Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The 1% Is Fine, Thanks For Asking

The New York Times headline reads "Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, Study Finds". The story will spoil your lunch.

The Washington Post reports the same results under a different headline: "Nation’s wealthiest 1 percent triple their incomes, according to CBO report." The Times didn't want to upset the mandarin class too much. Double sounds less unfair than triple.

Either way the upper upper upper class is eating our lunch. And breakfast and dinner. Maybe the message is that once you are so very rich it doesn't matter whether your income tripled or doubled. Who can keep track? Poor them, with all that income to sort out. What a headache; let's give them some more tax breaks to help them deal with it.

Another thing that's making lives more unequal is that so much more of the government's "help" is dished out to people who don't need it but just heard it was available. Imagine if rich people demanded equal access to food stamps. Rich farmers and big farmers get more relief than poor and small farmers. Big companies get more help than the small businesses who stand in as the poster children of the Chamber of Commerce (which has been screwing them for decades.)

The financial rescue was supposed to help all of us, but notice who butted to the front of the line. The too-big-to-fail banks and financial companies and major corporations (many of whom, like GE, have bigger financial services sides than their old manufacturing sides) hogged it all. They are hoarding trillions, refusing to share it, pay it out, invest it or use it to hire people or order inventory.

They are using it instead to give enormous bonuses to their tip top people. Goldman Sachs reported a $393 million loss this past quarter, but that's a fraction of the $10 billion bonuses it will pay to its executives for delivering that loss. Go figure.

Never mind, it doesn't compute. Heads they win, tails they win. The 1% always win, the 99% always lose. At least since Reagan changed the rules.

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