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Reich writes: "Imagine a country in which the very richest people get all the economic gains. They eventually accumulate so much of the nation's total income and wealth that the middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going full speed. Most of the middle class's wages keep falling and their major asset - their home - keeps shrinking in value. "

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



The Fable of the Century

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

06 April 12

 

magine a country in which the very richest people get all the economic gains. They eventually accumulate so much of the nation's total income and wealth that the middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going full speed. Most of the middle class's wages keep falling and their major asset - their home - keeps shrinking in value.

Imagine that the richest people in this country use some of their vast wealth to routinely bribe politicians. They get the politicians to cut their taxes so low there's no money to finance important public investments that the middle class depends on - such as schools and roads, or safety nets such as health care for the elderly and poor.

Imagine further that among the richest of these rich are financiers. These financiers have so much power over the rest of the economy they get average taxpayers to bail them out when their bets in the casino called the stock market go bad. They have so much power they even shred regulations intended to limit their power.

These financiers have so much power they force businesses to lay off millions of workers and to reduce the wages and benefits of millions of others, in order to maximize profits and raise share prices - all of which make the financiers even richer, because they own so many of shares of stock and run the casino.

Now, imagine that among the richest of these financiers are people called private-equity managers who buy up companies in order to squeeze even more money out of them by loading them up with debt and firing even more of their employees, and then selling the companies for a fat profit.

Although these private-equity managers don't even risk their own money - they round up investors to buy the target companies - they nonetheless pocket 20 percent of those fat profits.

And because of a loophole in the tax laws, which they created with their political bribes, these private equity managers are allowed to treat their whopping earnings as capital gains, taxed at only 15 percent - even though they themselves made no investment and didn't risk a dime.

Finally, imagine there is a presidential election. One party, called the Republican Party, nominates as its candidate a private-equity manager who has raked in more than $20 million a year and paid only 13.9 percent in taxes - a lower tax rate than many in the middle class.

Yes, I know it sounds far-fetched. But bear with me because the fable gets even wilder. Imagine this candidate and his party come up with a plan to cut the taxes of the rich even more - so millionaires save another $150,000 a year. And their plan cuts everything else the middle class and the poor depend on - Medicare, Medicaid, education, job-training, food stamps, Pell grants, child nutrition, even law enforcement.

What happens next?

There are two endings to this fable. You have to decide which it's to be.

In one ending the private-equity manager candidate gets all his friends and everyone in the Wall Street casino and everyone in every executive suite of big corporations to contribute the largest wad of campaign money ever assembled - beyond your imagination.

The candidate uses the money to run continuous advertisements telling the same big lies over and over, such as "don't tax the wealthy because they create the jobs" and "don't tax corporations or they'll go abroad" and "government is your enemy" and "the other party wants to turn America into a socialist state."

And because big lies told repeatedly start sounding like the truth, the citizens of the country begin to believe them, and they elect the private equity manager president. Then he and his friends turn the country into a plutocracy (which it was starting to become anyway).

But there's another ending. In this one, the candidacy of the private equity manager (and all the money he and his friends use to try to sell their lies) has the opposite effect. It awakens the citizens of the country to what is happening to their economy and their democracy. It ignites a movement among the citizens to take it all back.

The citizens repudiate the private equity manager and everything he stands for, and the party that nominated him. And they begin to recreate an economy that works for everyone and a democracy that's responsive to everyone.

Just a fable, of course. But the ending is up to you.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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-322 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-06 09:12
Reich, you are inciting anarchy. The problem is that if Obama gets re-elected he will eliminate Congress and become Emperor Obama. No need for anarchy, just we will all become his serfs, or those of his people who he bows to or has secret whispered conversations with. Obama is out to destroy the US fiscally, politically, and morally. Obama is hell bent on changing America in his vision, which it seems from all his policies, is to destroy the American way of life.
 
 
+85 # pernsey 2012-04-06 09:55
Robt, your rantings are so far fetched its hard to even read your posts anymore.
 
 
-72 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-04-06 14:24
The only thing that is far fetched is the thought that if we vote for the Democrats all will be well. The fable will have a happy ending. All we have to do is stick with the lesser evil.

I am posting here to remind you that evil is evil. There is no lesser evil between the corporate duo. You have other choices although Mr. Reich did not mention them. Guess he doesn't want you to know that.
 
 
+28 # rtrues54 2012-04-06 15:58
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
The only thing that is far fetched is the thought that if we vote for the Democrats all will be well. The fable will have a happy ending. All we have to do is stick with the lesser evil.

I am posting here to remind you that evil is evil. There is no lesser evil between the corporate duo. You have other choices although Mr. Reich did not mention them. Guess he doesn't want you to know that.



