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The Super Rich are mad as hell.. and doing great!


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#1 riseabovethought

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 04:33 PM

The Super Rich are mad as hell -- and doing great

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By Lex Haris January 29, 2014 9:59 AM
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Venture capitalist Tom Perkins is interviewed in his office in San Francisco, California in this September 12, 2011 file photo. Perkins apologized on January 27, 2014 for comments comparing the treatment of wealthy Americans to the Nazi's persecution of Jews, although he stood by his belief in the danger of demonizing the rich. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

Tom Perkins says the rich are "threatened."

 

The tech venture capitalist initially compared the assault on the wealthy to a wave of Nazi attacks on Jews ahead of the Holocaust, in a letter this past weekend. He has since allowed that the comparison went too far, but he doesn't apologize for the overall message and his warning about anti-rich "radicalism."

The rich are under attack, says Perkins in a Bloomberg interview, by "higher taxes, higher regulation and so forth." He added: "We are beginning to engage in class warfare."

The sentiment is not new, and it's the second time in four years that a really rich person compared the suffering of the super rich to Nazi Germany.

First came Steve Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group in 2010. There had been a proposal to raise the tax rate on some big investors, and Schwarzman compared the idea to "Hitler invading Poland in 1939."

Former GE CEO Jack Welch has written about efforts to "demonize" business.

But here are some facts about how the rich are doing:

1) Income for the rich is way up.

Income for the top 1% grew an estimated 31.4% from 2009 to 2012. The bottom 99% saw a gain of 0.4%.

2) The stock market is way up

The Dow has roughly doubled since January 2009. The middle class benefit somewhat from the gains, but it's the rich that benefit the most.

3) Tax rates on the rich are not way up

Households with income above $250,000 will pay a 0.9% surtax for Medicare and some of their deductions have been reduced.

Households making above $400,000 ($450,000 if married) now pay a top income tax rate of 39.6%, up from 35% under Bush, but the same as during the Clinton years.

Those same high earners have to pay 20% on dividends and capital gains, up from 15%. And the exemption on the federal estate tax stands at a generous $5 million per person.

The rich crying class warfare need to think about what could have been if the far left had their way:

Nationalizing the banks: If that had happened, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon would not have just gotten a $20 million payday.

Dividends taxed at ordinary income rates: That would have meant a rate of 39.6%, which would have hit wealthy investors much harder than the current structure.

Higher carried interest tax rates for private equity investors: This is the tax Schwarzman was worried about. Some fees paid to investment managers are taxed as investments, but many think their fees are just ordinary income and should be taxed at the much higher income rates.

The "Buffett Rule" That would have ensured that millionaires paid a minimum of 30% of their taxable income to the federal government. Fact is, even with the increase in the top tax rate, most wealthy people pay an "effective rate" of far less.

One of the things the super rich complain about is the harsh language directed toward them. But while Obama referred to "fat cat" bankers on 60 minutes back in 2009, in general, "he dares not offend," as David Remnick wrote in the New Yorker last week.

http://finance.yahoo...-172500488.html


Edited by riseabovethought, 30 January 2014 - 04:33 PM.


#2 Mind

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 04:44 PM

This is epic.



#3 pharmer

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:15 PM

we are stuck on one or both  of the horns of the Devil

 

without the rich and their capital we'd all have a much lower standard of living

 

on the other horn...

 

they are masters of manipulating the government system - at our expense


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#4 TVCasualty

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 12:17 PM

without the rich and their capital we'd all have a much lower standard of living

 

"Their" capital? Where'd they get it, I wonder? I hope it wasn't from my planet as no one ever asked my permission to come take it.

 

I've always suspected that that sentiment right there is a tacit acceptance of the legitimacy of capital/labor polarity, and that opens the door to almost all the large-scale fuckery common in our society. And in this context "we" can't possibly mean all human beings because the 0.1% and their capital devastate and impoverish at least at much as they empower and enrich. It all depends on who you ask and if you live upwind or downwind from the smokestacks of progress.

 

Capital/labor is a false (manufactured) dichotomy, and a "high" or "low" standard of living is relative and far trickier to define than most people seem to assume. Exploiting a region until it's a scorched-Earth, toxic dumpscape to support an unsustainable/cancerous consumer paradigm might increase the standard of living for a few people living far from the depleted and polluted regions but those living in the exploited areas and who lack the means to get out become literal examples of one man's meat being 100 other men's poison, cancer and starvation.

