Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If Wealthy Americans Don't Embrace Wealth Redistribution Soon...

In reply to this comment below on Facebook to my re-posting of the meme above:

"From the pix in "kilos" the trend seems to indicate "more" (sic)... Now seriously: this is indeed a challenge but it is also true that back then we were fine to live: without phone, no newspaper, simple B/W Tv, no pay Tv, no pc's, no central heating, no ski holidays, at best a holiday to the North Sea coast for a couple of days, plane ride was completely out of reach, no eating outside of home except chip shop as a treat (if need be: take sandwiches), jumpers knitted by mom, hand me downs from rest of family, veggies from dad's veggie plot, simple car only sparingly used, no fancy beauty products just the bare essentials, no wifi, no music except for a small transitor radio ... etc.. etc..."
While you are right, the reality for those below the upper middle class in America today (and it will be America's economic situation that ignites the coming depression), about 82% of the population, is that they pay for the new things they feel they MUST have (and deserve because of the promise of the American Dream) not with salary (they are underemployed and making less in real dollars with every passing year), but first with the money they FORMERLY put into 'life's savings' and more recently with debt. Their debts are owed to the banks, the banks are owned by corporations, the corporations are owned by shareholder who are the 1%.
Every single thing you point to as our new 'must haves' today, the things people are willing to go into debt to have, make ever more profit for the corporations that manufacture them. The single reason that the list has grown so much over a few decades (and is currently growing faster -- kids MUST have fancy smart phones and tablets now) is the stock market -- when any firm is publicly owned it MUST grow at a minimum of 10% per year or lose value. With that demand for constant growth, new 'things' must be developed and marketed every year to ensure the growth of each corporation, and the consequent growth of indebtedness on the part of the consumers, along with the growth of hoarded profit by the owners of the corporate stocks.

Back in the days you mention, the vast majority of companies were privately owned, and happy to simply make a decent profit for the families who owned them. Once the global gambling pool for the 1% that is the stock market gained steam and started making upper middle class business owners into millionaires overnight, the contentment we used to see in firms that saw no need to lower wages by outsourcing production overseas as they had no public shareholders demanding growth at any cost vanished.

There is only one solution to this repeated cycle of a few taking over most of the wealth and power. Philanthropy is not going to happen at a level that will reduce global poverty, which drives over-population, even though all the money is there in the hoarded and exponentially growing wealth of the 1%. The rich are simply not wired to see the wisdom in spreading the wealth.  They will fight tooth and nail against going back to the tax levels they happily got even richer under for decades up until the mid 70's. Only revolution by the majority to take the wealth and control by forces will work eventually, sadly, and all that will follow the revolution will be the gradual re-building of a new 1%, just like the astonishingly wealthy Politburo members in China today
And the reality is that it is not 'their money.'  They did not 'work hard for it.'  Yes, the original guy who started the ball rolling towards incredible business success worked hard for it and was smart enough and OCD enough to get over the hurdles, but even for that original individual (who eventually is not actually 'working hard,' but has the option of sitting back and watching his wealth accumulate) there's a point at which we need to look at his situation and ask:
"OK, but where is the money you are shoveling into your bank accounts and investments coming from? Other rich people?  Or is the money either coming from taxpayers (in the case of any company supplying the military) directly, or indirectly through tax breaks?  At what point do smart people look at your wealth and say that other really smart and hardworking people never had the luck you had to be in the right place at the right time and become super wealthy, but would have in other circumstances.  If we value those human beings as worthwhile contributors to our society, should they not do well financially?  Maybe not as well as you, but partway as well?  Even if they work in your factory?"
My conviction is that there is a realistic and practical 'ceiling' on wealth that can be easily and simply arrived at, and that above that ceiling Money Hoarders should be on a sliding scale of tax contribution.  Once any household or individual has sufficient annual income to afford everything we can all agree is nice to have, then they have reached a level at which the rest of society can reasonably say "Hey, you've got everything, now share the non-stop spigot of gushing cash you've created because the money flowing out of it is NOT 'YOUR MONEY,' it is coming from natural resources, taxpayers, regular folks, etc.
I suspect the ceiling is about $300k US per household, at which point the family has a nice house, two+ decent cars, kids in private school/university, a cottage, two 2 week vacations abroad, retirement savings program, etc., but let's raise it to $500k just to be 'fair.'  If we then taxed these folks with a sliding scale so that as they approach $1 million a year they only lose 50% in taxes, but by the point they're making $10 million a year the tax rate is 80%, the point is that they would STILL BE STINKING RICH. 
And their kids should not be permanently wealthy!  If they are smart and hard working, like Donald Trump, they'll get enough to set themselves up when daddy dies, but allowing unbridled inheritance merely sets up a permanent elite class who merely were born -- they did not initiate the wealth accumulation and should not permanently benefit from it any more than 'royal' families anywhere in the world do.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Was Wrong, But The "Anti-Trumpers" Are Wronger!

