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Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY


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Why isn't it?

So a person who is born to a parent or parents who never make sute that they go to school, never take them to the doctor, never make sure they do their homework and never give them any guidance or upbringing at all is supposed to just 'go out and work hard and make it in the world'?

The foundation for all of the things it takes to make good decisions are put in place by parents and upbringing. That's a fact.

my grandparents werent worth a **** and when my parents got married my mom worked in a bakery and my father worked on barges. my father taught himself tax law and has a successful accounting business for over 30 years and my mother became one of the top managers for a national company

i guess the difference is that they decided that their parents werent the type of people they wanted to be and they made a decision to be different instead of blaming their circumstances on bad parenting. ultimately, we cant control what life throws at us but we get to decide how we respond to it

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Bully for you!! Perhaps I should restate that as "most of those prospering". Nonetheless, the statistics speak for themselves. I hope you are paying your good fortune forward!

In case you haven't heard, one of the favorite pejoratives that conservatives like to level against liberals is that we are all sheep, blindly following our leaders and being dupes of the "liberal media". Ironically, I find today that just the opposite is closer to the truth..

You should restate that, because the original claim was abjectly wrong but then thats what happens when you reason in terms of libs vs cons. I see that pejorative being exercised by both sides, so I don't associate with one way in particular.

I could care less what statistics say, they could easily show that the gap between the top income earners and the rest (myself included) has widened over the same period, and that may be true but I have prospered nonetheless. The reason I have prospered is because opportunity exists to do so. If I have prospered, then others have and more importantly can.

I am entirely for income inequality so long as opportunity is not impeded and achievement is not 'corrected' or punished. It is a paradox of our capitalistic foundation.

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Sorry, I couldn't wade through all 28 pages but I am familiar with Libertarian thought; government bad, free market good, we all have the same opportunity to game the system, let the poor fend for themselves.

I do find these quotes somewhat telling:

For decades the level of happiness inequality in the United States fell simultaneously with rising levels of income inequality

Really, and just how did you measure this happiness you speak of? The writer obviously hasn't actually talked to many poor folks.

Over time, the everyday experience of consumption among the less fortunate has become in many ways more like that of their wealthier compatriots.

:lol: Compatriots?? Right, poor folk are always complaining about the upkeep of their summer homes in the Hamptons or the tuition costs at Dartmouth and they hate it when they have to drive their Lexus because the Maserati is in the shop.

And you clearly understood nothing of what was written. Well done.

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The rich keep getting richer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them rich in the first place.

The poor keep getting poorer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them poor in the first place.

Wealth is NOT a zero-sum game. If one person becomes wealthy, it is not necessarily at the expense of someone else's wealth. In fact, more often than not, when someone becomes wealthy they enhance the wealth of people tied to them for goods and services.

So when these studies come out, I smile because its one of the few signs that everything is going the way its supposed to.

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The rich keep getting richer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them rich in the first place.

The poor keep getting poorer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them poor in the first place.

Wealth is NOT a zero-sum game. If one person becomes wealthy, it is not necessarily at the expense of someone else's wealth. In fact, more often than not, when someone becomes wealthy they enhance the wealth of people tied to them for goods and services.

So when these studies come out, I smile because its one of the few signs that everything is going the way its supposed to.

This is the truth.

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The rich keep getting richer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them rich in the first place.

The poor keep getting poorer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them poor in the first place.

Wealth is NOT a zero-sum game. If one person becomes wealthy, it is not necessarily at the expense of someone else's wealth. In fact, more often than not, when someone becomes wealthy they enhance the wealth of people tied to them for goods and services.

So when these studies come out, I smile because its one of the few signs that everything is going the way its supposed to.

Ah, Libertarian psychobabble at it's best. Tell that to the thousands that Madoff swindled or all of the ENRON employees that lost their livelihoods, not to mention retirement and benefits. How about the millions of Americans impacted by rampant speculation in the oil market or those that saw their 401k values wiped out because AIG and friends looted our entire financial system.

