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Joseph E. Stiglitz writes: "Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

Portrait of a protester at LA City Hall, in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. (photo: David Freid)
Portrait of a protester at LA City Hall, in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. (photo: David Freid)



Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair

21 October 11

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

We revisit an article that we ran in the spring. Mr. Stiglitz sure got it right. - SMG/RSN

 

t's no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous - 12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades - and more - has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century - inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called "marginal-productivity theory." In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years - whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative - went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards "performance bonuses" that they felt compelled to change the name to "retention bonuses" (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year - an economy like America's - is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets - our people - in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality - such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests - undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires "collective action" - it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

None of this should come as a surprise - it is simply what happens when a society's wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don't need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security - they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government - one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many "good" middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role - for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent.

But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power - from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today's inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself - one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it's tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement - we started way behind the pack, but now we're doing inequality on a world-class level. And it looks as if we'll be building on this achievement for years to come, because what made it possible is self-reinforcing. Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth. During the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s - a scandal whose dimensions, by today's standards, seem almost quaint - the banker Charles Keating was asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had spread among a few key elected officials could actually buy influence. "I certainly hope so," he replied. The Supreme Court, in its recent Citizens United case, has enshrined the right of corporations to buy government, by removing limitations on campaign spending. The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift - through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price - it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.

America's inequality distorts our society in every conceivable way. There is, for one thing, a well-documented lifestyle effect - people outside the top 1 percent increasingly live beyond their means. Trickle-down economics may be a chimera, but trickle-down behaviorism is very real. Inequality massively distorts our foreign policy. The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military - the reality is that the "all-volunteer" army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that. Foreign policy, by definition, is about the balancing of national interests and national resources. With the top 1 percent in charge, and paying no price, the notion of balance and restraint goes out the window. There is no limit to the adventures we can undertake; corporations and contractors stand only to gain. The rules of economic globalization are likewise designed to benefit the rich: they encourage competition among countries for business, which drives down taxes on corporations, weakens health and environmental protections, and undermines what used to be viewed as the "core" labor rights, which include the right to collective bargaining. Imagine what the world might look like if the rules were designed instead to encourage competition among countries for workers. Governments would compete in providing economic security, low taxes on ordinary wage earners, good education, and a clean environment - things workers care about. But the top 1 percent don't need to care.

Or, more accurately, they think they don't. Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity, in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important. America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise: the chances of a poor citizen, or even a middle-class citizen, making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries of Europe. The cards are stacked against them. It is this sense of an unjust system without opportunity that has given rise to the conflagrations in the Middle East: rising food prices and growing and persistent youth unemployment simply served as kindling. With youth unemployment in America at around 20 percent (and in some locations, and among some socio-demographic groups, at twice that); with one out of six Americans desiring a full-time job not able to get one; with one out of seven Americans on food stamps (and about the same number suffering from "food insecurity") - given all this, there is ample evidence that something has blocked the vaunted "trickling down" from the top 1 percent to everyone else. All of this is having the predictable effect of creating alienation - voter turnout among those in their 20s in the last election stood at 21 percent, comparable to the unemployment rate.

In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit. Governments have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests have erupted in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The ruling families elsewhere in the region look on nervously from their air-conditioned penthouses - will they be next? They are right to worry. These are societies where a minuscule fraction of the population - less than 1 percent - controls the lion's share of the wealth; where wealth is a main determinant of power; where entrenched corruption of one sort or another is a way of life; and where the wealthiest often stand actively in the way of policies that would improve life for people in general.

As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.

Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society - something he called "self-interest properly understood." The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what's good for me right now! Self-interest "properly understood" is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else's self-interest - in other words, the common welfare - is in fact a precondition for one's own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook - in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn't just good for the soul - it's good for business.

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

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+96 # mwd870 2011-10-21 15:46
The current political and economic policies enabling the wealthy and powerful to destroy our democracy are insane. OWS is so important. Stop the insanity!
 
 
+92 # susienoodle 2011-10-21 16:15
I hope Joseph Stiglitz gets Tim Geithner's job in Obama's second term.
 
