published Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Counterpoint

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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podiebell said...

AWESOME!!!

October 15, 2011 at 12:23 a.m.
steve_smith said...

I remember some kind of moral where those jealous of tall folks eliminated the tallest 10%. Well that didn't solve the problem because the jealousy continued and the remaining tallest 10% were eliminated. Eventually nearly everyone was eliminated. Is that what this cartoon promotes?

I am certainly not in the 1%. However, I am not comfortable with the division of us into groups that clamor one against another. Enough gay vs. straight. Enough rich vs. poor, white vs. black. Enough labor vs. capital, north vs. south, elite vs. common. We are all in one row boat. We have got to find a common direction. There has to be something that unites us as Americans other than an accident of birth.

October 15, 2011 at 12:38 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

UNILATERAL ARMAMENT

Can't we all just get along? Apparently not. Thirty years ago the rich declared war on the middle class. Obviously, it wasn't a declared war, but a titanic shift in wealth began which saw the rich become monumentally richer while wages for middle class families began shrinking.

How did we let this happen? Well, one effective republican strategy involved wedge issues at election time. Voters who usually backed Democratic voters began fighting with other democrats.

Political campaigns narrowed their focus: Abortion. Welfare. Unions. Willie Horton. Gay rights. Swift boats. Birth certificates, etc., etc., etc. And then what's this trickled down economics thing again? You mean if we let the rich get richer through massive tax breaks they'll expand their businesses and build new factories and hire lots more people and pay more in taxes because of their higher income and their riches will overflow and trickle down to us common folks who are too proud to ask for hand outs and too scared to question authority? Really?

Thirty years ago people who once voted Democratic began voting for republicans, the so-called Reagan democrats. But that was long ago and the Country is now on the verge on economic implosion.

Finally people are standing up and saying we're mad as hell and we're not going to take this anymore.

And we're sick of the apologies. "I'm sorry" but we're taking away your pension. "I'm sorry but we're taking away your health insurance. "I'm sorry but we shipped your job overseas. "I'm sorry" but we're foreclosing on your home. I'm sorry but we're charging you $5 each time you use your debit card.

But it wasn't technically class warfare until the 99% started fighting back.

October 15, 2011 at 1:38 a.m.
steve_smith said...

Would it be easier to make ends meet if the rich had less money? Is the economy so simple that the less they have the more we'll have? Basically the argument I am hearing is that it is impossible to live comfortably if there are rich people in existence. As such the rich are responsible for our livelihood or lack thereof.

Instead of trickle down economics, we are supposed to embrace tear down economics? I don't buy that the rich are responsible. We are responsible. We have bought into consumerism as a economic system. Spend more money and everything will be better. Well, a cut out of every dollar spent is skimmed off by the rich and another portion by the government. We have given the rich our money by buying their baubles and we blame them. No. We are responsible.

We have given up the American ideal of thrift. We lost it on the heels of the loss of the idea of freedom and community. We lost the idea of privacy. We traded private compassion for the public dole, a work ethic for endless education, reverence for sarcasm and blasphemy. In short we gave up American culture in favor of everything goes. But its the rich people.

October 15, 2011 at 2:07 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

What mystifies me and irks me even more than blatant injustice and the propaganda that tries to cover up that injustice is the blindness of those who should easily see the lies and deception, but they not only don't see it, they condone and defend it.

Steve_smith, sir, you are a perfect example of such blindness. Your fawning acceptance and defense of the one-percenters is disgusting and shameful. You don't even know when you're being screwed. Maybe you don't feel screwed right now because for whatever reason you were not affected by the recession like so many of us were. Maybe you're nice and cozy in your little corner of the world: you didn't lose your job, your house, your 401k or life-savings, and your health insurance. And obviously you think that all those who did lose those things did it through their own reckless style of living, maxing out credit cards, buying houses they couldn't afford, or just being stupid and lazy.

If you can't see that most of the ones who are suffering now are there through no fault of their own but because of a system that is/was stacked against them in favor of the rich and big business, then you need a wake-up call. Just keep on with your simple-minded, delusional thinking and you will get it soon enough. We are on the verge of a double-dip recession, or worse, the next Great Depression, at which point it will be your turn to feel the turning of the screws. And it's not Obama who will bring it about but the obstructionist, do-nothing Republicans and their pundits with their bull-horns who have clueless people like you swallowing their BS.

Your speechifying about how we all ought to just get along is admirable. But stupid. The one-percenters might take your hand and sing kum-ba-ya with you around the campfire but they would expect you to bring the marshmallows and then they would take them all for themselves and make you roast them for them. And you being you, you would gladly do it....and then bend over and ask what else you could do to please them.

October 15, 2011 at 5:01 a.m.
lumpy said...

I was wondering when Clay Bennett would join in with this 1%-99% nonsense the Occupy bunch keep tossing around. I guess once a hippie always a hippie. "The Flea Party" is what Ann Coulter calls the Occupy bunch. It's the lazy and the envious demanding the stuff other people have worked hard for, OR ELSE!

October 15, 2011 at 5:35 a.m.
EaTn said...

The question is not why the Occupy movement is catching fire, the question is why has it taken so long? The lies and propaganda spread by the wealthy in this country are no longer being swallowed by many who are seeing their families livelihood sinking to support the extravagance of the 1 or so percent. It's neither socialist nor fascist, it's the middle class getting fed up of the greedy.

