Saturday, September 25, 2010

Selling outrage and seducing the citizen.

The rich are angry according to Paul Krugman in his New York Times column Monday. The rich are outraged that the tax cuts they were given in the beginning of this century are expiring at the end of this year.
The rich want everyone else in the country to be outraged too and are willing to put their money where their priorities are. The primary method is the creation and funding of nonprofit advocacy groups like Americans for Job Security. Then there is Citizens for the Republic run by men known as Regan's money men for two decades. This organization is yet another almost solely funded by the Koch brothers. These two men, who inherited the huge corporation Koch Industries, are the money behind the money pushing the Tea Party's "grass roots" influence.
"…among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it's their money, and they have the right to keep it."

Largest home in Kentucky owned by Papa John's founder.

The nonprofit advocacy groups raise money and avoid taxation by calling huge donations dues. These groups have no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country, funding advertising, websites, blogs, YouTube videos, online chatter and enthusiastic talking heads who are inflating outrage at the logic of paying taxes to support the country.

I mention these groups because they are examples of hundred more that exist to get our votes behind their agenda. They believe when we see their incessant warm and fuzzy shots of the majesty of our national parks and the flag flying briskly in a small town parade, we will once again believe the words well crafted to seduce and follow that thinking all the way to the voting booth.

You see 95% of the country is not extremely wealthy. Fourteen point three percent of the country [one in 7] people in America are poor. The poor do not vote in numbers anywhere close to their part of the population. Fifty to 60% of the citizens vote. These nonprofit advocacy groups know this. They have set their eye on the up to 80% who are not poor and not very wealthy.

To succeed in the self-serving agenda of the rich all they have to do is poke us into their outrage.

Three quarters of the annual budget of the country is spent on the military, Social Security and Medicare. I would analyze this for you but I know your eyes will just glaze over!

Suffice it to say the working population has paid into Social Security and Medicare. Yet when you hear candidates supported by these advocacy groups one of the things they want to do is cut these two safety net programs. Another idea they have is to privatize Social Security so that there is fresh money for the stock market which leads to fresh commissions and income for the banks and brokerage firms which we the people bailed out when they ran the financial industry into the ground.

Remember that? Sure you do.
Back in 1994 when the Contract for America was launched taxes were at the point they would be again when the tax cuts expire at the end of December. When we survived the predicted Y2K doom of the new century, the federal budget had a surplus. Learned economists were predicting major financial problems if the surplus continued! This tells you just how accurate learned economists can predict the economy in the future.

Now we have had seven years of wild abandon in spending and two wars. We have had three years of continuing war and an almost total financial collapse. You can blame this on many things. There are nonprofit advocacy groups who will write you a long list of who to blame. But when you spend more money than you bring in you are not going to be solvent. Closing our eyes and doing what was done before will not work.

That is the definition of crazy.


  1. do wealthier people not have a right to have what they have? should they give it all away? i am not wealthy but i certainly give a lot away, but to places i choose to give, not to where someone else wants to waste it on pork projects. i pay my taxes and don't complain, well not much anyway but i do think the robin hood mentality of congress needs to be stopped. it's not THEIR money but they want it so they intend to take it. what makes that right? someone else is poor? we are responsible for everyone no matter their circumstance? i think there are lots of good people on entitlement programs but there are also lots of lazy addicts that scam the system and i am sick of it all. i don't want to support them any more. i want term limits. i want congress fired. all of them. i think they have done a terrible job and deserve to lose their jobs. and take a look at THEIR benefits too. that makes me sick. sorry for the rant honey. i am just tired of people trying to pick my pocket.

    smiles, bee

  2. The rich are angry. Well. I'm sure I'll be up all night crying for them.

    (Have you seen Michael Moore's film "Capitalism: A Love Story"? You might find it interesting.)

  3. Empress Bee (of the High Sea): So, you've drank the Kool-Aid! LOL

    The nonprofit advocacy groups [can you believe the gaul that they don't even pay taxes on millions of donations!?] have seduced you to take up their issues.

    You say you are not wealthy. You do realize that if your Social Security or government pension has been invested by you in the stock market, as was suggested earlier in this decade and is still being advocated today by candidates supported by the rich, your retirement might be diminished.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Secret agent woman: No, I've not seen the film. Thanks for your comment.

  4. I am all for the rich being rich and the more they make the more jobs we will have. It is the rich who employ all of us. Stop being jealous and envious. No matter what happens to the rich, it will not effect you. You want prosperity, cut the government jobs and spending, lower the taxes and give the big businesses a tax break and it will happen. Socialism does not work.

  5. I like your detective work Charlene. I have a lot of statistical evidence from reliable and respected sources to support your claims, but I'm too tired at this point in the evening to reference them.

