Skip to comments.The Rising Backlash Against the Rich (Woe to the rich today. You are now considered "undeserving")
Posted on 10/10/2011 7:58:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The context for Occupy Wall Street and proposals to tax the rich - "rich" being constantly redefined - is the broader issue of economic inequality. For years, liberal politicians, academics and pundits have complained about growing inequality, but their protests barely resonated with the public. When most people are doing okay, the fact that some people are doing better does not arouse much anger. No more. When many people do worse, or fear they might, the rich inspire resentment and envy. Glaring inequalities that once seemed tolerable become offensive.
By and large, Americans regard the rich the way they do the poor. There are the "deserving" and the "undeserving." The deserving pioneer technologies, manage vibrant businesses or excel at something (law, entertainment, sports).
Few resent the wealth of Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey. By contrast, the "undeserving" rich succeed through self-dealing or activities lacking broad social value.
What's happening now is that more rich are being disparaged as "undeserving." Blamed for the financial crisis, Wall Street types top the list. During the 1990s stock market boom, about half of Americans agreed that "people on Wall Street are as honest and moral as other people," reports the Harris Poll. This year, only 26 percent think so. Two-thirds believe Wall Street's most successful people are overpaid.
Corporate chief executives stir similar ire. With 9 percent unemployment, languishing stock prices and stagnant wages, CEO pay raises smack of cronyism with compliant directors. When Hewlett-Packard recently fired chief executive Leo Apotheker after 11 months with a $13 million severance package, the disconnect between pay and performance was especially astonishing.
Beyond these familiar scapegoats, what can we say about growing economic inequality? Here are three generalizations.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearmarkets.com ...
Obama should double down on the class warfare rhetoric for his re-election campaign. Cornel West was on Fox & Friends denouncing the Wall Street plutocrats this morning—really was on fire. Obama should drop Biden and make West his VP running mate. Way to win back the independents and the rednecks, for sure.
I can’t help but feel that we’re going to serve as a lesson and warning to future generations on the perils of capitalism, the same way the Bolsheviks gave us our lesson on the evils of Communism. Not saying I have an answer, or that there even is one. But we are heading over a cliff, I agree with that.
It is my #1 main concern for our future.
We have a whole lot of bitter, jealous, resentful people sitting out there who will be all kinds of eager to sign onto this if properly motivated.
During the John Edwards campaign I came to realize that a whole lot of our fellow countrymen were willing and eager to buy into his “Two Americas” crap if the salesman would not have been such a slimeball.
RE: Do you know that the most productive are renouncing their citizenship to avoid confiscation? “
For the uninitiated, the USA is one of the few countries in the world ( perhaps only one of two with Eritrea being the other ), that taxes based on LEGAL RESIDENCY (which includes Citizenship ), not locale where the income was earned.
So, a German who makes money in the USA is only taxed in the USA, not Germany. An American who makes money in Germany is taxed IN Germany AND IN the USA.
Also, a word about renouncing US Citizenship — YOU HAVE TO PAY AN EXIT TAX.
You can thank the Democrats for that.
RE: We pay (all together) about 35% of our income to the top 1%.
I am not understanding this.. in what sense do I pay (as in involuntarily taken away from me ) 35% of my income to someone like Warren Buffet?
“I think the wealthy have got to give some, and conservatives have got to quit their knee-jerk defensiveness and recognize that critics of wealth and power imbalance have a point.”
Wealthy have got to “give some”?? As if they don’t? They only already pay 40%? of the whole, and you say they have to “give some”? Got class warfare? These people are paying the lion’s share of everything for the 50% who pay NOTHING...and get checks from the government on top of it all!
Sounds to me like you ought to be out front and center in the “Occupy Wall Street” street thug movement, TruConservative (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard it with your diatribe against the producers of this country)!
We’re seeing a blatant class warfare card being played here. And the supposed basis of his warfare makes absolutely no sense, but he’s trying hard to support his liberal “fairness” denunciation of “the greedy rich”, even though they are paying WAYYYYY more than their “fair share” already!
Wow. Lots of glaring flaws. Just two of many.
The gov TAKES taxes by force. If we assume you are correct (a rather big leap), and we do pay 35 percent to the top 1 percent, it is done freely and in exchange for goods and services. The difference here is so large, your comparison is absurd.
Sure the gov spends 100 percent of our taxes. Actually, they spend far more than 100 percent. Thus our huge debt. And your answer is to give them more? Another absurdity. Even if gov only spent 100 percent, it’s clear they spend very inefficiently. And they create zero wealth and zero jobs. Meanwhile, the 1 percent create both. Bill Gates was not the only one to get very rich via Microsoft. Many employees became millionaires and so did may stockholders. The same is true of dozens of other companies. Then consider secondary and tertiary effects - these millionaires (and non millionaires) went out and started their own companies, or invested in a new company, etc. New tech and products get created and the cycle begins again. The guys that started Intel came from another company, Fairchild I’m pretty sure the owners of Fairchild were rich. Name for me a multinational semiconductor company that is worth 40-60 billion, has 90,000 employees, and creates tons of income/wealth yearly for its investors,that was created by government spending? Name my any company, in the semiconductor business or not.
