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Friday, May 6, 2016

A revolution's going on

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nobody should be surprised at what's happening in many of the major cities across the country. People who call themselves the 99 percent are protesting the financial greed displayed by the 1 percent of Americans who control 80 percent of the assets in this country. Wages for the average American have remained flat over the past three decades while salaries, benefits, perks, and golden parachutes for the richest people in America have gone through the roof and the average person has finally gotten to the point that they're saying enough is enough.

They've been labeled "hippies" by those who don't know any better even though they represent every identifiable group in America. They're old and young. They're employed, under-employed or not employed. They're students, construction workers, housewives, veterans, and everything in between. They laugh at the premise that the 1 percent create jobs for the rest of us when our unemployment rate languishes at 9 percent. They create jobs alright, just not in America. They outsource to underdeveloped countries where the wages they pay are much lower than what they would have to pay Americans to work.

The after-tax income of the wealthiest 1 percent of people in the United States increased 275 percent from 1979 to 2007. How did your after-tax income do?

Another strange twist is that a lot Americans supported the "Arab Spring" where protesters took to the streets in several different countries and ousted leaders who didn't have the best interests of the people they ruled at heart. But some of those same Americans object to the 99 percenters.

They object because they say America is no place for class warfare, even though class warfare has been going on in this country for a long time. A certain segment of the population believes that everybody who is down on their luck is there because of bad choices they've made with their lives. The amazing thing about this is that I know some people who haven't done anything with their lives either but they continue to throw stones at others without looking in the mirror at themselves. They take exception to the rule and make it the rule. Only 4 percent of the people on government assistance are able-bodied men and women who could work if they really wanted to. Most people don't want to be on welfare and do everything they can humanly do to get off welfare as quickly as possible but the critics want you to believe that everybody on welfare are there because they're lazy, they don't want to work, and they're going to suck on the government teat as long as possible. It just isn't true. A few do, most don't.

All of us have made mistakes and errors in judgment in our lives but we overcame those mistakes and became even stronger because of them, often with the help of others. There are many people out of work today because they were laid off through no fault of their own because of the recession we're in. These people didn't do anything wrong at work. They were laid off because the company had to cut back on salaries and many companies lay people off using the philosophy "last hired, first fired." But the same group of people who don't like the 99 percenters don't want to extend unemployment benefits for these people either.

When things get so bad that people don't know where to turn or worse, they give up hope, history tells us that's when revolutions occur and we're seeing the first baby steps of that revolution occurring in the streets of America today, just like they're occurring all over the world.

One party complains about the economic condition of our country and some of its Presidential candidates propose changing the income tax system to an across-the-board 20 percent flat tax in order to make it fair and equitable to everybody. But the tax rate for the 1 percent today is 35 percent. So if you significantly decrease the taxes paid by the people who control 80 percent of the country's wealth, how does that improve the economic stability of America?

Ronald Reagan is perceived by many Republicans as the greatest President of the 20th century and the second greatest President ever behind Abraham Lincoln and yet he raised taxes seven different times during his Administration.

This means we have a lot of people talking out of both sides of their mouth. When one party insists on a super majority of 60 to get anything passed in the United States Senate, when the filibuster is being used almost daily, and when they say their only goal is to make sure the current President isn't reelected, then, if you have your glasses on, what's happening in this country should be obvious.

It's hard sometimes to get a feel for what's going on in the rest of the country when you live in the heartland but close to 70 percent of Americans support the 99 percenters and less than 40 percent support the Tea Party.

Those kinds of numbers lead to revolution.


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Here's your "close to 70 percent", Mr. Hendricks, from a TIME magazine poll:

Q11. IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, A GROUP OF PROTESTORS HAS BEEN GATHERING ON WALL STREET IN NEW YORK CITY AND SOME OTHER CITIES TO PROTEST POLICIES WHICH THEY SAY FAVOR THE RICH, THE GOVERNMENT'S BANK BAILOUT, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM. IS YOUR OPINION OF THESE PROTESTS VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON'T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE PROTESTS TO HAVE AN OPINION?

VERY FAVORABLE 25%

SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE 29%

SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE 10%

VERY UNFAVORABLE 13%

DON'T KNOW ENOUGH 23%

NO ANSWER/DON'T KNOW 1%

(and that's the HIGHEST level of "support" I've been able to find in poll results using a Google search)

Now, my rudimentary, backwards, redneck math skills tell me that 25+29=54. Not 70, or even CLOSE to 70, unless you figure that it's closer to 70 than it is to zero.....

Oh, by the way, take a look at how they worded the question, describing the (pronounced) position of the protestors, but not naming them. Then compare/contrast with the following:

Q8. ON ANOTHER ISSUE, IS YOUR OPINION OF THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON'T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE TEA PARTY TO HAVE AN OPINION?

