Fire the Rich

A radical fix for the economy that greed destroyed

| March-April 2011


Jason Seiler /

Not only has the so-called trickle-down theory of economics been revealed to be a cruel hoax, but most of the good industrial jobs have left the country, the middle class has been eviscerated, the wealthiest Americans (even in the wake of the recession) have quintupled their net worth, and polls show that upwards of 70 percent of the American public feel the country is “going down the wrong track.”

No jobs, no prospects, no leverage, no short-term solutions, no long-term plans, no big ideas to save us. While the bottom four-fifths struggle to stay afloat, and the upper one-fifth cautiously tread water, the top 1 percent continue to accumulate wealth at a staggering rate.

Thanks to the global engine, there are now more than a thousand billionaires. Oligarchies, “client-state” capitalism, wanton deregulation, CEOs earning monster salaries, corporations receiving taxpayer welfare, and half the U.S. Congress boasting of being millionaires. Meanwhile, personal debt in the United States continues to soar, one person in ten is out of work, and food stamp usage sets new records every month.

Yet even with near-record unemployment, the Department of Commerce reported in November 2010 that U.S. companies just had their best quarter . . . ever. Businesses recorded profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter of 2010, which is the highest rate (in non-inflation-adjusted figures) since the government began keeping records more than 60 years ago. Shrinking incomes, fewer jobs . . . but bigger corporate profits. Not a good sign.

Yet when you broach the dreaded subject of “class warfare,” you get blank stares. When you try to demonstrate, through charts and graphs and scores of real-life examples, that the system is largely rigged to accommodate the wealthy and powerful—and that we face an unfortunate us-versus-them dilemma—people back away.

There’s an old joke: An Oxford professor meets a former student and asks what he’s been up to. The student tells him he’s working on a doctoral thesis about the survival of the class system in the United States. The prof expresses surprise. “I didn’t think there was a class system in the United States,” he says. “Nobody does,” the student replies. “That’s how it survives.”

10/11/2011 1:31:27 PM

Rodeen, you are a tool.

5/2/2011 1:29:42 PM

I hope you are feeling okay Occum. I couldnt get anyone to bite on my offer for help? Do you think I need to change my approach?

4/28/2011 11:54:03 PM

So, I have been away experiencing radiation treatment for myself and long distance conversational support for my best friend who is dealing with terminal cancer. She is one of the most hard headed, die hard believers in "the boot strap theory" I have ever met. I witnessed her point fingers at those not physically or mentally as "tough" as she was. Now I hear the regret in her voice as she has hit her personal wall realizing many of the understandings she was conditioned to believe were false. In relation to her German heritage I find the the phrase "arbeit mach frei" ironic as it was the slogan over many labor camps in Germany during WWII. It is too bad we understand too late that work does not make you free, but the sharing of ideas, experiences and open mindedness do.

4/8/2011 3:56:36 PM

Lesson 1) Tomorrow morning wake up with a can do attitude. Resolve your self to quit pointing fingers and most importantly quit blaming the rich and corporate america for economical and social ills of America. NOw go out and get a job, cut back on your expenses, eliminate (or start) all personal debt and then go perform one community service today. I have now completed mine.

4/8/2011 1:55:46 PM

As a part of my community service I will be donating 15 minutes of my day to answer any questions the board might have on how to pull up your boot straps and make a go of it on your own. No thank yous necessary.

4/8/2011 9:37:49 AM

Today I recieved a promotion!!!!! Thank you captialism. I love you so much. Thank you for rewarding my sticktoitofness and creative thinking. Please captialism let me be an inspiration for those who have less motivation to work and achieve than me. Those who would prefer the govt educate and raise there children. Those who would prefer I pay for there health care and not pay for it themselves. Show them how empowering it can be to support themselves. Show them the rewards of investment and fiscal responsibilty at home. Show them to quit financing cars they cant afford and parking them in houses that are beyond there means. I wont let you down capitalism today I will work twice as hard. Then I will invest huge sums of that money contributing to political canidates who will protect my rights to earn and invest.

4/7/2011 3:34:30 PM

my post yesterday inspired me to write a letter thanking the billionaire owner of the company who provides my living for me. I also enclosed a $50 check as a sign of gratitude. It felt great!

