Dick Cheney’s Tax Cut

Posted on September 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Nine years ago, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney gave the wealthiest Americans an unneeded tax cut.

To this day, America’s top income-earners — households making more than $250,000 a year — aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. Letting these tax cuts for the wealthy continue for another decade would saddle middle class Americans, our kids, and our grandkids with an additional $680 billion of debt, largely payable to the Chinese government.1

The Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy are wrong. Thankfully they’re set to expire this December, unless Republicans in Congress get their way and renew them indefinitely.

With debate set to begin on the Senate floor as early as next week, we don’t have a lot of time to get this right.

Sign my joint petition with Democracy for America urging Congress to let the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy expire this year.

Republicans in Congress think we ought to make the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. And they’re using right-wing media to spread deception and bully Democrats facing tough re-election bids into joining their cause.

These elected officials need to know that you — and 69% of Americans recently polled — want the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy to expire this year.

There’s a broad and growing consensus that it’s time for the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share in taxes.

Most economists agree, too: It just doesn’t make sense to give each of the 120,000 wealthiest Americans what amounts to, on average, a $3 million tax break over the next decade.2

Sign my joint petition with Democracy for America to end the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy.

Some Republicans hope to take back Congress this November by telling Americans that Democrats want to “raise taxes on the middle class” and “hurt small businesses.” Of course these smears don’t contain a shred of truth, but that doesn’t matter.

If the right wing wants to score political points by taking money from our kids and grandkids, and handing it out to the wealthiest Americans, it’s up to us to stop them.

Please, sign our petition today. Copies of the petition signatures will be delivered to each member of Congress ahead of the first key vote.

Thank you.



Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

Paid for by Democracy for America, http://www.democracyforamerica.com/?akid=190.1527674.1Ha-kv&t=3 and not authorized by any candidate. Contributions to Democracy for America are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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Revalorizing the Trades

Posted on September 12, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

For the 10th-anniversary issue of The Chronicle Review, we asked scholars and illustrators to answer this question: What will be the defining idea of the coming decade, and why?

Camille Paglia

Vanishing of jobs will plague the rest of this decade and more. Meaningful employment is no longer guaranteed to dutiful, studious members of the middle class in the Western world. College education, which was hugely expanded after World War II and sold as a basic right, is doing a poor job of preparing young people for life outside of a narrow band of the professional class.

Yes, an elite education at stratospheric prices will smooth the way into law or medical school and supply a network of useful future contacts. But what if a student wants a different, less remunerative or status-oriented but more personally fulfilling career? There is little flexibility in American higher education to allow for alternative career tracks.

Jobs, and the preparation of students for them, should be front and center in the thinking of educators. The idea that college is a contemplative realm of humanistic inquiry, removed from vulgar material needs, is nonsense. The humanities have been gutted by four decades of pretentious postmodernist theory and insular identity politics. They bear little relationship to the liberal arts of broad perspective and profound erudition that I was lucky enough to experience in college in the 1960s.

Having taught in art schools for most of my four decades in the classroom, I am used to having students who work with their hands—ceramicists, weavers, woodworkers, metal smiths, jazz drummers. There is a calm, centered, Zen-like engagement with the physical world in their lives. In contrast, I see glib, cynical, neurotic elite-school graduates roiling everywhere in journalism and the media. They have been ill-served by their trendy, word-centered educations.

Jobs, jobs, jobs: We need a sweeping revalorization of the trades. The pressuring of middle-class young people into officebound, paper-pushing jobs is cruelly shortsighted. Concrete manual skills, once gained through the master-apprentice alliance in guilds, build a secure identity. Our present educational system defers credentialing and maturity for too long. When middle-class graduates in their mid-20s are just stepping on the bottom rung of the professional career ladder, many of their working-class peers are already self-supporting and married with young children.

The elite schools, predicated on molding students into mirror images of their professors, seem divorced from any rational consideration of human happiness. In a period of global economic turmoil, with manufacturing jobs migrating overseas and service-sector jobs diminishing in availability and prestige, educators whose salaries are paid by hopeful parents have an obligation to think in practical terms about the destinies of their charges. That may mean a radical stripping down of course offerings, with all teachers responsible for a core curriculum. But every four-year college or university should forge a reciprocal relationship with regional trade schools.

Camille Paglia is a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia.