I Agree!!! We need to get a LIBERAL Democrat to Challenge President Obama by the Democratic Convention. If nothing else, it will PUSH Obama to the LEFT!!!

As of now, all we have are 2 Corporatist contenders for President - Romney and Obama.

BERNIE SANDERS... ALAN GRAYSON... WHERE ARE YOU!?!?! We Desperately need you!!!
 
 
+38 # soularddave 2012-04-06 23:05
Too few people understand what "Socialist" is, or how it relates to them. The term has been 'demonized' by those who's money and influence allow them to terrorize those who would benefit from an understanding of a society that works for the benefit and welfare of everyone's efforts.

We need to understand what a better way is.
 
 
-56 # E-Mon 2012-04-07 02:22
RON PAUL.......
 
 
-72 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-06 22:40
pernsey, if Obama gets re-elected you will be eating your words shortly thereafter. Obama's policies are designed to destroy the US, clear as can be. You just need to open your mind to the fact that he is ignoring the constitutiona nd using his ability to create Executive Orders to subvert the constitution and avoid Congress as he enacts his laws. You just refuse to open your brain to see what is going on.
 
 
+22 # ericlipps 2012-04-07 14:08
Quoting Robt Eagle:
pernsey, if Obama gets re-elected you will be eating your words shortly thereafter. Obama's policies are designed to destroy the US, clear as can be. You just need to open your mind to the fact that he is ignoring the constitutiona nd using his ability to create Executive Orders to subvert the constitution and avoid Congress as he enacts his laws. You just refuse to open your brain to see what is going on.


"Open" your mind, or empty it?
 
 
+10 # Pickwicky 2012-04-07 18:06
Robert, Robert, Robert--there's a little knob on your radio and if you turn it far enough in the off direction, poison will stop dripping into your ears. Believe me, you'll feel better and so will we.
 
 
+64 # jky1291 2012-04-06 10:56
Robert Reich has failed as a fable teller because he has told the absolute truth despite his literary device. Anyone who fails to recognize this exemplifies the old adage that if one is not part of the solution, one IS the problem. While prejudice, ignorance, greed, and selfishness may be terminal, it certainly is fortunate for some that they are not immediately fatal.
 
 
+25 # Quickmatch 2012-04-06 11:14
Robt, I'm pretending that you actually mean what you write and are not simply fishing for notoriety. First, what Reich writes concerns legal options carried out to extremes by the wealthy, whose money has assured the options are available. What you write concerns actions denied the President by law, the Congress and the Constitution.

If you really are only playing the fool, please pretend that I didn't write this.
 
 
+26 # E-Mon 2012-04-07 02:33
He wrote this as fable because the truth is so much stranger than fiction! In other words..... He's telling it exactly how it is but the truth is so unbelievable that surly it must be a fable.
 
 
+43 # Billsy 2012-04-06 12:32
Mr. Eagle's post is too fatuous to merit refutation.
 
 
+73 # xflowers 2012-04-06 13:48
Robt Eagle, I have a question, and I'm serious about it. I really want a response. When I read Robert Reich what he writes seems plausible to me because it's only an exaggeration of what I see going on now. But I see nothing in anything Obama has done since he's been president to suggest that anything you write might be true. Where is the evidence for your assertions that he would or could abolish congress and become Emperor? This isn't 18th Century France, and Obama is not Napoleon. Who does he speak to in the "secret whispered conversations" you imagine? How can it be argued that he is attempting to destroy America fiscally, politically, and morally since, if anything, his policies saved the country from the wrecking ball Wall Street inflicted on us? And saved the American auto industry in spite of Republicans cries that it should have been left to bankruptcy and dismemberment by Wall Street vultures And as to the issue of morality, Obama's signature bill, his health care reform bill, is the most moral thing this country has done in years. How can it be immoral to bring healthcare to the millions who lack it, to insure that sick people can get coverage, to make it possible for low income people to afford medical coverage? Obama is no saint, I will admit, but as far as American politicians go he's one of the best we've seen. So where does your fantasy come from? Did you invent it? Or has someone told you this?
 
 
+22 # Jane Gilgun 2012-04-06 20:27
Sounds like the lies work. When people say something ridiculous about someone else, it's not because they have a good imagination. They are just taking a look at themselves and find what they see so appalling that they accuse others of what they fear about themselves. We who are appalled at the far right have got to get real and stand up to them. Call them on their bullying. We're acting like bullied children.
 
