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Forum Post: "Mitt Romney and the myth of self-created millionaires", by George Monbiot [The Guardian']

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 26, 2012, 7:55 a.m. EST by shadz66 (19979)
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"Mitt Romney and the myth of self-created millionaires",

"The parasitical ultra-rich often deny the role of others in the acquisition of their wealth - and even seek to punish them for it."

by George Monbiot.

We could call it Romnesia - the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money. To forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and introductions. To forget the workers whose labour enriched them. To forget the infrastructure and security, the educated workforce, the contracts, subsidies and bailouts the government provided.

Every political system requires a justifying myth. The Soviet Union had Alexey Stakhanov, the miner reputed to have extracted 100 tonnes of coal in six hours. The US had Richard Hunter, the hero of Horatio Alger's rags-to-riches tales.

Both stories contained a germ of truth. Stakhanov worked hard for a cause in which he believed, but his remarkable output was probably faked. When Alger wrote his novels, some poor people had become very rich in the US. But the further from its ideals (productivity in the Soviet Union's case, opportunity in the US) a system strays, the more fervently its justifying myths are propounded.

As the developed nations succumb to extreme inequality and social immobility, the myth of the self-made man becomes ever more potent. It is used to justify its polar opposite: an unassailable rent-seeking class, deploying its inherited money to finance the seizure of other people's wealth.

The crudest exponent of Romnesia is the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. "There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire," she insists. "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourselves – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising and more time working … Remember our roots, and create your own success."

Remembering her roots is what Rinehart fails to do. She forgot to add that if you want to become a millionaire – in her case a billionaire – it helps to inherit an iron ore mine and a fortune from your father and to ride a spectacular commodities boom. Had she spent her life lying in bed and throwing darts at the wall, she would still be stupendously rich.

Rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They're a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loan sharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate. Looters, in short. The richest mining barons are those to whom governments sold natural resources for a song. Russian, Mexican and British oligarchs acquired underpriced public assets through privatisation, and now run a toll-booth economy. Bankers use incomprehensible instruments to fleece their clients and the taxpayer. But as rentiers capture the economy, the opposite story must be told.

Scarcely a Republican speech fails to reprise the Richard Hunter narrative, and almost all these rags-to-riches tales turn out to be bunkum. "Everything that Ann and I have," Mitt Romney claims, "we earned the old-fashioned way". Old fashioned like Blackbeard, perhaps. Two searing exposures in Rolling Stone magazine document the leveraged buyouts which destroyed viable companies, value and jobs, and the costly federal bailout which saved Romney's political skin.

Romney personifies economic parasitism. The financial sector has become a job-destroying, home-breaking, life-crushing machine, which impoverishes others to enrich itself. The tighter its grip on politics, the more its representatives must tell the opposite story: of life-affirming enterprise, innovation and investment, of brave entrepreneurs making their fortunes out of nothing but grit and wit.

There is an obvious flip side to this story. "Anyone can make it – I did without help", translates as "I refuse to pay taxes to help other people, as they can help themselves": whether or not they inherited an iron ore mine from daddy. In the article in which she urged the poor to emulate her, Rinehart also proposed that the minimum wage should be reduced. Who needs fair pay if anyone can become a millionaire?

In 2010, the richest 1% in the US captured an astonishing 93% of that year's gain in incomes. In the same year, corporate chief executives made, on average, 243 times as much as the median worker (in 1965 the ratio was 10 times lower). Between 1970 and 2010, the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, rose in the US from 0.35 to 0.44: an astounding leap.

As for social mobility, of the rich countries listed by the OECD, the three in which men's earnings are most likely to resemble their father's are, in this order, the UK, Italy and the US. If you are born poor or born rich in these nations, you are likely to stay that way. It is no coincidence that these three countries all promote themselves as lands of unparalleled opportunity.

Equal opportunity, self-creation, heroic individualism: these are the myths that predatory capitalism requires for its political survival. Romnesia permits the ultra-rich both to deny the role of other people in the creation of their own wealth and to deny help to those less fortunate than themselves. A century ago, entrepreneurs sought to pass themselves off as parasites : they adopted the style and manner of the titled, rentier class. Today the parasites claim to be entrepreneurs.

~

qui tacet consentire ...

~

[Article copied verbatim under "Fair Use" from : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/24/mitt-romney-self-creation-myth?INTCMP=SRCH & please use this to access all embedded supporting links.]

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[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

That very same argument is used against the poor, isn't it? By putting aside the environmental circumstances that affect people's chances in life, the rich can take all the credit for being rich, and then, can conveniently turn around and blame the poor for their circumstances.

Shedding a light on this is important because Americans tend to lionize the wealthy because they buy into these arguments.

Great article. Thanks.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

The joke goes - that there is no such thing as an 'American Working Class' - only a nation full of temporary distressed millionaires, though any 'lol' is rather forced. There is little free about the 'free market', as someone somewhere always has to pay, such are the nature of "Externalities". These days, it is quite explicitly - The 99% who are simultaneously paying the cruel price all across this whole 'bw' !

