Archive for May 31st, 2014

In the early development of Western European governments, say around 1100 AD, kings loosely ruled over kingdoms, and the members of the aristocracy liked that because having a king meant political and economic stability, more or less. If a king died without a successor, then anarchy reigned during the process to replace the monarch. If a king ruled who was weak, and or cruel to the nobility, such as Edward II of England, they were replaced via revolution, poison, or some other form of aristocratic treachery. The nobility preferred a king who taxed them little (unless high taxation was necessary to maintain their status) and kept the peasant class under their thumb, and working for the nobility for the most minimum of subsistence.

Western governments slowly changed in form, but not necessarily in substance, always favoring the rich and powerful, until the Great Depression. That’s when the little people got government working for them, as well as for the rich and powerful. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt raised the marginal top tax rate to 91 percent, which for him, acted as a maximum wage and suppressed the political power of the corporate class, whose policies of redistributing income from the 99 percent to themselves via government had led the USA into the worst economic crisis in its history. That doesn’t mean any of the rich actually paid 91 percent at even the highest portion of their income because they had many deductions.

The Reagan tax cuts and subsequent tax cuts unleashed the power of the modern rich to manipulate government at all levels, and especially the federal level, to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via legislation, such as free trade treaties, more tax cuts for the rich, privatization scams, etc….

In the video above, economist Thomas Piketty discusses his new book about how the economic power the 1 percent has robbed the 99 percent of their livelihoods and their democracy.

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