Nicholas D. Kristof Our Bannana Repurblic Nicholas Kristof
In my reporting, I regularly travel to banana republics notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.
But guess what? You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.
The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.
The only people who make any sense today are Fox and Friends. I love that gang - they are so smart and funny and the way they bash the Democrats is beyond fair when you consider the damage that the pinko, commie atheists who run that party wreak upon us.
Murdoch should buy that rag and fire all them commies.
I find a bottle of whisky, a pile of Murdoch newspapers and a subliminal message "it's all true you know" is not quite as speedy but a little less painful than the nail gun and doesn't scare those good folk who live in fear of a terrorist attack.
My friend doubted the wisdom of my actions but a good slap soon convinced her she was dealing with a superior intellect.
My wife, not having much personality of her own anyway, was always willing to live in my shadow, but she was mouthier when we were liberals.
I'd have her bring me a beer right nowiuf we had any. Not because I want one, but just to burn the lesson in. I thought I saw a little flash of defiance in her eyes and need to deal with that right away. I know some folks in other threads I can ask for advice.
Well, for heavens sake man, send her out for some beer for you. Don't let her think you don't need her help, the little women need to feel important. If she hasn't got any money you can lend her some at a competitive rate of interest can't you?
I know. I often try to think of ways I can help the little people feel better about themselves. It is so little skin off my nose - a kind word, no matter how insincere, a paternal pat on the head, these are small things to me that can mean so much to them.
We are a Banana Democracy not a republic, didn't you get the email from Bill O'Liely and the Newsmax Morons? The mob has the right to stay just as poor and as dumb as they desire.
Is it possible to go thru 16 years of education and still not have a clue? Of course it is, just do it like the do it in the south, Repeat the 8th grade 8 times and hope you at least learn to read a Hardee's drive thru menu the last time thru. I know that only adds up to 15 years of education but I assumed that everyone knew repeating 1st grade is mandatory down here. It takes 2 years to transform grunts into basic words.
One is required to memorize the words on a Hardee's menu and not simply the numbers. Sometimes they change what comes on the #4 combo just to keep America on their toes. TRue story...In the 11th grade here in SC I signed up for an extra credit reading course due to my love of books. I was a little suprised to discover that this class was a last ditch effort to teach student how to read. That they had made it to the 11th grade with out this skill wasn't shocking to anyone. It took me a week to get transfered out of that class and in that time I learned how to balance a check book and do basic math. Homework was easy as most couldn't read or write so there was none. South Carolina routinely handed out high school diplomas for good behaivior in the 70's. They were training textile workers and they didn't want them to be too smart for their own good, dontcha know! It sure as hell worked as planned. (Last minute attempt to comment on the plan you hinted at)
what is even more surprising to me is that people actually vote for them to have more. it's the strategy the right has used by saying it's for god, freedom and liberty. the people trust them and think that if it's for god then it must be right and they cut their own throats and ours too. it's crazy!
Well you see - us newly converted know that it will all end soon and I can see now why the sooner the better. I will, of course, be one of the chosen few who will get everything - so lets go bomb someone quickly, sell more arms around the world and polish up that nuclear trigger !!
No, no, I have converted. I now have seen the light I am a TEA PARTY man from now on. Furthermore, I have put my woman in her place and let her know who is in charge. I have joined an Evangelical church and love professional sports because that's what is really important.
I understand now that business should decide what I need because they must be smarter than I am - how would they have made their billions otherwise?
I love it, I do not have to think because Fox News tells me my opinions. I know I'll be able to get a job in my golden years if we can just destroy the Democrats, I am so looking forward to being a wage slave!
I hope you will join me, Ron. If we can convert just a few others, I think we can get them all to roll over - even the poor deluded man who started this by posting that vile, lying link.
And as a business school classmate of mine said wrt classroom discussion of a proposal for regulating business or the economy: "That would be like throwing sand into the mechanism of a fine Rolex watch!!"
