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WEALTH: Old vs. young report a smokescreen

Letter by Charles H. Mathias, Steilacoom on Nov. 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm with 62 Comments »
November 8, 2011 2:43 pm

Never have I been swept so fast between euphoria and outrage as I was by the headline, “Wealth disparity at record” (TNT, 11-7).

At last, I thought, the biggest story of the past 30 years – the destruction of the middle class through economic vampirism by the super-rich — has finally made the front page!

Then I read the article. Sigh.

Focusing on one not particularly relevant statistic (in the context of the current economic crisis) – the old being relatively better off than the young by a factor of 47 to one – the article is a transparent attempt to distract us from the class warfare the 1 percent have been successfully waging against the 99 percent since the early 1980s.

In other words, hate the old, not the rich!

In discussing the disparity between young and old, the emphasis should be on relatively better off. If I have 47 peanuts in my pile, and you have one in yours, yes, that stinks. But the point is we’re wasting time squabbling over a handful of peanuts if, on the other side of the gated community wall, some folks are hoarding billions of peanuts and using the political clout those billions give them to suck up even more — including what’s left of yours and mine.

No doubt delighted by the media’s willingness to promote this bogus intergenerational conflict, the plutocrats probably envision fistfights breaking out between old and young demonstrators in Zuccotti Park. But I have a hunch the awakening masses are too smart to oblige.

Leave a comment Comments → 62
  1. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Good point, Charles. There is a lot of old vs young rhetoric out there now. So why not capitalize on dividing the 99s as a way to keep them away from the 1s?

    Two other points though, the article said that the average 65 y.o. had some $170,000 in “wealth”, including home equity. That may sound like a lot but that won’t do much. Second, it really is true that the younger generations are being screwed in this economy.

  2. aislander says:

    I just can’t believe Americans are buying into this 99% crap. I don’t care what someone else has (envy is the most unhealthful of emotions) as long as I have what I need. Happiness is a choice…

  3. jimkingjr says:

    Oh, the envious are always with us, they just keep trying out new rhetoric. It still doesn’t sell.

    The wealth created by Gates, Jobs, and their ilk has more to do with the increased disparity than any shifts from the lower to the upper. The last time such a gap opened up was the last time such massive amounts of new wealth were created- during the Gilded Age.

  4. olympicmtn says:

    Every person has an opportunity to work hard and succeed in this country. Everyone. Everyone has obstacles in life. It is telling who complains about life and “their” misery. Many people (young and old) work hard, pay for college, have and do tedious jobs, and succeed. Sometimes by luck, and many times by hard work. Hard work accounts for a lot of the success of our country. But EVERYONE has an opportunity to succeed in this land. Many past and current immigrants have and still do. This notion that those that work hard and save (4 letter word) somehow owe their good fate to others “just because” miss the point that work builds character (not just salary). And all Americans should contribute something to society. Envy, Greed, and Sloth do not produce smarter workers, it just perpetuates the will to blame others. We are better than that, and everyone in this country can succeed.

  5. sandblower says:

    olympicmtn, some have better opportunity than others and some have greater obstacles than others. It’s the unwarranted obstacles and lack of opportunity some of us are trying to remove for those affected.

  6. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Blow- some will always have a better opportunity. Life is not fair. Some people are born into wealthy families, some with IQs of 185, some 7ft tall. That said, anybody can join the service and get a free degree, or study hard in high school and get a scholarship or student loan. One can wait for marriage and children until they are financially and emotionally responsible.

    Why not focus your time and energy into something productive, other than excuses?

  7. Yeah, this dude’s right, we should just stick with hating rich people, it’s way more convenient, and we won’t have to think too much.

  8. LarryFine says:

    “divide and conquer” isn’t just limited to wealth…

  9. Aislander – are you your brother’s keeper?

    Concerned7 – Not everybody can join the military; and, except in time of war, most Americans do not do military service.

    Lanq – the 99% comes a lot closer to “We the People” than the 1% does. Note the Constitution talks about people.

