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Too much talk, too little action?

By Tom Toles

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D'oh!
Here we go. Commenters enjoy hurling their "You just think everybody is stupid" line of attack against me. Well, what is somebody supposed to make of a new survey that shows that people know fewer facts about their OWN religion than atheists do? I don't think stupid is the right word, but let's face it, the culture we live in kind of gives comfort and leeway to the incurious and uninformed. See also: our last president.

But let's leave religion out of the public debate for a minute, if only we could, and look at something else people don't know about that is hurting all of us. The rich ARE getting richer and the poor poorer. The poverty rate is skyrocketing, yet in this recession-that-isn't-anymore the wealthy CONTINUE to gain. "Oh, we know all about that!" you reply. Same as it ever was! WRONG.

How do I know that's wrong? Survey says! This is the non-smoking gun right here of what's misfiring in American political discourse. People just have NO IDEA how drastically the wealth distribution is skewing in this country, and therefore can't even begin to think about the ways we are becoming a Third World country. This kind of wealth disparity is toxic to a democracy and will poison it irreparably if we let it. Don't think so? Don't be stupid. --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | September 30, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs  
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Comments

The small part of the wealthy who are business owners won't hire until they have customers. The vast majority won't have enough customers until the middle class has jobs.
If we want the rich to sit on their cash, we leave Bush's and Reagan's gift to their contributors in place. If we want to recover from this recession, we will let the top brackets revert and use some of the revenues to put people to work. Republicans like people working, remember? We could use them to repair the deteriorating roads and bridges, the ones worn out by the trucks of the wealthy's businesses. The construction jobs will provide new customers, giving the wealthy a chance to make their money back.
Or we could just let them pay their lobbyists and pet Congressman more so they can pay even less...

Posted by: spaghettus | October 2, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

People continue to cross deserts, climb walls, and stow away on ships to come to the United States. Why? Because they want to get away from third world countries that give them no chance to succeed nor allow them freedom. North Korea has succeeded in making everyone equal. Everyone is poor and everyone is starving. And if you say one word against "Dear Leader", one word, you are imprisoned. Of course there are a few who are not hungry, the political elite. The left hope that people will sit back and let their policies creep in and take over our lives. That is a gamble that the Left will lose. Opportunity and freedom are what this country has always offered those willing to work hard. The Left would take that away. They are not going to.

Posted by: bobbo2

Posted by Ochamsrazor
Why do you and your idiot conservative friends want to turn The United States of America into a third world country? Just so that no one would want to come here?
Your greedy rich friends will be lined up at the open window of the 13th floor of a tall building like they did during the great depression when the economy takes its last breath.
Working people have to be paid adequate wages in order to support the economy.
Henry Ford figured that one out a long time ago when he paid his workers enough to support their family and also buy an automobile. Like it or not; that is the way the economy functions.
When the economy goes dysfunctional everyone "pays the price".

Posted by: OchamsRazor | October 1, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, jonr!

I said it late yesterday, Inherited Plutocracy.

Posted by: spaghettus | September 30, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

We probably aren't getting through to Bobo; He is so in love with his vision of laissez-faire capitalism, he won't listen to reason.

Here, here, juliaK. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity.

Spamsux, *Greece* is having trouble, the rest of Europe, not so much. England has 7.6% unemployment, and socialized medicine. Explain that. Europe-bashing is a common tactic of the new right, and usually baseless.

Retired PA, you are both observant and wise.

All through the middle of the 20th century, America used capitalism to build a great country. Now it seems capitalism is using us, making many wealthy while impoverishing many times more.

Posted by: spaghettus | September 30, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

bobbo2 what about those who have worked hard their entire life and are now currently without a job and have lost their pensions/401k, to the greedy corporations.
Those trying to get into the U.S. don't have a clear understanding of what this country is currently dealing with. Hell, we don't have a 'clear understanding' of what to expect in the future of this country any longer. Sure we aren't as bad as 3rd world countries...yet...

