Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Well, At Least It All Makes Sense Now

I am a cynic. I am surprised by selflessness, not that I don't ever practice it myself, but I certainly look for greed and fear and hatred first when assessing motivation. Emphasis on greed. So this did not take me by surprise.

In 2008, as the financial crisis raged, the stock market hit bottom and the Great Recession ate into the economy, the number of millionaires in the United States plunged.

But last year the number of millionaires bounced up sharply, new data show.

And after that decline and rebound, the millionaire class held a larger percentage of the country's wealth than it did in 2007.

. . .

The boom didn't reach all parts of the population. For the middle class, home values account for a larger slice of a family's wealth than they do for the rich. And unlike stocks, home values remain at or near the lows they reached after a painful crash.

In fact, real estate and other hard assets, such as $200,000 cars, aren't reflected in Boston Consulting Group's report. Had they been, the financial condition of ordinary Americans would have appeared even worse.

Well then. Suddenly tea parties and class warfare and tax cuts for the wealthy in the middle of the worst economic climate since the Great Depression make sense.

And people wonder why I don't see "socialist" as an insult.


  1. I hate that bleeping poor-rich gap. How the hell do conservatives keep convincing the middle-lower class that they're rich enough that 'widen the gap' policies are going to do anything more than take their money and give it to the bankers and CEO's?

    (There's no such thing as a middle upper class anymore, it goes: below the poverty line, poor, middle-lower class, middle class (shrinking), then straight to filthy rich, insanely rich and the secret Illuminati bankers who control the world)

  2. I see this a a big "so what." Is it somehow a surprise that wealthy people are better positioned to take advantage of an economic downturn? They have the know-how, the advisers, and of course the investment capital to bounce back much faster than people who are slaves to a daily wage, and who have most of their net worth tied up in their personal residences (or are paying rent).

    There are all sorts of great opportunities right now for those with the capital to invest -- which unfortunately doesn't include me. But that's my fault, and has nothing to do with the wealthy. I don't feel entitled to have the government steal money from the rich so I can have more.

  3. Yes, but the wealthy are also in a position to take advantage of an economic upturn or simple economic stability. Long story short, the wealthy are in a better position, and being offered far far more chances to make money on top of what they're already getting, than anyone who is poor.

    And when the rich have many more opportunities to increase their salary than the poor do, and when they're engineering more oppotunities for themselves and their fellow top 1%, then the rich-poor gap is only going to get wider.

    I think of it this way: do people contribute to society exactly what they earn in wages? No: I'm not saying a CEO or bankers job isn't productive, but the amount it contributes is small fry compared to the returns. But if they're getting 500% what they're contributing, then that extra 400% has to come from somewhere. Someone is getting less than they're contributing, and the system is set up in such a way that the people who get to decide who gets more and who gets less than they contribute are the people who are already getting more.

    Of course, even though a purely resource-driven society where you get back what you put in sounds noble, it can't work in reality. Those incapable of contributing need to survive somehow, too. But it'd be a much better starting place than our current money-driven society, which allows leeches like (for example) those who ride the stock market, contributing nothing but siphoning cash away from the producers.


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