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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Seems To Me ... Michael Moore has it wrong
In March 19 Issue
By John Thompson, Columnist

Michael Moore was wrong.  To many of you this is no surprise, as you're often told how wrong he is.  Not that he really is, of course, just that he's always credited with being wrong.  And that's easily believable to conservatives.  Amazing to me is that most every person who dislikes Michael Moore, that I've talked to, have never seen his films nor read anything he has to say.  They consider him nothing but a lying propagandist, yet if you're only taking other peoples account of him, you know, the bombasts on the radio and certain news stations, then aren't you learning second hand and therefore opening yourself up for being propagandized by their agenda?

A couple of weeks ago Michael Moore travelled to Wisconsin to offer his support to the protestors who have been protesting nonstop since Governor Scott Walker proposed taking away the government employees unions collective bargaining abilities.  But this isn't about Wisconsin, it's about a statement Michael Moore made that has been proven wrong.

Moore said that the 400 richest people in this country own more cash, stock and property than fully one-half of the country's population, or about 155 million people.  Well, I guess since he said "more than" he wasn't wrong.  It's just that he could have said "much more than" 155 million, or the bottom 50% of Americans.

Politifact.com, an online fact checking website that claims to be non-partisan.  This is contested by conservatives, as is another credible source, Factcheck.org, and I imagine as any other source that purports to give facts that end up giving credibility to anything "liberal."  But it's as I always say, truth (and reality) has a liberal bias.

As it turns out, according to Forbes, the richest 400 people in America have net assets of $1.37 trillion dollars, as of 2010.  Using the same set of data it was determined that the "bottom" 60% of Americans, not 50% but 60% of Americans, own net assets of $1.26 trillion dollars.

400 people vs. 155,000,000 people.  Kind of reminds me of the column I wrote must have been nearly a year ago when I pointed out that the top 20 or 30 money earners on Wall Street made as much as 644,000 teachers at $40,000 a teacher or about $26 billion!  And that was in 2009, the year of the "worst economy since the Great Depression."

Yes, the inequality has only gotten worse.  But something has changed finally, but probably too late.  And that is that more people are starting to see that our country is not broke, we are broke.  The top 1% actually own as much as the bottom 95%.  That means that about 3 million people own as much as 295 million people.

Mostly Americans hate to look at such things.  They're afraid of looking like they covet others money or that it looks like we're trying to take away "their" money, or that we would be unfairly declaring class war on the rich.  Well Warren Buffett said "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."  And the amazing thing is, because he said this he's now criticized by multi-multi-millionaires like Limbaugh and Beck… wait, that's not amazing, that's expected.  What's amazing is that their listeners, the majority of who will never be a millionaire, and in fact are the class being warred upon, then turn against Buffett for telling the truth, a truth that benefits them and not Limbaugh and Beck.

I am finding more people waking up.  I almost hate to use that term because you hear it screamed so much, that Americans need to wake up, and it seems too often be coming from those in a coma, but I am finding others are waking up.  I mean I have actually heard die hard conservative Republicans begin to say that the rich aren't being taxed enough.  What?!?!  It usually ends up being those who have had a program, service or occupation having their funding cut or threaten to be cut.  

The flip side is that the super rich have not slowed down.  I think with increased scrutiny they're in fact speeding up.  At a time when so many middle and lower income Americans have lost their jobs and homes, the real elite haven't even lost their bonuses.

Bloomberg News, an organization that can hardly be called liberal, announced in a March 14 piece that "Profit Margins at 18-Year High Signal Bigger Dividends Coming for S&P 500."  Now doesn't that excite you?  We've got to reduce the government, middle incomes are on the decrease, labor losing its power left and right, and those who have it all are seeing 18 year highs in even more gains.  

God Bless America.

We face some of these problems in our own county.  Have poor decisions been made in the past?  Maybe, but maybe not if we hadn't run into the worst economic times in a hundred years.  Many are complaining that it's not right to raise taxes, for a number of reasons.  I can sympathize.  If people didn't gripe every time taxes were to be raised then you'd never see an end to it.  

But I also know this; I live in a beautiful part of the United States.  A landscape that would be the envy of everyone if they knew about it.  And I like living in a community, a civilized community that takes care of things best taken care of as a collective, such as roads, police, emergency personnel, rather than as individuals.  For this I am willing to pay a share.

I don't make a lot of money, and that's a choice.  I knew moving back to Russell County that I gave up some things and gained others.  Peace of mind is worth more than a million dollars.  Every dollar taken is a dollar felt, believe me.  And for those who are trying to raise a family on $18,000 or $20,000 a year, it has to be tough.  But what you receive needs to be weighed against what you pay.  Imagine paying for any service received through the county through your own pocket only.  

Yes, I'm glad to live here.  It's why I moved back.  I wish others shared the love.  Maybe even enough to pay 1% in extra tax.  And if the poor man and those making under $80,000 are willing to pay it, my hope would be that those making over $80,000 would be thankful to live in a community or a country that they can make that kind of wealth honestly, and pay their 1%.

So this is where we're at in this country.  Money continuously flowing to the top, unabated, and by the looks of things, even increasing.  We are asked to sacrifice here at the bottom.  Sacrifice in lower wages, in less labor rights, in less services, because they, and unfortunately many of us say we're broke.

In a discussion online the other day someone was defending the tax structure.  He said, "% of taxes paid by the bottom 50% of income earners = 3%.  % of taxes paid by the top 10% of income earners 68%.  And you really think it's fair to ask them to pay more?" and that sounds like a pretty good argument.  And so does this one, except I think more so; my response was, "If a person makes $1 billion and pays 1% tax, he's paid 10 million in taxes, leaving himself $990,000,000 to live on. If a guy makes $30,000 and pays 99% tax he's paid $29,700 in taxes, leaving himself $300 to live on. Your argument is that the billionaire paid 97% of the tax and the other guy paid 3% and that just really isn't fair for the billionaire."

Would you agree it's not fair to the billionaire?  What exactly is your definition of "fair."

I've harped on this subject for going on three years, others have as well, and more are getting on board finally.  It's not socialism people.  Socialism is the boogeyman presented to you to make you ok giving up on rights as human beings in the 21st century.  

It's not evil to question why one has billions while others, including approximately one in five children in this country, have nothing, living below the poverty level.  What's evil, if you believe in such a thing, is not questioning it.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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