He (Romney) would become the new American royalty – ironically a Mormon, to boot – and we, the 99% would be the serfs and farmers, like in ancient Rome. Is that what we want this country to become?
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Sunday read | From Daily Kos By Scott Emerson Thoughts about capitalism from a Baptist minister – Ancient Israel was built around the concept that nothing belonged to the individual. A farmer was required to give up to 30% of his crop to the community or the religious leaders. He was told not to go back and pick up what was dropped so that the poor and the widows could pick up what they needed. The story of Boaz and Ruth show this clearly. Jesus takes this concept a step further when he reminded his listeners that everything we own ultimately is not ours.
New York Times | By Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It LINDSTROM, Minn. (Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012) — Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government. Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.
By Rocky Boschert
Every day we hear that income inequality continues to increase in this country. Somehow we are supposed to accept it, as if it is a law of the natural world. Yet Americans are recoiling increasingly at least against extreme income inequality.
Aren’t we supposed to live in a democracy? Isn’t the democratic process supposed to guarantee that everyone participates to some degree in who we can vote for – as well as who gets elected? Clearly the answer is NO.
What we average income Americans are now up against in the political process is the unfettered power of money that the rich and the very rich possess. The power of money is winning big time. No matter how many 99%-ers there are, if your net worth is only 1,800th of the net worth of the likes of a Romney you can kiss your income equality dream good-bye.
The American Dream is now about income hoarding. To achieve income hoarding, the rich and super rich are increasingly using their “material Power” to control the political process, pitting it against the traditional electoral “participation” power of the many.
A recently created Material Power Index (MPI) shows that people with extreme wealth have an MPI 10,000 higher than an average citizen. The elephant in the national room, and the cause of most of America’s current economic problems, is that the rich have very effectively used their MPI to rewrite the tax code almost entirely for their benefit.
["Measured by income, oligarchs at the very top of American society have an MPI just over 10,000, which happens to approximate the MPI of Roman senators relative to their society of slaves and farmers. When measured by wealth, the MPI for the richest Americans is 30,000 (it jumps to 50,000 if home equity is excluded). The weakest American oligarchs have between 125 and 200 times the material power of an average citizen."]When taxes were first introduced in this country, only the richest 10% of Americans were being taxed. But they have managed to shift an increasing burden of taxation downward ever since. And even in our newest revision of our “progressive income tax” system, the rich have all the advantages, as we see with Mr. Romney's 14% tax rate. And have no illusions about his candidacy and what he represents: protecting the interests of his very rich class.
What makes the political process in the Republican primaries even more telling is we are now witnessing a new battle between the rich and the super-rich (as if their unbridled greed and avarice isn’t already too much). Romney, one of the 'super-rich' (net worth $250 million), is battling Gingrich, the 'merely rich' (net worth $6.7 million). One is being accused of vulture capitalism, the other of having profited as a high paid lobbyist for Freddie Mac.
This is, on its face, absolutely pathetic. How exactly does that help you and me and the rest of the non-rich decide who in the Republican Party, if elected President, would be the best representative for us non-rich citizens?
This telling sort of infighting in the Republican Party exposes the naked and corrupt excesses of 21st century American capitalism. Whereas in the past the rich and the super-rich were in the same camp, they are now attacking each other. The mountain top is not that big and everybody wants to stand on it.
America is morphing into an oligarchy and oligarchies are bad for democracy. We do not elect our government leaders anymore. They are selected for us by the rich and the super rich with their Super-Pacs and their owned and propagandized corporate media.
As the situation stands now, no matter how many crooks in high places we expose, there are no repercussions for them. What is the point of exposing corruption and the bad guys if we the people don't have the power to do anything about it? Even President Obama – who campaigned on getting justice for us against the corrupt perpetrators of the Iraq invasion and the financial collapse – has failed to display the courage of his pre-election rhetoric.
It is said that Americans do not hate the rich, but admire them. We are told we are supposed to emulate them as role models. Sadly, this is all part of the great brainwashing. Who wants to be governed by someone whose net worth is 2,000 times more than yours? There is a limit to what even Americans will tolerate in terms of economic inequality and political castration.
Until recently, the very rich have been smart enough to not be too much in the political limelight. It once was more effective to use your money in the background to influence politics. But with someone like Romney in the White House, things would be different. He would become the new American royalty – ironically a Mormon, to boot – and we, the 99% would be the serfs and farmers, like in ancient Rome. Is that what we want this country to become?
Whenever the 99% criticize the 1%, their pat reply is that we are engaging in “class warfare or envy.” This works very effectively with the ignorant and within an idolatry mindset, because in America, anyone accused of “class warfare” is considered an evil “socialist” or a Kenyan-born “Manchurian Candidate.”
All of this, of course, underscores another huge problem in America. Public education (even private education) has clearly failed to instill critical analysis and intellectual problem solving in the minds our current adult population. Let’s just hope for the sake of our country we don’t continue to let that happen to our children and grandchildren.