October 15, 2011 at 6:02 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Carter's presidency failed = the rich declared war on the middle class? Obama's presidency is failing = Warren Buffet needs higher taxes?

Look, the bank I use used to automatically print my balance on my statement whenever I made a deposit. That was stopped by law. Stupid law; it made a service more of a hassle. I went to add my wife to my account, and a couple PODs were kicked off because I didn't have their SS#s handy. By law. Stupid law. We need to get rid of a bunch of laws and regulations, and make bureaucrats get real jobs. Tea party! Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan: simplify taxes so the rich can't hide behind loopholes and accountants. Michelle Bachman: get rid of 2,700-page laws that are still evolving tens of thousands of pages of regulations. Burke: let the poor be secure in their 5 shillings, and the rich in their 500 pounds. Let us unite in freedom; let us all earn a bit more without hassle.

Thou shalt not covet.

October 15, 2011 at 6:28 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Thou shalt not covet." You don't even make any sense. Get over yourself and your insane bible verses. None of us liberals are coveting the riches of the wealthy, as much as you want to believe that. It is you defenders of them who covet their riches, thinking that there, by the grace of your money-grubbing, prejudicial god, you might be one day - that is obvious. Come up with something different to make your point.

October 15, 2011 at 6:57 a.m.
OllieH said...

I really love this cartoon.

For those of you who haven't been following the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 'I am the 99%' has been a constant theme. There are now thousands of pictures posted online of individuals holding up signs with a brief description of their situation and a final proclamation that 'I am the 99%'. You can see some of them here: http://tinyurl.com/67yf74f

Clay has nicely captured the other side in his parody of that campaign.

To all you who would make caricatures of these protesters, or worse yet, would sum up the movement as nothing more than a bunch of deadbeats who simply want to take from others, I would urge you to think again. These are just ordinary folks demonstrating for a fair shake at building a descent life for themselves or their families. They don't want to take anything except their rightful place in a democracy that routinely represents the interests of only the wealthiest among us.

If you look at the economic trends over the past thirty years, you'll see a dramatic transfer of wealth. The rich have gotten richer, poverty has increased, middle class wages have stagnated, and globalization has allowed businesses to outsource good American jobs overseas. That established, I ask you, who are the ones who want to take from others- the working class man who desires a fair wage for a day's work, or the industrialist who maximized his profits by replacing that worker with cheap foreign labor? Is it the middle class woman who simply wants a fairer tax code who's the real deadbeat, or is the rich investor whose capital gains income in taxed at half the rate of the woman's paycheck?

Capitalism might be as American as apple pie, but our slice of that pie is now just a mere sliver. One percent of our population controls 35% of the nation's total wealth, while 20% of our people enjoy 80% of that pie. Say what you will about the protesters in the occupy movement, but at least they realize the inequities of the math. The don't want to take, but they are sick and tired of begging. The occupy movement is asking for a seat at the table, while movements like the tea party are more than willing to beg for the table scraps that the rich and powerful might throw their way.

I am the 99%. And whether you want to admit it or not, you are too.

October 15, 2011 at 6:59 a.m.
MTJohn said...

steve_smith said...Would it be easier to make ends meet if the rich had less money? Is the economy so simple that the less they have the more we'll have?

Wealth distribution is the symptom. The disease is the fact that our system works very well for the wealthy few and they have the power and influence to ensure that it continues to do so...at least for awhile.

steve_smith said...Instead of trickle down economics, we are supposed to embrace tear down economics?

The problem with trickle down economics is that it didn't trickle down.

steve_smith said...We have given up the American ideal of thrift.

We've also given up the American ideal of democracy...assuming that we ever really held it.

October 15, 2011 at 7 a.m.
MTJohn said...

AndrewLohr said...Thou shalt not covet.

Covetousness is the engine that drives the free-market-economy that libertarians embrace.

October 15, 2011 at 7:03 a.m.
anniebelle said...

Yes, and the $800 Billion of the 99% handed over to this 1% as Bush/Cheney departed D.C. I hardly call that a 'free' market. It's amazing how the morons in this country have doubled, tripled in quantity since St. Ronnie came into power in the 80's and are so willing to hand over their pension funds, mortgages, etc. to these banksters. I see now how Nazi Germany came into power.

October 15, 2011 at 7:42 a.m.
lumpy said...

If I work hard, and I'm rewarded for my hard work, nobody else is entitled to that reward but me. That simple, basic truth, that reality, you can't get around, no matter how you twist things.

It'll never work to take from someone and give it someone else. It'll always be theft. Those occupy losers will have you believe they're after "the rich" only, when actually they want everyone to have the same amount of stuff and money.

You should all move Venezuela where Chavez has no problem siezing private property and other things for the state and in the name of justice.

Rickharoo, you're pathetic. Nobody covets like a leftist and the dopes and losers they whip up into a frenzy.

October 15, 2011 at 7:50 a.m.
MTJohn said...

lumpy said... If I work hard, and I'm rewarded for my hard work, nobody else is entitled to that reward but me. That simple, basic truth, that reality, you can't get around, no matter how you twist things.

If that analogy were correct, wealth would be distributed proportional to the level of effort expended to earn it. It isn't. Rather, wealth is distributed proportional to the ability to leverage greed.

