as the fruit of large campaign contributions and pressuring Congress to control THAT will clear the way for reforming tax policies, restoring protective tariffs and all the rest.”
    ***

    I’m in Bill’s camp insofar as the government being able to control and reverse the problem. More practically though is the question ‘does government have the will to do so?’ As a high school student my economics teacher, a retired and conservative businessman, was concerned about the growing pressure to abandon what was called at the time (’65) “protectionism”. He was against it unless sufficient controls could be maintained to protect American wage earners. He was of the mind that it could be a net plus but was fraught with danger if not done very carefully and with long-range plane in place. We spent a lot of time on the issue.

    Every bad thing he predicted (and then some) I have watched happen over the last 50 years. I think of him and my “Politics” teachers occasionally and suspect, that as old school conservatives, they are spinning in their graves.

  13. LK,

    And you are back to the issue of democracy versus plutocracy (or any form of oligarchy). Government is a tool. It works for those who hold it. In our society, that is supposed to be the public trust that goes with the power of government being vested in the people. Our Congress no longer serves the people but instead caters to the narrow monied self-interests of corporations on a day to day basis. In many ways, this election was an indicator that Americans are tired to this, but expressing the will to change and forcing those who need to change are separates things. Will people in government start listening to the best interests of all or will their greed and egos keep us on a path of destruction? That remains to be seen.

  14. Profit trumps morals. Greed tramples decency, Power corrupts.

    People in a democracy have the ability to vote into office politicians that represent quality morals, decency, and fairness.

    Our leadership today by Fiat alone, represents the morals, decency, and fairness present throughout our country . It is all too often a very ugly picture. Citizens can vote these rascals* out every two years. It seems to me we vote them back in every time.

    Money spent by the plutocracy influences the attitudes and votes of the people. The mainstream media is a sycophant tool of the 0.1% ers.

    Thanks for the link Mike Spindell.

    * I chose the term “Rascals” because the true term for them would not pass moderation.

  15. “People in a democracy have the ability to vote into office politicians that represent quality morals, decency, and fairness.”

    Do they really? On the national level you really only had two choices for President this time, one from each major party, because the systems are so gamed to keep the R/D hold on ballot composition. Two choices isn’t a choice. It’s the illusion of choice. Your choice this time was an out of touch vulture capitalist with a proven track record of both lying and catering to special interests versus the guy who said the President has the right to kill American citizens without judicial due process and making an even more unconstitutional power grab for a unitary executive than Bush did in ordering torture.

    I don’t know about you, but that’s a choice that does not indicate any ability to vote into office politicians that represent quality morals, decency, and fairness because the game is rigged to prevent such candidates from appearing on the national stage (and most local stages).

  16. Gene, Agreed. This particular teacher made an impression on me for reasons unknown to me. He had to be born at or before the turn of the century and dressed well in an old-fashioned way. He was a gentleman in a very old-school way. When he talked about economics he talked about it as a tool of government and as a mechanism of government to fulfill the needs of the country. He was preoccupied with the tension and need of balance between business and the nation. He put nation first. He was of the mind (in retrospect) that what was good for America was good for business. The country and its needs had to be the master as well as the greatest beneficiary of economic policies.

    Impact on the country and the country’s economic health was paramount and getting money into the hands of wage earners was a major component in the country’s economic health in his stated opinion. High taxes didn’t bother him in general because it kept money moving money was symbolic magic. He characterized himself as a conservative. He had an interesting take on the lower economic class too.

    I did not appreciate how fundamental his concerns were, nor how the difference in approach to business could have such profound effects on the country over time.

    Apparently, if my memories are even close to correct, I lived on a different planet with a much different economic reality. :-)

  17. Thank you all for your comments thus far. I ‘m quite surprised that there were so many. The problem I faced in conveying this material was the length of the interview and the complexity of its nature. Most of the research done by Bartlett and Steele was into subjects with which I’m already familar.

    The book spans a long range of time and topics, so much so that the best service I could do was present it and step out of the way. Leaving the reader to then decide if their interest dictated the time they would need to invest if any. It’s apparent that I believe it would be worthwhile, but others may disagree.

    As too specific replies that were made, I believe that any kind of flat tax system is inherently unfair. As the authors explained so well, our graduated income tax rates were much steeper from the 30’s to the end of the 60’s and our economy was the strongest in the world. Although exceptions can be found, the wealthy in this country were made so by its infrastructure and so have a duty to pay more.

    For instance the American oil companies became richer due to receiving the oil depletion allowance. They then rewarded our country by declaring themselves multi-national, thus freeing them from
    responsibilty to the country that nurtured them. The majority of the elite have looted and polluted this country of its resources and should have to pay a premium to make up for what they owe. I’m retired living on a pension and SS alone. I pay a higher rate of taxes than Mitt Romneys 13%, yet this man who has added nothing for the economy of this country, other than using it as a cash cow has the effrontery to believe he is deserving of special treatment.
    For those Libertarian commenters, like Judy Morris, you are correct there is the odor of Marxist theory that surrounds this issue in that it raises the specter of class warfare. Only it is the elite that is waging war on the 99% to try and push them into serfdom. Yet for themselves they demand socialistic treatment from the government.

    The hypocrisy is exquisite and Libertarians simply have no understanding of the economics of being part of a community. That to me is tragic because unlike Ron Paul, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, libetarians get the social freedoms correctly, its just they haven’t a clue about creating an economically just Capitalist society.

  18. Mike, I can’t read the entire article, can’t get past page 5. It’s a computer problem I think- I’ll have to listen to it. I also get thrown onto a page titled “Archive Page 2” or “Archive Page 3” here at Turleyblawg about half the time when I hit the ‘back’ arrow and have to reload the site fresh. This started yesterday afternoon. I don’t need a tech, I need an exorcist!

    Good article from what I read of it, thanks.

  19. LK

    i’ve got the same gremlins taking me to the archive page since yesterday.

    Mike

    spot on about the libertarians. we are a society, not just a collection of individuals.

  20. Pete, Thank’s for the report, I’m running an old version of windows that is buggy and broken- it needs to be re-installed. I am never sure if a problem I am having with the internet is “mine” or a problem at a site.

  21. This interview and the book that it is about, demonstrate that the forces at play in the rapid decline of the American Middle Class seem beyond the power of our government to control, simply because they are backed by an elite that not only finances election campaigns, but that has also dominated the discussion with so much false propaganda, that today’s politicians who were born later than 1960 are not even familiar with the reality of how much our economic landscape has changed.