For example, right this very moment, if Obama hadn't killed the Bush tax cuts ten years ago when he first took office, we wouldn't have high unemployment now because the filthy rich would be investing in our economy and making America strong.
It is failed socialist policies that created all of the evils we face now. Instead of trying to weasel out of Iraq, we should be using it as a base to attack Iran - that's how you get the economy moving in the right direction at almost no additional cost!
Health care? We need more profits for doctors and drug companies. If we double their profits, a small percentage can be put back into research - as long as you don't tax it away! Government bureaucrats shouldn't be making decisions about my health - I want private enterprise bureaucrats making those decisions because they will decide based on PROFITS, not some commie idea of what makes sense.
People like you are responsible, Ralph. Join me in my new found freedom from thought! Repent your ways!
Only in my home state. Here the fools voted Democratic. Well, I did too, but that was before my lobotomy. My wife voted Blue also, but I have asserted my Male Dominance and she promised to vote as I say next tine. Our kids are more of a problem - their husbands are not helping me convert them to sanity.
Where can I get an appropriate avatar? Now that I am lobotomized Tea Party, I want something that screams that to everyone. I'm thinking of an eagle draped in a flag with his claws crushing a liberal - do you know where I might find something like that? I want people to KNOW who I am!
No, that's the old weak liberal me. It simply won't do for my new brain rearrangement.
That clown was all about equality, fairness, womens rights, gay rights and important government services. I now realize that admiring billionaires is what I should be doing, then, when my money runs out, I should crawl away and die as quietly as possible. It's what Big Business needs from me and I will do my part.
My only regret is that I realized all this so late in life. Is it possible to get box sets of Fox and Friends on DVD? I missed so much truthiness.
Being an ignorant former liberal, I have no idea who that is, but if you recommend it, I am all over it.
Gosh, some of the awful things I used to think about your opinions. I feel so ashamed. It's a good thing the threat of banning kept me from saying them because then they'd be on record forever and our now mutual enemies could use my own words to undermine what I hope will be a deep and lasting friendship.
I am going to go Friend you on Facebook right now! Are you on Twitter too?
Are you sure? Because I read that Wikipedia article very carefully (well, I don't read as well as I used to - my brain takes longer to comprehensiate) and it sure sounds like it could be an Alex Jones video.
Or.. No.. Could it be you? Maybe around April 15th earlier this year?
Back to the avatar. Now that we are so close, I don't want to use an Eagle. I'm thinking Statue of Liberty wearing a big old flag and a monstrous silver cross, stomping on a whole pile of liberals. I like the subtle symbolism, don't you?
First, as one of my new wing men pointed out, the NYT is a commie, liberal rag that they have to give away and even then nobody really reads it.
Second, concentration of wealth is good because it helps the rich create JOBS. We need them to have even more money if we want to maintain the high employment levels we have now.
Did you know that, on average, every bank employee who got a million dollar or more bonus last year employs 3.6 illegal aliens? That's the kind of feet on the ground stuff that makes our country strong.
Don't forget, relatively speaking, those are the "poor" rich folk. The ones with the real Money employ many more.
The buck does not stop at the rich the rich spend their money they hire maids lawn guys and pool boys they buy boats appliances furniture and what not .they build houses . they redistribute wealth and put people to work food on the table for family's.
No - Here's what you can do with ill-gotten gains.
After you got fired as CEO - I mean, resigned voluntarily - you move from California to Florida with your loot. Though you have no experience with politics or Florida, you spend 70 million dollars to buy the governor's mansion - I mean, blanket the airwaves with lies - I mean, run a spirited campaign.
So what happened in CA? Governor Rick Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA, the company was hit with 1.7 BILLION in fines for Medicare fraud and 14 felony charges associated. That's right, the man claimed he 'took responsibility' for what happened at a company he ran who systematically bilked the federal government for millions and millions while he was at the helm.
