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Thread: The ideology of corruption - Supporting the lifestyles of the 1%

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    Default The ideology of corruption - Supporting the lifestyles of the 1%

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/com...aptured-europe

    the main argument for not removing the debt overhang came from bankers, who claimed that it would create havoc in financial markets

    They stood to lose billions, and many financial-sector employees stood to lose their jobs. Not surprisingly, leading bankers lobbied against debt restructuring, both behind closed doors and publicly.

    just as important as their storyline is their political power, which has risen greatly in recent years – to the point that all major policymakers in the US and Europe cater to banks’ fortunes even when there are no wider implications for the economy.

    many of the losses that bankers should have faced are being shouldered by the public sector. The extent of subsidies in this sector is stunning and, under current policies, will only increase over time – thereby primarily supporting the lifestyles of the top 1% of people in very rich countries.

    it is time to stop listening to what banks say, and start focusing on what they do. We must re-evaluate the distorted political economy of the financial sector, before the excessive power of the few imposes even larger costs on everyone else.

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    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/14/weve...hed/singleton/

    In a recent study respondents on average thought that the top fifth of the population had just short of 60 percent of the wealth, when in truth that group holds approximately 85 percent. respondents described an ideal wealth distribution as one in which the top 20 percent hold just over 30 percent of the wealth.

    Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years, when in fact the increase has been tectonic.

    Looking across countries, it appears that there is an inverse correlation between trends in inequality and perceptions of inequality and fairness.

    What is different today is that the 1 percent now has more knowledge about how to shape preferences and beliefs in ways that enable the wealthy to better advance their cause, and more tools and more resources to do so.

    In a set of experiments in India, low- and high-caste children were asked to solve puzzles, with monetary rewards for success. When they were asked to do so anonymously, there was no caste difference in performance. But when the low caste and high caste were in a mixed group where the low-caste individuals were known to be low caste (they knew it, and they knew that others knew it), low-caste performance was much lower than that of the high caste.

    those at the top want to be sure that the inequality in the United States today is framed in ways that make it seem fair, or at least acceptable. If it is perceived to be unfair, it might lead to legislation that would attempt to temper it.

    What was called incentive pay was anything but that: pay was high when performance was high, but pay was still high when performance was low. Only the name changed. When performance was low, the name changed to “retention pay.”

    What we’ve achieved is a state too constrained to provide investments in infrastructure, technology, and education. But still large enough and distorted enough that it can provide a bounty of gifts to the wealthy. The advocates of a small state in the financial sector were happy that the government had the money to rescue them in 2008— and bailouts have in fact been part of capitalism for centuries.

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    Another take...

    http://crookedtimber.org/2012/06/18/...of-the-elites/

    Hayes pins the blame on an unlikely suspect: meritocracy. We thought we would just simply pick out the best and raise them to the top, but once they got there they inevitably used their privilege to entrench themselves and their kids. Opening up the elite to more efficient competition didn’t make things more fair, it just legitimated a more intense scramble. The result was an arms race among the elite, pushing all of them to embrace the most unscrupulous forms of cheating and fraud to secure their coveted positions.

    elite power accumulated in one sector can be traded for elite power in another: a regulator can become a bank VP, a modern TV host can use their stardom to become a bestselling author. This creates a unitary elite, detached from the bulk of society, yet at the same time even more insecure.

    The result is that our elites are trapped in a bubble. their distance from the way the rest of the country really lives makes it impossible for them to do their jobs justly—they just don’t get the necessary feedback.

    the alternative to meritocracy. It’s not picking surgeons by lottery, but then what is it? It’s about ameliorating power relationships altogether. the guy with the best fishing hole spot can’t say “f**k me or you’re fired.”

    The trend in recent decades (since the fall of the Soviet Union and the ruling class’s relief that “There Is No Alternative”) has been for the people at the top to seize all the economic gains, leaving everyone else increasing insecure and dependent on their largesse. (Calling themselves “job creators”, on this view, is not so much a brag as a threat.)

    The egaliatarian demand shouldn’t be that we need more black pop stars or female pop stars or YouTube sensation pop stars, but to question why we need elite superstars at all.

