How the Rich Conduct Class Warfare

First, let me get this out of the way - I have no problems with the rich. I plan on being rich. I'm an American. I believe. We all believe we can get to the top and enjoy the spoils of wealth. We are Americans.

That's never been the issue. And in my lifetime the poor or middle class have never come close to declaring anything other than envy for the rich. But there is a class war going on. It's being conducted by the rich on the middle class in this country.

Again, let's be clear. It's not by all of the rich or even most of the rich. There are great philanthropists among the rich. In fact, over 40 billionaires just pledged to give away half of their money to charity. Bill Gates earned his money, is giving it away and has no interest on declaring war on the middle class.

I'll even give you the classic line - some of my best friends are rich. So, this isn't about some ridiculous stereotypes or populist demagoguery. This is about stone cold facts.

Some of the wealthiest people in this country have been systematically trying to reduce their own taxes and make sure their companies are not regulated by the government. This makes sense. They want to make more money. But in the process, they have bought our politicians, corrupted our system and ultimately given us enormous income inequality.

This income inequality doesn't seem just, but that isn't my main issue. The real problem is the results of that inequality. It leads to speculative bubbles, crashes, recessions and depressions. It leads to the middle class losing their pensions, having stagnant wages for the last thirty years and lacking opportunity to move up the chain. It kills our economy and ultimately it kills the American Dream.

Here are some numbers on the rich versus the middle class that demonstrate what I'm talking about:

 

All of the money went to the top. Do you know that between 1979 to 2007 income for the bottom fifth of the country went up by just 16%, but for the top 1% income it went up a staggering 281%?

The rich got much richer. This is not an accident. People like the Walton family and the Koch brothers have been doing this for a long time. The Waltons don't want to pay estate taxes for understandable reasons because they plan to inherit and pass on billions of dollars. It is cost efficient for them to buy our politicians for a couple of thousand dollars in campaign donations. The Koch brothers hate taxes and regulation of their businesses. If you want to know how they have hijacked our system you should read this brilliant articleby Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

Meanwhile, you know what happened to the poverty rate - it went skyrocketing up. Now, one in seven Americans lives in poverty. That's 45 million people. Last year, we had the highest increase in poverty since the government started keeping these numbers in 1959.

The poor are growing, the middle class is shrinking and the rich are getting even richer. This is how you build a Third World country. So, the next time you hear about class warfare, understand which direction it's going in.

Some of the wealthiest people in this country pulled the wool over your eyes and picked your pockets. I don't have anything against the rich and I understand their motivation. But the rest of us are crazy to keep letting it happen. At some point, you have to fight back. Not with pitchforks, but at the very least with your votes.

Now that you know the game that's being played, it's incumbent on you to make sure you join the battle. Help us save this country and rebuild our once great middle class.

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Cheers for the $6M Baseball Player

I don't exactly loathe sports as a waste of time, energy and money. But I have not managed to watch an entire event on television of any kind.

But honesty, who actually gets the money instead of the players in this case? The owners. And the players tend to be middle class or working people who happen to be excellent for a very few years. The owners are obscenely rich, have no particular talent, and keep most of the money.

I advocate much higher taxes on higher incomes. Progressive taxes.

I am all for class warfare. But I am against the ownership class who not only do not work, they don't play fair.

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Wes Clark addresses "the defining struggle of our time"

Last night Charlie Rose had General Wesley Clark on as his guest for a half hour of his PBS TV show. At one point Rose asked Clark a blunt simple question; What's the defining struggle of our time? Immediately before that they had finished talking about the Middle East and were talking about the rise of China. I wonder if Charlie Rose expected the answer he got from Wes Clark:

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Nature and the American Revolution

(Cross-posted at the Appalachian Voices blog...a story of Nature and the American Revolution.)


In discussing the causes of the American Revolution, we are all familiar with the American colonists desire to break away from an "oppressive" and "tyrannical" British grip over modern day New England. We ALL know about the red coats, the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, the tea parties, and the overriding trend of increasing democratization of American society. What a comprehensive modern understanding of the American Revolution often lacks however, is a general understanding or awareness of the importance of nature's role in the conflict. It is often forgotten that man's interaction with nature and nature's impact on man are necessary factors in creating that class of hungry, dissatisfied peasants which are pre-requisite to any good revolution!

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Class Warfare: 18 Families Financed Estate Tax Repeal Campaign

Public Citizen has released a report(warning pdf file) detailing how "18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion." 

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