 

In a few years this party will end and lead to everyone's starvation as the paradigm collapses due to ecological inevitabilities; if the rich think they're under attack now, they're really gonna freak when the starving hordes show up at their houses to go through their pantries and there won't be nearly enough private mercenary security thugs available to stop them. And the mercenary defenders of the de facto aristocracy will be treated like such tools have always been treated by the masses when the people have had enough (it ain't that pretty at all and often involves rather violent atrocities, but that's a natural consequence of the game they decided to play so no tears will be shed as what's left of them swings from high places for all to see).

 

Thousands of vehicles were left on the roads when they became impassable during this past week's Southeastern ice and snow clusterfuck, and the greedy bottom-feeding parasites showed up right on cue to exploit the situation, towing cars away unnecessarily and holding them ransom in impound lots for exorbitant -and illegal- fees. In comments under newspaper articles about these predatory towing companies that were charging people up to $300 to get their cars back a lot of people were calling for the heads of the local mayor, police chief, and owners of the towing companies involved. And I mean literally, as in calls for the guillotine, public flogging, marching to the impound lot with pitchforks and torches, etc. That tells me people are getting REAL pissed off and fuses are growing short. So much for that high quality of life; we all better make sure we're not employed as or even so much as mistaken for cops or security guards when the public finally snaps.

 

I think part of the problem is too much faith in technology to solve or alleviate emotional or existential concerns. Or in SubGenius terms, Science does not remove the terror of the gods!

 

The great failure of all the major economic theories is that they seem to be developed for addressing a population of unfeeling robots and assume that the robo-population can be manipulated (by carefully dictating our tastes and desires to us) into being more compatible with efficient industrial manufacturing practices rather than adapting industrial manufacturing practices and economic theories to maximize human health and happiness. If we don't fit in well enough to tolerate it quietly and do what we're told then there's always medication or if that fails, incarceration. This rigged game is mandatory no matter what our definition of a high standard of living happens to be.

 

For example, nothing else can explain Twinkies; almost all of the ingredients are mined, not grown, and are included either to help the pre-Twinkie mass flow more smoothly through the pipes at the manufacturing facility or to ensure the resulting product needs no refrigeration. But since I don't get Twinkie stock dividends this approach doesn't do me any good at all, and in fact results in my consuming a lot of non-food and empty calories so is actually worse than eating nothing at all (it's negative nutrition). So is a snack that doesn't need refrigeration an improvement in my quality of life if I have to exchange quality and nutrition for the extended shelf-life? This is the trend across the board in modern society and while things like Twinkies can be avoided, many other things can't be (like exchanging real, nutritious freedom for artificial, empty-calorie security).

 

The only way that something like Twinkies can exist is if we allow ourselves to be shoe-horned into the confines and limitations of efficient industrial manufacturing that's geared towards maximizing profit (which we have dutifully done). In a world geared toward maximizing human health and happiness and sustainability  Twinkies would not exist and trying to sell them would be considered a crime against humanity.

 

In a world made for people there would only be delectable pastries made from natural, high-quality and nutritious ingredients that are good for people, not for plumbing (in other words we would only ever eat actual food). But that's expensive and not very profitable and shareholders don't like lackluster profits! Well, so what? Are we here to sacrifice our own needs and desires so as to create impressive profit/loss statements for a company someone else owns and benefits from or are we here to live a life? I suspect we're really here for the latter but have been somehow swindled into believing the former and after spinning 'round and 'round in a little hamster wheel for a few years it seems inconceivable that life could be any different or that we can step off that wheel and walk right out of our little cage. It's not easy to opt-out, but the alternative is utterly intolerable (to me anyway).

 

Is my standard of living higher if I have an internet-enabled refrigerator and have to keep my go-nowhere hamster wheel spinning non-stop year after year to pay for it and the house that it sits in and the car I commute to my hamster-wheel with even as my car and my house and all the neat gee-whiz techno-gadgets in it offgas carcinogenic fumes from the new, more 'advanced' materials everything is made from nowadays because they're cheaper to manufacture that way? Or is it all a bunch of bullshit? "Capital" just refers to those who own the wheels we keep spinning. I don't feel particularly thankful for the opportunity to waste my life going nowhere as I keep one spinning. There's another way to do things, but only if we can manage to be a little more egalitarian and creative (so I guess that means we're pretty much fucked).