 
+50 # grandpadavid 2011-10-21 17:34
The answer to Oligarchy, which is what Stiglitz describes, is democracy. The failure of voters to vote is both a product of ennui, induced by a feeling of powerlessness, and obstructions to wide voter participation, promoted mostly by Republicans.
The answer is to changes the rules that restrict voting and allow voters to show up on election day and, with no more requirement than is needed to make a loan or buy a car, sign their name that they are citizens and entitled to vote. And reasonable conditions of voting should be in state constitution, where oligarchs could not easily change them.
The next thing is to inspire the young and the minorities to actually vote. OWS is a potential for doing that. More reasons will appear. The problems OWS highlights will not go away by next November. Voting for real Democrats is the only current, likely solution. If Obama has a a Democratic House and Senate, and that's possible if the outrage continues until the 99% finally get it that they have to vote, then the oligarchs can be defeated.
 
 
+12 # jon 2011-10-21 18:49
A reasonable, hopeful, statement, Dave!

I second your motion.
 
 
+36 # Nominae 2011-10-21 21:02
With all respect, grandpadavid, "ennui" is so *not* the reason that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not vote. It is the certain knowledge that the "game is rigged", and that your vote, with the possible exception of local elections, does not count.

The fact that the game *is* rigged is precisely the reason that OWS is working so diligently to design a totally new way for humans to interact with one another, socially, economically and politically.

Trying to "work within *this* system" is like trying to punch Uncle Remus' Tar Baby. You and I are both old enough to remember how well *that* worked out !
 
 
+13 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 08:58
NOMINAE, thanks for saying that... we just need to keep stating the obvious until it replaces the lies we are told ad infinitum.
 
 
+23 # CTPatriot 2011-10-22 04:06
You apparently don't get it. Voting is meaningless when the only candidates you are allowed to choose from are bought and paid for by the oligarchs. Perhaps you forget that we had a Democratic House and Senate for the first 2 years of Obama's presidency and that got us close to nothing. To expect anything different even if we get 100% of the people to vote is the definition of insanity. Because they will still be voting for corporatist selected candidates to work in a corporatist owned system.

What needs to change is the system. That's what OWS is about. It's not about inspiring more people to vote.
 
 
+14 # rhpflanz 2011-10-22 08:53
The only problem is that the media is controlled by the dollars spent and the most dollars come from the rich and powerful. They control who we get to vote for - their candidate on the left or their candidate on the right. They win no matter who is elected. As long as the electoral process is open to control by the wealthy, we will continue to only have their controlled candidates. Somehow we need to change the money rules for elections, but the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the rich. Is it any wonder that many feel discouraged and hopeless?
 
 
+16 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 08:56
I am not convinced that our form of democracy can ever effectively change the system. Real change may require far more adjustments but there is a major road block to change: MONEY. The whole of Stiglitz argument is that the 1% has far too much power with no good quality rational to possess so much power-POWER is MONEY. The only way to even the playing field is to totally remove money from the system. The rational of the 1% is based on their proven ability to usurp movements and arguments via marketing and manipulation using deceit. They will buy defense of their crimes and rewrite history... hell they're doing it right now in the MSM!!! They will fight to their death to protect their power over us. We are in a fight to the death with their system, a system that protects them at our own expense. It is their deception, a devious and contrary method that far too many people actually believe and support. Given all that is it any wonder that I am a cynic and very pessimistic toward our system having the ability to change what is almost set in stone by these RIGHT WING CRIMINALS? I pray I am wrong and don't take my word for it just look closely at the past 30 years.
 
 
+33 # gtigerclaw 2011-10-21 16:02
I've been doing a lot of research into the banking industry's future, and it's seems like, at this point, the cream of the 1% is already introducing intelligent computers that have the ability to learn and teach other computers into the business to eliminate between 30% - 50% of the 1% by 2015. However, the 30% - 50% of the 1% think these are just time saving devices to help them perform better - bankers can't be the brightest sparks in the universe.

It's like cannibalistic capitalism.
 
