tagged w/ Eat The Rich
As if you didn't know....
Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity examines the ideological roots of the "austerity" agenda and proposes revolutionary paths out of the current crisis. The film features original interviews with Chris Hedges, Derrick Jensen, Michael Hardt, Peter Gelderloos, Leo Panitch, David McNally, Richard J.F. Day, Imre Szeman, Wayne Price, and many more!
The 2008 "financial crisis" in the United States was a systemic fraud in which the wealthy finance capitalists stole trillions of public dollars. No one was jailed for this crime, the largest theft of public money in history.
Instead, the rich forced working people across the globe to pay for their "crisis" through punitive "austerity" programs that gutted public services and repealed workers' rights.
Austerity was named "Word of the Year" for 2010.
This documentary explains the nature of capitalist crisis, visits the protests against austerity measures, and recommends revolutionary paths for the future.
Special attention is devoted to the crisis in Greece, the 2010 G20 Summit protest in Toronto, Canada, and the remarkable surge of solidarity in Madison, Wisconsin.
It may be their crisis, but it's our problem.As if you didn't know....
I sit in an interesting chair in the financial services industry. Our clients largely fall into the top 1%, have a net worth of $5,000,000 or above, and if working make over $300,000 per year. My observations on the sources of their wealth and concerns come from my professional and social activities within this group.
Work by various economists and tax experts make it indisputable that the top 1% controls a widely disproportionate share of the income and wealth in the United States. When does one enter that top 1%? (I’ll use “k” for 1,000 and “M” for 1,000,000 as we usually do when communicating with clients or discussing money; thousands and millions take too much time to say.) Available data isn’t exact. but a family enters the top 1% or so today with somewhere around $300k to $400k in pre-tax income and over $1.2M in net worth. Compared to the average American family with a pre-tax income in the mid-$50k range and net worth around $120k, this probably seems like a lot of money. But, there are big differences within that top 1%, with the wealth distribution highly skewed towards the top 0.1%.
The Lower Half of the Top 1%
The 99th to 99.5th percentiles largely include physicians, attorneys, upper middle management, and small business people who have done well. Everyone’s tax situation is, of course, a little different. On earned income in this group, we can figure somewhere around 25% to 30% of total pre-tax income will go to Federal, State, and Social Security taxes, leaving them with around $250k to $300k post tax. This group makes extensive use of 401-k’s, SEP-IRA’s, Defined Benefit Plans, and other retirement vehicles, which defer taxes until distribution during retirement. Typical would be yearly contributions in the $50k to $100k range, leaving our elite working group with yearly cash flows of $175k to $250k after taxes, or about $15k to $20k per month.
Until recently, most studies just broke out the top 1% as a group. Data on net worth distributions within the top 1% indicate that one enters the top 0.5% with about $1.8M, the top 0.25% with $3.1M, the top 0.10% with $5.5M and the top 0.01% with $24.4M. Wealth distribution is highly skewed towards the top 0.01%, increasing the overall average for this group. The net worth for those in the lower half of the top 1% is usually achieved after decades of education, hard work, saving and investing as a professional or small business person. While an after-tax income of $175k to $250k and net worth in the $1.2M to $1.8M range may seem like a lot of money to most Americans, it doesn’t really buy freedom from financial worry or access to the true corridors of power and money. That doesn’t become frequent until we reach the top 0.1%.
I’ve had many discussions in the last few years with clients with “only” $5M or under in assets, those in the 99th to 99.9th percentiles, as to whether they have enough money to retire or stay retired. That may sound strange to the 99% not in this group but generally accepted “safe” retirement distribution rates for a 30 year period are in the 3-5% range with 4% as the current industry standard. Assuming that the lower end of the top 1% has, say, $1.2M in investment assets, their retirement income will be about $50k per year plus maybe $30k-$40k from Social Security, so let’s say $90k per year pre-tax and $75-$80k post-tax if they wish to plan for 30 years of withdrawals. For those with $1.8M in retirement assets, that rises to around $120-150k pretax per year and around $100k after tax. If someone retires with $5M today, roughly the beginning rung for entry into the top 0.1%, they can reasonably expect an income of $240k pretax and around $190k post tax, including Social Security.
While income and lifestyle are all relative, an after-tax income between $6.6k and $8.3k per month today will hardly buy the fantasy lifestyles that Americans see on TV and would consider “rich”. In many areas in California or the East Coast, this positions one squarely in the hard working upper-middle class, and strict budgeting will be essential. An income of $190k post tax or $15.8k per month will certainly buy a nice lifestyle but is far from rich. And, for those folks who made enough to accumulate this much wealth during their working years, the reduction in income and lifestyle during retirement can be stressful. Plus, watching retirement accounts deplete over time isn’t fun, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of these accounts and the desire of many to leave a substantial inheritance. Our poor lower half of the top 1% lives well but has some financial worries.
