Opinions and Rants #26: Why Everyone Is Broke

For those of you who missed it, the last time I wrote a politically oriented post I was verbally spanked by a wave of angry comments. Basically, the overriding message was: “Stick to The Six Million Dollar Man and Hong Kong Phooey posts, asshole!”

Well, every once and a while, I get the urge to express an opinion on current events – and given that Retrospace is a hobby, not a job, I can pretty much write whatever I want. It’s still in keeping with the theme of this blog because it is a viewpoint based on a retrospective – a viewpoint which steps back to get a perspective on the entire century.

Given our horrific economic situation, I can’t help but trace the chain of events leading up to our current state of affairs. This sort of thing isn't created out of nothing – it comes from increments of change over a period of decades.

During WWII, the United States was able to climb out of depression, due in no small part to the fact that global competition was still piles of burning cinders. The GIs came home, bought a house in the ever growing suburbs and went to work. From the doctor to the TV repairman, all were paid a decent living wage.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the wealthy were taxed big time – their tax rate was over 90 percent! In the 60s and 70s, this was dropped to 70 or 80 percent. In other words, someone earning 50 million dollars may be forced to live on a paltry 5-10 million that year. There were rich people, but the gap between the CEO and the workers was not abysmally wide as it is today. Notice in Mad Men that top ad execs like Don Draper aren’t living in sprawling mansions… that would come in the 80s.

In the Reagan-Bush era, that tax rate for the wealthy dropped down to 28 percent! The new “trickle down economics” scheme was a complete reversal of the way things were done in the 1950s. The unsubstantiated hypothesis was that if you let the rich get exceedingly wealthy, that money would “trickle” down to the peasant class. Unfortunately, as we are seeing, all it amounted to was CEOs making billions more, giving themselves outlandish golden parachutes, and shipping their factories overseas.

The top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoy almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans
There were 3 times more money given in CEO bonuses last year than the entire debt in Greece.

Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928,

Yes, the income gap widened significantly since Reagan took office; however, the trend actually had its genesis in 1976, and Bill Clinton and his cronies were every bit as complicit in this mess as the Republicans. Today, there is very little difference between White House staffers and the board of directors on Wall Street.

So what does this mean for you? It means that, unless you are among the top one percent, you have not been able to enjoy the benefits of the economic expansion of the past three decades. In fact, you are being screwed royally.

Chances are, if you are married, both you and your spouse work. Yet, with a dual income, you still live paycheck to paycheck and have significant debt. Why? Is it because you are irresponsible and should be pinching pennies more? Or is something really, really wrong here?

Answer: Something is really, really wrong, and here's what went wrong: (1) that wonderful three decade long economic expansion only helped the top one percent - it never “trickled down”, and (2) corporations can’t afford to pay higher wages when they are competing against countries like Vietnam which pays their workers with wood chips and bits of string. The only way to compete is to put your company overseas or hire illegal immigrants (which is a whole other can of worms).

Most countries have tariffs or non-tariff barriers to protect the industries of their own countries – not the US of A. No sir. It may seem wonderful that you can buy a coffee maker at Wal-Mart for five bucks, but it’s not so wonderful when you realize that the company making it shut down a plant in Missouri to set up shop in Laos. Little do you realize, you probably could’ve afforded the nice, more expensive coffee pot had the wealth stayed in the States and been distributed in a more even manner.

Guys like Limbaugh and Beck are quick to call you a communist for even using the words “distributing wealth”; but take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. Were they communist in the 1950s when the rich were taxed upwards of 90 percent? Is it possible that the companies that partner up with China and take billions out of the government coffers in bailouts are actually the “Commies”? Are you comfortable with the fact that most fortune 500 companies pay ZERO dollars in taxes? Yeah, you heard that right.

For instance, GE made 10.8 BILLION DOLLARS IN PROFITS, BUT PAYED ZERO IN TAXES. You see, the profits were “international”, so they didn’t have to pay up. So, not only is the money not trickling down to you, they’re not even contributing their fair share in taxes.