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Ah, Libertarian psychobabble at it's best. Tell that to the thousands that Madoff swindled or all of the ENRON employees that lost their livelihoods, not to mention retirement and benefits. How about the millions of Americans impacted by rampant speculation in the oil market or those that saw their 401k values wiped out because AIG and friends looted our entire financial system.

Ok.

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Ah, Libertarian psychobabble at it's best. Tell that to the thousands that Madoff swindled or all of the ENRON employees that lost their livelihoods, not to mention retirement and benefits. How about the millions of Americans impacted by rampant speculation in the oil market or those that saw their 401k values wiped out because AIG and friends looted our entire financial system.

Liberal psychobabble at it's best. Blowing up a couple of isolated incidences to represent the entire system. How about those of us that have seen the 401k values fall because of an economic collapse brought on by our very government's initiatives to make loans to those who weren't qualified in the first place? They far outnumber the incidences you describe. Of course if you ask me, I'll tell you that I haven't lost a dime since I'm not selling and in fact, look at this as a good thing because I'm now buying shares at blue light special prices...

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The rich keep getting richer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them rich in the first place.

The poor keep getting poorer because they keep conducting the behavior that got them poor in the first place.

Wealth is NOT a zero-sum game. If one person becomes wealthy, it is not necessarily at the expense of someone else's wealth. In fact, more often than not, when someone becomes wealthy they enhance the wealth of people tied to them for goods and services.

So when these studies come out, I smile because its one of the few signs that everything is going the way its supposed to.

so much for "a rising tide lifts all boats"...lower and middle class earners have experienced stagnating wages while upper income earners have seen their income increase considerably. that is not good under any scenario.

your post is also extremely simplistic. many people are born into poverty and never develop the skills and opportunities to rise above it. they might learn behaviors that got their parents poor, but they were poor to begin with and lacked any real opportunity to better their life.

the article that elijah posted emphasizes education, which is essential. the problem is that education is primarily funded through local property taxes, which means that poor areas have underfunded schools. there are cultural/behavioral causes of poverty, but it's wrong to completely ignore the structural/institutional causes that keep poor children from moving up the economic ladder.

and please don't tell me about someone's niece's dog's sister's cousin who was born into a dirt farm and is now a billionaire. we're talking across the entire population, and isolated anecdotes are only useful as distractions from the real problem.

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so much for "a rising tide lifts all boats"...lower and middle class earners have experienced stagnating wages while upper income earners have seen their income increase considerably. that is not good under any scenario.

your post is also extremely simplistic. many people are born into poverty and never develop the skills and opportunities to rise above it. they might learn behaviors that got their parents poor, but they were poor to begin with and lacked any real opportunity to better their life.

the article that elijah posted emphasizes education, which is essential. the problem is that education is primarily funded through local property taxes, which means that poor areas have underfunded schools. there are cultural/behavioral causes of poverty, but it's wrong to completely ignore the structural/institutional causes that keep poor children from moving up the economic ladder.

and please don't tell me about someone's niece's dog's sister's cousin who was born into a dirt farm and is now a billionaire. we're talking across the entire population, and isolated anecdotes are only useful as distractions from the real problem.

I think it's important to note that employment has grown to match the expansion of our population, and that the tiers above middle class have seen a significant rise in incomes. But it's also important to note that what is not calculated into income inequality is the amount of government transfer payments to the poor and lower middle class. Not only have these programs seen massive expansions in the past 40 years, were they to be added to the statistical averages would alter the perspective of income inequality.

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Ah, Libertarian psychobabble at it's best. Tell that to the thousands that Madoff swindled or all of the ENRON employees that lost their livelihoods, not to mention retirement and benefits. How about the millions of Americans impacted by rampant speculation in the oil market or those that saw their 401k values wiped out because AIG and friends looted our entire financial system.

Problem in a nutshell:

You equate getting rich to cheating and stealing.

