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Things You Didn’t Want to Know

November 6, 2010

There are so many things–some of them central realities of our lives–that  we know but prefer not to let ourselves think about because we believe there is nothing we can do about them and dwelling on them is depressing.  One American historian said that  while most politicians tell people what they want to hear, John Adams, our contrarian Founding Father and second US President made a career out telling them things they needed to know but didn’t want to hear.  None of us like feeling powerless or depressed but there is always a price to pay for deceiving ourselves. How  many of these facts have each of us chosen to ignore or forget?

*Back in 2003, Warren Buffet, billionaire investment guru and CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway,  laughed at Bush’s repeated rounds of tax cuts for the rich, calling them “voodoo economics” that would do nothing to help the economy. Then what is the reason for them?  “It’s class warfare,” he said, chuckling. “And my class is wining. We shouldn’t be, but we are.”   Class war is a reality, a policy implemented by the rich and powerful.

*The average income of those with incomes above $50 million a year rose from $91 million in 2008 to $519 million in 2009.  That’s a “raise” of 570% in one year.  Just for giggles and grins, how much was  your raise from 2008 to  2009?

*Adjusted for inflation, the average wage of the bottom 90% of the US population has increased only $303 total in the last  28 years, 1980-2008.   That’s an average increase of about $11 a year. This is the real harvest of decades of Reaganomics.

*The median wage of US wage-earners in 2009 was $37 less than in 2000.

(These stats come from David Cay Johnston at He has more, very interesting,  information there, too)

*”The spectacle of millionaires  debating how to eliminate  services to the poor and middle class  is by now such a commonplace that it hardly deserves comment.” —-Roger Hodge, in his article on

*People think the Obama Administration has raised taxes. It hasn’t. It has lowered them in about two dozen ways, including for frist-time homeowners and those seeking student loans. As I mentioned in a  previous post,  one-third of the cost of the stimulus package was in the form of further  tax cuts to businesses, something the GOP won’t tell you.

*If the fourth and last of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest  2% are allowed to expire, the marginal tax rate for those with taxable incomes over $250,000 will go back to their 2003 level. They will  only  have to pay from 2.0% to 3.6% more on that portion over  $250,000.  That is, the rate on the first $250,000 will not change at all. (If the tax cuts are renewed, that will add another  $700 billion to the deficit that conservatives claim to care so much for).   The proposal to let them expire and revert back to the 2003 level is what the Republican/Conservative  spokesmen are screaming about as  “the cause of joblessness”  and evidence of “radical leftists”  running amok and  “ruining  America.”

*”Throughout history people have been duped again and again into believing enormous inequalities in the distribution of wealth are necessary for their own welfare.”— Marvin Harris, Anthropologist

 (Quick! Let’s take a double dose of Prozac and think ‘Happy Thoughts! Happy Thoughts!’) 





2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2010 5:08 AM

    Subtle detail fix: the $303 increase in the average income of the bottom 90 percent I reported is from 1980 to 2008, not 2010.

  2. donegaldescendant permalink*
    November 7, 2010 11:23 AM

    Thank you for catching this error. I have corrected the text.

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