Archives For 1%

You Never Know….

April 16, 2013
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“This is a great country. You never know where our heroes will come from.” – Will Rogers, 7 June 1933

One of the great things about this country is that anyone who is fortunately enough to have just the right circumstances come about can be a hero for future generations.  Many have sports heroes who they admire for their ability to do a particular thing like putting a ball into a hole, hitting it with a stick, throwing it to a teammate. I can’t say that any of those qualities make someone a hero to me. But to each his own when it comes to heroes.

My heroes are more of the intellectual or humanitarian nature. Obviously, to anyone who has read much of this post knows that Will Rogers, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, and Gandhi are among my heroes. This group range across the spectrum as far as wealth and influence go. Some came from poverty, some from privileged  classes. Most just went about their daily business with other people’s welfare in mind. Those are my kind of heroes.

I, like many others, have become a big fan of the british TV series entitled “Downton Abbey”. It is a story about an early twentieth century aristocratic family and all the “commoners” who served them. The intertwining of all their lives is what makes the show endearing.  I must admit that I am an antagonist when it comes to a privileged classes especially inherited wealth.  So, it somewhat surprised me to be attracted to this show.

Even up until recently many of the countries in Europe were very class oriented. That is if you were born into a particular class that is where you stayed for your life.  Moving outside of your class was just unheard of in those days. I’m sure this continues to some extent even today but I think it is quickly disappearing; at least I hope it is.

The United States is a country that has always been about opportunity for all. Anyone can go as far as their drive, ambition, and intellect allow them. That is what makes this country great.  I am troubled by the current trends toward aristocracy in this country that is taking place due to inherited wealth. The top one-percent of the population control a very large percentage of the wealth of the country.  This troubles me greatly some times.

Taking It From Somebody….

February 27, 2013

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The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. . . . A man can make a million over night and he is on every page in the morning. But it never tells you who give up the million he got. You can’t get money without taking it from somebody. – 1 June 1930  Will Rogers

WealthAs Will points out here the difference between the rich and the poor has always been greater than many of us would like to see but I really don’t think in Will’s day it was even remotely as wide a gap as it is today.   The latest statistics show that there is about $58 trillion of wealth in the U.S.  But as the chart to the right shows 80% of the population  controls only 7% of the wealth. That is about $10,000 per person for 80% of us. The top 1% average $7,000,000/person.

But as Will further points out that there is just so much wealth that can be owned. There has been a twenty fold increase in billionaire in the last twenty years.  In order for the money to come to them it had to come from someone else. Of course we all know where it came from. It came for the wages and benefits of the 80% that have actually decreased over that same period of time.

I’m not a financial wizard but it really doesn’t seem like rocket science to me to understand that if we want to grow our GDP we must have citizens who have the money to buy additional goods and services. The 1% can only buy so many jets and yachts. :)   In fact most of their increased wealth is likely just sitting in off-shore accounts accumulating interest.  When the elite among us insist on stagnating wages there are no additional resources to grow our economy. It is a Catch-22 and that I can understand so why can’t the big shot economists in the gOp figure it out?

Why???….

October 3, 2012

I have always been a person who is constantly saying “Why?” Here are some whys that have been spewing off the top of my head lately.  :) They are too small for an entire post so I am just going to throw it out here and in no particular order:

  • Why do fifteen percent of the population think they are in the top 1%  ?– So there are fifty times more people worried that their taxes will go up if President Obama is re-elected.  We all want to believe that we are somehow special but 1/6 of the population just won’t fit in the one percent tub. No way, no how…..
  • Why don’t people understand that if you want to live like a Republican you must vote like a Democrat? –  It is a known fact that if you had invested $10,000 in only Republican administrations for the last eighty years it would now be worth $11,733.  If you had invested in only Democratic administrations it would be worth $300,671!  (source  Wolfram Blog : Stock Market Returns by Presidential Party.)  So why do all the money hungry  folks continue to align with the Republican party?
  • Why do so many women seem to want to be six inches taller than the height God gave them? –This trend toward wearing six-inch heels really confuses me. I believe that women have come a long ways in the past few decades. They have asserted themselves in the business world. They are now the primary earner in many families. There are now many shows on TV where they are in charge now. You certainly didn’t see that even a decade ago.  So why do so many women continue to fall in line with the latest fads no matter how absurd they seem to be? I want to predict a huge increase in demand for podiatrists in the future to treat all those future bunions out there. :)
  • The major focus of the country is currently on unemployment. It seems to be driving much of this political season. If you believe the hype everyone is either unemployed or underemployed in this country. But what happened this week seems to directly counter that belief.  Across the country were millions of people standing hours in lines to pluck down up to $600 for a new iPhone5?  It is obvious that not everyone has been affected by the economic downturn. Many if not most of the people in these long lines already have an iPhone 4 that is still very functional yet they have enough disposable income to update to the latest thing. I just don’t understand it?? But then again in reality only one out of every twelve of us can’t find a job….

source: Whites Account for Under Half of Births in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

I bet the racist blogs this morning are white-hot, pun intended, talking about this article! But for myself I say it is about time. I think that our strongest point as a nation is our diversity. We generally don’t have one segment of society having total say on the rest of us. Now I am not inferring that the tyranny of the majority doesn’t, or hasn’t, reared its ugly head in the U.S. but generally those periods are eventually overthrown by the vote.

Just look at other countries to see the fierce partisan divide between Sunni and Shiite, between Muslims and Jews, between this or that.  We in the U.S. are just too diverse now for that to happen. There is one caveat to that however and that is the growing disparity between the 1% who currently control the vast majority of the wealth and the other 99% of us.  I am confident that some day this grossly imbalanced fact will the ameliorated hopefully by the vote and not by violence.

We as a country celebrate our diversity as we rightly should. Let us pray that the partisan divide that is so visible in other countries never happens here again. Let us remember that we are now all minorities in our great country.