October 15, 2011 at 8 a.m.
Momus said...

Why is this trickle-down yellow?

October 15, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
hambone said...

The posture of the character in this cartoon is a accurate depiction of the attitude of the GOP/TEA Party towards the economist and other experts telling them how wrong they are!!

October 15, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.
alprova said...

Lumpy wrote: "It's the lazy and the envious demanding the stuff other people have worked hard for, OR ELSE!"

Your average 1 percenter did not work hard to achieve their wealth. Most at the top have inherited what they have. Most have never had a speck of dirt under their fingernails. Most have never done a days manual labor a day in their lives.

October 15, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.
fairmon said...

Can someone help me understand what will be better after the top 20% which includes the now infamous 1% that pay around 80% of all income tax revenue begins paying more, around 85% of all income tax revenue? I don't care if they are taxed enough to pay 90% of all tax revenue, What will that do for the 99%? How will their lot in life improve once the top 20% are less wealthy and have less to invest or spend?

October 15, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.
alprova said...

AndrewLohr wrote: "Look, the bank I use used to automatically print my balance on my statement whenever I made a deposit. That was stopped by law."

What in the heck are you talking about? There is no such law anywhere on Earth that states that a bank cannot update your balance on a statement when a deposit is made.

"I went to add my wife to my account, and a couple PODs were kicked off because I didn't have their SS#s handy. By law."

What does adding your wife to your account have to do with not providing Social Security numbers for a couple of POD's?

October 15, 2011 at 9:18 a.m.
miraweb said...

I took a quick look at the Forbes richest 50 Americans and where that wealth comes from. Turns out, that unless you inherent, own a hedge fund, media empire, oil & gas company, or a tech firm you have little chance of making the big leagues.

I'm sure that it is pure coincidence that list parallels the industries that seem to win big on government corruption.

Forbes 50 Richest Americans: $859 Billion in combined personal fortunes

For comparison: Pentagon Budget - $527.9 Billion, Social Security Payments - $1,235 Billion, Medicare/Medicare Payments - $523.6 Billion

Inherited Charles Koch,
David Koch,
Frederick Koch,
William Koch,
Christy Walton,
Jim Walton,
Alice Walton,
Robson Walton,
Forrest Mars Jr.,
John Mars,
Jaqueline Mars,
Leonard Lauder,
Edward Johnson,

Banking, Hedge Funds, Leveraged Buyouts & Investing Warren Buffet,
George Soros,
John Paulson,
Carl Icahn,
Ronald Perelman,
Abigail Johnson,
James Simons,
Harold Simmons,
Steve Cohen,
Andrew Beal,
Ray Dalio,
Eli Broad,
Donald Bren

Casinos Sheldon Adelson

Technology Larry Ellison,
Jeff Bezos,
Mark Zuckerberg,
Sergey Brin,
Larry Page,
Michael Dell,
Steve Ballmer,
Paul Allen,
Steve Jobs,
Pierre Omidyar,
James Goodnight

Media Empires Michael Bloomberg,
Anne Cox Chambers,
Rupert Murdoch,
Samuel Newhouse,
Charles Ergen,
Len Blavatnik,

Oil & Gas Geoge Kaiser,
Harold Hamm,
Richard Kinder

Other Phil Knight (Nike),
Jack Taylor (Rental Cars),
Patrick Soon-Shiong (Pharmaceuticals)

October 15, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
fairmon said...

Ollie said..... globalization has allowed businesses to outsource good American jobs overseas I ask you, who are the ones who want to take from others- the working class man who desires a fair wage for a day's work, or the industrialist who maximized his profits by replacing that worker with cheap foreign labor?

Ollie....

excellent points that prompts the question how can those that moved over seas keep making their products in America and stay in business if they can't sell their American made products in America or over seas? Do you think those that loan/invest in a company and put money at risk have a right to expect the managers of that business to make good business decisions and prevent them from losing their money? Is it reasonable to expect a return on money loaned/invested in a business? Who was looking out for the working man that had pension and 401K money invested in GM? Who baled them out? No one, they lost every penny invested and if they held bonds they did not get the principle back?

Taxing the wealthy more and reduce the amount they are investing or spending is fine with me but what does that do for the 99% and those unemployed? Increase corporate tax rates also but does that give them an incentive to invest and grow in the U.S. or does it cause them to seek other locations that treat them better?

Keep buying those imports if you are sure that will help things improve. Are protesters in the right location? The problem seems to start in Washington.

October 15, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
fairmon said...

miraweb posted...

Forbes 50 Richest Americans: $859 Billion in combined personal fortunes.

Good information but confiscate every penny of it and the budget is not balanced next year. Redistribute it and most will go to buying imports which helps the economy of those importing to the U.S. and transfers U.S. wealth to foreign countries. Could it be our leaders have us so far up that famous creek there is no way back?

Does anyone have any idea when and how the debt stops increasing or ever begins being reduced? Any fix will be painful for the wealthy and the not wealthy.

October 15, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
miraweb said...

What is lighting fires (and protests) across the country is the issue of fairness.

A small number of people have their thumbs firmly on the scale of the tax code, the regulatory environment, and the law.

They are the last one's to want a level playing field.

In this case, "follow the money" has real meaning.

October 15, 2011 at 9:54 a.m.
stanleyyelnats said...