 
+20 # Carbonman1950 2012-04-07 00:14
All that you said is true and there is much that Obama has done that is laudable, but he has done much that is odious. He recently signed the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011" which essentially overthrows the 1st Amendment and makes protest in many places and potentially in many many more a Federal felony with a 1 to 10 term of imprisonment. He signed the National Defense Authorization Act place domestic terror investigations and interrogations into the hands of the military and which authorized trial-free, indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, so long as the government calls them terrorists. His administration has failed to even investigate the admitted crimes of high officials of the previous administration. The list of his failures and breaches of faith with those of us who voted him into office is now quite long and growing, BUT he is still better than any other major or even second or third tier candidate available and he offers at least the possibility that the next Supreme Court nominee will not be a faithless, unethical, regressive, injudicious politician.

I regret that I voted for Obama last time (certainly with her experience with the reactionaries during her husband's administration Hilary would not have held onto the bipartisanship delusion for three years), but given the current circumstances I cannot imagine voting for any of the other available choices.
 
 
+18 # tclose 2012-04-06 15:30
Robt - usually your posts are harmless, if incoherent, but this time you have finally become totally unglued. Please seek medical help, as we are all concerned for your well being.
 
 
+26 # jimyoung 2012-04-06 22:42
I watched the Scully show with Michael Walker describing the benefits of his and Milton Friedman's views on "Free Markets" I'd have to say the arguments sounded rational and there was reference to an Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report, supposed to be a useful statistical index of where the best investments are. Great for investors, perhaps, but no mention of the ridiculously low taxes rates they pay compared to working people, or the bailouts they get while working people get next to none. If their versions of free markets work so well, why do they need trillions in bailouts and tax rates less than half of working people. When in the history of the world has so much been given to so few for so little real benefit to society?

Perhaps the 1% of French who were aristocrats before their revolution?

Did it ever get this far out of hand in America before? Even silent Cal had just the richest 2% of Americans paying any income tax at all in 1927. We are, as a whole, among the lowest tax payers by percentage of GDP in the developed countries of the world. Such cheapness and neglect of fair and effective laws for all, infrastructure, education, health care for all, research and development is taking us backwards. Please stop taking us backwards (or so slowly forward that it looks backwards compared to the rest of the world).
 
 
+22 # soularddave 2012-04-06 22:52
Earth to Eagle... The plutocrat wannabes are causing the unrest. Mr. Reich is just trying to explain that to you. Mr. Reich is not the ideological head of the Occupy movement, nor did he start it. He's an Economist, and as such, he's pointing out the economics is affecting the social arrangement that we call America. In fact, he refuted your argument before you made it.

Please pay attention. This will be explained over and over for many months to come. There will be various explanations that will point out the many abuses. Please try to keep up.
 
 
+16 # ericlipps 2012-04-07 14:07
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Reich, you are inciting anarchy. The problem is that if Obama gets re-elected he will eliminate Congress and become Emperor Obama. No need for anarchy, just we will all become his serfs, or those of his people who he bows to or has secret whispered conversations with. Obama is out to destroy the US fiscally, politically, and morally. Obama is hell bent on changing America in his vision, which it seems from all his policies, is to destroy the American way of life.


BWAHAHAHAHAHAAA AA . . . !

I'm sorry, but Eagle, you can't be serious. "Eliminate Congress and become Emperor Obama"? If George W. Bush, who repeatedly said how thgs would be asier under a dictatorship "as long as I'm the dictator" (look it up) didn't kick out Congress and don the purple, Obama sure won't.

And even if he were so inclined, say after being possessed by a malevolent extraterrestria l intelligence, what makes you think he could pull it off?

Where do you GET this stuff, man?
 
 
+1 # John Whiting 2012-04-06 09:26
Unfortunately, Reich neglects to mention that the other candidate is equally under the thumb of the financials, though he must occasionally pretend that he is not.
 
 
+7 # DLT888 2012-04-06 12:39
Quoting John Whiting:
Unfortunately, Reich neglects to mention that the other candidate is equally under the thumb of the financials, though he must occasionally pretend that he is not.


I'm sure I'll get hit with plenty of thumbs down as well, but you told the truth John Whiting. I'm just shocked so many here still have not realized that. Go head everyone -- hit the thumbs down. Feel better? Still doesn't change the truth. Wake up.
 
 
+52 # Wildliberal 2012-04-06 09:32
Well Robt, I disagree. No Wall Streeter worh their salt would allow the Administration to change. Why should they? It is indeed the 'era of good stealings.' I would suggest that Mitch McConnell's statement that the sole purpose of the GOP would be the unseating of Obama. So far they have done nothing to abet the recovery of this nation. Of course, they have detoured into their war on women. One has to wonder jet how the Republican party expects to win even a race for dogcatcher now. Mitt Romney? Right.
 