    The easiest (and fastest) method to insure the ongoing success of a free market economy is to nurture a robust and growing middle class. On the other hand, an implosion of the middle class and a growing poverty underclass has historically, with hardly an exception, led to dire circumstances, even for the very wealthy. A sizeable number of wealthy families went stone cold broke during the Great Depression. Remember the stories about rich guys jumping out windows?

    Eventually wealth finds a way to redistribute itself, but often in ways a lot less pleasant than taxation. Both Adam Smith and Thomas Paine were in favor of progressive taxation to minimize the impact of a concentration of wealth into the hands of too few and the tendency of capitalism to create unfair advantage in the form of monopolies. I might add that since anti-trust laws were enacted years ago, there has been an increasing tendency for whole industies, while consisting of seeming competitors, to act as a whole like "de facto" monopolies.

    Thanks for the article.

  6. 2 words for the rich..fuck...and you..

  7. not to be the devil's advocate but i'm always amazed at people paying no tax complaining about someone paying a marginal tax rate of 37%. i've read that 50% of your citizens pay no federal income tax yet are outraged at any cut in entitlements.

    money is like water, it finds its own level. tax the rich too much and they'll move their money to a more friendly jurisdiction.

  8. Billy pilgrim: They already have moved their money, and their factories that employ child labor to other countries. I suggest they apply for citizenship there as well. They could purchase a home (or villa) near their holdings. And bribery of public officials is more or less accepted in some of these places as well.

    According to the Gov. Acc. Office marginal tax rates for the rich are at their lowest level in over 50 years.

    For every dollar in government transfer payments given to a person making $10,000 per year, $27 is given to a person making over $200,000 per year. It's just that there are more poor people than rich people. When we transfer money to the poor we call it "welfare", when we transfer money to the rich we call it "tax incentive".

    In 2009, ExxonMobil only made 1.9 billion dollars (they had a bad year). Not only did they pay no taxes, they received 155 million dollar tax rebate.

  9. Lonnie; Thank you for your comment. Rich people benefit from the society being stable. Rich people even benefit from paying higher taxes by educating and maintaining a stable work force as a means of production. Unfortunately this has changed with the most recent tax abatement for production is not here in this country any more. The result is high unemployment and an economy that is not expanding.

    YELLOWDOG GRANNY: You are always so succinct and right.

    Billy pilgrim: Thanks for your comment. I pay 50% of income in taxes, including federal taxes, state, city, real estate taxes. I'm happy to pay those taxes, even real estate taxes which educate children in the community, and I don't have any children! SMILE

    Lonnie: One of the things I find amusing in a sardonic way is huge corporations take advantage of tax law rules set in place for small business. This applies to those huge companies filing for relief on health care costs are those same huge companies whose executives are funding the nonprofit advocacy groups convincing a lot of the citizens to support their immoral decisions to avoid taxes.

  10. Charlene: I read where of the 7 or 8 states that have filed lawsuits against the healthcare reform act, all of them have also applied for funds from the program. LOL!

  11. Thank God for capitalist entrepreneurs. If you can't beat them, join them!!!

  12. Anyone who works for their money is going to be outraged over taxes. Poor or rich!

  13. Poor rich people. We should send them canned food and hand-me-downs to help them through these trying times.

  14. Good stuff, Charlene, the Maid Marian of Kentucky, the state where you have some 350 people out of every 100 000 in jail, 9th highest income inequality/imprisonment rate in the USA. Redistribute income if you want to reduce this proportion. There's no other way. You keep telling them.

    (1-NY 2-LA 3-MS 4-AL 5-CA 6-CT 7-TX 8-FL. I knew you were dying to ask.)

  15. you might think you disagree with me but I think you might-not..

  16. Under Eisenhower, the top income tax bracket was 79%, under Clinton - 39% and Bush lowered it to 33%.

    I don't believe some of these comments - no wonder this is a country divided, when sensible people can't agree on the basics.

    The rich don't make this country prosperous and productive, working people do. If Bill Gates were born in Somalia, he'd be running a pirate operation, not Microsoft. How does he re-pay the country that made it possible for him to prosper? By moving his factories to China.

  17. Lonnie; Yes. There are more than 7 or 8. Heck Rand Paul's people put out ads against his opponent because the that guy said he'd have voted to get health care into law. Thanks for your comment.

    KrippledWarrior: Thanks for your comment. I figure we are all part of the capitalistic economic system, but a market economy we don't have when huge welfare for corporations are dolled out constantly and instead of those guys saying, 'Thank you taxpayer,' they say they are successful not because we bailed them out, but because they are smarter than we are in using the system for their greed.

