WE ARE FAR TOO TOP-HEAVY!

“Corporations are NOT people! Money is NOT free speech!”
– TomCat, http://www.politics.plus.org

“Advertising is legalized lying.”
– H.G. Wells –

Big business AND government have grown far too large and inefficient in this country. They have handicapped themselves by turning boards of directors into buddy clubs filled with out-of-touch officers who actually drag their companies down, by manufacturing a bogus air of profitability through the outsourcing of labor and cutting wages down. Huge corporations have managed to buy off large portions of Congress through massive campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats alike. Corporate lobbyists, rather than Congresspersons, often write bills themselves and offer them up to be enacted! They have managed to corrupt government regulators to the point where these “regulators” are no longer acting in the vpublic’s best interest. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why we see the government seemingly paralyzed and unable to deliver what we all need from it. It is the reason why only laws beneficial mainly to the privileged and wealthy get passed and why everyone else is left wanting. It is the reason why our activist Supreme Court has now allowed corporations the exact same rights as individuals, and has declared they may contribute all the cash they can muster to spend freely without restriction in our political campaigns!

This perverse corporate influence is rampant and permeates all areas of American life today. It is why TV shows are constantly interrupted by lying commercials which insult our intelligence, and why these obnoxious commercial breaks have steadily grown from 8 minutes per HOUR in the very early 1960s to roughly 22 minutes per HOUR today. It is the reason why American jobs have been exported outside of our borders; why our wages have flattened out or have even been reduced in recent years; why labor union power, influence, and membership have all declined to dangerously anemic levels over the past 40 years; and why the middle class is rapidly disappearing. This entire country is being squeezed so those at the top of the income scale may grow even wealthier than they have ever been.

This is NOT how democracy is supposed to function, and it is a dangerously regressive phenomenon which must be halted and reversed!

A revealing study by Norton & Ariely, 2010, shows that Americans are clueless about how the country’s wealth is distributed or is as concentrated as it now is. (Left click on the graphs to make them larger if you need to). When shown three pie charts representing possible wealth distributions, 90% or more of the 5,522 respondents — whatever their gender, age, income level, or party affiliation — thought that the American wealth distribution most resembled one in which the top 20% has about 60% of the wealth. Of course, the top 20% actually control about 85% of the wealth!

Even more unbelievable, they did not come close to the amount of wealth held by the bottom 40% of the population: the lowest two groups which compose the lowest 40% hold just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States! Most people in the survey guessed the figure to be between 8% and 10%, and two dozen academic economists got it wrong too, by guessing about 2% — seven times too high. Those surveyed did have it about right for what the 20% in the middle have; it’s at the top and the bottom that they don’t have any idea of what’s really going on.

Table 3: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in the United States, 1922-2007.
Bottom 99 percent / Top 1 percent
1922 63.3% / 36.7%
1929 55.8% / 44.2%
1933 66.7% / 33.3%
1939 63.6% / 36.4%
1945 70.2% / 29.8%
1949 72.9% / 27.1%
1953 68.8% / 31.2%
1962 68.2% / 31.8%
1965 65.6% / 34.4%
1969 68.9% / 31.1%
1972 70.9% / 29.1%
1976 80.1% / 19.9%
1979 79.5% / 20.5%
1981 75.2% / 24.8%
1983 69.1% / 30.9%
1986 68.1% / 31.9%
1989 64.3% / 35.7%
1992 62.8% / 37.2%
1995 61.5% / 38.5%
1998 61.9% / 38.1%
2001 66.6% / 33.4%
2004 65.7% / 34.3%
2007 65.4% / 34.6%

Sources: 1922-1989 data from Wolff (1996). 1992-2007 data from Wolff (2010).

Table 4: Percentage of wealth held in 2000 by the Top 10% of the adult population in various Western countries:
Switzerland 71.3%
United States 69.8%
Denmark 65.0%
France 61.0%
Sweden 58.6%
UK 56.0%
Canada 53.0%
Norway 50.5%
Germany 44.4%
Finland 42.3%
It is interesting to note that all of these countries EXCEPT THE UNITED STATES have generous universal health care services provided by their governments that are financed by their taxpayers!