 
+6 # jimyoung 2012-04-08 01:15
The way they expect to win is by fixing the system and, as a fund raiser told me (back when Elizabeth Warren and I were still Republicans), "We have to fight dirtier than Democrats." It sure looks like they are doing so with so many think tanks, SuperPacs (6 times as many as Democrats sounds about right), and propagandist bloggers, pundits, on TV and radio, that repeat lies, distort a few facts so that 2% or 3% can be "verified", but are so far out of context that they are deemed better than lies. (An old OSS operator once told me the best lies are 95% true, and just have something like the real perpetrator's name changed so most of it will "check out.")
 
 
+3 # jimyoung 2012-04-08 21:31
Perhaps I have a different view of fixing than the critics. I more properly meant rigging the system, cheating in as many ways as possible, not fixing as in making it better. Sorry for the confusion, if it was confusion.

I do see where my intent could be mistaken, perhaps an old excuse would clarify the issue. (Attributed to Robert McCloskey) “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
 
 
+86 # riverhouse 2012-04-06 09:33
Ah, and that reality is staring us in the face. The Republican Party has so distorted the American Dream as to make it as obsolete as a wagon wheel maker. Too many Americans have voted against their own best interests for decades and now that racism has risen with the advent of the first African American in the White House more low information voters are being enticed to vote racism instead of their own vital economic interests.
 
 
+132 # Dumbledorf 2012-04-06 09:38
Mr. Reich keeps using the word "imagine."
Imagine? But we are not imagining this horror story playing out before us, it's really happening. Our country is being destroyed from within by traitors who use money and banks instead of bombs; who utilize the corrupt court system and judges to defraud and dispossess instead of armies. We are a sad cartoon of a nation with no hope of any prosperity and even less hope for a future. We are being slowly, but surely drained of our wealth and hopes by the most cunning and evil of all--those who claim to love America!
 
 
+33 # angelfish 2012-04-06 09:56
Quoting Dumbledorf:
Mr. Reich keeps using the word "imagine."
Imagine? But we are not imagining this horror story playing out before us, it's really happening. Our country is being destroyed from within by traitors who use money and banks instead of bombs; who utilize the corrupt court system and judges to defraud and dispossess instead of armies. We are a sad cartoon of a nation with no hope of any prosperity and even less hope for a future. We are being slowly, but surely drained of our wealth and hopes by the most cunning and evil of all--those who claim to love America!

Well said, Dumbledorf, VERY Well said, indeed!
 
 
+69 # pernsey 2012-04-06 10:01
In the last days good will be seen as evil and evil will be seen as good...enough said! The right wing nut jobs that have captured the hearts of most Christians...Go d only knows why? Are evil and Fox news is spreading the manure thicker and thicker. Its amazing how many wonderful and seemingly rational people can believe all the republican garbage. If the lie is repeated enough it becomes the truth...thats whats happening in this country, they have demonized Obama the way they should have demonized Bush...but of course the 8 years of Bush never happened. Just keep saying that over and over and the right wing nut jobs just ignore those years and heaps it all on Obama. I dont have to imagine, just watch Mitt the chameleon, this is so unbelievable. I wish I could imagine it all wasnt the truth.
 
 
+10 # pbbrodie 2012-04-06 10:53
Good lord! Can you spell SATIRE!!!
 
 
-32 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-07 09:45
Dubledorf, and who is at the helm and whose watch is it now, for a full three years??? Obama is letting this country be destroyed from the top down. His policies are disasterous. We will have rampant inflation shortly, and not to mention our defenses will be undermined, plus his class warfare is causing the rift in Americans as show by the many posts on this site. Obama wants the US to fail, why? Look at the reality and get your heads into the sunshine and see what is really going on.
 
 
+16 # ericlipps 2012-04-07 14:12
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Dubledorf, and who is at the helm and whose watch is it now, for a full three years??? Obama is letting this country be destroyed from the top down. His policies are disasterous. We will have rampant inflation shortly, and not to mention our defenses will be undermined, plus his class warfare is causing the rift in Americans as show by the many posts on this site. Obama wants the US to fail, why? Look at the reality and get your heads into the sunshine and see what is really going on.


Ahem. The "rift in Americans" has been eagerly cultived by the GOP since the days of Richard Nixon. As for the "rampant inflation" of which you warn, I'll believe it when I see it. And where's your evidence that Obama is undermining our national defense? Or do you need any?
 
 
0 # Pickwicky 2012-04-10 11:39
ericlipps just delivered the critical word: 'evidence.' Robt Eagle put up your evidence or shut off your computer.
 