Most of us equate getting rich to hard work and dedication.

The problem you have is that in the vast majority of cases, our view is accurate, and you want to extrapolate the exception to pretend it's the rule.

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I think it's important to note that employment has grown to match the expansion of our population, and that the tiers above middle class have seen a significant rise in incomes. But it's also important to note that what is not calculated into income inequality is the amount of government transfer payments to the poor and lower middle class. Not only have these programs seen massive expansions in the past 40 years, were they to be added to the statistical averages would alter the perspective of income inequality.

I'd love to see a link to back that statement up. My perception is that just the opposite is true; that beginning with Reagan money has steadily been siphoned away from The Great Society programs and gone to what amounts to welfare for the rich. This great expansion of government we've seen since the 80s hasn't gone to help the poor, it's gone to subsidize the wealthy.

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I'd love to see a link to back that statement up. My perception is that just the opposite is true; that beginning with Reagan money has steadily been siphoned away from The Great Society programs and gone to what amounts to welfare for the rich. This great expansion of government we've seen since the 80s hasn't gone to help the poor, it's gone to subsidize the wealthy.

And a fair question is begged -- why is either appropriate?

And I'm not implying a safety net should not be had, but the fact is, the safety net we have now is more than adequate barring a few minor examples that are best solved by state, not federal, action (e.g., PeachCare in Georgia rather than the feds doing a massive healthcare overhaul).

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Problem in a nutshell:

You equate getting rich to cheating and stealing.

Most of us equate getting rich to hard work and dedication.

The problem you have is that in the vast majority of cases, our view is accurate, and you want to extrapolate the exception to pretend it's the rule.

Here's the sad thing for me. The America I was raised in was based on those principals of hard work and dedication and my entire work ethic was founded on those principals. During the 50s and 60s there was a great expansion of the middle class and the American dream was alive and well. During this time we also gave a hand up to those less fortunate to allow them a chance to share in that dream. There were abundant programs to keep youth off the street and out of gangs and plenty of affordable educational opportunities to allow them to thrive.

Beginning with Reagan and his visions of welfare mothers driving Cadillacs (speaking of exceptions to the rule), things started to tilt in favor of the wealthy. Unfortunately the Madoffs and Enrons HAVE become the rule. Our entire economy has been brought to it's knees by the special interests and financvial market insiders.

All of this anger we're seeing against the government is somewhat misguided. "We The People..." ARE the government. What people should be angry at is the perversion of that government by the ultra wealthy. Our system of government has evolved into one where we allow massive legal bribes from corporate lobbyists to be paid in broad daylight to our elected officials who then turn around and enact legislation to benefit those special interests, or in some cases prevent legislation from being enacted that would harm them. The current battle to prevent healthcare reform is the latest and most egregious example of this.

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Proving that the Trickle down effect does not work. Instead of investing it in the community and creating jobs they just go out and live a more lavish life style

Who do you think benefits from the "lavish lifestyle"? How about the limo driver? Or the home builders? Or the restaurant owners?

If the rich where out spending their money, living the "lavish lifestyle", then the economy wouldn't be in a recession. The problem is people are over leveraged, and are now having to save more money to correct their debt/income ratio. It's a good thing to some extent. Americans had completely gorged on credit spending and savings were at an all time low.

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Here's the sad thing for me. The America I was raised in was based on those principals of hard work and dedication and my entire work ethic was founded on those principals. During the 50s and 60s there was a great expansion of the middle class and the American dream was alive and well. During this time we also gave a hand up to those less fortunate to allow them a chance to share in that dream. There were abundant programs to keep youth off the street and out of gangs and plenty of affordable educational opportunities to allow them to thrive.

Beginning with Reagan and his visions of welfare mothers driving Cadillacs (speaking of exceptions to the rule), things started to tilt in favor of the wealthy. Unfortunately the Madoffs and Enrons HAVE become the rule. Our entire economy has been brought to it's knees by the special interests and financvial market insiders.

