Ross Perot was right.

The last major third party candidate to make it on the ballot (Ross Perot) had it right- there was a giant sucking sound coming, and we didn’t listen.

But, it’s more than just the sound of “free trade” sucking jobs from our highly regulated- centrally directed economy (and don’t say it isn’t after the bailout of Wall Street  – while Main Street took a sucker punch) it’s the sound of money flowing from the masses to the minority. We’re taking from the needy to give to the greedy at an alarming rate:

  • 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  • 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
  • 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  • 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  • A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  • 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
  • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  • The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  • Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  • In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  • The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
  • In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
  • More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
  • This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
  • Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
  • Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
  • The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.
  • via the u.s. middle class is being wiped out here’s the stats to prove it: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance.

    We are a Third World nation in every single respect, other than we’ve got more bombs and guns than anyone else. Just as a reminder- our founding fathers were rebelling against an imperialist nation, and now- we’ve become one.

    The two-party system has failed us. While a sideshow called Washington continues, the people of this once great country fall deeper into despair and poverty. We’ve got our soma of cable TV with its 500 channels of mind-numbing dreck, we’ve got the internet where everything is free- until you can’t afford the equipment or bandwidth to share in its bounty. The divide is growing greater- and we were warned, not only by Perot, but by Orwell and Huxley, by Malcolm and Martin and even the evilest of all- the economist Marx- the list goes on.

    If you stop thinking about the typical uses of the word discrimination- by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, and look at the big picture, we’ve been divided into haves and have nots- and the class war has already been won, the masses just haven’t figured it out. In the meantime- politics as usual has continued at all levels- from Federal to local, we’ve put capitalism on a pedestal that believes commerce is king. We do everything in the name of creating jobs and wealth- instead of putting people first.

    Our government began with words of equality: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    We have witnessed the end, where “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others and we are now animals, being manipulated like Pavlov’s dogs.

    Continuing from the fore quoted article:

    What do most Americans have to offer in the marketplace other than their labor? Not much. The truth is that most Americans are absolutely dependent on someone else giving them a job. But today, U.S. workers are “less attractive” than ever. Compared to the rest of the world, American workers are extremely expensive, and the government keeps passing more rules and regulations seemingly on a monthly basis that makes it even more difficult to conduct business in the United States.
    So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.

    What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of “chronically unemployed” is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.

    It is time for the government to step in on the side of the people- and use the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to restore  balance- and make this once again a land of opportunity.

    It’s time to stop the giant sucking sound- and to stop listening to the banter of the two-party system. It’s what got us into this mess- and it’s not going to get us out.

    If there was ever a time for a third party, or proposing changes to the way we hold and run elections, now is the time. If we continue what we’re doing and expect different results- well, there is a word for that.

    The two party system has given us only one thing- a two-class economy. Are you ready to do something about it?

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    joe_mammaDavid Laurijoe_mammaDavid EsratiIce Bandit Recent comment authors
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    Mike Bock

    David, the key question you raise is:  What can we do that will help to bring more vitality to our democracy?  Where should we direct our energy and money where it has the best chance of doing some good?  Creating a third party is a long way down on list of ideas I could come up with — too difficult. And who to say that a third party, once mainstream, would not morph into some variation of the two parties we presently have.  I don’t think the fact that there are only two parties is the root cause of the dysfunction of our democracy.  The problem is the parties, themselves, are devoid of democracy in the degree to which they represent the best interest of their members.
    And so, at the top of my list is the goal of transforming our current political parties to be authentic democratic communities.  To accomplish such a goal, even at the grassroots level, is a huge challenge, and would require many man-hours to accomplish.  But it is a goal that seems theoretically possible to accomplish — whereas the goal of starting a third party does not.
    To transform the Montgomery County Democratic Party into an authentic democratic community would be a key step to vitalizing democracy in general.  Reforming our political parties, to me, a key step that is essential. It simply requires having sufficient delegates show up to the next Reorganization Meeting who are united in wanting to do so.  There are only 360 precincts in Montgomery County and each precinct may choose one delegate.  We simply need to raise up a vision of how an authentic democratic community — a transformed Montgomery County Democratic Party — would operate, sell that vision to the Democrats in Montgomery County, and get a delegate to run in each precinct to support a plan for transformation.  We have four years to get all of this accomplished.  Doable.


