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August 18, 2011

Financial terrorism in America


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The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of the total population currently working, has fallen to a 27-year low of 63.9%.


Currently, an all-time record 6.3 million people have been unemployed for over six months.

The average time it takes for a person to find a job has also just hit an all-time high of 40.4 weeks.

While the cost of living from 1990 - 2010 increased by 67%, worker income has declined.

IRS data showed in 2009 average income fell 6.1%, a loss of $3,516 per worker, that year alone.

Average income has declined 13.7% from 2007 - 2009, representing a $8,588 loss per worker.

From 2009 to the fourth-quarter of 2010, 88% of income growth went to corporate profits (i.e. CEOs), while just 1% went to workers.

As the NY Times reported in an article entitled, "Our Banana Republic," from 1980 - 2005, "more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent."

While 68.3 million Americans struggle to get enough food to eat and wages are declining for 90% of the population, US millionaire household wealth has reached an unprecedented level.

US millionaire households now have $38.6 trillion in wealth.

They also have an additional $6.3 trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

In total, US millionaire households have at least $45.9 trillion in wealth

The majority of this wealth is held within the upper one-tenth of one percent of the population.

Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $46 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000.

To put it in perspective, last year the entire cost of feeding all 40 million Americans on food stamps was $65 billion.

Former Goldman Sachs CEO and Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had already amassed at least $700 million prior to moving to the US Treasury in 2006.

Current Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and a few other top executives at Goldman Sachs just received $111.3 million in bonuses. Blankfein just took home $24.3 million, as part of a $67.9 million bonus he was awarded.

Goldman's President Gary Cohn took home $24 million, as part of a $66.9 million bonus he was awarded.

Goldman's CFO David Viniar and former co-president Jon Winkelried both took home over $20 million in bonuses.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit just took home $80 million, in what may eventually total more than $200 million in compensation and bonuses.

Coming in at the top of the list is JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who just took home $90 million.

If you think people in this income level don't control the US political process, you are not paying attention. After they caused this economic crisis, they got the government to give them trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, and then, after taking our tax dollars, they gave themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses.

2009 was an all-time record-breaking year for Wall Street executives bringing in a total of $145 billion.

In 2010, they broke the all-time record set the year before by pulling in another $149 billion. The audacity of it all is stunning.

Finding people more grotesquely greedy than Wall Street executives would seem to be impossible. However, health insurance CEOs are giving them a run for their money.

To further demonstrate how the mega-wealthy have seized control our political process, consider that the richest 400 Americans paid 30% of their income in taxes in 1995.

They now pay only 18%.

In fact, 1,470 Americans earned over $1 million in 2009 and didn't pay any taxes.

The average tax rate for millionaires was 22.4% in 2009, down from 30.4% in 1995.

The average millionaire saves $136,000 a year due to reduced tax rates.

Corporate tax accounted for 27.3% of federal revenue in 1955.

In 2010, corporate tax accounted for only 8.9% of federal revenue.

Corporate taxes accounted for 4.3% of overall GDP in 1955, in 2010 they accounted for only 1.3%.

The Indentured Servant Has Become The Indebted Citizen

As for statistics on Americans being buried in financial debt, the indentured servant has evolved into the indebted citizen.

As mentioned before, from 1990 - 2010 costs of living have increased 67%, while wages have stagnated and declined.

As the national debt has reached a record $14.6 trillion, total personal debt is now over $16 trillion by official government estimates.

Independent economists put the real national debt at $211 trillion.

Given these conditions, it is not surprising that over 250 million Americans, another record-breaking number, are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck struggling to make ends meet.

Food prices increased 39% over the past year.

U.S. gas prices increased 34% over the same time frame.

The Hidden Tax

The Federal Reserve's strategic policy known as Quantitative Easing (QE) has been a significant factor in the rising cost of basic necessities by deliberately stimulating inflation, while decreasing the value of the dollar.

Because ofQE2 program, the dollar lost 7.5% of its value from January 2010 through March 2010.

From August 2010 through March 2011, the dollar lost 17% of its value.

To understand how this acts as a hidden tax, consider if you had $10,000 in the bank, over this time frame you would have lost $1700 in purchasing power.

$10,000 in August 2010 would be worth $8300 March 2011. At the same time, the cost of gas and food drastically increased.

