This short Vanity Fair article from May 2011 is one of the most impacting short articles I have read in a long while. In light of Warren Buffets op ed this past week suggesting that the USA government SHOULD tax more heavily the richest of Americans...the Vanity Fair bit titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" truly lays out some supportive reasoning along with Buffets apparent willingness to gift more to the US government through higher taxes.
It has always been obvious to me in my adult life that politics, governments and big money run together especially in a democracy. Yet it has now come to the point where one questions if there is any such thing as a pure democracy as it appears that most governments are bought and paid for by various rich corporations and the "top 1%" in most any country. As the USA continues to be mired in the muck of heavy debt, lowering production expectations, and in general a downgrading of the entire culture via ineffective education standards...this article rings home to me that harder times are ahead for my home country and revolution could be just around the corner...unless by some miracle the hyper rich 1% come to their senses.
Anyone who reads much of my material understands pretty clearly that my bent is a "libertarian" mode of political philosophy. I believe in small government, lowest possible taxation and individual freedom and responsibility instead of entitlements and bailouts. Yet, because my government has floundered so poorly in managing the country economically and failed the expectations of the people for honesty and integrity in leadership...it is truly time for the wealthiest of Americans to take action towards securing their country before it is further devastated in the competitive international arena of trade and commerce. There is a strong undercurrent of justified American discontent...and the people of our country have a history of turning quite violent and passionate when put in a corner of desperation.
Without further extrapolation of my viewpoints, I will let these key statements from the article in Vanity Fair make the rest of my case:
...in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.
In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.
...many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy
The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.
Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever.
Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.
The rules of economic globalization are likewise designed to benefit the rich: they encourage competition among countries for business, which drives down taxes on corporations, weakens health and environmental protections, and undermines what used to be viewed as the “core” labor rights, which include the right to collective bargaining. Imagine what the world might look like if the rules were designed instead to encourage competition among countries for workers. Governments would compete in providing economic security, low taxes on ordinary wage earners, good education, and a clean environment—things workers care about. But the top 1 percent don’t need to care.
Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being.
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.
I think this is the realization that Warren Buffet and other wise people of wealth are starting to comprehend. If they don`t start helping the other 99% to earn a bigger share of the wealth...the 99% will eventually just TAKE IT ANYWAYS. To that end, I suggest America find a way to bring back the growth of its middle class and get people working and off the public "dole". Otherwise...the 1% is in big trouble.