Posted by: bertzel | September 30, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Corporate tax rates have been falling for 50 years, as have taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while taxes on the rest of us, especially the poor, have stayed the same or been increased in the form of higher sales taxes.

Worker productivity is UP.
Corporate profits are UP.
Worker wages are (and have been) FLAT.
CEO salaries are UP.
Health care costs have been increasing at three times the rate of inflation for 20 years.
Corporations are now persons for purposes of unlimited political contributions, but not for purposes of liability for damages caused by inhumane practices, slavery, or by mercenaries in their employ.

Doesn't sound like Socialism, so much as inherited economic Monarchism with the cronyism and that goes along with it, supported, for the most part, by the religious establishment of the day. Interesting that this has been permitted to happen to a country based on a piece of paper as loftily written as our Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: jonroesler | September 30, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Those high school drop-outs and unwed mothers living in poverty should take their earned income credit, food stamps, Section 8 housing, head start, Medicaid, drug treatment programs, etc., etc., and sit down and enjoy their cable TV and big screen TV’s and quit complaining how we don’t look after them. An overly generous adjustment in the cost-of-living for the poverty rate guarantees a steady increase in the standard for the poverty rate and more people being under the standard, and especially so during any decline in the economy.~~~~druberts57~~~~

Funny...I don't hear anyone who fits that description complaining...you on the other hand....
And what is your advice to all of those who had decent paying jobs which your highly educated ceos used up and tossed aside... go back to school? relocate? Right. Not that simple buddy especially if you have a family.... Do you think you would be able to suceed in today's economy if you were currently 18 yrs. of age? To aquire that American Dream? Not many opportunities out there to pursue no matter your degree or lack thereof. Less middle class folk = less tax dollars...don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out either.

Posted by: bertzel | September 30, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"The rich are getting richer, who is feeling the trickle down"? Go out and get rich yourself lazy.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 30, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

People continue to cross deserts, climb walls, and stow away on ships to come to the United States. Why? Because they want to get away from third world countries that give them no chance to succeed nor allow them freedom. North Korea has succeeded in making everyone equal. Everyone is poor and everyone is starving. And if you say one word against "Dear Leader", one word, you are imprisoned. Of course there are a few who are not hungry, the political elite. The left hope that people will sit back and let their policies creep in and take over our lives. That is a gamble that the Left will lose. Opportunity and freedom are what this country has always offered those willing to work hard. The Left would take that away. They are not going to.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 30, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The government already takes 35 cents from every dollar that top earners make. That tax is on top of other federal, state and local taxes. The total tax rate for some of them in some states is near 50%.
*****
No. . . The 35% rate is on earned income. Which is why the top 1% prefer $200k salaries complemented by stock options and bonuses. Bonuses are capped at 25% and long term capital gains are capped at 15%. Ever wonder why 50% of a Wall Street broker's income is year end bonus in deferred stock options and/or cash? It probably has something to do with getting a 10-20% tax break on that income and getting essentially blue collar tax rates.

The average CEO of the top 500 companies is $9.5 million per year. Assuming a $200k salary (at 35% tax), a $300k cash bonus (at 25% tax), and the other $9 million ploughed into company stock (at 25% tax), our CEO’s effective marginal tax rate is 25%. The middle class pays 25%. That, by the way, is the highest our CEO will every pay because his/her capital gains are taxed at only 15%, which is going to bring down their overall tax burden to well under 25% (15-20%). The average American salary is $38,500 and is taxed 15%. 98% of Americans will not have more than $1 million in total stocks, so that 15% capital gains is going to mean far less to the middle class in terms of lowering one's overall tax burden.