Since the majority of those in this group actually earned their money from professions and smaller businesses, they generally don’t participate in the benefits big money enjoys. Those in the 99th to 99.5th percentile lack access to power. For example, most physicians today are having their incomes reduced by HMO’s, PPO’s and cost controls from Medicare and insurance companies; the legal profession is suffering from excess capacity, declining demand and global outsourcing; successful small businesses struggle with increasing regulation and taxation. I speak daily with these relative winners in the economic hierarchy and many express frustration.
Unlike those in the lower half of the top 1%, those in the top half and, particularly, top 0.1%, can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the U.S. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends, lucrative business opportunities, and many other benefits. Most of those in the bottom half of the top 1% lack power and global flexibility and are essentially well-compensated workhorses for the top 0.5%, just like the bottom 99%. In my view, the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability. The odds of getting into that top 0.5% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.
The Upper Half of the Top 1%
Membership in this elite group is likely to come from being involved in some aspect of the financial services or banking industry, real estate development involved with those industries, or government contracting. Some hard working and clever physicians and attorneys can acquire as much as $15M-$20M before retirement but they are rare. Those in the top 0.5% have incomes over $500k if working and a net worth over $1.8M if retired. The higher we go up into the top 0.5% the more likely it is that their wealth is in some way tied to the investment industry and borrowed money than from personally selling goods or services or labor as do most in the bottom 99.5%. They are much more likely to have built their net worth from stock options and capital gains in stocks and real estate and private business sales, not from income which is taxed at a much higher rate. These opportunities are largely unavailable to the bottom 99.5%.......
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25759I sit in an interesting chair in the financial services industry. Our clients largely... more
1 year ago
That the wealthy are “job creators,” and therefore have interests that must be defended by the public at large, is a talking-point that, however facile, is so popular it slips effortlessly from the lips of conservatives every day.
It can be deployed for any purpose – not only in calling for more tax breaks for the rich, but also when opposing public interest regulation, consumer litigation and worker protections. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, even used it to deflect attention from the "gay rehabilitation" services her clinic allegedly offers. When asked about it by ABC News, Bachmann merely acknowledged, “we do have a business that deals with job creation.” When pressed, she stuck with it: “As I said, again, we’re very proud of our business and we’re proud of all job creators in the United States.”
It's also complete nonsense; the opposite of the truth. Sure, the wealthy create a few jobs – people who offer exclusive services or sell them high-end goods. But the overwhelming majority of jobs in this country are “created” by ordinary Americans when they spend their paychecks.
Consumer demand accounts for around 70 percent of our economic output. And with so much wealth having been redistributed upward through a 40-year class-war from above, American consumers are too tapped out to spend as they once did. This remains the core issue in this sluggish, largely jobless recovery. The wealthy, in their voracious appetite for a bigger piece of the national pie, are the real job-killers in this economic climate.
Don't take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that “the main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists” the paper surveyed. That jibes with what business owners themselves are saying. Last week, the National Federation of Independent Businesses released a survey of small businessmen and women that found widespread “pessimism about future business conditions and expected real sales gains.”
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt wrote this week that “We are living through a tremendous bust. It isn’t simply a housing bust. It’s a fizzling of the great consumer bubble that was decades in the making.”
The auto industry is on pace to sell 28 percent fewer new vehicles this year than it did 10 years ago — and 10 years ago was 2001, when the country was in recession. Sales of ovens and stoves are on pace to be at their lowest level since 1992. Home sales over the past year have fallen back to their lowest point since the crisis began. And big-ticket items are hardly the only problem.
Leonhardt cites worse-than-expected retail sales and a study conducted by the New York Federal Reserve Bank that found “discretionary service spending” – which excludes housing, food and health care – to have dropped 7 percent, more than twice the decline we saw during previous recessions.
“If you’re looking for one overarching explanation for the still-terrible job market,” Leonhardt concludes, “it is this great consumer bust. Business executives are only rational to hold back on hiring if they do not know when their customers will fully return. Consumers, for their part, are coping with a sharp loss of wealth and an uncertain future (and many have discovered that they don’t need to buy a new car or stove every few years).”
