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Fri Sep 21, 2012, 02:34 PM

Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Economic Equality & Opportunity in America

Remember, America! It's NOT Class Warfare
when the Rich conduct operations.

A press release that was brought to my attention:

Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Economic Equality & Opportunity in America


Forbes claims that their list of the 400 richest Americans is “the definitive scorecard of wealth in America,” but the Forbes 400 does not tell the whole story.

Forbes understates the impacts of birthright and family privilege.

• Roughly 40% of the 2011 list received a significant advantage by inheriting a sizeable asset from a spouse or family member.
• More than 20% received sufficient wealth to make the list from their inheritance alone.

Forbes ignores the other side of the coin — that the opportunity to build wealth is not equally shared.

• The net worth of the Forbes 400 grew fifteen-fold between the launch of the list in 1982 and 2011, while wealth stagnated for the average U.S. household.
• The racial wealth divide is starkly apparent from the overwhelming whiteness of the list. The 2011 Forbes 400 had only one African American member.
• Women accounted for just 10% of the 2011 list, and of the women on the list nearly 90% inherited their fortunes.

Tax policy is tilted in favor of the wealthy members of the Forbes 400 list.

• Tax rates on capital gains have been slashed, which especially benefits members of the Forbes list. The richest 0.1% receive half of all net increases in capital gains.
• Drastic cuts to the federal estate tax passed in the Bush tax cuts and the 2010 Obama tax deal allow the Forbes 400 to pass on more of their massive fortunes to their heirs, contributing to the growth of inequality and entrenching a class of super-wealthy heirs.



Link to The Report.

I'm so old, I remember when Economic Justice was on the tee vee. Of course, that was back in the decade when JFK ran on a campaign of "Peace and Prosperity for All."

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Reply Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Economic Equality & Opportunity in America (Original post)
Octafish Sep 2012 OP
Ikonoklast Sep 2012 #1
Octafish Sep 2012 #3
Ikonoklast Sep 2012 #4
hifiguy Sep 2012 #11
Ikonoklast Sep 2012 #13
HangOnKids Sep 2012 #2
Octafish Sep 2012 #7
bread_and_roses Apr 2013 #14
Octafish Apr 2013 #15
bread_and_roses Apr 2013 #16
Octafish Apr 2013 #17
Initech Sep 2012 #5
Octafish Sep 2012 #8
Overseas Sep 2012 #6
Octafish Sep 2012 #9
Overseas Sep 2012 #10
Brother Buzz Sep 2012 #12

Response to Octafish (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 02:39 PM

1. Historically, there are two ways the economic playing field gets leveled.

One is through progressive tax policies.

The other uses bullets.

I wonder which one this nation will choose, because choose it must.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 02:48 PM

3. My nice neighbor thinks the latter.

She's pretty much worked two or more jobs her entire adult life to put her kids through college after her first husband died. Born and raised in the old Greektown neighborhood of Detroit, she doesn't complain much, as her mom worked three jobs on her behalf.

The thing she sees today is hopelessness for the majority of Americans -- somewhere north of 47 and south of 99. There are no good jobs for college grads, let alone high school grads, anywhere around here - a suburb. Drop-outs can forget about it, like the rest of the permanently poor. She says a revolution is coming.

When I was a kid, it was normal to consider government part of the solution. As you wrote, Ikonoklast, progressive taxation made ours a civilized society where people had a chance. Today's game is slanted entirely toward the rich, a case of welfare for the wealthy, institutionalized by those in government today.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 03:12 PM

4. We have a window to change that, and it is just now starting to open.

Demographic shift will partly solve the problem, as those that put the Republicans and their agenda of theft in power are shuffling off this mortal coil.

The other part is that people who weren't paying attention before because things were all good in their little part of the world are starting to wake up, as things are no longer quite so good for them anymore.

They are starting to realize just who has been sticking it to them for the last thirty years, and want to know how that was allowed to happen to them, too, as they were loyal foot soldiers who threw in with the oligarchs and thought that they would share in the spoils.

Instead they are finding themselves thrown on the disposal heap after being used by the Right along with the rest of us who have been there all along, and aren't too happy about it.

I see the current political state of affairs as the apogee of the Right.

I actually saw the rise of the Tea Party as a symptom of that decline in a desperate effort to 'purify' their party; which usually is a huge flag denoting a political party in disarray.

Party purges, calling out the idealogical traitors in one's midst, adherence to increasingly dogmatic positions, loyalty oaths...then fracturing, party civil war, and a long visit to the wilderness of political relevancy.

Where have we seen that before, I wonder?

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 12:10 PM

11. The hereditary plutocracy refused to realise


that were it not for FDR - whom they hated with a passion and still do - they would have been hanged from the streetlights. Which in retrospect may not have been such a bad thing.

