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Michael Moore begins: "America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich ... The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on."

Filmmaker Michael Moore speaks to a crowd of union supporters in Madison, Wisconsin, 03/05/11. (photo: Getty Images)
Filmmaker Michael Moore speaks to a crowd of union supporters in Madison, Wisconsin, 03/05/11. (photo: Getty Images)



America Is NOT Broke

By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog

06 March 11


RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor

merica is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic - and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventers, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in revenue. And the population ended up suffering because they reduced their taxes, reduced our jobs and took wealth out of the system, removing it from circulation.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. It's part of the Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: America/Wisconsin is broke, Iraq has WMD, the Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day – this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart - because you - yes, you, too! - might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!"

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant know as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we get this? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois - whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more – something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job - their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilots flying people here to Madison. But he's stopped trying to get better pay. All he asks is that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport. That's how despicably low we have sunk. The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They wanted to take away his sleep. They wanted to demean and dehumanize him. After all, he's just another slob.

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement - a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold? I mean there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you ...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America - because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.

 

Michael Moore Speaks at Madison Rally

 

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+95 # Snerd Gronk 2011-03-06 12:42
Could this really be it?

Is Madison our Tunisia? The Wisconsin 14! The weeks and weeks of unbroken protest! The 'govern-(R)s' backing away from 'Walk-(R)'!

Could this really be IT!?

Snerd
 
 
-26 # George D 2011-03-07 00:59
I think the problem in America is simply this. We have a block of voters, Neo-Cons, that number about 28%. I include the Tea-Baggers in that number. We have another block of voters,
Liberals/Progressives, that number maybe the same amount. We have a tiny number of "Independents" that truly vote on issues alone. But then there's this huge number of people yet to be assigned a label. I like to call them the "comfortably stupid". They have a job and are oblivious about what might happen if they lose it. Or they are on a government retirement plan, Social Security, or some other form of welfare. Yes; I said WELFARE. You get money for waking up that day and you produce NOTHING for it. Those are the folks that muck up everything because they are the most selfish people in America. "I got mine so screw you". They were ripe for Tea Party picking and the conservative think tanks that study these fools know it.
Some of them are actually in the crowds in Wisconsin.

So for now I am with the Wisconsin protestors but it's with some degree of trepidation. Until the "comfortably stupid" are made UNCOMFORTABLE they will never change their ways and who they vote for.
 
 
+64 # Fiona Mackenzie 2011-03-07 10:02
So if you put hundreds of dollars a month into your bank account for 40 or 50 years, and then you retire and start to spend that money without doing anything for it, you are on welfare?

Because social security is the savings plan of working people, funded almost entirely by workers. It is the insurance of people who paid a substantial portion of their incomes into it, in trust and confidence that when the time came, they could withdraw it as promised.

Except now it is as if you were to walk into your bank to say, I'm retired, it's time to withdraw some money, and they said, oh, we were just kidding about giving it back, we gave it to our friends offshore. Sorry, it's gone, nothing we can do about it now.
 
 
-52 # George D 2011-03-07 10:57
I made between 80K and 120K for most of my career. I NEVER had "hundreds of dollars" witheld for SSI. NEVER. And neither did you. And neither did today's recipients of $1200-$1600 month that earned a top salary of maybe 30K EVER in their career.
Yes; WELFARE. But I'm OK with that. I believe we SHOULD support the lesser among us. I just hate the mind games and the "it's my money" false story line. It's WELFARE. Get used to it and don't deny others a subsistence life in a wealthy America.


Quoting Fiona Mackenzie:
So if you put hundreds of dollars a month into your bank account for 40 or 50 years, and then you retire and start to spend that money without doing anything for it, you are on welfare?

Because social security is the savings plan of working people, funded almost entirely by workers. It is the insurance of people who paid a substantial portion of their incomes into it, in trust and confidence that when the time came, they could withdraw it as promised.

Except now it is as if you were to walk into your bank to say, I'm retired, it's time to withdraw some money, and they said, oh, we were just kidding about giving it back, we gave it to our friends offshore. Sorry, it's gone, nothing we can do about it now.
 
 
+29 # AndreM5 2011-03-07 11:25
FICA??? Never heard of it? It was right there listed on your pay stub as it has been and continues to be on mine for 40 years.
 
 
+29 # coach777b 2011-03-07 15:11
Social Security Insurance is insurance! Not welfare. Like life insurance you pay so much per year to be covered. You can call it what you want but after 40+ years of paying I'm collecting on my policy. Assuming your are an adherent of Faux News, l
I can understand your approach. If you call something welfare enough times, it becomes whatever you named it.
 
 
+7 # PGreen 2011-03-08 07:01
Perhaps it is welfare, though the term should not be a dirty word. As I wrote earlier, in a basic sense the "free market" is simply a system of rules that determines distribution, decided essentially by those with the leverage to establish and revise those rules. Some of this power comes from popular influence (then the manipulation/pe rsuasion of the public comes into play), but more power rests in private hands and the hands of a few government officials. There are many other theories and practices of economic distribution, as I'm sure you know, but ours (U.S.) has become dangerously close to an oligarchy whereby popular "welfare" is all but ignored in favor of elite interests. Due to the existence of this oligarchy, even a complete meritocracy (some would say we already have one, but I disagree), would still be unequal, with many of the same problems. I believe that what we need is a system with greater economic democracy, whereby the influence of the elite is not allowed to dictate the economic rules. Some European systems do a better job with this than we do, it could be argued.
 
 
-8 # George D 2011-03-08 18:08
If everyone on Social Security made over $100K/yr EVERY year, they would have paid, at CURRENT rates, the following.
.....
For 2008, the employee's share of the Social Security portion of the tax is 6.2%[6] of gross compensation up to a limit of $102,000 of compensation (resulting in a maximum of $6,324.00 in tax).
Multiply that $6K times 30 years and you get a whopping $180K, not counting interest rates that might push it up a bit.

So with a check of $1600/mo that money would run out in ten years? From 62 to 72?

People on Social Security today didn't earn anything close to those amounts and I personally know folks that have drawn their checks for 20 years.

So call it whatever you want to; "Insurance, MY money, MY savings, or A PONZI SCHEME", it's THE reason the GOP wants it gone and to have us all "responsible for ourselves" and "saving for our own future".

The shortfall needs to be paid and it always HAS been paid and I AGREE WITH THAT. But until people have an HONEST debate about where that money comes from and why certain people "deserve" it or not, we will never get past the myths and lies, and the "I'm a Republican until they try to take MY money" mentality.
 
 
+7 # Mark K 2011-03-09 19:20
Social Security is insurance. It insures society against the disquieting proliferation of the starving homeless elderly sullying our communities and the unpleasantness of hauling their putrid decomposing frail corpses from our parks, streets and sidewalks. Sardonic sarcastic hyperbole with a grain of truth.
But . . . if S.S. were replaced with individual responsibility to save for our futures, who would certainly benefit? What would happen if tens of millions of people suddenly needed to invest in the market? I'm thinking it would drive up the share value of all those investments that the uber rich are already holding. Gosh! They become uber-uber-uber rich.
The government fiscal deficit is a revenue deficit. The richest have income growth far outpacing us all. And the cronies of corporate interests co-opt congress, craft legislation, and cost-shift to consumers and the environment. (whew!)
 
 
-4 # George D 2011-03-08 22:45
Let me just add one last nail to the coffin I have put myself in :-)
I chose the word "WELFARE" because it brings out the emotion in people that HATE that word. The response to that has proven my point I think.
On the first day I start getting MY Social Security check, I'll feel like I'm just getting MY MONEY BACK, just like the rest of you that are railing against my assertion. I'll keep saying it was "MY MONEY" to the day I die and maybe, it will be. But if I live long enough, I will no longer be telling the truth when I say that and I cash that check. Then I'll say "IT'S MINE because MY money was an INSURANCE PREMIUM and I DESERVE IT for LIVING LONGER than expected. And I'll be right. Sorta. That's the genius of Social Security. People can take the government's (taxpayer's) money and feel OK about it and keep their dignity.
BUT; It isn't really an "insurance policy" and we shouldn't look at it that way. Insurance companies can cancel policies and change the status when risk changes. The risk has changed with Social Security and it needs to be left the hell alone.
So I'm sorry if I offended anyone (or in Bush style; Not really :-)
But think about why, for MANY people, Social Security is a safety net and WELFARE and THAT SHOULD BE OK.
 
 
+2 # Moe18051 2011-03-12 10:45
So let me ask ... what happens to those that pay in for years and then die before collecting a penny ... same for those who only live a few years BUT paid in for 25/30+ years.
Furthermore if you want the individual to be responsible then you take the government's hand out of their paychecks and pockets.
Requiring more laws and enforcement so those poor masses who are working and who have precious little time to learn about investing other then savings accounts are not picked to the bone by unscrupulousnes s.
 
 
+3 # Elizabeth Callison 2011-03-10 19:32
So George D., How do you think the Social Security System works? We have been putting in money for years as did our fathers and grandfathers. It is an insurance program for America. It is not welfare. Reagan, Bush Senior and Baby Bush "borrowed" money from the fund because it has been so well managed that it was a cash cow. Now we wonder why there isn't enough there. Did any of those three pay the fund back? There are several trillion dollars still in there. The right (or so they think they are) still see it as a cash cow. It isn't their money to take. There has been so much horrific propaganda it makes me sick. We have a system that actually works. People need to stop dipping into it and they now need to raise the bar so the fund can stay healthy.
 
 
+6 # Dan B 2011-03-07 18:33
[quote name="George D"]I think the problem in America is simply this. We have a block of voters, Neo-Cons, that number about 28%. I include the Tea-Baggers in that number. We have another block of voters,
Liberals/Progressives, that number maybe the same amount. We have a tiny number of "Independents" that truly vote on issues alone. But then there's this huge number of people yet to be assigned a label. I like to call them the "comfortably stupid". They have a job and are oblivious about what might happen if they lose it. Or they are on a government retirement plan, Social Security, or some other form of welfare. Yes; I said WELFARE. You get money for waking up that day and you produce NOTHING for it. Those are the folks that muck up everything because they are the most selfish people in America. "I got mine so screw you". They were ripe for Tea Party picking and the conservative think tanks that study these fools know it.
Some of them are actually in the crowds in Wisconsin.

So for now I am with the Wisconsin protestors but it's with some degree of trepidation. Until the "comfortably stupid" are made UNCOMFORTABLE they will never change their ways and who they vote for.
Those collecting Social Security paid into a retirement plan the politicians raided for their bullshit spending. They are NOT on welfare.
 
 
+7 # Capn Canard 2011-03-07 19:50
I read your view as superficial in that it fails to take into account what makes a person get up out of bed in the first place. It seems you presume that the only thing that motivates people is money. I disagree, I believe it is the interaction with other humans that makes us get up off our collective rear end. Money is just a game, like Monopoly, a way of keeping score. I believe that the greatest people in history are not celebrated because of their wealth, but because of their ACTIONS and the RESULTS that give us pause. Do you worship J.P. Morgan? or the Vanderbilts? or maybe the dark lord Baron Rothschild? or the evil Rockefellars?
 
 
+2 # Cutler 2011-03-10 15:29
George D you are a bit off with your ranting claiming Social Security in the welfare category; It has been known as a RETIREMENT INSURANCE paid for by the workers. Like so many others like me, I wake up in the morning comforted by knowing I can still have a roof over my head and live a modestly decent life because I AND MY LATE HUSBAND PAID OUR SHARE REQUIRED TO COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY AFTER WE NO LONGER ABLE TO CONTINUE WORKING. Furthermore; my husband NEVER LIVED TO COLLECT WHAT HE PAID IN FOR!!!!
 
 
+2 # RogerARTcom 2011-03-07 09:00
ACTION 2 TAKE TODAY - SEE - www.OneGlobalCommunity.com - ALSO SEE Earth Ball Homes and Greenhouses 4 ALL EARTH CITIZENS at, www.EarthBall.org - Peace, Love and Later, Roger@RogerART.com
 
 
+149 # portiz 2011-03-06 12:42
"Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."

How can those 400 people live with themselves knowing that nearly 10% of Americans are jobless?!!

It's time to start taxing WEALTH, instead of just income.
 
 
+10 # theshift33 2011-03-06 14:33
I believe they live with themselves because they have little insight that the rules should apply to them. They have an overdeveloped sense of importance through power. Not unlike shyster lawyers, quack doctors, crooked politicians, high pressure evangelists and con artists, Cleckleys
posterchildren for sociopaths.
 
 
+4 # chicagoflygirls 2011-03-06 15:35
They do know, that is why they pay alot to keep things in their favor. And yes, they eventually become completely like sociopaths. THey have choices. They don't have to hide their money overseas, or create slimy " derivatives" that obscure their bad deals. Or manipulate and lie like Enron. It is not required that a person be a slimeball.... it is just how many of the worst leaders play their games. As if nothing counts but their profits and their end of year stock options and bonuses.

Quoting theshift33:
I believe they live with themselves because they have no insight that the rules should apply to them. They have an overdeveloped sense of importance through power. Not unlike shyster lawyers, quack doctors, crooked politicians, high pressure evangelists and con artists, Cleckleys
posterchildren for sociopaths.

Oh, they know...
 
 
+63 # willow207 2011-03-06 14:40
Easy, they don't have a conscience!
 
 
+52 # theshift33 2011-03-06 17:37
I guess that would put them akin to shyster lawyers, quack doctors, high-pressure evangelists, crooked politicians and intelligent cons that prey on peoples trust. Posterchildren for sociopaths or at the very least borderlines. No conscience and no remorse.
 
 
+31 # Stephani 2011-03-07 02:52
Look up the definition for sociopath, it completely and accurately defines today's republican. There is NO borderline about them, they are complete sociopaths.
 