    The words “the government” describe what is really the ebb and flow of power that has an influence on our lives.

     The words “the government” describe things which take place that seem to come from national sources yet negatively affect the nation.

    The feeling that “our government” is unable or unwilling to do the bidding of the public in general is expressed more often as time goes on.

    It is expressed because it is becoming all the more obvious, and thus more difficult to ignore.

    A recent study by academic scholars confirms the suspicions of many commentators that “our government” has changed such that it seems to be more interested in itself than in the people, or as you say Mike S, interested in the middle class.

    Very detailed studies and some recent books team up to show that the force we have traditionally called “our government” is composed of international players now, not exclusively American sources.

    Thus, some of “our government” seems strange to us because it is not exclusively American any more.

    For real, the documentation names names:

    For example, we focused on the statement of the CEO of ExxonMobil, who declared in an interview, “I am not an American company.”

    In the second post of this series (MOMCOM: The Private Parts – 2) we focused on some of the tactics and methodologies which The Private Empire uses to assure that its global influences remain viable.

    In the third post of this series (MOMCOM: The Private Parts – 3) we noted that The Private Empire is a conglomerate of some 147 incestuous, cronyism practising, and otherwise intertwined international corporations that sit atop many governments, or at least have substantial influence and control over many governments.

    (MOMCOM: The Private Parts – 4, emphasis added). It is good that this changing nature is detected by a broad base of investigative journalists and sociologists.

    Good work Mike S.

    Thanks for sharing another source that helps us form a broader understanding of this strange phenomenon that has caught our eye.

  22. It seems like so many things are described by “code words” these days.

    The authors in the article Mike S cites to over at op ed news uses a code word to describe the phenomenon:

    Starting with globalization, because that’s one that frankly I believe is one of the biggest betrayals of America by both parties.

    (OpEdNews, page 4). The code word “globalization” is too amorphous in my opinion.

    That is why I call in The International Private Empire, a group of 147 defined and named corporations that are international in makeup (not of or from any one nation), which like a slime mold, has individual “cells” that work towards a common goal (domination of global power and economy).

    Each of the 147 corporations owns and/controls the others, indicating that they have tried to form an entity which is camouflaged to a high degree, and an entity that is difficult to get the details on in one sitting or one book.

  23. Final comment to show that the 147 corporations the academic study names, are on the radar screen of the folks Mike S has cited to:

    You make a really important point there, that it’s these large global corporations that are benefiting. You know sometimes, and I’m guilty of this, we talk about corporations as though they are a monolithic model, and they’re not. You make a very important point. It’s the international global corporations that derive all of the benefits from what’s going on in the [American et al.] economy now. You know, the domestic corporations are in truth being hammered. They have no way to hide their income, and they have no way to avoid their taxes, so they’re paying maximum, near maximum tax rates, and they’re getting none of the benefits from this global economy, I mean, none of the benefits. They all float to the international corporations.

    (Op Ed News, page 5, emphasis added). The academic scholars, in the study I cite to, name those international corporations by their legal names.

    Those entities are, at the core, the fossil fuel interests, whose money goes into the international banking corporations for camouflage purposes, which have ownership in each other, and thus through the application of money power they control governmental dynamics of individual nations in the direction of their interests.

    For example, global warming induced climate change was not mentioned in our presidential debates this year for the first time since 1988, because it is not in the interests of the fossil fuel industry (A History of Oil Addiction – 2).

    And as I say, the fossil fuel interests are the main pillar of The International Private Empire composed of international corporations.

    Single nation corporations are orders of magnitude less dangerous to the middle class.

  24. Dredd, you are correct to call it an empire. If you’re not the monarch or one of the oligarchs running the show you are one of the peasants. And we know how well that work for the peasantry. When you start talking about concentrations of wealth and power at the level of the trans-nationals you can cast countries in the role (heretofore reserved for mere mortals) of peasants

    I recall being frozen, awestruck, when the original study came out detailing who owns everything. I think you do a great service in pointing out that our generalized and sloppy thinking about corporations helps to conceal the actual truth about what the world is up against. There’s a world of difference between normal corporations and the trans-nationals; the trans-nationals as they are currently allied, eat countries and their respective economies for breakfast.

    Good call Dredd.

    link to general info about regarding the study:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/

  25. On topic here but from the perspective o9f the Fiscal Cliff discussion on all the CNN, Fox, NBC, ABC mantra shows since the election. The media Yakkers like Wolf Blitzer et al allow someone like Boner to set the parameters of the discussionl. It goes like this. Somehow raiise revenues and cut entitlements. The Revendue aspect is put in terms of No tax increase of Rates but perhaps some deductions go by the way. The expnese cuts of Entitlements is of course limited to social security and medicare and things that the government purports to provide to people. What is left out of the discussion? On the expenditures side we dont have Romney’s agenda of 100,000 more troops and all those planes and ships at sea. But that is not even mentioned by the media Yakkers. there is no mention by Boner or the Yakkers of cutting so called “Defense” eexpenditures. I suppose that an unmanned drone that flies over a sovereing country and drops bombs is part of our National Defense.
    there is not one Congressman in Washington who will broach cutting Defense because each Congressional District has entitlements in the form of air bases, factories etc.

    A proper discussion of dealing with our fiscal crisis would include Defense spending. In the Vietnam War era we addressed those concerns. This tera is the Decline of the American Empire and Americas have no brains.

    Oh, notice how many of the politicians and media Yakkers pronounce Fiscal as physical?

    “Went in dumb, come out dumb too,
    hustlin round Atlanta in their alligator shoes.. We’re keeping the n guys down,
    We’re Rednecks, Rednecks, we dont know our arse from a hole in the ground.. etc
    –Randy Newman, Good Ol Boys album..

  26. Mike,

    Great article….. You might might to look at TEFRA …. That was a basic dismantling of the tax structure under the good ole boy Ronnie….. Eliminated the ability of have all municipal bond income tax exempt…. Granted an aim at the democratic wealthy…. But they provide for the basic infrastructure of the US…..state and local…..

  27. “Our Congress no longer serves the people but instead caters to the narrow monied self-interests of corporations on a day to day basis. In many ways, this election was an indicator that Americans are tired to this, but expressing the will to change and forcing those who need to change are separates things. Will people in government start listening to the best interests of all or will their greed and egos keep us on a path of destruction? That remains to be seen.”.