    If people are more important than wealth, then what are you doing to make a difference?
    What do you suggest people do then save our nation?
    I completely agree with your conclusions and I’ve been trying to make a difference in the lives of the people of Dayton for several years now. (And I’m talking about the city of Dayton, not so much the suburbs.) I hear so many people talking about wanting to make a difference but they don’t live it out in their lives.


    How about volunteering at a food pantry? Or helping to clean up a neighborhood? Or just giving groceries to a family in need?
    Some might think you’re doing it to gain votes, but if it’s part of your character to care about the people in Dayton, this sort of thing comes naturally.

    Mike Bock

    David, you write, “Changing the Montgomery County Party of Affirmation into a Democratic Organization is a lost cause.” I don’t think your pessimism about this possible avenue of meaningful reform is justifiable.  The process for reforming the Montgomery County Democratic Party and the Montgomery County Republican Party is established as part of Ohio’s Revised Code.  There is a clear path. It is doable, so I don’t understand your basis for writing off such a reformation strategy as a “lost cause.”
    Your three goals — instant runoff voting, eliminated campaign donations, ended corporate welfare — are great, but the accomplishment of these goals will require access to the levers of power.  Your goals would be best advanced via the work of a strong political party.  Our corrupt parties do not want reformation and so they will always talk the talk, but not much more.  Unless our political parties are fundamentally transformed, I feel, we have little chance of advancing very much.  A grassroots movement focused on revitalizing our democracy, I believe, could make a good use of time and energy by working to use the provisions of Ohio Revised Code to transform each local political party. Our task is to attract individuals to a movement by presenting  a compelling vision what a democratic local political party would look like, how it would operate.

    Ice Bandit
    Ice Bandit

    It is time for the government to step in on the side of the people (David Esrati)
    As if….(Alicia Silverstone from the movie Clueless)

    As any 12 stepper will tell you, Dear David, before you can treat the affliction you gotta’ admit to the addiction. So perhaps you should admit to yourself and God and one other person, Dear David, that you are hopelessly addicted to government. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, Dear David, but just about every dysfunction you mentioned in your post can be traced back to the doorstep of big government. Perhaps folks could save for their retirement, as an example, if Uncle Sam wasn’t constantly playing pocket hockey in search of his 40 percent cut. And indeed, if three of five Americans are just a paycheck from meeting the unholy tag team of cut-off dude and repo man (though the Old Bandito’s Hyperbole Detector went off when he read this stat) then it could be remedied if the state cut its crack-ho with a stolen Mastercard spending. But what do you suggest as a remedy, Dear David? Minimizing government? Minimalizing government? Allowing government to go and stay broke? Noooooooo. These solutions make entirely too much sense. You, Dear David, suggest that the same goverment that shakes us down, stomps on our freedoms and then villifies us when we protest is somehow gonna’ “step in”? Well, the more accurate prediction is “step on.” As in our freedoms, our money and any chance of a economic revival. As the 12 steppers say, Dear David, denial ain’t a river in Egypt. Maybe we can find you “Government Anonymous” meeting somewhere in South Park………


    “…we were warned, not only by Perot, but by Orwell and Huxley, by Malcolm and Martin and even the evilest of all- the economist Marx… ” David Esrati
    You forgot Hayek
    And Friedman

