Friday, March 7, 2014

The Top 1% of the 1% of the 1%

1% of the U.S. population is 3,100,000 people (congress, lawyers, lobbyists, etc.) — but it is 1% of this (31,000 individuals, the top 0.01%) who have all the money and who are destroying democracy and the middle-class.

And it is less than 0.01% of these people who are on the Forbes Fortune 400 list (multi-billionaires like the Waltons, the Kochs brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Jeff Bezos, the Mars family, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.) who control the nation. This is the top 0.001% who rules the top 0.01%, who gives their marching orders to the top 1% (Republicans and "Third Way" Democrats in Congress, lawyers, lobbyists, etc.) who have been doing the dirty work of destroying working Americans, the middle-class and the poor.

"The GOP is addicted to Coke", Senator Harry Reid quipped earlier this week --- meaning "addicted to Koch", as in the Koch brothers, a pun he said came from his wife. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he's not afraid of the big, bad Koch brothers, and he'll do his damnedest to reveal them as a pair of profiteers bent on "buying America."

Lawmakers on the cash hunt treat themselves to the best steakhouses, beach resorts and golf courses. The glitz and glamour of the D.C. fundraising and schmoozing circuit is, of course, nothing new, and most falls within the official ethics rules. It's particularly galling that billions in political contributions are subsidizing this kind of lifestyle for the nation’s legislators, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lament the disintegrating middle class and the ravages of poverty.

Yet, the GOP is fond of quoting the proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." The GOP (and many "Third Way" Democrats) are also fond of offshoring fishing jobs, over-charging for bait and fishing poles, under-paying fisherman for their fish, and polluting the water they fish in.

They are the defenders of the largest institutional investors (private equity firms like Vanguard, Blackstone, Allianz, Fidelity, etc ) who control the largest publicly traded corporations (e.g. tax dodgers like Apple, Nike, Boeing, etc) and "holding companies" (like Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway) that rules this nation and other parts of the world.

And these same people (the CEOs and their execs) often sit on each others board of directors, and as a "peer group", vote for each others their obscene salaries and stock-option grants—and make decisions on one board that affects the operations, policies and profits of companies on other boards they sit on.

They manipulate the political process, getting "elected" official to pass the tax and regulatory laws that most favor them (as individuals). The recent "Camp Plan for tax reform is just another congressional ruse:

  • The Camp plan for "tax reform" would incentivize multinational corporations to use accounting tricks to siphon profits out of the U.S., which they could then bring back while escaping taxes on 95 percent of these profits.
  • The Camp plan for "tax reform" would let oil and gas pipelines, which are regulated monopolies, charge their captive customers the costs of the federal corporate income tax even though pipeline partnerships are exempt from that levy.
  • The Camp plan for "tax reform" would retain the rules that let nonprofit civic welfare organizations, known as C4s, continue to use untraceable money to influence elections.

And then we have Republicans like Darrell Issa who not only want to defund the IRS, but keep them so busy and wasting taxpayer dollars in phony investigations, that the IRS can't audit him and tax dodgers with offshore accounts.

As part of a legal entity known as a "corporation", many of these individuals in the top 1% of the 1% of the 1% also have "limited liability" for any criminal wrong-doing (and only their company is sometimes fined, because "corporations are people my friend"). Our Supreme Court is packed with ideologues.

Neither the GOP or the "Third Way" Democrats have really spoken of true tax reform, outside of a few "progressive" Democrats. All members of Congress benefit from the tax code just as it is now. They don't pay any Social Security taxes* after the first $113,700 of their $174,000 annual salaries.

* The Bush tax cuts expired on January 1, 2013 -- so the capital gains tax rate went back up from 15% to 20%. ObamaCare added a 3.8% surtax to capital gains to help expand Medicaid, so it's now 23.8% --- which is still lower than the top marginal rate of 39.6% on income over $400,000 ($450,000 for married couples). Capital gains is also exempt from any Social security taxes, while 95% of all wage earners pay this tax on 100% of their earnings.