We crunched the raw numbers using the 2007 survey data, which had been published in early 2009. Moore is right again: the top 1 percent held 48.4 percent of non-home wealth, compared to 20 percent for the bottom 95 percent. For the second straight survey, in fact, the concentration of wealth increased.

Read More--- > Click Here

October 15, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.
acerigger said...

The "Occupy" movement is happening in over 82 countries of the world today! Boy,that's a lot of "dirty hippies" huh?

If you think it's all about taking from the rich and giving to the "lazy losers",you need to find a more "fair and balanced" source of information.

October 15, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
miraweb said...

Forbes reports that their top 400 paid an effective tax rate of 18.1% You get there by:

  • 15% tax on capital gains
  • Ability to hide many personal luxuries (cars, homes, planes) as business assets
  • Ability to take mortgage deductions on all homes, not just the primary residence
  • Ability to deduct health insurance costs for coverage plans considered too expensive for employees
  • Industry-based loop-holes and carve-outs

Forbes reports that 13.1% of all capital gains tax benefits help the top 400 people who report on their returns just 1.31% of the nations income.

Eli Broad (#47) was the source of the quote, "We've been coddled long enough and have tax breaks that 99.9% of the public don't have, and it's not fair."

October 15, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
miraweb said...

One additional benefit that isn't available to the masses. If you have a second home with a stinky mortgage, you can declare bankruptcy and the judge can force the lender to rewrite it. Of course, you get to chose which residence is your "second" home.

If you have only one home, the judge has no power to rewrite that mortgage.

October 15, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
dude_abides said...

CEO pay up an average of 28% in one year? How can any of you dickheads defend that?

Just read what BW48 posted again and suspend your disbelief. Nobody will know. You can change your opinions. It's not too late to get on the correct side of history. God loves you, but you're on his last f**king nerve.

October 15, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
miraweb said...

Here is a number I haven't completely figured out. GDP for the U.S. is $14.2 trillion. Investments, according to the IMF, are 15.03% of the U.S. GDP. That results in potentially $2.1 trillion of economic activity being generated through activities falling under capital gains rules.

Forbes, working with the IRS reports, comes up with $61 billion in realized capital gains for the top 400 which, working backwards, results in a total realized capital gains of $469 billion for everyone as far as the IRS is concerned.

Leaving $1.6 trillion in investment gains that aren't showing up in the tax collections at all.

A piece of that has to be Roth IRAs. But where is the rest?

Interesting problem.

October 15, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.
rolando said...

There is an overload of plain, ordinary, run of the mill communists on this forum.

Read what is being said about essentially taxing the rich out of existence.

Read what is being said in favor of the welfare state.

They think they will be the new elite...when all they are, and ever will be, is what Stalin called "useful idiots".

October 15, 2011 at 11:45 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

If the flea baggers think they are part of 99% of anything they are truly delusional.

I watch the glee and/or satisfaction radiating from the leftists and wonder how long it will be before the more rational among you will regret that this movement was ever started. This is not "what democracy looks like". It is what anarchy and mob rule looks like. Hang on baby!

October 15, 2011 at 12:22 p.m.
terrybham said...

blackwater 48-I totally agree with your comments. It is the 1% er's who have been waging class warfare for the past thirty years or more. It is time to fight back. There have always been "quislings" who side with the enemy and attempt to curry their favor. Well not me. I am unable to be in NYC, but my heart is there. March on!

October 15, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
jesse said...

your right rolando,i see a LOT of karl marx in a lot of the posts on here!

the thing is they might not even realize it!

October 15, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"This is not 'what democracy looks like.' It is what anarchy and mob rule looks like." - BRP

Anarchy is what will come if you libertarian/teabaggers get your infantile wish of no government.

October 15, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
MTJohn said...

BigRidgePatriot said...This is not "what democracy looks like". It is what anarchy and mob rule looks like. Hang on baby!

I'd be curious to know the basis for assuming that status quo - a system that developed around Reaganomics and that allowed the kind of wealth redistribution that has occurred during the past 30 years - equates to what democracy is supposed to look like.

October 15, 2011 at 12:57 p.m.
nucanuck said...

This stuff about the rich working harder is a bunch of bunk. The truth is most people work hard at their jobs, but when worker pay declines and management pay increases for the same duties as before, the seeds of dicontent are sown. There is absolutely no justification for the yawning gap between worker and boss' pay. Should they all be paid the same? Of course not, but the ratio has moved to the absurd...to the point of protest! The tax code prior to 1980 discouraged huge pay packages because over a certain point, most of it went for taxes. You could still get rich, but you had to work longer to do so. You could also feed your family if you just had a regular job.

This is why people are taking to the streets. The system is no longer fair.

I don't think that I ever worked harder than anyone else. I did take some risks, but by taking advantage of the tax system's inequities, I was able to accumulate far more wealth with the tax cuts of the last thirty years than would have been possible under the previous tax policy. That might have been good for me, but I doubt that it was good for America.

October 15, 2011 at 1 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BigRidgePatriot said: “This is not "what democracy looks like".“

Indeed, BRP. It’s what a Banana Republic looks like. If you doubt this, just take a look at some of the income distribution statistics compiled by our Central Intelligence Agency. You might also consider reading Timothy Noah's series, The United States of Inequality:

“All my life I've heard Latin America described as a failed society (or collection of failed societies) because of its grotesque maldistribution of wealth. Peasants in rags beg for food outside the high walls of opulent villas, and so on.