The citizens of The USA are entering the fifth year of a profound economic slump that was brought on in large part, by the Government's abject failure to adequately supervise financial institutions - a matter of deliberate national policy that was justified over the years by the familiar 'Neo-Liberal Faith' that market forces would somehow cause the financial institutions to regulate themselves. Paradoxically, the main political effect of this slump seems to be the strengthening of the right-wing of The Republican Party, with its doctrinaire insistence on further deregulation, 'rugged individualism' and 'self-reliance' !!

In fact Romoney has publicly declared that regulation is one of the greatest evils facing The USA and he would like to 'liberate' banks and financial institutions from government supervision even further. In short, to rage so violently against the need for any financial supervision is a very peculiar way of responding to a severe economic downturn brought on by a largely unsupervised financial sector !!!

What has happened since 2008 seems to be something rather unique in American social history : The MSM 'mind-managed' population, converted to 'Free-Market Theory' as a response to hard times. Before the current recession (depression ?), people who had been cheated by The Banksters, would never then subsequently took that occasion to then demand that The Banksters be freed from the 'red tape' and scrutiny of The Law & indeed before 2008-12, the man on average income or the bread line or on food stamps did not ordinarily weep for the man lounging on his yacht !!!!

The 99% must say NO to : The Privatising of Profit, Gain and Opportunity and the Socialisation of Loss, Cost and Risk ; to The Duplicity of Double-Entry Book-Keeping ; to The Tyranny of Accountants and to The Despotism of The Banksters and of The Oligarchs !!!!!

I understand that people defend the principles of 'Free Market, Laissez Faire and Libertarian' notions of Capitalism (though Adam Smith himself repeatedly warned about 'The Free Hand Of The Market!) - but 'Modern High-Finance / Low Ethics - Crapitalism', is clearly a busted flush which has dragged literally hundreds of millions worldwide, down a slippery slope NOT of their own making. Resistance Is Fertile.

SOLIDARITY @ 'OWS' & The 99% Everywhere !!!

fiat justitia ...

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Great comment, thanks. Per your last paragraph, though, I don't even understand people defending the laissez-faire market, not one with truly no checks and balances, for that would be hell for most people.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

I get that. The defenders of 'theoretical free-market, laissez fair economics' show little real understanding of human beings - both their best and worst aspects. They idealise 'the workings of the market' but will never address the fundamentals of 'money'. For example any "Austrian School Economics" that doesn't reference 'Carl Menger'' is a sort of Cultic Fraud !!! Von Mises, Hayek & onto the whole Chicago School, Freidmanite BS - are all a 'weak foundations but huge theoretical super-structure' - pseudo-intellectual house of cards without Carl Menger's ideas about 'sound money' !! WTF 'Economic Theory' can anyone really ever have, without some critique of "The Theory of Money" ?!

I strongly recommend the 'Chomsky' link to you and others.

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Libertarian or Austrian economics also fails to face the true exploitative nature of capitalism in how profits are made.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

The Origins of 'The Austrian School Economists'.

In 1876 the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph hired Carl Menger (1840-1921), who would become known as the founder of the Austrian School, as tutor to his son, Crown Prince Rudolph. Menger took Prince Rudolph around Europe for three years, acquainting him with the quandary facing the undead feudal Hapsburg family and their Austro-Hungarian Empire.

  • Republic or Empire ?

The United States had recently survived the rebellion of the slave-owners, rebels armed and instigated by the British. The American republic had survived despite the pincers, Rudolf's Uncle Maximilian being put on an imperial throne over Mexico, and British troops occupying Canada.

Abraham Lincoln's America had counter-attacked, by spreading nationalism, protectionist economics, and the drive for modern industry and technological progress, to Germany, Russia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and many other nations.

Carl Menger explained to the Prince how the old feudal oligarchy of bankers and autocrats might maintain their death grip on humanity, against America's energy.

The old form of empire was breaking down. The Inquisition, the New Dark Ages religious police state imposed by the Hapsburgs on Europe, could not stand against the American ideal of separated Church and State. Austrian forces, occupying Italian principalities with mass imprisonment and executions, and Austrian sponsorship of the feudalism-mad Pope Pius IX, could not prevail against Emilio Cavour's genius. An ally of Lincoln's economist Henry Carey, Cavour unified Italy just as Lincoln became the U.S. President.

A new imperialism was required, based on global financial looting and new forms of colonial regimes outside Europe. Carl Menger explained the new Liberal economics, worked out in concert with the British Empire.

Menger warned the Prince that the enemy doctrine of national sovereignty had spread from the arch-nationalist Lincoln to German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who copied Lincoln's tariffs and railroad-building strategy.

  • The Liberal Darkness ?

Menger's new dogma, that the State must not be allowed to interfere with financial freedom — the right of imperial financiers to deploy their Money Power — took its place beside other "liberal" anti-republican instruments forged in the Hapsburgs' crypts: pessimism in literature, soulless psychology, deliberate ugliness in art, crazed atonality to overpower Mozart's and Beethoven's beauty. (Carl Menger's brother, the socialist attorney Anton Menger, crystallized this assault on the old imperial reasoning and progress into what became known as the Frankfurt School.)