 
+5 # foolkiller 2011-03-09 12:01
Exactly right, Stephani; in this context the definition of a sociopath is any= person who battens off the wealth of the richest country in the world, receives and accepts a free public education, paved roads and public libraries, and a bloated military "defending" the oligarchy of the super-rich-- and then rails against any taxes to pay for the very system that protects them and their ill-gotten gain.
Sociopaths- like many criminals they only
see an opportunity to loot the treasury, and feel nothing for their victims. They take and take, but shriek hysterically
when the time comes to shoulder their own responsibility.
REPUBLITHUGS.
 
 
+74 # chicagoflygirls 2011-03-06 15:28
Companies and wealthy individuals have an army of accountants and lawyers to help them avoid taxes.

The average wage slave has his taxes taken out before he even gets his pay check. This massive wealth transference was predicted when the Republicans took office and started favoring the rich, saying that jobs would "trickle down" from their prosperity. It didn't happen any more than the banks we "saved' have started making reasonable loans to reasonable deals. The Republicans are wrong, wrong and wrong. This is the ultimate scam on average Americans.

Quoting portiz:
"Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."

How can those 400 people live with themselves knowing that nearly 10% of Americans are jobless?!!

It's time to start taxing WEALTH, instead of just income.
 
 
+22 # Stephani 2011-03-07 03:10
The only choice we ave is to et off our asses and get the signatures needed to put; TAX THESE SELFISH RICH ASSHOLES on the ballots of our states. Instead of requiring that we tax them equally, we need to really give it to them. Because; “Justice will not come
to Athens (America) until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are injured”
There is NO SUCH THING AS TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS IT IS A LIE, WAKE UP AMERICA.

If tax cuts created jobs (and, conversely, tax increases killed jobs),then GW(PIG)Bush would have created more jobs than any president in history. Instead, we lost MILLIONS of jobs on his watch. By contrast, President Clinton RAISED taxes, yet he still managed to create more jobs in his eight years than any president in history. Oh, and he balanced the budget, too. Name the last Republican to do that.
 
 
+2 # Papi_Joe_Jersey 2011-03-09 10:12
And if I am not mistaken Reagan's deficit was actually larger than Carter's... But not many people know that. check out this link:
http://www.lafn.org/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html
 
 
+53 # Ghufran 2011-03-06 15:57
I am an American Muslim i found your response interesting because in Islam that is so much hated today the wealth is taxed not anyones income. Wealth meaning savings accounts, stocks, property etc just found the thought to be interesting
 
 
+27 # Callista 2011-03-06 18:06
Ghufran,
Islam is not a government. Are you referring to a particular government that follows the laws of Islam? Or are you suggesting that the U.S. should follow the Islamic belief that taxes should be on wealth rather than income? Thank you for educating people about this belief. I think that the more people understand, the less likely they are to hate Islam as a religion and more likely to restrict their animosity to Islamic terrorists.
 
 
+3 # Sophi 2011-03-08 11:48
Callista, he's referring to Islamic law, obviously. His statement was entirely valid. It's good you're trying to be helpful, but you should also read a little bit about it yourself. Islamic law is the basis for government policy throughout the Middle East and it would do you (and all Americans) credit to learn more about it, rather than waiting for someone else to spoon-feed you the answer.
 
 
+4 # Devin MacGregor 2011-03-08 18:49
That is a cop out Sophi. Nothing wrong in asking questions and getting the answer from someone of that culture.

I have spent years on message boards to where Europeans have had the privilege of being on boards dominated by Americans learning our culture from us but then complain we Americans do not learn theirs. When I ask them well why don't you have these same kinds of threads talking about YOUR culture what I get is some lame reply well you would be bored.
 
 
+35 # Vincent Czyz 2011-03-06 18:10
Please, don't bring religion in to this. Who rules Saudi Arabia? How much money did Mubarak have before he was deposed. I lived in Turkey for nearly a decade. Rich MUSLIM Turks play the same games as rich Americans.
 
 
+5 # Roger Briand 2011-03-06 16:38
keep losing the battles. Such is the stuff of history.
 
 
+67 # Dotdashdot 2011-03-06 16:52
The 400 statistic is pretty interesting. I worked for a major bank years ago. Since then have attended black tie events that were clogged with Wall Streeters. I can say that they don't give a flying flip about this discourse. I do not justify their behavior whatsoever, but can assure you that when they give up their lives in pursuit of the annual bonus, they feel entitled to millions. I worked alongside bankers who literally had not seen their children awake in a few years. They do not have normal lives.

Meanwhile, I'm aware of a foreign bank that just enacted "cost-savings" measures. They have these "closing dinners" where the bankers can celebrate a huge deal being completed. This bank was proud that it had reduced the budget for such dinners from $30,000 to $25,000. For one dinner.

What is desperately, desperately needed in this country is campaign finance reform. So that our elected officials can stand up to this nonsense. The arrival of the Internet offers hope that we can end this cycle.
 
 
+43 # Alice E Smith 2011-03-06 23:40
[quote name="Dotdashdo t"]... I worked alongside bankers who literally had not seen their children awake in a few years. They do not have normal lives.

Dotdashdot, I have known too many parents working two and three jobs who never get to see their kids awake, either, and they are still broke and desperate.

There are a lot more parents who HAVE to live this way -- because if they don't the kids can't eat and stay warm while they're awake -- than there are bankers who CHOOSE to, just because they think they're not already rich enough.
 
 
+13 # Stephani 2011-03-07 03:20
"Dotdashdot"].. . I worked alongside bankers who literally had not seen their children awake in a few years. They do not have normal lives.

Dotdashdot, I have known too many parents working two and three jobs who never get to see their kids awake, either, and they are still broke and desperate.

BUT THEY DON'T STEAL FROM THE POOR PEOPLE

BECAUSE THEY ARE SOCIOPATHS & THINK THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO STEAL FROM ANYONE THEY WANT TO STEAL FROM. YOU, ME & OUR GOVERNMENT, ANYONE.
 
 
+1 # Papi_Joe_Jersey 2011-03-09 10:19
I was a caterer for many of these dinners in NYC... I agree with everything you have said. They DO NOT live normal lives. They have nannies and even though I am not against having a nanny--most Americans--heck Most humans--would be appalled at their daily discourse. You are right. They do feel entitled to millions, big bonuses and there are very few in this "world" that actually have compassion towards the other 99% of us.
 
 
-23 # heraldmage 2011-03-06 19:37
It's time to tax spending not income.
If their is a sales ax on everything except food & medicine the privileged & their corporate identities will pay their fair share without loopholes that are part of the income tax allowing the very wealthy to pay little to no tax.
 
 
+7 # Stephani 2011-03-07 03:25
THAT MEANS CHANGING A LOT OF LAWS AND THE ONLY WAY THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS IF WE DO IT. ET BUSY, JOIN DFA OR SOME THING LIKE IT.
 
 
+9 # George D 2011-03-07 00:29
The taxing of "wealth" in America has historically been the inheritance tax. Because Congress failed to act, there was a window of opportunity to avoid ALL inheritance tax in the past year.

I don't think it's "American" to just say "you have too much money so give me a bunch of it". I DO believe we need to stop allowing "Americans" to exploit labor over-seas without taxing them heavily to offset the damage at home. The decision should never be "is it cheaper" but should always be "is it better" where offshore labor is concerned. Cheap labor is the same thing that drove GWB and other Republicans to want a "guest worker" program. CHEAPER. Not BETTER. TAX THAT and you solve the problem.


Quoting portiz:
"Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."

How can those 400 people live with themselves knowing that nearly 10% of Americans are jobless?!!

It's time to start taxing WEALTH, instead of just income.
 
 
+2 # Devin MacGregor 2011-03-08 18:56
I had made that comment on another board ... that we should only give tax breaks to companies that hire locally and that is internal employees not contractors, temps, etc. If they outsource they lose this. If they offshore they pay more in taxes.
 
 
+15 # unclejohn 2011-03-07 10:29
Why tax the rich? Just do what they did to us. They took our wealth, so let's take it back. Confiscate!
 
 
+66 # pgo 2011-03-06 12:47
It's pretty scary. "They" still have all the money -- they, the ones with deep pockets -- and they can sit out a lot of what the rest of us struggle to endure. Makes it scary. If the people who are not at the bottom, but who have resources and are principled and decent and see what's happening, will wake up and see who the real oppressor is (and it's not first and foremost "the government"), we have some hope. But if people see the government as their died-in-the-woo l enemy rather than their tool to create a better life for all of us, we may be doomed after all. I hope this is the wake-up call, but I'm still a worrier.
 
 
-154 # Shawn 2011-03-06 13:27
It is NOT the gov't job to create a better life for all of us. Its job is to give us the freedom to do that ourselves. NOT wait for the gov't to give stuff to us and then bitch about those who go out and make themselves successful.
 
 
+142 # AML 2011-03-06 13:46
My dear Shawn, please read our Constitution. There's this one sentence that invokes the spirit of this instrument, right there at the top. We call it the Preamble. "promote the general Welfare" stares back at you and is there as a reminder of what corporate America has lost sight of. No, it doesn't say give us anything, but all our laws should be mindful of all citizens, not just the ones in the mansions.
For the last 30 years our tax laws have been askew such that the wealthy have a 'legal' but immoral advantage. Corporate greed has sent our jobs overseas, and is now trying to turn our country into a banana republic, with the aiding and abetting of the Supreme Court no less.
So read those words again, and especially the verb, promote. Corporations, if they have the rights of an individual, why not the civic responsibility to 'promote the general Welfare'?
 
 
-9 # NCMike 2011-03-08 10:59
I believe you misconstrue the meaning of "promote" and think it more akin to the word "provide." It is also humorous how you ignore the text of the Constitution itself, which is actually the governing document, and instead choose to place all of your attention on a preamble which holds no authority whatsoever. The purpose of the Constitution was to provide a limited federal government which would not interfere with God given rights we each inherit at birth. It is all beside the point though because what is going on in Wisconsin is not a federal issue; it is a State issue. It may be helpful if you read the Federalist Papers and get a better idea of what our government was actually intended to do and not do.
 
 
+3 # AML 2011-03-08 15:43
Mike, do you honestly think that they were just "warming up" to writing the document? You, and most conservatives, tend to stress "authority" over moral grounds. Look up authority in the dictionary. It is defined as one who is an expert in a subject, not one who visits his will on others. The reason we have a 14th Amendment was to protect everyone's God-given rights. Exactly whose rights are we trampling on when we " promote the general Welfare"?

Get a grip.
 
 
-6 # NCMike 2011-03-09 08:22
Preambles, by definition are introductions that state intent; they are aspirational, not controlling. You should look to the context of a sentence to determine which definition, when there are multiple, is appropriate. My use of the word authority had nothing to do with an individual imposing will on another; it was a statement about what is law and what is not. Your statements lack consistency because you state on the one hand that moral grounds need to be considered, but then complain about one person imposing his will on another. There is an inconsistency of thought or explanation. As for your last question, you are still missing the distinction between the words "promote" and "provide." Even if we ignore the obvious problem with your premise, the answer to your question is that you are trampling on the rights of the person from whom you are confiscating property. Your self-proclaimed right to something does not trump my right to be free from you. It may be in the best interest of our civil society to set moral boundaries, but that does not make it Constitutional.
 
 
+1 # Papi_Joe_Jersey 2011-03-09 10:25
Banana Republic is right. If Wisconsin gets their way kids in Wisconsin will be educated by immigrant teachers willing to work for the lowest wage with no benefits. The rich will hoard their money more and the middle class will get poorer and poorer. Our neighborhoods will deteriorate. Our souls will die. Our police will be forced into a corrupt structure to survive. Bribery, extortion, theft, and all kinds of crime will become "normal" and this golden age of "the American People" will vanish.
 
 
+60 # PGreen 2011-03-06 14:34
Shawn, there is nothing intrinsically better about the private sector, nor do people ever make themselves successful in isolation. We exist in a social/economic /political climate, and that climate (which includes technology, social networks, etc.) is responsible for the majority of the resources (wealth) that are utilized and created. Even Warren Buffet, one of the 400, has admitted this fact. Others who aid in the economic process are entitled as well, even if they did not initiate the idea or put up the capital. Likewise, the "free market" is not a principle of natural entitlement, but an illusion; an ethos of economic distribution which favors those with the most influence over the rules. Personally, I believe that if we do not all assume responsibility in some measure for each other-- and that includes happiness-- then we are doomed, economically, morally, environmentally -- in just about every way.
 
 
-6 # NCMike 2011-03-08 11:04
Those who aid in the process are not entitled to anything; they do have the privilege of being compensated for the work they perform, though. What is missed here is the value placed on skills and ideas that are unique and desirable. The more irreplaceable an individual or idea is, the more that person is compensated. You can call it an illusion if you like but you can also change it by increasing your value to society, gaining a position of increased stature, and then leading a change of the system. That is the American Dream. Money is money. The American Dream is about the ability to do what you desire in life, not about the ability to acquire huge material assets.
 
 
+5 # Devin MacGregor 2011-03-08 19:06
Value is a perception. Is Glenn Beck more valuable than say a teacher? Glenn does it for the money and nothing more. He already has enough money to do what anyone would want to desire. Many have the ability to live the American Dream but are not dropping out but staying in the race to accumulate more money. Beck as well as any sport figure are replaceable. Trump? Gates? Jobs? The Koch Brothers? All replaceable. No one is irreplaceable.
 