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Skidding Toward Fall

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

This economy has a destination for sure, but it’s not in the direction where all eyes are trained in moist hopefulness: that glimmering horizon of longed-for growth. You will not get that kind of growth – the kind that increases the overall wealth of the organism in question. A few people will make more money than they did before, but overall we are in an epic contraction. More people and organizations will go broke than will thrive. It will seem very unfair.

The true destination of the US economy is to get smaller and for two reasons mainly: (1) Capital (“money”) is vanishing out of our system steadily and rapidly due to a massive collective failure to repay money owed on loans, mortgages, debts, and assorted obligations. (2) Access to the primary resource we depend on for powering the economy (oil) is increasingly beyond our control – even worse, under the control of people who would like us to eat shit and die.

We really have a choice between two ways of dealing with this. We can downsize and re-scale consciously and coherently, or we can continue to chase after the phantom of growth and allow the nation to fall into a shambles of desperation. So far into this long emergency of an economic fiasco, we seem to have chosen the pursuit of a phantom. That’s what President Obama was doing last week in Detroit, shilling for a new electric automobile which, he said, will make us “energy independent”. If Mr Obama believes this, then it isn’t a very good advertisement for an Ivy League education.

I’d like to know how many Americans believe that electric cars run on virtually free energy (but I don’t have pollsters on my payroll). I’d bet a lot of them do, including President Obama. Sorry to rain on this uplifting parade. At best, such a car fleet would run on coal – that is coal-fired electric power plants – but even that is a ridiculous fantasy when you actually pencil-out the details. Not to mention that a nation full of people with dwindling or vanishing incomes won’t be in a position to fork over forty-grand for one of those new pseudo “green” vehicles. Also not to mention – wait for it – that due to rapidly vanishing capital there will be far fewer car loans available. The only thing growing in this part of the picture is the number of Americans who cannot possibly qualify for a car loan under normal terms that would require regular repayment of interest and principal. (Plenty of Americans qualify for the new “innovative” kind of loan – the kind that you never have to make payments on, but for the moment, the banks are choking to death on them, so additional approvals may lag for a time.)

It’s instructive that so much current hoopla about economic growth revolves around the issue of cars. For, if anything, reality is telling us very clearly that the mass motoring paradigm is near its end. Our determination to prop it up at all costs, despite the grave impairments of available capital and energy resources is a symptom of our detachment from reality. It’s also a fine illustration of the psychology of previous investment, which prompts a desperate society to squander its scarce remaining resources on the very things that are putting it out of business.

We don’t need need more highways. We’re about to find out that we don’t have the money to keep up regular repairs on the highways we already have. The hundreds of millions of “stimulus” dollars that President Obama flung into “shovel-ready” highway projects was among the more tragically dumb mistakes he made early on, and he has apparently learned nothing along these lines since then.

Interestingly, NPR ran a local story over the weekend – an obscure little item – saying that Amtrak was determined to raise the average speed of its passenger trains running north from Connecticut through Vermont from forty miles per hour to sixty mph. That would be some triumphant accomplishment! It would bring us back to about an 1860 level of service. Of course, I happen to believe that we will be lucky in a few years if we are able to enjoy an 1860’s standard-of-living, so maybe this little side venture in public transport is perfectly in tune with America’s future.

Otherwise, these are just ominous days of drift in a place of stillness where the uncomplaining robot traders tirelessly work their magic in the server farms of Wall Street, while their putative “handlers” enjoy the dainty pleasures of the Hamptons – which seem to center these days on pounding back vast draughts of premium vodka in conjunction with Red Bull, cocaine, hydroponic ganja, Viagra, and Klonopin to round off all those edges. And let’s not forget the catered delicacies circulating on trays passed by super-models – the yellowtail tartare tidbits, the green olive pesto crescents, the firecracker shrimp canapes. I wonder if the nibblers ever stop to reflect on how many of the un-privileged “out there” get by lately on dog food and ketchup.

My timing is notoriously faulty, they say, but I can’t ignore the sensation of being seasick on dry land that tells me something awful is at hand. President Obama appears more and more Gorbachev-like to me, a well-intentioned functionary sailing his ship of state steadily into a maelstrom. The course is set and ain’t nobody going to make a move to change it. Of course, Mr Obama is no more to blame than Mr Gorbachev was – if anything one can’t help but admire Gorby’s steering of the creaky old Soviet ghost ship into drydock with nary a pint of blood spilled in the process – but what’s really striking in America today is the massive failure of leadership in the layers below Mr Obama, and in all the other sectors of American culture where CEOs, chairpersons-of-the-boards, deans and provosts, doctors of this and that, generals and attorneys-general, even diverse clergy in all their arresting head-gear cannot collectively advocate for reality.