    Has it ever been without corrumption since 1789? Always needing extra saddle bags for the trip home.
    And when does a zebra cast his stripes. A great number ofmiracles are needed. We need new instrmemts, the old ones are blocked.

  28. Pete999 and LK,

    Sharing PC problems.
    Shortly, I duuno, but in my case I have to shut the thing completely off and then reactivate it. I mostly put it in “rest” overnight, and after somedays doing that it starts acting up.

    Not even Gmail will work properly. Try pulling the big switch. (Too many open tabs can also do it too.)

  29. lottakatz 1, November 11, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Dredd, you are correct to call it an empire. If you’re not the monarch or one of the oligarchs running the show you are one of the peasants. And we know how well that work for the peasantry. When you start talking about concentrations of wealth and power at the level of the trans-nationals you can cast countries in the role (heretofore reserved for mere mortals) of peasants

    I recall being frozen, awestruck, when the original study came out detailing who owns everything. I think you do a great service in pointing out that our generalized and sloppy thinking about corporations helps to conceal the actual truth about what the world is up against. There’s a world of difference between normal corporations and the trans-nationals; the trans-nationals as they are currently allied, eat countries and their respective economies for breakfast.

    Good call Dredd.
    ========================================
    I am only the reporter, but I can take the compliment in the sense that the critical information must be known before we can fix it, and so I try to put the critical information out there.

    Fixing domestic corporations will not fix the international corporate problem.

    In the book The Private Empire the author follows the fossil fuel industry pillar of the multiple pillars of the international temple that houses the priests of the international plutocracy.

    The domestic face of these international corporations are just the tentacles we can see that are sucking the life out of the middle class.

    The entities that control those tentacles are all here, not all represented by those tentacles in each relevant nation.

    Here is a sneak preview just for Turley bloggers of tomorrow’s post in a series I have been doing:

    In this series we are discussing at a high level above the fine print, above the minutia, a history of the fossil fuel industry, and how they have control or influence over governments.

    Their intentions have been exposed for a century at least, which we put a finger on in the last episode:

    Yes, the foreign policy that fundamentally supports oil barons has never been a big secret: “One of our greatest helpers has been the State Department” – John D. Rockefeller (1909).

    (A History of Oil Addiction – 2). We should not just blow by that quote without analyzing it a bit, because it has some of the DNA of MOMCOM in it.

    We can analyze it by asking “why didn’t Rockefeller say ‘The Commerce Department’ instead of ‘The State Department’ when he was pointing out the “greatest helpers” of the fossil fuel industry?

    The simple and obvious answer is that the fossil fuel industry had international intentions long ago, foreign policy intentions, which only the U.S. State Department could help them with.

    It is The Commerce Department that focuses on domestic commerce, while The State Department focuses on international commerce.

    These entities which have now become The International Private Empire, have long range goals that entail more planning than election-to-election planning of the type that politicians utilize.

    That makes the politicians vulnerable because they are overly occupied with myopic viewpoints.

    All of the resistance ideology of America needs to be informed of this reality if we are to make a successful attempt at fixing it.

    Global warming induced climate change ideology is a very good vehicle for focusing the energy of resistance and good change on the fossil fuel industry.

    (No link available yet).

  30. ” IT makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing.

    (Though, as “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver jested, the White House might have been one of the smaller houses Romney ever lived in.)

    Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

    Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

    Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.”

    In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points” Maureen Dowd NYT

  31. Isn’t anyone in a family that makes over 100k a year basically wealthy, depending where you live of course. If I made 100k and lived in DC or CA yes I’d be in worse shape than if I lived in Texas or Mississippi.

  32. Bron, Corporations have record profits and the top income groups have made record gains since the market crash. Why is that?

  33. Latest Demo of Private Empire’s Power Seizure
    =============================================

    This comment by Dredd brings up another example of how the international private empire (good name!) wants to frankly take over sovereign powers, exercising its own sovereignity over that of nations. We have seen it as Dredd mentions in the exercise of bank power by private banks and by approved public agencies such as IMF and World Bank.

    But now we have a new South Asia Trade Pact which will clearly put the private empire in the driving seat and negate/nullify the effects of national governments’ laws of those who ratify—-and of a certainty isolate commercially the nations who refuse to sign the pact.

    IRONY: We can’t get the world to go for democracy and other basic human rights—BUT WE CAN get a deal where commercial rule is instigated with one thousand years reign. Write it up. You saw when it happened.

    This empire solidification, in fact, is bigger (over time) than all the multiple wars we have had since 1900 combined, in terms of money, and of power lost and gained.

    Is this TransPac Pact getting any attention? Do we even realize what it means for the USA? And that Obama is supportig it vigorously.
    I have mentioned it two times, since I was alerted by an article, but no apparent reaction here.

    I don’t know but that Dread’s concept is the best characterization of the enemy we face.

    The “evil” empire realized one strategic advantage that they had: Governments strive at cross-interests, while
    they in a multi-national form could and did act unitedly for reaching the common goal of steering the world.

    And with their power in the USA they can back themselves up in our foreign policy “campaigns” against terror and our feelings of exceptionalism which gives us unique powers as a nation to exercise on the empires behalf.

    Did any of you vote for any of that? Didn’t think so.

    This is NOT NEW! The actions of corporations prior and during WW2 was a similar action to cooperate (without it being seen, but some was and was investigated) and arrange terms beneficial to corps, but not our nation. Amazing ethics and lack of patrioutism.

    Just for the record and the benfit of re-reading let me cite Dredd.
    ============================

    The word “globalization” is too amorphous in my opinion.

    That is why I call in The International Private Empire, a group of 147 defined and named corporations that are international in makeup (not of or from any one nation), which like a slime mold, has individual “cells” that work towards a common goal (domination of global power and economy).

    Each of the 147 corporations owns and/controls the others, indicating that they have tried to form an entity which is camouflaged to a high degree, and an entity that is difficult to get the details on in one sitting or one book.
    ——————-

    Dredd, see above.

  34. Moderator:

    “Isn’t anyone in a family that makes over 100k a year basically wealthy,”

    What is the cut off? $110,000? When you have 2 children, a couple of cars, a house with mortgage payment and those 2 children are in college, you have very little discretionary income. If you own a small business you pay 15% for your own payroll tax and whatever local business taxes there are.