But according to the Central Intelligence Agency (whose patriotism I hesitate to question), income distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador. Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States.

Economically speaking, the richest nation on earth is starting to resemble a banana republic. The main difference is that the United States is big enough to maintain geographic distance between the villa-dweller and the beggar. As Ralston Thorpe tells his St. Paul's classmate, the investment banker Sherman McCoy, in Tom Wolfe's 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities: "You've got to insulate, insulate, insulate."

But income inequality is a topic of huge importance to American society and therefore a subject of large and growing interest to a host of economists, political scientists, and other wonky types. Except for a few Libertarian outliers (whose views we'll examine later), these experts agree that the country's growing income inequality is deeply worrying. Even Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Board chairman and onetime Ayn Rand acolyte, has registered concern. "This is not the type of thing which a democratic society—a capitalist democratic society—can really accept without addressing," Greenspan said in 2005. . ."

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_great_divergence/features/2010/the_united_states_of_inequality/introducing_the_great_divergence.html [Timothy Noah – “United States of Inequality]

October 15, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.

.1979. Those were the days.

October 15, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
patriot1 said...

Recent events are beginning to show us what democracy looks like. It's no wonder Karl Marx said "Democracy is the road to socialism"

October 15, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.
ricardo said...

It is not the income disparity that has people in a tizzy. It is the government pandering to the have-lots, at the expense of the have-nots. The amount of corporate money in politics is off the scale, on both sides of the political spectrum. Our (and it is still ours) government has been bought an paid for by corporate and wealthy special interest groups.

October 15, 2011 at 3:03 p.m.
miraweb said...

It's about fairness and it's about corruption.

"This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country."

-- Theodore Roosevelt

October 15, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
rolando said...

We used to be a capitalist country...and it made us great -- the envy [or object of hate for our success] of the rest of the world. People clamored to get to our fabled "streets of gold"...and raise themselves and their families literally from rags to riches. We were a robust, thriving nation of vision and ability.

Today we are essentially nothing...a few countries still think highly of us -- the rest see as a bottomless barrel of money [and we are].

Today we are a debtor nation that imports everything but basic foodstuffs. We have lost our ability to compete in the world...our industry, our knowhow, and our problem-solving abilities have moved overseas.

Today we are realistically threatened by two-bit Third World countries with impunity.

Today, we cannot secure our borders; we cannot win our military battles; our money is no longer the world's reserve currency [or soon won't be]. Our government essentially "owns" our banking system. We are approaching national bankruptcy.

Our healthcare resources are near overload exhaustion, our public schools and universities are a national and worldwide disgrace and laughing stock, our major industries [what is left of them] are either bankrupt or bailed out [owned/controlled by the government].

So what changed?
We [and our government] became socialists and wasted our resources on trivialities and ignored the important; we became "fair" [whatever that means] and then "corrupt" [through selective taking/giving largess]; under threat of law and force of arms, our government took from those who worked and/or produced a product and gave their profit to those who didn't...in the name of "fairness".

It was and is legalized theft -- and began in ernest in 1913.

October 15, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
DarkSky said...

Republicans move to Somalia(they have minimal gov't and non-existant tax/regulations). We've already heard the conservatives opinion on where the democrats should go.

I swear people! Both sides of our 2 party system are equally at fault for the mess our country is in now. On this site, it's the same, same,same all the time from the same people. But it seems to me that the conservatives are more nasty when responding to other peoples comments.

I want to see the Federal Reserve held under a microscope, a simpler tax code, no hidden campaign money, strict lobbying rules, and a 3 term limit in Congress. Also, if someone knows what regulations the conservatives want to lessen or get rid of, I would like to know. Cause that and lower taxes is the drum they beat constantly.

October 15, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.
rolando said...

The drum is not labeled "Cut Taxes", DarkSky, but "Reduce Spending". Big difference there.

Most conservatives here return fire when attacked. We seldom initiate...but reply in kind.

October 15, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
DarkSky said...

Reduce where? What I hear on the major news networks is cut taxes and regulations(from rebublican canidates),and also reduce spending.

Do we really need to police the world? Cut the wars out. I know it would mean people losing jobs here (military contracts) but hey that's buisness, eh?

Any others know what regs the republicans always talk about?

Some popular republicans out there calling the 99% people "Un-American" for praticing their constitutional rights.....

My politics are middle of the road so I get hit by both sides. Fiscally, I'm conservative[(in my life and think fed gov't should be too)(and aren't we supossed to be a republic?)] but Socially ,I'm liberal(all americans should enjoy the same rights. I don't care what you do as long as it's consenting adults).

We live in capitalist country, but "to big to fail"? What does that mean? Regular depositers(100k at the time, right?) were insured so who was to big to fail? I thought capitalism worked by, you succede ,good for you and you failed, well try again. Not "we're sorry, we made some high risk investments and bent/broke some rules" but we're happy cause we got our % and bonuses.

October 15, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.
ricardo said...

Perry wants to eliminate the EPA, because we all know what great environmental stewards the oil companies are. Free enterprise will force the energy companies to self-regulate their own industry and they will spend as much money as necessary to ensure that they can drill for oil in the deepest part of the Gulf safely. (posted sarcastically).