This failure of credentialed and elected authorities will surely unleash the crazies as we skid toward fall. Legitimacy hates a vacuum. The absence of a reality-based consensus for action will invite a consensus based on other things such as the lust for vengeance, the labeling of scapegoats, patriotic gore, and all the alternate trappings of a politics gone mad. Enjoy the heat and the clam rolls wherever you are in the meantime, and when you come home don’t be surprised if you no longer recognize the country you’re in.


A sequel to my 2008 novel of post-oil America, World Made By Hand, will be published in September 2010 by The Atlantic Monthly Press. The title is The Witch of Hebron.

by James Howard Kunstler

Comment on current events by the author of
The Long Emergency (2005)

www.kunstler.com (August 02 2010)

Mr Kunstler’s biography is at see http://kunstler.com/bio.html.



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What Chief Executives Really Want

Posted on July 25, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

A survey from IBM’s Institute for Business Value shows that CEOs value one leadership competency above all others. Can you guess what it is?

What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies’ customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise.

There is compelling new evidence that CEOs’ priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (NYSE: IBM – News), CEOs identify “creativity” as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.

That’s creativity—not operational effectiveness, influence, or even dedication. Coming out of the worst economic downturn in their professional lifetimes, when managerial discipline and rigor ruled the day, this indicates a remarkable shift in attitude. It is consistent with the study’s other major finding: Global complexity is the foremost issue confronting these CEOs and their enterprises. The chief executives see a large gap between the level of complexity coming at them and their confidence that their enterprises are equipped to deal with it.

Until now creativity has generally been viewed as fuel for the engines of research or product development, not the essential leadership asset that must permeate an enterprise.

Much has happened in the past two years to shake the historical assumptions held by the women and men who are in charge. In addition to global recession, the century’s first decade heightened awareness of the issues surrounding global climate change and the interplay between natural events and our supply chains for materials, food, and even talent. In short, CEOs have experienced the realities of global integration. The world is massively interconnected—economically, socially, and politically—and operating as a system of systems. So what does this look like at the level of customer relationships? For too many enterprises, the answer is that their customers are increasingly connected, but not to them.

Against that backdrop of interconnection, interdependency, and complexity, business leaders around the world are declaring that success requires fresh thinking and continuous innovation at all levels of the organization. As they step back and reassess, CEOs have seized upon creativity as the necessary element for enterprises that must reinvent their customer relationships and achieve greater operational dexterity. In face-to-face interviews with our consultants, they said creative leaders do the following:

Disrupt the Status Quo. Every company has legacy products that are both cash—and sacred—cows. Often the need to perpetuate the success of these products restricts innovation within the enterprise, creating a window for competitors to advance competing innovations. As CEOs tell us that fully one-fifth of revenues will have to come from new sources, they are recognizing the requirement to break with existing assumptions, methods, and best practices.

Disrupt Existing Business Models. CEOs who select creativity as a leading competency are far more likely to pursue innovation through business model change. In keeping with their view of accelerating complexity, they are breaking with traditional strategy-planning cycles in favor of continuous, rapid-fire shifts and adjustments to their business models.

Disrupt Organizational Paralysis. Creative leaders fight the institutional urge to wait for completeness, clarity, and stability before making decisions. To do this takes a combination of deeply held values, vision, and conviction—combined with the application of such tools as analytics to the historic explosion of information. These drive decision-making that is faster, more precise, and even more predictable.

Taken together, these recommendations describe a shift toward corporate cultures that are far more transparent and entrepreneurial. They are cultures imbued with the belief that complexity poses an opportunity, rather than a threat. They hold that risk is to be managed, not avoided, and that leaders will be rewarded for their ability to build creative enterprises with fluid business models, not absolute ones.

Something significant is afoot in the corporate world. In response to powerful external pressures and the opportunities that accompany them, CEOs are signaling a new direction. They are telling us that a world of increasing complexity will give rise to a new generation of leaders that make creativity the path forward for successful enterprises.

Have a nice week …

This newsletter has been written by moderator Sedat ESER of the group “Mind Sports”.