Source: 2006 study, World Institute for Development Economics Research

Corporations love to talk about how lower taxes and huge profits are necessary to provide stockholders with generous dividend checks, as if millions of lower income folks will benefit. But as the table below clearly shows, only 8.9% of the bottom 80% of wage earners are even stockholders!

Table 5a: Concentration of stock ownership in the United States, 2001-2007
Percent of all stock owned:
Wealth class / 2001 / 2004 / 2007
Top 1% 33.5% / 36.7% / 38.3%
Next 19% 55.8% / 53.9% / 52.8%
Bottom 80% 10.7% / 9.4% / 8.9%

Table 5b: Amount of stock owned by various wealth classes in the U.S., 2007
Percent of households owning stocks worth:
Wealth class $0 (no stocks) / $1-$10,000 / More than $10,000
Top 1% 7.4% / 4.2% / 88.4%
95-99% 7.8% / 2.7% / 89.5%
90-95% 13.2% / 5.4% / 81.4%
80-90% 17.9% / 10.9% / 71.2%
60-80% 34.6% / 18.3% / 47.1%
40-60% 52.3% / 25.6% / 22.1%
20-40% 69.7% / 21.6% / 8.7%
Bottom 20% 84.7% / 14.3% / 2.0%

Source: Wolff, 2007 and 2010

THE TOP 400 WEALTHIEST AMERICAN WAGE EARNERS HOLD MORE WEALTH TODAY THAN THE BOTTOM 155 MILLION COMBINED!

In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Due to technological advancements, production and profit levels exploded from 1970 – 2000. With the lion’s share of increased profits going to the CEO’s, this pay ratio has now dramatically risen to a whopping $90 for CEOs to $1 for the average worker!

Graph courtesy http://www.politicsplus.org/

Our economy has become top-heavy, folks. This unhealthy trend toward repeated tax cuts for the very rich combined with ever-accelerating CEO pay and benefits coming at the expense of average workers’ pay and benefits is unsustainable and must be REVERSED! Like most top-heavy items, if not corrected soon, the country itself will collapse altogether. The signs of economic collapse are all around us. Our infrastructure is in serious disrepair. Corporations grow greedier every day. Labor has become a scapegoat to be neutralized and exported. Debt is rising at an alarming rate.The very rich are sitting on their money or investing overseas while the country they were born in stagnates and putrifies.

A PEOPLE’S PARTY dedicated solely to reversing these threatening trends is the ONLY answer! It must restore the power of labor and, through government regulation, roll back runaway CEO pay, minimize corporate influence over government, and revamp our grossly unfair tax system which benefits only the very wealthy. It must reduce the power and influence of weak, blue dog Democrats and help push the hopelessly out-of-touch and ultra-conservative Republican Party into its deserved place on the scrap heap of history. Time is running out for the middle class. Proudly hoisting the banner of the People’s Party, the middle class and poor must strike back NOW!

About jackjodell53

I am an American Dissident trapped in a country where poor and middle class people are constantly being exploited and lied to by a very rigid and conservative plutocratic elite. I believe in government OF, FOR, and BY the people, not one controlled as it now is by corporations and special interests.
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25 Responses to WE ARE FAR TOO TOP-HEAVY!

  1. lacithedog says:

    They are now trying to get rid of child labour laws. When will they repeal the amendment banning slavery?

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Good point, lcithedog. I’m sure one of these days some very reactionary southern Senator will begin talking about it.

  2. Hello Jack,
    I agree, “The middle class and poor must strike back NOW!” But I am afraid we are seeing the book, “1984” come to fact as predicted. “New Speak” is what we are getting from Fox News, Conservative Radio, etc. and no one is challenging this except for a few.

    Others may realize this bull crap being spewed by these sources but don’t challenge it or demand accurate facts. I guess I would call it the “Lethargic Lemming Factor” as they can’t be bothered or just too tired trying to keep their own life’s issues in balance to make the effort getting involved.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Hello Engineer of Knowledge.
      You raise a lot of very accurate points here. Thank you for this comment. The GOP and Fox have truly been showering us with NewSpeak for many years!

