Social Studies questions

Three-quarters of American voters (and 63 percent of global investors) support the “Buffet Rule” to raise taxes on our wealthiest citizens.

Calls to Congress ran 300:1 against bailing out bankers. When TARP passed, investment bankers paid each other one-time bonuses that outweigh your entire life’s earnings.

The top one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now haul down an average income of $27 million per household. The other 90 percent of us average a little over $31K per annum.

On a graph of American wealth distribution, the top 20 percent of Americans hold 84 percent of all the prodigious assets of this nation. The next 20 percent (what used to be called the “upper middle class”) hold 11 percent. The central 20 percent tier of American earners — definitively our “middle class” — hold four percent only.

The fourth and bottom tiers, representing approximately 120 million Americans, hold only 0.3 percent of the nation’s wealth. On a bar graph of wealth distribution, they’re invisible.

A staff sergeant, fighting for American interests abroad, earns $33,264 base pay. If he comes home (wounded or otherwise) and gets out of service, he’s highly likely to be unemployed in a market where military service is viewed “like a felony.”

That staff sergeant (provided he can stay fit) could also stay in service, do his 20 years and retire. Should he manage that, the Defense Business Board — a consortium of canny businessmen without a single combat tour among them that provides cost-cutting guidance to the DoD — now recommends that military retirement benefits be cut.

Welfare is also on the block — but not the tax breaks for capital gains, nor tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Capital gains are profits made on investment. They are only tenuously related to the production of any good or service.

In the decade since their special exemption from the “confiscatory” levels of taxes they paid under Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan, America’s “job creators” have ascended to vertiginously over-the-top wealth, meanwhile crashing the worldwide economy through madcap greed and criminal cynicism.

Unemployment doubled.

Congress — nearly half of which is comprised of millionaires — also looks to decimate Social Security.

Congressional representatives and senators who serve over five years receive pensions that exceed the annual income of 90 percent of American households.

Meanwhile, it ain’t all chocolate cherries for the rich, either. Superyacht sales are only around 20 percent of 2007’s high-water mark. Apparently, our rising tide hasn’t floated all boats… The problem with constantly jostling for position at the head of the line may be that the super rich end up with a bigger and bigger slice of a smaller and smaller pie.

Do you miss your middle class yet? Don’t answer that out loud, because citizens and leaders who question this economic state are denounced as class warriors by the very millionaires who make the rules.

So here are the questions for your take-home test:

1.  Define “class warrior.” Do you consider it a pejorative term? Why, or why not?

2.  Compare and contrast the “United States of America” with the terms “Third World,” “banana republic” and “kleptocracy.” Does our society differ from those environments? Why, or why not? Support your answer with concrete examples.

You may continue your answer on the back of this sheet. Neatness will not count. Comprehension is irrelevant. No one gives a rat’s ass what you think.

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  1. Sigh. Jack, you’re always so gol’ durn good at hitting the nail. Thanks.

  2. I’m working on a design for a “Class Warrior” t-shirt. The class war has been going on for quite some time, we’ve just been on the losing end. Can’t win if the other side shamelessly shames you into not fighting. So sign me up!

  3. codeamazon says

    “Can’t win if the other side shamelessly shames you into not fighting.”

    That’s the one.

  4. Jack you’ve seen my thoughts on the subject. Sadly nobody has the intestinal fortitude to do it. Yep, Raise the taxes that exist without adding new unneeded taxes, ditch ALL farm subsidies, consider ditching all subsidies expect for hospitals in disadvantaged regions. There’s more, but…I hate being right.

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