Monday, October 17, 2011

The Numbers Don't Lie

I'd like to know where Nicholas Kristoff gets his numbers.
He says:
1. The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the 150 million Americans who make up the bottom half.

2. The top 1 % of Americans possess more wealth than the folks who make up 90% of the nation.

I've tried finding this from the IRS website, but the IRS is more concerned with income, which, of course, especially in the case of the really rich, does not tell you much about "net wealth," which includes things like the value of stocks held, real estate and other stuff I can hardly imagine.

But if it's true, that should make quite a pie chart. That pie chart should be printed on T shirts and handed out by Democrats at super markets.

It might make some sense of the Wall Street protesters, or maybe not. Right now, I can't really quite understand those protesters. I remember protests from the sixties which looked a lot like this Kumbya crowd, but there was never any doubt what brought all those people to the national Mall in the 1960's--there was this thing called the Vietnam war. There were always people in the crowd who were vegetarians, save the planet, save the tiger, save the whales , but there was one unifying theme: Get out of Vietnam. These guys, not so much.

This protest of the "99%" reminds me of the guy in that movie who throws open a window and leans out and shouts, "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it any more."

He could be a mad as hell Tea Party guy. You have to say what you want changed.

A depression era fighter (Raging Bull?) was asked about the pounding he took in the ring, and why he went back in, time after time. He couldn't make a living outside the ring, given the massive unemployment, but making a living in the right was brutal. Didn't he feel it was ultimately pretty discouraging, and he replied, "At least in the ring, I know who I am fighting."

Which was the problem in the Depression and now, you cannot understand who is hurting you. At least in the ring, there is clarity.

But if you have 1% or even 10% owning as much as everyone else combined, no matter how they got that wealth, something is wrong, big time.

Elizabeth Warren, Bless her, is saying what Democrats should all be saying--Okay rich guys, you 1-10% you got your wealth through a system the rest of us gave you, with our sweat. You transported your goods using our roads; you found your customers on the internet the government provided; you used the money our government prints, for Pete's sake.

Pay your share.

And, oh yes, remember it was the Republicans who repealed all those laws which were passed after the Depression to prevent another Depression, and they damn near succeeded in causing another Depression. You know who to punch out for that.

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