Germans reacted to Carl Menger's polemics against Lincoln and Bismarck by referring derisively to the "Austrian School" — meaning those who argue for the presumed logic of imperial Free Trade economics while declining to discuss any actual history whatsoever. This is the origin of the term, Austrian School, which has identified Menger's disciples such as Hayek and von Mises and here is the 'Money Power' against which the USA has struggled throughout its history.

In Menger's day, the extended royal family of Austria, Britain, and Belgium coordinated with international bankers for nightmare colonial experiments, such as the Congo. Belgian King Leopold II had married Marie Henriette, archduchess of Austria. Emperor Franz Joseph's brother Maximillian had married Leopold II's sister Carlotta. Meanwhile, Leopold II's father, Leopold I, had arranged the marriage of his niece, British Queen Victoria, to his nephew Albert.

When Menger's student, Austrian Crown Prince Rudolph, married Leopold II's daughter Stephanie in 1881, she was the heir to the Congo, a giant province of central Africa which her father had made his private property. The Belgian Congo was the scene of such brutality and mass extermination of looted natives, that it has stood since then as the very emblem of the disgrace of latter-day imperialism.

To the present day, the Austrian School and its agents condemn as tyranny Lincoln's insistence that the Union be preserved. The Von Mises Insitute's paid writer Thomas DiLorenzo, in his hilariously misnamed book The Real Lincoln, defends secession and claims that slavery would have ended peacefully if only the United States had been successfully destroyed.

In the last chapter of Friedrich von Hayek's book, 'The Road to Serfdom', Hayek demands that national governments be prevented from interfering with international trade: a global police force must be set up, to usher in the final world empire of Free Trade.

This is the heritage and rationale of the Austrian School, which teaches that the American People nor any other people have the right to defend their lives and their families against the Money Power.

I also append herewith, a highly relevant article :

e tenebris, lux ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

[I am grateful to forum-poster 'arturo', as the comment above is substantially culled from his comment : http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-ows-is-wrong/#comment-769903 and is posted here to provide some context and historical perspective on 'The Cult of The Austrian School of Economists', so thanx 'bw' for raising the matter of 'faux-libertarianism' here.]

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Thanks for that interesting and important history. So many people today are clinging to the ideas of libertarianism without really understanding the economic side of it. Also, interestingly, I can't help but think back to the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and it's colonial roots and perhaps, now, the Austrian economic influence on it, as well. Hmmm.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

'Libertarianism' as understood in The USA does not even see, acknowledge or address 'Left Libertarian' / 'Libertarian Socialist' tradition. For America's most well known 'Libertarian Socialist', please see :

Your deep point re. Rwanda has the harsh echoing sound of history marching through the present to an uncertain future. The atrocities of Congo and Rwanda/Burundi under the Cruel Belgian Overlordship are some of the most terrible hidden genocides in history.

respice ; adspice ; prospice ....

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Well said. It's important to point to the differences between libertarianism and libertarian socialism. Very different animals.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Thank-you 'bw' and to further facilitate the realisation and full appreciation of the profound differences between these "very different animals", I append this recent thread by poster 'struggleforfreedom80' :

SOLIDARITY @ u, OWS & The 99% Everywhere !!

ad iudicium ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Good that you posted that link. I was thinking of sff, too, when I wrote that because he has done such a wonderful job here.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

With a view from the above link & also to 'DTGLDC' excellent comment on this thread, I further append :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

If our society was more love-based and less fear-based implementing an economic system such as that suggested by dtgldc would seem natural. Let's hope we can move in that direction.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

What you address here is absolutely the core issue facing society today. How can we accentuate the 'L<3VE VIBRATION', mercy, compassion, kindness, caring for each other, our neighbours & this 'bw'? Thus, these three links :

"Love, love is a verb - love is a doing word ; fearless on our breath".

Finally, a very insightful article : "The Libertarian Con : Favorite 'Rebel' Ideology of the Ruling Class" ; http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/libertarian-con-favorite-rebel-ideology-ruling-class .

verbum satis sapienti ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

Thanks for all the great links. I especially like that last article. Lots of interesting facts there about young people in America today.

Great version of "Teardrop," too, but to listen here in the U.S. you'll need this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuIyY5wwHdw

[-] 3 points by agkaiser (1321) from Fredericksburg, TX 1 year ago

Your tactics, and the strategy I infer from them, are brilliant. I wish my feeble attempts to undermine defenses were half as cogent and competent as your assault on them.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Thanx for your kind and encouraging comment however, in truth - sometimes "tactics and ... strategy" reveal themselves 'after the fact' - as spontaneity is 'reverse engineered' into 'praxis'. I often read your comments here on the forum, with much interest and appreciation even if I don't always get around to saying so and they are very far indeed from "feeble". Finally, I recommend :

verb. sat. sap. ...

