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"Bloodiest Thing the World Has Seen": David Cay Johnston on Inequality's Looming Disaster

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: revolution, economy, ethics, constitution, congress, politics, inequality, unions, gerrymandering, voting, law enforcement, Wall Street, Geitner, Obama )

- 1756 days ago -
..."Divided" reminds us how inequality is one of those rare problems that truly matters to all of us...whether American democracy can survive such great economic disparities, and how returning to a more equal society is literally a matter of life and death.


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Lady Suki (446)
Wednesday May 28, 2014, 7:26 pm
This is what caused the French Revolution and the killing of the Czar's family in Russia.

P A (117)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 5:52 am
Thanks for this Lynn - an excellent, horrifying and utterly true article.

Many people have been saying for years that if this inequality goes on increasing we will be due the same horrors as the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution - but the 1% just don't care, just as they didn't then. Perhaps they feel that with their security guards and arms they could survive such horrors, I don't know.

I just know that innocent people will suffer and I care deeply about that, even though the 1% patently don't - all they want is 'more, more, more!'.

Terrie Williams (798)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 6:09 am
Thanks, Lynn. What I just can't ever wrap my head around is the FACT that the majority of people around the world remain ignorant of history and are, therefore, doomed to repeat it---over and over and over again. Like a Karmic Cycle that can never be broken away from. Here were are, yet again, flashing back from a bad acid trip to the 'Gilded Age' of _________(insert disparity here). You name it, we are facing it yet again. Americans need to wake the hell up and smell the burning effigies and get their pitchforks ready. Only this time around, I fear it will be much bloodier and more savage than the French Revolution. There are a lot of old scores to be settled, obscene wealth theft is just one of them.

Lona G (66)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 10:01 am
Scary but a real possibility if things continue as they are. The 1% have one thing in their favour. though: the climate change which they keep denying. By the time things come to a boiling point, people are perhaps too busy with day-to-day survival of climatic onslaught with the little means they have left, they might not have the time or means to go up against those who reaped the benefits of denial.

. (0)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 2:30 pm
Thanks for the article.

Edwin M (346)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 5:09 pm
Thanks Lynn

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 8:03 pm
We are coming apart as a society, and inequality is right at the core of that. When the 90 percent are getting worse off and they’re trying to figure out what happened, they’re not people like me who get to spend four or five hours a day studying these things and then writing about them — they’re people who have to make a living and get through life. And they’re going to be swayed by demagogues and filled with fear about the other, rather than bringing us together.

And this is certainly happening, we see the split grow ever larger between the right and left and splits within. You have the extremist on the right, mostly referred to as the Tea Party, and other Republicans, however we see now, Corporate monies are even defeating the Tea Party when they find an even more suitable Candidate that will sing their tune better as they did in Texas. Someone with some smarts and not just hating the Govt. After all the Corporations can still use the Govt. to do what it needs doing, leaving blood on their hands and off of their own. The left is being broken by those who remain with the Democrats and those who have grown impatient with them, can see the Corporate influence there as well and are moving to the 3rd Parties.

As the article said; We’re still living in the age of Reaganism; that has not come to an end yet. But we now have 33 years of empirical evidence that what Reagan promised didn’t work. If it did, if what Reagan and George W. Bush promised us worked, we would be swimming in jobs today.

And I agree with his statement on Obama, yes, he has been dealt a terrible hand but........he has consistently sided with Wall Street, whether it’s not prosecuting the criminality which brought down the economy in 2008, or supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And so he’s just a really good example of where what he says and what he does don’t align.

President Obama wants very much to be … the great uniter. And if you’re going to bring about the kind of change we need, there’s going to be a lot of divisiveness about it; and he just doesn’t have a stomach for it, it’s not who he is. He’s the “Can we please get along here together?” guy.

I hope we can make the changes without bloodshed but the longer this goes on and the deeper the divide, the more people are made to suffer, it's only a matter of time before the lid blows off. If the Wealthy were wise it would be to give some back to the masses as they would still live extremely well and comfortable and keep it from boiling over whereby one never knows how things will turn out.