I simply cannot fathom why conservative middle class Americans are advocating LOWERING taxes on the richest 1%. It is like they don’t know that the richest 1% are already paying the same tax load, if not less, than the average American. Sure, our average S&P CEOs may be paying $1 million in taxes and an aggregate 70% of the overall tax load, but if I were them, I would be laughing all the way to the bank having effectively avoided paying my 35% tax rate. And if the middle class constituents of the Tea Party and Republican Party were advocating lowering my taxes even more, as they are, I would roll on the floor laughing! Bill Gates and Warren Buffet think these policies are nuts. Bill should know, he has $54 billion in assets which currently are constituted of long term stocks with capital gains at 15%. But hey, if the Tea Party wants to lower his taxes even further, I doubt he will stand in the way!

Posted by: chrisp339 | September 30, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"The government already takes 35 cents from every dollar that top earners make. That tax is on top of other federal, state and local taxes. The total tax rate for some of them in some states is near 50%."

This statement reveals a complete misunderstanding of what the tax rates are and how they work. Perhaps a semester of microeconomics is in order.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | September 30, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Although of course you are speaking to many people who do not agree with your opinions but you are also speaking to many people who do agree with you. One undeniable fact - you wouldn't have this job if you were not speaking about what matters to people. I've learned that when I speak to people with authority who are not receptive to what I am saying, this is not productive and may harm me. I now understand why retired generals speak truth to power. I do support whistleblowers and people who fight for social justice. However, as an older single mother with a disabled son, I need a job with benefits and have to keep my eye on that prize.

Posted by: PaloAlto4 | September 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Nobody begrudges the incompetent and incapacitated a government stipend whether their family is unwilling or unable to assist them on not. Those high school drop-outs and unwed mothers living in poverty should take their earned income credit, food stamps, Section 8 housing, head start, Medicaid, drug treatment programs, etc., etc., and sit down and enjoy their cable TV and big screen TV’s and quit complaining how we don’t look after them. An overly generous adjustment in the cost-of-living for the poverty rate guarantees a steady increase in the standard for the poverty rate and more people being under the standard, and especially so during any decline in the economy.

Those who have succeeded in matriculating or not from the public school system with no saleable skills need to reexamine their lack of effort and unwillingness to learn while continuously disrupting the education of all around them, and realize they bear some responsibility for their situation. Those who can’t or won’t be flexible about their work situation, are unwilling to move to a new location, can’t or won’t learn new skills, who expect life time employment at unskilled jobs doing no more than they please, and want high pay and great benefits for their minimal efforts and slight inconvenience, get what they deserve.

Those motivated by envy, jealousy, and resentment to have deluded themselves into believing that the solution is to punish those who paid attention in school despite the educational chaos, delayed their entry into the job market so they could go to college, get training, obtain skills, and find employment in higher paid jobs, and have worked at skilled jobs and at improving their skills, doing exceptional work for long hours resulting in their advancement and prosperity. If you take half or more of the income from productive individuals in income and payroll taxes and add all the other state and local taxes to support the half of the population that pays no income taxes at all, you will get massive cheating and/or people will forego additional gainful employment to work on ways to avoid taxes, it being more remunerative to spend your time avoiding taxes then on producing goods and services that benefit us all.

Our liberal friends are hard at work making the pie smaller, while making all the pieces the same size. Sooner or later, they will have eaten the whole pie and there will be nothing left for anyone. When the pie gets bigger, most everyone gets a bigger piece although some may get more then you or me. We get a bigger pie when we have 1)economic growth, and growth is the result of 2)increased productivity (each of us doing more) and productivity comes from 3)greater investments (made by those who save, i.e., the rich), and investments come when the 4)incentives are sufficient to get people to risk their hard earned savings. This ain’t rocket science, although it may be too simple for a Harvard professor, you shouldn’t kill the incentives.

Posted by: droberts57 | September 30, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Tom, you should not feel so battered. You get people talking and hopefully they are thinking before they do. I don't agree with your point of view but we need idealism or we go off the cliff in the other direction. So never stop pushing. We need you.

Posted by: lderusso | September 30, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Fidel Castro is the one who determines what is reasonable wealth in Cuba who do you think should decide in the USA?

