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Krugman: Oligarchy, U.S.-Style "Concentration of Wealth Threatens to Make Us Democracy in Name Only"

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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 09:16 PM
Original message
Krugman: Oligarchy, U.S.-Style "Concentration of Wealth Threatens to Make Us Democracy in Name Only"
Edited on Thu Nov-03-11 09:17 PM by Hissyspit
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/oligarchy-ame...

OP-ED COLUMNIST

Oligarchy, American Style

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: November 3, 2011

Inequality is back in the news, largely thanks to Occupy Wall Street, but with an assist from the Congressional Budget Office. And you know what that means: Its time to roll out the obfuscators!

- snip -

Anyone who has tracked this issue over time knows what I mean. Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur. Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isnt really rising, or that it doesnt matter. Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon, claiming that its not really the wealthy few versus the rest, its the educated versus the less educated.

- snip -

The budget office laid out some of that stark reality in a recent report, which documented a sharp decline in the share of total income going to lower- and middle-income Americans. We still like to think of ourselves as a middle-class country. But with the bottom 80 percent of households now receiving less than half of total income, thats a vision increasingly at odds with reality.

In response, the usual suspects have rolled out some familiar arguments: the data are flawed (they arent); the rich are an ever-changing group (not so); and so on. The most popular argument right now seems, however, to be the claim that we may not be a middle-class society, but were still an upper-middle-class society, in which a broad class of highly educated workers, who have the skills to compete in the modern world, is doing very well.

Its a nice story, and a lot less disturbing than the picture of a nation in which a much smaller group of rich people is becoming increasingly dominant. But its not true.

MORE

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unkachuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R....n/t
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Electric Monk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. &U&G&M&A&N
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sam11111 Donating Member (638 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. data u need
Edited on Thu Nov-03-11 10:55 PM by sam11111
(graph is from Wikipedia, on page linked here about 90% of the way down)
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United...

The Top Tax Rate - ( its history )

-------
.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
4. Kick!
The larger answer, however, is that extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy. Can anyone seriously deny that our political system is being warped by the influence of big money, and that the warping is getting worse as the wealth of a few grows ever larger?
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Kaleko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Denial is rampant.
But the squeeze is getting harder to ignore when it hits a million more families with every passing week.

Bonus quote for our resident obfuscators: :)

Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.
When you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled , one way or another,
by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate."

- President James Garfield - assassinated in 1881 shortly after making this statement
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. big k and r
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Hissyspit.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. So the mass of people living on the 20% don't feel as if they have a stake
in the economy, what could possibly go wrong said the Mad Hatter to the Red Queen...
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Brother Buzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. One could make the argument we are already experiencing Democracy in name only
have been for decades in my opinion.
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