It is, at the crux of the biscuit, just what you say. Progressive taxation with real consequences for cheating or guns. There are no other choices.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 04:28 PM

13. Isn't that strange? They plainly refuse to understand what might have been.

FDR saved their bacon, pure and simple.

If things had gone on for one or two more years they way they were going before FDR saved the economy, there would have been no safe place a person of wealth could have hid in this country.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 02:41 PM

2. Friday Morning Kick!


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Response to HangOnKids (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:07 PM

7. Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda -- The Attack on Democracy

To help spread light, Maria Galardin's TUC (Time of Useful Consciousness) Radio:

Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda
The Attack on Democracy

The 20th century, said Carey, is marked by three historic developments: the growth of democracy via the expansion of the franchise, the growth of corporations, and the growth of propaganda to protect corporations from democracy. Carey wrote that the people of the US have been subjected to an unparalleled, expensive, 3/4 century long propaganda effort designed to expand corporate rights by undermining democracy and destroying the unions. And, in his manuscript, unpublished during his life time, he described that history, going back to World War I and ending with the Reagan era. Carey covers the little known role of the US Chamber of Commerce in the McCarthy witch hunts of post WWII and shows how the continued campaign against "Big Government" plays an important role in bringing Reagan to power.

John Pilger called Carey "a second Orwell", Noam Chomsky dedicated his book, Manufacturing Consent, to him. And even though TUC Radio runs our documentary based on Carey's manuscript at least every two years and draws a huge response each time, Alex Carey is still unknown.

Given today's spotlight on corporations that may change. It is not only the Occupy movement that inspired me to present this program again at this time. By an amazing historic coincidence Bill Moyers and Charlie Cray of Greenpeace have just added the missing chapter to Carey's analysis. Carey's manuscript ends in 1988 when he committed suicide. Moyers and Cray begin with 1971 and bring the corporate propaganda project up to date.

This is a fairly complex production with many voices, historic sound clips, and source material. The program has been used by writers and students of history and propaganda. Alex Carey: Taking the Risk out of Democracy, Corporate Propaganda VS Freedom and Liberty with a foreword by Noam Chomsky was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1995.

SOURCE: http://tucradio.org/new.html

Thank you, HangOnKids! If you find a moment, here's the first part (scroll down at the link for the second part) on Carey.


Helps explain how we got here and what we need to do to move forward, starting with putting the "Public" into Airwaves again.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 08:51 AM

14. I just had occasion to look up Carey and this post came up

Sorry I missed it at the time.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 10:12 AM

15. Why did you look him up? Did you see this?

The Propaganda System That Has Helped Create a Permanent Overclass Is Over a Century in the Making

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:00
By Andrew Gavin Marshall, AlterNet | News Analysis


Lots of good history. No mention of Carey, though.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 10:18 AM

16. Yes

I linked to that post off Weekend Economists thread - scanned through and was surprised Carey wasn't mentioned. I looked him up because though I thought of him when scanning through it, I could not recall his name. Bless google: "Australian writer propaganda" brought him right up.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:33 AM

17. Thanks. It was a surprising omission.

Seeing how it names the principal figures and organizations, the new article would make an excellent reference work with the inclusion of Carey's work.

If you are working on such an article for university or publication, Godspeed. And good luck!

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 03:26 PM

5. I got a taste of that this morning when I saw a nearly mile long line outside a new Goodwill store.

And my guess is that they're hunting for jobs. If that many people are waiting that long for an application to work for minimum wage - it's really got me questioning what's ahead if the rich vulture criminals keep getting away with their crimes.

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Response to Initech (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:22 PM

8. James Galbraith on Income Inequality

More and more of the young people in Michigan leave for work in Texas and the Sun Belt, including my nephew. Not that there aren't good people there, like Dr. Galbraith:

How economists have misunderstood inequality: An interview with James Galbraith

Posted by Brad Plumer at 11:37 AM ET, 05/03/2012
The Washington Post

Before 1980, few academics in the United States gave much thought to the idea of economic inequality. It just wasn’t a glaring concern. But in the last 30 years, the incomes of the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent have surged, and more and more economists have been paying attention.

Occupy Wall Street protests in Los Angeles (LUCY NICHOLSON - REUTERS) Yet there’s still plenty about economic inequality that’s not well understood. What’s actually driving the gap between the richest and poorest? Does it hurt economic growth, or is it largely benign? Should it be reversed? Can it be reversed? Surprisingly, there’s little consensus on how to answer these questions — in part because good data on the topic is hard to come by.

