The Explosive Greed of Americas 0.01-Percenters

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

The Explosive Greed of Americas 0.01-Percenters

In this season of mass commercialism, let's pause to consider the plight of simple millionaires.

Astonishingly, they're being abandoned by retailers that are now catering to the most lux of the luxury market. "Whether the product is yachts, diamonds, art, wine, or even handbags," says Robert Frank, a chronicler of American wealth, "the strongest growth and biggest profits are now coming from billionaires and nine-figure millionaires, rather than from mere millionaires." What this reflects is not the wealth divide between the 1-percenters and the rest of us, but a stunning concentration of America's total wealth in the vaults of the ever-richer 0.01-percenters.

They are an extravagant moneyed aristocracy, sitting so high above our society that they largely go unseen. This exclusive club includes only two-hundredths-of-one-percent of American families, with each holding fortunes of more than $110 million. The riches of these privileged ones keep snowballing – their outsized share of our national wealth has doubled since 2002, and their holdings are expanding twice as fast as other 1-percenters.

Their growing control of wealth is distorting high-end consumerism, including such goods as private jets. Sales of your common millionaire-sized jets are down by two-thirds since the 2008 Wall Street crash. So, jet makers have shifted to the billionaire buyers, including some who are spending eye-popping levels of lucre to possess such pretties as their very own Boeing 777-300 – which normally carries 400 passengers.

This extreme, obscene concentration of wealth is creating an intolerable inequality that will implode our economy and explode America's essential, uniting sense of egalitarianism. It's time to remember that money is like manure – it does no good unless you spread it all around.

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This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work