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Sunday, October 23, 2016

It’s out! This year’s list of American success stories has just been published, and according to its compiler, it “instills confidence that the American dream is still very much alive.”

Maybe you are one of these success stories. You might be a great public school teacher, for example, who motivated students to achieve new heights or an inventor who came up with an energy-saving device and got it to market at a fair price, generating a profit for yourself, the environment and society generally.

No, no, no. Not that kind of success. We’re talking money — the flow of mammon beyond regular people’s wildest dreams. That’s how Forbes magazine measures not only “success,” but also a person’s value: You are what’s in your Swiss bank account. And, just to rank last on this year’s Forbes 400 listing of America’s wealthiest people, you need more than a billion dollars in financial wealth. To get into the Top 10 requires at least $25 billion. And to be numero uno means you’ve got $66 billion socked away. Who says America is broke?

As Ray Charles sang, “Them that’s got is them that gets.” And sure enough, these richest of the richest got a lot richer in 2011 — the magazine gloated that these 400 swells jacked up their cumulative haul last year by $200 billion over the previous year — an average of half a billion each!

Now, that’s success, baby… especially when the typical American family’s income dropped by 4 percent.

These ultra-wealthy, goes the Forbes narrative, are the “deserving rich,” for they are our economy’s makers and producers — as opposed to being takers and moochers, like those commoners who get Social Security, Medicare and other government help.

Before swallowing that, however, note that roughly 40 percent of these “achievers” on the list “achieved” their wealth by being well-born — they inherited the money from Dad and Mom. And all of them have indeed been takers, not only enjoying government programs, but also subsidies and tax advantages available only to the rich. The Forbes list really says that you got special treatment — not that you are special.

But if the rich need to feel special, they can always count on the editors of Fortune. We should not be surprised that a magazine named Fortune would be empathetic to the feelings of the 1 percent, but — good grief — how embarrassingly sycophantic of the editors to hustle out a piece just before the presidential election, titled “Stop Beating up the Rich.”

Written by Nina Easton, the timing of the article was less than “fortunate,” for it came out just as the infamous video surfaced showing Mitt Romney “beating up” the poor and the middle class, while his audience of fellow multi-millionaires laughed, cheered and shouted encouragement.

  • bcarreiro

    we the 47% just want justice………….an honest living is what we have to offer.

  • Canistercook

    Interesting I guess that 60%+/- of the 1% got rich the old fashioned way – they earned it.
    As a higher income person I do find myself asking if all the hard work is worth it when I see lower income relatives with more time to play golf and go to games and concerts while I have to spend time working and filing government forms. Guess more of the 1% and those near them in income should goof off more and the government will then need to find other ways to raise the taxes needed to support the other 99% some of whom are entitlement receivers. We like to say ‘we are all equal’ but not all people contribute the same amount of work and effort to society as others. Jealousy is in mankind’s nature and it seems we no longer feel that we should laud and respect people like Jobs and Packard et al for the fact that they developed great things for us and became rich doing it. Guess they should have done it for next to nothing!

    • flued

      Oh, get off your high horse. We all work very hard and very smart. It is been well published that many wealthy people are not as honest nor have high moral principles as the working hard poor. Corporate welfare, loopholes, tax havens and a lot more are not available to the rest of us. You have plenty of time to play but might be too greedy or lacking organizational skills to find time to relax. That will cost you more since you are not as healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually and in your personal and family relationships as better organized, smarter hard workers. That is not our problem. We are trying to save you rich guys from a revolution that may give all your riches away such as in Cuba or Venezuela, get it?? We trying to help you here, be more just and pay your fair share. We are on your side, as more of this inequality and social unrest will end up biting you in the rear more than to the rest of us in the working class. You have more to lose than us, get it genius??

      • Canistercook

        I inherited NOTHING. I pay around 50% on each dollar of my taxable income in taxes and I guess that isn’t enough for you. Federal 35%, State 9.2%, Property Taxes + parcel taxes, County Sales tax 9% and a lot of little government fees and taxes on just about everything else, i.e. telephone, internet, water & sewer bill etc. You are right the taxpayers are revolting and feel that 50% of their lives should not be working for others, especially those capable but unwilling to work. They have some VERY rich guys in Venezuela! I don’t know about Cuba. Obama’s buddy Buffet legally uses the same capital gains low tax laws as Romney but what brings Romney’s tax rate down is he tithes to his church and his church uses that 10% to help the less fortunate. In spite of being wealthy Romney has worked hard all his life and is still volunteering his labor to help our country. I do not want to pay more than 50% of my net income in taxes you are right. I want the big loopholes closed and the able individuals working and contributing taxes to the country they are privileged to live in. Obama is not suggesting that solution, he is suggesting taking more from some like me and redistributing it until we are all poor or have moved out of the country. What percentage of your taxable income I wonder do you pay in taxes? Class warfare is not new, Russia tried it and it failed. If you want to see us head into a depression then Obama should get your vote. Recovery will not be easy, but will take someone with a lot of experience in running BIG BUSINESS and the United States of America is a very BIG BUSINESS>

  • daniel bostdorf

    Canistercook….or whomever you are hiding behind a fake name….we simply can’t take you seriously.