Visit the group here: http://www.xing.com/net/mindsports/

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10 Things We Can’t Live Without

Posted on July 25, 2010. Filed under: Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , |

According to American news, these following things are part off their culture.

Some things could be different depending on culture and economy. ( example : Turkish coffee , Norway milk …)

Nearly everything had to go. A few months after losing her administrative job in the summer of 2008, 23-year-old Brianna Karp got rid of her furniture, a beloved piano, and most of her books so she could move back in with her parents. When that didn’t work out, she moved into an old trailer a relative had left her, settling into an informal homeless community in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Brea, Calif. By the summer of 2009, she was living without electricity, regular showers, home-cooked food, and most basic conveniences.

Karp held tight to one appurtenance, however: her laptop computer. She spent hours at a nearby Starbucks, using the wireless network to surf for jobs. A friend suggested she start a blog about her life on the edge, which she called the Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. It generated attention that helped land a part-time magazine internship. Then came an offer to write a book about her ordeal, which is due out in 2011–and might get turned into a movie. With some money from a book advance, Karp has upgraded to a better trailer, on a friend’s property, and she’s eyeing a Victorian fixer-upper she’d like to make her permanent home. Yet she craves few of the material things she’s given up, while cherishing the friends and opportunities she’s discovered online. “When you’re in survival mode, you slash everything,” Karp says. “That makes the online community that much more important. Online, somebody will always be there for me.”

The grueling recession that began in 2007 has upended American priorities, with frugality now considered a virtue for the first time in decades. Despite recent upticks in spending, retail sales remain lower than they were three years ago. Sales of homes, cars, and appliances have plunged. Shoppers have cut back on toilet paper and cigarettes, once thought recession-proof. Even porn sales are down. Thrift, it seems, has no boundaries.

Yet Americans have clung dearly to a few surprising necessities, reflecting changes in American society that go far beyond penny-pinching. Food, clothing and shelter have long been the most obvious staples. But data that’s finally rolling in as the recession winds down shows that we also require a bit of entertainment and a tasty beverage or two. Companionship is as important as ever–even if it’s not human. And you can’t even look for a job these days if you don’t have Internet access. As we redefine what’s really important, here are 10 new American essentials:

#1 – Portable computers. The iPad might be the latest must-have gizmo, but the power of computers transcends trendiness. Brianna Karp, for instance, discovered lots of homeless people online, many logging in through their own laptops, like her. Shipments of notebooks have skyrocketed over the last three years, with sales in 2010 likely to be double what they were in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Part of the jump comes from cheap netbooks, but portable computers of all sizes are becoming ubiquitous as we socialize, communicate, shop, get our news and increasingly live our lives online. Desktop sales, meanwhile, have been on a steady decline, as mobility trumps stability.

#2 – High-speed Internet access. Lots of people have cut back on cable TV, telephone service, and even gas and electricity usage. But once you’ve got high-speed Internet access, you don’t go back. In a Pew Research Center survey from last year, high-speed Internet was one of only three things people said was more of a necessity in 2009 than in 2006. Appliances like microwaves, clothes dryers and dishwashers, by contrast, were considered less essential in 2009 than they used to be. And data from the Telecommunications Industry Association shows that the rapid increase in broadband Internet subscribers barely slowed in 2008 or 2009.  By 2013, more than 90 percent of all Internet connections in the United States will be high-speed.

#3 – Smart phones. Overall sales of cell phones dipped for the first time ever in 2009. But sales of smart phones–which can handle email, browse the Internet and do a variety of other things–rose by 7 percent, according to TIA. And sales could surge by 25 percent this year, as people who have been putting off mobile upgrades finally nab the iPhone or Blackberry of their dreams. Like portable computers, smart phones have become a lifeline for the harried multitaskers we pretend we’re not.

#4 – Education. As Kevin and Deanna Daum were spiraling toward bankruptcy in 2009, they decided they could live without their two cars, their two residences, and most niceties. But they insisted on keeping up tuition payments for their son, then a senior at a private high school. Many Americans seems to feel likewise. While data doesn’t readily show how much families spend on schooling, many families say they’ve given up other things in order to protect their kids’ education, whether it’s private school or college, tutoring, enrichment programs or school-related activities. Private school enrollments fell by less than one percent from 2008 to 2010, and college enrollments have gone up over the last couple of years. That’s partly because jobs are scarce, but also because Americans simply value education. “This is an investment that pays off very well,” says Sandy Baum, an economist at the College Board. “People are willing to borrow for it and they know that it’s shortsighted to forego it.”