  10. jimkingjr says:

    Yeah, but those who claim to speak for the 99% are making a false claim.

  11. SwordofPerseus says:

    To all concerned,

    The market system or the Capitalist system is the most bazaar delusion in the history of human thought. Nowhere in this so-called economy are all of the needs of society and its people is being satisfied. Simply by definition, what an economy is supposed to accomplish, is to meet the needs of the people. The current crop of politicians are completely unable or unwilling to solve even the most basic problems facing this country. What happened to the jobs the R’s promised? Where is the health care reform the D’s promised? I for one am beyond sick to death of this continuous stream of feces from the leaders in D.C.

    No more public elections, have a national lottery. Every citizen in good standing in the community over 18 is eligible to be selected to serve for public office, same terms as before, 2 years for a Representatives and six years for Senators. One term only and out of the pool, no more career politicians! It is not that difficult to imagine that this bunch of lawyers that we have let ruin this country cannot be replaced by normal citizens. Hell most attorney’s I have know in my life were bright people yes, however most are incapable of abstract thought or understanding how a washing machine works. We need people who can actually study a problem, and then devise a workable solution, this is not what lawyers do, they argue.
    Same goes for the Supreme court, say a 10 year appointment and out.
    For president, four weeks of publicly financed campaigning and then boom, election time, he with the most votes wins. No electoral college, one term and out. Four years that’s all folks.

  12. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Sword- you have a very perverse understanding of govt’s role as laid out by the Constitution.

    Govt’s role is not to provide for everyone’s needs. There are other forms of govt that attempted to do just that, and it does not work to well for them.

  13. harleyrider1 says:

    I agree with Olympicmtn. Overall, for most people, growing up in America as opposed to any other country, provides one the best opportunity to succeed. We’ve read, heard, and seen many an individual that had nothing, including parents as a child grow up to be very successful. It is why people from other countries send their children here.

    The single obstacle to being happier later in life is our failure to get a child, a student, to understand that attending and applying themselves in school throughout all their years is their key. Parents helping to foster their dream certainly helps.

    College is not right for everyone nor is it a guarantee of the best job. Technical schools, a hand-up from someone already in a great job, and sometimes just a “break” will result in a good life for an individual.

    Those that are marching in the street, living at home with mom & dad, and demanding freebies have shown by their own actions that is where they put their energy. We can’t help them. Their philosophy is more suited to a socialistic country.

    The ones that are working one job or 2-part time jobs, that are going to school, that are trying to get financial aid to go to school to get ahead, that want to better themselves need our focus and support.

    As taxpayers, help those that help themselves.

  14. beerBoy says:

    Another link that xx can dismiss as old news

    Too Big To Fail Casino Banks Make $518 Billion Bet On PIIGS Sovereign Debt
    As the European financial crisis worsened during the first half of 2011, U.S. banks increased sales of insurance against credit losses to holders of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, and Italian debt. Guarantees provided by U.S. lenders on government, bank, and corporate debt in those countries rose by $80.7 billion, to $518 billion, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
    http://problembanklist.com/to-big-to-fail-casino-banks-make-billion-bet-on-piigs-sovereign-debt-0430/

    And for you Republoyalists who keep saying that the TARP has been repaid:
    AIG still owes the U.S. Treasury almost $50 billion according to propublica.org which tracks the cost of taxpayer financed bailouts.

  15. SwordofPerseus, yes, I can see no flaws in your proposition whatsoever.

    Just curious, were you one of those guys who thought Sarah Palin was unqualified to be vice president?

  16. PumainTacoma says:

    Good letter. I might add what happened to work ethic in our country? Did we all crawl in a ball and say “I give up?” This defeatist attitude is unbelievable. I can’t imagine my parents saying “roll over and die” after we suffered a war, depression, or had to work endlessly to save for college by working a paper route, working in the fields or evenings mopping floors. We’ve got to ask ourselves is this the generation of Americans we want to be known for? We need to pick ourselves up and project an attitude of confidence, skill, and worth versus perched in our nest blaming others for our woes.