 

Living with no electricity, no internet, no indoor plumbing, and using a real small 35 year-old propane fridge from an old RV for years (as I've done) might on the surface seem like a lower standard of living than the luxurious mansion with 6-car garage, 9 bathrooms, two full kitchens, a pool, tennis court, citrus orchards, etc. that I grew up in but I only wanted to eat bullets in the mansion (the neighbor kids mostly went to rehab or prison) yet I found adventure and purpose and fun living essentially naked in the woods in a tent being eaten by chiggers and stung/bit by a diverse array of insects or freezing my ass off in Winter (the 12'X12' strawbale cabin seemed palatial when we finally built and moved into it).

 

The woods brought their own ordeals and challenges but "out there" the rewards FAR outshined the crappy parts whereas buying another sports car or adding another room on to the house never seemed to alleviate the existential malaise of trying to "enjoy" excessive material comfort for its own sake. When asked (and I have), most people who profess that they want a 10,000 sq. ft. or larger mansion can't really give a good -or at least rational- explanation as to why and then in nearly every case when they do get their dream castle it turns into an anchor around their neck that holds them down and steals their slack (I've seen that play out a few times).  Cheers for the abstract illusion we call "progress!"

 

 

american-way-a.jpg

 

 

There's more to life than increasing its speed. (Gandhi)


Edited by TVCasualty, 01 February 2014 - 12:27 PM.

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#5 pharmer

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:24 PM

TV, it's your money until you give it to them. You do this willingly in any purchase you make. Nobody forces you to give them that cash and you'll have to show me an example of them stealing it from you.

 

and yes, I heartily endorse free exchanges of cash for products or services.

 

When the money you transact over to them becomes capital is when it is in their bank, at their disposal to create more industry (jobs) or to sit on for a rainy day. Capital is nothing more than pent up activity.

 

It's no different than the money left in your pocket after you pay your bills and taxes. It's yours to do with as you please. It got there by a free exchange of your labor for the cash of your employer. The same as the free exchange of your left over money for their good or service.

 

You're pissed off as somebody but I suggest you anger is misplaced.

 

I am a capitalist fair and square and can't conceive of a way to fuck you over unless you're an idiot with your money.

 

I do think you've confused Capitalists with the type of business savages who are in bed with the Feds these days. They are no more Capitalists than the politicians are public servants. Both are using their positions to rob us blind.

 

Those two are the people you should be pissed off at.

 

and by the way - stop buying the fucking Twinkies. It just encourages them to package them in larger packages :)


Edited by pharmer, 01 February 2014 - 02:29 PM.

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#6 August West

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:04 PM

Definitions, definitions, definitions.

#7 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:38 AM

TV, it's your money until you give it to them. You do this willingly in any purchase you make. Nobody forces you to give them that cash and you'll have to show me an example of them stealing it from you.

 

 

And yet, I don't recall a time when I used to have the tens of millions of dollars that I (and everybody else for that matter) must've had at some point if those who have hoarded the most wealth (the 0.01%) got it fair and square by selling me stuff. Or perhaps theft isn't the only way to go about it; I suspect practices such as fractional reserve banking might be relevant here...

 

In any case debating the finer points of what is "real" Capitalism vs. what's actually being practiced is about as productive as arguing about the definition of a "real" Christian when those who claim to be such do things that other self-described Christians disagree with or find abhorrent.

 

Just like there's never been a truly Communist country, there's never been a truly Capitalist country either (as anyone criticizing the economic status quo is quickly reminded) and that might be because theories are abstractions that will always fall short in real-world conditions. I'm more concerned with what is than what should or could be, and what is is in deep shit because (for starters) no economic theory takes issues of ecological sustainability into account. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the amount of money in the world (in all its forms) exceeds the amount of actual resources it's ostensibly supposed to represent by a wide margin (that is, if all the money in the world were matched with actual physical resources there'd be a lot more money -abstraction- than resources -reality-, which suggests the entire global economy is a house-of-cards Ponzi scheme destined to collapse).

 

Ponzi schemes collapse when they run out of new marks who cover the payouts to earlier marks and in this global scheme we're all a part of (whether we like it or not) the "new marks" are the natural resources that we're rapidly running out of (my money, so to speak, is on a lack of fresh water being the Achilles Heel of modern civilization that ultimately brings it down).