All of this anger we're seeing against the government is somewhat misguided. "We The People..." ARE the government. What people should be angry at is the perversion of that government by the ultra wealthy. Our system of government has evolved into one where we allow massive legal bribes from corporate lobbyists to be paid in broad daylight to our elected officials who then turn around and enact legislation to benefit those special interests, or in some cases prevent legislation from being enacted that would harm them. The current battle to prevent healthcare reform is the latest and most egregious example of this.

Completely agree. Except the anger at the government is not misguided. The government has become too powerful and too corrupt. And they are the ones catering to special interest groups and taking bribes, why shouldn't the anger be directed at them?

Both sides have had their chance in the last 20 years and it's always more of the same. They intentionally try to polarlize Americans to keep the arguments away from the rational. They prey on stupidity and cave to the will of the majority at the expense of the minority.

republicrats1.jpg

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Here's the sad thing for me. The America I was raised in was based on those principals of hard work and dedication and my entire work ethic was founded on those principals. During the 50s and 60s there was a great expansion of the middle class and the American dream was alive and well. During this time we also gave a hand up to those less fortunate to allow them a chance to share in that dream. There were abundant programs to keep youth off the street and out of gangs and plenty of affordable educational opportunities to allow them to thrive.

I actually agree with all of this.

Beginning with Reagan and his visions of welfare mothers driving Cadillacs (speaking of exceptions to the rule), things started to tilt in favor of the wealthy. Unfortunately the Madoffs and Enrons HAVE become the rule. Our entire economy has been brought to it's knees by the special interests and financvial market insiders.

Completely disagree with this. Yes, there is corruption in the markets, but that corruption is facilitated both by business and government. Reagan asked the question "is government the solution to our problems or is government the problem?" You say government is the solution to our problems. You say that because you see business as the problem and you (falsely) pit government as a check against business, when in fact, BOTH government AND big business are the problem.

All of this anger we're seeing against the government is somewhat misguided. "We The People..." ARE the government. What people should be angry at is the perversion of that government by the ultra wealthy. Our system of government has evolved into one where we allow massive legal bribes from corporate lobbyists to be paid in broad daylight to our elected officials who then turn around and enact legislation to benefit those special interests, or in some cases prevent legislation from being enacted that would harm them. The current battle to prevent healthcare reform is the latest and most egregious example of this.

And what you want is to take government and use it as an inefficient and wasteful middle-man between we the people and the things we the people want. The latest battle to move to a single-payor system is the latest and most eggregious example of this.

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Completely agree. Except the anger at the government is not misguided. The government has become too powerful and too corrupt. And they are the ones catering to special interest groups and taking bribes, why shouldn't the anger be directed at them?

Both sides have had their chance in the last 20 years and it's always more of the same. They intentionally try to polarlize Americans to keep the arguments away from the rational. They prey on stupidity and cave to the will of the majority at the expense of the minority.

republicrats1.jpg

Here's where we diverge. We say we have the best form of government of all nations and we want to spread our Democracy far and wide, yet, we constantly demonize government as if our Democracy is the problem. For example; when someone says..."I don't want Government to take over healthcare!" they are essentially saying, "I don't want THE PEOPLE to have a say in healthcare". Healthcare has in fact been taken over by the Insurance industry. Why is that better than WE THE PEOPLE running healthcare?

Our government is at it's best when it is working for the greater good of all. The Free Market is not capable of regulating itself. We don't need total government control of anything but we do need regulation and protection against a world full of predators. We also need social programs and educational opportunities to make our world a better place and to strengthen our nation. Instead of a country where a few of the craftiest, and sometimes most unscrupulous, and perhaps downright luckiest are able to amass obscene amounts of wealth, often subsidized by our government, we should be working towards a world where all have equal opportunity and access to basic resources like healthcare.