When comparing the value of the dollar to the value of gold, the dollar has lost a stunning 84% of its value since 2000.

In 2000, gold was worth $279 per ounce, as of August 8, 2011, gold is $1,725 per ounce.

The value of the one major asset many Americans have, a house, continues to decline.

Declining home values have left 28% of US homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their home is currently worth.

10.4 million American families having lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007,

Another 10.8 million homes are at risk of default over the next six years.

This will obviously continue downward pressure on home values.


With an unprecedented sum of wealth, tens of trillions of dollars, held within the top one-tenth of one percent of the US population, we now have the highest and most severe inequality of wealth in US history.

Why don't the masses protest?

1) People are too consumed with holding on to the little they have left to try to maintain their current standard of living.

2) People have very little understanding of how much wealth has been consolidated within the top economic one-tenth of one percent.

In a recent survey of Americans, my colleague Dan Ariely and I found that Americans drastically underestimated the level of wealth inequality in the United States. While recent data indicates that the richest 20 percent of Americans own 84 percent of all wealth, people estimated that this group owned just 59 percent - believing that total wealth in this country is far more evenly divided among poorer Americans.

What's more, when we asked them how they thought wealth should be distributed, they told us they wanted an even more equitable distribution, with the richest 20 percent owning just 32 percent of the wealth. This was true of Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor - all groups we surveyed approved of some inequality, but their ideal was far more equal than the current level."

"The fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of US population is unaware of the vast wealth at hand. An entire generation of unprecedented wealth creation has been concealed from 99% of the population for over 35 years. Having never personally experienced or known of this wealth, the average American cannot comprehend what is possible if even a fraction of it was used for the betterment of society as a whole.

In fact, given modern technology and wealth, not a single American citizen should live in poverty. The statistics clearly demonstrate that we now live in a Neo-Feudal society. In comparison to the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of the population, who are sitting on top of tens of trillions of dollars in wealth, we are modern day serfs, essentially propagandized peasants.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are struggling to get by, while tens of trillions of dollars are consolidated within a small fraction of the population, is a crime against humanity.

The day the average American fully comprehends how much wealth is consolidated within just the top one-tenth of one percent of the population, there will be a massive uprising and all the paid off politicians will be run out of town.

The next time you are stressed out, struggling to make ends meet and pay off your debts, just think about the trillions of dollars sitting in the obscenely bloated pockets of one-tenth of one percent of the population.

I still cling to the hope that once enough people become aware of this hidden and obscured fact, we can have the non-violent revolution we so urgently need."

The Economic Elite have turned America into a modern day fascist state.

Fascism is a very powerful word which evokes many strong feelings. People may think that the term cannot be applied to modern day America. However, as Benito Mussolini once summed it up: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." In the early 1900s, the Italians who invented the term fascism also described it as "estato corporativo," meaning: the corporate state.

Very few Americans would argue the fact that corporations now control our government and have the dominant role in our society. Through a system of legalized bribery - campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door between Washington and corporations - the most power global corporations dominant the legislative and political process like never before. Senator Huey Long had it right when he warned: "When fascism comes to America, it will come in the form of democracy."

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once described fascism: "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes strong than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power."

The most blatant modern example of this was the bailout of Wall Street, when the "too big to fail" banks got politicians to promptly hand out trillions of tax dollars in support and subsidies to the very people who caused the crisis, without any of them being held accountable.

To demonstrate these attacks against the poor, there was $17 billion cut from public housing programs, while there was an increase of $19 billion in programs for building prisons, "effectively making the construction of prisons the nation's main housing program for the poor." Before laws began to be rewritten in 1980, with direct input from ALEC, we had a prison population of 500,000 citizens. After laws were rewritten to target poor inner city citizens with much more severe penalties, the US prison population skyrocketed to 2.4 million people.

We now have the largest prison population in the world. With only 4% of the world's population, we have 25% of the world's prison population.

As Che Guevara, a man who took on the global financial elite, once said, "The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this."

When tens of trillions of dollars deliberately flow to the top economic one-tenth of one percent of the global population, while large percentages live in poverty, you have to conclude, in technical terms, that a Neo-Feudal-Fascist state is upon us. The rich have never been richer, while their paid off politicians make budget cuts for the poor and middle class, and cause the cost of basic necessities to skyrocket.

Commentary and Opinion , Economy , Nation | By doctormatt | 8:40 PM

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