And he's promised to run the state of Florida like he ran Columbia/HCA. And I believe him.
Well, Rick Scott has decided to eliminate the midddleman (crooked politican) and go directly into the whoresale - I mean wholesale business of selling government.
Instead of the discrete 'For Sale - Lobbyists Inquire Within" Rick has ordered a neon sign for the front of the Governor's Mansion. 'FOR SALE - ALL OF FLORIDA - Special Discounts For Republicans and other Felons".
How do you propose to hand out wealth that belongs to the one who created? Would that be to build a giant bureaucratic government that will absorb nearly 80% of every dollar collected in taxes before throwing crumbs at the maid and the pool boy. Or is it too much work to teach, preach, encourage personal, individual moral conduct? It is so much easier to compel whether by law(which always carries the threat of force) or by actual force property out of the hands of one man so it can be used as you would want it used.
It a treacherous course one chooses when one chooses to take what does not belong to them and then use it as they see fit. Where does the taking stop and how much force will be employed in the taking?
I'm assuming an existing system of taxation and the choice between assisting those at the bottom of the pile by direct tax cuts, or by tax cuts to those at the top of the pile and expecting them to trickle down and assist those at the bottom.
I'd then broaden out to ask how often the wealth posseccesed by somebody was actually created by them? Using Bill Gates again, for no other reason than an easily found name, how much of his wealth did he actually create and how much did he gather by taxing people?
Why would a government that absorbed 80% be any worse than anybody else absorbing 80% before it reached its target?
You are quite wrong Ralph - you want to criticise that poor guy who is essential for hte economy of the Mumbai slums - building his house where everyone can look up to it is a glowing example to all those idle people to get off their rear end and work hard to all become millionaires like him. Then India will have millions and millions of millionaires and no more problems.
You have a point there, China Man. It will act as a beacon of hope to the rag pickers, giving them something to strive for. Just like those guys at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup whose hard-earned success makes me get up earlier every morning. That's what made this country great. If it worked here, why not in Mumbai?
Absolutely, and when the whingeing Liberals get out of the way in areica then everyone can own big pieces of that wunnerful country. When everyone owns a big ranch like that nice Mr Bush then we can all be President and things will get better without that man (who isn't white you know) n that pure crystal white house that is a beacon of hope to all the worlds poor and oppressed. Then they can all get a big piece of America for themselves - Live the dream !
So if there is a forced redistribution of wealth what benefit will that be? We have witnessed the horror of forced redistribution all through the last century and into this one. So are we doomed either to become Nicaragua or are we doomed to become Zimbabwe or The Soviet Union? Not a cheerful prospect either way. As for some nebulous middle way, the economies of Western Europe have enjoyed their own little heaven in stagnation, debt, declining job creation to the point that they are on the verge of collapse or wrenching reform. So seems to me that we are either going to continue progress or decline into darkness - wow thanks for sending my mind in this direction on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
There has been no "forced distribution of wealth." The distribution has been going the other way, i.e., the rich have been getting vastly richer. The issue is how much of this distribution can the country stand without riots in the streets?
And what's wrong with riots in the streets? All those extra sales of rubber bullets and tear glass. Work for glaziers and builders. Road resurfacing, lots more customers for health care and pharmaceutics.
Good countrywide riots could be just the economic stimulus the US needs to sort its financial affairs.
The problem is not the 1% the problem is the remaining 99% too many of whom either do not or will not do what it takes to transform themselves into money making dynomoes. Maybe the 1% did inherant their wealth, but what they did was to make money work for them and create greater wealth - now why can't the other poeple take that cue and think of how to make what they have work for them and create a better life for them.
"History proves many things if you are interested in learning those lessons. Fascism took many years to complete it's grip in places like 1930s Italy. They brainwashed a majority over years of repeating lies and falsehoods. They gradually took over the media. It's all very tenacious and slow. But it's all very profitable to the very few who are powerful and rich."
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