 
+3 # GMB 2012-04-11 17:42
I think Mr. Eagle should be allowed to express any opinion he chooses, evidence or not, and doesn't need to be asked to shut off his computer. I'd much rather someone be allowed to say what they want, no matter how odious or contrary to their own views a reader might find it, than to have them censored or censured for it. Whether we choose to read his comments and respond is up to us. If his statements carry less merit because they don't include evidence of some sort, then they carry less merit.

Besides, the Red Sox stink so far this year so I need something funny to read to cheer me up. Let him say what he likes, for my sake.
 
 
+4 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:31
Quoting Dumbledorf:
Mr. Reich keeps using the word "imagine."
Imagine? But we are not imagining this horror story playing out before us, it's really happening. Our country is being destroyed from within by traitors who use money and banks instead of bombs; who utilize the corrupt court system and judges to defraud and dispossess instead of armies. We are a sad cartoon of a nation with no hope of any prosperity and even less hope for a future. We are being slowly, but surely drained of our wealth and hopes by the most cunning and evil of all--those who claim to love America!


Dumbledorf, you are so right. People call me a pessimist. I say I'm a realist. This country is already on the road to hell with no hope of return. I predict that should the 99ers gain enough power they will feel the full brunt of military power against them.
We will become our own Syria. These SOBs will not give up their gains with a lot of blood on their hands. So sad that this is what America has become......tod ay's Rome led by a bunch of Hitlers. Look for another Bush on the horizon who will, this time. become the dictator his brother wanted to be. .
 
 
+51 # Buddha 2012-04-06 09:47
"...because big lies told repeatedly start sounding like the truth, the citizens of the country begin to believe them"

And that is OUR fault. In a representative democracy, it is vital that the voter is informed, and in this age of corporate mass media and institutional misinformation, that requires the voter to actively hunt for the truth. As P.T. Barnum put it, "a sucker is born every minute". Our parties, particularly the GOP who has the task of trying to sell the dogma that selective enrichment of our Plutarch paid for by the decimation of Social Insurance programs actually benefits people of all economic classes, relies on the intellectual laziness and and gullibility of the American voter. The SuperRich have every advantage in our system, from the ability to legally buy elections and politicians, to being able to get the best "justice" that money can afford. But at the end of the day, they still need to have the masses vote for their chosen candidates. And if America chooses to elect a GOP politician, and in the case of the Presidency, a vulture capitalist who made his money vampirically sucking all the wealth from companies and laying off workers, and who shelters all his wealth in overseas tax havens (and pays a lower tax rate than that middle-class worker he loves to fire)...well, then we deserve what is coming to us.
 
 
+38 # angelfish 2012-04-06 10:07
True, Buddha, but not ALL of us are fools. We're just out gunned in the Financial Sector and are unable to fight fire WITH fire! However, I DO believe there are more of US than there are of them. We just need to get busy spreading the word and encouraging folks to KNOW their enemy and not be taken in by the drivel spewed by "Fixed"News, etc.
 
 
+4 # jimyoung 2012-04-08 01:29
Hmmmm? "Fixed" news does sound more descriptive than "Foxed" news. Perhaps we could even do it with a simple one letter typo, "Fix" news. I'd capitalize "news" as part of the organization's name, if I could legitimately equate "news" with them.
 
 
+26 # rsokol 2012-04-06 09:52
Mr. Reich, you are one of the few clear sighted honorable people who is still in a position to get big publicity. I wouldn't want you to change your subject, but let me add a suggestion about the title: That title 'Fable of the Century' belongs to the actors and events connected and surrounding September 11th, 2001. You don't have to agree now, but I hope you will one day. Just a few snippets of the fable's puzzle to ponder, of why I think the way I do: First there is this genealogy: Prescott Bush, G.H. Bush, G.W. Bush, all bonesmen; then there is the election of 2001 that W had to win and did because of fraud; then the election of 2004 he didn't have to win but did anyway, and (that's the clincher) just in case he hadn't, there was - what co-incidence! - already a donkey bonesman lined up for bat. So: Welcome to the story line and playbook of the - to quote H.W. Bush - "New World Order". Stay tuned and vigilant, the fable contains parts that aren't formulated yet.
 
 
+4 # handmjones 2012-04-06 09:52
Only cure. Income tax graduated to 100% on some astronomical dollar to be adjusted at yearend to balance the budget.
 
 
+18 # jky1291 2012-04-06 10:34
If the national debt is so important that they are advocating stealing the 2.5 trillion dollar surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund, which obviously has not contributed a penny to the deficit, to avoid any disingenuous hypocrisy, raise the rate to 110% at 2 million dollars, because I can't imagine how anyone could survive on less than a million a year.
 
