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Screw the little people

Bad news. If you are reading this and have a net worth of less than a million bucks- you fall into the category of little people. Don’t believe it? With the gap between rich and poor widening faster than at any time in history in this country, we even have laws on the books that keep the “little people” out of certain markets- call it “economic discrimination” – and it’s going to continue to get worse. Read about this rule from the SEC:

But the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t let just anyone buy shares in a corporation that hasn’t gone public. Pre-IPO sales are limited to “accredited investors,” people with a demonstrated net worth of $1 million or a yearly income of $200,000. It’s been that way since 1982, when Rule 501 of Regulation D of the Securities Act went into effect. The measure was intended to protect less-informed investors—widows and orphans, in Wall Street parlance—from gambling away their savings. So who has bought pre-IPO Facebook stock? A reported 10 percent of the company went to the Russian investment group Digital Sky Technologies, whose backers include one of that country’s richest oligarchs. In other words, the extremely wealthy.

via Let the Little Guys Get in on Pre-IPO | Magazine [1].

And while many blame the investment banks and AIG collapse for the start of this depression (which we can’t bear to call a depression)- I think as gas prices start to rise to the $3 level again, that what really killed the economy was the rise in gas prices to near $4 a gallon. To the über rich, $4 a gallon is no big deal, the people living on the edge (both financially and sprawl wise) those hikes in gas prices were the straw that broke the camel’s back. The recent post-election-day moves by the Fed- code worded as  “quantitative easing” [2] – which is flooding the financial markets with cash and devaluing the dollar- makes oil more expensive.

While the financial markets might like a cheaper dollar and the Wall Street casino likes having more chips to play with- the impact on the little people is huge. If you can’t pay for gas, you can’t get to work- and the rest is down hill.

The latest election did nothing to change the balance of power- the rich chose who would win. Hell, it’s almost at the point that you have to be rich to run for office anymore (and trust me- from personal experience- running for office is a costly endeavor). It’s pretty clear that politicians who are willing to allow laws like the above-mentioned SEC ruling- aren’t that concerned with keeping the playing fields level. In fact, when we look at the disbursements of the TARP- we see that our money (tax dollars) was being funneled straight back into the hands of those who blew it- instead of the American working class taxpayers who are less than pawns in the grand game of politics.

Mark my words- as gas prices continue to climb- they will have the greatest effect on the general health and well-being of the buying public. Putting gas in the tank at $3+ a gallon will do more to slow down consumer confidence than anything else. With gold hitting all-time highs- we know that those who talk about “trickle down economics” are more worried about protecting their wealth- than growing their portfolios or investing in our country.

With two years left in Obama’s presidency- and a Republican House to deal with, there should only be one focus for this administration- and it’s how to get Main Street humming again. Reeling in the financiers and their financial wizardry should be at the top of the list- forcing new rules stopping cashing out by executives if their companies either lay off American workers- or they accept government support. Patent and trademark protections should be eased on companies that operate as American companies in name only- if a majority of what you sell is made in China- live with their patent law protection. At some point we have to stop rewarding those who screw the little people- because, well- we’re the ones who are being asked already to pay for their transgressions.

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John Ise

Reading this post goes right along with the NY Times op-ed today!   Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich? By FRANK RICH IN the aftermath of the Great Democratic Shellacking of 2010, one election night subplot quickly receded into the footnotes: the drubbing received by very wealthy Americans, most of them Republican, who tried to buy Senate seats and governor’s mansions. Americans don’t hate rich people. They admire and often idolize success. But Californians took a hearty dislike to Meg Whitman, who sacrificed $143 million of her eBay fortune — not to mention her undocumented former housekeeper — to a gubernatorial race she lost by double digits. Connecticut voters K.O.’d the World Wrestling groin-kicker, Linda McMahon, and West Virginians did likewise to the limestone-and-steel magnate John Raese, the senatorial hopeful who told an interviewer without apparent irony, “I made my money the old-fashioned way — I inherited it.” To my mind, these losers deserve a salute nonetheless. They all had run businesses that actually created jobs (Raese included). They all wanted to enter public service to give back to the country that allowed them to prosper. And by losing so decisively, they gave us a ray of hope in dark times. Their defeats reminded us that despite much recent evidence to the contrary the inmates don’t always end up running the asylum of American politics. The wealthy Americans we should worry about instead are the ones who implicitly won the election — those who take far more from America than they give back. They were not on the ballot, and most of them are not household names. Unlike Whitman and the other defeated self-financing candidates, they are all but certain to cash in on the Nov. 2 results. There’s no one in Washington in either party with the fortitude to try to stop them from grabbing anything that’s not nailed down. The Americans I’m talking about are not just those shadowy anonymous corporate campaign contributors who flooded this campaign. No less triumphant were those individuals at the apex of the economic pyramid — the superrich who have gotten spectacularly richer over the last four decades while… Read more »