VERY FAVORABLE 8%

SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE 19%

SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE 9%

VERY UNFAVORABLE 24%

DON'T KNOW ENOUGH 39%

NO ANSWER/DON'T KNOW 1%

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/full-results-o...

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 10:42 PM

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?Rele...

That's another poll in which only the NAMES of the movements are used. The results are quite different.

OWS: 30% favorable, 39% unfavorable

Tea Party: 31% favorable, 45% unfavorable.

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 10:50 PM

I am preparing for a revolution...it has been coming for a long time.

-- Posted by kaygee on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 11:01 PM

kaygee, I've had my fill of war. And I certainly wouldn't want another, in my own country, with my neighbors and countrymen, no matter how much or how fundamentally we might disagree politically.

I could, however, get behind an amicable divorce...

Look, when it comes right down to it, the OWS crowd and the Tea Party movement do share some common ground: the collusion between wealthy business interests and politics, driven by money flowing both ways - from business to politicians in the form of campaign contributions, and from politicians to business in the forms of bailouts, government contracts, and regulation favorable to the big boys but unfavorable to competitors. Also known as Crony Capitalism. They just take different approaches to FIXING the problem....

The Tea Party wants to remove the Crony from Crony Capitalism.

OWS wants to remove the Capitalism from Crony Capitalism.

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 12:28 AM

As for Reagan raising taxes seven different times, I guess it must have been something other than the federal individual income tax:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/fed_i...

Because, as you can see, the only rates that increased were those on the bottom tier, from 14% in 1979 to 15% in 1988, and that was largely due to flattening the brackets down to only TWO. Incidentally, those at the "top" of that lower bracket had paid 49% on their last few dollars under Carter.

-- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 1:02 AM

Mike-Comparing the Wall street protesters to the Arab uprisings is plain ignorance. The Arab leaders lead by fear, torture and anything else required to maintain their power. Wall street does not do anything of this sort and FYI they do not lead the country. The president leads the country and the policies he's trying to get passed have lead to uncertainty for businesses, so the don't invest nor hire people. To hire and expand private business takes risk; getting paid by tax dollars does not.

-- Posted by Ed on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 3:52 AM

The top 1% own less than half of U.S. wealth. Mr. Hendricks would have been closer if he would have said top 20%.

-- Posted by bberry on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 8:09 AM

QUOTE "Wages for the average American have remained flat over the past three decades...UNQUOTE

What?? Seriously, how many people do you know that have the same wage today as they had 30 years ago? 30 years ago, I made $2.85 an hour, today I make $26 an hour! The Occupy movement is made up of those that think they should be given what the rest of us worked to earn.

>>IRS tax return data shows that individuals in the bottom one-fifth back in 1996 experienced income growth of 91 percent by 2005.

>>In contrast, individuals in the highest one-fifth saw their incomes increase just 10 percent over the same period.

>>Incomes of households in the top 5 percent and 1 percent actually declined, by 7 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

If you're going to demand a bunch of freebies, at least just demand it, don't lie about the reasons.

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Sun, Nov 6, 2011, at 10:13 AM

The top 1% own about 35% of the private wealth in the USA. I realize the lefts desire to romanticize the flea bag movement, but really, what a joke. What we are seeing here is the protester class at work. Most are trust fund kids who's lives are standing still while others (re: those considered to be lesser) pass the by.

The story here should be, how hard work, determination, and sacrifices can propel those who live by these qualities, get to be the 1%.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Sun, Nov 6, 2011, at 1:24 PM

Mrs. Smith. In 1974 I made $88 per week. My rent was $125 per month. A top of the line new car went for less than $3,000, brand spanking new off the lot. Let's compare apples to apples. You can't even buy a decent second hand car for twice that amount now -- and we're not even going to talk about the price per pound for hamburger, apples or elbow macaroni. You can't just quote your wages - you have to factor in the amount of money needed to keep a roof over your head, the car you drive to work to make that salary, etc.

-- Posted by newdawn on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 6:27 AM

Considering how the last big revolution made sex into a rite of passage for adulthood, and helped place "who you have sex with or want to have sex with" at the same level of importance as heritage or religious affiliation, I don't think that's what we need. Besides, a revolution in simpler terms is a full 360 degree turn, which means that, while we would turn in the "right" direction at some point, we'd end up turning right back around to where we were.

-- Posted by bjo on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 10:29 AM

Income for the average American have remained flat and in some cases dropped over the last 30 years when adjusted for inflation according to the US Census Bureau.

-- Posted by bberry on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 10:31 AM

newdawn,

Along with figuring in what things actually cost, we need to consider that frugal, hard-working people tend to pinch pennies, buy wisely, invest in property, and slowly build wealth.