The Fed spent over $1 trillion in 2013 (to push the stock market to all time highs) and all we got was less jobs created than the year before. According to ZeroHedge, we created 2.193 million jobs in 2012 and only 2.186 million in 2013.

Obama's newly proposed budget contains several jobs programs, but the GOP House will never pass it. But Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (a corporate "Third Way" Democrat), was highly critical of Obama’s budget, calling it "yet another disappointment” that “reinforces the status quo' on spending." (She was the one who agreed to cut benefits to seniors on Social Security with chained-CPI, rather then raise the cap of Social Security taxes).

Meanwhile, the Republicans have also been busy introducing legislation to put Americans back to work. They wrote a bill that banned using welfare benefits (TANF) in medical marijuana dispensaries. (The GOP House will never pass it, even though it's their bill). Oh, and they also just passed the 50th bill to repeal or defund ObamaCare (How many jobs could that have potentially created?)

And Rand Paul's idea of putting America back to work is getting legislation changed so he won't lose his own job if he runs for President. Whereas Senator Harry Reid was to introduced new legislation to restore long-term unemployment insurance for 2 million REAL American workers. Reid's plan is to use savings from the recently passed farm bill in order to offset the cost of the measure. (The GOP House will never pass it).

The entire system is rigged from the top down to benefit the top 0.001%. Bankers are too big to jail. You rob a bank, you get 20 years in prison. The bank robs you, they get a $20 million bonus. They rig the markets, the interest rates, the cost of commodities—everything—extracting as much from the bottom as possible. They keep wages low and prices high ("whatever the market can bear").

And there's not a damn thing we can do about it because American voters are so damn ignorant, voting for Republicans and "Third Way" Democrats instead of "progressives". But it's not entirely the people's fault, because the corporate-owned media (controlled by the top 1% of the 1% of the 1%) promotes this two-party system we have.

Bring in the clowns: Billionaire wacko and know-it-all Donald Trump recently gave a rambling speech at CPAC, mentioning the "late, great Jimmy Carter" -- who is, in fact, still alive. These are the people running the country now.

And's not envy of the top 1% of the 1% of the 1%. From Paul Krugman: "Envy Versus Anger" (A rebuttal to "The Downside of Inciting Envy":

To the extent that people have negative feelings about the one percent, the emotion involved isn’t envy — it’s anger, which isn’t at all the same thing. Envy is when you have negative feelings about the rich because of what they have; anger is when you have negative feelings about the rich because of what they do...What’s really driving most of the ire is the sense that many of the rich didn’t actually earn that position, that they grew rich at the rest of America’s expense.

To Senator Bernie Sanders: Run, Bernie, Run!!!

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren


  1. If you truly want to see the future of America, visit Mexico. The richest businessman in the world is Mexican. Mexico has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor. Together the 145,000 Mexican multi-millionaires (.1% of the population) hold nearly 50% of the total individual wealth in Mexico. This number is well above the worldwide average of 27%, indicating a relatively uneven distribution of wealth in the country. Mexicans are some of the hardest working people you'll ever see. Don't believe it? Go there and watch. Concrete is mixed and laid by hand… why? because it's cheaper than trucks. Beautiful artwork on private homes? It's cheap. Dangerous conditions? If you won't do the job they'll find someone else hungry enough that will. Labor costs are a minor commodity. Bad sidewalks and roads? That's paid for with public money and taxes must be kept low. Thousands of overhead lines strung randomly? Consolidating them or putting them underground costs more. Electricity in rural areas? That's public money again, it's not cost effective and massive ranches owned by the .1% have their own power anyway. This is the future and vision of America as seen through the eyes of the top 1% of the 1%. Our government is willing to let it happen and I don't see anything stopping it.

    1. Yes, I fear the U.S. is becoming a "third world" nation. Our continued decline will make us the next "emerging market" after our middle-class has been wiped out. The wealthy CEOs of multinational corporations, holding companies, private equity firms and the banks have no patriotism for America. They are all about extracting wealth wherever they can find it.