 
-4 # NCMike 2011-03-09 08:34
You are correct that value is a perception; it is the perception of worth that society places on something. I have no time for Glenn Beck and his rants but it is debatable whether he has more value than a school teacher. Some may argue that he provides more information than a school teacher, but that is a debate for another day. It is not that I value him, it is that some in our society have placed a high value on his opinions and are compensating him for making those opinions public. I choose to not listen to him so I place no value on his shows and books. Further, it is not for you to decide what anyone else would want or desire. I would be surprised to find out that you would accept some other citizen placing an arbitrary limit on what you could do in life. The discussion about the accumulation of wealth is separate from the American Dream, unless you think that the American Dream is about nothing more than monetary gain. I also have to disagree with your statement that no one is irreplaceable. Each person brings a unique set of genetics and experiences that can never be identically duplicated, so it can be argued that Michael Jordan is irreplaceable. No one has performed at the same level since he retired. Gates produced Microsoft, and love it or hate it, it is still the most widely used operating system - no one has outperformed him.
 
 
+5 # PGreen 2011-03-08 20:17
Not quite, NC. People are not compensated for the strength and quality of their ideas (we might have had LaserDisc before VHS), but by the degree to which they are able to leverage their participation in the system. Power skills trump ingenuity every time. Nor is our ability to "increase our value" as fair as you seem to be implying. Wealth, gender, status all these things count against the majority of people. Not only this, but a heavily stratified society distorts consumption; it changes the goods produced (for whom are they produced-- those with the money to buy them) and the goods not produced (in apartheid S.Africa circ.1965 the only thing marketed to the bantustan population consistently was beer-- they were encouraged to get drunk). The ascendancy of US capitalism over democracy has also brought a corresponding increase in propaganda, and the co-opting, commercializati on, and re-sale of human ingenuity, as Klein could tell you.
 
 
-4 # NCMike 2011-03-09 08:44
I'm not quite sure what your point at the beginning is. Skills are part of the makeup of the individual that influence value. The ability to market your product is part of the value of you and your idea. I do not buy into your victimization notions. Examples abound of people succeeding against all odds. We do not have a caste system, nor are people prevented from upward mobility in society. You can look up IRS figures that will show you that nearly 50% of individuals in the bottom tax bracket move to a higher bracket within ten years. Some prejudices still linger but they can be overcome through perseverance and working smartly (not just hard). One last point, America is not, and never was, a democracy. Our Founders abhorred the idea. We are, and always have been, a Constitutional Republic. It is this format that prevents mob rule and the passions of the masses from trampling on the rights of others. The one caveat is that a Republic needs a virtuous society to succeed, which raises the question of whether we are still virtuous.
 
 
+2 # Papi_Joe_Jersey 2011-03-09 10:31
in re: "a Republic needs a virtuous society to succeed, which raises the question of whether we are still virtuous."

99% of us are virtuous. But in a plutocracy that 1% has all the money and most of the power, and now they own all of the media. The internet is the only hope. Think Egypt, Tunisia. Now, Wisconsin!
 
 
+3 # PGreen 2011-03-09 21:52
My response was in part to your statement, "the value placed on skills and ideas that are unique and desirable." You assume that unique and desirable skills or ideas will find monetary value (amended to include the necessity of marketing skills?) in our economic system, presumably the better the idea, the more the value. This is simply not accurate. Such skills may find some value, but the distribution of wealth is determined by the extent to which one can leverage influence in the market. Leverage, incidentally, is accomplished by those institutions and networks which support you, go to bat for you, promote you, and to which you pay favors in kind. This increases your worth, regardless of your talent.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-10 10:38
It is accurate to say that unique and desirable skills and ideas have value. I never said all such ideas will, or the best pure ideas will be worth the most, and I never placed any restrictions on what skills or ideas are part of the composition. I would argue that the ability to market your product is a unique and desirable skill. Look at the Snuggie, there are several similar products with similar quality but the Snuggie took off because of a campy commercial that caught fire. They found a way to persuade others to buy their product. That was their unique skill - it is what set them apart from the competition in a crowded market. You can call it leverage if you like but it is still the skill to get others to want what you have to offer. Are you arguing against advertising and marketing?
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-10 16:45
This is almost a semantic argument. But my point is that schmoozing (power skills are far more than marketing, btw-- read "The Art of getting things Done," by Richard W. Brislin) is a greater determination of economic compensation (hence distribution) that quality of product or skill. This is apparent to those of us who have been involved in the process on both ends.
 
 
+3 # PGreen 2011-03-09 21:54
For years when one applied to the Yale Fine Arts program, the portfolio of work by the prospective student was scarcely considered. Instead, Yale evaluated the power skills of the applicant, as the goal of the program was to produce successful artists, but not necessarily great works of art. Our economic system cultivates those who can schmooze in the right way, who present themselves as the right kind of people, with an ethos which supports the architects of the system, its networks and institutions. Talent is almost incidental. Results are almost incidental. Financial systems crash and burn. This approach has enabled the "success" of many institutions, individuals, paths of reasoning which are just plain wrong: Fox news, climate change deniers, etc. They prosper because they pay homage to the system under which they were favored, or have given alliance to, in hopes of being selected. "The big break." Their very wrongness often serves the architects/prom oters of the system, the Murdochs and Kochs.
A bit more realistic than your picture of capitalism, perhaps? One is only a victim if one gives up trying to effect change. I'M not the victim here.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-10 10:50
Talent and results do matter and you go so far as to make the point, the problem is that the talents and results that are valued by society are not what you value. Yale placed greater weight on the ability to become well known (which likely encourages others to go there and makes them more desirable and wealthy). You want to place more value on some abstract notion of greatness. Neither is right and both carry weight. It is a judgment call, not some evidence of a broken system. The same can be said about things like Fox News. You will argue that it is right-wing propaganda and others will argue that it is the only source for information untainted by liberal bias. It is a judgment that each individual in a free society gets to make for himself, which is my view of capitalism.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-10 16:57
The point is not what I value, but firstly what the majority values, and secondly, what we owe to people in he ethical sense. This is a moral argument. The Yale example was only to illustrate how the system works. Schmoozing hurts when it moves us away from these principles in the name of selfishness. We can easily institutionaliz e a more generous (equal) system if we want to-- and to some extent have done in the past. (1950's, 91% upper income tax rate, peak of middle class prosperity and technological advancement) Incidentally, Fox News can be objectively demonstrated to be propaganda by its lack of accuracy. I am perfectly willing to judge them by the same criteria as the NYTs or NPR-- and believe me, those of us serious about such things see their deficiencies as well. Fox is simply such a glaring example that most of us laugh at it-- when we aren't genuinely bothered by what this garbage does to the US psyche. The same can be said to a lesser extent about the NYTs, NPR and the Post. There are exceptions in all of these sources of course, but we're talking generalities here.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-11 08:00
Your point seems to be that you want society to value the same things that you value. Your justification for this is that your moral system is somehow superior to that of another. I struggle to see how your moral code being forced upon society is somehow ethical. Do you want a social conservative hoisting his morality upon you? The most ethical thing we can do as a society is protect our unalienable rights and have a government of limited powers that will leave each of us to proceed with our lives in a manner that we find ethical and desirable. What is ethical about confiscating 90% of one's labor? Is that not some form of indentured servitude to the State? You also fail to point out that the 91% rate was never actually paid because of all of the loopholes that allowed the wealthy to avoid paying anything near that level. We can both agree that what passes for journalism in today's society is nothing more than spin from one perspective or another, if not outright propaganda to further the view of the so-called journalist.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-11 09:44
Again, it is not my moral code that is the issue. (I assume that you know the difference between ethics (morality) and ethos? Or perhaps you are one of those who doesn't believe in ethics?) Only a small fraction of the labor of an individual who receives millions in compensation legitimately belongs to that person by any rational standard not subject to an ethos such as elite followers of western capitalism. They receive it because they are able to leverage their ability to take it. It is analogous to a village working together to plant corn-- say the idea was devised by a single person, who makes no other contribution (or very little) to the process-- and when it comes time to harvest, that person demands more than 50% of the crop-- far more than he can possibly use-- and ensures that he gets it by force, by lying, by whatever means necessary. It is apparent by any standard that this is wrong, though there are ethos (capitalism, totalitarianism , etc)-- usually promulgated by the one who benefits-- that might support what you seem to be advocating. Is this truly what you believe? Should the individual dominate the collective by force and coercion? I hold that we need to protect the rights of the individual, but not at the cost of destroying everyone else and the very planet-- which is where such selfishness is leading us.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-11 11:42
It appears that we have reached the logical conclusion of our discussion (which was an enjoyable exchange). I do understand the difference between ethics and ethos, but did not originally understand that your position was that a radical transformation needs to occur in America. Your argument runs counter to our entire culture and history because of the value you place on the whole over the individual, which is a fine argument to make so long as you don't try to argue that our government and society were ever intended to operate in such a manner. Your analogy of the village does not work because it fails to take human nature into consideration. All people will not contribute an equal amount, so all do not deserve an equal amount; this is the classic free rider dilemma that has proven to be the death knell of collectivism in all its various forms. It also fails to take into account that humans may choose not to act if there is no reward for the behavior (one can argue how much reward is necessary, but this is just placing arbitrary limits on someone else's desires). Your premise is false that force and coercion are the determining factors; the only threat of force in society is that which the government wields. I will admit that capitalism is not perfect, but I will paraphrase Milton Friedman and say that it is the most perfect system that mankind has so far created.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-12 11:01
It is foolish to ignore the power and selfishness that runs rampant in a destructive manner in the private sector. I'm a bit surprised, honestly that you, clearly an intelligent (man?), are unable to see it. Our democracy is a work in progress, and we have yet to find the right form for it; it may contain some elements of capitalism, but it may not. Personally, I believe that changes happens when enough people want it, even radical change. As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has." I encourage all your endeavors that lead to a more just, democratic society, and wish you well.
 
 
+63 # willow207 2011-03-06 14:42
Government "corporate welfare", and "elitist welfare", a/k/a disproportionat e tax breaks,
is what is ruining the economy--not the little working guy trying to get paid a fair wage!!!!

"Trickle Down Economics" Failed!!!
Just ask "Shrub" how many jobs he created!
 
 
+31 # hgnaz 2011-03-06 14:53
No, Shawn, it's not. But it's also not the government's job to trample on our dreams and destroy hopes with their lies, greed and conceit.
Multi million dollar companies, Wall Street and greedy politicians are crushing the American Dream. YOU, Shawn, must be one of them, or you would realize that the Middle-Class is not asking for handouts. Just leave, what we have already accomplished, alone, and don't take that away from us i.e. Social Sec, Medicare, VA Benefits etc. We have paid into those funds years after year, and if the Government quits "borrowing" money from these institutions, they will stay solid. Contrary to what is shown on the entertainment channels (i.e. FOX), the people don't ask for anything, as long as you leave alone what we have.
It is the politicians who invent phrases like "the people want....., the people say...." this is all bull. No one of these politicians is speaking for me. We need less government, BUT what we have accomplished already, we will not give up.
 
 
+8 # Stephani 2011-03-07 03:50
There is NEVER a time for LESS GOVERNMENT. It has been shown OVER & OVER there must be MORE government. LESS GOVERNMENT is what got us where we are today. MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE GOVERNMENT.

When HELL freezes over we MAY see an honest society that does not need a government regulation up its ass all day, but not until then.
 
 
-6 # ronzol61 2011-03-08 09:29
Stephani, please tell me, what exactly does more Government accomplish? The bigger the Government gets, the more it costs to operate it. That means more tax dollars being spent, and for what? Does the Government get more or less efficient as it gets bigger? The answer is obvious. The Government can't do even the simplest things efficiently. Been to the RMV lately? Why do we put so much faith in it? Our politicians, many of whom have never had a real job in their lives, are NEVER going to do anything to hurt the people who donate the most money to keep them in office. Those Corporations that you hate so much, contribute a lot of money to BOTH parties. And the only people that get hurt when taxes go up, are the people who can least afford to pay them. The Government is NEVER going to make life "fair" for everyone.(and what exactly is "fair"? What you think is "fair" certainly isn't what I think is "fair".)That was never the Government's job. You want an "honest" society? Our society is already far more honest than our Government! Thomas Paine was right when he said, "That government is best which governs least."
 
 
+4 # Devin MacGregor 2011-03-08 19:11
This is incorrect. Govt spends money in the private sector. All govt employees take their paychecks and buy things in the private sector. So whatever taxes are collected no matter the size of the govt the money goes back into the private sector. So where do you think all that money went for Iraq and Afghanistan? It is sitting in the bank accounts of the top 1% minus the salaries paid to the troops who put it back into their local economies.

I have worked in both the public and private sector. Govt workers get a bump rap. Plenty of dumb asses and waste in the private sector.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-08 11:08
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions." Federalist Paper #51, written by James Madison (the architect of our Constitution).

If your argument is that our Constitutional Republic is not the optimal government, then please expound upon a system more beneficial to the masses.
 