  17. Pumain – What happened to our work ethic – it got shipped overseas along with our jobs.

  18. NickDixon says:

    Here comes the Right Wing’s contrived statement on wealth – “make it an age issue”.

    We already know that the Right has attacked Social Security and Medicare. Now they are attempting to deflect the economic issues and anger the few senior citizens that have a couple of extra dollars.

    Mr. Mathias, unless you are sitting on a pile of money high enough to get a nose bleed, the 1% doesn’t include you. Meanwhile if you are enjoying your SS check and the Medicare benefits, you can thank the progressive movment of the United States.

  19. NickDixon says:

    lanq – Sarah Palin is qualified to quit as President of the United States.

  20. aislander says:

    xring: Are you Harry Reid?

  21. “lanq – Sarah Palin is qualified to quit as President of the United States.”

    Wow, what a great zinger! Man, how did you come up with that, it’s like Jimmy’s “fishsticks” joke, it’s the best zing ever! I’ll bet you’re just spent, man.

  22. aislander says:

    Oh, and xring, I’m surprised someone of your kidney used a Biblical quotation with respect to a matter of governmental policy. So…religion is okay if it can be used to advocate for a left-wing point of view?

  23. “So…religion is okay if it can be used to advocate for a left-wing point of view?”

    For some inexplicable reason, lefties believe that they can use religion against conservatives, as though all they have to do is pull out some bible quote, and conservatives will just shut up and say, “Ohhhhhhh…”. It’s all part of Rules for Radicals, don’t have it on me right now, but it basically instructs leftists to make their enemies live up to their own standards, which of course, is impossible for anyone, which .. is why we need standards. :)

  24. aislander says:

    …and why lefties have no standards. Since nothing is perfect and nothing is perfectible, our standards can only be a direction rather than a destination. We get there occasionally (maybe even most of the time), but it’s the journey that is important.

    You’re right, lanq, that lefties use our virtues against us, but we can’t let them succeed in that. The treatment of Herman Cain and Bill Clinton are object lessons. ONE of them is an accused rapist, and it ain’t Cain…

  25. “Another link that xx can dismiss as old news”

    are we at war with one another? If we are, great I just need to know so that I can direct my ire at you at appropiate times…

    ehh, right now seems pretty good…

    dude, I am not even part of this thread, I have not commented nor was I particularly interested in this thread… but yet you decide to talk about me behind my virtual back. That’s pretty low budget of you man.

    Others are right, you have changed, it seems the ghost of a former poster has found a new host…

    So grow a set, make the declaration (or apologize for bringing me in) or if you wish, I can make the decision for both of us… your call…

    ps – about your post, no need to dismiss it, it seems everyone else has too… not one comment about your post.

    I suggest you worry less about me and focus on your own contributions to the discussion thread.

  26. Aislander,
    There is nothing wrong with the Bible – as long as one realizes that it is not the infallible words of an omnipotent being.

    I’ve also read and quoted from several other religious texts.

    Life is a journey not a destination. What comes after life depends on how one lived their life, not which set of rules were followed.

    Clinton had a consensual relationship; Cain is accused of non-consensual actions.

    Another example of the ‘ethical standards’ of the right.

  27. BlaineCGarver says:

    I finally placed this rhetoric: This was the mantra of Blacks and The left in the Sixties and Seventies and beyond. I can’t get anything because The Man has his foot on the back of my neck. And, I’ll be dammed, the people that stayed out of trouble, got an education, and kept at it are todays wealthy Old Workers, and current middle class…..Character and determination will succeed, and excuses will suck every time.

  28. LarryFine says:

    By beerBoy’s own standard, xx, he is obsessed with you and stalking you.
    .
    Hey NickDix_nos.

  29. LarryFine says:

    Jaunita Broderick, Jennifer Flowers, and Kathleen Wiley would beg to differ xring…

    Another example of the selective memory of xring… “put some ice on it”.