If you’re okay with this, give yourself a pat on the back for not being a Commie. Rush Limbaugh and the guys at Goldman-Sachs would be really proud of you.


  1. Thank you for a well-reasoned commentary on this topic. I learned something new. And every day that I learn something new is a Very Good Day. I needed the pick-me-up. You know your day was major suckage when this type of topic is an upper rather than a downer.

  2. Thank you!!! You are SO right!

  3. i love your blog and posting about the circumstances around the current economic shitestorm is AOK with me. i subscribe to a bunch of blogs on my reader and when i get a post that doesn't interest me, i shrug and move onto the next one.
    This is something that you obviously think is important and want to write about and I liked your post.

  4. i never have any trouble with the truth, carry on! a day doesn't go by(well, almost)that i don't think about how Ronald Reagen started this final descent into the abyss, and some people think he's a hero!...

  5. Hopefully Limbaugh and Beck don't read your blog. They'd probably call you and asshole. But I won't. Because you're right.

  6. I totally disagree. This is sophistry, at best.

    And I've been unemployed for 9 months. I know the answer is not to have the government forcibly steal from people who have more money and give it to me.

    Love your Pop Culture perspective, however.

  7. AnonymousMay 08, 2010

    You have a really creative blog; I look at it every day, and really enjoy it. I think, though, that you should get a balanced view of economics. Although I agree that Beck, et al, may often be extreme, what you have here is standard fare for the Huffington Post. It's meant to create class division, by portraying anyone that makes over $250,000. as Thurston Howell types lounging around on their yachts, while everyone else toils away for peanuts. Wealth does not 'flow' to anyone, as suggested here. Yes, there are a few Wall Street a-holes and other Trust Fund kids that have money that they probably shouldn't, but their effect on the total economy is miniscule, if at all. However, it is easy to build up resentment towards them, which some of our politicians are exploiting. If you buy into this totally, you are being suckered.

  8. Leon - Did they "forcibly steal" from those poor innocent billionares in the 1950s - I thought the conservatives idolized the way things were in the 50s? But take a look at the graph - it's completely the reverse today.

    Would it be "forcibly stealing" to ask GE to pay one dollar in taxes next year?

    And I don't believe I ever portrayed them as Thurston Howell types. How can you say their effect on the economy is miniscule given the recent events with Enron, Fannie Mae, Haliburton, and Goldman Sachs?

    And finally, you are absolutely right. Money does not "flow" anywhere. Totally correct. Thus "trickle down economics" was a complete farse.

  9. AnonymousMay 08, 2010

    With all due respect, 'Enron', 'Fannie Mae', etc., are events that have to be examined individually to determine how they have effected the economy and why. Politicians have created a kind of shorthand out of those names, so all they have to do is say: 'Enron!', and many people knowingly nod their heads and agree that somehow Enron typifies capitalist greed and is the cause of everything else that is bad in their lives. To be sure, many people got hurt financially by the illegal dealings of Enron, but the perpetrators are now either in prison, or dead. So, as Janet Napalitano is fond of saying: 'The system worked'. Fannie Mae is a public/private entity that was supposed to have the oversight of our congress. They guaranteed many loans that should never have been made, and now they (we) are on the hook for them. The only greed here was from the politicians who encouraged risky lending in order to garner votes. I'm not sure how Haliburton has affected the economy, other than through legal contracts written by our government. (Yes, George Bush, but Bill Clinton used them, too, as does the Obama administration today.) There were abuses at Goldman Sachs, but there is an upcoming criminal case. The only thing that is going to keep these guys out of prison (if anything), are the huge campaign contributions they made in the last election cycle. One of the reasons GE didn't pay any corporate taxes is due to tax 'breaks', and credits, such as for 'green' technology. These loopholes were all created by politicians, both past and present. I don't believe it's right for GE to be able to profit from these when the 'little guy' has to pay, but it's not capitalism that's causing this, it's politics.
    Keep up the good work; I love the pictures and witty commentary.

