Fork the Rich

July 2, 2014

slanderersAnother normal early-morning here on California’s north coast — foggy and a bit warm even for the middle of the work week, though, this particular Wednesday is sucking up this nation’s birthday.
Friday is the famous July 4 — our Independence Day (with aliens, too, but of the Hispanic variety) — but Arthur might strike a wet chord in celebrations for the US eastern seaboard, but just go splash, splash.

We make a big deal out of the Fourth with fireworks, parades, speeches and all kinds of other loud party artifacts, but America in 2014 is only a fleeing shadow of our historical nation.

(Illustration found here).

As we approach our 238th birthday bash, this country is as fractured as a cheap fairy tale and the party looks played out. President Obama more than proclaimed it yesterday with his prod at the GOP and side-stepping the way-dysfunctional Congress: “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me.”
So, in other words, fuck you assholes!

Nice birthday greeting, hey?

A major problem is the poor — like 99 percent of us.
But some of those mega-rich see the handwriting turning into noise of mobs shuffling to anger.
In an essay this week at Politico, super-rich guy Nick Hanauer tried to ‘slpain to other rich guys, America could go ranting and eat the rich via giant pitchforks — Hanauer is a venture capitalist who originally invested in Amazon.com, among other big-money projects.
A few words of advice to his wealthy buddies — raise the fuckin’ minimum wage, at fuckin’ least:

But let’s speak frankly to each other.
I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student.
I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code.
What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future.
Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship.
And what do I see in our future now?
I see pitchforks.
At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind.
The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast.
In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income.
The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our economy at great risk.
But in Seattle, our current minimum wage of $9.32 is already nearly 30 percent higher than the federal minimum wage.
And has it ruined our economy yet?
Well, trickle-downers, look at the data here: The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle.
Guess which cities have the highest minimum wage?
San Francisco and Seattle.
The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle.
Fifteen dollars isn’t a risky untried policy for us. It’s doubling down on the strategy that’s already allowing our city to kick your city’s ass.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it: If a worker earns $7.25 an hour, which is now the national minimum wage, what proportion of that person’s income do you think ends up in the cash registers of local small businesses?
Hardly any.
That person is paying rent, ideally going out to get subsistence groceries at Safeway, and, if really lucky, has a bus pass.
But she’s not going out to eat at restaurants.
Not browsing for new clothes. Not buying flowers on Mother’s Day.

We rich people have been falsely persuaded by our schooling and the affirmation of society, and have convinced ourselves, that we are the main job creators.
It’s simply not true.
There can never be enough super-rich Americans to power a great economy.
I earn about 1,000 times the median American annually, but I don’t buy thousands of times more stuff.
My family purchased three cars over the past few years, not 3,000.
I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men.
I bought two pairs of the fancy wool pants I am wearing as I write, what my partner Mike calls my “manager pants.”
I guess I could have bought 1,000 pairs.
But why would I?
Instead, I sock my extra money away in savings, where it doesn’t do the country much good.

The oldest and most important conflict in human societies is the battle over the concentration of wealth and power.
The folks like us at the top have always told those at the bottom that our respective positions are righteous and good for all.
Historically, we called that divine right.
Today we have trickle-down economics.
What nonsense this is.
Am I really such a superior person?
Do I belong at the center of the moral as well as economic universe?
Do you?

Well, punk? Do you feel lucky?
Oops, sorry, mixed the metaphors again.

And all this unequal talk has made me pessimistic about the future. So has the loading platform for the trickle-down effect — via The Atlantic:

The poll is a jarring wake-up call to anyone who still believes America is a country of optimists.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans—65 percent—question whether America will be on the right track in 10 years.
They are also split on whether the country will be a “land of opportunity” (33 percent say yes, 42 percent say no, and 24 percent say they don’t know).
In their view, the American Dream itself seems to be fading.
Seven in 10 Americans have real doubts about whether working hard and playing by the rules will bring success in the future.
They are also concerned about their children’s futures.
Despite falling unemployment in many states, 64 percent of parents believe it will be difficult for their children to find good jobs in 10 years.

Just try and eat sweet peas with a fork — pitch it for a spoon, dumb-ass!

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