October 15, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Rolando said: “There is an overload of plain, ordinary, run of the mill communists on this forum. Read what is being said about essentially taxing the rich out of existence. Read what is being said in favor of the welfare state. They think they will be the new elite.”

Believe you urgently need to change your reading habits, Rolando Quixote. Your obsession with communism is beginning to distort your perception of reality. The economic problems the U.S. is currently facing have nothing to do with communism. It’s about income inequality and the problems it is creating. Even characters like Marc Faber have noted the obvious are asking the question: “Will the U.S. Become a Banana Republic?”

“Friedman expressed the view that if the Republicans had remained in control of the House and the Senate, the US would have become a banana republic.

But a banana republic isn't characterised only by a rotten political system, ruled by a small, wealthy, and corrupt clique usually put in power or supported by foreign interests (in the 20th century, in the case of several Central and Latin American countries, by the US), but also by huge wealth and income inequities, poor infrastructure, backwardness in many sectors of the economy, low capital spending, a reliance on foreign capital, money printing and budget deficits, and of course a weakening currency.

A banana republic is also characterised by a ruling class that curtails people's personal freedoms and is moving towards a heavyhanded military dictatorship under the excuse of fighting guerrilla (or terrorist) opposition groups or enemies. Moreover, the fact that the ruling class or the elite comes from different political parties isn't a relevant factor in classifying a country as a banana republic; what is relevant is the determination of the elite, irrespective of which party its members belong to, to shift wealth from the majority of the people (the masses) to themselves, usually through simply printing money and incurring chronic budget deficits, and frequently also through senseless warfare.”

Now, I am not insinuating that the US is already a banana republic, but the trend is undoubtedly there. . . “

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/faber2.html

October 15, 2011 at 5:51 p.m.
EaTn said...

Been on the road most of the day and just catching up on the comments. Of all those who commented here there may be a couple in the 1% group, which means the rest are in the 99% group--which also means several of the commenters here are gullible enough to believe the propaganda being spewed by the 1%.

October 15, 2011 at 6:08 p.m.
Reardon said...

By what right have you to forcefully seize what I have rightfully earned, through my own toil -- to give the absolute best I am capable of in exchange for another's derivative of his absolute best? All out of volition and mutual agreement?

By what natural right do you lay claim over what was given to me, out of the fruits of another's labor?

Answer me, most benevolent altruists.

I aspire and work daily for the opportunity the enter the 1%. Not by force, not by deception. But by honest, steadfast, daily work. Convincing with not my words, but by my actions, for the right to win my client's trust and hard-earned wealth, in exchange for my very best effort to provide them the service they desire.

Atlas's shoulders are weighing down heavily...

October 15, 2011 at 6:23 p.m.
whatsnottaken said...

When whiners like CB have no legitimate arguments or solutions, they resort to class warfare. The rich have to give to us - the lazy, the illegal, the downtrodden (because of the rich). Who are the rich? Anyone with a job paying their own bills.

October 15, 2011 at 7:40 p.m.
fairmon said...

Posted above..... It’s about income inequality and the problems it is creating.

Will increasing government income in any way correct the income problem? Should the government nationalize every business in the U.S. like Venezuela? Should they tax all income 100% or confiscate all wealth and redistribute it in what they deem fair instead of allowing normal market forces to work. Those that provide a good product or service at the best price will eventually prevail. If people would quit buying anything from companies they feel are not being "fair" things will change.

October 15, 2011 at 8:18 p.m.
fairmon said...

dude_abides said... CEO pay up an average of 28% in one year? How can any of you dickheads defend that?

Why would anyone defend or object? Would a decrease in their income help those with low or no income? Why not advocate an increased minimum wage and increase the income of the lowest paid? Many say an increased minimum wage would cause price inflation. So what, everyone pays more for their purchases so the lowest paid can have more income and not be government dependent. Unless more people start buying imports.

Why do you keep buying products from those companies that over pay their CEO? Why do you keep buying from any business owner that you think is making too much? Why do you keep buying imports and denying American workers the opportunity to work and make the product for you?

October 15, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.
fairmon said...

I have seen the long laundry list of the unlaundered protesters but it doesn't say who they are addressing their complaints to or exactly who they expect to "fix" the problem. The people on Wall Street aren't going to fix it. Some in congress say they empathize with them but don't say how they will address the issues. Does anyone know for sure?

October 15, 2011 at 8:35 p.m.

Reardon, the money you're talking about is taxes. Taxes are used to pay for the whole host of services you receive from a functional government. And you are consenting to it, by remaining under the jurisdiction of the government in question, which in turn provides many things for you, even if you don't realize it. The benefits you receive are considerable, yet hard to realize, because you never notice when you don't have problems with it.

If you wish to establish a society where everything is done by individual contract and consent, then I would suggest you exercise one of the things you receive from the government, which is representation in it, and attempt to reform matters. Either that, or exercise your other option, which is the freedom to leave its jurisdiction.

Though if you think you're going to enter the 1% with good, honest labor...you're about as likely to have that as the 1% is to let the "market forces" others talk about impact their own bottom lines. I don't know why people are foolish enough to think that those in power will play fair or not take advantage of those with fewer resources. They won't. Unless you call them on their misbehavior.