  10. As a former conservative Republican I can not only agree with all that you've said here, but I can add another piece to it--the shameful way that the party has sold this absurd bill of goods to many of the underclasses--including the people who have commented here, like Leon--who are gullible enough to swallow it without thought. I saw that happening in the 80s, and saw it being orchestrated in the early 90s (I was close, at the time, to some people who deeply involved in Washington politics, and witnessed first hand the cynical, self-serving way these tactics were planned out and engineered, to fool the middle class into believing that Republican economic policies were in THEIR best interest--which was in fact nothing but a gigantic distortion and occasionally an outright lie. The real intended recipients of the benefits of Republican policy were the wealthiest corporations and those who commanded them, and the actual intention was to create a new class of "ultra-rich" who were ten times removed from the rest of us--which is what we've got, and is, by the way, entirely un-American. And the reason? Well of course, the obvious one--power, wealth, and the inherent rightwing belief that competition extends to every aspect of life, and that those who WIN make use of every advantage and trick they can in order to achieve their top position. So, to these people, an egalitarian America was an America where the truly capable (read: those who should have power and wealth) were held back by outworn principles. If someone COULD amass billions, they should be allowed to, even if it meant bending laws and rules (as long as they weren't egregiously broken--though no doubt many believed as well that as long as you didn't get caught, it was okay) and cheating others out of what they had. (Which of course was never called "cheating"--it was simply characterized as "competitiveness"). The result is that today we have Americans in droves who spout talking points that were written way back in the 80s by the kinds of slick people I used to hang around with, who strategized the way for the party to win over working class Americans who had previously sided with the Democrats. It worked---but all to serve not those constituents, but an overall ideal of "wealth for those who are willing to take all they can get." This is why I finally quit the party and quit conservatism.
    When even Alan Greenspan saw what had been done, and saw the results of the situation he helped foster and sustain--even he spoke out against it; realizing too late that we had created a new America where the gulf between rich and poor had grown exponentially. And such a situation is dangerous to democracy in the long run. It is not "theft" to expect those who are PART of a society and who have benefited FROM it and the stability offered by its government to give back a portion of what they have made. And so we used to say that if you made a vast wealth, in this country, then you therefore were expected to pay a good chunk of it back--out of fairness as well as for the good of the society overall--because humans are what they are, and in time, an unfairness of riches WILL breed resentment and anger, and will lead to the disintegration of society. This has happened TIME AND TIME again in human history--and it's folly to think America is somehow invulnerable from this.
    It is not "class hatred" to demand that those who have gained to an extreme should be expected to pay some of it back---it is in fact just the opposite. It ensures that class hatred will not rear its head and bring an end to the democracy we supposedly cherish. It’s also hard to argue that it is "confisticatory" taxation to ask someone who has earned a billion dollars to get by on $400 million dollars instead. Some people still argue it, nevertheless.

  11. Keep in mind, the 90% bracket back then wasn't just for billionaires; it applied for anyone making $400,000+/yr. Back in the 1940's, there were a couple of years where it was a staggering 94% for folks making $200,000+/yr. From 1954-63, it was 91% on folks making $400K+! So, for making $400,000, you only got to keep $36,000! There is NO WAY anyone, from either party, wants to go back to that. A tax rate that high is rather punitive. What good does it do to work hard to earn a comfortable salary, only to have the feds take over 90% of it?

    If the gov't didn't waste money, they'd never need to raise taxes.

  12. Good blog and nice attempt to explain the last 60 years in a few paragraphs.

    Like my college professors, who live on the government doll and produce nothing of substance (is a Doctorate in Babylonian Mythology really vital to the common citizen?)your "stick it to the rich" ideals serve you well in the "I wish I had THAT" world.

    You said - "It means that, unless you are among the top one percent, you have not been able to enjoy the benefits of the economic expansion of the past three decades. In fact, you are being screwed royally."