    If you work for someone you still pay 7.5% to SS, etc., property tax, sales tax, state tax, federal tax, gas tax.

    I would imagine the average person making $100,000.00 per year pays between $28,000 and $40,000 per year in taxes assuming they own a house and a car. But if they rent, they still pay property tax for the landlord.

    Quite simply the middle class is being taxed too much and has been for a very long time. But that is what supports the government, there are not nearly enough rich people to do it. If you confiscated the total wealth of all the multimillionaires in this country, I doubt you could run the government for 2 years.

    Reduce the tax burden on the middle class. It is simple. But no politician is going to do it because that is who pays for SS, medicare and all the other social programs in this country along with trying to put money away for their own retirement. There are not enough rich people to take care of it.

  35. Smom:

    because the middle class is taxed too much and they dont know much about money. They never learn about it in school or in the home. Most live paycheck to paycheck and are never quite able to put money aside to start creating wealth.

  36. Bron, Well then let’s reduce the taxes on the middle class and raise them on those over 250,000 like Obama wants to do. The Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year.

  37. Dredd, LK, Buster, AY and ID707,

    Thank you for adding to this discussion with material that complement the linked article and in doing so sharpens the focus of what all of us realize is the true state of the world’s economy. I think many of us here have a conceptual understanding of what is going on in reality, but it is important that we have source material to back up what is to some so obvious.

    Buster’s comment, which might at first seem s tangential, is actually essential to the discussion. How does one deal with the problem when the general discussion of the pundit/media class omits essential elements that should be within the parameters to be explored? To wit our Defense Budget, which is greater than the next fourteen world powers budgets combined? If everything is on the table as all the “wise” people pronounce, why is defense off the table? With the old Watergate dictum of “follow the money”, who gets income from our bloated defense spending?

    How many of those 147 Corporations, referred to by Dredd and supported by LK, are reaping those riches in one way or another. Why do we have the greatest collection of the best tanks in the world concentrated in Germany to stave off a ground attack from who? Why do we have 40,000 troops stationed in South Korea, which has a formidable army of its own? What is the cost of maintaining these troops world wide and to what end are they there?

    One of the advantages of being an old fart like me, was that back in my public school days we had history and civics courses that actually taught something about the context of the country we live in, albeit even then sanitized. Running through the discussion of the “Robber Baron” era and the “Golden Age” was the notion of the evil of “Interlocking Directorates”. What are those 147 corporations if not the same thing. I note that “Free Market” theorists/promoters always stress that it is the competitive nature of the “Free Market” that makes it strong, in the “Darwinian” sense. Where is the competition between those financial titans, if they are interrelated. What we really see is not some capitalist model, but in essence a Fascist model. Our public discussion, filtered through the pundits, has one side clamoring for a “Free Market” which with this information about interlocking directorates doesn’t exist. “Free Market” is the chimera used to muddy the waters and deny the reality of the multi-national companies being beyond the reach of any government.

    What I must point out though is an issue I’ve raised before in other guest blogs and it is essential to understanding the “why” of the need to destroy the middle class. This is the psychological element that is too often ignored in discussions of economic and political matters. We play pretend that peoples psychological bent is of no effect and therefore all sides in the discussion are acting out of their own sense of self-interest. I believe this to be untrue. My reason is that it is obvious from history that a broad, prosperous Middle-Class makes every country richer.
    Why then from the view of our elite do they continue to move to destroy the middle class everywhere and to also further impoverish those that already live in poverty? The answer to me is that their psyches deem it necessary to their self-esteem that they are universally seen as being far above the “herd” of humanity.
    When you essentially have everything of economic value what more do you need? My belief is that those with “everything” want their power recognized and esteemed by the “herd”. They aspire to be seen as “Nobility” in the feudal sense and in order for that to happen everyone else has to be reduced to either serfdom, or as minions in the coteries. Thus the move to return to a Feudal era.

  38. “Most live paycheck to paycheck and are never quite able to put money aside to start creating wealth.”

    Bron,

    That is the story of my fiscal life and I’m not only a financially smart man, but I never fell for the trap of living on credit, so also had relatively little debt. However, even being a frugal person from a material standpoint, my income was simply not enough to build up a reserve of extra cash. My home was my greatest and only investment. I luckily sold it before the housing market crashed, but the newer smaller home I bought as the market began to recede, receded in value far more than I expected. So while my income is above the average for the area I live in, my cash flow certainly doesn’t allow me a cushion. By the way for most of my life I always worked two jobs and my wife also had to work long hours.

    To answer your other question, yes the wealthy should have to pay a fairer share of their income, because the facts show they are the people who reap the greatest benefit from our government and our infrastructure. Why do the major oil companies pay a pittance in taxes when we built up huge debt in two Iraqi wars for the sole benefit of these oil companies?

  39. Smom:

    they will only raise the tax on the $250k or above and it will not have the result they intended. They will not lower the tax on the middle class.

    A good number of people making over $250k own small businesses. All they are going to do is pay themselves $200k to avoid the tax. They will put more into retirement or they will go out and buy new equipment [so that might be a positive in the long run]. Or they will just pay their son or daughter more.

  40. Bron, as you point out, they either pay the higher tax rate or invest more into the business. Either way will help the economy. Structure the tax code to encourage investment in new equipment and expansion will be good for the economy.

  41. Mike Spindell:

    You know my feelings on the war, but I really dont think we did it for oil.

    I am guessing an oil company would rather sell to civilians than to the military. I am guessing they get less per gallon selling to the government.

    We could say that beef producers and boot producers benefited as well. As did ammunition plants and body armor manufacturers. Humvee did really well and so did Sikorsky. I think their are many companies which benefited. But America as a whole has suffered.

    Thinking war benefits an economy is believing that all of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy is good for business. Frederic Bastiat showed this fallacy here:

    1. The Broken Window
    Have you ever been witness to the fury of that solid citizen, James Goodfellow,* when his incorrigible son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at this spectacle, certainly you must also have observed that the onlookers, even if there are as many as thirty of them, seem with one accord to offer the unfortunate owner the selfsame consolation: “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody some good. Such accidents keep industry going. Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window?”

    Now, this formula of condolence contains a whole theory that it is a good idea for us to expose, flagrante delicto, in this very simple case, since it is exactly the same as that which, unfortunately, underlies most of our economic institutions.

    Suppose that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. If you mean that the accident gives six francs’ worth of encouragement to the aforesaid industry, I agree. I do not contest it in any way; your reasoning is correct. The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen.