[See how to rebuild after losing your fortune.]

#5 – Movies. Ticket sales dipped in 2008 but bounced back in 2009, hitting a five-year high. One big reason was Avatar and other 3-D films, which accounted for 11 percent of the box office take in 2009, up from 2 percent the year before. Any box-office increase is a victory for movie theaters, which until last year had been losing viewers to home theater systems and an expanding lineup of movies on cable and the Internet.

#6 – TV. Amercians are spending less on entertainment–but watching more TV. A recent survey by consulting firm Deloitte found that they typical American watches nearly 18 hours’ worth of shows on a home TV each week, two hours more than a year earlier. One reason might be that more unemployed people are killing time at home. But TV might also seem like a cheap alternative to sports events, concerts and DVD purchases. And hard-core TV watchers can’t be all that strapped, since sales of high-definition TV sets have risen steadily right through the recession.

[See new ways to make your fortune on the Web.]

#7 – Music downloads. The need for mobility applies to music, too. CD sales fell by 21 percent in 2009, but downloads of singles and entire albums rose by nearly as much. The Pew Survey comparing luxuries and necessities helps explain why: More people considered an iPod a necessity in 2009 than in 2006, despite the recession.

#8 – Pets. Fido sits at the table these days. Maybe even at the head of the table. While Americans have cut spending on themselves, spending on pet food, supplies, grooming, vet care and clothing (clothing?) has been rising uninterrupted by about 5 percent per year. Industry officials attribute this to the “humanization” of pets, which in turn has led many pet owners to close the “quality of life gap” between their animals and themselves. The iWoof can’t be far behind.

#9 – Booze. Smoking less doesn’t make us entirely virtuous. Americans have backed off the high-end booze, but we’re drinking enough cheap stuff to make up for it, which is the usual trend during recessions. Beer and wine sales have inched up as well over the last few years. With bar and restaurant sales down, that suggests more people are drinking at home–while they watch TV, probably.

#10 – Coffee. Americans have actually followed that penny-pinching advice, and cut back on the $5 daily lattes. But they’re compensating by brewing more of their own coffee. About 56 percent of American adults drink coffee, a proportion that hasn’t changed over the last few years. But a recent survey by the National Coffee Association found that 86 percent of coffee drinkers make their own at home, up from 82 percent a year earlier. And those drinking coffee made someplace else (think Starbucks) fell from 31 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2010. Of course, if people are drinking more booze at home, then it makes sense that they’d be dosing themselves with more coffee, too. If the economy improves, maybe we’ll need less of each.

This newsletter has been written by moderator Sedat ESER of the group “Mind Sports”.

Visit the group here: http://www.xing.com/net/mindsports/

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Axion 2010: “The Truth Tellers Conference”

Posted on July 10, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: |

Utah area then please attend:

We Are Change of Utah's home page

Location: Salt Lake Community College – Larry H. Miller Campus – 9750 South 300 West – Sandy, UT 84070

Date: Friday, Jul. 30, 2010 – Sunday, Aug. 01, 2010

Two Youtube shorts on the conference –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf8eslDDDfg


To reserve space for the conference – http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=203595

Several local government administrations have contacted CAFR1 to discuss implementation of the TRF in their local government (City and County). Also a Candidate for governor of one of the largest states in the country may run on the platform of the TRF to eliminate all taxation in that state.  CAFR1’s talk at the conference will release this important information at that time and why it is now being done.

Sent FYI and be there if you can, and if you can not, if you know people from Utah or close to it, make sure they know about this event also.

Walter Burien – CAFR1
P. O. Box 2112
Saint Johns, AZ 85936

Tel. (928) 445-3532

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Waning risk appetite and travel turbulence hit crude

Posted on April 19, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: |

A sharp correction in commodity markets sent oil down $2 a barrel on Monday morning, as risk appetite waned in the wake of the charges brought against Goldman Sachs and the continued disruption to flights across Europe sparked concerns of a dip in fuel demand.

Nymex West Texas Intermediate for May delivery – a contract which expires on Tuesday – fell as much as $2 to $81.25, while the more actively traded June contract dropped $2.05 to $83.93. Brent crude for June delivery slipped $1.92 to $84.07.