 
+1 # PGreen 2011-03-09 08:06
I believe that the solutions lie in forms of democracy, to which capitalism is at odds and should be subservient. Our democracy isn't perfect-- the electoral college, as an example. The counter-current s seeking to expand capitalism are a horror-- the multilateral rules of investment a particularly odious example. We should be looking to expand democratic, majority participation in all areas, especially the economic sector, making the public, majority "welfare" paramount. Prior to the civil war, corporations were not people (this legal fiction was created to protect and enrich men of privilege), and their owners, executives, and shareholders alike were sued for the abuses of the company. Some of this should probably be re-instituted. Certainly corporate power should be reined in. For that matter we should be looking at more democratic forms of elections; Lani Guinier had some interesting ideas. I suggest you also look at Participatory Economics.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-09 11:32
There are a couple of distinctions that are important to note. First, as I stated above, we are not now, nor were we ever, a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. The Founding Fathers did not like democracies nor did they want one here (they were not fans of the French Revolution and the bloodlust that accompanied it). Democracies fall prey to the whims of human emotions, and then groups take control and trample the rights of others based upon that emotional response. This desire to prevent factions was discussed at length in the Federalist Papers. The Electoral College is a vital piece of our Republic that helps prevent tyranny of the majority. Second, corporations were viewed as people in a legal sense prior to the Civil War. A Supreme Court case in the 1880's recognized what had been common law for centuries. Owners, executives, etc can be sued today through a process called piercing the corporate veil - it is hard to do because society wants to encourage investment in business to grow the economy and legal liability would inhibit investment. The rest of what you said is interesting but would require a complete overhaul of our government because it is inconsistent with the Constitution. Drastically altering our founding documents creates much more hazard and potential for oppression then most have the stomach to tolerate.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-09 19:12
Democracy has been an evolutionary undercurrent in this country. To say that there are no democratic elements in the history of America, and that the founders were not influenced by the principles of natural freedom and equality would be just silly. Jefferson, Hamilton and Franklin all wrote about democratic principles; even many paleo-conservat ives like Buckley and Goldwater professed a belief in "Jeffersonian democracy." If you define (charitably) a "constitutional republic" as a cross between an oligarchy and a democracy, subtracting the democratic elements leaves you with a form of elite rule: totalitarianism : a plutocracy or a fascist state. The phrase "constitutional republic" is usually invoked nowadays by people who wish to weaken democratic principles, stripping those elements from our heritage. Such things, if this is your intention, do us no good service.
The recognition of corporations as people came primarily from a supreme court interpretation of the 14th amendment by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite, written for the purpose of guaranteeing citizenship to freed slaves. This was reinterpreted and co-opted by the wealthy.
The issue for our times continues to be more democracy, especially in our economic institutions; it is most consistent with the ethical treatment of the earth and other people.
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-10 11:10
If you want to make your perspective more powerful, you should not add thoughts and statements to my points solely to weaken them. I never denied the role of democratic elements in the USA. I stated a fact - we are a Constitutional Republic. If you don't believe me, please read the Constitution and the writings of our early leaders. We do have democratic elections, which are a facet of our governmental system, but we are not a democracy. Democracies fall prey to the whims of the masses and trample individual rights; it is why we have so many checks and balances in our government. A Constitutional Republic allows democratically elected placeholders to serve the people for short periods of time and to act in the best interests of society while not overstepping Constitutional limitations. There is nothing totalitarian about this system (you can argue that the weakening of those checks can lead to a soft tyranny, though). I have no desire to invoke any sort of oppressive regime. and it is my strong desire to live in a society that largely leaves me to my own devices. Your understanding of legal rights for corporations is not correct. The legal personhood of corporations dates back hundreds of years. I have read the case you refer to and many like it (required reading in law school) and it is not where the notion originated.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-10 21:41
You may not like the implications of what you have written, but you need to face up to them. The founding fathers certainly had democratic ideals. I've read enough of their writings to know that. Yes, they had misgivings about democracy, which is why the US is politically flawed, but it doesn't mean that this ideology isn't part of our heritage and our system. Oh yes, I understand the definition of a "constitutional republic" well enough, but my remarks on the contemporary usage of the term still. stand. But this is moot. More important then where we came from, is what we aspire to be. (I believe Columbia calls itself a "constitutional republic"-- does anyone else?) I aspire to greater democracy, and invite you to do the same. Corporate personhood history: http://www.movementforthepeople.org/about-the-summit/video-history/
 
 
-2 # NCMike 2011-03-11 08:21
Again, you misconstrue what I stated. There is no denying that democracy is an aspect of our political/gover ning system, but to call the USA a democracy is inaccurate. "A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union." Federalist paper #10, James Madison. I put this here only to show that it is not my determination that we are a Republic, it is from the words of the architect of the Constitution. The comparison to Columbia is a strawman. Their constitution does not recognize unalienable rights that are limited by government. Our system is unique in that government does not provide rights; rather, it is prevented from removing those granted to each person at birth. Greater democracy will lead to a loss of rights for those in the minority and I will never aspire to such a system. Corporations, from their inception in the 1500's, were legal entities with certain rights. The fact that websites falsely claim that one case from the 1880's started all of this does not make it true. Further, corporations are, and always have been, voluntary associations of people contracted together, that's it.
 
 
+3 # PGreen 2011-03-11 09:55
I think at this point it is useless to argue the semantics of the term which best defines or describes the qualities of the U.S. political system. The significant issue, to me, is what we wish to become, how we wish to define ourselves in that sense-- as the best that we can be. Corporations were of course, corporations (if that is what you mean), but they had a very different relationship to power in the earlier days. The owners, shareholders, and executives were sued for the actions of the corporation, when warranted. If you are claiming no evolution of the legal status of the corporation, you aren't very credible.
 
 
-2 # NCMike 2011-03-11 11:54
Obviously corporations have evolved; there was never any claim to the contrary. It is incorrect to say that corporations were not viewed as legal persons prior to the 1880's, though. We will never agree on why these changes occurred and whether they are a force of good or bad or a combination of both. Owners, shareholders, and executives can still be sued for the actions of the corporation, it is called piercing the corporate veil. This legal claim is difficult to accomplish because of the negative effects it has on investment in businesses. Without these protections, individuals are less likely to invest in companies because the risks associated with investment increase disproportional ly to the amount of control the individual has over the activities of the corporation. Admittedly, executives of corporations present a different scenario. Executives can be sued for their actions but they typically can not be held liable for the debts of the corporation.
 
 
+55 # Jane 2011-03-06 15:06
It is the government's job to keep the playing field fair.
When it fails, we must bring it back to its job.
It's not about "bitching" about bad luck, its about how the filthy rich rule
 
 
-2 # ronzol61 2011-03-08 18:46
[quote name="Jane"]"It is the government's job to keep the playing field fair."

And what exactly is "Fair"? Is it fair that I work hard for what I have, yet every time I turn around, the Government is taking more and more from me to give to people like my sister, who has been on welfare for 30 years? Is that what you call "fair"?
 
 
+35 # genierae 2011-03-06 16:23
Shawn: I agree that it is not the job of our government to create a better life for all of us. Its actual purpose is to create the "conditions necessary" for us to create our own "better life". Good jobs; decent, affordable housing; universal healthcare; good, low-cost education; responsible, honest, mainstream media; healthy, abundant food supply; etc. Put all these conditions into play, and you will see that the American people are pretty darn good at living a very good life.
 
 
+41 # socrates 2011-03-06 16:44
But they aren't giving us the freedom to do that ourselves. The rich are taxed less than the average working joe. That is the problem. That is how the rich are staying rich and how the poor are staying poor. We are facing the smallest middle class since the great depression!
 
 
+38 # Callista 2011-03-06 18:00
But Shawn,
Its the government that has stacked the deck in favor of the rich and against the middle and lower classes. The government doesn't "GIVE" us anything. It provides services that are paid for with our taxes. We should have a say in how are taxes are spent. Quoting Shawn:
It is NOT the gov't job to create a better life for all of us. Its job is to give us the freedom to do that ourselves. NOT wait for the gov't to give stuff to us and then bitch about those who go out and make themselves successful.
 
 
+34 # Rick Levy 2011-03-06 20:22
Shawn

Where does it say that the rich have the right to have the workers' income redistributed upwards to them? Isn't that the gov't giving stuff to them?

Where is it written that the rich have the right to have dividend income taxed at a lower rate than wages? Isn't that the gov't giving stuff to them?

And remember, most of the super rich came by their wealth the hard way. They inherited it.
 
 
+25 # DaveW. 2011-03-06 22:59
Shawn, How about government playing fairly with all its citizens and those it comes into contact abroad. Do you believe that's been the case? If so there are any number of good history books that tell a different story. It amounts to you being in a poker game and one of the other players cheats. Every single hand. Still want to play with him? For over 4 centuries that's about what Native Americans, Latinos, African_America ns, Asian Americans, Women and the poor have been up against. Can't the successful win without stacking the deck? Labor, unionized labor, built the goddamn country, not a bunch of white collar cream puffs whose only relation to a blue collar guy is the extent to which he can exploit him. Why should a guy making 500 MILLION dollars a year pay a SMALLER percentage of his income than someone making 50,000? Is that your idea of Freedom? If so...pathetic!
 
 
+28 # JanisL 2011-03-06 23:03
It is most surely NOT the government's job to spend billion$ of our tax dollars on corporate welfare, which they do! It is not their job to allow the huge tax evasion by the largest corporations in the U.S., but they do. It is not the government's job to stack the deck in thousands of ways against us, the middle class of the U.S., who comprise some 85% of our population! It is not their job to let polluters and mfrs. of shoddy or dangerous products off scot free, to let oil corps make obscene profits and pay not a dime of taxes, while they poison our environment and brutalize third world workers! Those who get rich by scamming and exploiting ordinary citizens are not legitimately self-made successes, they are just cheats! Remember that, Shawn!
 
 
+17 # Anarchist 23 2011-03-07 10:28
Ít's every man for himself´said the Elephant as he danced among the chickens. Once you have your first million or so it is easy to accumulate a lot more wealth but for the majority of citizens it is nearly impossible now to rent an apartment, feed the family and pay the bills! The goverbnment is supposed to be of, by and for We The People!
 
 
-10 # Heavydude 2011-03-07 14:22
Quoting Shawn:
It is NOT the gov't job to create a better life for all of us. Its job is to give us the freedom to do that ourselves. NOT wait for the gov't to give stuff to us and then bitch about those who go out and make themselves successful.

Shawn, you are 100% correct.
 
 
-2 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 13:56
if we're all in this together then we need to be mindful of our fellows; if you're saying we're not, then there's a second amendment solution looming, and it wont be the tea-sipping middleclass...; the disenfranchised won't lay down and starve like good automatons. maybe that's the justification they're seeking to unleash the dogs of war on us citizens.
us troops have never refused an order to shoot, hack, cleave, and trample american citizens, to my knowledge...
 
 
+5 # Stephani 2011-03-07 03:26
GET BUSY
 
 
+85 # carrot 2011-03-06 12:48
AMEN! Okay folks, what Michael Moore is saying is the truth! WE MUST TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY or we are doomed. Sorry, you want the facts, he just gave them to you and thensome. I'm a Michiganger too and thank goodness for the Unions, OMG. Im also an independant, but I have to say this looks to me like a conspiracy the Republican party is doing. PLEASE, PLEASE, read Michael Moores article again and then get to work. The ball is in our court.........
 
 
+25 # jchere 2011-03-06 15:43
carrot and others, a majority of you (barring vote fraud which I wouldn't rule out) voted for the people that have been and are now screwing you. You have no one but yourselves to blame. You elected them. Remember that the next time you go to the poles. Pay attention to what they have done, not what they promise to do.
 
 
+6 # bigma 2011-03-07 08:26
we need this movement to happen in boston. it would send more ripples into the country. thank you wisconsin. we all should follow what you started. take back what is rightfully ours.
 
 
+41 # karlseidel 2011-03-06 12:48
Right on MM!
 
 
+37 # sark 2011-03-06 12:50
It is wonderful to hear the truth told! Way to go Michael Moore! Now, would you please address the other part of the very real problem, Electronic Voting Machines. The very wealthy also control the easily hacked and manipulated voting machines and as long as we the people continue to vote on these machines, the corporate wealthy will continue to see that their bought and paid for politicians are selected for office.
Mr. Moore, please educate the public about this very real and dangerous problem because we can rally, march, protest and vote but that will not matter as long as the vote counting is controlled by the very wealthy.
 
 
+39 # kathiemm 2011-03-06 12:53
Right on, Michael.
Tell it like it is.
 
 
+47 # giraffee2012 2011-03-06 12:58
Keep up the good work Michael Moore - summed up nicely. Get on FAUX or all local TV stations in USA.

Anyone who votes R and is not one of the top 400 -- commit yourselves to the local police department requesting a lock-up for LIFE.
 
 
+46 # Regina1959 2011-03-06 13:01
RIGHT ON MICHAEL! You have just said all that MUST BE SAID and DONE. Great to know that we have finally awaken to this corporate takeover.
 
 
+14 # JCM 2011-03-06 13:02
Micheal - I hope you right!
 
 
+56 # fredboy 2011-03-06 13:11
The greatest opportunity in the history of the United States is for a real leader or a set of real leaders--thinke rs with magnificent foresight, wisdom, and courage--and save the United States. The banks and financial houses are the new mafia, yet far more arrogant and boastful and damaging than the crime syndicates. These people were so brazen they robbed from and destroyed an entire economy, then shook down a nation to be -- hang on -- compensated and "made whole" so they could have the change to do it again.

Amazing. Yet many Americans continue to vote to give them another shot at the tiller.

Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?
 
 
+4 # DaveW. 2011-03-07 10:32
fredboy, Suggest you read "The Imperial Cruise" by author James Bradford before you start lionizing Teddy Roosevelt. The man was a racist narcissist who only looks better today because of the extremities being perpetuated upon us by even more perverse business/politi cs. You read that book and I can "guarantee" you'll never look at Mt.Rushmore the same way. It's kind of analogous to how Richard Nixon, in many ways, would be totally unsuitable to the GOP of today. And yet Nixon was a monster. Read that book and you'll see T.R.was too. They were just "nicer" more sensible monsters than the ones we play with now.
 
 
+72 # Pancho Valdez 2011-03-06 13:17
Moore is absolutely right! America is far from broke, economically! The millionaires and billionaires pay little if any taxes and much to our disdain President Obama refused to rescind Bush's tax give away to the wealthy!
America is definitley not broke as it squanders BILLIONS of our precious tax dollars on two wars that are neither necessary, justified, moral or winnable!
Yes, America is NOT broke! WE NEED $ FOR EDUCATION, JOBS! HEALTHCARE! NOT WARFARE!
 