    But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do! Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen.

    It is not seen that, since our citizen has spent six francs for one thing, he will not be able to spend them for another. It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library. In brief, he would have put his six francs to some use or other for which he will not now have them.

    Let us next consider industry in general. The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs’ worth of encouragement; that is what is seen.

    If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry (or some other) would have received six francs’ worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen.

    And if we were to take into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative factor, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive factor, we should understand that there is no benefit to industry in general or to national employment as a whole, whether windows are broken or not broken.

    Now let us consider James Goodfellow.

    On the first hypothesis, that of the broken window, he spends six francs and has, neither more nor less than before, the enjoyment of one window.

    On the second, that in which the accident did not happen, he would have spent six francs for new shoes and would have had the enjoyment of a pair of shoes as well as of a window.

    Now, if James Goodfellow is part of society, we must conclude that society, considering its labors and its enjoyments, has lost the value of the broken window.

    From which, by generalizing, we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: “Society loses the value of objects unnecessarily destroyed,” and at this aphorism, which will make the hair of the protectionists stand on end: “To break, to destroy, to dissipate is not to encourage national employment,” or more briefly: “Destruction is not profitable.”

    What will the Moniteur industriel* say to this, or the disciples of the estimable M. de Saint-Chamans,* who has calculated with such precision what industry would gain from the burning of Paris, because of the houses that would have to be rebuilt?

    I am sorry to upset his ingenious calculations, especially since their spirit has passed into our legislation. But I beg him to begin them again, entering what is not seen in the ledger beside what is seen.

    The reader must apply himself to observe that there are not only two people, but three, in the little drama that I have presented. The one, James Goodfellow, represents the consumer, reduced by destruction to one enjoyment instead of two. The other, under the figure of the glazier, shows us the producer whose industry the accident encourages. The third is the shoemaker (or any other manufacturer) whose industry is correspondingly discouraged by the same cause. It is this third person who is always in the shadow, and who, personifying what is not seen, is an essential element of the problem. It is he who makes us understand how absurd it is to see a profit in destruction. It is he who will soon teach us that it is equally absurd to see a profit in trade restriction, which is, after all, nothing more nor less than partial destruction. So, if you get to the bottom of all the arguments advanced in favor of restrictionist measures, you will find only a paraphrase of that common cliché: “What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke any windows?”

  42. Bron, Bingo! You just described what I did prior to the tax cuts. I also bumped up the contribution to my employees retirement equal to myself. This evil small biz owner also paid his employees before paying himself when cash flow was bad. They never knew that, it’s just what you should do. This class warfare is antithetical to how I was raised, in a blue collar family.

  43. lottakatz 1, November 11, 2012 at 7:57 am

    link to general info about regarding the study:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/
    =================================
    Let’s not forget that The International Private Empire also controls the propaganda engines, the mainstream media.

    On the same page as the Forbes piece you linked to, is a piece by his colleague who has a piece “The Four Companies That Control the 147 Companies That Own Everything“, which is rank propaganda designed to cover the trail.

    He goes on to say:

    You can see where I’m headed here. That means the real power to control the world lies with four companies: McGraw-Hill, which owns Standard & Poor’s, Northwestern Mutual, which owns Russell Investments, the index arm of which runs the benchmark Russell 1,000 and Russell 3,000, CME Group which owns 90% of Dow Jones Indexes, and Barclay’s, which took over Lehman Brothers and its Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, the dominant world bond fund index. Together, these four firms dominate the world of indexing. And in turn, that means they hold real sway over the world’s money.

    (The Four Companies That Control). Remember that the study was done by non-American scholars and researchers and had a Zurich Switzerland locale about it.

    I have a copy of the scientifically done and well researched paper in PDF format, about which your link says:

    Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power.

    They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle. Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network. A total of 737 control 80% of it all.

    (Your Forbes Link, emphasis added). They can’t control the Zurich scientists, but they can publish a propaganda piece here in the U.S. media saying in essence that four financial institutions are the controllers.

    As I said up-thread:

    Each of the 147 corporations owns and/controls the others, indicating that they have tried to form an entity which is camouflaged to a high degree, and an entity that is difficult to get the details on in one sitting or one book.

    These plutocrats have been at this a long time and have created an entity with layers like an onion, and the core of it is layers and layers deep, the financial institutions that hold their money are the outer camouflage layers.

    What produces the most money … fossil fuels … oil, gas, coal … the stuff the Energy Department called “the lifeblood of economy”.

    The banks only hold the money that the pillar industries put in them, the banks do not create wealth, they hold it. Investment companies do not create the wealth, they invest it in companies that do.

    Who had the power to move the headquarters of the by-far greatest military in the world today out of the nation “it belongs to”? Who had the power to move USCENTCOM to the middle east? What company moved down the street from them once that military HQ was moved out of the U.S. to Dubai?

    It was an oil baron company, Halliburton.

    The fossil fuel industry is at the core of The International Private Empire, and they can be resisted through the energies of global warming induced climate change resistance … the green, renewable, clean energy majority.

  44. Otteray Scribe:

    “Structure the tax code to encourage investment in new equipment and expansion will be good for the economy.”

    I have a question for you, why do you think people dont invest more now into expansion? We have deductions and depreciation. So why arent more people taking advantage now and in the past?

  45. Resistance by some to the idea that oil is at the center helps me recall the recent citation of a “laughing Cheney who said that Iraqi oil would pay for the war”.

    Everyone in Washington has said for years that the banks own the place.

    And now we are told that banks only own debts.
    So can we say the lifeblood of the nation is owned by BIG OIL? It unseated Nixon, to recall one deed.

    Following its trail might be useful. I would think that many can name books which have done so. References?

  46. Bron,
    I don’t have all the answers, but may have some insight. Given a choice of paying a tax and just salting the money away, human nature being what it is, they will probably opt for buying new stuff instead of making do with the old stuff. I have seen this up close and personal. Management running machines until they are literally dangerous, versus buying new state of the art equipment. Years ago, before the tax codes changed, we would meet with our accountant at the end of the year and he would make recommendations such as buying a new car, or new radios for the airplane. New copier and new computers. It was either improve our lives with new and better “stuff” or send the money to the US Treasury.

  47. idealist707 1, November 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Resistance by some to the idea that oil is at the center helps me recall the recent citation of a “laughing Cheney who said that Iraqi oil would pay for the war”.

