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Business Insider on the vanishing middle class - Habemus plus vis computatoris quam Deus
Ramblings of a Unix ronin
unixronin
unixronin
Business Insider on the vanishing middle class

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.  Cliché, sure, but it's more true than at any time since the Gilded Age.

So says Business Insider, and they show 15 graphs to support it. Granted, this is not entirely a balanced view; the two distribution-of-wealth pie charts show that almost the entirety of wealth in the US is held by the upper 50% of the population, and a third of it by the top 1%, with a similar (and unsurprising) imbalance in stocks-and-bonds ownership, but neglects to mention that the same 50% of the population also shoulders essentially the entire Federal tax burden, with the top 1% paying 25% of it.

Also follow the links to this article about how the American middle class is being systematically wiped out, a process which is only being accelerated by US Government policies that are making it an act of foolhardy stupidity for US corporations not to relocate as much as possible of their operations offshore, and this article which asserts that it really makes very little difference whether the Bush-II tax cuts are extended or not because it's already m according to the author — mathematically impossible for even the existing Federal debt to ever be paid off.

If you took every dollar out of every single wallet, out of every single mattress and out of every single U.S. bank and sent it to the government you wouldn't even make that big of a dent in the national debt.

So can't the U.S. government just go out and create more money and solve the problem?

No.

You see, under our system the creation of more money is also the creation of more debt.

You should probably follow on from there to this article about how the US monetary system really works, too.

I see only one way out of this for the United States, and that is for the people of the United States to first fire the entire present government of the United States, and then repudiate the debts of that government.  Of course, this would almost certainly precipitate a global financial crisis (yes, another one).  But, honestly, so would the other option, which is to continue on this path until the US goes bankrupt.  That course would put the crash off for a while, at the cost of it being even worse when it eventually comes.

Frankly, the entire world needs to open its eyes and see that the investment banking industry has spent at least the last thirty years building a house of cards out of imaginary cards, having agreed among themselves to pretend that the cards are real, and laughing all the way to their offshore banks with the profits.  They have turned the banking industry into a way to siphon wealth out of the global economy without putting any corresponding value back.

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rain_manpnw From: rain_manpnw Date: December 8th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, the top 1% holds 33% of the wealth, but is only paying 25% of the tax burden ... is that what you're saying?
unixronin From: unixronin Date: December 8th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
What I'm specifically saying there is that it's not as cut and dried as "Oh noez, teh rich haz all teh munniez!" I suspect most of those who scream loudest for all income to be "fairly" redistributed would scream and wail even more loudly were the tax burden to be redistributed on the same basis.
jilara From: jilara Date: December 9th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I have my reply to people who say "why impose heavier taxes on the rich?" I admit to deriving it from "Why do you rob banks?" but it's applicable: Because that's where the money is. You can take 80% of a lower-class income and it's spitting in the ocean. But 25% of the income of someone making over $400K is actually money you can see.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: December 9th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Indeed, and that is very true. But anyone looking at any industrialized nation in the 20th century should by now surely have learned one crucial fact: When you set out to soak the rich, the rich leave, and they take much of the driving force behind your economy with them, as well as all of the tax revenues you used to get from them. I personally know of people who have not only left the US for other climes, but are seeking to renounce their US citizenship, in order to get out from under the taxes that the US still expects them to pay even after living for five years in a foreign country.



Of course, I'm not saying "soak the poor" here, before anyone pops up with that canard. I'm just saying, tax fairly, and remember that ofttimes the wealth of the wealthy is actually doing a lot more for the economy, behind the visible scenes, than it would be were the government to merely step in and take a bigger chunk of it to fritter away in bureaucratic inefficiency. Higher tax revenues feed more and bigger government, and government is not the solution, it's the problem.

Edited at 2010-12-09 01:24 am (UTC)
jilara From: jilara Date: December 9th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
What did Perot say about the sucking sound of jobs leaving the country?

I've been following this ponzi scheme for a while, and we're in so deep that I suspect the only way out is to simply declare the whole country bankrupt and start over. Which isn't going to happen. Besides, everyone else has been players in the same scheme.

So where does it leave the rest of us, the formerly middle class? Well, there's a term I picked up from a 1930's movie called "Meet John Doe," and that's "healots." It was a term for Romans in a class that was above slaves but below citizens. We are all in a state of semi-slavery, much of the country eliminating the wealth and material goods accumulated in better times, as the middle class slowly (or quickly) declines toward the lower strata.
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