That doesn't mean that all wealth is bad, it's not, but those who have much have a responsibility to give back to THE PEOPLE that made the accumulation of that wealth possible. Should we take someones wealth and distribute it evenly amongst us, of course not, but it is perfectly reasonable to expect those with great wealth to "pay a little more" for the greater good. The type of income disparity we are seeing today is the type of disparity that all true revolutions spring from. Don't take my word for it. Read a history book.

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Here's where we diverge. We say we have the best form of government of all nations and we want to spread our Democracy far and wide, yet, we constantly demonize government as if our Democracy is the problem. For example; when someone says..."I don't want Government to take over healthcare!" they are essentially saying, "I don't want THE PEOPLE to have a say in healthcare". Healthcare has in fact been taken over by the Insurance industry. Why is that better than WE THE PEOPLE running healthcare?

Our government is at it's best when it is working for the greater good of all. The Free Market is not capable of regulating itself. We don't need total government control of anything but we do need regulation and protection against a world full of predators. We also need social programs and educational opportunities to make our world a better place and to strengthen our nation. Instead of a country where a few of the craftiest, and sometimes most unscrupulous, and perhaps downright luckiest are able to amass obscene amounts of wealth, often subsidized by our government, we should be working towards a world where all have equal opportunity and access to basic resources like healthcare.

That doesn't mean that all wealth is bad, it's not, but those who have much have a responsibility to give back to THE PEOPLE that made the accumulation of that wealth possible. Should we take someones wealth and distribute it evenly amongst us, of course not, but it is perfectly reasonable to expect those with great wealth to "pay a little more" for the greater good. The type of income disparity we are seeing today is the type of disparity that all true revolutions spring from. Don't take my word for it. Read a history book.

You have a ton of assumptions in your post, but I just want to address one -- that "those who have much have a responsibility to give back to the people that made that accumulation of wealth possible." The assumtion -- unstated but necessary for your statement to make sense -- is that they do not.

I submit to you that Bill Gates doesn't have to give anything back on your terms. He already provides jobs, fosters innovation, improves our lives through that innovation and (yes) gives to charity by the boatload. Who are you to impose on him HOW he "gives back?"

No, the thieves and deadbeats and lowlifes who leach off of society are the ones that should give back. Not the TRULY poor and disabled, but those who manipulate the system or lie, cheat and steal. That is not a function of wealth, it is a function of productivity.

Madoff should give back. But for every Madoff there are a hundred small business owners who make a lot of money but also provide jobs, create wealth and improve our lives. That you minimize their contributions to society by implying they don't ALREADY give back is insulting.

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You have a ton of assumptions in your post, but I just want to address one -- that "those who have much have a responsibility to give back to the people that made that accumulation of wealth possible." The assumtion -- unstated but necessary for your statement to make sense -- is that they do not.

I submit to you that Bill Gates doesn't have to give anything back on your terms. He already provides jobs, fosters innovation, improves our lives through that innovation and (yes) gives to charity by the boatload. Who are you to impose on him HOW he "gives back?"

No, the thieves and deadbeats and lowlifes who leach off of society are the ones that should give back. Not the TRULY poor and disabled, but those who manipulate the system or lie, cheat and steal. That is not a function of wealth, it is a function of productivity.

Madoff should give back. But for every Madoff there are a hundred small business owners who make a lot of money but also provide jobs, create wealth and improve our lives. That you minimize their contributions to society by implying they don't ALREADY give back is insulting.

Couldn't have said it better myself...

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You have a ton of assumptions in your post, but I just want to address one -- that "those who have much have a responsibility to give back to the people that made that accumulation of wealth possible." The assumtion -- unstated but necessary for your statement to make sense -- is that they do not.

I submit to you that Bill Gates doesn't have to give anything back on your terms. He already provides jobs, fosters innovation, improves our lives through that innovation and (yes) gives to charity by the boatload. Who are you to impose on him HOW he "gives back?"

No, the thieves and deadbeats and lowlifes who leach off of society are the ones that should give back. Not the TRULY poor and disabled, but those who manipulate the system or lie, cheat and steal. That is not a function of wealth, it is a function of productivity.