[-] 3 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 1 year ago

"As the developed nations succumb to extreme inequality and social immobility, the myth of the self-made man becomes ever more potent. It is used to justify its polar opposite: an unassailable rent-seeking class, deploying its inherited money to finance the seizure of other people's wealth."

It is important that workers understand that basic economic fact. Investment enables the rich to exploit workers. It enables them to take most of the income that workers create.

In capitalism, half of all the income workers produce gets paid to a small handful of gamblers who got lucky investing in the market, as shown here, and most of what remains gets paid to a small handful of people who have bargaining power merely because they are unique like athletes and celebrities.

The vast majority of the workers who produce everything - the engineers, doctors, construction workers, factory workers, miners, farmers, teachers - have to fight over the little income that remains.

Even though worker productivity is $65 per hour, as shown here, which is enough to make every worker wealthy, most workers are broke because they only get paid a tiny fraction of the $65 per hour they produce. Most of that $65 unfairly gets paid to the lucky and unique.

Because of capitalism's exploitation, 50% of Americans are living in or near poverty, according to the latest census.

The only fair economic system is one which pays workers 100% of the income, since they do 100% of the work, which pays no income to investors since they do no work, and which pays you based on how hard you work, not based on how lucky or unique you are. That economic system is called socialism, as explained here.

If the economy was socialist and paid workers 100% of the income and paid them based on how hard they work, it would pay workers from $115,000 to $460,000 per year, as explained here, for working just 20 hours per week, as explained here.

Workers need to understand these basic economic facts and organize into a single union so they have the power to demand socialism.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (19202) 1 year ago

I think this is one of the best comments ever on the forum. I know you've been posting here for a long time, but for some reason, I finally get what you are saying. I agree about the exploitation that comes with capitalism and that there is plenty of wealth in this country for all to share in. Thanks for all the work you've done here. It is very out-of-the-box, but very valuable as we debate what direction our economic system should go in.

[-] 2 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3213) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Thanks!

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Excellent comment and links 'DTGLDC'. Thanx. From your link 4/6 :

  • "About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure."

Thus, further to the matter above, I also append the following :

fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (3985) 1 year ago

Have known some people who inherited lots of money. They all had some silly little business as a front, that never made a penny, and expected everyone to believe they made their fortune with it.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

I hear you loud and clear about that 'Nev1'. Further re 'Mitt for B(r)ains', I append a further article that may be of interest to you :

ad iudicium ...

[-] 3 points by Nevada1 (3985) 1 year ago

good article---says so much

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

I append a link to another very recent article, which may well be of close interest to you 'Nev1' :

pax ...

[-] 3 points by Nevada1 (3985) 1 year ago

Thank You

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

Nice article.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Thanx & for more by George Monbiot : http://www.monbiot.com/ . pax et lux ...

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

The Animation's Full Title = "After capitalism : 'We deserve a political and economic system that redistributes both wealth and the decisions about how it is used'" - (Video, 3:19) & thanx 'TNYC' for the excellent contribution above ~:-)

ad iudicium ...

[-] 1 points by UntilUKnow (35) 1 year ago

If you'd like to know who the majority of these "Takers" are (I mean specifically) and their method by which they now accumulate their wealth in the 21st Century, read the following. It's from my post entitled The Real "Takers": Here are the real “Takers” (aka:the face of the One Percent). Check this site out: SECForm4.com Info derived from the SEC's EDGAR database. It’s a site that allows traders to track Trading Activity for Insiders. You know, Board Members like CEO’s, Directors, VP’s, and others, who are supposed to be "Investors". But when you take a look, you'll see that most of them have not put up a penny. These people are NOT Investors. It's just plain GIVEN to them as Options, Gifts, or Awards. In "addition" to what they are paid for their Corporate roles. And when you see the amount of $$$, you won't believe it! You do not have to be a trader to figure this out, When Romney began his run for President, I decided to look into his baby. You know, BAIN! Man oh man, talk about the “bane” of mankind? I've seen a lot of companies on this site, but Bain is a whole different animal. Just do this: Go to http://www.secform4.com/insider-trading Type BAIN into the “Search by Company or Insider Name” box. Click “Search”. When your browser appears, click on the first link. When it takes you back to SECForm4, choose “All Data” in the top left box. Like I said, you don’t have to be a trader to understand what’s going on. Especially when you realize that all this $$$ is only taxed at 15%. Yup, that’s what they call CAPITAL GAINS! You know, what Romney & Ryan want to drop down to 0%. Zero tax. NOTHING! Bain happens to be Romney’s baby. He created it, along with their MO. But there are thousands of other Bains out there. Maybe not quite as bad, but take a look for yourself and you be the judge. Just plug in any public corporation’s name and see for yourself. Make you wonder, just how much is enough?

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 1 year ago

"Mormon Royalty" I'd guess would not be going hungry or end up driving a taxi I'd suppose.