With the illustration below I predicted a win for Hillary (click here to read the original post). I didn’t take ‘Hope for Change’ into account, clearly, and that’s what all the people out there wringing their hands in dismay, if not suicidal/homicidal depression, are also ‘not getting’. I was right about the swing voters (and the Electoral College) deciding the vote, however.
Source: JustOneCynicsOpinion.Blogspot.com
For all those folks who seem to sincerely believe that it was a sudden reversal in America’s gradually diminishing racism that determined the election, or a deeply held desire to go back to antiquated laws like taking the vote away from women, you could not be more wrong. Sure, millions of Trump supporters DO support the ‘alt-right’ and can’t fight their innate fear of ‘not-of-my-tribe’ and of change, but they would have voted for WHOEVER became the Republican candidate regardless (see far left of the bell curve above).

The voters who swung the election results in Trump’s favour are THE SAME PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA — TWICE! They didn’t vote for Trump’s bullshit, they voted for CHANGE! Even among the less extreme voters who are change-averse and thus dyed-in-the-wool GOPers, most of them aren’t terribly racist, misogynistic, or tolerant of liars and bullies, they just want America to crawl out from under the helpless position it finds itself in, held hostage by Capitalism and the few who own all the control.

Yes, sure there are some nut-jobs who are confused about what Trump as ‘leader of the free world’ means for their inclinations and they’re ‘acting out,’ but these are the same minority who show up at protests hoping to turn them into riots. A minority of Americans are extremely prejudiced, but there are less of them with every passing decade. Most young white Americans today LOOK UP TO their black heroes of music and culture.

Hope for change is all that the majority of Americans have voted for EVER! Since the foundation of the nation, the ‘premise’ of what America is is change:
  1. Change from a being under the thumb of leaders who inherited their power,
  2. Change from taxes going to support foreigners instead of supporting average Americans,
  3. Change from a hopelessly class-imbued system to one where hard work and smarts should lead anyone to prosperity.
  4. Change from being dictated to by people they didn’t choose as leaders, to incorruptible leaders they selected from among their own ranks.
The average American is looking at this very short list of 24o year old expectations and finding that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these is now false and hopelessly impossible. America’s leaders are mostly the children of rich and therefore powerful families, the taxes of average Americans are used to make rich people infinitely richer through the support of a global war machine and they move their money offshore, the wage gap between workers and CEOs and shareholders is exponentially widening and already higher education is almost unaffordable for a growing majority, politicians are primarily from the 1% elite (other than Bernie).

So while it might make you feel great to wallow in fear and angst over almost half of American voters (poor turnout!) voting, once again, for the MOST CHANGE they had on offer in this election, get a grip and put on your smart-thinker hat. The vote was against the now dominant political situation of a establishment-supported corporate collaborater who lives deep inside the system and has a former President as a husband and a ballsy opponent who didn’t take money from corporations who the establishment can’t stand. Come on. In the current climate of an America in which ONLY the 1% and the corp0rations they own get even MORE than they want, much less need, you think people are going to vote for Queen Hillary, or for the loud guy who says he’s going to over-turn the apple cart?

STOP with the now oft-repeated assertion that “This means most Americans support the worst of what Trump spewed out or alluded to!” Bullshit. There are bad quality people in America, and a lot of them LOVE The Donald for what they project onto him, but if you look back at what Mr. Trump has believed in for the past 40+ years, it is a largely Democratic platform, other than supporting tax breaks for the rich.

