Was it the monied interests... or the working class?
Who consolidates assets and holdings (real wealth) in every recession and depression, the rich, or the now working poor?
Who developed complex financial schemes with zero real value like derivatives instead of solid asset backed trading... the rich, or the working class?
How is real wealth created? Is it created by stock trades? By printing more worthless money (called inflation that has devalued our fiat currency 97%)? Is it created by looting pension funds to finance mergers that destroy competition? Or is it created by the investment of workers of the most precious commodities possessed by every man woman and child... TIME AND LABOR?
You do realize that while productivity continues to rise among the working class, their wages have been stagnant... if they get to keep their jobs, at the same time that cost of living is going up rapidly, while executive bonuses and pay packages have skyrocketed, right?
There is more truth to the leftwing mantra than there is to your off handed flippant dismissive response.
If you really believe what you just said, I don't understand the point of this topic. We all agree everyone should share some the burden, and this seems like both a way to generate more money and from both parties normal base.
Completely ignore the facts listed above and waffle about on some non-sensical hairsplitting between "marginal and effective rates"... what the hell does that even mean and how does it refute any of the points made above?
What a freakin joke!
Well, I think in most cases, "plundered" or "bilked" is a little more precise. But I've been up close and watched how the process works. I've been party to negotiations with city councils and county supervisors for businesses to receive tax breaks, and in many cases, direct payment of tax dollars in the promise of locating there, which they then never fulfill. You wouldn't believe how much money flows from even the poorest locales up to multi-millionaires that way. And while the poor continue to pay sales tax and property tax, the wealthy then receive much of that money without ever fulfilling their end of the bargain.Originally Posted by Turtledude
Or to go at it from the extreme other end, the last I heard, the BIS estimated that the total notional value of outstanding derivative instruments was 1.14 Quadrillion dollars (hint: that's more than the total annual GDP of the entire world). That's all money that's just made up, out of thin air. I can't do that, and neither can you. Banks and large companies with financial wings can, and they use it to manipulate markets and purchase things of value while contributing literally nothing. And when the house of cards starts to collapse, again, they receive subsidies or bailouts. And though some of those are in the form of loan which are ostensibly paid back, the way a bank pays back a debt isn't the way you or I would pay it back. They most usually just trade derivatives.
Banks can produce "money" in other ways as well, and again, they use it to manipulate all kinds of things, including (especially) the political process. And the result is invariably bad. Remember Enron? Thousands of people lost their jobs and their life savings in that debacle. What we tend to forget is that Worldcom, Tyco, Lehman Brothers, Arthur Andersen, and others led to similar destruction for people who were working hard, saving money, and doing what they had been told would lead to prosperity. How many others lost money not just in tax dollars paid directly to companies being bailed out, but in lost value in their investments? How many lost value in their homes?
Or, if you go look at the books in HUD or the DoD, you'll see massive amounts missing. Billions and Trillions of dollars. I remember watching the hearings on CSPAN over 2.3 trillion dollars missing, over 15 years, on the books of the DoD. It turns out that the Pentagon had turned over its accounting to the companies to whom it had granted contracts. The systems they established were byzantine to say the least, and when questioned about what they did when an internal audit discovered the money missing, they replied that they made an adjustment to their books. It's obvious where that money went.
Or, we could talk about the privatization of what had previously been public property. So get this: those same banks and large corporations mentioned above use their influence to indebt state and local governments, who are then obliged to sell off public property--property we, the people, paid for--to pay those debts, which need never have been incurred in the first place. It's such a common pattern I have a hard time believing it's all down to misfeasance.
We could discuss banks and corporations using their money to buy political influence that led to the policies of globalization, leading to a huge loss of jobs here (this is something that both Smith and Ricardo warned against, BTW, and no one in modern times has been listening). And because of these policies, the pillage and conning of the American people is dwarfed by what has been taken from other countries.
We could discuss the fact that the social security fund is mostly a bunch of IOUs from congress. That's actual money made by people who were working, being taken out by politicians, who use it to line the pockets of the wealthy.
Or we could discuss what I think is one of the most serious problems: the stagnation of lower and middle-class wages even during unprecedented increases in productivity. While not technically theft, in light of the other stuff I've mentioned here, its just acting in exceptionally bad faith on the part of employers.
I could go on and on about this. But the common theme is pretty simple: the wealthy use their wealth to acquire more wealth, at the expense of everyone else. They buy political influence and use the financial system to their great advantage in a system to which not all have equal access. The result is the massive transfer of wealth upward that we've seen over the last four decades or so. How this can be described as anything other than plunder and bilking is beyond me.
I'm sure you'll ask me to back some of it up. Much of it should be common knowledge. I refer you to David Korten's book "When Corporations Rule the World" for some "connect the dots." Here are some links on some of the less well-known points that will get anyone who cares to research the issue started:
The War On Waste - CBS News
#9 Privatization of America
Howard Schweber: Geithner's Dragon
Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in emergency loans - Dec. 1, 2010
Fed audit: $16 trillion in loans to banks in less than three years « Hot Air
So, to answer your point directly: it may be a "typical left-wing response." That doesn't mean it isn't true--and here, it happens to be entirely true.
Last edited by ashurbanipal; 07-31-11 at 10:54 AM.