    As you site at home with your computer, tied to your internet, with your DVD player on in in the background, a few yards from your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, color TV (flat screen?), a few more yards from your car/truck/ van(s) all of which cost less now in real dollars than they did just 20 years ago (how much was YOUR first computer/ VCR/ Color TV?)

    But hey, I agree totally with you.

    I wish I had more and more stuff
    and I hate the fact that rich people have more than me.
    (damn that Bill Gates & who does Oprah think she is anyway????)

    Like you, I agree with the protesters in Greece who decry the "capitalist system" as the cause of all their current problems.

    (of course they have to ask the capitalist Germans for help bailing out their socialist utopia, but that hearkens back to the whole "college professor" thing I started above)

    Bring on the revolution!!!!!!

    (BTW, I would tend to guess you make more than I do. Making YOU the wealth oppressor. How much of your "rich man" salary are you willing to give me?)

  13. AnonymousMay 08, 2010

    I'm missing something here. How does taxing the upper class more give ME more money? It gives the government more money. It doesn't make ME less "broke". I can't see how taxing the upper class makes two incomes less necessary. It doesn't raise my salary, lower my mortgage, or put food in my refrigerator. My wages may not have increased as much as the gains made by the upper 1%, but taxing them is not going to give that money to me. Robin Hood doesn't run our government.

  14. Thanks for an excellent overview of the root of the problem. If you ask for my opinion I'd say you should have more columns like this one. Also its your blog and you should say what you want. Bravo!

  15. You give the wealthy a tax break so they have more money. But rich people don't own businesses, they own stock.

    They invest in a corporation, that has bought out the locally owned businesses, and outsourced its production overseas. Their money goes to pay overseas workers in an overseas economy, who pay overseas taxes, which sell their products here, making the profits go back overseas.

    The wealthy get a dividend check which they don't pay taxes on, and reinvest it in the corporation which starts the whole cycle all over again.

    GEE...I don't know WHY trickle down economics don't work.

  16. lacey & anonymous:

    It isn't about "sticking it to the rich." It's about balancing society. When society is in an imbalance, it's not only unfair, it's dangerous to the stability of democracy. We're already beginning to see this, with deregulation costing us severely, and corporate centralized control of the media reducing our information flow to a bottleneck.

    Taxing the wealthy at a higher rate (it needn't be a punitive one--simply bringing it back to some level of balance) doesn't "raise your salary"---but yes, in fact, it can and would lower the cost of your living in other myriad ways. YOU pay higher taxes---school and property taxes, for instance---because the level of service has remained increased or remained at best static, while tax revenue has gone down. The selling point of supply side economics originally was that if you had more wealthy people, making even more money, then a lower rate would not only stimulate that money, but would mean you'd have MORE money coming in, in aggregate... only it didn't work out that way. It turned out that the math, in the long run, still ended up working in favor of wealth, and ended up costing the middle classes more and more. Which is partly why property taxes have creeped up--the offset had to come from somewhere, and that offset came from YOU. It's also why the government has had to borrow more and more money to keep up the level of service we demand.

    It amazes me how the middle class will nowadays defend the rich against higher tax rates--as though they themselves will ever benefit from said defense. You won't. What would benefit you would be to have the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share again, so that you don't have to devote such a huge chunk of your income to taxes, fees, and other costs that you don't readily think about when this argument arises.

  17. Hey, All it takes to impress me is a complete sentence. I read your blog because it is a nice balance of titillation, nostalgia, humor, irony,etc. and all wrapped up nicely with intelligent thought. Your forays into economics belong here because they are also your opinions based on your observations and experience. I didn't come here for an answer to the the current state of the economy, "Why am I rolling in D'oh! (rather than dough)? However, this kind of post is similar in style to your other kinds of posts, so therefore, I continue to be entertained. Your readers reactions make this somewhat of a polarized opinion-bout, which for me is a guilty pleasure (I always wait for the commenter that has the last word "no, it's not that; it's this." response). You obviously attract a certain type of reader, likely contemporaries of yourself, who came for the nostalgia, and stayed for the intellectualism (read: mature-but not too mature)- all intelligent.