Posted by: billybeer6 | September 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm having trouble understanding those people who take offense at Tom's post.

Do you think he's making up these income distribution numbers?

Do you think that if the numbers are true, this is the way it should be?

Do you think that even if the numbers are true, its the result of the market so we shouldn't do anything about it?

Posted by: ELA5 | September 30, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse


To the Shrimper

How would you like to be the shrimp that gets cooked for someone else’s dinner?

People working for poverty level wages are no better off than the slaves who worked the salt mines.

I worked for survival wages at times and have depended on unemployment to survive at times.

I have worked as a tool and die maker and an engineer. I have been subjected to just about every carcinogen known to man.

I have had cancerous growths and also a heart attack due to stress.

I do not begrudge rich people reasonable wealth if they earned it; but I do not approve of greedy people who cheat the system, steal from the poor and promote slave labor.

Posted by: OchamsRazor | September 30, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Until someone puts a context on what "rich" or "wealthy" is, this argument isn't going to take hold. Fact: to a white collar non-gov't professional there is no such thing as a 40 hr work week. Entrepreneurs often work 80+ hours a week at their own families financial peril. I don't know any gov't contractors that are project managers, engineers, or scientists that work only 40 hrs a week. Doctors? Lawyers? Forget it. "The rich" or "wealthy" aren't the problem if you listen to these comments. It's the lack of financial regulation. It's making money off money and not off production of a good or service that sounds like the problem to me. It starts with separating income from the idea of making money off money or the movement thereof. Sounds like we need to tax capital gains at about 50% and make it fair flat tax rate with a higher standard deduction and a minimum tax. But, what the financial crises has caused is an optimization. If you're obsolete now, you need to re-ed and re-train. That takes time. But, I don't hold a grudge against folks who spent 6-8-10 years in school and then limped along in internships and whatnot for another 5. I don't hold a grudge for people who work harder to provide the best for their children. Why do you think the upper middle class statistically works LONGER hours? It's likely they have a long line of people who worked hard to give them an opportunity.

So, we need a tax system that is more consistent, doesn't push the rich off shore --remember they have the MOST to lose and have the MOST means to be mobile--doesn't punish those who EARN, but yet actually balances what benefits we receive from the gov't. We all have benefited, but now, we're BORROWING money to provide charity. That's not how it is supposed to work. The fact is that the un-sexy notion of re-vamping the income system for the gov't is what is necessary, but the American people want no taxes and streets of gold. What may have to happen is that we all must change how and who we vote for.

Posted by: NovaMike | September 30, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

For those that took umbrage with my "wealth redistribution" comment please let me modify that a bit.

"Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that [even more] wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills."

The government already takes 35 cents from every dollar that top earners make. That tax is on top of other federal, state and local taxes. The total tax rate for some of them in some states is near 50%.

If I took 50 cents from every extra dollar you earned how much motivation would you have to make that extra dollar?

Posted by: spamsux1 | September 30, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The rich are the fittest if you believe in evolution you must agree.

Posted by: billybeer6 | September 30, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The top 10% pay over 70% of the income tax burden..... fair?.... don't be stupid!!!

Posted by: Shrimper | September 30, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

How much of the income do they get? What do they "do" to earn it?

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 30, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It is so patently obvious that all you silly nitwit libs have bought hook, line and sinker, all the class-envy, redistributionist rhetoric that Obama and the rest of the ruling class elitists have been spouting. First lie; Bush's tax cuts were only for the wealthy... watch them go away and YOU'LL ALL pay more. And to all of you that think you aren't paying enough, I have a suggestion then....WRITE A CHECK.. nothing says you can't make a contribution, you know... make yourself feel better!!

This government has been redistributing wealth for 50+ years and the poverty rate is the same or growing... ?? .. Yeah, real successful. The socialist welfare state has one major fatal flaw... eventually you run out of OTHER people's money. (quote Margaret Thatcher, just for the record) And we're dangerously closer than you all realize. All we have to show for it all is a permanent (and expanding) DEPENDENT underclass; the great Democrat party voter base, all done by design.