The Romney family, prominent in U.S. politics and other professions,[1] is most known for its connection with George Romney (born in 1907 in Colonia Dublán, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico; died in 1995 at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), 43rd governor of Michigan (1963–1969) and his son, Mitt Romney, 70th governor of Massachusetts, and Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States in 2012. George Romney's father was Gaskell Romney[2][3][4][5] (born, 1871, St. George, Utah; died, 1955, Salt Lake City, Utah), and his mother was Anna Amelia Pratt.[6][7] Anna's grandfather was renowned early Mormon leader Parley Parker Pratt.[8][9][10]

Based upon the family's heritage going back to the first Mormon generation and to their modern-day prominence in business, politics, and as part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, authors Richard and Joan Ostling have written variously that the Romneys are "an LDS political dynasty"[11] and that "The Romneys are LDS royalty."[12] The family is linked by marriage to the Smith family,[6] and has a lateral relationship with the Matheson family, the Huntsman family,[13][14] and the Eyring family.[15] A branch of the Romneys reside in the Mormon colonies in Mexico.[16][17] The Romney family emigrated to the United States from Dalton-in-Furness, England in the 1840s.[18][19]

For more details on the notable relations of Anna Pratt, the wife of Gaskell Romney, see Pratt family.

The Romney Mexico connectiobnas a sidebar is intersting because these Mormons emigrated to Mexico in order to continue with polygamy in spite of the supposed ban on polygamy declared in public several different times by the church leader. Interesting then that they felt they had to flee the US. Maybe the leader was talking out of one side of his mouth while the flock took the wink and nod> Relevant today?

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

So glad you brought up the whole polygamy thing!

Mitt Romney's father was born in Mexico but not to polygamous parents. You have to go back to his great grandparents before you hit a polygamous marriage. (known facts)

Barack Obama's own FATHER was a polygamist and so was his grand father. (known facts)

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Obama is not "royalty" by way of his dad's genes. And I guess you miss this pont: The Mormon Church officially disavowed polygamy several times and yet and still after the first disavowal there were these Mormons, Romney's antecendents included hightailing it out of the US because they felt their religous liberty was being infringed upon in that they couldn't do polygamy. So the question is this-- was the Mormon official disavowal of polygamy a based on a religious revelation as is claimed or was it a political public relations move coming from a pack of liars? If the Mormon god had finally forbad (twice at least- not counting the book of Mormon which is deceptive in forbidding polygamy when indeed polygamous they were) why would Mormons "flee" the United States for Mexico in order to be polygamous? If it was a lie in 1912 why is it not a lie in 2012?

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Romney is also not "royalty" in any sense despite what the Ostlings might think.

The practice ended in 1890 when the then President of the Church issued what is known as the Manifesto. Not everyone who was a member of the LDS Church was authorized or allowed to practice polygamy even when it was practiced, and not all of the people who joined or moved to the LDS Mexican settlements were polygamists.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 1 year ago

The purpose of the Mexican settlement was to continue on with the practice of polygamy. That's not in dispute. Also it was necessary for the Mormon Church to repeat in 1904 the same manifesto. Why was that? Caught cheating!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy#1904_second_manifesto_banning_plural_marriage

Caught cheating again in 1943!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy#Instance_of_plural_marriage_in_1943

Other posts here document Romney's mendacity. They speculate about his psyche. Is he a sociopath!? Well he is a Mormon. A lying Mormon.

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Your posts here prove more about you than anything anyone else claims Romney has said or meant.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Yeah , that I know my Mormonism and will intercept liars like you who come here to try and rehabilitate Mormonism's image among progressives.

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

No, all you know is your Anti-Mormon propaganda. I don't lie and I couldn't care less about Mormonism's image among progressives or anyone else. I do however present facts for readers to consider on their own.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 1 year ago

You have not refuted one single thing I've said here or on my website

http://nomormonpresidentnomittromney2012.blogspot.com/

Readers who are interested can also follow the discussion on this post:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/mitt-romneys-magic-mormon-underwear/

The Mormon apologists ran from that one after meeting the resistance of facts and truth.

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

I believe I have refuted plenty here AND you have successfully established that you cannot even tell the truth about people you say you admire and celebrate. Thanks for that.

I have no need nor feel any duty to refute everything you say here or on your website.

www.mormon.org and www.fairlds.org will provide all the counter response anyone here wants or needs to hear.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

We don't communicate so well but thanx 'BR'. I really quite liked your link. I would point out to others tho' that : a) It is from 'Forbes', whose magazine along with 'The Economist' is house journal to The 0.01% &, b) there is no allusion to The US Corporate MIC (as warned about by President Eisenhower!) - although 'Campbell's Soups' does get a look in, lol !!! Thanx again.

verum ex absurdo ...

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Did Forbes make the link or did they just publish it? Source is important.

Just think a correct understanding needs to be established that the financial industry does NOT make up the majority of the 1%. Many of the industries where the "rich" are today were incredibly small or nonexistent 50 years ago.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Source is important and it was your source. It's fair for me to to infer and nuance and my points still apply. The "financial industry" is the enabler of global fraud, larceny, debt-servitude & "Extraction"'!!!

They are at the root of the problem !! Your concern for them is as touching as it is baffling !

multum in parvo ...

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Nerdwallet produced the graph.