 

 

 

YwSwZ.jpg

 

And I liked this graphic for its simplicity:

capitalism-socialism.jpg


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#8 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 11:19 AM

and by the way - stop buying the fucking Twinkies. It just encourages them to package them in larger packages :)

 

I've never bought a Twinkie. I was hoping you might consider the issue Twinkies were an example of. Which is that our manufacturing sector has ass-backwards priorities if looked at from the perspective of human needs (though perspectives can get muddled thanks to ubiquitous advertising messing with our heads and creating "needs" where there were none before; Ask you doctor if medical advice from a TV commercial is right for you!).

 

Anyway, IMO we're doomed so long as the approach continues to be "How do we convince people to consume this shit we make because it's the most profitable way we know of to make shit?" instead of "How do we maximize our quality of life as a species?" (these issues are also inextricably intertwined with politics/nationalism which also has to go if we are to endure much longer).

 

I have a feeling I might be able to raise some capital by setting up a guillotine repair/blade sharpening stand down on Wall Street (and it would probably be a very entertaining bit of guerilla theater). I wonder how much a NYC street vendor permit costs?

 

And to be honest I'm not angry about any of it because it's all way too big and absurd to take seriously, sort of like an incoming asteroid; it's not my fault and I can't do anything about it so I might as well try to have some fun until it arrives (but that doesn't mean I won't point at it occasionally and say "that thing headed our way is sure gonna suck when it gets here, too bad we're gonna let it but whatever, toss me a Twinkie!").


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#9 Spooner

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:22 PM

By law 60% of the land area in Bhutan must remain forested, and instead of Gross National Product, they calculate things in terms of Gross National Happyness. Not everyone in the world is crazy.
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#10 Fresh Brewed

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:16 PM


 

And to be honest I'm not angry about any of it because it's all way too big and absurd to take seriously, sort of like an incoming asteroid; it's not my fault and I can't do anything about it so I might as well try to have some fun until it arrives (but that doesn't mean I won't point at it occasionally and say "that thing headed our way is sure gonna suck when it gets here, too bad we're gonna let it but whatever, toss me a Twinkie!").

 

 

I'm remembering why i like this site so much...LOL

 

 


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#11 riseabovethought

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:05 PM

I'm remembering why i like this site so much...LOL

 

 

I couldnt agree more!  I swear Im getting smarter.  I swear I am!  And if we can just get our head around the massive fuckery thats almost destroyed us, and understand it in time, maybe we can avert the asteroid somehow at the last minute by cutting off the balls of everyone who flew that fucker right into us.  Meanwhile, they are getting away...

 

[Direct Link]


Edited by riseabovethought, 07 February 2014 - 12:42 PM.

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#12 Sickmanlives

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:58 PM

Yeah, we used to have good arguments about this mined mind that we are  surrounded with.

 

Go back to the 60's for a second. Where everybody was on the same page about the government, television, laws. Back then when you heard it on the radio or tv, it was pretty much fact,

Those days are gone, long gone now. This generation, the one we are a part of are so mentally unaware of what is going on. GPS gadgets, tablets, cell phones, mass multiple media at fast rates, we have every answer at our fingertips. Now we allow stupidity, because it's so common and we expect it.  If we treated the now like the 60's or 70's this country wouldn't be where its at right now.

 

In the 70's the mortgage for a home was $1500 a year. Now they "tell you" the second mortgage is the way to go.

How de we get to this point?     Mind minds,



#13 August West

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 01:30 AM

Go back to the 60's for a second. Where everybody was on the same page about the government, television, laws. Back then when you heard it on the radio or tv, it was pretty much fact,
Those days are gone, long gone...Now we allow stupidity, because it's so common and we expect it. If we treated the now like the 60's or 70's this country wouldn't be where its at right now.

Unless I completely misunderstand your point, do you really think the 60's and 70's were a golden age (my interpretation) of truth and understanding? MK-Ultra, COINTEL-PRO, Oswald-as-lone-shooter, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Ford, Vietnam, Jim Crow, disco. I would guess that relatively fewer people were clued-in back then. The techniques have gotten more sophisticated and there are more vulnerable people around now so there probably isn't a lot of net gain but I'd be wary of romanticizing [any] good ole days.

Edited by August West, 04 February 2014 - 01:33 AM.

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#14 mycomaniacsirk

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 01:48 AM

I love twinkies... that being said interesting debate ill keep my opinions to meself though I love everyone on here as well no matter your political/social perspectives..... long live the topia!

