As income inequality continues to grow in this country, it isn’t about the gap between the rich and poor, but the gap between the insanely wealthy and everyone else_Sam Wlliford, Economy in Crisis
Far from being the land of the free, The US has become the land of financial slaves in which millions of serfs toil in conditions of near servitude for the sole purpose of making the very few who are obscenely rich beyond measure even richer. These very rich people are locked in a veritable pissing contest with each other to see who can accumulate the most wealth because wealth to them is the symbol of power. This struggle for dominance over the rest has gone on since Ogg the cave man’s days and has only gotten worse as time wends it’s relentless way. America is a relatively young country and came in on the tail end of the days when there were a plethora of natural resources to be exploited and now that those resources are dwindling, our present day alpha males among the rich and mighty have nothing but the people to exploit.
Because of this the average American will work from young adulthood to old age, often to the grave, and 42% (a number that increases every time someone does a new poll) of everything they earn will go directly into the offshore bank accounts of Wall Street’s moguls of moola and a large chunk of the roughly 23% that average American pays in taxes will go to support a largely useless congress and government bureaucracy that serves little purpose other than to collect their public paychecks and obscene benefits while carrying the water for the rich. All the while that same worker struggles from paycheck to paycheck just to put adequate food on the table for his/her family and keep a roof over their heads.
This is not the America that the founding fathers envisioned… or maybe a better way to put it is that this is not the America that those founding fathers described in such flowery language in all those fancy writings, declarations and proclamations they made back in the day. It is obvious that far from having a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we instead have an oligarchy of the rich, run by the rich for the rich. The consensus among far too many of those we allegedly elect to lead this country today is that if you… in some way… are not making a contribution to the wealth of the richest one percent of Americans, then you’re nothing but excess baggage, a drain on the economy as the economy is defined by the people who have done nothing all their lives but take from others and who now call ordinary working stiffs… who simply want to make a basic living from their labors… the takers.
So… since we’ve pretty much established that it’s not the people… or at least not all the people… who rule The United States of America, the question naturally arises as to who does rule a country that… according to the founding dads and fancy orators of the 18th century who put it all together… was never supposed to BE ruled? Professor of Sociology, G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz, in an essay on his Who Rules America website, provides us with a few answers that might be somewhat depressing for those who think we still live in a free and at least semi-democratic society. Professor Domhoff puts it thusly:
This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the United States, and explains how we use these two distributions as power indicators.
Some of the information may come as a surprise to many people. In fact, I know it will be a surprise and then some, because of a recent study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) showing that most Americans (high income or low income, female or male, young or old, Republican or Democrat) have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is.
I can honestly say that none of this surprises me because I was citing similar data a decade ago on the old labor forums, but he’s right. I’ve tried to explain this growing inequality to a lot of my middle class right wing white friends and they simply do not get it nor do they want to get it. I blame it on pure intellectual laziness. Too lazy to make the effort it would take to actually become informed, they’re perfectly willing to let someone else tell them what to think and who to blame, a fact that underlies the buying up of 90+ percent of all the mainstream media outlets by as few as three or four major corporations whose agenda depends on keeping the public as ignorant as possible.
They look around them for reasons for them not getting to “keep what they make” only in the relative limited arena of their own awareness of the world around them, an awareness that is controlled by talk radio, TV talking heads and overrated pundits and faux “journalists”. And what they’re hearing is that it isn’t the untold trillions of dollars being sucked up by Wall Street nor the billions secreted away in numbered bank accounts in foreign countries that’s the root of their problem. No, to your average Tea Party blowhard, it’s the single mom on food stamps or the guy who had his job of umpteen years “offshored” and is now drawing unemployment that are the root of all the problems.
Far easier to simply accept the word of hate spewing gasbags on radio and TV that the poor are the “culprits” than it is to understand that far more money goes into those offshore tax shelters than into maintaining the safety nets for those already made victim by the one percent. Another thing they don’t is the get the fact that the supply of people beneath themselves on the food chain is not only finite but that the sharks don’t stop eating just because the supply of smaller fish runs out. That’s way too subtle for their rather limited grasp on the way the whole thing works.
Professor Domhoff has charted both wealth distribution and net worth distribution in the charts at the left. Only a dunce could look at those figures and not determine that there’s something wrong with a system that allows this kind of financial disparity between its workers and a ruling class that’s not even supposed to exist but obviously at least 47% of the voting public has not yet attained dunce level.
Most Progressives and Centrists and even more than a few conservatives are recognizing that this is a totally unsustainable model, one designed solely to put the most wealth… and therefore the most power… in the hands of the smallest possible number of people. The idea that 80% of the population of any country having to divide only 5% of the wealth that they themselves have made possible should prohibit that country from calling itself a “developed” nation or even a civilized one. And yet almost half the people in the country continue to scream loudly about socialism and its “redistribution of wealth” with not the slightest inkling that it has already taken place. It just hasn’t been redistributed to where the Tea Party patriots think it has.
Professor Domhoff dispels the notion that a healthy Wall Street means a healthy America and that what’s good for the billionaires is automatically good for the rest of us.
In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 35% of all privately held stock, 64.4% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.
So it should be readily apparent that the only people who actually derive any benefit from the machinations of the country’s financial industry are the people who actually make UP that financial industry and that the rest of us not only gain nothing but are actually losing ground. Except to the Tea Party. Again, that 47% of the voters that voted based on Tea Party “principles” has to be ignorant beyond belief to cling to the idea that any part of the one percent has any concern for them. Yet that’s the percentage of voters that voted for the man who made no secret of the fact that he felt that in usurping 42% of the wealth of an entire nation, the one percent… of which he is a card carrying, dues paying member… were only taking what they were “entitled” to by sole virtue of being rich already.
Sometimes I start to feel kind of sorry for all my Tea Party friends because of the rude awakening so many of them have coming but then I stop I stop and think about what so many of the rest have had to endure because of their self inflicted ignorance and any such feeling of incipient sympathy is gone like a fart in a whirlwind. In fact, there a few I’m gleefully looking forward to seeing get their comeuppance.
I recommend a full reading of Professor Domhoff’s essay at his site (linked above). He’s one of the few people I have found who not only has a secure grasp of the situation and it’s underlying roots but knows how to explain it so laypeople like myself can readily understand it and if I can understand it at least anyone with an average IQ should be able to grasp it with no problem. I’m not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier by any means but then again,I didn’t buy into Mitt Romney’s load of grade A prime bullshit either, which definitely places me in the smarter half of the voting public.