 
+56 # Edward White 2011-03-06 13:25
Right on.Why don't you start by making public the names and addresses of those 400 rich SOB's who have over half of the countries wealth that was gained illegally.
 
 
+29 # Jaded 2011-03-06 14:07
Yes!!! Name those 400 greedy basta**d banksters and their PharmaCorp drug pushers and this whole thing will become visible in the eyes of the commoner. WHo pray tell, WHO, WHo?!!! Get out that Scarlet Letter "R" for ROBBER/RAPER/ and maybe "P" for filthy politicians who gave up integrity and failed their job of representing us. Voting machines DO HAVE TO GO. But so do those representatives who campaign with millions of dollars in ill gotten gain. Lets put the regular people back into politics. Jaded
 
 
+9 # portiz 2011-03-06 18:49
Quoting Edward White:
Right on.Why don't you start by making public the names and addresses of those 400 rich SOB's who have over half of the countries wealth that was gained illegally.


HERE YOU GO:
http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400
 
 
+5 # Flash 2011-03-07 13:40
Quoting portiz:
Quoting Edward White:
Right on.Why don't you start by making public the names and addresses of those 400 rich SOB's who have over half of the countries wealth that was gained illegally.


HERE YOU GO:
http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400

Now that Corporations are people don't forget to add those names to the list. I saw some of the top corps. and the assets they have. Trillions. Offshore.
 
 
+27 # Barbara Brown 2011-03-06 13:31
Good speech by Michael Moore
 
 
+31 # Sigrid Novak 2011-03-06 13:46
Thank you, Michael Moore...THANK YOU for your courage and insight! We are breathing freer today for your beautiful, inspiring encouragement! "The truth will set us free." Thank you.
 
 
+8 # homac@n-connect.net 2011-03-06 13:53
gHe has it figured out.
Enjoy, so to speak
Love,
Michele
 
 
+26 # usedtobesupermom 2011-03-06 14:13
THANK YOU Michael Moore for saying the words that I knew were the truth. I've been saying pretty much the same thing (not as eloquently as you said) for years now about what has happened to OUR country.

I was warning for 10+ years BEFORE Sept. 2008 that Wall Street was going to crash DUE TO FRAUD & GREED. When Wall St. was DEREGULATED I KNEW it was just a matter of time.

I also started warning about the housing bubble around '05, after I heard the term "creative financing" & ARMS being pushed. I also knew that property values didn't rise that fast, esp. w/o a GOOD-PAYING jobs boom.

All the time that I was saying this, NOBODY except my kids (who were school age) & 1 sister believed me. Then my dad reluctantly started to believe me saying "you're probably right, but I hope you're wrong." He died in Aug. '06.

Every time I told someone about the coming crash I was called f^#*ing crazy, that I didn't know squat, or that I hated this country & was jealous(?).

Before the bailout was passed, I got up every morning @5:30-6AM (I live in CA) to call (DC & local offices across the country) the Congress persons that voted NO the 1st. time, urging them to vote NO again. I informed them of a bill by Marci Kaptur & Peter DeFazio that WOULD NOT cost the taxpayers $. It was called "The NO bailout Act".

Well, we know what happened.
 
 
+22 # usedtobesupermom 2011-03-06 14:20
This is one of my favorite quotes "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan
 
 
+10 # Dale 2011-03-06 14:21
Dump Obama. MICHAEL MOORE FOR PRESIDENT.
 
 
+22 # DaveM 2011-03-06 14:31
Wasn't the Tea Party going to "take our country back"? For whom? It certainly does not appear to have worked out as billed.

Any miracles or even comments from Sarah Palin lately?
 
 
+12 # heraldmage 2011-03-06 20:06
They were just dumbed down semi illiterates who were brainwashed by the corporate media, and talk radio by lies meant to keep the privileged & their corporate identities in power.
Unfortunately the truth was hiding in a corner afraid to speak for fear of losing their wealthy sponsors & elected positions.
As long as political campaigns are privately funded the truth will never see the light of day.The privileged will continue to control the state & federal legislatures.
We have a lot of work to do to live under democracy. The USA has always been controlled by the wealthy. We have been brainwashed into thinking that a 2 party system representative republic provides equal representation & participation for all.
The privileged are not going to give up their power & profit without a fight.
 
 
+18 # James Marcus 2011-03-06 14:33
Hey, those 400 (and co-horts) stole it all, fair-and-square , according to 'Law', you know... They own the Law-Makers, and Court Judges and most main stream Media (wouldn't want y'all to know about, or focus on, 'inappropriate' matters, you know....) and the prisons, too (jus' in case you open your eyes and 'don't agree')

All done 'fair and square', with Proper Voting Machines, Proper Leaders of the People (OUR people)....

Proper Wars on, Proper 'Terrorists', ... so THE MONEY is all proper spent ( taxed, or Borrowed, with interest, from US Folk, of course) and Spent, good and Proper (prison for 'questioners', you hear) on all kinds of Military Toys (& WMD).

Oh, maybe a little waste , fraud and corruption, here and there (mostly not from US folk; I promise!)

WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE MESS!!....GOOD AND PROPER!
 
 
+17 # disgusted American 2011-03-06 14:41
I hope people realize that as vile as Republicans are, Democrats are not going to save us.

Both parties are involved in the same agenda. The difference is Republicans are up front about not giving a damn while Democrats don't want you to know, so they make a few weak squeaks now and then to rally the base, but are mostly silent.

Don't forget that Obama would not allow singlepayer on the table b/c he bows to his money masters as they all do. Don't forget that Kerry (D-MA) and Baucus (D-MT) had doctors and nurses arrested who rose to speak about health care for Americans.

When people find out how Obamacare works, then we'll see some screaming in the streets. Ask MA residents - they know what it's like living under the despotic MA plan which is the underlying model of Obamacare - put forth in MA to use as a marketing tool for the nat'l plan while MA taxpayers were censored by the medica and ignored by their national reps and senators.

Arundati Roy said making people poor and too tired to do anything stops dissidence. Hopefully, she's wrong, and people will continue to rise up out of anger at the injustices perpetuated on the working class by the ruling class and wealthy elite.

This country is run by crooks who are no better than the tyrants of other countries, yet they vociferously criticize those other tyrants.
 
 
+5 # MJnevetS 2011-03-07 09:34
Quoting disgusted American:
Ask MA residents - they know what it's like living under the despotic MA plan which is the underlying model of Obamacare - put forth in MA to use as a marketing tool for the nat'l plan while MA taxpayers were censored by the medica and ignored by their national reps and senators.

If this were true (which I seriously doubt) then the plot was a bipartisan plot hatched by Republicans, as the MA plan was put in place by none other than Mitt Romney. Therefore, to accept your conclusion, one would have to believe that the Republicans, had they been elected, would have pushed health care reform. Further, that Obama was in on the 'scam' from the start and intended to push the Republican agenda (which unfortunately, doesn't seem as crazy as it should considering all of his post election actions.)
 
 
-2 # disgusted American 2011-03-07 20:06
MJnevetS

You say: If this were true (which I seriously doubt) then the plot was a bipartisan plot hatched by Republicans, as the MA plan was put in place by none other than Mitt Romney.

FYI: Kennedy worked with Romney to obtain 1115 federal Medicaid Demonstration Waiver from then HHS Sec'y Thompson to help pay for MA plan. (Romney's testimony MA Joint Commission.) J. McDonough, former CEO MA Health Care for All: very close with MA Connector (politically appointed bureaucrats w/ vested interests) & cheerleader of MA plan in MA & DC hired by Kennedy as senior nat'l health care advisor to work on Obamacare. Revolving door. J. Kingsdale, former CEO MA Connector (now setting up regional Exchange), invited by Kennedy to teach staffers about MA plan - no MA residents invited to talk about the many adverse effects so scratch teach, insert indoctrinate. Kennedy went to bat for MA when second 1115 waiver $ not forthcoming. Called on Bolton & Leavitt (Bushies) & also had hefty MA Medicaid fraud fine waived. Kennedy got sick, so Kerry at Leavitt meetings. Candidate Obama to Tim Russert: people in MA worse off then before - paying penalties & still have no insurance. Also said this on stump in front of Kennedy & MA Gov Patrick, then stopped saying it, talked about mandate & private insurers.

Much more, but words are limited.
 
 
-2 # disgusted American 2011-03-07 22:49
MJnevetS

MA House & MA Senate each had similar bills to gov's bill (Romney's). All MA legislators voted in favor of what came out of joint committee except 2 Republicans. Romney told legislators if a bill was not signed into law by a certain date, MA would lose a large part of its federal Medicaid funding - the exact $ escapes me. The fed's deal for MA to keep its funding: there must be a plan for all residents to be insured with state-approved coverage. That was the carrot and start of this far-reaching scheme.

Thus, it was rammed thru in MA. Residents were kept in the dark. It was an emergency. There was no time to ask the people. We got postcards in the mail: Avoid Tax Penalty and some words about a new law. People were pissed, but outcry was censored & ignored by Kerry, Capuano & other MA nationals b/c all eyes were on MA. Failings that began in year 1 to present were/are covered up/glossed over.

Here is part of the law's title (Chapter 58) . . . therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health.

Turns out nat'l Republicans didn't go for this although the Heritage Foundation supported it before it's birth in MA. Along the line there must have been a change of politics/payola OR something's brewing that hasn't revealed itself yet. Political power games.
 
 
+22 # blueshirtday 2011-03-06 14:48
Mike, I love you man. The is one of the best, most heartfelt, insightful set of words I've ever heard. No speachwriters or word-crafters needed. Damn it, High School Education and all, thanks for waking us up and showing how it can be done. You and every other "regular" man, woman and child willing to stand up for peace, justice, truth and the "real" values that are the essense of the American dream. Godspeed to all of us, to the "action" that goes beyond "hope", the change the comes from standing for what you believe in. God bless and get ready, the people are back.
 
 
+16 # Marc 2011-03-06 14:53
Yes Michael, and there's something wrong in Canada too. I've watched successive Canadian governments which are so far up corporate America's ass they no longer look entirely human. They were bought from day 1, proceeded to dismantle, dismember and sell off all that has made this country strong. I believe there are many Canadians like myself who stand by our American brothers and sisters and demand our countries back, that the theft and agendas that leave working class people with little or nothing be abandoned and that we begin working together for a greater vision and real freedom, not FOX tv's version. I hope Canadian's can wake up and take a stand like these brave people in Wisconsin! We can't afford to watch, the time to act is NOW!
 
 
+23 # sark 2011-03-06 16:11
At least Canada has kept FOXnewsnot out because of the law about telling the truth. I would like to see our congress pass such a law.
 
 
+8 # George D 2011-03-07 01:13
Absofriggenlutely!

I have been saying for months now that America needs a "truth in media" law that will allow the FCC to shut down a broadcaster (radio or TV) that lies and spews propaganda. It's a very non-partisan issue (in theory) and it's something that EVERY AMERICAN should demand.

How do we know what we know? Most of it comes from the media. A small amount probably (hopefully) comes from our own imagination. At least we need to demand that what we are being told is TRUTHFUL and FACTUAL and, if not, they should lose their megaphone.


Quoting sark:
At least Canada has kept FOXnewsnot out because of the law about telling the truth. I would like to see our congress pass such a law.
 
 
+3 # theshift33 2011-03-07 15:51
I agree regarding a truth in media law but until that time comes I decided to deprogram the 3 stooges; Faux News, MSNBC, and yes CNN. They are addicting and have dumbed down and divided our country. Hit them in their pocketbook.
There are so many more reliable sources online anyway. Overseas medias have much to offer. Just research to see who owns them because Rupert Murdock is very busy over there buying up every media he can get his hands on. Now he'll trash the journalism abroad too.
 
 
+34 # George D 2011-03-06 14:57
So I sit here and read another superb op ed by Michael Moore and the comments that follow praising him, and I still get the same nagging question; How do we get the people that HATE Michael Moore and do not read "liberal media" articles, to agree with us?
I have a plan. I'm sending this to all of my Republican/Neo- Con "friends" and I am leaving off the author's name. Sorry MM. I think your words are way more powerful than your image. I want to see the comments I get back when they DON'T KNOW who said what they are bound to AGREE with.
Very few of my Republican voting friends are wealthy and the ones that are not, are just stupid. Maybe if they are enlightened without having the chance to get distracted by who the messenger is, they will change? I hope so. At least I'll do my part to try to get them to.
How about you?
 
 
+10 # RobertWWarfield 2011-03-06 17:56
I'll try to do the same thing!
 
 
+13 # Callista 2011-03-06 18:11
Brilliant idea, George D. I believe that a lot of Republicans and TEA partyers would support what was said here but they are so biased against Michael Moore that they wouldn't listed knowing that it was him speaking. I understand the anger of the TEA party but they elected people to cut taxes without thinking about how that would affect them. Its time to wake up.
 
 
+20 # LucyW 2011-03-06 15:22
Once again Michael Moore has nailed it! The current income/wealth distribution together with control over the media, Wall Street, and corporate decision-beginn ing making in general doesn't bode well for the future of democracy. Shawn evidently didn't understand the point or didn't actually read the piece. Or maybe just reflexively repeats what he learns on Faux News, which of course makes Moore's point about control over the message. It's so heartening to see the "other 98%" standing up and standing together! It's far past time to start paying hard-working people what their work is worth. $19,000 a year--pretty close to minimum wage for a job that people's lives depend on. Perhaps a little less to corporate stockholders and a little more to those who do the work??
 
 
+22 # Sukumar 2011-03-06 15:34
And here's a note to all teabaggers and Joe-the-Plumber -types: no matter how much much you dream or pray, you will NEVER be one of those 400.
 