    Ice Bandit
    Ice Bandit

     A revolution every couple of hundred years might be just what the doctor ordered- but, it doesn’t have to be the madness of the hate rhetoric spewing “Tea Party”…(David Esrati) Help!  The Old Bandito is apparently in violation of the law. No, dear David, not Ohio or US law, but the laws of physics. Despite the Einsteinian caveat about the difficulty of the same, the Old Bandito has apparently found a rip in the space-time continuum and has found himself walking around in a parallel universe. Example; not long ago the Old Bandito attended a Tea Party in a small and rural Ohio town. Organized by local Libertarians, this affair was as civil and jovial as a church ice-cream social, complete with patriotic music and speeches from  folks who justifiably lamented the socialist turn the Republic had undertaken. The Old Bandito shook some hands, exchanged some phone and e-mail addresses, and left the gathering with the feeling that this was an example of grass-roots democracy at its’ best. However, it wasn’t until reading coverage in the local newspaper the next day to discover the Old Bandito had really visited a seething, hateful rally worthy of being cinematically chronicled by Leni Reifenstahl. Weeks later, the Old Bandito found himself in an Illlinois town at the invite of another Tea Party organizer, an old friend who had lived for a number of years in the Oregon District’s Dayton Towers. Asked to take the podium for a five minute speech, the Old Bandito  immediately went on a roll and gave the remarkably diverse crowd almost 20 minutes of Wiley’s quality shtick which had ’em rolling in the aisles and beggin’ for more. But it was only the next day, while perusing the local news, that the Old Bandito discovered he had not delivered a collection of amusing quips, observations, anecdotes and calls for reform, but a hateful diatribe where the only thing missing was a burning cross.  One of the most common media complaints about such gatherings is that they are “too white,” as if the media has now instituted a quota system about… Read more »

    David Lauri

    It’s a shame that Bandito’s Tea Party performance of “a collection of amusing quips, observations, anecdotes and calls for reform” wasn’t posted on YouTube.  Not only would people not in attendance have been able to enjoy it, but they would also have been able to judge for themselves whether or not the performance was actually “a hateful diatribe where the only thing missing was a burning cross.”

    Ice Bandit
    Ice Bandit

    What you are doing is projecting your own Utopian view of a world sans government- which is called anarchy- not civilization. (David Esrati)

    The chance of getting away with murder currently over 40 percent, compared to less than 10 percent in the 1960s. Our inner cities have become uninhabitable, hostile and crime-ridden cesspools where even the well-armed and deputized are reluctant to tread. For all their validity, contracts may as well be written on Charmin, the feds haul a state into court to keep them from enforcing the law, and folks are openly lighting Marlboros in Oregon District bars. So despite the myriad layers of an expensive and intrusive state, dear David, we have anarchy now. You misread the intentions of the Old Bandito and others of his persuasion if you think we want a nation or world without government. Fact is, Libertarians are government’s biggest fans. But that is, if it is government, as the Constitution outlines and the Founders designed, and not a club to hammer the citizenry into poverty and serfdom. What we want is a state that protects and respects the lives, property and liberties of the citizenry, while the citizenry chase their life pursuits without state encumbrance. Besides, dear David, the Old Bandito has seen this planet take too many spins to harbor any utopian dreams. Utopian fantasies, dear David, are the sole propriety of Democrats and leftists…….


    “83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.”
    I was surprised by this statistic so I went to the source article
    It’s interesting….if you look at the reference table and do the math that the top 1% controlled the following percentages over time…
                    Top 1%                 Next 20                Next 20
    1962 – 94.4%                      5.4%                      .17%
    1983 – 92.8%                      6.7%                      .27%
    1989 – 87.5%                      11.5%                    .66%     
    1998 – 86%                          12.6%                    .93%
    2001 – 83.6%                      15%                        .97%
    Draw your own conclusions….


    “@Joe- Interesting- one thing hasn’t changed- the top 20% has always controlled 99% of the stocks- yet- even with mutual funds making the market more accessible- it’s still the area of the wealthy.” David Esrati
    I’ll let the wife know that the Mamma’s household income of greater than 88K qualifies us as wealthy according to 2005 Census Bureau data and David Esrati.   I don’t think she’ll buy it ;)