    I need to know your real name. I now call you “Canistercookwhocooksthe booksoftruth.”

    Sorry—you sound like a paid Karl Rove operative and not a real person with any kind of wealth…well..a welath of propaganda I am sure..


    This article is about The 1 Percent’s Cry For Justice.

    Not YOU…who victimizes them…You are a fascist..

    The right wing fascists called Republicans and/or Teaparty had its propaganda mastermind, Karl Rove, its billionaire friends like the Koch Brothers, and “Canistercookwhocooksthe booksoftruth.” sympathizers, and the media outlets of Fox”news,”, Limbaugh, Beck, and a dozen others to shove down the collective throat of American their intentional lies, distortions and bizarre theories about Obama.

    This “playbook” by Rove and others is nothing new. Fascists need to create imaginary enemies.

    “Canistercookwhocooksthe booksoftruth.”….They play off the 6th grade education and racism of their fanatic followers who are conveniently in a depression era economy created by Bush and Wall Street/big bank greed.

    Somehow it’s the poor that are causing the problem? What lies by “Canistercookwhocooksthe booksoftruth.”….

    Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels (like Foxnes, Limbaugh, beck and Rove believe) said it best:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    or as Adolph Hitler stated:

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it

The 1930’s had the Brown Shirts.
The 1950’s had Joseph McCarthy

    The 1980’s had Ronald Reagan
The late 1990’s had George Bush JR…

    Today we have The Teaparty and the “red shirts.”

    The American Right invented it’s imaginary Obama to try and get us to by into their fascism.
It didn’t work.
Obama is going to win.

    Electoral College, as of 10-10-12 alone will assure that.

    I suggest that you “Canistercookwhocooksthe booksoftruth.” read two things before you post here again:

    The 13 volume set of Will and Ariel Durant’s “The History of Civilation,” and “The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich,” by William Shire.

    If you don’t….keep lying to us AS YOU DO ALL THE TIME just like your fascist propagandist friends…who demonzie the poor.

    • tokoloshi27

      db’dorf – WTF? Who are you to ‘demand’ someone’s name and then castigate them as being the totalitarianist?

      You’re the thug.

  • dljones

    Hightower squares off on the rich and encouraging others with less money to vent. Obama said you didn’t build that. Is that not encouraging?

    He wants to give every body a fair shot. We all need a level playing field. We all need to help each other. Hope and change. Is this not America? But this dead beat Socialist wants to use my tax money to further his idea of America’s prosperity.

    There are those that legitimately can’t make it. For others, what are you doing that is encumbant on you to succeed? If Forbes is troublesome to success, maybe comic books should be the preferred reading.

  • dtgraham

    It isn’t a question of beating up on the rich. The idea is to produce a richer healthier economy, built to last, that will benefit the greatest number of people. Third world and developing nations have startling levels of income inequality. It’s a consistent feature of those societies. First world nations don’t although the United States has been rapidly moving in the wrong direction.

    The stock market is almost back to pre 2009 levels but 93% of the gains have gone to the top 1%. From 1992 to 2007 the top 400 earners saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. A 2011 study by the Congressional Budget Office found that the top earning 1% gained about 275% (after federal taxes and income transfers) between 1981 and 2007.

    There would be nothing wrong with any of this if the pie was infinite and everyone was gaining but, actually, the reverse has been happening in most of the rest of the nation. The last time we’ve seen conditions similar to this was in the run up to 1929. Strategic managerial compensation was incredibly extravagant and the financial sector had too much incentive to pitch risky products, with little to no regulations, back then too. There was a lot of innovation and risk taking in banking in the 20’s as well. There was also a real estate boom in the 1920’s. Does any of this sound familiar?

    Here’s the difference. There’s no FDR and no huge Democratic majorities in both houses to fix and change things, nor is there likely to be. Americans panicked and learned an awfully cruel lesson back then. They gave Roosevelt all he needed to right the ship. With an entire conservative media dedicated to lying (there’s no other word) and brainwashing working class Americans to vote Republican, I don’t know what the answer is; I really don’t, especially given that the GOP has regressed to the times of Hoover economically.