Which is not class warfare. It's actually a market force, namely that of the mass number of people standing up for themselves, and exerting their own power. Or is there a lack of right for 100 customers to stick together on their own? 1000? 10,000? And to exert suasion on other potential customers? Note I use the word suasion, to distinguish it with coercion. Though I don't necessarily disclaim the use of force, I'm just asking here, if it's acceptable to try to persuade others to your point of view by standing united with those who already agree.

October 15, 2011 at 9:19 p.m.
DarkSky said...

Hey Reardon, do you like having firefighters, police, courts, roads, bridges? I pay my share for those services/things and if you like living here, you should also pay. If you hate paying for living in a civil society, then move to Somalia. I don't want your $$ in my pocket. I work 50-60 hours a week. I pay my way.

Where do you see the 99% wants all of the rich's money? That's crazy and wouldn't work anyway. Do I want the top 5% to pay their share by law? They already do. I want the loopholes closed and the other items I posted above in a previous post. They benefit the most in our country and I think they should pay the most. Even at 35% plus local, payroll, and sales, if your making $1,000,000 a year you still get a lot of money. I would love to be in that tax bracket and wouldn't mind paying.

October 15, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
fairmon said...

hwtnb....

It's actually a market force, namely that of the mass number of people standing up for themselves, and exerting their own power.

This would apply if enough people reduced gas consumption in half the cost of gas would go down 50% or more.

If, people quit buying imports and demanded American made products as an option the demand would increase and the workers producing them would increase.

When demand goes up enough that unemployment becomes low enough to force employers to bid for people wages and benefits go up and there is a stronger middle class America. Government spending and taxing cannot create the desired conditions. People united can.

October 15, 2011 at 9:55 p.m.
alprova said...

Rolando wrote: "We used to be a capitalist country...and it made us great -- the envy [or object of hate for our success] of the rest of the world. People clamored to get to our fabled "streets of gold"...and raise themselves and their families literally from rags to riches. We were a robust, thriving nation of vision and ability."

That all changed when Reagan was elected and the Republicans began coddling those at the top.

"Today we are essentially nothing...a few countries still think highly of us -- the rest see as a bottomless barrel of money [and we are]."

On the contrary. The United States is still a good investment. If we are looked down upon by other nations, it is due only to repetitive insidious insertions of our military where is was not invited or where it does not belong.

"Today we are a debtor nation that imports everything but basic foodstuffs. We have lost our ability to compete in the world...our industry, our knowhow, and our problem-solving abilities have moved overseas."

Thanks to Republican lawmakers who opened the floodgates for industry to pull up roots, relocate, and who imposed trade agreements conducive with importing foreign goods on the cheap.

"Today we are realistically threatened by two-bit Third World countries with impunity."

Not quite there, yet, but if the Republicans get their way and are allowed to resume their plundering...

"Today, we cannot secure our borders; we cannot win our military battles; our money is no longer the world's reserve currency [or soon won't be]. Our government essentially "owns" our banking system. We are approaching national bankruptcy."

The United States is nowhere near close to bankruptcy and the Government has not seized any of the assets owned by banks.

"Our healthcare resources are near overload exhaustion"

Thanks to unbridled greed by health care providers.

"our public schools and universities are a national and worldwide disgrace and laughing stock"

And which University did YOU attend, that gives you so much insight into the state of our education system?

"our major industries [what is left of them] are either bankrupt or bailed out [owned/controlled by the government]."

Not one industry or a single, formerly privately owned business is owned by the Government, nor does the Government have a controlling interest in any business. The current stake that the Federal Government has in GM is only 27% - hardly anywhere near a controlling interest. Canada has a 12% interest in GM.

Even the The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are owned by private stockholders. The federal government possesses warrants which, if exercised, would allow them to take a 79.9% ownership share in the companies. The federal government has not currently exercised these warrants.

Government sponsored enterprises include:

Fannie Mae, Farmer Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, Freddie Mac, and Sallie Mae

October 15, 2011 at 10:02 p.m.
fairmon said...

Close the loop holes. Abolish all dedcutions, credits, incentives and any other reasons provided to enable people to pay less than the posted rate. What is the justification for allowing a tax deduction for interest on a loan to buy a house?

Why is the federal government borrowing money to make grants to states and cities across the country?

October 15, 2011 at 10:04 p.m.
Reardon said...

I'm not arguing taxation but the process in which taxes are seized.

Usage taxation versus arbitrary taxation.

Moral versus Immoral.

The ends do not justify the means.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater; just because I criticize taxation, doesn't mean that I think there should be taxation.

Critical thinking here. I suggest reading Bastiat's "The Law." Quite an eye-opener.

Per your 1% argument... please. Press charges against those who commit fraud or deceit. I know plenty of people who worked their balls off, that came from poor working class backgrounds and reside in the 1%. Not by inheritance. Certainly not by force. But by providing value. Real virtue. And in exchange, they became rich for their efforts.

October 15, 2011 at 10:53 p.m.
steve_smith said...

I see the question posted about why libertarians and TEA partiers don't move to Somalia. Our forefathers did something just about like that. They subdued a continent, not by the help of a big government, but by an axe, sweat and a kentucky long rifle. The lazy stayed behind in Europe. Now the lazy are taking charge again but this time there is no where left to run for Freedom. We might have to fight for it here.