The top 10% pay over 70% of the income tax burden..... fair?.... don't be stupid!!!

Maybe it's just the typical lib readership here, but it's really scary how many of you numbskull drones there are out there.

Posted by: Shrimper | September 30, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

A poster wrote
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson
Sir if you ever studied Jefferson you would know he never said this,,,it was Gerald Ford who coined the phrase,"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have," in an address to a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974."
Also..pick the decades you feel were the best for the middle class then look up the historical bottom/top tax rates of that time...you will be surprised.
Unfortunately some of the richest people now are not the innovators but are people who manipulate money..producing nothing but wealth for themselves.
Mr. Toles...keep it up!!!!

Posted by: RetiredPA | September 30, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

People fight for their dreams.

What else could explain the position of the poor and middle class, extreme right wing? _Most_ of the tea baggers I have met are not of the wealthiest 2%, yet they talk as if they are. And they defend the selfish motives of today's robber barons through semantically cloudy terms like "constitutional", "capitalism", and "free market", to name but a few. They seem to believe that if they fight hard enough for a life they do not have, then they will be granted admission to that exclusive club. They dream of the day that they too are anointed into the halls of Kings. Without realizing that all this modern royalty want from them is their hard work and their vote to support a lifestyle they do not have. You will never be allowed to ascend into their lordly ranks. However, the poor and middle class continue to _wish_ that they were members of the wealthy elite.

But as my Grandfather used to say: "Wish in one hand and crap in the other, see which one fills up first."

Posted by: pete1013 | September 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

spamsux writes
" . . . Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills.. . ."

Let me translate:

wealth redistribution from the poor to the rich is GOOD

wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor is BAD

any questions?

Posted by: bsimon1 | September 30, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Redistribution of wealth? Yep, we got it and it is all upwards. Who profits most by living in this country? It sure isn't the poor. Who gets the best education? Children of the wealthy in private schools or top school districts. Who has the best chance of getting into top universities? The children of the rich (who can afford it or can donate enough to justify acceptance of less bright or hard working students). Who profits most from "who you know" ? The ones already very well off. The wealthy do not need tax breaks, they need a moral sense, the ability to recognize as too few have done, that the school system needs more than some yahoos complaining and doing little beyond trying to control the knowledge available in textbooks or critisize all teachers because some are inadequate--as is true of employees in any big corporation as well. We are a nation of too many seekers of instant gratification (politically as well as materially), too many narrow minds, and too many who think patriotism means my way or the highway. Are we ever in big trouble and most of it from ignorance.

Posted by: juliakennedy1 | September 30, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Now what was it Forrest Gump's mother said?
Was it "stupid is as stupid" does"?
Jimmy Buffett sings, "Evolution can be mean. There is no dumb a__ vaccine".

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 30, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills.

Posted by: spamsux1 | September 29, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

If you believe that thinking CEOs and executives shouldn't be getting rich while the employees that are making all their money for them are making barely enough to live on--if even that much, and that these same executives shouldn't hold onto their huge salaries while they fire thousands of their employees who have done nothing more than show up for work and do their job every day when things in the company slow down for various reasons, or even just because the company can make more money, whether it's already profitable or not, by shipping off their operations overseas to pay people EVEN LESS than they are paying their American employees, who also happen to be the consumers of their products and services, not to mention their neighbors--if that is what you consider redistribution of wealth, then yes, I am for that. I call it fairness.

The rich owe this country. The majority of these people are not hard-workers who built a small company up from nothing to create some huge empire through nothing but their own sweat and toil. This is not reality. Get rid of that fairy tale you have in your head that somehow these people have earned the American Dream through their individual achievement. They shuffle money around in barely comprehensible ways that somehow creates new wealth for nobody but themselves--at least until it all comes crashing down on all of us, or they are born into it, or both.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | September 30, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

To: billybeer6 (6:28 AM)

You deserve to live in the world you apparently desire: a few very rich, everyone else poor - but please don't drag the rest of us into it with you.