 
-10 # Momentary Times 2011-03-06 15:45
Will THESE folks get Justice, Michael and others? Weep for the 1.5 million children homeless EVERY year in USA. This dot com will help. Check it out: Momentary Times
 
 
-11 # Christopher 2011-03-06 15:49
G*(&%^&$^&*(& Mike....you know it is all an illusion. Fake currency and all.....
 
 
+3 # Nanseska 2011-03-07 20:11
Quoting Christopher:
G*(&%^&$^&*(& Mike....you know it is all an illusion. Fake currency and all.....


Hmm. You might have something here. A person with fake currency wouldn't be really rich if we all realized it was fake. Have you heard of Ithaca dollars? There are several places around the country that have made a success of this. Google Ithaca dollars to learn about it.
 
 
+8 # angelfish 2011-03-06 16:26
Michael, the High School education you received stood you in good stead my Friend, NO ONE says it better than YOU do re: our fiscal and moral condition here in the U.S. of A.! The wealthy elitists who would destroy us and our Country should look to the Middle East and take note. Americans have reached their tipping point and will NOT stand being trod upon again by these "Me First-ers". They should also remember the old Testament Scripture that says, "He that troubleth his OWN house, shall inherit the wind"!
 
 
+23 # wfalco 2011-03-06 17:03
The biggest lie is the promotion of an idea as reality. The idea of conservative American thought being.." I can get rich if I just work hard enough. Just keep government off my back and I will do the rest." In the words of a particular actor who has been in the entertainemnt news alot recently-"Duh!"
Sorry to say it's not likely, not without alot of luck and superb networking.
The reality is that we are all capable of a decent living, with the cooperation of Corporate America. A corporate America regulated by a caring government. A government that cares about everyone-NOT JUST THE LUCKY 400!
Sorry to burst your bubble right wing Tea drinkers. The overwhelming majority of those 400 did not get there by their own personal hard work. Most were likely born into it.
There is a word for a government that has, essentially, merged the private corporations with government while maintaining a military budget that dwarfs social spending. Fascism?
 
 
+10 # ci 2011-03-06 17:24
its ironic, the polls show tremendous support for the wisconsin protests and for unions in general now, yet the new york times included a very negative article on the future of unions in its sunday paper. who's base is it playing to, since they helped conduct the survey? it gives you reason to think about the relevancy of print journalism, or at least question it's loyalties.
 
 
+5 # ci 2011-03-06 17:36
mm, sums it up brilliantly as ever.
so what do we have to fear. no unions, no job protection, no jobs. what citizens united, what?
perhaps with the witchunt on women's reproductive rights, they really want to eventually deny the women the vote, not permit women to work either. they are edging toward that by shrinking the labor market. so half of the population will be barefoot and pregnant, the other half under or un employed. brilliant strategy, make the masses supine. have they forgotten the french revolution, the russian one, the cuban one, or our very own. just keep adding ingredients to the pot, they may think they are adding to a tea pot, but they may not be.
 
 
+16 # AngelaD 2011-03-06 17:47
I direct your attention to our Constitution at Article I, Section 8:

"The Congress shall have Power To...make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Then, I remind all of us of the Preamble which we all know:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

It is my conclusion that our president, our Congress, and our Supreme Court are in dereliction of their Constitutional duties to 'provide for the common defence' against the raptors from the economic world who have severely damaged 'our Common Welfare'.!!! There is no provision that I see that limits their duties of 'common defence' to military ones. We need protection from these economic plunderers who have invaded the wealth of America and stolen it for themselves! Where are our governmental leaders now??? Aiding and abetting the ENEMY!!!
 
 
+10 # Hors-D-whores 2011-03-06 17:53
Michael Moore never fails to inspire me and always with a smile.
He is a national treasure and so very grateful that he is on the side of the people. What the TPers don't understand that they are also "the people" and not the 400 greedy thieves.
ON WISCONSIN and THANK YOU MICHAEL!!
 
 
-30 # Arika 2011-03-06 18:08
These "people" are not the employees of 7-11 and McDonalds who can't take time off work to protest or they can't pay rent! They are govt workers who want to keep their lifetime benefits, and let the 7-11 employees pay for it!!! If they keep all their benefits, the State budget will be 3.5billion over, and the governor will be forced to lay off a significant number of them! Comparing this protest to Egypt is like comparing apples to oil! They are nothing alike! This is corporate media manipulating a good, if unthinking, man!
 
 
+18 # soularddave 2011-03-06 20:24
Quoting Arika:
If they keep all their benefits, the State budget will be 3.5billion over, and the governor will be forced to lay off a significant number of them!


You fail to mention the tax cut that was given to the wealthiest in that state BEFORE all this budget cutting became the game.

Same with the Federal Government - the tax CUTS came first. That's where the budget became 'unbalanced'.
 
 
+4 # George D 2011-03-07 00:21
I take your point and I feel your rage. I struggle with this very same thought. But there are a lot of "truths" in this life that are unsavory to us and we have to pick our fights wisely.
I'm not gay and I hate seeing gay men kiss but I support their struggle for equality in our land. I hate the fact that I know teachers, firemen, police and others that are getting golden parachute retirements and benefits at my expense in taxes. But the bigger picture is exactly what MM pointed out. If not for the raid on the American middle class, outsorcing of jobs etc, none of us would care about these other people because we would ALL be doing JUST FINE.

Lets get our priorities straight and become united and not divided in this very real class struggle.



[quote name="Arika"]Th ese "people" are not the employees of 7-11 and McDonalds who can't take time off work to protest or they can't pay rent! They are govt workers who want to keep their lifetime benefits, and let the 7-11 employees pay for it!!!
 
 
+13 # Huggett 2011-03-06 18:12
One little correction: I don't even come close to having the life my great-grandpare nts had. They had 160 acres of prime farmland, I have a mobile home lot. They looked forward to the future, I look forward to Dr. Kervorkian.
...keep up the great work, Michael.
 
 
+13 # Vincent Czyz 2011-03-06 18:13
Barry Sanders is the only honest politician I know, & Michael Moore is the only truly politically involved celebrity I know. There's a pair we could all vote for. This should be our TUNISIA--unless we are too lazy and complacent to come out of our "comfort zones."
 
 
+10 # Arika 2011-03-06 18:22
We aren't too lazy or complacent, the corporate media won't let the right people on TV! If they did, we wouldn't have this problem!
 
 
+12 # Eliz77 2011-03-06 18:17
I was in the streets in Nashville Tennessee with over 3,000 working people saying that Teachers have the right to collective bargaining. I talked with hundreds of good people who handle much responsibility and who could be electable when we become willing to organize.

The Koch bros. meeting in the desert inspired a bunch of Repug governors to go after the last powerful unions, public service workers.

It is up to us to bring everyone into the streets, into the legislatures, and organize around people we can trust and support to serve us in the House and Senate. That could be you. Don't hesitate. It is hard work, but we can move the corporate power grabbers out and put real citizens in. Just look at who has the most money and vote for someone you can get to know who might not have the budget to buy the media.
 
 
+6 # George D 2011-03-07 11:10
This is precisely the problem in America. It's called "divide and conquor" and the tactic has worked for centuries. Is it any surprise that Neo-Cons are experts at it?

"The last powerful union" in America? The question is, where was your support for all of the unions that fell before you? I can guess; Start by looking at the car you drive and the tag in the merchandise you buy "because it's cheaper".

Until America sees "the other American's problem" as ALL OF OUR problem, we will continue to be taken down.

DIVIDE AND CONQUOR! That's the name of the Republican game.


[quote name="Eliz77"]I was in the streets in Nashville Tennessee with over 3,000 working people saying that Teachers have the right to collective bargaining. I talked with hundreds of good people who handle much responsibility and who could be electable when we become willing to organize.

The Koch bros. meeting in the desert inspired a bunch of Repug governors to go after the last powerful unions, public service workers.
 
 
+5 # VSweet 2011-03-06 18:19
Thank you Michael Moore! Your words are inspiring and resonate our spirits to soar like eagles. We the People will not give up the good fight of what we believe in. Justice and equality is to be shared by all. There is a song playing in mind right now by Marvin Gaye, "Whats Going On?". Michael Moore comments has spelled it out for you and I today. Now you know the truth!
 
 
+7 # Bob Bearden 2011-03-06 18:22
That was one for the ages. All America needs to hear and or read this! It is a manifesto for taking back our country and again having a true working deomocracy! Right on Michael!
 
 
-26 # CommieMommy 2011-03-06 18:23
Why would we trust Michael Moore isnt he just as big of a part of the so called machine making millions off of his films and what does he do with his money? he hoards it he could give it all away but then he would just be some poor fat slob that no one would listen to. Obama is no better making 5 million dollars last year and hes nothing more than a puppet for Soros and Oprah both billionaires who could also give it all away but then they would be nothing. Why are there so many wealthy people who are so in tune with what they shoudl do with everyone elses money when they don't do it with there own money?
 
 
+10 # TheDeprogrammer 2011-03-06 18:26
Glass-Steagall' s repeal in 1999 was the fatal mistake and until we reinstate this policy, anyone discussing this global financial collapse is impotent! The reinstatement of Glass-Steagall is the only solution and Obama has blocked all attempts at reinstating this policy. When McCain, Cantwell, Harkin, Feingold and Kaufman tried to introduce it on May 6, 2010 as an Amendment to S.3217, "The Dodd Bill" to be debated and voted on, Pelosi under orders steaming directly from Obama, shut down any and all further debate on the Dodd Bill and ended the session, thus not allowing the Amendment to even make it's way to the floor. The Narscissist in the WH has strategically blocked the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall at every turn. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Dodd, Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke have followed strict from orders the top down which has been greatly covered up. Now, with the newly finished "FCIC Final Report" recently published in a book being sold in a store near you and it's Author Phil Angelides testifying in Congress on 2/16/11 which the media has carefully avoided informing the general public of we have some light at the end of the tunnel. Mr. Angelides passed off the incriminating files to Prosecutors to begin pursuing indictments of those who had it in their power to avert disaster, FDR's 1933 Pecora Commission must now be reopened to reissue prison terms to these same bankers away!
 
 
+8 # Valerie 2011-03-06 18:28
You want to get mad? Check out this website:
http://www.companypay.com/executive/compensation/american-international-group-inc.asp?yr=2008

The rich have done our country in.
 
 
-1 # normr 2011-03-09 00:19
Want to watch something that WILL GET EVERYONE HERE MAD?

WATCH THIS:


http://www.youtube.com/user/fiercefreeleancer
 
 
+5 # Vincent Czyz 2011-03-06 18:44
Oops. Bernie Sanders.
 
 
+5 # Jekyll~N~Hyde 2011-03-06 19:46
After reading all of the above it is obvious to me that some folks are beginning to see the light. The problem is that it seems to still be about Republicans or Democrats to most people. Career Politicians do not become so by being honest or having our best interest at heart.

I spent several years in the Army and when I enlisted I, as did everyone else, took an oath part of which was to defend the constitution of the United States aginst all enemies foreign or domestic. Now the foreign enemies part of my obligation was fullfilled years ago. That only leaves the domestic enemies. Public enemy #1 is all career politicians, bar none. In other words everyone who is in office at present. Without them the elite rich could not wield their power, which is only money and the ability to buy career politicians at will because they are spinless scumsuckers who are willing for you and I to perish so they may live in oppulance.
 
 
+8 # Jekyll~N~Hyde 2011-03-06 19:46
In reading the above material I saw descriptions of circumstances which in Colonial days were termed taxation without representation among others. The Colonials petitioned and pleaded with King George repeatedly until they were convinced he would not listen. This gave birth to the American Revolution.

Talk did not resolve it then and it will not now. It has gone too far. Prepare to do one of the following, give in to their wishes or Fight.
 
 
+1 # bigma 2011-03-07 08:33
fight!!!
 
 
-18 # ronzol61 2011-03-06 20:47
How come we have no problem calling people who actually work for what they earn "Greedy", but we don't say the same thing about politicians who spend every day of their lives trying to figure out ways to take more of our money? Also, why is it ok to get rich by making movies, or music, or books or "art", but not by selling cars, or oil, or TVs, or stocks, or mortgages? Everybody wants to blame "Corporate America' for our problems. But they can't force anyone to buy anything they don't want to. If you want someone to blame for our problems, look at the GOVERNMENT!!! By the way, Mr. Moore is probably richer than half of America. Why is it ok for him, but not the people he doesn't like? Hypocrite!
 
 
+6 # George D 2011-03-07 01:07
In this one sentence is the truth that you missed and the lie that you perpetuate.

The article is not about taking money from Bill Gates, although some have stated that in comments. We DO have the choice not to buy computers and many other successful products. But do we have a choice not to borrow money for a mortgage? How about Insurance; Is that optional? Gas for our cars? Heating oil, electricity, water? Even a college education is deemed a "necessity" to survive in America's future.

So unless you are one of the wealthy, the statement you made is 100% false and therein lies the problem with your very misguided premise.


Everybody wants to blame "Corporate America' for our problems. But they can't force anyone to buy anything they don't want to.
 
 
+6 # angelfish 2011-03-07 14:33
So we are to be held hostage by these few? We have NO Industry, We have NO product to sell, WE have NO Family owned Farms, only Corporate Mega-farms that mutate the food and livestock that poisons us and our children, we are a Nation of fast food restaurants and Gas stations. WHERE do you find a Job that offers a living wage? They've ALL been sent to India, Indonesia, China, etc. I defy you to pick up ANY retail item and find a "made in America" stamp on it. We have been sold down the river by the Mega-wealthy who NOW want our sack lunch as well! I, for one, do NOT want to go back to the days of the "Company Store" and be beholding to the Master for my very existence! How do you survive without a home, hearth, or safe haven? THEY have ALL the Power because they have BOUGHT and PAID for it and our elected Officials who ALLOWED them into our Henhouse to steal all the wealth they could grab. Their "Gravy-train" is coming to an end. May God help all those in Wisconsin and ALL over the U.S. who are fighting to preserve a piece of the pie for the common man!
 