 
+29 # Nominae 2011-10-21 21:07
Unregulated capitalism is, by definition, cannibalistic. This is why a new system must be "birthed" in order to replace the old, outmoded, rusted and ruined paradigm.
 
 
+14 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 09:03
gtigerclaw,NICE ... The old refrain "they eat their own" comes to mind. I believe they think they are smart because they have money which reinforces their illusions of quality when there is nothing there but illusion.
 
 
+6 # karenvista 2011-10-22 16:18
Quoting gtigerclaw:
I've been doing a lot of research into the banking industry's future, and it's seems like, at this point, the cream of the 1% is already introducing intelligent computers that have the ability to learn and teach other computers into the business to eliminate between 30% - 50% of the 1% by 2015. However, the 30% - 50% of the 1% think these are just time saving devices to help them perform better - bankers can't be the brightest sparks in the universe.

It's like cannibalistic capitalism.


You're right about that. That's why they are actually physically moving their servers closer to the exchanges because with the lightning trades the computers do based on their algorithms, even nanoseconds based on the speed of light and distance make the difference.

The problem is-only the most sophisticated and well financed can compete AND we are left with an even smaller and more powerful oligarchy in the end.
 
 
+40 # Kayjay 2011-10-21 17:20
What's really sad is the amount of lost potential inherent in this lopsided system. America is mirroring sub-Saharan Africa in its millions who are left behind without adequate education, clean water and healthy food. How many potential Steve Jobs' will never get a legitimate chance to contribute?
 
 
+32 # jon 2011-10-21 19:02
What the greedy bastards have always forgotten, is that "we all do better, when we all do better".
 
 
+32 # oakes721 2011-10-21 18:17
The great shame is that our POTENTIAL is forced to waste away while left to play a rigged game when so much GOOD is being stolen and lost. We watch the depraved actions of our top leaders as a nightmare that wakes us in a cold sweat, for it is in our NAME that these horrific atrocities occur on a daily basis.
After so long, one OWNS the FACE he wears. We need to take back our language: an ACCOMPLICE is NOT our REPRESENTATIVE. Manipulators are NOT organizers. The Wealthy are not Healthy for our well-being.
 
 
+24 # Vintage2B 2011-10-21 18:36
When do we get out the guillotines?

I'm thinking the crimes commietted by bankers and Wall Streeters is no less than "treason." Their efforts go well beyond what we normally call "white collar crimes."
 
 
+13 # jcdav 2011-10-21 21:01
[quote name="Vintage2B "]When do we get out the guillotines?

Well, we have already had our "let them eat cake" moment (s)....perhaps when we have an acknowledged "let them eat shit" moment..well, perhaps we are overdue...
my guess is when the minions of the miffed 1% give us a Kent State event.. or when a sufficient number realize they either have or will soon have nothing left to loose. Or perhaps when blackwater types start visiting dissidents at 0400 to "reason" with them... keep your powder dry.
 
 
+19 # Nominae 2011-10-21 21:12
Totally agree:

"Money has no motherland. Financiers know no patriotism, no decency, only gain" - Napoleon
 
 
+11 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 09:07
It is getting close to a time when we storm the Bastille.
 
 
+12 # mcartri 2011-10-21 21:03
Open the proverbial "nut shell" and find two-"Bills" to explain why we are where we are: Bill #1: Bill Moyer said, "Money ruined democracy." Bill #2: Bill Maher said, "You can't govern stupid."
 
 
+8 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 09:10
mcartri, I like Moyers' comment, Maher's is mediocre... you can EASILY GOVERN STUPID, it is GREED that is exceedingly difficult to govern.
 
 
+9 # pernsey 2011-10-21 21:13
We all can figure it out, but the economists dont know how it all happened...I give them one big DUH!!!
 
 
+3 # Rmapid Paddler 2011-10-23 22:36
There is one economist who has figured it out and written rather brilliantly about how the wealthy have gone about revising our economy and democracy. Dean Baker and his Center for Economic and Policy Research group are hard to beat when it comes to formulating progressive answers to our economic problems. Recently Baker put his new book “The End of Loser Liberalism Making Markets Progressive” on line so that anyone can read it for free (it is also available in hardback). I love this book. We consider it a must read for progressives who are deeply concerned about what is happening to our country. The agenda Baker advocates is not easy to implement but it does offer great clarity and could supply a new sense of purpose for discouraged progressives, Occupy Wall Street protestors, and maybe even Libertarians. To read the book on line go to: http://www.deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/End-of-Loser-Liberalism.pdf. .
 