Posted by: Trakker | September 30, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Tom,
Every day I look forward to your commentary on our on-going political/social wars. You are a breath of fresh air and generally I agree with all of your positions. You are doing a fine job and I hope you continue to provide sharp barbs directed toward our mostly stupid electorate. Best regards, a fan, Ralph

Posted by: ralphwatts | September 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

'who is feeling the trickle down?'
Not this country.

Posted by: bertzel | September 30, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The rich are getting richer! Who is feeling the "trickle down"?

Posted by: vacarollm | September 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Tom's surname should be changed to Paine. He is a rabble-rouser of the same ilk, and, I hope, just as effective.

Posted by: Geezer4 | September 30, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

New day and talk is Still Cheap....

As for your religious survey. That too is bunk...I took the so called survey out of curiosity(did quite well actually, not 100% but quite well considering I do not participate in organized religion). I found the story circulating the FACTS of the survey, if indeed this is the same survey, to be VERY misleading. #1, no question was asked as to what type of religion "I" follow. #2, The questions asked had to do with SEVERAL DIFFERENT RELIGIONS not just 'MY OWN'.....bs hype spread about by atheists who are so filled with glee at trying to disprove the existance of something they cannot comprehend.Which is the only reason that atheists do know so much about organized religion. They can attack something man made and the religious leaders make it sooo easy!
I don't believe in organized religion...it, just like government, has morphed into CONTROL of the MASSES PERIOD.

I also don't normally participate in surveys and don't 'buy into'the, so called, information that is fed me on the news especially when it has anything to do with this country, pretty much goes in one ear and out the other because tomorrow is another day and the cheap talk flips yet again...

Posted by: bertzel | September 30, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

"From each according to his means, too each according to his needs."
-Karl Marx

"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
-Hillary Clinton

"Were going to spread the wealth around." Barack Hussein Obama

"This kind of wealth disparity is toxic to a democracy and will poison it irreparably if we let it. Don't think so? Don't be stupid." --Tom Toles

Posted by: billybeer6 | September 30, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Tom, people with preconcieved ideas will make up "facts" to support them. An example is the rich are more productive than the poor. I just don't see how someone living the good life on millions in interest and dividends deserves a lower tax rate than the middle class or poor person just getting by. And how is the rich person more productive ? See, they have their biases that have no place in reality. It is reallly sad and how bad do things have to get before some of these people see how inequality is affecting us all ?

Posted by: Falmouth1 | September 30, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Toms right about one thing, most people do not understand how rich the really rich are. Posters here tend to prove it.

Even if the fact that four people have the same income as ten underdeveloped countries doesn't mean much, just try a walk down the street in the rich part of Geneva or any other major city. Look at the emeralds, rubies as big as bottle tops surrounded by rivers of diamonds, and you start to learn that this is a different group of rich than even a few years ago. (ie "new rich")

There was a bit of a scandal in Geneva a few months ago when four cars had a race down the "eaux vives" and two crashed. 1 Maclaren, 1 Ferrari, a Mercedes sports and a Porsche. The drivers were all brothers. Mark you, I wouldn't have minded the bright yellow Aston Martin I saw yesterday, or the white maserati convertible.

One question is - have these people deserted California ? (We, in Europe were green with envy of the cars seen there. No longer?)

Posted by: Stonebird | September 30, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

Projecting to the future is the way that reality works. It is necessary to have available funds in the present to accomplish the tasks that are necessary in the future. People suffer in the future for the tasks that are not performed in the past. Reality is a dynamic system not a static system. Everything projects to the future. If it does not, there is no future and the deficit is meaningless.
It is ignorance to think that doing nothing in the present will be to the benefit of the future.