  30. beerBoy says:

    LF – if and when I ever start archiving another’s posts for reposting then you can legitimately call me on stalking.

  31. LarryFine says:

    I already did.

  32. LarryFine says:

    … and you don’t really think only one person’s posts have been archived … do you ? It just so happens one poster is referenced most often because he often and predictably contradicts himself and is a hypocrite.

    If someone has archives of 30 posters, is he stalking 30 posters ??? or just one ?

  33. NickDixon says:

    If someone has archives of 30 people, that someone has no life.

  34. NickDixon says:

    Those that would call Clinton a rapist are defending Cain? Strange days, indeed

  35. aislander says:

    I don’t know if Juanita Broaddrick is defending Cain, but she did accuse Clinton of having raped her. So far as I know, no such allegations have been made about Cain.

    I’m not defending Cain, because I don’t know all the facts, but I AM pointing out the double standard…

  36. beerBoy says:

    archives of 30 posters,

    I really feel sorry for you.

  37. aislander says:

    I should think the only ones who have a valid objection to being archived are those who have been hoisted with their own petards…

  38. LarryFine says:

    Bingo Ai.

    Q – how does Nick_nos and beerBoy navigate back to all the threads they post on ?

    I’d wager I spend a fraction of the time spent in the forum (and my computer in general) than both you dolts… but, what does it matter?

  39. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Clinton ‘DID”, Cain ‘ACCUSED’. Big difference.

  40. Larryand AI;

    Flowers – only allegation was that she had a 12-year relationship with Clinton.

    Willley – has a history of controversial claims, giving false information to the FBI, and whose deposition testimony differed from her grand jury testimony.

    Broaddick, whose only sworn testimony denies the allegations.

    (side note: Broaddick did not made her allegations until after Governor Clinton commuted the sentence of the man who killed her father)

    That is what we on the left call grasping at straws.

  41. aislander says:

    Pay attention, xring. This is not about Clinton, but about the hypocrisy…

  42. aislander says:

    It’s times like this that I really miss AmandaDaniel and the OLD (uncensored) format…

  43. LarryFine says:

    x-ring, how old are the allegations against Cain ?

  44. aislander says:

    Well, xring, as long as you want to talk about Clinton, the worst charges against him (aside from the allegation of rape) were perjuring himself in a Federal civil rights case; suborning perjury; obstruction of justice; suborning obstruction of justice. And that’s when he was President. That little thing with Monica would have been between just him and Mrs. Clinton if he hadn’t lied under oath about it and if it wasn’t material to the case…

    High crimes and misdemeanors: “It does not mean ‘more serious.’ It refers to those punishable offenses that only apply to high persons, that is, to public officials, those who, because of their official status, are under special obligations that ordinary persons are not under, and which could not be meaningfully applied or justly punished if committed by ordinary persons.” Jon Roland, Constitution Society

  45. It’s times like this that I really miss AmandaDaniel and the OLD (uncensored) format…

    All nostalgia is based upon less that reality-based hindsight but…..yes, I do miss the old format and – I enjoyed my discussions with AmandaDaniel – she/he wasn’t focused upon personalities. There were more discussions of ideas then.

  46. less than….

  47. LF – you have archives from before the format changed (two or three times)……you know, when they allowed you to follow your discussions through your member page. I know this because you have referred to your beerBoy/moderate/arts/beerBoy2 folder – at least 2 of those screen names stop posting before the 1st format change(still don’t understand why moderate is there). So your claim that your behavior is to save the time it takes to check letters systematically is a bovine excrement.

    btw – it really doesn’t take that much time to point and click and scan. Also, the number of responses changes when there has been activity on a thread.

  48. NickDixon says:

    Back to the subject – it’s obvious that the Right wing is attemping to schmooze the retiree crowd with a “old versus young” message, after attempting to cut off their lifelines of Social Security and Medicare.