    As for the economy, there are no easy explanations - I don't think there is just one answer. The cool thing is, I didn't come here for an answer - I just came to absorb.

    I just wish that we could benefit from this internet-cum-thinktank and solve at least some of the worlds problems together.

    The sign that will always hang outside the entrance to the blogosphere: "Opinions Wanted - Those without opinions - need not apply"

    Blog on Gilligan!

  18. After reading your post on your pet economic theories I have to side with the “stick to The Six Million Dollar Man and Hong Kong Phooey,” group (but I wouldn’t use the last impolite word).

    I think that even a Keynes would have trouble with your wealth redistribution justification based on a scarcity worldview and anecdotal reasoning.

    Loved your post on the old TV show UFO. What man wouldn’t want to work at SHADOW with all those attractive women wearing cat suits and purple wigs?


  19. A timely and definitive new essay by Mark Lilla in the New York Review of Books pretty much says what Gilligan has been saying on retrospace about a profound economic and psychological change in the United States that unites the extremists among the hippies in the past with today's anti-tax and anti-government folks.

    "A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that."

    Lilla is discussing a mindset that is simply against institutions and government in general and how such a mindset results in the economic situation described in Gilligan's post.

    Read the full article here:


  20. Note regarding: "Are you comfortable with the fact that most fortune 500 companies pay ZERO dollars in taxes?"

    That's true that they pay $0 in income taxes on their profits, but let's look at the big picture, as nothing is really quite that simple, cut & dry.

    When we buy from these Fortune 500 companies, we as consumers pay sales taxes, which means if they do really well and generate lots of profits, the volume & sheer amount of purchases collecting sales taxes from us goes & stays in each state where the items are being sold.

    E.g. If they sell 90% of their goods in CA, 90% of the sales taxes they generate from sales, stays in CA.

    As for a corporation's income tax, most U.S. companies search for such loopholes when they are as big as GE.

    Heck, even I did that when I set up my own corporation here in Canada, but ultimately because of where I was living, I had to set up my corporation in a province with the HIGHEST corporate taxes.

    Many just set up their HQs in Delaware for example, where there are no corporate taxes & do business out of there.

    Or in Canada's case, we'd set up corporations in Ontario, which is more business-friendly in terms of taxes.

    So really, they just scanned the whole U.S. of A., found the best "deal" in taxes, and set up business there. No corporation in their right mind, if they had the choice would willingly choose to set up in a state where they are taxed a LOT for being a company.

    If Delaware or whatever other states changed their tax laws, and said: you must pay 10% in corporate taxes, the companies would pass on that 10% income tax on profits to us, the consumers. thereby, forcing us consumers to pay for their income taxes in the end.

    This is not necessarily unfair, as ALL companies can set up their HQs in Delaware and just reap the benefits, so the playing field is even in general.

    So those prices you see? They set by the company and are assumed to be without a 10% tax. If you want them to pay corporate taxes, they can -- but you'll eventually pay extra for it in the end with every purchase you make in the future.

    I am not condoning it, but you have to understand a small part of the above logic before talking about just one fact -- that they pay $0 in taxes -- we're reaping some of the benefits as a result by keeping some of OUR paycheques in our pockets when we pay less at the counter.

    1. No business would sell products or services for near-to-$0 profits.

    2. Businesses do build an economy - look at how slow and stagnant Canada is. We take FOREVER to grow, because we don't have the right business climate to be as dynamic as the U.S.

    3. Nothing happens by chance. Other countries more heavily regulated in general (more socialist in nature) than the States, are not as dynamic. So it's a tradeoff between what you want the country to be.