Posted by: OchamsRazor | September 30, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

On the PBS Newshour yesterday, one of the guests, discussing the growth in the income disparity, pointed out that while the productivity of workers in the U.S. has been increasing, the workers themselves have not benefited much. Instead, corporate profits have soared. Corporations, and stockholders, currently hold too much power and benefit disproportionately from the efforts of workers.

I think a secondary cause of the disparity has to do with the tax code, and the way progressivity has been weakened. It does make sense to tax the wealthy at a higher rate than the middle class and the poor. They have all the advantages when it comes to their earning power, and a progressive tax structure helps to level the playing field a bit.

Posted by: tenor | September 29, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

WHAT??? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting more so????
No! It can’t be!!!
What the hell did you expect to happen when the middle class, the backbone of this country, is almost non-existent? Most of the manufacturing jobs which ‘fed’ the middle class no longer exist…we sent them all overseas…a lot of what is left here in this country is owned by foreign companies…The CEO’s sold out and left the working class behind without batting an eye. Some of the companies then closed shop , and some were resold to American companies….no Toles, I am not at all surprised by the outcome of your precious survey…is it news? Perhaps to some. Not to all. Quite obvious to others. Also, as much as I disliked the burning bush, can’t blame it for that one.
So now what??? What kind of ACTION are we, the middle class, out of work, or close to being out of work, to do? I guess we just go along, same as it ever was, and continue to add to the stats of the poor. Not much more we can do can we? You plan on waving your magic wand to create more jobs in the private sector? Really?

What again? You want MORE TALK? What good will that do? Well, I guess you could really rile up the people of this country…make us all the more angry by rubbing it in our faces….yeah, that would teach us wouldn’t it? Go for it, I’m sure the Tea Party will love the frenzy of people you send their way.
Dog eat dog…that is how the powerhouses in this country have been operating for decades….That deficit you so like to mention is gonna just keep getting bigger.

Always somethin'... Ha!

Posted by: bertzel | September 29, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: chaunceygardener | September 29, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Love the cartoons. Have loved them for years.

The comment baiting not so much. Why?

Posted by: WorstSeat | September 29, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

In light of Mr. Toles one comment that hits a home run, I will just feature his wisdom:

"Don't be stupid." --Tom Toles

Bravo!!

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 29, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

What does the Left have in mind to fix the poor getting poorer, rich getting richer problem? Making the poor Federal employees? Making the poor Union members? Take let's say 80% of rich peoples income? And what would the Government do with that money? Give it to the poor? How is taking money from the rich going to make the poor better off?

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 29, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

@spamsux1

You write:

"Third world Tom? Don't be stupid.

Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills."
****************************************************************
I respond: Toles writes that wealth IS NOW being redistributed and start babbling the typical conservative rant against socialism and income redistribution. Income redistribution is already happening (has been since about 1980) and it has capitalism at the root. Leftistas? Liberals? They are to blame?

"We need to focus on creating private sector jobs." Who is "we?" The government, who you blame for all ills? Many companies are quite profitable now. They are free to hire people. They are not doing so. Rather, they are acquiring, or taking the money and running. Yep! Them that has gets. I don't have to worry about myself...I have money and a home. But so many others...I'm sure the Tea Party will save them.

What would save us is another large stimulus package. But Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 ran up such huge deficits that they are politically very difficult. Tax cuts? Tax cuts are just another way of saying "massive deficits" with no end in sight.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 29, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I may appear in many forms. I see my alter ego already chimed in from work. No that was me. I tire of these arguments about tax money flowing to welfare checks. That is a southern oriented, bigoted line of comentary and thinking. All we left wing liberals are suporting is to return tax rates on the one percenters to the level it was in the nineties. If you'll check the stats, they did very well then too. I'm no Robin Hood, and there is no re-distribution of the wealth plan (by us). That is a myth. What's not myth is the middle class is shrinking. That means you too, right wingers. We're all in trouble. There may be no economic recovery this time. Corporate profits are soaring right now from sales in China. They have proven that they don't need American workers, or American consumers. Welcome to the third world where 5% percent of the people have 95% of the money. It's coming..........