When I earned $2.85 an hour, I had no children, saved what I could, and drove a beat-up used car.

Now I have 7 children, own a $50,000 house, drive a nicer car, and have been putting money into 401K's for 20 years.

As time goes on, we make the choices that either build wealth, or the choices that waste our earnings. I choose to have too many children, but also chose to raise them frugally, to use money on bills and investment instead of on liquor and cigarettes, and to learn how to repair things when I couldn't afford to hire help.

After years of doing so, I am now faced with demands to pay the bills for those that drank, smoked, and wasted their money and talents.

Others demanding that I cover their bills have the years ahead of them to walk the path I've already taken.

In neither case should I owe it to any of them to fork over my hard-earned money so they can be more wasteful and work less.

I am quite happy to contribute to charities that help those that CANNOT work, and to give a temporary hand-up to those that need a little temporary assistance to get onto their own feet. Beyond that, it is neither the constitutional use of government nor the ethical use of overall resources to coddle those that choose to blow their time and money foolishly.

-- Posted by MrsSmith on Tue, Nov 8, 2011, at 8:49 AM

It is hard to relate to this issue because we live, as Mike put it, "in the heartland." We are the last to be affected by major economic crisis because of the trickle effect. It destroys major cities on the coasts before it makes its way further inland.

With that being said, keep these things in mind:

1. Many workers in this area are part of a union (railroad, school teachers, city workers, etc). The 1% that Mike is referring to is going after union rights. They are working on destroying collective bargaining which eliminates mediation and arbitration.

2. Many workers in this area are involved in agriculture. The 1% that Mike is referring to is going after Farm Subsidies.

3. This same 1% is calling the middle class, which most of us are, lazy and uneducated. If we don't have jobs it is because we merely aren't trying hard enough.

Some of these posts show how truly uneducated we are and remain to be. Whether his statistics are accurate or not, there is still something extremely wrong. It is happening all over the country and all over the world. We will remain ignorant if we blame the party on the other side of the isle. BOTH are to blame. But one argument is clear: There is a revoultion coming, whether we like it or not.

-- Posted by LJac on Fri, Nov 11, 2011, at 11:31 AM

Here's some random tidbits to go along.

Please take these numbers as generalizations...I have not researched, just taking a stab based solely on personal experience.

of 8000 people in mccook,

10-15% or 800-1200 retired "some working)

15-20% or 1200-1600 school aged not working

10-15% or 800-1200 on or being supported by social support system.

5-8% or 400-700 Unemployed / collecting unemployment

2.5% - 5% or 200-400 pre school aged not working

2.5% - 5% or 200-400 At home mothers / no need to work.

At minimum 3600 or 45% of population is not earning income via way of work. Leaving around 4400 employable / employed adults.

Local job availability:

Schools, City (all branches), County (all branches), State Patrol, Dept. Roads, Nat. Gaurd / Army, WEC, (other state supported jobs.)

Not knowing exactly how many positions are made available under the pretense "tax payer" supported jobs...I venture to assume it is upwards of 1000 - 1500 local jobs. Leaving 2900-3400 employable / employed.

Industrial / Commercial local Employers:

Railroad, Parker, Valmont, fast food, convenience, grocery, building supply & wholesale, private small business. Rural farming / ranching.

Rail = 100 - 200 ?

Parker - 100 - 200 ?

Valmont = 100 - 200 ?

Grocery = 100 - 200 ?

Convenience = 25-50 ?

Building supply & Wholesale = 50-100 ?

Home service provision = 100 - 200?

Private small business = 200-300 ?

Farming / Ranching = 100-200 ?

So an additional approximately 1200 jobs. Leaving around 2200 unemployed / employable (s)

On a much larger scale, it gets far worse, and the numbers are even scarier. Farming and ranchihg, which is the backbone of argument of most around the area, does bring a fair amount of revenue to the area, but from my experience, most of the revenue is due to the local spending, the jobs are usually kept within the families and friends of those that are the land owners.

We have a system model that could be explained simply by stating that of the 99% of "workers" 45% of their wages are dirivitives of the tax base of 54% of the others. And 1% population that they speak of above must do nothing but sit and collect the "bacon" that is left over.

-- Posted by cplcac on Fri, Nov 11, 2011, at 9:14 PM

What exactly do the protesters want? I hear them screaming about wealth inequity. So what! I am perfectly happy with where I am in this world, a long ways from the "1%". It's something I and most of those in my circle of friends don't even discuss.

The "1%" pay the largest share of income taxes and the largest share of property taxes to pay for what? The common good for all people? Would these include, national defense? National infrastructure? How about justice? Other than those three, absolutely nothing else comes to mind when the "common good for all people" measure is used.

So what is it?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Sun, Nov 13, 2011, at 2:31 PM


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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night