  21. I'm impressed with the number of erudite comments on a blog that primarily deals with stuff like trucker movies and bad disco albums!

    FB - If you call "dynamic" being trillions in debt to China, I'll pass on dynamic and take "solvent".

    Also, corporations that make 10.8 billion dollars in profit should pay their fair share in taxes - there's simply no justification for it. Your argument states that they aren't doing wrong by lawyering up and finding a way out of paying. I agree - OF COURSE that's what they're going to do - who wants to pay higher taxes? mY point is they should still have to.

  22. I'm still not buying it. "...doesn't "raise your salary"---but yes, in fact, it can and would lower the cost of your living in other myriad ways..." I'm looking for just one example of that myriad. One example where when taxes were increased on the wealthy, they were decreased on the middle and lower classes. I can't just take it on faith that if you taxed the wealthy more, the government would lower the taxes out of the kindness of its heart. It would increase spending.

    I don't think it's "unfair" that the upper 1% has so much. It doesn't make me have less. Imagine you're 5. You have three friends. You each have an all-day lolipop. Perfectly fair, right? A rich kid walks up and has 5 lolipops all his own. Is it suddenly "unfair"? What changed? He has more than he can eat. So? You have what you need. Should he be forced to redistribute those so that everyone has twice what they need? If he suddenly went away, would it be fair again? Now, imagine there's a poor kid who doesn't have any lolipop. So he gives that kid one. Is it still unfair that he has 4 times what he needs? The rich kids having more lolipops doesn't make me "broke".

  23. It's amzaing how we have become so brainwashed that so many will rush to the defense of the upper 1%.

    A better Lollipop analogy would be: You and 3 friends work together to earn lollipops - each of you earns 1 lollipop a day, and your group leader earns 3. Your business expands till your leader is earning 10 million lollipos a day, while you still earn one.

    In other words, the fact that he's got 10 million doesn't affect your one - you've still got one no matter what. HOWEVER, I wonder if he should be sharing some of the profits more equitably?

    And it gets worse: the government wants half of your lollipop - whilst your leader keeps all of his.

    And to take it to the lollipop analogy to the limit: Your leader repays all of you buy firing you all. He then has workers over in a different neighborhood doing the same job for 1/4th of a lollipop - and now he's making 20 million lollipops a day while your on your ass.


  24. nathen:

    Come on, Nathen. You're not buying it because you don't have any intention of buying it, regardless of what evidence is given to you or how much sense is made of the argument. You've swallowed the myth that higher taxation of the wealthy equals doom for us all, and you're so deeply ensconced in this belief--and so deep in denial about your own brainwashing--that you can't even open your mind to think about it. You don't need further examples---you've been given straight HISTORY. I am 45 years old, and remember distinctly what things were like in my childhood and adolescence, both of which were prior to the 80s. In my childhood my mother didn't have to work, and my school had all that it needed. There was never talk of budget shortfalls for schools (at least not where I lived--upstate New York) and roads and services were excellent. Did we have the giant consumer culture we have today? No. But we did well on one income and still managed to travel and have all the comforts of life.

    The fact is, Nathen, that when the upper tax rates were higher, this meant that the costs of services provided for or maintained by the government were lowered for the rest of us. This was *fairness.* It was egalitarian and American. You make a shitload of money in this country, benefiting from its laws, its openness, its friendliness to the entrepreneurial spirit---and you paid some of that back in order to keep in line with the *other* values that America traditionally has had---equality and citizenship. America, in the 60s, not only provided the essentials that government OUGHT to provide--but we even went to the moon with what he had. In the 80s and 90s, however, and up to today, with the absurdly lowered upper tax rates, what have we accomplished? Arguably, we outspent the Russians and won the Cold War. That's it. And Reagan even did that on borrowed money. But on the negative, the costs of daily life for the middle and lower classes have exploded. Property taxes are outrageously high, schools can't afford basics, roads go unrepaired from lack of funding--and yet, there are MANY more billionaires today than there were when I was a kid. That you don't see the problem here is due to your own blindness--it's not do at all to you being asked to "take something on faith."