Source: CBS News
Drop the hyperbole and get back to focusing on what needs to be done to stop the majority of politicians, who are now Republicans, from doing what they’ve been doing for 100 years — doing more for themselves and their rich supporters and less for average Americans. Watch Trumps moves and see whether he will stand up for what he REALLY believes in, or whether he’ll just be too overwhelmed by the job he just got handed and chooses to simply cave in to all the Republicans who are currently dancing with glee in their mansions.

The biggest risk that America now faces is that Donald does what he has always done when the going gets REALLY tough and pulls a Governor Sarah Palin move, doing the equivalent of ‘declaring bankruptcy’ and dropping out to hand over the reigns to Mike Pence. If you want to witness a REAL disaster for America, imagine 4 years of Mike Pence doing whatever HE wants with Republicans in the majority.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hope for Change, AGAIN!

This is a WTF?!? moment in the waking world today.  The Donald has ascended his golden throne and the world is trembling, and with good reason, given his temperament, ego and profound ignorance about global issues. 

What is most significant  is that this is the third time since the bumbling, inept George W. made a mockery of the US Presidential Office for 8 years that Americans have voted for maximum change when presented with the option.  Bernie Sanders would have won the nomination from Hillary if he'd been given the same news coverage as Trump and Hillary by the 5 corporations that own every news-for-profit outlet in the US.  Bernie represented the change that America had asked for in electing Barack Obama -- though sadly he turned his back on the one thing that empowered his success (click here to read my 2011 article) and ensured he'd never be able to effect the change he'd promised.  While Hillary represented every bad thing about America's 'politics as usual and so was soundly rejected by the electorate,' Bernie would have beaten Trump by a large margin.  What does that tell us about America's REAL appetite for change?  The one thing that Americans believed about Trump was that, if anyone COULD effect real change, it was him.  (Sadly I now doubt it, given the GOP majority in both houses, but we'll see...)

What we learned about Donald Trump through the campaign was that he will say anything to win.  We also know that he will turn his back on his supporters without a second thought, as both psychopaths and politicians (see Obama above) usually do.  What we also know about Trump, though few bothered to do the research, is that he has always been a Democrat-Centrist who will support any breaks for the rich that are proposed.  This will likely mean that every far-right, impractical campaign issue he had shouted about will vanish the instant he walks into the White House.  Just watch. 

Although the ultra rich Republican politicians are now dancing with glee at having won a free hand to manipulate the American populace into an even worse individual household financial state than they are already in, I suspect The Donald won't let them do it.  Its not what he actually believes America needs.  (Sadly the worst thing that will occur almost immediately is a far right Supreme Court judge being appointed, and that could have long term disastrous effects upon the youth of America.)

Ronald Regan and George W. Bush were just as average in their intellectual abilities as Trump is, though one succeeded by surrounding himself with experts, recognizing he didn't have the capabilities, while the other simply bumbled through, successfully starting a war for profit to enrich his family and supporters before leaving office, but otherwise accomplishing very little, hence the rise of "Hope for Change" and "Change We Can Believe In."  Sadly Obama's ego prompted him to make a lot of poor strategic moves in his first 2 years that ensured the Republicans would win enough seats to turn him into a 'lame duck' President and the change America so desperately needed did not happen.    

The risk now comes down simply to The Donald's 'personality type,' one he does not share with any American president we know of, but does share with every dictator our species has ever suffered under.  Narcissistic psychopaths like Trump and Putin, and our former Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, who ruled us with as iron a fist as our constitution would allow him for 10 long years, LOVE power.  They wallow in it, manipulating their world to their own advantage and taking great pleasure in doing so.  Trump will do the same -- he cannot help himself -- but he also craves approval and that might mean he ends up doing right by average Americans. 

Rather than the change average Americans were hoping for with this braggart-buffoon, they might get the opposite, but to be fair, The Donald might just surprise us all and go back to his Democratic-Centrist roots once he's in office.  It will be tough for him to oppose the dyed-in-the-wool Republican majority, but he has proven to 'have balls' when push comes to shove.  All this uncertainty about what he MIGHT do may just be the pin-prick that will start the next great depression, however, as the global gambling pool run by the world's 1% that we call 'the stock markets' HATES uncertainty and the bubble is very close to the breaking point (click here to read my post "A Global Depression is Sadly Inevitable in 2016-17").


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