Posted by: 666TheDevil | September 29, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

The Federal debt increases by 60 million dollars an hour. From 1776 to 1913 this Nation had no Federal income tax. The Government got it's revenue from corporate taxes, taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, sales of weapons and tariffs on trade. The Federal income tax gave the Government access to a huge stream of money. And in turn allowed the Government to grow beyond it's Constitutional limits. If the Federal income tax was ended the Government would still take in over a trillion dollars from it's original income sources. Constitutional Government could survive on a trillion dollars. Several States survive without income taxes. The entitlement culture is stripping people of their hard earned money to pay for unfunded entitlements that are beyond the Constitution and it's restrictions. People have a right to earn what they earn legally. Without Constitutional restrictions on Government taxation will increase and so will the debt. Remember we are adding 60 million dollars an hour to the debt. It is not the rich American citizen that is the culprit. It is the Government. A wealthy person doesn't cost any other citizen anything. We cannot afford the Government in it's present form.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 29, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SPAMSUX1

" . . . Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills.. . ."
===========================================
Leapin' Lizards, Spamsux. It was BUSH who redistributed the already unequal wealth --- By giving a HUGE, unfair TAX cuts to the wealthiest Americans . . . Repeat - Wealthiest Americans - like his own family.

All us LIBERALS want is FAIR TAXES for EVERYBODY. You right wing rich Limbaugh types are TOO stupid to understand that? Or maybe not stupid, just amoral? Or Both?

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 29, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Toles says:
"People just have NO IDEA how drastically the wealth distribution is skewing in this country, and therefore can't even begin to think about the ways we are becoming a Third World country. This kind of wealth disparity is toxic to a democracy and will poison it irreparably if we let it. Don't think so? Don't be stupid."

Third world Tom? Don't be stupid.

Tom and his socialistic fellow travelers seem to think that wealth redistribution is the cure for our current economic ills.
Just as the decades-long welfare state economics in the EU are collapsing due to that exact economic philosophy. People are rioting because economic reality is reducing the flow from the public teat.

Taking more money from the productive and handing it to the non-productive is ok in a short term crisis situation.

The leftistas in the U.S. are wanting to put in place the very policies that E.U. countries are now having violent withdrawal symptoms from.

We need to focus on creating private sector jobs. Period. Consumer spending, tax revenues and most importantly, most Americans would just love to get back to work and do something productive instead of jumping through endless government hoops to get a subsistence check.

The liberals are more focused on putting more people IN the wagon instead of more people PULLING the wagon.

Posted by: spamsux1 | September 29, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I aced the religious quiz BTW. I'm a non believer, but I am educated. I study religions for a hobby. They are the number one source of conflict on Earth. It fascinates me how Man cannot out grow primitive beliefs, but it's not about who's right or wrong, it's a control mechanism. Power over the ignorant (so ignorant they don't even know the rules of their own religion) has been in place for centuries. Which brings us to the fat, dumb and happy. " I don't think stupid is the right word, but let's face it, the culture we live in kind of gives comfort and leeway to the incurious and uninformed. See also: our last president." Well said.
I am amazed at the gullibility of some people. One fellow wrote, the other day, that our current economic mess is all Obama's fault (like this all happened in the last two years). I would like one critic, just one, to show me one extra cent that Obama has cost him. Prove it. Show me one change in the deductions from your paycheck that is a result of an Obama policy. AND, if Obama is taking your money and giving it to the poor people why are they getting poorer? Where's the Socialist takeover?


Posted by: B_Al_Zebub | September 29, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles

While I am regularly not on the same page as you with your various rants this is an issue that I regularly complain about to my conservative friends. This is an issue that needs to be discussed and published on the front page of every newspaper in America. I wonder why this issue is not on the front page of at least the liberal papers, mmmm perhaps the owners of these publications are members of the top 1% club.

Posted by: dalyplanet | September 29, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

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