    Everyone in Washington has said for years that the banks own the place.

    And now we are told that banks only own debts.
    So can we say the lifeblood of the nation is owned by BIG OIL? It unseated Nixon, to recall one deed.

    Following its trail might be useful. I would think that many can name books which have done so. References?
    =======================================
    Here is a piece from Tom Dispatch:

    And at the top of the list of those who know what’s going on are the fossil-fuel companies with their unprecedented profits and unbearably overpaid executives and shareholders.

    Just like those running asbestos, lead paint, and tobacco companies who knowingly continued to do harm for profit after the scientific verdicts on their products were in, energy executives undoubtedly are more aware of what the burning of fossil fuels actually means for this planet than most of the rest of us. They certainly don’t know less than the reinsurance types who have launched a campaign of climate change awareness within the insurance business or New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, whose magazine Bloomberg Businessweek just had the blunt cover headline, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

    And if they know and haven’t taken steps to prepare us for a fierce weather future or to switch us over to an alternative energy economy, if they’ve just kept on pouring money and effort and ingenuity into the frizzling of this planet, then let’s face it, they are the business equivalents of terrorists. In fact, for years they’ve funded a massive campaign to deny the reality of climate change. Only recently, Chevron made a last minute contribution of $2.5 million to a Super PAC dedicated to reelecting Republican members of the House of Representatives (who could, of course, block any legislation detrimental to an oil company). Realistically speaking, we should think of them as oil-Qaeda and we already know one thing: the strikes against us that they are at least partially responsible for are only going to grow more devastating.

    (Dealing with Oil-Qaeda). A little carbon tax on oil-Qaeda would not be excessive now would it?

  48. Bron,
    There is too much incentive to use loopholes to send money to “religious” charities that are not much more than a front to launder money (think Mitt Romney), send money to offshore tax havens, and simply spend on the executive offices rather than on the factory floor. I do think there should be an extra tax incentive for buying American made products. Buy that executive jet from Beechcraft or Cessna rather than from France. Same for the executive limousine. Unless it is built in the US, there should be little or no tax credit. That is something I feel strongly about. Our office only bought General Motors or Ford products and both airplanes I bought were built in Wichita, KS.

  49. @feemeister: I have always wondered WHY we should penalize people BECAUSE they are lucky enough to make more money.

    As one of those lucky enough to have made more money than most, I will answer. Because it is not the dollar amount or a percentage of income that matters when we consider matters of fairness, but the effects. If a man makes a hundred million dollars in a year and is taxed at 50%, he is left with fifty million. His lifestyle, his homes, his jets, his entertainment, his food, everything about his life is left the same; all that has changed is a number in his bank account. He experiences no hardship, he need sacrifice nothing.

    Even his business does not suffer, because an income tax is only applied to what is left over AFTER all his business expenses, including his expenses for expansion, maintenance, and any salaries or recruitment costs or training costs or housing costs for any jobs he feels the need to create.

    Compare that to somebody in the lower middle class (according to this book, earning $35K a year). A 50% tax on their income has a devastating effect on their lifestyle. Even if there were an exemption of $30K, they WILL have to sacrifice something. The deficit created of $200 less per month in discretionary income means less entertainment, less quality food, less quality transportation, more penny pinching.

    The point is not to equalize the dollar amount; the poor would be reduced to negative income if that were the point, it is an unworkable scheme. The point is not to equalize the percentage amount; because that creates more pain at the bottom than it does at the top. The point is to be fair and equalize the PAIN of taxation, to better equalize the pain of supporting a necessity, which is the government protecting us from human predators, both internal and external.

    You claim some are “lucky” enough to earn a lot, and I won’t argue. Luck played a huge role in my success, beginning with the genetic luck that gave me a pretty rare talent in very high demand.

    But if luck is what drove their success, why does winning the lottery of life with a free ticket entitle them to any less pain than those that did not win? If a lottery winner found their million dollar ticket, they didn’t “work” for that money, they didn’t “sacrifice” for it. It is free money; it isn’t “deserved.”

    I think the same is true in business (and I was a business consultant for decades). I worked harder as a dishwasher and janitor and laborer (and hated it more) than I ever worked in the military, college or business. I do not begrudge the businessmen their money as long as that money is not derived from mistreating employees, ripping off or defrauding customers or investors, or cheating on their taxes or hurting the public by destroying the environment. (Hollywood is a good model, they can and have made tons of money without having to do any of that.)

    But I recognize that they (and I) did not work or labor any harder for our high salaries than the janitor cleaning our restrooms or the dishwasher cleaning up after our meals. In fact, having worked with the bottom as a teen and with the top as an adult, I think I have the perspective to say the top worked less, and labored less, and hated it less because our work was more engrossing and had more impact.

    The difference is the luck of life’s lottery. That is an apt metaphor, because nature and life can be random and arbitrary and breathtakingly unfair. I do believe it is luck, if nothing else the genetic luck of being born with high intelligence, or creativity, or a talent for art or sports or singing, or charisma, or beauty, or the emotional discipline to postpone gratification. The geographic luck of being born in a country where those things matter. The temporal luck of being born in a century where those things matter. The social luck of being born in a society where those characteristics can overcome class and reap out-sized rewards. The random luck of being assigned to a middle school teacher with the perfect life experience to recognize a rare talent and redirect a life. Heck, even the random luck of being born a tall white male in a time when THAT matters.

    Fairness is a concept that must be imposed upon nature, and although I am a capitalist that believes in competition and the survival of the fittest products and services, I also believe in progressive taxation: That the more fortunate a person is in the financial lottery of life, the more one owes to the least fortunate in society. Not to make them financially equal (and I do not believe communism works), but to relieve the suffering of the bad hand that nature, life, accident and circumstance have dealt them. Luck gets you lots of discretionary money. Bad luck may mean somebody cannot earn any discretionary money, but it should not mean sickness, pain, suffering or despair, especially not to reward the lucky with even more money.

  50. “Bad luck may mean somebody cannot earn any discretionary money, but it should not mean sickness, pain, suffering or despair, especially not to reward the lucky with even more money.”

    Tony,

    Your entire comment made the point of the need for the graduated income tax eloquently and elegantly.

  51. @Bron: They will put more into retirement or they will go out and buy new equipment [so that might be a positive in the long run]. Or they will just pay their son or daughter more.

    There is a limit on both of those dodges. How about those that earn a million a year? Ten million? or 23 million, like Brad Pitt?