I'm not concerned for the financial industry. I'm merely pointing out where the "wealthiest" 400 made their millions.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

So, you're "not concerned for the financial industry" yet you "just think a correct understanding needs to be established that the financial industry does NOT make up the majority of the 1%" !!! Ohhhkaaay 'BR', thanx for that !! The only thing that is important here, is that YOU know what you are talking about and why, as my confusion is neither here nor there !

temet nosce ...

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Drop one of these so called self made men on an island with every possible resource, except other peoples labor, and we will see how much they can make of themselves.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Um....if he's the only person on and island with every available resource he wouldn't have to make anything of himself. He'd have to make stuff FOR himself if he wanted it, but there wouldn't be a whole lot of demand would there?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Exactly. Without other peoples labor and other peoples demand, his talent produces almost nothing. He is completely dependent on others for his wealth.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Yes, but then everything on the island-all of it's resources belong to him. Wealth doesn't have to mean money.

And you didn't establish what kind of talent this man had or did not have. If he was a brilliant architect or engineer he might build a fabulous house for himself, an intricate irrigation system etc. If he knows something about fiber and fabric he might weave beautiful cloth, create wicker furniture, etc. If he has a science background he could distill liquors and create fuel, if he's a gourmet, he can produce fabulous food to eat etc.

Your assumption seems to be that rich people are not intelligent in any practical way and therefore this rich man would die just standing around waiting for a butler to show up. Raw man power is NOTHING unless you also have the knowledge required to direct it in productive ways.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Let's say he was a great architect. If he didn't also know metallurgy, he couldn't make the tools to cut the lumber to make his great house.

Have you watched the TV show "Undercover Boss"? The CEO of Chiquita bananas hired on as an entry level worker to see what it was like from an employee's perspective. One of his jobs was to pick up trash off the ground. He literally failed at this most unskilled of all jobs and was let go.

Even though his talent was obviously managing a large company, his talents were more mental than physical. Other employees were a varied mix of both.

The whole purpose of the man on an island example is to show that even a man with great knowledge in one area can't accomplish much without the incredible variety of skills of other people. It's not strictly brain power versus muscle power. It's group effort. And each one of those people deserves a fair share of the wealth that their labor produces. Not just the CEO and shareholders.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

By the same logic, you might also drop a manual laborer off on the same island and his talents would produce almost nothing either.

Many companies DO give their employees shares of the company on top of wages so that the employees are vested in the success of the company as well. Many companies also provide retirement funds for their employees and match their employees contributions up to a certain point so that their employees benefit from the labor of others as well.

At some point the CEO and the investors might have LABORED with their own hands/efforts for the money they saved up to invest in a company together. And every dollar they invest could have gone anywhere else they wanted it to-even squandered on themselves or burned as fireplace fuel. That they chose to build a company with it that in turn employs other people is something that has to be more rewarding to them than any other purpose would be or they have no reason to invest it at all.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

True. A manual laborer dropped off on an island wouldn't be very productive either.

The majority of companies do not share the profit. Half the workers in the U.S. make $26,000 or less. $12.50 an hour or less based on a 40 hour work week. Many much less because they are limited to part time work to avoid being paid any benefits.

http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2010

Investing money in and building a business is a good thing. The owner and investors should prosper, but the employees should prosper as well.

The problem begins when a few at the top obtain their wealth not from the business alone, but at the expense of the employees. Walmart has 1.5 million employees in the U.S. If they are under paid by just $1 an hour, Walmart makes over $3 billion in additional profit per year.

This is one reason why the top 1% make over 20% of all income and why the lower 90% have not had a real raise in 40 years.

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/who-gains/#/?start=1968&end=2008

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

I know the statistics.

But do the "half of the workers in the US that make $26,000 or less" all work for large, evil corporations? How many of them do?

How many of the above workers are kids 16-20? How many of them are supporting a family or even themselves completely on that income? What assumptions should/can we make with any credibility unless we compare all the factors that exist?

How many companies do or do not share the profits? Which ones are they? Can we honestly lump ALL COMPANIES into the same pile and smack the same label on them?

I HATE generalizations of ALL kinds because the world simply doesn't operate in a clone like way.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

It doesn't matter if the lower 50% of workers work for companies like Walmart or the corner market. It doesn't matter if some are teens and some have families. When discussing wealth inequality we have to generalize. We can't sort through 310 million individual cases. We have to group people in broad categories to get a general understanding of why so few have so much.

If you are saying it's unfair to say all businesses underpay their employees, that's true. But looking at the overall level of wealth inequality shown in the previous graph, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the vast majority of companies either over charge for their products, underpay their employees, or both.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

It DOES matter because all it takes is for someone to know one or two good, honest employers that are trying to do the right thing for them to REJECT your generalizations as unfair/biased. Your message doesn't get through because people don't find it to be true-either by gut instinct or actual experience.

It also only takes each person knowing or knowing of one or two poor people who ARE taking advantage of the system for them to doubt that ALL "the poor" you speak of are innocent, completely oppressed victims of the system.