  49. NickDixon says:

    “That little thing with Monica would have been between just him and Mrs. Clinton if he hadn’t lied under oath about it”

    Let me see if I have this correct. If Clinton publically admitted under oath that he had an affair with Lewinsky, it would have been just between him, Lewinsky and the Mrs? Interesting concept of public information.

  50. aislander says:

    I miss AD, beerBoy, because she WAS focused on personalities, and would call a slug a slug (in much more colorful language) and then express a powerful desire to put said slug in a blender.

    There is at least one smug, self-righteous, phlegmatic slug on this forum I would love to put on “liquify…”

  51. aislander says:

    So…I guess (leaving aside the indulgence of the mainstream media and the infinite toleration of the left for abhorrent behavior) Clinton put himself in an untenable position.

    That’s why the whole distasteful episode became the problem of the American people and not only that of Mrs. Clinton…

  52. stumpy567 says:

    Lets all hope the wealth disparity between older and younger workers is at an all time high….
    The older workers have had most of their life to amass what wealth they have.
    Also, The young people of today,it seems, believe they are owed something.
    They have every right to complain but no right to accuse someone who has worked all their life for the disparity in wealth.

  53. Clinton put himself in an untenable position.

    Yes….but how many of us could have survived the intense scrutiny of public and private actions of the Starr commission? And….why was it appropriate to ask the President those questions in a legal proceeding? If it was the lie and not the sex – why the hell was the question posed in the first place.

  54. “Yes….but how many of us could have survived the intense scrutiny of public and private actions of the Starr commission?”

    If you didn’t lie about it and just said “yeah, I go me a hummer. Anything else…?”

    Done, a little moralizing, see if it sticks…

  55. aislander says:

    Because, beerBoy, the hearing in which he perjured himself was about unwanted sexual advances and a resulting violation of civil rights. Clinton’s pattern of behavior was germane to the case. You WERE alive in the ’90s, weren’t you?

  56. the hearing in which he perjured himself was about unwanted sexual advances and a resulting violation of civil rights

    And how does an investigation into accusations of financial misdealings at Whitewater turn into one about alleged sexual harassment?

  57. aislander says:

    Different Clinton scandal, beer. This one was about sexual harassment of government employees, specifically Paula Jones…

  58. Are you claiming that the Starr committee was created to investigate sexual harassment? What I remember was mission creep that boiled down to getting something, anything they could nail Clinton with.

  59. aislander says:

    I don’t recall everything about the Starr investigation, but I DO know that the judge in the Paula Jones case decided that Clinton was guilty of contempt, perjury, and obstruction, and of suborning the latter two.

    All that had nothing to do with Starr OR Whitewater, but it WAS the basis for impeachment–of which he should have been convicted, since he was obviously guilty of those charges. The poltroons in the Senate (Republican and Democrat alike) didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. But then AlGore would have assumed the Presidency, so I guess it worked out all right…

    To reiterate: only those in high office are able to commit “high crimes and misdemeanors…”

  60. The charges arose from an investigation by Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Originally dealing with the failed land deal years earlier known as Whitewater, Starr, with the approval of United States Attorney General Janet Reno, conducted a wide ranging investigation of alleged abuses including the firing of White House travel agents, the alleged misuse of FBI files, and Bill Clinton’s conduct during the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former Arkansas government employee, Paula Jones. In the course of the investigation, Linda Tripp provided Starr with taped phone conversations in which Monica Lewinsky, a former White House Intern, discussed having oral sex with Clinton.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton

    It was a fishing expedition.

  61. aislander says:

    It may have been a “fishing expedition,” but the fish didn’t have to bite. Just admit that Clinton lied under oath and tried to persuade others to lie. That is a crime for which he was fined and had to surrender his license to practice law. Since he was President, that made it a “high crime,” the punishment for which is impeachment. Sheesh!

  62. aislander says:

    So…beerBoy…according to your last post, that poor abused woman never would have gotten justice if not for the Starr investigation, even though she brought her suit with no encouragement from that investigation. Atta boy, Ken…

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