    At some point, people have to pay the taxes. Or reinvest in their business. We can and should close every loophole that lets them escape doing one or the other. Since both are beneficial to society and the economy, the government really should not care which they choose. It isn’t about the government getting more money, that is the wrong way to think about it. It is about forcing their money back into the economy, to buy goods or services or create jobs. Higher tax rates create jobs, Lower tax rates encourage just keeping the after-tax money.

  52. Somebody posted a comment on my daughter’s Facebook that asked a pertinent question.

    Why should someone be paid less for wearing a helmet to protect their country and way of life than somebody who wears a helmet to protect a football?

  53. Tony sez: “Higher tax rates create jobs, Lower tax rates encourage just keeping the after-tax money.”

    *************************************

    That is exactly what the Congressional study showed. Of course, the Republican leadership was outraged and suppressed it because it did not fit their meme. Fortunately, copies are now in circulation in the public domain.

  54. TonyC,

    Now can you answer my replies to your comment dusting me down on the Ain Factor thread. Calling me a cynic and piling the rest of the worlds evils on my head was incorrect for one.

    Just to ease your work, I cite starting with your condemnatory comment.
    ========================

    “Tony C.
    1, November 11, 2012 at 9:58 am
    @Idealist: I was fighting for my own life in ’68, and guess you all are now.

    That is pretty cynical, to assume everybody is being selfish because you were.

    My personal way of life is not in danger from war, or Republicans, or Democrats, or Tea Partiers, or racists, or Objectivists, or anti-Muslim bigots, or Christian anti-science bigots. I will never need an abortion, I will never go to war, I will never attend a Mosque, I will never be a black kid that cannot get a job, I will never be an impressionable child in a classroom being fed a book of lies about Creationism by a State employee.

    Not every protest is about personal interest; people care about others as a matter of nature.

    I recommend the recent NovaScience Now episode, with David Pogue, What Are Animals Thinking?
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/what-animals-thinking.html

    Primarily for the parts on empathy, sharing, aid to others in trouble, and a sense of fairness (and punishment or refusal to work under unfair treatment). In chimps, dogs, and even in lab rats.

    The urge to fair play, sharing, and mutual support is born in the typical human. So is the urge to fight against coerced exploitation. Ignoring the fact that both can exist together, and assuming self-interest is the only motive, denies reality and promotes strife by accusing others of acting on invented motives they never even considered.

    Either that or like the Aynish have done it robs the concept of “selfish interest” of all meaning and redefines it to mean anything you want, because even the altruistic acts of soldiers sacrificing their lives to save their unrelated fellow soldiers must be laughably defined as “selfish interest.”

    There is a difference. It was not immoral or cowardly to protest a senseless war that threatened to end or ruin the lives of tens of thousands of young male adults, even if you were one of the threatened. Would it be immoral or cowardly for slaves to speak out against slavery?

    Fighting against against unfair treatment and the selfish behavior of the rich and powerful that harms others is both moral and heroic, even if one is in the group being wronged.

    266 idealist707
    1, November 11, 2012 at 10:30 am
    TonyC,

    Nice kick that you delivered to my a55.

    Here I was, in my last sentence, trying to excuse folks for ignoring the ills of the world by comparing my own self-occupied self of the same era.

    And that is how my life was. No excuses given. I was a soldier because the system forced me to do so. I worked within the defense industry because that was where the jobs were. I designed an original management system which was approved by DoD to assume control of all building activities in the Pacific, because that was the project my employer asked me to do. I was qualified and did it. I also designed F-4 fighter and B-52 bomber airbases in country in Thailand.

    Did I give any thought to the justice of our Vietnam actions? Nope, And of course I did not protest—against what, I would have asked.
    So I was no better than the majority of Americans who were not aware, and did not demonstrate.

    My awareness began here in Sweden, and it was not at FNL meetings, but from reading the liberal newspapers and seeing Palme march with the NV foreign minister, and see the US call home its ambassador. And still it had to grow a dreat deal to get to where it is today.

    How you happen to be so well informed and self-righteous from birth, can you explain if you like.

    Cynical, as to what. Explain.

    267 idealist707
    1, November 11, 2012 at 10:42 am
    TonyC,

    Just re-read your comment again.
    Attacking my cynicism was imcorrect in itself. Being a subject of propaganda, and we were in ’68 as we are now,
    and being sunaware of those who have it bad is no reason to call them cynics.

    And then you proceed to add items to the pile, implying that I am willfully unaware of these ills is—–I can not find words for such crappy argumentation and abuse of me as a person.

    If anyone here is known for defending those illed by this evil world, then I am one of them very well known for that.
    My awareness is as good as many here, and I act on that basis also.

    The underdog’s fight is like a fire bell to me, and you must have seen it many times so far======
    ====================================

  55. Not all those folks who make big salaries are deserving of the riches that they are rewarded with. One doesn’t even have to be good at one’s job to earn millions in compensation. How many times have we seen CEO’s who tanked their companies leave with huge payouts? Here’s a recent example:

    Wall Street CEO Gets $6.7 Million Payout After Crashing His Company
    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/11/11/1176451/pandit-last-year-bonus/

    Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit was pushed out the door of his company in October after overseeing a precipitous decline in his bank’s value. Overall, Citigroup lost nearly 90 percent of its stock price during Pandit’s tenure. But that won’t stop Pandit from walking off with $6.7 million for his last year on the job:

    Citigroup said Friday that the former CEO, who resigned last month in a management shakeup, will receive an “incentive award” of $6.7 million for his work at the bank this year. Former president and chief operating officer John Havens, who stepped down along with Pandit, is getting $6.8 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The two men will also continue collecting deferred cash and stock compensation from last year, awards valued at $8.8 million for Pandit and $8.7 million for Havens.

    The company suffered a profit loss of 88 percent during the third quarter, when Pandit supposedly earned his “incentive award.” During his time at Citi, Pandit made some $260 million in total compensation, even accounting for the year he took a $1 salary during the financial crisis.

    Several Wall Street heavyweights have recently said that banks need to rethink the sky-high compensation they’ve been paying (which has helped exacerbate the nation’s income inequality). For instance, Morgan Stanley CEO called the financial industry “overpaid.” “There’s way too much capacity and compensation is way too high,” he said.

  56. OS:

    “Unless it is built in the US, there should be little or no tax credit. That is something I feel strongly about.”

