From the Ramparts
by Junious Ricardo Stanton
"But Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, disputes Haskins rosy picture and insists that the middle class has been "squeezed" by the economic downturn. "Squeezed" doesn't adequately capture the dire state of the middle class though, confirmed by the actions of U.S. industries that are revising their business plans. What is corporate America's response? Rather than mounting crash programs for generating solid middle class jobs they have figured out how to profit from the sinking ship. Corporate America is shifting its focus in product development and marketing to serve the "hourglass economy." The hourglass has two chambers connected by a slim channel. Translated into economic terms, or better yet, the emerging picture of America, the two chambers represent rich and poor, with virtually nothing in the middle. Worse, while the traditional hourglass has two equal chambers, the economic hourglass does not. One chamber contains a small percent of the population and most of the wealth and the other is filled with the bulk of Americans, who have little access to resources and diminished hope for prosperity. The hourglass economy has become so entrenched that Bloomberg News credits it with dividing Americans and defining U.S. Politics." Corporations Plans for Post Middle Class America
It should be abundantly clear by now that the Kleptocrats who run this country view us as total imbeciles and believe they can run any okey-doke and flim-flam on us and we will fall for it. For example they used their mind control apparatus (the corporate mass media) to convince gullible Americans there is a global entity of "bad guys" called Al-Qaeda out there who masterminded 9-11, who are causing trouble around the world which is why the US must spend trillions of dollars we don't have to wage a global war with no end is sight to defeat this depraved enemy. Yet these same elites turn around and tell us using the same mind control apparatus that the US, Britain and NATO are partnering with this same Al- Qaeda to bring down rulers like Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and now Bashar al-Assad in Syria to "democratize" the region. We don't have democracy here in this country so how can the US possibly export it overseas?
Surveying the current US social-political-economic landscape thinking people would have to conclude the US is a bone fide banana republic. You know what a banana republic is don't you? "In practice, a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by the collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, whereby the profits derived from private exploitation of public lands is private property, and the debts incurred are public responsibility. Such an imbalanced economy reduces the national currency to devalued paper-money, hence, the country is ineligible for international development-credit, and remains limited by the uneven economic development of town and country. Kleptocracy, government by thieves, features influential government employees exploiting their posts for personal gain (embezzlement, fraud, bribery, etc.), with the resultant government budget deficit repaid by the native working people who 'earn money', rather than 'make money'. Because of foreign (corporate) manipulation, the kleptocratic government is unaccountable to its nation, the country's private sector–public sector corruption operates the banana republic, thus, the national legislature usually are for sale, and function mostly as ceremonial government." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic
There was a time the US could point their fingers around the world and derisively refer to numerous countries as a banana republic, but my mother used to tell me, when you point your finger at someone you have three of your own pointing back at you. The US is a world class banana republic. One of the prime characteristics of a banana republic is a rigid class divide acerbated by a ruthless plutocracy that manipulates, spies on and oppresses the masses to the point the haves have everything and the have nots have little or nothing. If you open your eyes and your mind you will see this is what is happening in America despite the fact athletes can go from abject poverty to millionaire status because they can throw, shoot, kick a ball or puck. Economic inequality is rampant in this country on the level equaling "third world nations". The average American is struggling to keep his or her head above water and the struggle gets harder every day. A recent study done by Stanford University and US 2010 Project chronicled an alarming trend in housing: economic segregation (apartheid) that has increased in recent years.
The US has always been a rigid class (and color) based (and obsessed) society although its Horatio Alger myth and social narrative disguises this truth. But what has trended over the last few years is a calcifying of income, class and social status. A study by Stanford University corroborates this trend. "Figure 1 shows the proportion of families that reside in six categories of high-, middle-,and low-income neighborhoods from 1970-2007. The figure clearly shows a steady decline in the proportion of families living in middle-class neighborhoods from 1970-2007, and a corresponding increase in the number of families in neighborhoods at the extremes of the neighborhood income distribution. In 1970, 65 percent of families lived in 'middle-income' neighborhoods (neighborhoods in one of the two middle categories); by 2007, only 44 percent of families lived in such neighborhoods. The proportion of families living in affluent neighborhoods doubled from 7 percent in 1970 to 14 percent in 2007. Likewise, the proportion of families in poor neighborhoods doubled from 8 percent to 17 percent over the same period. Thus, only 15 percent of families in 1970 lived in one of the two extreme types of neighborhoods, but by 2007 that number had more than doubled to 31 percent of families...
By this measure, income segregation grew significantly from 1970-2007. Moreover, family income segregation grew in every decade from 1970-2007. The proportion in poor or affluent neighborhoods increased by 4.1 percentage points in the 1970s, by 4.6 percentage points in the 1980s; by 4.2 percentage points in the 1990s, and by 3.2 percentage points from 2000- 2007 (see Appendix Table A1 for details). Because only seven years elapsed between the 2000 Census and the 2007 ACS, however, the rate of growth in segregation in recent years was as fast or faster than any decade since 1970 (if the 3.2 percentage point change from 2000-2007 is annualized, it corresponds to a change of 4.6 percentage points over a decade)." This is another way of saying the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. In their colclusion they state, "During the last four decades, the isolation of the rich has been consistently greater than the isolation of the poor. Although much of the scholarly and policy discussion about the effects of segregation and neighborhood conditions focuses on the isolation of poor families in neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage, it is perhaps equally important to consider the implications of the substantial, and growing, isolation of high-income families. Given that in 2008 the top 10 percent of earners controlled approximately 48 percent of all income in the United States (Piketty & Saez, 2010), the increasing isolation of the affluent from low- and moderate-income families means that a significant proportion of society's resources are concentrated in a smaller and smaller proportion of neighborhoods. As we argued above, this has significant consequences for low- and middle-income families, because the isolation of the rich may lead to lower public and private investments in resources, services, and amenities that benefit large shares of the population, such as schools, parks, and public services. One additional and striking pattern evident in the Census and ACS data is the very large increase in income segregation among black and Hispanic families over the last four decades (and the particularly large increase in the last decade). Low-income black and Hispanic families are much more isolated from middle-class black and Hispanic families than are low-income white families from middle- and high-income white families. This rapid growth of income segregation among black families exacerbated the extent to which poor black families lived in neighborhoods with very high poverty rates. This concentration of disadvantage likely has had negative consequences for poor black families. And while this increasing income segregation means that middle-class black families were less likely to live in neighborhoods with low income black families, it is still true that middle-class black families are much more likely to live in neighborhoods with low-income white neighbors than are comparable middle-class white families (Logan, 2011; Sharkey, 2011)." Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009 Sean F. Reardon Kendra Bischoff Stanford University Report Abstract November 2011.
The bottom line is the US is morphing into a banana republic where the super rich control the vast majority or resources and have a much larger say in how these resources are used and distributed. This is a prime condition for major social upheaval like we are seeing in Europe. Keep in mind the US kleptocracy is preparing to maintain the status quo at all costs. So look for the police/security state aspect of our banana republic to rear its ugly head very shortly.
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