By Jack Farchy

Published: April 19 2010 11:37 | Last updated: April 19 2010 14:02

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Easy to Avoid Paying Income Tax

Posted on April 11, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: |

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Would you choose being wealthy and paying income tax or making little enough to escape income tax?  Americans have a far greater chance of being in the latter group.

Sometimes there are statistics that you really need to meditate on for awhile.  They open the door to critical thinking about American society.  They shed light on a host of hot political and public policy issues.  This is especially true for rich versus poor issues, taxes, justice and equality.  First, note the number of households in the United States: now at 115 million, which equates to an average of 2.6 people per household.

Now, think for a few moments and guess the answers to this question: What fraction of households have assets of $1 million or more and what fraction will pay no federal income tax for 2009?

Take a moment, think seriously about what these two fractions might be.  To have net assets of $1 million or more certainly signifies people at the top of the economic ladder, but is a far greater number than the superrich, because a million bucks is not what it used to be.  A lot of ordinary people seeing themselves as middle class, but making good incomes and probably older, even with lower house values, can have wealth at this level.

And to pay no federal income tax certainly covers people at the bottom of the economic spectrum, but not necessarily just the very poor.  They too may see themselves as middle class or, for some, the working poor.  For example, for 2009, a family of four with two children under 17 could have made $50,000 and escaped paying any federal income tax because of various tax credits and other benefits.  Many two income households could avoid paying federal income tax, because of low but rather typical salaries.

Here are the answers to the above question.  Households with $1 million or more in net assets number just 7.8 million or 6.8 percent of the national total.  Households that will pay no federal income tax for 2009 number 54 million or 47 percent of the national total.

Thus, there are about seven times as many households paying no federal income tax, nearly half the nation’s households, than having $1 million or more in assets.

If a high income rather than assets is considered, then note that about 16 percent of households have annual incomes of $100,000 or more.  This means that a lot of households with pretty high incomes have not accumulated the wealth level of $1 million in assets.  Households with incomes of $250,000 or more, however, number just under 2 percent of the nation’s total.  This is the group that will see higher taxes from the new health care reform legislation and now pays about half of all taxes.  This group equates to about 2.3 million households and 6 million people that really are rich in terms of both wealth (assets) and income.  These people can afford to pay more taxes because they have benefitted disproportionately from past tax cuts and probably are not hurting much in this recession.

All these numbers shed some light on the considerable economic inequality that has gotten steadily worse in recent years.  Yes, the rich have become richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class devastated, probably worse than ever, because the current Great Recession for millions of people is really just as bad as the Great Depression – financially and psychologically.  Over the past 30 years the lowest income people are actually making less now, after adjusting for inflation, and CEOs at the largest companies went from making 35 times to over 300 times more than their average workers.

Take away the no income tax and high asset households and you have about 46 percent left or 53 million households with about 138 million Americans.  This is a better view of the shrinking, at-risk middle class, households trying to survive in a cruel society with high economic insecurity.  These people should be more worried about sinking into the lower class, no income tax paying group, than dreaming about rising up into the wealthy high tax paying class.  The bitter truth is that upward economic mobility has largely become a myth, like the American dream, more like winning the lottery than a reasonable expectation from working hard.

Maybe all this explains why there are so many angry, anti-government Americans attracted to the tea party movement, and firmly entrenched independents fed up with both major political parties because they more serve corporate rather than public interests.   With an enormous national debt, high unemployment that will not go away, and increasing number of people losing homes and needing free food things are likely to stay bad or get worse for a lot of people.

Dwell on this: Do you really think that voting in different Democrats or Republicans will return the nation to a healthier condition?   And this: Does having a positive attitude about the future require delusional thinking, or heavy drug use to avoid thinking about it?

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.]



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Japan economy at risk of ‘bankruptcy’

Posted on April 11, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: |

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 16:59:01 GMT
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Japanese yen notes are piled atop US dollar bills in a Tokyo market.

Analysts have warned that Japan may go bankrupt next year with a public debt figure larger than that of any other industrialized nation.

Dai-ichi Life Research Institute cautions about surging public dept of Japan, estimating that it will hit 950 trillion yen next year. That is 200 percent of the country’s GDP.

Experts say that Japan cannot avoid bankruptcy unless it issues more government bonds.

Japan has the world’s second-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third largest in purchasing power parity.

Deflation, high public debt and weak domestic demand have had a drastic impact on Tokyo’s finances. The Japanese economy shrank 5.2 percent last year.


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