Monday, September 5, 2011

You've Made Your Bed

Wie Lange Noch?
...Ein Mensch ist kein Tier!

Denn wie man sich bettet, so liegt man
Es deckt einen da keiner zu
Und wenn einer tritt, dann bin ich es
Und wird einer getreten, dann bist’s du.


...A human being is not an animal!

For as you make your bed, you must lie in it,
and no one there will tuck you in
And if anyone does the kicking, it will be me
and if anyone gets kicked, it will be you.

-- Brecht/Weill, "Dann Wie Man Sich Bettet"
(Then As You Make Your Bed)
Barry Ritholz posted about a long piece which appeared in The Washington Post, "Breakaway Wealth" (paragraphing added for emphasis):
There is a huge Washington Post special report on Breakaway Wealth in the US. More than most other industrialized nations, the US has seen the top 0.1% compensated in vastly disproportionate numbers versus the rest of the populace.

There are at least several reasons to be concerned about this, beyond basic fairness:
  • 1) Nations that have extremes wealth disparities tend towards social unrest. Usually, its banana republics and dictatorships, but it could happen in a corporate-owned quasi democracy as well.
  • 2) CEOs and other company insiders have been engaging in a massive grab of shareholders wealth for decades. Its gotten appreciably worse in the 2000s.
  • 3) Management is now trying to hide their compensation from the business owners — the firm’s shareholders.
The Post article noted, "Here’s one financial figure some big U.S. companies would rather keep secret: how much more their chief executive makes than the typical worker. Now a group backed by 81 major companies — including McDonald’s, Lowe’s, General Dynamics, American Airlines, IBM and General Mills — is lobbying [Congress] against new rules that would force disclosure of that comparison."

Ritholz said, "Legalized theft of shareholder assets, approved by a corrupt Congress. What little respect I had left for the GOP is now completely gone. This is not 'business friendly' — its [sic] utterly corrupt theft of shareholders."

The Post also provided a photo gallery of the twenty richest individuals in the United States in 2011, according to Forbes magazine.

Ritholtz included the following charts from the WaPo article; click on them to make them larger and more readable. It's easy and fun!
The Gap Between Rich And Poor:
The United States Compared With Other Nations

(Graphic: The Washington Post)

What Professions Are The Top One-Tenth
Of One Percent Of United States Earners?

(Graphic: The Washington Post)

A Growing Inequality:
The Top Get Richer; The Rest, Poorer

(Graphic: The Washington Post)
The most interesting thing about all of this isn't even so much that it's happening -- it's that everyone knows it; for years, now, what's left of an independent media not owned by Little Rupert or Comcast or General Electric has reported on it. And apparently nobody gives a damn, and no one in a position to affect this situation will do anything to stop it.

And when London-style underclass riots begin to happen in this country, people will say, "I just don't understand why this is happening", and demand the rioting miscreants be put in labor camps to clean up toxic spill sites, until they've sufficiently received enough Jesus, or something.

But, I'm only a dog, and no one listens to me.