 
+43 # hillwright 2012-04-06 09:53
The fable of the Third Reich also should be noted. Who paid for the IBM computers used by the Nazi government? Who financed the massive stadiums and military machines? Who provided the money to build the Stukas and Messerschmitts? Fascism cannot exist without the backing of the financiers and industrialists.
 
 
+12 # rsokol 2012-04-06 10:08
You can name names, my friend, it's okay. There's more in the bush than meets the eye. The gateway to understand the past, present, and the threats of our future is at Yale.
 
 
+3 # tazia@aol.com 2012-04-06 13:28
No one paid for IBM computers used by the Nazi government...be acause the first useable IBM computers weren't made until after WW2
 
 
+19 # John Gill 2012-04-06 14:08
Technically correct, but the IBM hollerith machines, (a precursor to the modern computer invented in the early 1890s,) were made by IBM, sold to the Nazis, and used in the concentration camps as an aid for the monumental tasks of record keeping and organization in the slaughter of millions of holocaust victims. IBM punch cards were created, by IBM, with codes designating Jew, Homosexual, etc. to facilitate this organization. It is an amazingly ghoulish bit of history.

The founder of IBM actually received a medal from Hitler! (which he later returned-what a guy!)

You can see one of these machines on youtube.
 
 
+38 # angelfish 2012-04-06 09:54
It's NOT a Fable, Professor. Sadly, the Mega-Wealthy have made it next to IMPOSSIBLE to turn things around to sanity and fairness for ALL! Look at Michigan! They won't even let the Democrats in it's own Legislature VOTE! The Democrats had to SUE for their right to VOTE on Michigan Law, for God's sake! The Nazi/Fascist Governor has usurped all Power in several Michigan towns negating elections and appointing "managers" to oversee there governance! This is OUTRAGEOUS! WHAT has happened to Democracy? Just because you have MONEY, it shouldn't allow you to BUY our Political system! what's that? Ooops. Sorry, my bad. I guess in these, once great, United States of America, it DOES!
 
 
+28 # wwway 2012-04-06 10:05
What happened to the Amend the Constitution movement to destroy Citizens United? Seems we only talk about things for 2 weeks and poof! it's gone.
I feel like I'm living in Jack London's novel, The Iron Heel. Or Orwell's 1984 and now the Hunger Games. Jack London pointed out that the onus of assurance that government policy benefits the middle class is on the middle class. The elite know that the middle class is fickle and easily distracted and because they own the means of communication and therefore the message, it's easy to pursuade elections and policy.
In my life time I've never been in such awe of politics as I am this election. What will the middle class decide to do with the mess they've created the last 30 years. Middle class Americans who vote Republican are Chickens for Col. Sanders. Will they turn that around this year and clean house? We have to get Republicans and Blue Dogs out of the halls of local, State and Federal government. Then the first order of business will be to get money out of politics.But... will they really do that?
 
 
+22 # humanmancalvin 2012-04-06 10:18
Read this & be afraid, be very afraid of the percolating brew of the multi-wealthy taking all they wish & leaving the rest (re:middle class, whats left of it) to scavenge scraps. Unfortunately the criminal right wraps its message up in the flag & abortion & wars on religion & the dupes open wide the doors to their safety nets & wallets. As long as there are low-information voters, the sound byte faux patriot crown, we are doomed to a life of 2nd best behind the 1%ers that actually sail our ship.
Without any question whatsoever, vote Obama/Biden in 2012. Any other vote is pure financial & moral suicide.
 
 
+2 # jky1291 2012-04-06 11:06
The fact is that the corporations have already hedged their bets buying both codependent corrupted parties, the Senate, House, Presidency, and Supreme Court. Continuing to elect either a Republican or a Democrat for president for decades, which led to the Greatest Recession since the Great Depression, then expecting improvement when it is projected that 6 billion dollars may be spent by the wealthy, special interests, and multinational corporations to buy this election is clearly the definition of insanity. Despite their success of achieving their stated goal to destroy President Obama's credibility along with his own complicity, their totally unacceptable field of candidates proves that President Obama is the Republicans real choice, giving only lip service to his constituents, but conceding to their wishes at every opportunity. This subtle support is motivated by a genuine fear that his previous supporters will unite with Independents and enlightened Republicans to elect a real people's president over whom no corporations, special interests, or the wealthy would have more influence than the voters who elected him or her. It is essential a 3rd party President supporting the Contract for the American Dream be elected.

http://contract.rebuildthedream.com/?rc=rtd_home

If one only votes for the lesser of 2 evils the result still cannot be acceptable. While the biggest fear is that of the unknown, the greatest danger is in our current path.
 