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    http://www.businessinsider.com/finan...ple-off-2012-7

    "Gillian Tett of the Financial Times wrote how five years previously, she and her fellow journalists were intimidated into backing off of a huge story about banks manipulating LIBOR.

    now we know that, amid the blustering from the BBA, the reality was worse than we thought. some Barclays traders were engaged in a constant and pervasive attempt to rig the Libor market from 2006 on. And the British bank may not have been alone.

    The Financial Times backed off. As a result, the best coverage of the ongoing scandal came from a controversial blog with mostly anonymous writers called ZeroHedge. It pounded on the story harder than mainstream financial media.

    There is speculation that Diamond was pressured to resign by the Bank of England after Diamond's threats to expose embarrassing details about his interactions with bank regulators.

    Threats are more effective against respected journalists whose careers you are threatening to ruin than against complicit regulators that can ruin yours."

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    The democratization of power...

    http://postimage.org/image/t69cczjvx/

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    Default Incest of Power

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/156259?page=entire

    there were numerous calls for Dimon to step down from the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That organization is the primary regulator of the firm. There was widespread public outrage that the CEO of a bank had no business serving on the governing body of his regulator.

    On January 27, 2009, Dudley was elevated to President and CEO of the New York Fed.

    the top official of the regulatory body overseeing JPMorgan Chase, was receiving $190,000 per year in household income from the bank he was supervising.

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    Default Pravda

    http://russianfreedomforum.lefora.co...ntry-endure-b/

    Recently, in the case of American Traditional Partnership (ATP) v. Bullock, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to reduce Citizens United’s corrupting influence.

    It failed

    Russ Feingold openly condemned the Supreme Court as “an arm of corporate America” that is “wantonly willing to undo our democracy.”

    the Chamber of Commerce, one of the most powerful lobbying groups for businesses in America, has a 68% win record in the Supreme Court since John Roberts took over as Chief Justice.

    it was no surprise when the Supreme Court embraced this double standard in the case of Knox v. Service Employees International Union (SEIU). the Knox ruling is “a clear case of the court making it quite a bit harder for unions to spend money on political issues. And that is an interesting contrast to its other opinions in the line of Citizens United where the court is making it much easier for corporations to spend money on political purposes

    Why are Americans failing to prevent Supreme Court justices from exploiting their positions to change America from a democracy to a plutocracy?

    puppets can easily see other puppets, but cannot easily see the puppeteer, thus the “evil” in many people’s eyes is not the Supreme Court, or the corporations and billionaires methodically destroying democracy

    The “war on terror”—with its extrajudicial executions, detentions without charge, torture, denials of due process and failures to curb governmental abuses—has reduced the United States to little more than a third-world dictatorship with first-world weapons.

    In the Supreme Court’s vision for America, the bourgeoisie will be the corporations and robber barons that manipulate elections and covertly control the government, and the proletariat will be the poor who pathetically fight amongst themselves for a slice of the 15% of America’s wealth that the bourgeoisie has not yet pilfered.

    They “have destroyed America, and the principles for which it once stood, more ruthlessly than any terrorist organization, they have committed acts of treason worse than any Benedict Arnold, [and] they have condemned millions of Americans to wage slavery, living debt-ridden, hand-to-mouth existences while the rich buy and sell politicians like trading cards.”

    they have dishonored every Revolutionary War soldier, every suffragette, and every civil rights marcher who struggled, sacrificed, and often died to obtain the right to vote, because in a nation where only the rich can be heard, voting becomes a vacuous charade.

    how much corruption can a democracy endure before it ceases to be a democracy? America will soon find out.

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    Default Freedom isn't free - Only billionaires can afford it

    http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-j...fortunate-400/

    Six American families paid no federal income taxes in 2009 while making something on the order of $200 million each.

    Congress has created two income tax systems, separate and unequal, burdening millions much more heavily than those with gigantic incomes and a propensity to make campaign contributions.

    One system is for wage earners and pensioners, whose taxes are withheld from their checks. This rigorous, efficient system taxes them fully.