Lynn S (235)
Thursday May 29, 2014, 11:17 pm
I remember in grade 12 history, we studied a book about revolutions. From Wikipedia, "The Anatomy of Revolution is a book by Crane Brinton outlining the "uniformities" of four major political revolutions: the English Revolution of the 1640s, the American, the French, and 1917 Russian Revolution. Brinton notes how the revolutions followed a life-cycle from the Old Order to a moderate regime to a radical regime, to Thermidorian reaction." When I read this article, I was drawn back to that history class. Again from Wikipedia " The revolutions begin with problems in the pre-revolutionary regime. These include problems functioning — "government deficits, more than usual complaints over taxation, conspicuous governmental favoring of one set of economic interests over another, administrative entanglements and confusions". There are also social problems, such as the feeling by some that careers are not "open to talents", and economic power is separated from political power and social distinction. " So inequality fits ever so well into this scenario.

With the direction that life is taking, seeing various civil wars, seeing and living through some of the injustices of 21st century life, one can see how we might just be sitting on a powder keg. I am hopeful that a bloody revolution is not necessary, that we will find ways towork things out.

Thanks every one.

Gene J (286)
Friday May 30, 2014, 9:24 am
"We will either, through peaceful, rational means, go back to a system that does not take from the many to give to the few in all these subtle ways, or we will end up like 18th century France. And if we end up in that awful condition, it will be the bloodiest thing the world has even seen."

I've said this before but it bears repeating, every society which has had as large a gap between the poorest and the richest has fallen apart, from within. He's right when he says students may someday sit down and read "the United States was". That the wealthiest do not understand that it is in their own best interest to ensure greater wealth equality just proves that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And doom is the proper word. What we have now cannot sustained. I read an article earlier in the week that said last year the average CEO's salary topped 10 million dollars for the first time, that is ALL of them. Compensation packages got a hard look during the recession's deepest trough but all that happened is that boards shifted pay to stock options and the stock market has done just fine. Those people average 8.8% increase in wealth while the rest of us suffered, while the republicans eliminated unemployment benefits and did their damnedest to eliminate programs that help the poor. Who else do you know who got 8.8% increases in pay the last 7 years? Most of those years, hourly workers got NOTHING, or 1% at best, many more lost jobs that they have been unable to replace at comparable wages. This issue alone has the power to bring the American way down and end this grand experiment in democracy. It is the story of killing the goose which lays the golden eggs all over again, only this time it is not a fable. It is on the horizon.

Bruce C D (89)
Friday May 30, 2014, 1:52 pm
Ironically, it is those claiming to be the most patriotic who are destroying this country. But the U.S. is hardly alone; income inequality has long been a staple around the world, both within nations and among nations. I believe Great Britain has the same problem as the U.S.

TomCat S (128)
Sunday June 1, 2014, 10:09 am
I agree with him. We Americans are very fortunate to have had a violent revolution that ended in a healthy nation. More often the aftermath is like that in the french revolution , when Voltaire and others of the atheist faith enforced their religion with the guillotine. Violent revolutions are also often followed with second revolutions, like in Russia that had a left wing socialist in 1914, followed by the right-wing Bolshevik revolution in 1917, which kept the name Communist, but was really a dictatorship. These possibilities are why I heep calling for nonviolence.

Sherri G (128)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 2:26 am
I keep hoping in my lifetime I will see corporations realize they are killing the golden goose (we consumers). Instead we are seeing drought, off scale heat with temperatures varying plus or minus 20 degrees within 4 or 5 days in CA. Water is becoming a scarce resource in CA while the haves continue "Fracking" using a million gallons per well. I agree with Dandelion that Barack is bought by wall street as much as any greedy Republican corporation. In fact, I fear Barack's broken promises will cause low turn out at the poles and God help us if we end up with a Republican President and Congress. Then we can kiss any remaining freedoms we have good bye. I just keep hoping and working to wake up what is left of the middle class before the inequality fuse hits the powder keg. Lots of excellent comments and stars all around. Noted Thank You Lynn. PS If anyone writes about "Fracking" be aware Care2 spell checker will change "Fracking to Tracking". How convenient is that?
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