 
+2 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:47
With the self-defeatist agenda the Right is presenting, how can we not assume that the Right wants Obama to win.

It's hard to imagine anyone voting for any GOP candidate. If they win, we can assume it's because the voting machines have been tampered with.
 
 
0 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:42
Quoting humanmancalvin:
Read this & be afraid, be very afraid of the percolating brew of the multi-wealthy taking all they wish & leaving the rest (re:middle class, whats left of it) to scavenge scraps. Unfortunately the criminal right wraps its message up in the flag & abortion & wars on religion & the dupes open wide the doors to their safety nets & wallets. As long as there are low-information voters, the sound byte faux patriot crown, we are doomed to a life of 2nd best behind the 1%ers that actually sail our ship.
Without any question whatsoever, vote Obama/Biden in 2012. Any other vote is pure financial & moral suicide.

I don't see how voting for Obama will change anything. I'd like to think that the reason he has betrayed us is that he has been warned that if he doesn't toe the line something terrible will happen to his family....or some other thing will befall him. I don't think anyone has the power any longer to fight the evil people who are controlling things. They have the money and the armies behind them to stop anything the 99% might do. Please, somebody, show me why I'm wrong.
 
 
+15 # allie 2012-04-06 10:21
The fable ends by the richest gobbling up everything. They are the only ones to remain and start eating each other.
 
 
+5 # bugbuster 2012-04-06 10:39
It's all speculation at this point, and there aren't enough people concerned enough about it to do anything but vote in the election. After that, whoever wins, things will get better, worse, or stay the same.

If and when things get bad enough for enough people, then the egg will hit the fan. That's all I think anyone can say for sure.
 
 
+24 # Hank 2012-04-06 10:57
You also can't demonstrate against what these people are doing to our country. If you do you're denounced, pepper sprayed and arrested.
 
 
+19 # MindDoc 2012-04-06 16:16
... before being strip-searched and jailed for speaking freely.
 
 
+2 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:48
And disappeared.
 
 
+29 # Vardoz 2012-04-06 11:17
The experts keep telling us the same thing over and over. I think many are now aware of the awful situation that the 99% are faced with and on top of everything we have zero protections. Police can now even strip search anyone they want for any reason with total immunity. I think we need to do what the people of Wisconsin are doing, big, big protracted marches and protests. I have come to believe that camping out is less effective. I think people should look at how they are organizing in Wisconsin and how it's been so successful and enduring. We have been taken over, our contstitution and bill of rights have been shredded and we need to decide what to do. In Germany many people were afraid of the Nazis so the did nothing. And this is what they count on- They depend on our apathy. But if you are going to protest and there is a chance you might get pepper sprayed bring goggles and sonmething to put over your mouth. Police here think it's just fine to use chemical weapon against people exercising their to peaceful protest.
 
 
+18 # Anarchist 23 2012-04-06 12:20
Unfortunately Obama has given the Rethugs pretty much everything they want-why didn't he fight for single payer health care reform? How about the NDAA which makes us all possible 'enemy combatants' How about Gitmo? And the wars? Now we have drones overflying us. And the possibility of yet another war-probably in Oct.-against Iran. His secretary of education, Arnie Duncan is for privatization.
where is any push to re-instate Glass Steagal? Which fell when Clinton signed a new bill to replace it in 99. In my entire lifetime I doubt I have had a president that stood on the side of the people. Maybe Kennedy-but they killed him and his brother RFK who wanted to end the war, who spoke about growing inequities between black and white, rich and poor. Nevermind-we have 240 channels of junk on TV. Welcome to the matrix with its bounty of unhealthy snack food and feast of general ignorance.
 
 
-2 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:53
And speaking of drones, did you know that there are now drones the size of flies that can spy on us everywhere. You can't even hide in a bathroom stall or a telephone booth. (Where did that quaint thing disappear to?) We are now being spied on in every way you can imagine. The 99ers can't make secret plans.
 
 
+17 # abdullahiedward 2012-04-06 13:09
After reading this and knowing that a comment was required, I couldn't think of anything original to add even though I really wanted to. Fortunately I was able to Google up something that seems to fit the bill rather nicely:-
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Taken directly from the Declaration of Independence of the USA!
 
 
+10 # jky1291 2012-04-06 19:14
You reemphasize the chilling point I realized in reading the Declaration of Independence two years ago, that we are right back where we started, but worse off because the enemy is firmly entrenched on the banks of the Potomac River instead of on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.
 