October 15, 2011 at 10:55 p.m.
fairmon said...

$16 each for muffins for a lunchon? Why should anyone be willing to pay more for the leadership we are getting?

October 15, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.

Harp...In the first case, no, the production of oil would drop, to keep the prices elevated. That's what having an oligopoly in charge of a vital resource results in. Yay non-free market for fossil fuels! Huzzah!

As for the muffins, you've been fooled by sloppy accounting, as the real facts of the story show, not just the soundbytes on whatever news show you've seen spreading the story. The convention had a bit over 500 attendees. It lasted 5 days. They spent somewhere around 40,000 dollars on food and beverages. Which were not itemized directly, but were provided in bulk, and besides the muffins, included fruits, tea, coffee, cookies, brownies and even the taxes and tips! Yeah, the hotel charged a mandatory gratuity! How's that smack you? The charges might even have included space rental, I'm not sure.

So, no, your story there is false and misleading.

You want to FOIA the receipts for the convention yourself? Go right ahead, but don't repeat the stories you've heard about it. You want to fire somebody? Fire the people in the inspector general's office who can't bother to get the whole story.

October 15, 2011 at 11:48 p.m.
hambone said...

I don't beleive there is anyone posting on this forum in the top 20%, much less the top 1%.

Just a bunch of wannabes who have over feed at the Faux, Limbaugh, Beck trough of ultra conservative swill.

October 16, 2011 at 12:13 a.m.
SavartiTN said...

The 1% don't want you in on their secret. The secret that no matter what the rest of us do, there is NO American Dream. And they are going to make sure of that. The 1% don't need the 99%. If you believe that they do, you are delusional.

Just read this article written in 2007 which references the Citigroup Plutonomy memo. http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/01/08/plutonomics/

It is now difficult to find copies of the original Citigroup Plutonomy reports as they have worked hard to keep them off of the internet. They don't want you to know what they know. That the 99% are just patsies. Just fools.

Keep believing that crap about the rich worked hard and deserve what they have. See where it gets you.

October 16, 2011 at 1:07 a.m.
SavartiTN said...

It was fascinating to see the news tonight that the Occupy Wall Street movement is world wide now. But it brought up a question for me.

In EVERY country, they were complaining about not having jobs. Where did the jobs go? They couldn't have all gone to China. Is it possible that the 1% is now so wealthy that they don't need the masses therefore there is no investment in creating jobs?

Where did the jobs go?

October 16, 2011 at 1:11 a.m.
SavartiTN said...

And a note to the 1%:

It's like that old Emerson Lake and Palmer song "Lucky Man" says..."No money could save him so he laid down and he died."

So, I suppose that the 99% and the 1% do have one thing in common.

October 16, 2011 at 1:20 a.m.
fairmon said...

hwtnb responds..... ...In the first case, no, the production of oil would drop, to keep the prices elevated. That's what having an oligopoly in charge of a vital resource results in. Yay non-free market for fossil fuels! Huzzah!

Not so. It has happened before and oil prices dropped. The reduction in consumption would have to be sustained and not go up when prices dropped. A temporary reduction in demand is no more effective than a temporary tax reduction or stimulus spending. The producers, as you suggest, attempting to manipulate prices are volume dependent.

Muffins? No the article didn't comment on 500 government employees convening for 5 days or for what purpose. It didn't address why they needed to borrow the money to meet in a non-government facility and spend $40,000 dollars on snacks.

October 16, 2011 at 1:54 a.m.

Volume dependent? No, they aren't. The workers maybe, but not the companies that are really benefit. They're hostage-dependent. You want to get that fixed? Good luck with what will be needed to do that.

But I'm sorry you didn't look into the real details of the conventions, otherwise you might have some basis for your criticisms. If you want to provide an available facility for them to use for their convention, you should at least know why they were meeting and what their needs were. Not the false soundbite about 16 dollar muffins. Of course, if they did use such a facility, you'd probably just complain about the government building something that only got used a few times a year when private industry offered a cheaper alternative.

I believe that specific convention was about Immigration Review, but you'd have to ask for a schedule if you wanted to know what it was about in detail. Strangely nobody bothered to care much about the actual meetings, just the distorted details that made for a good headline.

You want to find waste in government? You can. Easily. But not with that example.

October 16, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.

"Thou shalt not covet." You don't even make any sense. Get over yourself and your insane bible verses. None of us liberals are coveting the riches of the wealthy, as much as you want to believe that. It is you defenders of them who covet their riches, thinking that there, by the grace of your money-grubbing, prejudicial god, you might be one day - that is obvious. Come up with something different to make your point.

why mrrickipoo yur lyin an yu no it--yus butter telll yur prezObam hees cuvitin owr reeches Tha ways him an michl ar spendin $$$ an $$$ an $$$ an partees awl da tim an flyin evrywhar wit thos frends an winin an dinin thos ole Cee-Lebb-trees wile wes por wons ar cowntin evry lil pennni!! Thos reech Hippycrit Libby frends uv yurs and Obams hev a lott uv HAyt fur us po foks hoo pay tha BILL!

Git yursef to warshintin MrRicky an tell tha ole Partee uv yurs ta stup beeing sech Hippycrits! now git! ur ill seeck ma daddy an hees GUN on ya toot sweet!

October 17, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
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