  3. joestruth101 says:

    Great post Jack. I’m saving it to my favorites list.

  4. TomCat says:

    Jack, although I am about to drop today, I can’t resist the opportunity to pop in and welcome you to your new digs. I have updated the blogroll at Politics Plus to point to your new location.

    On topic, I support the notion of a people’s party in principal, especially in local elections, to start. However, on a national level, until the movement gains sufficient support to actually win elections, we need to remember that the Republican Party is so much worse than the Democrats, a third party challenge may dilute the vote from the left, giving us a Congress with a greater infestation of pigs than we now have. However, in states where Democrats have progressives in or running for office, the People’s Party would be well served to nominate the Democrat.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      TomCat,
      Thank you, my friend. I agree about starting small (locally) and working from the caucus level up. Gwen is going to interview me about it on the Here Be Monsters radio show tomorrow, so if you can tune in and weigh in, by all means do.

  5. mudrake says:

    Jack- you truly are The Man for All People as you constantly inform us of the economic imbalance, the downward spiral of a true democracy, that we are experiencing here in America. Your data is starkly stunning! Yet, one must constantly wonder whether The People actually ‘get it.’

    I am ever-hopeful that one of the left-leaning billionaires has an epiphany moment and decides to give most of his money to an ‘education’ campaign for The People of this country- an advertising/education blitz which tells The People how much they are being screwed. Most of the center and left-of-center bloggers know this. Sadly, we reach only a small number of people on our blogs. Yet, imagine the nationwide impact of such an ‘education’ blitz that lays out the facts which you presented above so that all of The People can at last ‘get it.’

    Thanks for your dogged determination, Jack.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thanks, mud_rake. These bastard conservatives have strengthened my resolve and endowed me with a stubborn iron butt! I, too, am hopeful that someone like Warren Buffett will start putting his money out to advance progressive causes and combat the crazy disinformation campaign the right has been employing!

  6. Nice site Jack! I think you’ll enjoy the relative versatility of WP. Good post by the way.

  7. Tom Harper says:

    Looks like you’ve made a smooth transition to WP. I’d try it myself if I wasn’t so un-technical. Someday I’ll be the last person still on Blogger.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Tom,
      It was a little tricky at first, but it doesn’t take too terribly long to master it. I’m still learning as I go…

    • Bee says:

      Tom, you do need to move over from the dark side… 🙂 I had to totally clear my cache this morning just to visit my blogger friends this morning. Totally lost my Star Trek google chrome theme for you, so you know I love you, buddy. I don’t give up my chrome settings for just anybody, y’know.

  8. Jack, the Twenty Ten theme is very tasteful. Nice.

    Tom, see if your ISP provides a script utility called Fantastico or Softaculous. These run scripts that make installing WordPress easy. Plus, when you’re just starting with it, if you really mess up and can’t fix it, you can just delete and start over. These utilities are for a blog hosted by you on your ISP’s server. WordPress also offers free blogging on its own servers, although you have less flexibility and I think there are limits on how much disk space you use, beyond which you can pay for additional space.

  9. oso says:

    Jack,
    Great assemblage of data and charts, and great analysis as well. Instructive that most people know it’s unequal, they just don’t know HOW MUCH financial inequality exists.

    The financialization which favors debt as wealth over real wealth creation has been the downfall of all western empires, not battle. We are almost certainly not going to be able to completely reverse this course, but with the direction suggested in this and your previous several posts we can change course enough for a soft landing, have a govt that works for the public interest rather than special interests, and work with other nations for mutual benefit.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thank you, Oso. I’d love to have a “soft landing” to replace the constant bumps and bruises the poor and middle class have had to endure for the past 30 years! WE are the makers of our own destiny, and it’s up to US to get this government and economic system back on track!

  10. Bee says:

    Jack, I’ve been a total slack-ass in adding you to my blogroll, but you’re there now. I like the new look! Great post, BTW, and I’ll try to phone in to hear what you have to say about it tonight.

  11. Test! My posts don’t show up.

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