The Reverend

"Money can't buy everything is true. What it can't buy I can't use."

I think it's time we replaced the Star Spangled Banner, the great old ode to U.S militarism, with a more appropriate national anthem. One more representative of a modern America. The soul/blues tune "Money" is my recommendation. Not only is "Money" more appropriate for our New Gilded Age.....but you can dance to it as well.

Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (when you adjust those incomes for inflation), according to an analysis by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston for Tax Analysts. During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.

The net worth of six family members in Arkansas today is equal to the net worth of the bottom 41.5% of all Americans combined.

Those six Arkansas family members amassed that huge net worth the old-fashioned way, they inherited it. As is the case quite often in America, those who claim rugged individualism and boot-strapping qualities as the means to gaining riches and "success" actuality, are winners of the lucky-sperm lottery.

400 Americans have more cumulative wealth than 155 million Americans combined.

But how's it going post-recession?

Add it all together, and the top 1 percent of households by income captured 121 percent of all income gains between 2009 and 2011, during the first two years of the economic recovery, according to new research by Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

How was the top 1 percent able to capture more than all of the recovery's income gains? They became 11.2 percent richer while the bottom 99 percent got 0.4 percent poorer, when accounting for inflation, according to Saez.

Income and wealth disparity numbers that would gag a literate maggot are the reasons our economic recovery since 2008 has been so sluggish.

Capitalism, a pragmatic economic system which relies on human greed for it's spark, has produced many positives in the world. I can't deny reality. Capitalistic greed motivates humans to do things which prove out to be very positive for society at large. At the same time, it can't be denied that capitalistic greed has also resulted in very destructive, sometimes evil, consequences for the larger society.

Americans are reaping a few of those consequences right now.....and the numbers and statistics at the top clearly demonstrate those consequences. What's worse, I don't expect those statistics to change in a more people-positive direction.....ever again. I don't.

The wealthy few in America have won, the buzzer has sounded and now all that's left to do is rub the people's face in it. Today, that's what politicians and corporate-pimp pundits and teevee-news producers are for.

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, at a time when the rich few have never had it so good.....that's the very time chosen by our betters to require more "skin in the game" from the poor and the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly. Like I said, after amassing more income and wealth than anyone could ever spend....the only thing left to do is have a bit of fun rubbing the faces of the inferior masses in the national mess they, themselves, have created. The wildly wealthy need some entertainment too, you know.

Grand Bargains, tax reform, entitlement reform, austerity, fiscal cliffs, debt ceiling hostage situations, deficit commissions, debt fetishism, the 47%, takers, leeches, parasites,......all.....are, in effect, efforts by our rich betters to kick victims while they're down and bleeding.

Having successfully removed any possibility of American workers ever benefiting from productivity gains or obscene corporate profits through decades of low wages, union-busting, outsourcing and "free" trade agreements.....all made possible by the haves purchasing the U.S. might think that the haves would back off a tad on their scorched earth redistributive policies.

But no....the destructive feature of capitalism-in-charge must not be kept in check....instead, it must be glorified. And so, the poor must be made poorer. The sick, sicker. The homeowner, homeless.The elderly, less comfortable. The worker, humiliated. The middle class, gutted.

All in order for those in the 1% statistical categories mentioned at the top to amass even more. Both Obama and Paul Ryan have called for "broadening the base and lowering rates".....both R's, D's and Obama have called for entitlement reform. Both sides have called for more austerity. Both sides have called for more "free" trade and for lower corporate taxes. A recipe sure to exacerbate those already-obscene income and wealth disparity numbers.

So, next time some yahoo spouts off about America being such a wonderful land of opportunity and prosperity....respond accordingly. Direct them to the stats and sources found at the links above and then respond, politely of course, 'you must be joking'...then hum the intro to our new national anthem.