In his fascinating new book, “Inequality and Instability,” James K. Galbraith, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, takes a more detailed look at inequality by assembling a wealth of new data on the phenomenon. Among other things, he finds that economic inequality has been rising in roughly similar ways around the world since 1980. And this rise appears to be driven, in large part, by the financial sector — and the changes that modern finance has forced in the global economy. We talked by phone recently about his book.

Brad Plumer: You bring together a lot of new data on inequality in the book across a variety of countries, from the United States to Europe to China to Latin America. What’s different about what your book discovers?

James Galbraith: One thing we found is that there are common global patterns in economic inequality across different countries that appear to be very strongly related to major events affecting the world economy as a whole. The most important have been changes in financial regimes and changes in systems of financial governance. It made a big difference when the Bretton Woods system ended in 1971. The debt crisis of the 1980s made a big difference. The debt crisis of the 1980s made a big difference. It made a big difference in 2000 when the NASDAQ crashed and interest rates were reduced These things all had global repercussions, and they affected inequality around the entire world in different ways.

BP: And this isn’t how many economists have looked at inequality, correct?

JG: No. The most unconventional thing in this book is about how inequality relates to macroeconomic performance and financial factors. The discussion of inequality tends to be heavily dominated by a marketplace perspective that stresses individual-level characteristics like the demand for skill. Economists have always classified this as a microeconomic problem. ... But when something’s happening at the same time around the world, in different countries that are widely separated, that’s a macro issue. There was a global movement toward higher inequality as a result of the financial stresses that the world is under.



More from Dr. Galbraith: University of Texas Inequality Project

Thanks, Initech, for staying in the fight.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 12:30 PM

6. Saturday morning kick! I remember when we were more honest about economic justice

and progressive taxation.

When we understood and wanted our taxes to help our fellow citizens.

I think most of our fellow citizens still would prefer that our taxes do that, and Medicare for All, rather than be redirected to privatized warfare and tax cuts for the wealthy.

I feel so sad that the Powell Memo plan has been so successful. The Right really pursued enhancing their power on so many fronts.

That included pressure on my Democrats to become "New Democrats" and prove that they weren't bleeding heart liberals and could "end welfare as we know it," deregulate the mass media and high finance, and get tough on unions.

For 2012 I am hoping for a mass defection of Republicans to vote Democrats into power in all offices so we can push for democratic economic justice again. To enact Medicare for All and jobs for millions in updating our infrastructure, stronger progressive taxation, rebuilding the power of our unions, emergency environmental protection and public financing of campaigns.


I do hope the shift in demographics includes a shift in more eligible voters getting to the polls to tell the politicians we would prefer our taxes go to those things, rather than more favors for corporations and the Top 400.

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Response to Overseas (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:56 PM

9. ''Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society'' is how Oliver Wendell Holmes put it.

In finding the above image of Justice Holmes, I passed a bumper sticker that said: "Taxes are the price we pay to become like Europe." Which, of course, reminded me of how there's been a concerted, organized effort was made to keep America from following Social Democracies of Europe. From an American commie intellectual and patriot:

Capitalism s Self-inflicted Apocalypse

Michael Parenti


The present economic crisis, however, has convinced even some prominent free-marketeers that something is gravely amiss. Truth be told, capitalism has yet to come to terms with several historical forces that cause it endless trouble: democracy, prosperity, and capitalism itself, the very entities that capitalist rulers claim to be fostering.

Plutocracy vs. Democracy

Let us consider democracy first. In the United States we hear that capitalism is wedded to democracy, hence the phrase, “capitalist democracies.” In fact, throughout our history there has been a largely antagonistic relationship between democracy and capital concentration. Some eighty years ago Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis commented, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Moneyed interests have been opponents not proponents of democracy.


It is only in countries where capitalism has been reined in to some degree by social democracy that the populace has been able to secure a measure of prosperity; northern European nations such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark come to mind. But even in these social democracies popular gains are always at risk of being rolled back.

It is ironic to credit capitalism with the genius of economic prosperity when most attempts at material betterment have been vehemently and sometimes violently resisted by the capitalist class. The history of labor struggle provides endless illustration of this.

To the extent that life is bearable under the present U.S. economic order, it is because millions of people have waged bitter class struggles to advance their living standards and their rights as citizens, bringing some measure of humanity to an otherwise heartless politico-economic order.



Taxes were as high as 92-percent on the top of the heap during Ike's tenure. He had it cut to 91-percent.


If the Rich-n-Powerful don't wake up soon, they may rue the day when taxes were all that got the axe.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #9)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 12:00 PM

10. And I had hoped that enough capitalists realized that in 2008

and would have reluctantly allowed more significant changes to be implemented.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 12:17 PM

12. Yet the Horatio Alger myth still prevails

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