    The other system is for unlimited amounts of income in sheltered accounts and put off paying taxes for years or even decades.

    Deferral does not prevent these super rich Americans from spending their money. Hedge fund managers and others can borrow against their untaxed wealth, currently at interest rates close to zero.

    It took Romney a quarter century to build up a fortune between $190 and $250 million. The top 400 made about that much in one year.

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    Default I can see Russia from my Ivory Tower

    I'm sure some people honestly believe $250K is "middle class" - how do people manage to drift so far out of touch? The story editors in the mass media certainly don't help.

    http://www.mybudget360.com/math-us-h...wages-us-2012/

    $250,000 is not middle class income if we define it from a strictly mathematical model. The median household income in the US is $50,500. In other words, half make more than $50,000 and half make less. If you as an individual made more than $250,000 that would put you in the top one percent of all earners in the US.

    one out of four US households are living with less than $25,000 per year in household income. making more than $250,000 is nowhere close to “middle class” if we actually follow the rules of math. Sure, some might feel they are middle class at these levels but they are missing the bigger picture in that many Americans are barely scraping by

    The average per capita wage in the US is $26,000

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    Default Scarecrows, Lions, and Tin Men

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-1...-success-story

    Iceland went after the people who caused the crisis and tried to shield the general population.

    But what Iceland did is not just emotionally satisfying. Iceland is recovering, while the rest of the Western world — which bailed out the bankers and left the general population to pay for the bankers’ excess — is not.

    Few countries blew up more spectacularly than Iceland in the 2008 financial crisis. The local stock market plunged 90 percent; unemployment rose ninefold; inflation shot to more than 18 percent; the country’s biggest banks all failed.

    Since then, Iceland has turned in a pretty impressive performance. Growth this year will be better than most developed economies. Unemployment has fallen by half.

    To homeowners with negative equity, the country offered write-offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value. Those with lower earnings, less home equity and children were granted the most generous support.

    Bank loans that were indexed to foreign currencies were declared illegal. Because the Icelandic krona plunged 80 percent during the crisis, the cost of repaying foreign debt more than doubled. Now, consumers have money to spend on other things.

    more than 200, including the former chief executives at the three biggest banks, face criminal charges.

    the former CEO of Glitnir Bank hf, once Iceland’s second biggest, was indicted and is now waiting to stand trial. The former CEO of Landsbanki Islands hf has stints of solitary confinement as his criminal investigation continues.

    Iceland has snapped out of its depression. The rest of the West, where banks continue to behave exactly as they did prior to the crisis, not so much.

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    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...union-20140128

    1. New income generated since 2009 that has gone to the top 1 percent: 95 percent

    2. Financial wealth controlled by the bottom 60 percent of all Americans: 2.3 percent

    4. Real decline in median middle-class incomes since 1999: $5,000

    7. Federal minimum wage: $7.25

    8. What the minimum wage would be if it had kept pace with gains in worker productivity since 1968: $21.72

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyu View Post

    Since then, Iceland has turned in a pretty impressive performance. Growth this year will be better than most developed economies. Unemployment has fallen by half.

    To homeowners with negative equity, the country offered write-offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value. Those with lower earnings, less home equity and children were granted the most generous support.

    Bank loans that were indexed to foreign currencies were declared illegal.

    And just where *is* this magical land -- ??


    = )

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    Imagine:

    A group comes into existence and sends out a thousand letters. These letters are all the same. They have a list of names of all the other people that received letters. The letters let the reader know that they are amongst the richest in the world and that the others on the list are also.

    That they have this and that amount of time to start networking together to create a better world for everyone. Since they have extreme amounts of influence, power, etc. due to their wealth they will be held accountable. If they don't do anything they may be killed.

    And baam if nothing is done some start getting shot. Then maybe some others.

    Maybe you create a climate where the excedeningly wealthy no longer feel more secure with the wealth but less secure.

    Where obscene wealth and inequality is no longer seen as benefical but a very dangerous situation to find oneself in.

    I wonder if such a group will ever materialize.