 
+2 # sheila Cee 2012-04-09 20:54
And how do you propose to throw off such a government?
 
 
+18 # harris.carlus 2012-04-06 13:58
I am gratified to read that someone addresses the real solution to the woes of a democracy in peril. It is the people who have to decide to vote in their own best interest, rather than along the lines of party, fear, prejudice, racism and what I call tribalism. When we vote away our own interest because we're too lazy to find the facts, we definitely get the government we so richly (or poorly!) deserve.
 
 
+15 # cordleycoit 2012-04-06 14:28
So the middle class is wising up good for them. They see that gasoline is costing them money, that inflation hurts and healthcare wipes out you estate and you get to die under less than optimum places.
We poor get reduced food ratios, food stamps. We get to be broken by gas prices. The only place left to die is in the streets and corridors of emergency rooms. The middle class marches on a lot poorer than before. The poor are left in the death march.
 
 
+12 # Bev 2012-04-06 17:23
Anarchist - when you say "I doubt I have had a president that stood on the side of the people. Maybe Kennedy-but they killed him and his brother RFK who wanted to end the war, who spoke about growing inequities between black and white, rich and poor." So true. And don't you think there hasn't been attempts on Obama's life? Not widely known but add the racial issue if it were known and you can imagine the scenario. Obama has much more weight of the whole world than previous presidents due to the fact of the far reaching tentacles of our military industrial complex. The 99% is hostage to the threat of nuclear anhilation by the 1%.
 
 
+6 # MoonBeamWatcher 2012-04-06 21:01
A GREAT quote that can be taken to the BANK!
(for what that's worth = NOTMUCH)
If a corporation is too big to FAIL,
that corporation is TOO BIG TO EXIST!
 
 
+8 # futhark 2012-04-06 22:53
We've already seen such a country. It was Russia 100 years ago. Check your history books if you want to know what happened next.
 
 
+12 # paula schramm 2012-04-07 01:23
"And they begin to recreate an economy that works for everyone and a democracy that's responsive to everyone".

Plenty of justified doom & gloom in many comments, but not many thinking of how to actualize the last sentence of Reich's "fable". ( As some have said, not much of a fable, more like accurate description ! )
So people, you're smart, you're informed - get out and organize - talk with people & share information ( one of the best things about Occupy )- get involved in your local grass roots politics - find good people ! If Wisconsin can do it so can the rest of us !
 
 
+15 # xflowers 2012-04-07 10:40
To Paula Schramm

We can begin by going after blatant lies and exaggerations because their purpose is to divide and confuse the American public, rendering it incapable of uniting around ideas and programs that would achieve democracy and an economy for the people. Take the GOP's latest attack on the Volt and GM. They want GM to fail too just as they have wanted Obama to fail. Why? Organized labor. Organized labor gave us the 40 hour work week, reasonable compensation, pensions, paid health care and vacations, but many people don't know that. But if you've been paying attention you will note that as labor unions have weakened, so has everyone's benefits and expectations. The GOP goal is to finish labor unions off, which is evident in the myriad anti-labor legislation being enacted around the country. We will all surely suffer the consequences if the GOP achieves this goal. They're even going after the United States Post Office! So, I would say we need to defend our own rights by defending the rights of others. And we need to become truth squads, challenging and upending the nonsense being published, spoken and repeated that both distorts truth and manufactures false facts. And we should not become victims of our own pessimism, when we expect perfection from any one man or woman in a world difficult to navigate.
 
 
+19 # Jane Gilgun 2012-04-07 14:43
It's amazing to me how driven the far right is to destroy unions, destroy the president, buy elections, subvert democracy, control women and degrade them, cut programs for the most vulnerable, destroy the middle class, reduce taxes even more for the rich--and then lie and use character assassination to do all of this. What drives them? What are their values? I have never seen such naked hatefulness. I have never seen such lies. They are diabolicl and they are relentless.
 
 
+4 # psadave 2012-04-08 22:58
A fairy tale or a Stephen King horror story...VOTE OUT THE GOP!!! NATIONAL & STATE!! Continue the movements to disrupt the influence of ALEC (creator of bad laws) and in support of OCCUPY! The outcome is up to you and IMPORTANT!
 
 
-2 # GMB 2012-04-11 17:54
There is a third option involving pitchforks and torches, a very sudden redistribution of wealth, devolution to anarchy and then evolution to a land ruled by armed gangs, ultimately fighting some guy in a metal mask and leather codpiece for a tanker of gas. I’m not promoting insurrection or violence, but it has worked for us in the past, and I do have a pitchfork.

Disclaimer: I don’t actually have a pitchfork.
 

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