“Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer”

24 09 2010

UPDATE: See Edge dot org for its consensus document on “The New Science of Morality” complete with dissenters, all smart stuff. More on this later, I feel sure!
*********************

New today but not really news, is it?

“The Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer, and the Democrats Punt”:

“For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. . .”

Remember homeschooling math whiz dad Rolfe Schmidt?

Just imagine the good jobs that would be created, the innovation we would see, the wealth that would be created if we actually funneled all these banker giveaways into science, the arts, and education.

But no, it is more important to preserve the status quo, preserve income inequality, and do what we can to make debt slaves out of our populace.

Cock of the snook to Rolfe both for his vision last year and for something else new but not news, “Amazing arrogance, gall, chutzpah and unmitigated effrontery”:

Charles Munger, the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., defended the U.S. financial-company rescues of 2008 and told students that people in economic distress should “suck it in and cope.”

“You should thank God” for bank bailouts, Munger said. . .
“Now, if you talk about bailouts for everybody else, there comes a place where if you just start bailing out all the individuals instead of telling them to adapt, the culture dies.”

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8 responses

24 09 2010
JJ

OTOH, at least the Dems did let us have Elizabeth Warren as our consumer gladiator. She’s one smart lady and sounds pretty determined. So the super-rich will have to exert a bit of new effort to steal what we’ve got left.

24 09 2010
Crimson Wife

The fact that my DH’s salary is taxed at a much higher rate than our friends in the venture capital & private equity sectors who make double or triple (or more) absolutely infuriates me. I don’t agree with a lot of what the President and the Democrats are trying to do regarding tax policy (since it will hit the upper-middle-class as well as the truly wealthy) but this is one area where I agree with them 100%.

25 09 2010
JJ

I’ve had the real-people morality of economic/money policy on my mind a lot, as all us Americans argue over which taxes and profits and business strategies are actually “good for us” — wish I saw it as more important in the debate and the voting. I’m casting about for ways to bring that out, in case that’s not obvious from my recent posts. 🙂

All the way back to this discussion, at least . . .

So the GOP “Pledge to America” comes out,and I’ve got morality on the mind with every point and every response to every point. As much as politics is about winning, we need to finish the sentence: it’s supposed to be about winning — what? I believe winning the opportunity to do good for (all) the people, to serve on our behalf. The most blatantly immoral politics is self-enriching while plotting no-good for others.

Some modestly moral reforms to health care are kicking in. The cable news “Education Nation” week starts tomorrow with Brian Williams hosting a two-hour town hall, as the film “Waiting for Superman” exposes tragic, shameful immorality to real children in education policy. A 26-year-old billionaire hardly anyone knows, goes on another billionaire’s tv showcase (someone EVERYONE knows) to announce he’s giving the New Jersey public schools a hundred million dollars to do things his way.

(Oprah like many successful business leaders these days,cut out the government-of-the-people altogether, just gave up on American education and took her money out of America where she could be both benefactor and live-in benevolent dictator in her own created world, like Walt Disney, without any pesky public rules or regulation to respect.)

Such billionaires aren’t ordinary citizens nor legitimate moral leaders nor legitimate elected or appointed leaders in any academic discipline or public interest field. Their expertise is specifically entrepreneurial, but these days they run our world anyway. And these are what we might think of as the “good” billionaires, never mind the Koch brothers literally raping the planet to make more billions and buying off the federal government with a fraction of it they don’t even miss. What about the current crop of billionaire candidates for governorships and senate seats. Would it be wise of us to ask for evidence that they do public good, rather than just extremely well privately?

Look what we’ve wrought by equating public education reform with bringing business practices and profit motives into how we think about and deliver children’s learning; I dare anyone to tell me it’s good morally, or at least how it’s good for us as a nation. Economically, as a matter of national defense, for our minds, bodies, spirits and our national goals of being a leader in all those ways for the rest of the world. How has it helped anybody large scale or small, except a few parasitic profiteers and politicians (a phrase becoming more redundant by the day) — in other words, those who war over and win obscenely more of everything, from more and more Americans who know and get less of everything?

25 09 2010
JJ

Hmmm, I see my moral concerns about public education policy go back years further than noted above, see Culture Kitchen e.g.:

Government’s rules of the road aren’t just for driving — law and its public servants (you didn’t think they serve US, did you??) decide who profits from opportunity and prosperity, and who doesn’t, and often who can help make the rules in the first place (back to voting and making it count!) in our participatory democracy.

The public promise of school was to sufficiently “educate” every future worker-voter-driver-parent to fit our established order, or to marginalize them if need be by refusing them the public credentials essential to public participation, and thus protect us all from whichever ignorant and deviant individuals might endanger what we who fit hold politically and economically dear — which, as an economist friend of mine pointed out recently, is redundant.

He reminded me that economics IS politics.

School is politics and economics, especially its testing mania —
None of which, evidently, is protection against ignorance, error, bad actors and subsequent loss of our liberty.

There oughta be a law . . .

25 09 2010
JJ

[shudder] . . . and I just saw this about the morality of big business money, via Valerie Moon:
Is there child slavery in your chocolate?

Do you think it’s okay?

Here’s what you can do:

26 09 2010
JJ

Via Pam Sorooshian, documentary on immorality in schooling:
Race to Nowhere

. . . [about] a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids. . .

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

29 09 2010
Tea & Crackers, or Tea-Partying as Crackers « Cocking A Snook!

[…] how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby … That turns out to be […]

4 10 2010
JJ

“Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox” — literally, in the case of all those non-Mitt-Romney presidential hopefuls. . . .

So the Ministry of Propaganda has, in effect, seized control of the Politburo. What are the implications?

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that when billionaires put their might behind “grass roots” right-wing action, it’s not just about ideology: it’s also about business. What the Koch brothers have bought with their huge political outlays is, above all, freedom to pollute. What Mr. Murdoch is acquiring with his expanded political role is the kind of influence that lets his media empire make its own rules.

Thus in Britain, a reporter at one of Mr. Murdoch’s papers, News of the World, was caught hacking into the voice mail of prominent citizens, including members of the royal family. But Scotland Yard showed little interest in getting to the bottom of the story. Now the editor who ran the paper when the hacking was taking place is chief of communications for the Conservative government — and that government is talking about slashing the budget of the BBC, which competes with the News Corporation.

So think of those paychecks to Sarah Palin and others as smart investments. After all, if you’re a media mogul, it’s always good to have friends in high places. And the most reliable friends are the ones who know they owe it all to you.

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