Occupy Wall Street is getting some bad press.
I mean, it's getting some really bad press. Especially from Regressive linchpin FOX News.
They're literally pointing at the the unemployed, the homeless, and the starving and saying, "The bad economy is their fault!" Well, it's not. You know who I point at? The banks, the hyperrich corporations, and the billionaires.
This is THEIR fault.
So far, so good, right? Risk vs reward; the hallmark of capitalism! But the corporations didn't think so. They, and their GOP cronies, argued that they were too important to be allowed to fail at all! So they got the biggest bailout in American history.
They can keep sticking their hand in that grinder as much as they want, now! Because if they ever get hurt, they've got hundreds of billions of dollars worth of insurance money, sitting right here, with us! The taxpayer takes the risk. If the company fails, we pay. If the company succeeds, then it profits.
Except they messed up, and when things went south, all of Wall Street was taken with it. So they cried "too big to fail!" and got their trillion dollars in taxpayer money.
You know what they did with that money? That money that they said they needed to continue supplying America with jobs and prosperity? They gave it to their executives, as bonuses. Some of these were even called "performance" bonuses. I can only imagine that they were trying to rub it in.
Since 2008, the rich have gotten richer, while the middle class and the poor have gotten poorer. The top six banks in the country are worth more than 60% of the GDP. Profits in the Fortune 500 soared 81% last year. That's almost double. Non-executive wages and salaries? Those went up barely 1%.
In the 1970s, American CEOs made an average of 30 times more than what their average employee made. In 2010, those CEOs made an average of 263 times what their employees make. Some sources show that in the past year, that number has gone up even more, with CEOs making an average of 475 times what their employees make a year!
Compare that to Japan, where the ratio is closer to 11 to 1, or Germany where it's about 12 to 1. Point this out and watch GOP pundits cry "socialism" and "destroying the country" until their throats are raw. Because Japan and Germany are so lazy and unproductive. Right.
The GOP has responded to this inequality by lowering taxes -- on the rich. (They've increased taxes on the rest of us, and want to increase them higher.)
Interesting fact: a normal person can pay up to 35% of their top income bracket in taxes, and that's only if they're making more than $379,000 a year! A venture capitalist making tens of millions a year pays closer 15%, and that's if he's not hiding anything. Why so little? The Regressive argument about this basically boils down to, "But he's a better person than you, so he should get taxed less."
That's right. If you wanted to be taxed less, you should stop being lazy and start making millions of dollars a year. Anyone who isn't a billionaire doesn't even deserve to be listened to.
What if a bunch of middle class folks does demand to be listened to? Well, they're labeled as a bunch of useless, dirty hippies. If they wanted to have a voice, they'd go make a billion dollars.
Oh is that all.
First image by NYCCine, second by RMajouji, CC-BY-2.5.