 
+11 # Dion Giles 2011-10-21 21:41
Wealth is not a problem in itself. Targeting income disparity is a blunt instrument and makes it easy to misrepresent anger at predators as mere envy. The target has to be PARASITISM - the accumulation of great wealth by transfer from the actual producers of goods and services while personally producing no goods and no services for the community to earn it. Parasitism depends on CORRUPTION - using part of the parasitically acquired wealth to buy influence over the laws and administration of the country - i.e. over “the system”. The most conspicuous instrument of corruption is LOBBYING. Money - lobbying money plus personal backhanders - talks through the Congress, thorough the Administration, through the political parties, through the judiciary, through the law enforcement agencies, through the civil service, through every aspect of the state that determines what “the system” is to be and how it is to work. War on corruption, at every level, is the key to righting the wrongs that sustain the 1%. An “Occupy K Street” may one day have some symbolic impact on public consciousness, but the shrill and relentless sound of whistles blowing over evidence of corruption would make a welcome refrain.
 
 
+12 # Aussieken 2011-10-22 02:31
What an insightful article. I guess that if most American political representatives are members of the 1% they are going to look after themselves even if they are supposedly Democrats. If Abraham Lincoln was alive today I guess he would have no chance of getting into congress. Maybe political donations wether from business, unions or people should be banned and a fixed reimbursement paid from the public purse for electioneering.
 
 
+9 # 666 2011-10-22 04:33
interestingly de Tocqueville also wrote about how the American capitalist system could break down into tyranny... it's worth a read and probably on line
 
 
+7 # Mirkka 2011-10-22 06:33
In Finland, Europe there have been same tendency from 1995 onwards. The rich get lot of support in money for child caring and poor very little, because big income brings big child-support and vice versa. Child powerty have increased since 1995 and rich get most of social aid.
 
 
+7 # Capn Canard 2011-10-22 09:14
Stiglitz commentary states all those things that many of us already know far too well. The movement of money has been made into a cruel joke on the middle class and poor. The Wealthy have performed a mind fuck and the ignorami have swallowed it whole. I see the main problem as the being facilitated by the monetary system. A system that seeks to reward production but fails miserably and only rewards manipulation,sa lesmenship and a divisive economic and political positioning. An antidote would be to reward quality of production over quantity of market of product. The top 1% has one constituency and one only: THE TOP 1%.
 
 
+11 # amye 2011-10-22 13:53
I've never understood why the rich 1% don't understand that they drink the same water, breathe the same air and eat the same food as the 99%! They will die when we die of dirty water, air and food!
 
 
+1 # Nominae 2011-10-24 11:41
Indeed, amye, as will their children perish along with the rest.
Some of them are fully aware of that fact, but, once committed to the insanity, it is tough to turn back !
 
 
-19 # cypress72 2011-10-22 18:16
Why isn't there an Occupy Hollywood or an Occupy Yankee Stadium?? Do these "Occupy" people think it's ok for an athelete to make tens of millions per year for playing a game or for movie stars like Sean Penn or Matt Damon to make millions per picture but some how it's utterly evil for a hedge fund manager to do the same when he's essentially playing a game too ??? There are many "icons"of the Left that are firmly entranced in the 1% but I don't see any demonstrations in front of their mansions. I'd love to picket in front of Michael Moore's mansion if I only knew where he lived
 
 
+10 # Dion Giles 2011-10-23 03:29
These people provide entertainment. That is a service that they create and that people pay for, much of the payment being voluntarily provided at the gate or at the box office. They are not predators. Trading in massive amounts of a country's currency is not a game or a service even though the predators engaging in it self-style themselves as "players".
 