Madoff should give back. But for every Madoff there are a hundred small business owners who make a lot of money but also provide jobs, create wealth and improve our lives. That you minimize their contributions to society by implying they don't ALREADY give back is insulting.

I didn't say all wealth was bad, you just assumed that was my assumption. People like Gates are a beacon for us all You ask who am I to impose on him HOW he gives back? Just the poor schmuck who helped pay for the infrastruture he built his fortune on with my tax dollars. Fortunately Gates understands this and does more than his share but many don't.

I do agree that this is also a function of productivity. The point of this post by the way was to point out the discrepancy between the average and the wealthiest .001% so that would not include the small business folks you mentioned. I support them completely and believe we should do everything we can to foster a vibrant small business sector. Bill Gates was a small business owner once and that worked out well for all of us.

I don't however believe we should foster a system where corporate executives and insiders are allowed to loot the country which is exactly what we have now.

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I didn't say all wealth was bad, you just assumed that was my assumption. People like Gates are a beacon for us all You ask who am I to impose on him HOW he gives back? Just the poor schmuck who helped pay for the infrastruture he built his fortune on with my tax dollars. Fortunately Gates understands this and does more than his share but many don't.

I do agree that this is also a function of productivity. The point of this post by the way was to point out the discrepancy between the average and the wealthiest .001% so that would not include the small business folks you mentioned. I support them completely and believe we should do everything we can to foster a vibrant small business sector. Bill Gates was a small business owner once and that worked out well for all of us.

So we agree on far more than we initially thought.

I don't however believe we should foster a system where corporate executives and insiders are allowed to loot the country which is exactly what we have now.

Agree here too, but the solution to that is NOT to allow government to step in and take over, nor is it to impose government inefficiency on the private sector. The solution is to have meaningful regulation of those who do wrong. The SEC was asleep at the switch on Madoff. No one disputes that, but the solution everyone proposes is more regulation of those who do no wrong, when in fact the regulations in place were sufficient to stop Madoff and the inefficient government merely failed to do their job.

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I'd love to see a link to back that statement up. My perception is that just the opposite is true; that beginning with Reagan money has steadily been siphoned away from The Great Society programs and gone to what amounts to welfare for the rich. This great expansion of government we've seen since the 80s hasn't gone to help the poor, it's gone to subsidize the wealthy.

I have no idea how you can say that money has been "siphoned away" from Great Society programs. The biggest Welfare Reform occurred under Clinton, and Reagan had one of the largest expansions of the EITC. Here's some data for you to review, which is focused on state spending, and doesn't incorporate all aid including the aforementioned EITC.

HHS Link

But your instincts/perception would be wrong simply because of the massive rise in entitlement spending from Medicaid, Medicare, (Great Society entitlements) and Social Security.

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Here's the sad thing for me. The America I was raised in was based on those principals of hard work and dedication and my entire work ethic was founded on those principals. During the 50s and 60s there was a great expansion of the middle class and the American dream was alive and well. During this time we also gave a hand up to those less fortunate to allow them a chance to share in that dream. There were abundant programs to keep youth off the street and out of gangs and plenty of affordable educational opportunities to allow them to thrive.

Beginning with Reagan and his visions of welfare mothers driving Cadillacs (speaking of exceptions to the rule), things started to tilt in favor of the wealthy. Unfortunately the Madoffs and Enrons HAVE become the rule. Our entire economy has been brought to it's knees by the special interests and financvial market insiders.

All of this anger we're seeing against the government is somewhat misguided. "We The People..." ARE the government. What people should be angry at is the perversion of that government by the ultra wealthy. Our system of government has evolved into one where we allow massive legal bribes from corporate lobbyists to be paid in broad daylight to our elected officials who then turn around and enact legislation to benefit those special interests, or in some cases prevent legislation from being enacted that would harm them. The current battle to prevent healthcare reform is the latest and most egregious example of this.

Well said.

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