The Republicans are the party of the middle and upper-middle classes. The Democrats are (for the most part) the party of the extremely rich. Why conservatives do not attack Democrat limousine liberals as a prime source of tax-exempt foundation cash for socialist causes (not to mention K-street lobbyists) mystifies me.
while they're rolling in $$millions$$ themselves...
It's not wall street. They don't make the rules. The POLITICIANS except the big money bribes, and are getting richer and richer while the people are getting poorer and poorer.
Has ANYONE else noticed that? (They hide it well, don't they?)
I don’t understand the point you are trying to make with this graph of taxes by country. Comparing these, in this way, is like comparing an apple to a hammer, it doesn’t mean anything to me.
You do understand that some of these countries confiscate money and transfer to their “church system”. Do you understand the role differences in state and local taxes? And, most of these have nationalized their entire health care systems and fund it through taxes (that is like 1/7th or more of an economy), many pay little on behalf of their own defense, but also have other substantial tax/spend policies that are considerably different than us.
So if your point is we are under taxed, then 1) I don’t buy it 2) you are not a conservative, because a true conservative has a foundation that we are all individuals who are responsible for ourselves, and that government, to avoid becoming tryannical, must remain small.
A person doesn’t have to be rich, or even middle class, to be productive.
“RE: We pay (all together) about 35% of our income to the top 1%...I am not understanding this.. in what sense do I pay (as in involuntarily taken away from me ) 35% of my income to someone like Warren Buffet?”
I based that on the two numbers that the top 1% get 24% of income, and own 43% of financial assets. I’m not sure of the relative size of wages to corporate profits, so I split the difference and say 35% of all the money that flows around goes to the top 1%.
You know that game where you go in a glass booth and money swirls around and you have 60 seconds to grab as much as you can? I view the economy as money swirling around. The 1%ers grab about 35% of it.
Or to put it another way, which is maybe more valid. As we work and pay bills and pay taxes, we support our families, and the federal government, and the 1%ers. A portion of our wealth generation goes to paying for the military, welfare and social security. A larger portion goes to pay for the 1%ers’ lifestyles. A guy who inherited a fortune and lives off it doesn’t actually do work or produce goods, but he stills buys Maseratis and Picassos. About 35% of your productivity ends up going to guys like him.
And I’m sorry if I’m upsetting people, but this is the truth. And it is also true that the last time we tried this wealth imbalance was 1929 and see what happened then. The 1%ers are kind of like welfare queens on steroids. Just because they wear nice clothes doesn’t make them any less a burden on society. Again, this is math. A member of the billionaire boys club is as much of a burden for those who work for a living as a whole lot of people on welfare.
“I dont understand the point you are trying to make with this graph of taxes by country.”
Oh, I was just responding to a poster who said that people were renouncing their citizenship to avoid taxes. I was just pointing out that there aren’t many places to move to, and become citizens of, that have lower taxes. I don’t believe many people are renouncing their citizenship.
“The POLITICIANS except the big money bribes, and are getting richer and richer while the people are getting poorer and poorer.
Has ANYONE else noticed that?”
Well, that’s what I am trying to say. People are so sensitive here. The simple matter is that the rich are getting richer, the poor (and middle class) is getting poorer, yet conservatives as a whole are burying their heads in the sand and ignoring it. It’s a little crazy the imbalance.
There will be a political backlash; it’s growing right now. Conservatives who respond by saying “it’s your fault you’re poor” or otherwise excuse what is an unAmerican trend, are simply handing votes to liberals. As I say, after 1929, we went 24 years without a Republican president and 64 years without a Republican house.
I am a conservative in the Eisenhower mold. Part of that is paying your bills as you get them.
The root of conservative means to conserve, or keep the same. If you look at this trend, it is not conservative to support the shift in 1%ers earnings. It is not keeping America strong.
And tyranny is not only threatened by government. You forget, Washington & the other founding fathers fought to create a government that would keep us free against interior forces. Interior forces can include our own wealthy citizens. Imagine the extreme example of a handful of extremely wealthy corporations and a nation of minimum wage workers -- that is not a free nation.
We are headed towards "not a free nation" by virtue of giving too much wealth and too much power to a handful of people. I don't think we'll get there (our economy will collapse just like in 1929, and we'll have an FDR-like backlash for decades), but very definitely we are on track for losing our freedoms. True conservatives understand that fighting for freedom does not mean surrendering your wealth and political power just because you are told to.
our problem is not a lack of taxation, it is uncontrolled spending by those who covet what other people have and with the help of elected officials use the force of government to steal what is not theirs.
Just because rats (with republician help, sadly) have run up the debt, especially since 2007, doesn’t mean it should keep growing (and us being taxed to pay for). Prune it back to where it rightly belongs, and we won’t need to have a tax discussion.
“If we eat all the productive people then who will pick the berries?”
Some of the people will get hungry enough to come out of the caves and pick the berries, and a few adventurous souls will come up with the idea that they could pick extra berries to have some to sell to others. These few will become prosperous, and live in nicer caves decorated with deerskins and cave paintings.
Those who dwell in lesser caves will look upon these upstarts with envy. How dare they flaunt their wealth, stuffing themselves with berries and wearing expensive skins!
They will band together and form a political party, and tax the berry pickers. They will also pass rules on how to pick the berries, when to pick them, and who can pick them.