#15 Sickmanlives

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:24 AM

yeah I would describe the 60's and 70's a s a golden age, a golden age of revolution and protesting.

Nixon was outed, MLK spoke the truth, lone gunman wtf? I don't know what your saying....

 

All I'm saying there wouldn't be half the mess we are in now if more people were like the generation of the 60's.

That was the point.


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#16 TVCasualty

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:37 AM

All I'm saying there wouldn't be half the mess we are in now if more people were like the generation of the 60's.

That was the point.

 

I definitely think that it'd be worth it to try to make Abbie Hoffman's grand Vision real (replacing the fluoride in our drinking water with LSD; Hoffman just wanted to add the acid but I figure why not take it a step further?). It'd be like the Apollo Project of our time except this time everyone gets to go to the Moon (with cavities, I guess).

 

 

BTW: I included that graphic of the dinosaur with the shovel because I thought it was pretty funny all by itself and seemed to fit nicely in this discussion because in my bizarre mind it was an elegant example of analysis outside of context (which is what 99.9% of economists do when talking about "the economy" by failing to factor in the basic requirement that "economics" can only exist within the context of a functioning ecosystem). Looking at the economy (or fossils) through the lens of dogma/belief tends to encourage odd conclusions (e.g. a belief in the existence of things like "rational self-interest" or "the American dream" or "bootstrappin'" or that "market forces" can fix all the messes we've made or that fossils were buried in the ground by "the invisible hand" of Satan, etc.).

 

But factoring reality into our theories is hard and makes them real messy which tends to reveal them for what they are. They're mostly either just wishful thinking or are arbitrarily-designed Game Rules disguised as a theory that coincidentally happens to favor the vested interests of whoever advocates it.


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#17 August West

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:41 AM

yeah I would describe the 60's and 70's a s a golden age, a golden age of revolution and protesting.
Nixon was outed, MLK spoke the truth, lone gunman wtf? I don't know what your saying....
 
All I'm saying there wouldn't be half the mess we are in now if more people were like the generation of the 60's.
That was the point.

I hear ya.

Did that generation disappear or go on to elect Ronald Reagan to two terms - ignoring Iran/Contra, the S&L scandal - those people are all still alive? What happened? They became (most of them) co-opted, part of the establishment. They are every bit, if not more guilty of enabling the status quo. They led the way, right to this very moment.
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#18 JJ800M

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 11:14 AM

We need to start putting people up against the wall - ASAP. :)

 

Just let me handle it, i promise to do well by my my own standards!



#19 riseabovethought

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 11:18 AM

But arent they the self proclaimed Greatest Generation?  They even wrote about a book about themselves being so great.  They morphed the public schooling system into a national training program for cubicle cogs to later nourish them in their corporation they hold stock.  They taught us all that greed is okay, even rewarded handsomely.  They got over all that Hippie nonsense pretty quick sadly, and retreated to make (drone) war, not love,  This is not a minority.  This is the strong majority.  And they did it.  Now we will either figure out a way to undo the damage done (which appears beyond repair) or be taken down by the 60s & 70s.  Back then, all we had to do was NOT fuck it up.  Imagine that for a second.


Edited by riseabovethought, 04 February 2014 - 11:21 AM.


#20 Sickmanlives

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:59 PM

But you lads aren't indian are you? No...those are your people.

My people were making waves, while the rest didn't know what to do.

 

Regan who voted for Reagan? My elders didn't. See Auguts and Rise that's the difference, but you forget one thing.

I'm not a white man. I'm not a militant either. And you can say all you want about the red man, I won't get offended.

 

But we always took it to the hill, didn't we?. Fuckin rights we did. So yes 60 and 70's were the best.

Look how many fought over there in Vietnam, Korea? Most of our populations were over there across this divided nation, that we just live in.

 

Wtf did Reagan do for my people? He made us look bad in Hollywood why did he do that?

 

There is a reason for that you know. So the rich daddies of the Vietnam war, the rich daddies that held most of the jobs, the rich dadies who's kids went to great schools

The rich kids who came out of that area, the rich friends of the rich voted for Reagan. It's not us who voted, we have our own officials we vote for.

 

Aim was founded in the 70's and scared the government and the people in the United states.

Aim would have took your precious lands away and hurt your carrers, jobs, financials.

The people I know are drunk,cold,starving,sick,impoverished and dying.

I wonder if that was Reagan's fault....


Edited by Sickmanlives, 04 February 2014 - 10:08 PM.

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