Average American households' economic malaise started long before the current downturn, as those at the top started grabbing an ever-increasing share of the pie in the 1970s. These graphs, courtesy of Mother Jones, tell the tale:
Continue with Page Two here:
http://www.alternet.org/economy/151705/why_the_wealthiest_americans_are_the_real_%27job-killers%27?page=2That the wealthy are “job creators,” and therefore have interests that... more
Commentary: A ‘Super-Rich Delusion’ is leading us to ruin | Market Watch
Yes, tax the Super Rich. Tax them now. Before the other 99% rise up, trigger a new American Revolution, a meltdown and the Great Depression 2.Commentary: A ‘Super-Rich Delusion’ is leading us to ruin | Market Watch... more
Much thanks to Davis Fleetwood for making this video about my "Kill & Eat the Rich" campaign.
Now, I want to explain, I don't actually advocate killing and eating the rich. It's just that, like Obama and Hillary talking about nuking Iran-- I just think we should "keep all options on the table."
Speaking of which, I recently saw an old advert for Scott Paper Towels, asking "is your washroom breeding Bolsheviks?"
Which went on to say how harsh paper towels and unsanitary bathroom conditions pissed workers off, and made them more likely to unionize and join the communist party, which one can only assume means that they're going to crash the gates and kill you and all the other board members.
Yes! Once upon a time, people were so scared of the poor that they were willing to do the most basic things to keep them happy.
Like keep the bathroom clean, and buy soft toilet paper.
Just think what the corporate elite would be willing to do for the betterment of humanity if they thought they had to prevent us from killing and eating them?
You can buy the t-shirt here:
Wear it proud!Much thanks to Davis Fleetwood for making this video about my "Kill & Eat the... more
2 years ago
Tax-cut advocates used to pretend that they were mainly concerned about helping typical American families. Even tax breaks for the rich were justified in terms of trickle-down economics, the claim that lower taxes at the top would make the economy stronger for everyone.
These days, however, tax-cutters are hardly even trying to make the trickle-down case. Yes, Republicans are pushing the line that raising taxes at the top would hurt small businesses, but their hearts don’t really seem in it. Instead, it has become common to hear vehement denials that people making $400,000 or $500,000 a year are rich. I mean, look at the expenses of people in that income class — the property taxes they have to pay on their expensive houses, the cost of sending their kids to elite private schools, and so on. Why, they can barely make ends meet.
And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago.
The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.Tax-cut advocates used to pretend that they were mainly concerned about helping... more
2 years ago
In New York, you're either rich, or you're poor. That's what it seems like, anyway. It took me a while to realize it, after growing up in the city and living there my whole life, but by the time I hit 30, I realized that it's damn near impossible to live somewhat comfortably (ie - in a decent sized living space without 3 roomates) in NYC without
a) making six figures, or
b) living in that magical universe where you don't have to earn a living to pay a rent or mortgage (ie - you live in your parent's house, your lover pays your rent for you, your rich grandma bought you an apartment, you inherited something along the way, etc...)
Well, I don't fall into either of those categories. I'm just a normal college-graduate who consistently earned what should have been a living wage in NYC, yet somehow still found myself living hand-to-mouth. I rarely went out drinking or partying (I hate hipster bars, and it seems like thats all that was left in my neighborhood) I just paid my rent and bills, and bought groceries, and couldn't ever afford anything luxurious like cable, high speed internet, or health insurance.
Anyway. The Daily News just confirmed what I've always suspected. In NYC, there really is no middle class anymore. A salary of $40,000 in NYC is practically equivalent to minimum wage nowadays. Its depressing, but the rich have taken over the city, and there ain't nothing anyone can do about it.
A new report shows just how ugly — and expensive — New York City can be, especially for the middle class, squeezed by skyrocketing living costs and stagnant wages.
The study, released Thursday by the Center for an Urban Future, shows that New York City is hands-down the most expensive place to live in the country.
Among the findings:
A New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to have the same standard of living as someone making $50,000 in Houston.
In Manhattan, a $60,000 salary is equivalent to someone making $26,092 in Atlanta.
You knew it was expensive to live in Manhattan, but Queens? The report tagged Queens the fifth most expensive urban area in the country.
The average monthly rent in New York is $2,801, 53% higher than San Francisco, the second most expensive city in the country.
“Income levels that would enable a very comfortable lifestyle in other locales barely suffice to provide the basics in New York City,” the report concludes.
Other belt-tightening details include:
New Yorkers paid about $34 a month for phone service in 2006. In San Francisco, similar service cost $17 a month.
Home heating costs have jumped 125% in the past five years and are up 243% since 1998.
Full-time day care costs can run up to $25,000 a year for one child, depending on the neighborhood, or about as much as some college tuitions.
Meanwhile, wages in the city have remained mostly flat in all boroughs but Manhattan — even during the boom years from 2003 to 2007In New York, you're either rich, or you're poor. That's what it seems... more