4/6/2011 2:34:15 PM

I suggest if you feel like paying more taxes then do so. Please quit trying to legislate (steal) mine away from me. I am not rich but I can certainly take care of myself with out stealing money from those that have more for me. I am actaully happy for them. Good for the rich they worked hard and deserve it. I thank the rich people that own my company for providing this job for me. With out them my upper middle class lifestyle might not be possible. They were also rich enough to sustain us through poor economic times when a less rich family would certainly have folded. Thank you rich people. I praise God that he has blessed you with the wisdom and means to provide for those of us willing to work hard for a living and take pride in providing for themselve instead of stealing from other people.

tom hendricks
3/5/2011 9:35:26 AM

We have a unique problem with the economy that involves Utne, and other media outlets. The media's refusal to consider job solutions has become part of the jobs problem. The media including Utne is not balanced, and that's become a key part of the problem. Example National Hiring Day - a jobs solution that no media will discuss, though they talk of unemployment daily. There is a solution to the jobs problem and it could quickly put hundreds of thousands of people back to work. But not as long as the media refuses to talk about it. It is not pro left or right. It is not from any corporation, it's outside the government control, it's totally voluntary, and helps all with little sacrifice from anyone. National Hiring Day #2 is suggested for March 15,2011. This is a day that corporations are encouraged to hire new employees. Corporations are called on to put patriotism first and help their country in hard times. Those corporations that cannot hire, are asked to stop firing for that month.

3/2/2011 10:05:27 AM

SUPPORT ANONYMOUS AND WIKILEAKS AND FREE SPEECH!!!! Something anyone can do is to look through wikileaks for documents that have not recieved attention from the mainstream media and expose them, send them to publications and tell them why they should run stories on it. Blog about them. Etc. Voice your opinions, know that you don't and can't know everything, but you can certainly try not to be wrong by realizing the former and the latter will seem to get easier. websites:

shirley hodge
2/25/2011 4:54:07 PM

So many people have looked as me as though I was insane whenever I expressed the concern that unregulated capitalism scares the fecal matter out of me. Now that that has proven to be true where do we go from here. Only if and when humans of all stripes come to the conclusion that extreme wealth is a moral failure and that the extremely wealthy are in effect criminals who need to be dealt with since extreme wealth is accumulated by unlawful or grossely immoral means and perpetrates the power structure which such wealth supports and rhen deals with such disgusting behavior then the status quo will be maintained.

bob bennett
2/25/2011 11:30:13 AM

There really isn't much class warfare, yet. - It's still just at the continuing backstabbing stage level, the rich - in collusion with legislators make laws which favor the rich and powerful, and styme the working class - and those who aspire to become part of the working class. However, history is capable of teaching severe lessons - Communism wouldn't have been formed without the excesses of the capitalist system. The more the right decries, and works against, moderate assistance for those down on their luck, especially when they view the situtation occuring due to government policies which oppress them in order to benefit the rich and powerful, the greater the chances are that something similar could happen here. If the right wants to avoid this sort of future for their kids and grandkids, perhaps they should begin by cleaning up legislation they helped to impose which favors them, and only them - as well as those which overburdening the poor with senseless government regulations which only benefit government workers.

r cree
2/25/2011 9:37:46 AM

Yes, the rich were given trillions of dollars in Bush era tax cuts to grow jobs and the economy---and the rich failed miserably! We are not bankrupt--the rich have 60 trillion dollars in assets now and the U.S. has 100's of trillions in assets like gold, gas and oil avaiable to easily pay $14 trillion dollars in debt. The rich are trying to steal the rest of our country's assets. We don't have a financil problem, we have a payment problem---the rich don't want to pay for wars that they started and pay for their financial system. How do we change this? Just like pollution before, the rich are externalizing the cost of the capitalist system onto the 80% that don't own the assets. Until the 80% realize that we are being shit upon by the rich when the rich externalize the costs of their economic system, nothing will change---but the Middle East may have changed that calculation by the rich. If the 80% start disrupting the economic system with slow downs, delays, protests, sabotage---maybe the labor union attacks by the rich may precipitate a mass response--but we need to start telling the 80% that they are getting screwed. Maybe the Federal budget cuts cutting women's and child health will also catalyze action.