    That is why the founders wanted to use tariffs to raise money. You want to buy a Mercedes go right ahead just know that you are going to pay a very high premium. Ditto a French jet.

    I only buy Fords and most of the appliances and HVAC system for my house are made in the US.

  57. MikeS,

    And sometimes the CEOs, etc are just smarter than their board of directors. I know of one such case, but my lips are sealed. But hushmoney is there always as a factor to consider.

  58. @Idealist: In the context of your post, I thought you were saying you protested the Vietnam war because you were out for yourself, and you thought others did the same.

    If so, that would be a cynical thought; believing that self-interest was the only motivation for protest, and not empathy for those lost or the casualties yet to come.

    If not, then I was mistaken.

  59. @Elaine: I think the huge payouts are just because they can, and the collusion of board members across companies (I serve on your board and support you without question; you serve on my board and support me without question) to rip off the stock holders. The stock holders cannot really do a damn thing about it; their coordination is purposely made very difficult by the corporations in the first place.

    Boards treat public corporations like fiefdoms; the stockholders are the peasants and only those that own big percentages have any say whatsoever (often because dumping that much stock would hurt the options awarded to the board and officers). As a peasant you get what they give you, and switching to another stock will only get you the same song by a different singer.

    The insiders at the top won’t change the game because they are rewarded by the game with tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. They do not care if the company tanks or investors get wiped out because at any given moment they can walk away as financial kings set for life. If they felt like it, they could independently start another company.

    I do not think there is anything to hush up; they are just taking for themselves the earnings and assets that rightfully belong to the shareholders, but the shareholders have been duped into giving them the legal right to take whatever they want.

    It is very much analogous to our political situation; we elect people based on their campaign promises without any means whatsoever to hold them to those promises while they are serving their term in office. If they lied during their campaign and betray us in office, we have zero recourse. By the time we can vote them out, the damage is done, and we are looking at the next two liars.

  60. TonyC,

    For others to find/follow context in my posts is not easy at times, not even for me.
    In 1968, I had finished 2 years military service, and one year designing American air bases in Thailand, plus associated jobs serving the country’s expressed interests.

    So I said that, contrary to your reading, I was not informed as to the harm we were doing in Vietnam, and I presumed that the majority of those who were adults then and were not active protesters, also did not know the full picture. I had done my bit and more, so in ’68 I was rightfully, just as others I assume also felt, that I needed to concentrate on my life.

    Hope this helps.

    Next time, when in doubt, ASK. And I will attempt to make my context as clear as iced tea.

  61. Walter E. Williams, of Town Hall writes that, “According to IRS 2007 data, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 22 percent of national personal income but paid 40 percent of all personal income taxes. The top 5 percent earned 37 percent and paid 61 percent of personal income tax. The top 10 percent earned 48 percent and paid 71 percent of all personal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent earned 12 percent of personal income but paid just 3 percent of income tax revenues.”

  62. And according to Bob Ewoldt, “Letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire for the people that make over $250,000 will bring in less than $71 billion in federal revenues. Will that close our budget deficit? In 2012, President Obama proposed a budget that included $3.729 trillion in spending, with a deficit of $1.327 trillion. Given that deficit, $71 billion in additional money amounts to 5.3% of the deficit…Let’s say that we tell the quite-a-bit-less-than-rich that they have to share the sacrifice of our budget deficit, too, and raise the tax rates on everyone in the top 25% (anyone making above roughly $71,000). To take $1.327 trillion from the top 25%, we would need to have their actual tax rate be 25.77%, which means having a marginal tax rate of 43.89% for everyone that makes more than $71,000.”

  63. Tony C, thanks for your comments to me. Beautifully said! I have made just over $27K for the last 8 years, with no cost of living raises, and it’s been extremely hard; it gets harder every day. And to think that my tax money goes to bail out IDIOT companies, who have been so stupid they ran their companies into the ground, and then have the govt give them MY money to give them an extra pay boost for what they’re doing, just makes my blood boil. And I won’t even get started on the money going to stupid wars that kill people for no justifiable reasons, except that the rich are getting richer off peoples’ dying blood.

    I guess what I was thinking is that with it being the same no matter what, they wouldn’t have to be trying to make up lies to try and find more and more loopholes to keep more and more.

    But beautifully said comment, thank you.

  64. @Bron: Percentages are misleading, and “income taxes” ignores the contributions of Social Security and Medicare that the poor do make and which constitute 7.65% of their paycheck, as well as their unemployment insurance, all of which the rich largely escape due to the salary cap of $110K or so. You are ignoring the impact of sales tax and gasoline taxes, which constitute a significant reduction in the income of the poor and virtually 0% drain on the income of the rich. If the rich and the corporations had to pay the same percentage of their income as the poor must pay for ALL taxes, fees, fines, licenses, government tolls, or mandated “insurances” at ANY level of government, the budget deficit would be solved instantly.

    You are reading a purposely misleading author with a bias. And if you bothered to read even the interview this blog entry is about, you would understand the problem is NOT the budget deficit, it is the trade deficit, and the deals that have been made over the last four decades in the interest of corporations that are making America non-competitive.

  65. tony c:

    I disagree. There are many reasons why this country is floundering but it is not because of rich people nor poor people. There are great jobs in the Bakken oil field. That situation could be replicated all over the country if we could mine more coal and drill for more oil and gas.

    I am against sales tax and gasoline taxes.

    I dont think you are right about that, sticking it to the rich isnt going to do much of anything. But you are right, if you make under 25,000 per year you shouldnt have to pay any taxes at all.

  66. There would be even more and better jobs if people would start producing free energy (well magnetic energy) generators for power and get rid of the oil and the nuclear AND the coal!

  67. TonyC,

    We can consider not only the effect on the budget deficit.

    We can propose that IF the total burden mentioned by you on the poor were reduced to the level of that experienced by the rich, the the quallity of life for the poor would be greatly increased.

    Further this would reuuirs a very small additional tax on the rich to finance—-all in the name of justice.

  68. The Middle Class in America can be defined as not being on welfare and that does not include Social Security retirement and not being in the One Percent. It is a big middle class and is easy to sell out. Take my ex wife for example. She lives in Tennessee and voted for Ann Rand’s kid. First thing he does is push for a drop of entitlements. She thought she was entitled to see a doctor without paying five hundred dollars to get weighed. It goes on and on with these disgruntled Americans who believe in free enterprise and want some free advice.

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