Archive for October, 2011

The Wealth of National Morality?

26 October 2011

Once again, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone nailed a major point about Americans and the current chatter about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here’s Taibbi’s point:

Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that’s just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they’re cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

Whole article here: “Wall Street Isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating

See also my other post from today:

Oh, yes, just one more bit of trivia, completely unsubstantiated since I’m too lazy right now to go back and look it up. According to some recent poll, what percentage of Americans answered that they thought they would one day be in the top one percent? The answer was, I believe, forty percent.

American innumeracy and lack of historical insight are right up there with American optimism. I hope the American sense of fair play still exists, but sometimes I wonder.



That Top One Percent

26 October 2011

Anyone who’s been living under a rock and is hence unaware of the income shift in the USA might want to read this short article from NPR: “Why Has Income Gone up So Much for the Top 1 Percent?

Here are my favorite paragraphs:

Why have salary, bonus, etc. gone up so much for this group? Lots of economists have been asking this question, and CBO runs through some of the possibilities, without really settling on an answer [emphasis added]. Three of the possibilities suggested by the report:

1. Companies have grown larger and more complex. So a single executive can have a bigger impact on profits. Therefore, it’s rational for companies to pay executives a lot more.

2. A shift toward paying execs with stock options means that the value of their pay packages can shoot way up when the stock market rises.

3. “Weaknesses in corporate governance have enabled corporate executives to overpay themselves.” In other words, it’s not rational for companies to pay executives so much.

“Without really settling on an answer”?! Had I not recently read William Domhoff’s Who Rules America and John Bogle’s Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, it might have taken me a nanosecond to figure out the best answer.

Unfortunately, having read those two books and several others, I felt almost grateful that the Congressional Budget Office at least threw out the that third possibility.

I will refrain from sarcastic mutterings and simply move on to read the whole report from the Congressional Budget Office. It’s here: Trends in the Distribution of Household Income between 1979 and 2007

Once again I’ll most likely dream of sharpened pitchforks.


“Do Your Research” — Sherlock

12 October 2011

This lovely article shows the importance of independent research: “Republicans Stretch Truth in Debate Salvos on Jobs, Taxes”

My only complaint with America’s still pretty much intact freedom of speech is that truth is not required. Spinning, twisting, and outright lying are protected except in a few specific circumstances. In other words, “news” doesn’t have to be accurate. In fact, it doesn’t have to be news at all. It might be a press release from some company.

Considering the dangers, all I can say is this:

Blessed be the fact checkers.


The New America

12 October 2011

Unfortunately, the New America is a land of fear and privilege. Enter at your own risk.