 
+15 # Paul Scott 2011-10-22 18:17
We have a congress that represents only wealth. We have a fanatic religion that is trying to take over the federal government. We have wealth off-shoring jobs, for cheap labor; to become wealthier. We have police departments beating the hell out of people asking for justice. We have a debt for two wars that most of us now know should never have been and had nothing to do with our national security. We have propaganda pumped 24/7 that calls itself news. We have an educational system that suffers a 50% dropout rate. We have gangs ruling entire neighborhoods across the nation. We have oil companies who turn enormous profits while polluting our land and waterways. We have strip mines totally destroying the environment

And all the while they spew their BS about Communism, China becomes our biggest lender. All the while that republicans spewed out the evils of Socialism 1% of the people, in this nation, gathered 40% of the wealth. All the while they spewed out their freedom and democracy speeches they stole we the people freedom with control laws.

How in hell did we let 538 people do this to us, while spending the blood of our young and the resources of our treasury, in the name of freedom? Moreover, why in hell do we leave them in seats of power; only to become employed by the wealth that they allowed to rape and pillage, afterward?
 
 
+3 # Alan Beasley 2011-10-29 20:26
Far from being reviled, socialism has long been accepted and enthusiasticall y embraced by the wealthy predator class in the US. Republican and Democrat administrations have always managed to provide a legislative framework which ensures that profits remain private, and yet, where losses are picked up by the taxpayer. This is nothing more than socialism for the wealthy. For Americans, socialism is only ever presented as an "evil" whenever it benefits the poor, the dispossessed and the ordinary subject (for most Americans, the wealthy and the government that cossets them, have long since deemed that the "we the people" are once again to be subjects rather than citizens.
 
 
-14 # cypress72 2011-10-22 18:19
To all those who can't seem to express themselves without the copious use of 4 letter words, you have very small minds and your comments should be dismissed out of hand. Clean ir up !!!
 
 
+6 # Paul Scott 2011-10-23 15:45
Quoting cypress72:
To all those who can't seem to express themselves without the copious use of 4 letter words, you have very small minds and your comments should be dismissed out of hand. Clean ir up !!!


Not near as small a mind as one who thinks they can tell me not to use the word hell in a statement or comment. Censorship is a dumb ass way to disagree with a message, it only defers to ignorance, but it is generally the way of a hypocrite.
 
 
+2 # Madam73 2011-10-23 11:59
Where do we find the right person to run for office? We vote one idiot out and another comes in.
 
 
+9 # SOF 2011-10-23 22:52
So, what do we do?
Now we are Protesting. Venting our anger at the unfairness. At the same time we are letting others know they are not alone in their anger. We are voicing the many ways the system is unfair. We are providing information and many know more about the issues.
Now we are up against stupid ordinances that they tell us are more legal than our Constitutional Right to assemble and work to redress our grievances.
Now we know why we have to fight for Net Neutrality.
Soon we will remove our money from the banks.
Now everyone knows ballot boxes can be hacked.
Every one knows Iraq was a huge mistake.
There is much to do, but the people are waking up.
I could say more but why?
Don't slip into cynicism. It is counter-product ive.
Please don't talk about grabbing your musket. Only non-violence will work. We are correct. The jig is up. We are creative and we are mad as hornets and not taking it any more. Change is coming.
Peace, Courage, Love.
 
 
+4 # michelle 2011-10-24 11:08
Great list. I would add:

a general strike like the one in Seattle in 1919. No shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza of consumerism. Send a quick message.

move your money to credit union/small local bank. I know it is inconvenient but not as inconvenient as domination by the 1%

talk to people, ask people if they are struggling in this economy. I've had good conversations with people. All of us can teach.

remember that you are not powerless.
 
 
+2 # Donald 2011-10-24 11:33
SOF, You are right. Armed conflict will probably bring anarchy. The evidence is out there. Hopefully the 99% will heed it. Our only tool currently is the ballot box. But be careful. Movements like the now cursed "Tea Party" began with plausible good ideals until they were usurped by ALEC and their ilk. Our best choice is probably the Democrats and subsequent constant vigilance that our needs and desires are being adhered to. It may take time, but if we are strong and constant in our quest for true equality, true democracy will prevail.
 

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