 
-13 # ronzol61 2011-03-06 21:05
If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves. – Thomas Sowell (1992)
 
 
-14 # ronzol61 2011-03-06 21:06
The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC
 
 
-16 # ronzol61 2011-03-06 21:15
We are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them. – William L. Comer
 
 
+3 # Oligarch 23 2011-03-07 10:36
Hi Ronzol61-love your attitude-especi ally when I am making money off commodities now-sigh-it is so hard to be ahead of the curve-lost money on them all last year-but now-whee! Of course I know I am making money at the cost of your families going hungry but hey-that´s the way the market works-I love expensive gasoline too because of the increasing value of my energy stocks! Life is good-especialy here abroad where I am scouting for new investment possibilities -keep up the good work of convincing people to keep the government regulations off my increasing wealth!
 
 
-2 # ronzol61 2011-03-08 18:22
I love the way people think that Government regulations protect them from the wealthy. Isn't it the Government who decides how much taxes a corporation pays? It would be very easy for the government to simplify the tax code and close the loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay less. Of course, according to the NY Times, not exactly a right wing publication, the bottom 47% of wage earners in this country pay NO federal taxes. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html?_r=1 So, maybe it's not the rich who aren't paying their fair share but the poor, considering they are the ones who use the most Government programs, but pay the least into the system.
 
 
+2 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 15:02
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
John Kenneth Galbraith
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 17:51
"We are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them."
yeah ronzol61, and they're called corporations; the IMAGINARY people who have all your rights but none of your social obligations. now go do something about it...
 
 
-6 # carlos 2011-03-06 21:57
One day will appear the one we are waiting fof. the one who will sweep all the corruption of the land. That person won't pay any attention to the Koches' billions because s/he will be priceless. That person will start the same movement that now is shaking the world. Let's wait, it will come!!!
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 14:06
are u waiting for the flock to be completely fleeced? are you sure the shepherd doesn't like lamb-chops? will there be a wool jacket for everyone? i prefer spandex anyway...
 
 
+13 # giraffee2012 2011-03-06 22:15
Did Scott the governor take the same % off his salary and benefits?

After all he is PUBLIC EMPLOYEE!!!!

What is good for the goose is good for the gander!
 
 
+5 # Activista 2011-03-06 22:34
America is poor - bankrupt - 90% of resources are wasted on military. It is absurd ..
Environment is being destroyed. It is US sick money culture ...
Please give me the scenario of renaissance - what we can trade - except bombs.
Here Boeing is celebrating $31 billion military contract - for refueling bombers. We do NOT need these bombers.
These 400 people do not bother me so much - their political power does - foreign influence - blackmail of US congress.
Money, money, money - we are broke Hitler Germany of 1920 impoverished be perpetual wars.
 
 
-16 # wtfery 2011-03-06 22:58
So Bill Gates stole our money? He didn't create an operating system that 99% of you are probably using right now? I see........ And Steve Jobs stole all of our money by running a company that invented the IPhone? I see......

Wow, Michael! I sure am glad you opened my eyes to the fact that rich people like them stole our money. Screw Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for creating products people want. Keep preaching that hate for evil people like them, Michael!
 
 
+2 # Ken Hall 2011-03-07 08:20
Everybody prospers when wealth is more evenly distributed. The wealthy elites have no scruples about taking the money of those who have little. GW, for instance, leveraged a small investment in a baseball team into $800 million by having taxpayers build a stadium for the team. The present system takes from the poor and funnels it to the reach, to the detriment of US society. No money for schools, infrastructure, libraries, parks, etc. The wealthy elites own many palatial mansions while many don't have even a roof over their heads. Something very wrong here.
 
 
-2 # wtfery 2011-03-07 18:27
Quoting Ken Hall:
Everybody prospers when wealth is more evenly distributed. The wealthy elites have no scruples about taking the money of those who have little. GW, for instance, leveraged a small investment in a baseball team into $800 million by having taxpayers build a stadium for the team. The present system takes from the poor and funnels it to the reach, to the detriment of US society. No money for schools, infrastructure, libraries, parks, etc. The wealthy elites own many palatial mansions while many don't have even a roof over their heads. Something very wrong here.


Then change the tax system to a spending tax and then BAM money for schools, etc. End of story. It has nothing to do with wealth redistribution (pssst. how has that worked out for Cuba?)
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 17:41
re: cuba...how did you expect that to work out? imagine if you started a commune, but the police in your town wont let anyone come over or leave your establishment, won't let you interact with the community and constantly berate you, try to take over your entire home, fail, and then put a police station in your living room were they torture memebers of your household. i'd say even surviving would be amazing...so to sum it up: its worked out f*n amazing! what have you done?
 
 
0 # Ken Hall 2011-03-09 02:34
Your reply doesn't make sense, but then your original post doesn't pass the smell test, either.
 
 
+8 # bigma 2011-03-07 08:39
you did not understand the meaning of the words. they are hoarding the wealth, and not paying taxes like regular working people. they get breaks that could gain in millions flowing into the economic wealth of the country. not to mention jobs.
 
 
+12 # MJnevetS 2011-03-07 11:20
Quoting wtfery:


Michael! I sure am glad you opened my eyes to the fact that rich people like them stole our money. Screw Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for creating products people want.

Dear wtfery: The theft doesn't necessarily occur in the production or sale of a product, but in the fact that the corporations or the individuals in question are not taxed fairly, or are subsidized by American taxpayers (and NEVER pay that money back!) For example, last year GE generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam and it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion. (i.e. citizens paid GE 10% on top of their earnings) If they had paid the marginal 35% corporate rate and not gotten the tax benefit, there would be 4.6 BILLION still in the US coffers. Without teaching you tax law (which, even as an attorney, I am unqualified to do) the numbers don't lie. The government for 40 years has used its muscle to squeeze money from the bottom to the top. This is not about 'Socialism' (which, should NOT be such a scary word) This is about "Taxation (of the poor and middle class) without representation (As politicians are act for the benefit of Corporations and uber-rich individuals)" You might recognize that as the very reason we declared our independence from England. Sip some tea while you mull that one over!
 
 
0 # MJnevetS 2011-03-07 14:48
Quoting MJnevetS:
[quote name="wtfery"]
As politicians are actING for the benefit of Corporations and uber-rich individuals

Sorry, I should proof-read before sending, but passion got the best of me.
 
 
-5 # wtfery 2011-03-07 18:29
Solution: Spending tax. Solves all of the problems you just stated. Only problem is that will never happen because politicians lose the ability to dangle that carrot and control the masses by tweaking the tax code every year.
 
 
+5 # Robert Griffin 2011-03-07 22:03
A spending tax (unless primarily on luxuries) will hit the poor hardest, the lower middle-class nearly as hard, the middle class will be left reeling, the upper middle class will do OK, and the wealthy will thrive.
 
 
+6 # Activista 2011-03-07 12:11
FROM 2002 - www.ctj.org/html/corp0402.htm

"Microsoft enjoyed more than $12 billion in total tax breaks over the past five years. In fact, Microsoft actually paid no tax at all in 1999, despite $12.3 billion in reported U.S. profits. Microsoft’s tax rate for the past two years was only 1.8 percent on $21.9 billion in pretax U.S. profits."
and it is getting worse - google Microsoft Taxes - corporations pay like 1% tax - compared to 40 years ago. Without the government infrastructure their profits would be MUCH less. It is corporate welfare - and yes - Bill Gates profited from the TAX system - plus monopolized SW industry - not much capitalism - open marketpalce there.
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 14:12
I guess its time to decide: would you rather have animal life on earth, or rich people?
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 17:42
correction: sorry, I meant would you rather have life on earth, or rich people?
 
 
+4 # The Middle Ground 2011-03-07 03:16
I read everything that came before this comment and I agree and disagree with many things.

But first, I think we need to understand that people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Clint Eastwood etc.. are not the ones stealing our money. These people listed (and many more)earned their money through hard work - probably not as hard as the average person in the working class, but it is still there. Some give back and some don't, but honestly if most of us were in their shoes - a huge hand out of our hard earned money would be difficult. This is where the government could step in.

As an American, I'm sure we all believe in equality and making the rich 5% - 10% pay for our living would be unfair. But it is also grossly wrong for the wealthy to pay less taxes, work less and earn more, while the majority of the U.S., who are middle class, work more for less and have benefits taken away. I think all American should pay taxes, but the WEALTHY should pay a little more - I have a feeling their lives won't change much, compared to a poorer citizen in the same situation.

In between all the ruckus about budgets and debt, not once did I hear 'wealthy people' enter the conversation (except if your in MN, we have a good Governor). It's all on the backs of the middle-class.
 
 
+4 # The Middle Ground 2011-03-07 03:19
I also agree that its not mainly Republicans that are falling from grace (I like Obama and Gates, but they need to grow a f***ing backbone) but its MAINLY Republicans and a portion of the people complaining today put them in office. As a nation, we saw what happened when the Republicans were in power 2-3 years ago and yet, that was not a lessened learn. Next time there is an election, do some reading and research and be skeptical of the bull the media regularly spouts.

If people really want change, educate yourself and speak up. Anger is not always the solution; again, look at the Tea Party. They were all so very angry (I don't even think they knew what they were angry about) and hit the polls in rage. Look where that got them.

Thank You Michael Moore for this article, for some reason I didn't think many people were behind the protesters in WI. This post has changed my mind.
 
 
+2 # Gooshlem 2011-03-07 07:48
Too many interesting comments....

The question is what kind of action can we take? We do not have a Mubarak to topple. How do we change the supreme court? How do we get the influence of the Koch Bros out of our government? How do we get out from under the influence of Goldman Sachs et al??
 
 
+3 # theshift33 2011-03-07 16:08
Start with election reform and reasonable
term limits. Independentvoti ng.org is gaining speed and growing by leaps and bounds to accomplish this as well as finding qualified candidates that are not so easily bought. We have to start somewhere or we will just continue to go back and forth and keep getting what we've had the past 30 years.
 
 
+1 # genierae 2011-03-07 08:51
We can play a part in this resistance movement by writing letters to the editor of our local papers, not just one time, but regularly. A firm, but kind, assessment of the facts is the most effective type of letter. I also have signs supporting unions and Wisconsin's efforts, on my car windows. This is sort of like a 24/7 protest march every time I drive anywhere. I just make sure that I don't block my rear view mirror. I use white poster paper and black lettering and I keep the message as simple as I can. Sometimes I get flipped the bird, but it goes with the territory. Its important to be patient with bad reactions, reacting with anger only escalates the situation. Our backs are against the wall, its time to stand up for our rights in every "peaceful" way that we can. A nation of peaceful protesters, what a beautiful sight! Thank you Michael, you gorgeous man!!
 
 
-2 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-07 08:57
Momentary times, Christopher, Shawn, ronzol61, Carlos, wtfery... Are you all off your meds? Or on some? There's room at Bellview.. Cpl. Pierson, 101st,Vietnam.. I hope y'all see instead of just look some day.... Revelation.... We have lost this world.. Thanks to folks like you... Jung said there are two deep seated subconscious desires that make us do and act the way we are.. The desire to die and the desire to live.. I prefer the latter... Guess we know what your desires are.. Dead mankind walking.. ^i^
 
 
0 # wtfery 2011-03-07 18:30
[quote name="Gary Ray Pierson"]Moment ary times, Christopher, Shawn, ronzol61, Carlos, wtfery... Are you all off your meds? Or on some? There's room at Bellview.. Cpl. Pierson, 101st,Vietnam.. I hope y'all see instead of just look some day.... Revelation.... We have lost this world.. Thanks to folks like you... Jung said there are two deep seated subconscious desires that make us do and act the way we are.. The desire to die and the desire to live.. I prefer the latter... Guess we know what your desires are.. Dead mankind walking.. ^i^[/quote

Wow. You sir are scary. Go get some help.
 
 
+1 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 14:00
"Wow. You sir are scary. Go get some help."
said the spider to the fly...
 
 
+2 # cactuscrusader 2011-03-07 09:06
Where can we get the names of these 400 people? If they want to take over the government I think we should have the right to have a chance to discuss our grievances with them.
 
 
+1 # theshift33 2011-03-07 16:20
http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400
 
 
-3 # REESORT 2011-03-07 11:26
Are we ready for a maximum wage?
 
 
+7 # Huggett 2011-03-07 11:45
Our gov't is in bed with corporate America, and the military industrial complex. America is one of the largest ARMS DEALERS in the world. We need to vote incumbents out of office, vote for the new people every time. Scare them about losing their cushy job.
...we need to tax spending, except food and Rx drugs,with no loopholes on luxury spending, tax luxuries even more. Rich people would pay some taxes that way. Also because drug dealers don't pay tax on their cash earning, they should pay a spending tax.
...also legalize marijuana and tax the hell out of it, we could balance the budget in a short time. That would affect the so-called 'drug war' on the Mexican border. Take the wind out of their frikkin sails...
...how can we take America back, really? Really? It will take drastic action, not woosies with no guts.
...No Michael Moore for president, Washington would rape him, and beat him to a pulp in the first week. That's what happens when a good man gets in that office. Have you ever noticed you can tell a lot about a man by what he does AFTER he leaves the White House? Look at Bill Clinton. What has George Bush been doing to make the world a better place? To make America a better place?
 
 
+7 # Carol StJohn 2011-03-07 11:46
There are two big things we can do to fix the situation. First make lobbying illegal. This will get the big money influence off of OUR representatives . Then institute the national sales tax. The way the Fair Tax is structured, food, medicine and used and recycled items are not taxed. Those who can afford extravagant purchases will then pay their share proportionally.
 