  25. Awesome post and a great discussion. A lot of it is beyond my ability to focus on (too many words, too late at night), but I appreciate the fact that it's being dicussed here in its relevant context. Good stuff.

  26. Blogger Gilligan said...

    " It's amzaing how we have become so brainwashed that so many will rush to the defense of the upper 1%. "

    And it is amazing that just because you have a "liberal" (or socialist) opinion you feel it is justified by its mere utterance. A conservative has to prove his point, a liberal just has to say it.

    You have made incredibly erroneous statements here, with out a shred of proof to back them up.

    I know in your circles this passes for social logic. However, in the real world, that has to clean up you messes, it does not.

    If your doctor came in and said, "well, you are one of those people and we know what diseases they carry," you would be leery of his medical opinion. Or at least you should.

    Your "diagnoses" of today's "money problem" is no less sound.

  27. The average sucker runs to defend the top 1% because thanks to lotteries, Horatio Alger pablum, and the constant media barrage of how wonderful it is to be rich, we believe deep down that some day we just might have a taste of what they have. We won't, but we hope that we will.

    Instead, we work longer and harder than the other First World nations for salaries that haven't increased, correct for inflation, since the '70s. The only reason we seem to have progressed is that women are now professionals in the workplace, so we have two salaries bringing in what a single worker once did. And we're so afraid of losing what we've worked for that we'll fight tooth and nail to stop taxing those making $500,000 a year. Because hey, I might save my company's CEO's daughter from being hit by a bus, and he might sextuple my salary! Then I'd be screwed by high tax rates!

    There is no reason that a CEO with zero accountability should be paid 300x what his highest worker is paid. I've been to "socialist hell holes" like Denmark, Germany, Ireland where higher taxes are paid and they pay for their citizens' health care, education, and so on. No one is clawing their way out to come to America. The only immigrants we're seeing are from China, India and Mexico, and we barely have a better life expectancy than some of them.

    A 91% tax is obscene, but I would like to see those making $363,000 a year pay a bit more than 35%. And I'd like to see capital gains- sale of stocks- taxed higher than 15%. Exclude property up to a certain amount. The so-called "death tax" or what I like to call the "sorry kiddo, work like your rich dad did!" tax, should remain in place so we don't have a hereditary oligarchy.

    I was a Republican for many years, but I cannot support the party anymore. They are the party of the rich, once again. The Democratic party is far from perfect, but this country has swung so far to the Right that Nixon would be called a pinko these days.

  28. Kinda late to the party, but the last one to leave a comment has the last word.

    I liked the lollipop analogy. With one exception. What did the kids getting one lollipop do to increase the income? What did the one getting the 3 million do to change it? If the increase in income is due to the actions of the top payee, with no effort from the bottom payees the pay increase is justified, they did nothing to expect a cut of his effort.

    Trickle down wealth while appalling to many(the poor) is sustainable, whereas trickle up poverty is suicide because the productive will destroy the entire structure. Try reading Atlas Shrugged, instead of bashing it after ten pages, it is the finest example of what you propose.

    If 47% of the bottom income pay no federal taxes on income, and the top 10% pay 90% of all federal income taxes, why are you complaining how much the rich people make?

    It is a given that people will complain because someone they think is worth less than them gets something free that they had to earn, but why would anyone complain about someone wealthier paying for something, unless they thought they should get it for free?

    Personally, I think that the rap stars on Cribs produced a product of questionable value but they did produce that wealth, and are welcome to it. The wife of a politician working an imaginary job, which is eliminated when she quits, is not someone who produced a product that has value, unless you count the millions of taxpayer dollars that were grafted to the business by the politician.

    The question isn't who is a thief, everyone is, the question is did the thief do anything to earn the money. And this, I fear is the new state of the world, where everyone is on the dole and no one does any work. (again read Atlas Shruggs)