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Isn't it quite obvious that the US is becoming a plutocracy

It's hard to ignore the obvious but most Americans are determined to prepare for the impending dooms of asteroids, climate change, a political coup, and a catastrophic drop in the price of gold but they are determined to not see the hand writing on the Wall.

Don't be the last to find out.


  • I agree that there is polarization in today's society. However, I don't think the rich are the major problem. In "socialist" Sweden, 85% of the wealth is still in private hands with very rich folks indeed. The reason not to worry there is that Sweden has extremely high literacy, good social programs free university education, and no "underclass" living on welfare and not working. And everyone pays taxes.

    The US has gradually divide itself into rich, middle class (employed and paying taxes), and the bottom which gets welfare, food stamps, free health care while not working or marginally employed. A so-called democratic government should have as its first mission to get the bottom part educated, trained and gainfully employed. But that's not happening. Instead we are going the way of the Roman Empire during its decline; the goverment bought off the lower classes with "panum et circensus", bread and games and brought in grain from the colonies (cheap imports) and slaves (our illegal immigrants) did the hard work.

    One of the networks had a documentary on a food caterer in the South who emplyed these "illegals" for nearly all his postions. The network journalist asked why he did not employ locals, since they had seen many idle and able bodies locals hanging around. His response was that he tried but they were not sufficiently motivated to stay on the job and went back to welfare and food stamps.

    The Obama administration does not believe in "tough love" or "strong medicine" and the situation will get worse over time. In "socialist" Sweden, the government finds you a job while you are on unemployment benfits. When they call you with a job offer you are supposed to take it. If they can't reach you after 3 calls, you're OFF unemployment benefits.

    By now you will understand why ambitious immigrants from poor countries do so well; they are actually willing to take any job to get started and are totally focused on success through hard work.

  • We know. The article just rehashes the obvious.
  • Do you propose that the US allow the poor to decline to the level of the 3d world in order to motivate them, @Docnick? If only we could let the poor here become as desperate as the poor in Mexico and Haiti the economy would BOOM? But who would it BOOM for?
  • edited April 2013
    @RodKnox You misinterpret what I was getting at. Motivation is not necessarily a function of how poor you are. It's part of your culture. Ambitious persons from Britain are leaving behind a good living standard when they come to America, and succeed because of the opportunities.

    For a society to proper across the board we need everyone who can work in the best job possible for his natural talents. Many countries have a guaranteed annual income which supplements a persons earnings from WORKING up to a decent level. Such countries put a high tax on the rich, something I am in favor of by the way. The US is an extremely properous country overall and a person on welfare does better than a Haitian working a full time job.

    The key point is that a very large segment of the population has poor education, little or no job skills resulting in a high unemplyment rate for that segment and a permanent underclass. A third generation welfare recipient barely knows what work is.

    If education a training is one of the keys to a better life, it should be subsidiized or free for those without the means to pay for it. Unemployed people should be enrolled in courses to improve their employability.

    The current programs in place don't seem to be doing much towards those goals.

  • I don't disagree that there is a high level group more interested in self-preservation and global markets than the good of the USA or the common folks, however I think those living in large cities on the east coast can get a bit of a skewed view of the rest of the country.

    I do agree that wages have stagnated while upper incomes have sky rocketed but there are also other reasons for that. I don't mean to sound ultra conservative which I am not but just looking at some of the facts over the past 30 years-single families have sky-rocketed, birth rates have sky rocketed among the lower wage earners while the upper earners have stagnated, graduation rates have decreased among this population. Plus at the same time 20 million more imported low wage workers have managed to compete for entry level jobs, plus the number of these jobs available due to globalization decreased substantially.

    These trends of large families with single parents, with little emphasis on education and training I think has caused a mushrooming of the under class. We've had this conversation before but I still believe that some of the current administration policies just play right into the hands of the 1% . Under section 8, apartment buildings would not be built and owned by the 1% if the feds weren't paying 75% of the cost. We think this benefits the tenants but in fact benefits the 1% and continues the impotence of the tenants.
  • @Bing and @Docnick, we seem to see the same problems and honestly I blame the "war on poverty" for a great deal of the poverty that we suffer with. But for the individual in poverty intellectual rhetoric is just hot air. If you hope to get someone off welfare you cannot expect them to take a part time job at a minimum wage of $7 and give up Medicaid and all the incidentals. We fostered and rewarded single motherhood and now we blame the single mothers for their efforts. We demeaned and denigrated husbands into being "baby-daddies" and now curse them for being irresponsible. The wealthy lobbied for section 8, for free cell phones, for free cable tv and food stamps as profitable schemes for themselves and then they want to shake their fingers at the poor who live off the dole. Step one of the solution cannot be STARVE THE BEAST. It's not a beast. It's people who have lived their entire lives isolated and marginalized and ignorant as the result of our political leaders whose short term planning always puts re-election and cronyism at the top of their priority list.
  • No disagreement there. Not sure how we get out of it except maybe first step is lets not borrow more money for it.

    A retired teacher friend volunteers with the Red Cross and after Katrina was sent down to NO to help distibute debit cards, etc. It was absolutely amazing the number of people that had no idea what a debit card was, never had a bank account, checking account, nothing. Basically had no personal finance experience at all. Just like stepping back a hundred years in time. So undoubtedly a lot of work to do.
  • @Rod Knox The economy has to function as a holistic whole. That's why a guaranteed annual wage (topping up the minimum wage) and guaranteed health care are essential in getting the "underclass" as productive as possible. People should have the opportunity and the desire to work and learn new things at the same time. I teach workshops at a local college where there must be at least 50 languages spoken, and students range from teenagers to mature foks in their 50s. The tuition is kept low enough for most to be able to afford it.

    I would like to see tuition tied to income levels; the lowest would pay nothing and the more properous a larger amount. In a recent workshop I had 18 students, and 2 were from India, one form Pakistan, one from Poland, 2 from China and two from England. Some had their studies paid for by their employers, but all were in the workforce. One, a single mother, had to juggle daycare hours with her schedule and I accomodated her leaving class early.

    There is still substantial government support for the institution, as well as the city tax base, but corparate donations and tuition fees make up the bulk.
  • Socialized medicine seems inevitable and the sooner we get it the better off we will be. Those 3d+ generation marginalized poor are clueless of so much that the main stream takes for granted. And New Orleans is one of the most dismal examples of entire neighborhoods that seemingly live under a rock. Continuing to throw entitlements at the problem will not cure it but cutting off entitlements will certainly result in some degree of civil unrest.
  • edited April 2013
    I believe our seeds where sowed with each newly nominated justice to the supreme court. Seeming innocuous decisions made by them that seem to have no bearing on everyone's life, suddenly becomes the impetus for major societal changes.
    Plutocracy is not a US phenomenon as the wealthy knows no boundaries and decision are made by a world order whose entrance is determined by the size of your bank account. The reversal takes two things. Patience and education. Education not just of our youth but of those who just accept the inevitability of the wealthy being superior and caving into the idea that gee...they will be wealthy some day soon. Sorry. That group is predetermined, often by birth and seldom by work effort. The same family names keep poping up in business and politics as one supports the other. If that takes wealth redistriburption to put the middle class in a more favorable position.....of course, count me in.

    Count me in on socialized medicine, not because we will all become healthier, which we will, but it will be a big step back toward legitimate democracy and personal freedom.
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