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.