 
+1 # wrodwell 2011-03-07 13:01
While I fully support the Wisconsin demonstrators, it might be instructive to poll them to see how many voted for Scott Walker. One can only ask - and wonder - why so many reasonably intelligent people never thought of initiating a Recall Petition when they had 15,000 to 20,000 ready-made signatures so immediately available. Demonstrations without a pragmatic strategy to change what is disliked are an exercise in impotence.
 
 
+1 # theshift33 2011-03-07 16:14
The can't recall him until after he's been in office for 1 year.
 
 
+2 # ggr 2011-03-07 13:47
the laws will not change, you have to be wealthy to run for government. Look how much money the leaders of the countries make not counting the money they make in offic. You think they're going to increase taxes on themselves?
 
 
-10 # Heavydude 2011-03-07 14:17
I'd just like to say enough whining. Mr. Moore is an outright capitolist pig. He's made millions on his Documentary's. He's one of the elitists' that he's talking about. Dana -Wellfleet MA
 
 
+2 # Heavydude 2011-03-07 14:19
the people of Wisconsin got what they asked for in Gov Walker. Why in the world did they vote for a Republican? Dana Wellfleet MA
 
 
0 # Brian 2011-03-07 14:31
Interesting... Tax wealth, not income... a unique idea. But then again, ridistribution of wealth can always be fun. Personally, why tax either, why not tax SPENDING, both personal and corporate. Even gang bangers nees closthes, and businesses need note pads and pens and shredders... oh wait... that's been proposed before... huh.
 
 
0 # Harry Canary 2011-03-08 15:15
Better yet tax wall street transactions so they can finance their own bailout. And tax capital at least equally to income which is actually earned. They are not creating jobs with their investments anyway. And tax inheritances at 100 percent. A person should get ahead on their own effort, not who their grandma had sex with.
 
 
+5 # enrique 2011-03-07 15:00
Please spread the word: Social Security stands on its own, is solvent and is not a welfare program. The slime ball politicians couldn’t resist the pile of money in the Social Security Fund and misappropriated it and now can't and don’t want to pay it back. As such it does become a problem for the federal budget. But that is not the Social Security’s beneficiaries fault who paid into it all their working lives. Again, the liars distort the facts and the “comfortably stupid“, as the man appropriately calls them, fall for it.
 
 
-3 # Dave Griz 2011-03-07 15:22
Mr. Moore, you are spot on, but please, please proof your articles! I found several typos.
 
 
-4 # pkrumrie 2011-03-07 17:52
How many jobs are provided by the top 400 wealthiest people and all of their wealth? I wonder if M. Moore is one of the 400?
 
 
+1 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 14:03
2000000 child sweat-shop workers in asia agree and applaud you, sir...but not too loudly. the overlords might think they're trying to organize and have them beaten!
 
 
+2 # ImaLouiseWright 2011-03-07 21:10
wow-doesnt that mean that just 400 people own 1/3 the wealth of the entire country? that makes them too influential-kin d of like a monopoly. i'm sure they have a lot of influence in politics, and we didnt elect them.
i wish i would see more of moore coming out in support of assange and wikileaks. the little man that is most of america needs his power back.
 
 
+4 # susan snell 2011-03-08 09:20
Michael, i am very sad that you have left out the facts about the military budget, which is draining trillions of our tax dollars. While we are killing innocent human beings, and destroying schools, hospitals, homes and infastructure in our wars for profits for the rich, we are also losing out on our tax dollars to build schools, hospitals, and infastructure here at home, creating jobs in doing so. i would just like to remind you....
NOT ONE MORE LIFE, NOT ONE MORE LIE, NOT ONE MORE DIME, NOT ONE MORE DAY!!! THE WORLD STILL SAYS "NO" TO WAR
 
 
-3 # Innocent Victim 2011-03-08 10:36
I feel that Michael Moore owes Ralph Nader a public apology for Moore's opposition and mistaken criticisms of Nader in 2008, when Moore gave his full support to the candidacy of Barack Obama. Moore also faulted Nader for running against Al Gore and John Kerry.

If Moore and other progressives had supported Nader, even as a probable loser, Nader could have received at least 10% of the popular vote and have been a stronger player against the plutocracy who now rule our country.

He owes Nader and other Americans, like myself, a humble, public apology.

I credit Moore for his efforts now, but he cannot undue the harm he has done by supporting Obama until very recently. Moore still does not reproach, condemn Obama for his war-crimes or for his favor to corporate America. Moore is a talented film-maker, but he has been very foolish in his long adherence to Barack Obama.
 
 
+2 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 14:19
look, if I pay $16,000, which is 20% of my yearly income; i'm just asking if you make $6,000,000,000, you should give 20% of your income too...what's the problem? if yopu don't like it we can take 90%...what's it going to be? because the days of both of us giving $16,000 are over, bud!
 
 
-1 # ronzol61 2011-03-08 18:49
This is what the guy who helped write our Constitution thought our Government's job was supposed to be. A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson (1801)
 
 
0 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 19:20
yeah, well he also said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787.
how come the gop keeps cutting education, genius? how do you think Jefferson intended to educate everyone w/o public education...vou chers?
 
 
+1 # aikidokurt 2011-03-08 19:39
aaannndddd furthermore: "If the condition of man is to be progressively ameliorated, as we fondly hope and believe, education is to be the chief instrument in effecting it." --Thomas Jefferson to M. A. Jullien,
1818.

"I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education." --Thomas Jefferson to William Jarvis, 1820
hmm, twenty years after bespeaking ronzol61's quote, T.J. seems to believe in a gov't for the people and by the people. where does the money for a public education come from, if not through taxation? no offense, but in 1801 Jefferson was still trying to attract the support of the rest of America's wealthy. his later writings show a much greater "independence" (forgive the pun) and understanding of the reality of a democracy.
 
 
+1 # normr 2011-03-09 00:08
George,

Keep believing that crap from your precious GOP that it's best to take away SS and make everyone invest in 401K's and the stock market for our own retirement, the reason they want you to do that is so they again perpetuate another one of their massive frauds and steal the money that you thought would pay for your retirement.

You're pretty naive to think that they have your best interests in mind.
 
 
+1 # cherylpetro 2011-03-09 10:52
It's repulsive the way Republicans are using our hardworking citizens as scapegoats!! The firefighter who makes $45,000 a year to protect & rescue us is being blamed for bad Bush/Cheney fiscal irresponsibilit y? Walker gave the wealthy an immediate tax break, but they are not stimulating the economy with it in return! THEY ARE the problem! Don't point the finger at our citizens who are the infrastructure of our country, & say they are getting too much! Republicans accuse President Obama of wanting to "spread the wealth," and give it the fear mongering moniker of "Socialism!" Well, what is it called when a political party wants the wealthy to be more wealthy, the middle class to struggle for every penny to barely stay alive, plus be the sole support of the government income, AND be told they should be ashamed for what they do get? The poor might as well just give up and die, because the Republican "compassion" does not extend that far down the economic scale! If the middle class workers are looked upon by Republicans with such enormous disdain & blame; the poor virtually have no chance what-so-ever! Republicans want to happily deny poor mothers & children food assistance, low income women affordable healthcare, and our dying 9/11 heroes healthcare (& on and on!)Republicans are the Scrooges of the political world! Money is their God, compassion is their Devil! They are disgusting!
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-09 11:57
How many strawmen can you get in one post? No one is blaming the firefighter or teacher. The problem is with unsustainable benefits negotiated by the unions. In WI, for every $1 a teacher adds to retirement, approximately $56 is added by the State. With an aging workforce, that is destined for failure. Further, no one is for taking away from those already on this pension, the desire is to alter it for those not yet there. A tax cut of $150 million was given, but it doesn't make up for a $3.5 Billion deficit. It is not fear mongering to describe the President's philosophy, based upon his own words, as Socialism. It is an assessment of his political beliefs. The stigma comes from a society that values individualism. The middle class, as you call it, is not the sole source of government income. The top 10% of wage earners pay 70% of taxes, the top 50% pay 97%. Half pay nothing! Compassion is demonstrated by those with whom you disagree, it is called charity. Like it or not, Republicans give to charity nearly 1/3 more than Democrats (the NY Times even wrote about this). Compassion is teaching others to prosper and become self-sufficient and it is cruel to teach anyone that it is acceptable to live a life where you must rely on what others give you. We would all be better off if we stopped the class warfare and worked towards helping everyone achieve more.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-09 22:17
The class war is already being waged, by the top against the rest (other than their praetorians). The increase in economic inequality to the greatest disparity since the guilded age amply demonstrates this notion. Incidentally, benefits are simply part of compensation-- did you complain that Wall street compensation, that ceo pay, is too great? I agree with your last statement, BTW, but it doesn't make sense as a conclusion to what you wrote-- you might consider preaching it to a different audience-- say the WSJ...
 
 
-3 # NCMike 2011-03-10 11:14
We do not have classes in American. It is a falsehood told to you to incite anger at those who have more than you do. Please look at the IRS numbers about upward mobility; a society with classes would not allow such movement. I agree with you 100% that CEO's and many businessmen and entertainers make entirely too much money. However, they are all employees of private entities so I have no control over them, nor should my assessment of "enough" be binding on them. My only recourse is to not support them. Public employees work at the pleasure of the taxpaying public, so I do have a say in what they get paid. Distinctions matter.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2011-03-10 17:06
We're taking semantics here again. You need to define what you mean by class. Certainly there are different levels of income. There are also social classes. Other designations include, "political class," which is a term for people who have a greater than average amount of money and influence (good power skills) and utilize them-- perhaps 10 -20 % of the population. The great realists of our time, the marketers/adver tisers, all but worship the notion of class. And while you may have no direct say over the earnings of the rich, you can certainly campaign for a juster system of distribution-- progressive taxation as an example, though there are other strategies.
 
 
-1 # NCMike 2011-03-11 08:33
We may be talking semantics but the meaning of words matters. The way that most people use class can be defined as "the system of dividing society; caste" (from dictionary.com, #8). America has no such system. Individuals may fall into one common grouping at any given point in time but it is not determinative nor does it limit the person in any way. We all have the ability to move up or down or laterally. No position is permanent and that is why it is a falsehood. Class warfare as it is commonly understood pits one group against another because there is no mobility; again, this is not the case in the US and the numbers demonstrate this. The falsehood may be used by those wishing to manipulate others to do their bidding but just because they perpetuate the myth does not make it true. How is a progressive system of taxation more just? You still haven't responded to the IRS numbers that show that half in this country pay nothing and most move up from the bottom bracket. Lincoln said that "Property is the fruit of labor" and our Constitution is designed to protect personal property. Is your argument that our Constitution needs to be amended? What you are arguing for is a step towards a socialist society where the fruit of labor is divided among the people instead of being given to those that provide the labor. This conflicts with the limited powers granted to our government.
 
 
+1 # PGreen 2011-03-11 12:15
Of course there are barriers to moving between classes in this country, as elsewhere. It can happen, but there are significant obstacles: race, sex, sexual preference-- all the things that have become civil rights issues. Such issues come before the courts all the time. But this is beside the point. The issue is the existence of large groups of underprivileged , exploited (yes, they exist, too) people; you may prefer to believe that the nature of the system has nothing to do with their status, but the evidence doesn't bear you out. When a system institutionaliz es selfishness it promotes exploitation (which is a result). Progressive taxation may not be a panacea for all social ills, but it normalizes the distribution of wealth to more equitable levels, and this helps. There are other possible remedies, as well. The lack of taxes paid by the poorest 50% of the US population is what you would call a "straw man." They pay no taxes because they have no wealth, and they are still worse off. Tell me: would you prefer a world where no one got to be very rich if it eliminated poverty, granted healthcare to all, maintained the industrial and commercial infrastructure, etc.? Because this is the trade off, the price society pays for the rich. Or are you going to argue "trickle down'?
 
 
+1 # Dr P J J 2011-03-09 11:21
If I'm going to read "both sides of an argument," as in Moore vs Gross, the least they can do is have their "facts" correct. Medicare and Social Security are NOT ENTITLEMENTS. The are fully funded, already paid for by the PARTICIPANTS. By putting it into the General Fund for use by other entities, for additional "entitlements" then we need to return to separation of monies and not bankrupt Social Sec.
WHY is it NO ONE IS ADDRESSING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM? Raising taxes on those unemployed, or underemployed will NOT produce as much as taxing the egregious wealth of a few. Unfortunately, those few know HOW TO WORK THE SYSTEM and don't even pay their fair share on what they do report, or put in an offshore account. Why is their money sacrosanct and the rest of us keep bowing to their greed. Oh, I know, just keep asking the same dumb questions.
 
 
+1 # sol4u2 2011-03-09 22:48
Thank you Michael Moore, well said. Each of us need to spread his message to 10 who will spread it to 10 more... and more and more... The rich need to be held accountable and it is up to we the people to bring this about - everyone needs to pay their share... and stop haranging (sp =:() middle class, hopefully working Americans! Collective bargaining keeps fairness alive -- teachers and civil servants are not "entitled" they work hard for what they earn and are lucky to have any benefits provided i.e. health insurance, sick leave etc. Teachers have a great responsibility - the education of our youth - and maybe we should ask how there is any success when facing such insurmountable odds as so many fight a losing battle on a daily basis and they certainly don't teach for the money! Next time you meet your child's teacher or any teacher ask them what their salary is you might be surprised. And, how many students they work with each day. Too bad we don't put our teachers on the same monetary platform as our atheletes and film stars maybe that would give American education a competitive boost. WOW!! Isn't it time the people took a stand against inept government? The people being you and me! Pass the word...
 

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