    Missy: I work for my money and the high school drop out at McDonalds who hands me my coffee works for hers. She's my age and had that job and another cleaning houses. Yet her total percentage of income going to taxes is greater than the 1% top income earner. That is not just. Thanks for your comment.

    Grant: I don't thing the rich is poor but they are evidently angry! Thanks for your comment.

    Christopher: Thanks for your comment. It would seem most like the status quo. When the statistics are published about how bad it is, the usual comment is "Thank God for Mississippi."

    Glnroz: Thanks for your comment. I am often surprised who agrees with me.

    Wolynski: I heard the top tax rate under Eisenhower was 91% but that seems pretty high though 79% is enough. Economic change, increased productivity and a rise in the economy has always worked bottom up. Big huge corporations will wring the last drop of sweat from their workers and then send jobs to any place they can save a dime. Thanks for your comment.

  18. One of the richest in America (and in the world), Warren Buffet, at the height of our recent depression invested heavily, to the tune of a 25% ownership, in a Chinese electric car manufacturer. Now, it's nice that he's going "green" and equally nice that China has an emerging economy. But here's the truth: At least some large amount of Warren's money was acquired via long term capital gains that get a 50% cut in rate. Since it wasn't "earned" income he paid exactly zero payroll taxes on it (Soc. Sec., Medicare, Unemployment Ins., et.) In actuality, with all the other tax shelters available to the rich, he may have paid very little tax at all on his gains. So his "thanks" to Americans is to invest in the Chinese car maker. Jobs for the Chinese. Zero jobs for Americans. And you can bet Warren will be actively promoting favorable trade status with China, keeping import taxes to a very minimum. Result -> Any American "green" auto mfgr. will have to compete with the Chinese company who has no healthcare costs and is supported by the Chinese government. Result -> American jobs actually LOST because of Warren's investment. Let's all get real about who is really sticking it to us....some will have the nerve to blame it all somehow on the lazy,increasingly poor, American worker who refuses to take a pay cut.

  19. Everyone has their own definition of rich, usually based on only those earning more than them, qualifying for the title. I have no problem at all paying in taxes, neither does my husband. Sure, there are always people who will work the system, but that's a separate issue for our legislation to tackle - why throw the baby out with the bathwater? - This "I'm alright, Jack" culture is obscene. If we encourage poverty to thrive, and continually support this "them v us" mentality, our society is on a fast track to disaster.

  20. Using "the average joe" is not really a new tactic. It's been going on for a while.

    It's known by the elite that if the masses can be riled up, they will support their cause. They use misguided sympathy to reach their goals.

    Average white folks were stirred up to good effect during slavery - "We can't have these upity blacks thinking their as good as we are" - when the average person didn't own slaves at all. That was RICH folks.

    They use it on immigrants now too - "These damned wet backs are taking our jobs" - I wonder, how many jobs has Mr Teaparty politician lost to an immigrant?

    I suppose we should all be grateful that if someday, when we become wealthy, our taxes won't eat away at our vast fortunes... because they certainly are eating away at my small fortune.

  21. I'm a communist at heart, and always have been. It would work, if it were not for one thing. People!

    The only thing I abhor about the extremely rich is - when will they ever be satisfied with their lot. When is enough - enough for them.

    I expect they lay in bed at night and worry more about making enough money (so they can live apart from the masses, which is probably the thing they fear the most) than the normal guy who only worries about the roof over his head.

    That was my shot at irony :)

  22. Lonnie: Hey Warren and Bill Gates are all about taking advantage of every possible way to make and keep their money. They of late have created that super wealth method of giving away vast wealth and this week they went to China to evangelize. I've been reading about and watching the Warren & Bill show this week where they held a meeting where they invited the wealthiest Chinese. Few attended and there were two who agreed to give away their wealth and would allow it to be made pubic. It's bad face evidently in China. Someone said that since the Chinese are so new to great wealth, they want to hold on to it for a few generations.

    Shrinky: It's the "I got mine and I don't care who doesn't get theirs." The wealthy don't consider they have it because everyone is going to work, paying taxes and buying their junk and when you keep making the workers poorer, you will eventually only have what you had. Rich people get richer when employment is high. They also get rich when employment is low as money seeks the highest return.

    Those small "eating away" of your small fortune is a redistribution of wealth, which is so maligned these days. The problem is the redistribution is not an effort to equalize it; it's a method of giving it to the rich who avoid paying taxes.

    Sarah: They will never be satisfied. And yes they want to live apart from us the unwashed. That's why gated communities and personal security is so popular.

  23. popa's in the HOUSE. Go Big Poppa. Geez.

    Sarah - Ya - The Communist Ideal is great in theory except that that ideal is in direct conflict with the basest aspects of human nature.


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