Most people don't like negative generalizations when they are applied to them, or someone they love or respect, by someone else. You can't demand or expect people to "become more fair" by being unfair yourself.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Agree. Generalisations suck.

When people talk about Americans, do they realise how many ways there are to be "American"??

I've been talking to a guy here about doing away with folding money. He's assuming that the whole world is up to speed with PDA's and the interknob.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Um.....no...no the whole world is NOT up to speed. LOL

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Half the U.S. population makes $12.50 an hour or less. It is not biased or generalized. It is a fact. Or the fact that the lower 90% of the population haven't had a raise in 40 years. Stating facts is not unfair. Continuing to believe in and spread the fallacy of wealth fairly divided among the American people is unfair.

Because one person works for a company that pays a good wage and they know a few poor people who taking advantage of the system does not change the fact of wealth inequality in America.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Half of the US WORKING population makes $12.50 an hour or less. That is the fact.

But many of the households on the low end of the scale ALSO get government benefits and subsidies that should be included in determining what people live on.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/16/156688596/what-americans-earn

When you include government subsidies and benefits, only 1 in 4 households (24.9%) actually survives on $25,000 a year or less. (Note-households can be one person or two or ten)

75% of American households have higher income than that. When you look at the chart it's easier to see the way wealth is actually distributed among American households.

Now you can say that 90% of the population hasn't had a raise in 40 years-but most of the people I know-friends and family- haven't been working for 40 years and have seen multiple increases in their income and job status since they started working. And NONE of those people are in the top 10% as far as income goes. So if we're all part of the bottom 90% and we HAVE seen raises in income during the past 40 years-I view your statistic as merely a false generalization rather than a "fact" and unfair.

[-] 2 points by Buttercup (1067) 1 year ago

Most of the people you 'know' is not macro economic data! You effing kidding me!! Or even an accurate representative sampling. lol.

Real wages, for lower and middle income workers, adjusted for inflation, at a macro level, for the bottom 90%, has not increased for 30 years. It's a fact. On a 'share' basis, share of income has - in fact - decreased. Perhaps for each person you know that has recieved a raise, if that raise has kept up with inflation, or even managed to outpace inflation, there may be 10 or 50 others that have seen their real inflation adjusted incomes go down. Like, gee, I don't know - maybe their jobs got... shipped overseas! Which drags down the average. Jeesh.

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/42729

Your chart is meaningless. A point in time snapshot of incomes? wtf does that prove? As well as says nothing about the cost of living. Nothing. Completely meaningless. What is meaningful - is the trend, over time, on an inflation adjusted basis.

Ignore the negative affects of lower and middle class wage stagnation and wealth inequality to the detriment of all of us.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/05/joseph-stiglitz-the-price-on-inequality

And I certainly hope you're not going trot out that sick right wing argument about how since lower income people might have air conditioning, a coffee maker and a tv, everything must be just fine, blah blah blah. That's right. Poor people in the US have coffee makers! and way more than poor people in Rwanda! Everything is going just great. lmao.

[-] -2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

This is what HE said:

"Or the fact that the lower 90% of the population haven't had a raise in 40 years."

I responded to that. Your assumptions and opinions are entirely your own.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

If someone made $30,000 a year in 1982, and now makes $71,000 a year in 2012 doing the same job. How much did their income increase?

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Someone who hasn't had a "raise" in 30 years would still be making $30,000 (I assume you meant 30K and not 3 or 3k) in 2012. That's what "raises" are-increases in income.

Inflation for the period between 1982 and 2012 was 2.40%.

[-] 2 points by Buttercup (1067) 1 year ago

That's the average annual rate for the period. Do you understand the concept of compound interest?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compound_interest

It works the same with inflation.

http://www.inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Yes I forgot a zero. Thanks for pointing out my error. It should be $30,000.

"Inflation for the period between 1982 and 2012 was 2.40%"

I think you meant 240%?

The answer to my question? That person's real income didn't increase at all. Because of inflation, the number of dollars received every year increased, but the value of those dollars did not. All of the raises that person received over thirty years just kept pace with inflation. That person couldn't buy any more goods and services today than they did thirty years ago, even though there are now over twice as many dollars to spend.

The perception of our incomes rising is false for the majority of Americans. The salaries have climbed over the last 40 years, but the reality is that their buying power has not climbed at all, it remains the same.

During this 40 year period, national productivity increased by 80%. The vast majority of Americans did not share in this great increase in wealth. This is a national disgrace.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Comparing income by household instead of by individual distorts the truth. Four roommates sharing a house with a combined income of $60,000 is still minimum wage. That's four people making $7.25 an hour working full time.

Individual income is the proper figure to use to determine the level of wealth inequality. Benefits, subsidies, food stamps, capital gains, interest, dividends, Etc. should also be included. There is no distortion here.

Using the average income per worker of roughly $110,000 per year gives a benchmark to compare the incomes of various groups. Just to make an average income in America, you need to earn about $83,000 a year. Add to that the 30% in average benefits normally paid to reach the $110,000 figure. Even people with doctorate degrees in America only make an average income.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Historical_median_personal_income_by_education_attainment_in_the_US.png

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Four roommates sharing a house are also paying 1/4 the electricity, water, rent etc. For God's sake, you act like people don't do that every day and do just fine!

