In June 4 IssueBy John Thompson, Columnist
Last week the column sort of abruptly ended with me saying that in good conscience I couldn't leave out much of the information that concludes David DeGraw's 2010 report on the war that is being waged on the 99 percent by the 1 percent wealthiest of Americans. In truth it's not the 1 percent though, because that's only 1 in 100. Two or three hundred thousand a year in wages, or interest, or capital gains, is enough to put you in the 1 percent. It's actually the .1 percent or even the .01 percent... or one in a 10,000 that is really gobbling up the wealth that we consistently delude ourselves is no longer there.
This week will definitely end the report. Next week we'll begin with something else, as I'm getting a little worn out constantly trying to point out that we do not have to destroy society by destroying GOOD social programs, if we can change our way of thinking that somehow someone who works comparatively the same as you and I can "earn" tens or hundreds of millions a year really may not be the best way to set up society…. And it's always in the name of "freedom."
Yeah, freedom. One has the "freedom" to earn a billion, the other has the freedom to be able to not find work, lose their homes and go into life-long despair over debt created by totally un-payable medical bills.
It's funny; if our understanding of what being "free" or "freedom" means weren't so wrapped in our twisted belief in a predatory style of capitalism, we could see a little more objectively that if 1 percent of the people owns the vast majority of wealth, and the vast majority of people own 1 percent of the wealth…. There's no conceivable way, in any sense of the word, could this be considered freedom.
So this will end the DeGraw report. I pick it up reprinting a couple of paragraphs before I left off. You can read the report in its entirety, and many, many more thought provoking articles at www.alternet.org. Unless that is of course the discussion of Congressman Anthony Weiner's sending Twitter pictures of himself in his underwear (as seems to dominate the news and especially the right wing talk show hacks) is more important. So here we go:
In 2009, just over $1 trillion tax dollars were spent on the military, it's safe to say that at least $350 billion of that was needlessly wasted.
When you research our tax system you see an unprecedented level of waste and fraud rampant throughout most expenditures. Our tax system is a national disaster of epic proportions. It is literally an organized criminal operation that continues to rob us in broad daylight, with zero accountability.
Politicians and mainstream "news" outlets will not tell you this, but most every serious economist knows that due to so much theft and debt created in the tax system, the only way to fix things, other than stopping the theft and seizing the trillions that have been stolen, will be for the government to cut important social funding and drastically raise our taxes. Other than the record national debt, many states are running record deficits and barreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services. Our nation's biggest state economies, like California and New York, are the ones in most trouble.
To merely say that things will not be improving economically is to be a delusional optimist. The truth that you will not hear: we have been hit by an economic deathblow and the United States lay in ruins.
It's not just this criminal tax system; the theft is now built into all our costs of living.
Trillions more in our spending on food and fuel has been stolen due to fraudulent stock transactions and overcharging. Just ten years ago, in 2000, American families paid 7 percent of our income on food and fuel. We now pay 20 percent. This drastic increase is primarily driven by fraudulent market manipulation that drives up stock prices. Congress uncovered this in 2006, as part of the Enron investigation they found that companies manipulated the oil market to create major spikes in stock values, and then they didn't do anything about it - nothing to see here, just move on.
As mentioned before, we have the most expensive health care system in the world and we are forced to pay twice as much as other countries, and the overall care we get in return ranks 37th in the world. On average, US citizens are now paying a record high 8 percent of their income on medical care.
Part of the reason why foreclosure rates are so high is because the percentage of income Americans pay on their housing has risen to 34 percent.
So for these basic necessities - taxes, food, fuel, shelter and medical bills - we have already lost 92 percent of our limited income. Then factor in ever-increasing interest rates on credit cards, student loans, rising prices for cable, internet, phone, bank fees, etc., etc., etc. We are being robbed and gouged in all costs of living, in every aspect of our life. No wonder bankruptcies are skyrocketing and the amount of people suffering from psychological depression has reached an epidemic level.
The American worker is screwed over every step of the way, and it all starts with the explosion in the cost of a college education. This is one of the Economic Elite's most devastating weapons. To have any chance of succeeding in this economy, it is commonly believed that you must attend the best college possible. With the rising costs involved, today's students are graduating with record levels of debt from student loans. At the same time, the unemployment rate among recent college graduates has risen higher than the national average, and those that do find work are making significantly less than they expected to make. This combination of extreme debt and reduced pay has crippled an entire generation right from the start and has put them in a vicious cycle of spiraling debt that they will struggle with for the rest of their lives. The most recent college graduates are now known as a "lost generation."
The American dream has turned into a nightmare. The economic system is a sophisticated prison cell; the indentured servant is now an indebted wage slave; whips and chains have evolved into debts.
Concealing National Wealth
When you take the time to research and analyze the wealth that has gone to the economic top one percent, you begin to realize just how much we have been robbed. Trillions upon trillions of dollars that could make the lives of all hard working Americans much easier have been strategically funneled into the coffers of the Economic Elite. The denial of wealth is the key to the Economic Elite's power. An entire generation of massive wealth creation has been strategically withheld from 99 percent of the US population.
The US public doesn't have any understanding of how much wealth has been generated and concentrated into the hands of the Economic Elite over the past 40 years; there is no historical frame of reference. This withholding of wealth is truly the greatest crime against humanity in the history of civilization.
What could be done with all the money that has been hoarded by the Economic Elite is extraordinary!
Let's consider what we could do with the money that has been stolen from us? On top of what should be our average six-figure yearly income, we could have:
* Free health care for every American,
* A free 4 bedroom home for every American family,
* 5 percent tax rate for 99 percent of Americans,
* Drastically improved public education and free college for all,
* Significantly improved public transportation and infrastructure,
The list goes on...
This is not some far-fetched fantasy. These are all things that Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about doing in the 1940's, long before the explosion of wealth creation in our technologically advanced global economy. The money for all this is already there, stashed into the claws of the Economic Elite.
The denial of wealth to the masses is the key to the Economic Elite's power. Outside of outdated and obsolete economic models and theories -- and incredibly short-sighted greed -- there is no reason why all this money should be kept in the hands of a few, at the immense suffering and expense of the many.
If Americans could just understand how much wealth is being withheld from us, we would have a massive uprising and the Economic Elite would be swept away, into the history books alongside the evil despots of the past.