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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamGreen View Post
    Imagine:

    A group comes into existence and sends out a thousand letters. These letters are all the same. They have a list of names of all the other people that received letters. The letters let the reader know that they are amongst the richest in the world and that the others on the list are also.

    That they have this and that amount of time to start networking together to create a better world for everyone. Since they have extreme amounts of influence, power, etc. due to their wealth they will be held accountable. If they don't do anything they may be killed.

    And baam if nothing is done some start getting shot. Then maybe some others.

    Maybe you create a climate where the excedeningly wealthy no longer feel more secure with the wealth but less secure.

    Where obscene wealth and inequality is no longer seen as benefical but a very dangerous situation to find oneself in.

    I wonder if such a group will ever materialize.

    I don't think chain letters and murder of various rich people will change much, honestly. Considering they own the media they can just frame the issue as "these scarrryyy commies are threatening the rich!", upping oppression while the wealthy build up more defenses for themselves because they have the resources. (Such as: http://io9.com/inside-the-high-tech-...ich-1473720740)

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    I don't know

    When the IRA started hitting Royals and high ranking policemen/politicians they quickly started singing a different tune.

    The rich don't care if soliders are killed because they're for the most part poor guys/woman looking for jobs and a chance at something in the economy.

    The rich don't care for other poor people being killed because why would they.

    And they can frame it anyway they want to the public, it's not a popularity contest, when they start getting shot at random fear sets in on a personal level.

    Just how it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rose View Post
    I don't think chain letters and murder of various rich people will change much, honestly. Considering they own the media they can just frame the issue as "these scarrryyy commies are threatening the rich!", upping oppression while the wealthy build up more defenses for themselves because they have the resources. (Such as: http://io9.com/inside-the-high-tech-...ich-1473720740)
    What you got against house cleaning?
    Brospierre-Albanian baseball was played with a frozen ball of shit and tree branch
    "History knows no greater display of courage than that shown by the people of the Soviet Union."
    Henry L. Stimson: U.S. Secretary of War
    Take the word “fear” and the phrase “for what, it’s not going to change anything” out of your minds and take control of your future.
    [I]Juan Jose Fernandez, Asturias
    "I want to give a really bad party. I mean it. I want to give a party where there's a brawl and seductions and people going home with their feelings hurt and women passed out in the cabinet de toilette. You wait and see"

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    Amen

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    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-0...ks-ate-economy

    some argue that financial hypertrophy harms the real economy by syphoning off talent and resources that could better be deployed elsewhere.

    rapid financial-sector growth reduces productivity growth in other sectors. Using a sample of 20 developed countries, they find a negative correlation between the financial sector’s share of GDP and the health of the real economy.

    financial firms compete with others for resources, and especially for skilled labor. Physicists or engineers with doctorates can choose to develop complex mathematical models of market movements for investment banks or hedge funds, where they are known colloquially as “rocket scientists.” Or they could use their talents to design, say, real rockets.

    indeed research-intensive firms suffer most when finance is booming. These companies find it harder to recruit skilled graduates when financial firms can pay higher salaries.

    parts of the economy that provide services to the financial sector – Porsche dealers and strip clubs, for example – will be encouraged.

    if finance continues to take a disproportionate number of the best and the brightest, there could be little British manufacturing left by 2050, and even fewer hi-tech firms than today.

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    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editor...acy.htm?p=full

    The reforms of the New Deal in the U.S. and of social democracy in Europe boosted workers' incomes and gave rise to a sizable middle class. The rate of return on the property of the wealthy remained high, but the value of their property had been diminished by the cataclysms of the first half of the century.

    Since 1980, their fortunes have swelled again — at the expense of everyone else. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher slashed taxes on wealth, workers lost the ability to bargain.

    In the U.S., incomes of the top 1% have grown so high that they soon will create the greatest level of income inequality in recorded history.

    with heightened accumulations of wealth come heightened accumulations of political power — a shift toward plutocracy to which last week's Supreme Court decision adds a helpful push.

    "No self-corrective mechanism exists" within capitalism to retard this descent into plutocracy.

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    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-0...guy-charge-sec

    SEC superiors were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases. The agency’s penalties have become "at most a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike."

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