The average income is NOT $110,000 a year per worker. And I know people without doctorates that earn close to $100,000 a year. Depends on what that doctorate is in doesn't it?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Just because four people share a house does not justify unfair wages. When the average income is $110,000 a year, but a minimum wage worker receives just one seventh of that amount, or a college graduate with a masters receives just two thirds, it becomes clear that wages and salaries in our country are terribly out of balance.

I understand your disbelief. I was surprised too, peeling back the layers of economic information available on the web. It shatters your confidence in everything you have been taught to believe about this country. And that is the problem, much of what we were taught is a lie.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

GDP per capita is $48,000 a year in the U.S., GDP per worker is roughly double. 310 million population divided by 150 million workers. Add another 10% because some workers don't work full time. Roughly $110,000 per worker. Also notice GDP per capita in the U.S. is only ranked 13th in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita

I already provided the link to income by level of education here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Historical_median_personal_income_by_education_attainment_in_the_US.png

Because you know some people with doctorates making $100,000 a year is meaningless. It only matters what the average person with a doctorate makes.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 1 year ago

Apparently he means the average for MDs and JDs.

Year-round full-time workers with a professional degree had an average income of $109,600 while those with a Master's degree had an average income of $62,300.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

I'd just like to point out that I was offered $65k as the starting salary for my first job offer -- in 1996. (Turned it down because I'm a bit like richardkentgates in a few respects.) But people still won't listen to me when I talk about how people should be training for computer and networking careers.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

The levels of Class Hate, Hubris & Hypocrisy amongst the oh, so entitled Parasitic 'Rentier Returns' Extracting 0.01% is outside most people's worst imagination. For an insight in to where this has got The US 99%, please watch and consider :

Consider : "Addiction is a kind of insanity. The American people have been addicted by relentless indoctrination to the worship of a cynically concocted fantasy version of their country. Realisation of the problem is a very big part of its ultimate solution."

ad iudicium ...

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

How does the level of indoctrination in the U.S. compare to the U.K.?

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Re. "indoctrination", The UK is 'catching up' fast in that regard but people can still use the word "Socialism" throughout The UK & Europe without anyone actually being ostracised or shunned!

verum ex absurdo ...

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Good post, sir.

The only place that can create money on it's own is the Federal Reserve.

[-] 0 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Your point has much value but also these days - Banks can create 'Credit' on a whim by keystoke too. Re. "The Fed", Bill Still's films "The Money Masters" and "The Secrets of Oz" give real historical perspectives & both can be found here : http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/category/economics/ .

More pertinently to your point re. 'money creation' and the wider issues of this thread, 'Occupy The SEC' ( http://www.occupythesec.org/ ) is a critical, technical arm of "Occupy" & well worth consideration. Further, on 'Money & Debt', I also append :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Fractional Reserve Banking at it's finest for the banksters!

"the creation of money by private financial institutions as interest-bearing debts should cease once and for all"

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Can you make a post called "Free Information" filled with all of your favorite links on different topics?

You always post good links and it would be nice to have a forum post to go back to and check out a new link on different days.

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

Any attached links are usually pertinent to the subject & I would feel rather strange just attaching links without context. You can always search the most recent 'forum-posts' by any poster with "user:xyz" in your case ; user:TrevorMnemonic in the grey search box under the yellow 'donate' tab at the right hand side of the site tool bar, which in my own case - would reveal all my posted links on my 'forum-posts'.

pax ...

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[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

You're welcome and to follow, I also append two short articles & a tune :

fiat lux ...

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

I'd agree that Quigley's list could go much further but will Top Down Reform expecting Turkeys to vote for Thanxgiving, really ever be enough ? Ohbummer has been half-hearted in his first term and if re-elected his Corporate Controllers seen unlikely to untether him - though of course, 'Hope Springs' & all that. Also, re. the forum-post, your comments and TPTB behind the scenes, this is such a good "Koch Exposure" (ahem) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTwqkl8BqSc of what Americans are up against.

e tenebris, lux ...

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[-] -1 points by shadz66 (19979) 1 year ago

You don't buy my "argument", yet you made points that back it ! Sweet !! Trust me - I could 'argue' & provide link after link to back what I could say !!!

However perhaps on a very long shot, Oblahblah may have the possibility of surprising us all in a second term where he doesn't have 're-election anxieties' but I personally have little (tending towards 'no') 'hope' that he'll 'change'. In truth, Obomber is only a symptom of 'The Corporate Capture' problem in The U$A & he's not 'all The problem' or even 'most' of it !!

Re, The Core issues facing American Citizens and further to the subject matter of the 'forum-post', for some very real insights, please try to see this !

fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

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[-] -1 points by TheRazor (-329) 1 year ago

So whats the answer? High taxes and straight income transfers?

Closed economy with employee owership of all production?

[-] -3 points by yobstreet (-575) 1 year ago

The UK should really focus more on their own decrepit society.