America, the Banana Republic

Monday, November 8, 2010


There are numerous definitions of what makes for a banana republic. One notorious definition is inequitable wealth distribution where the wealthiest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie. It is here, the USA excels.

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times writes:

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted inan excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

That’s the backdrop for one of the first big postelection fights in Washington — how far to extend the Bush tax cuts to the most affluent 2 percent of Americans. Both parties agree on extending tax cuts on the first $250,000 of incomes, even for billionaires. Republicans would also cut taxes above that.

The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

The USA is the greatest country in the world. If you’re a billionaire.

This entry was posted in Banana Republic, USA, Wealth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to America, the Banana Republic

  1. Rachel says:

    Obama should have more sense than to give the rich a $61,000 tax break. Remember Bill Clinton? He raised Federal taxes on the wealthy, and it reversed Poppy Bush’s recession, paid down the deficit and paved the way for the creation of 23 million new jobs. Too bad Obama isn’t Bill Clinton.

  2. Joe in Colorado says:

    I am convinced this wealth inequity is one of the main factors that will lead to the destruction of the middle class and the end of the U.S. as we know it. We can’t realistically think we will survive as a nation without a strong middle class. Add to this the debt and I don’t think the U.S. will survive another 100 years.

  3. Jolly Roger says:

    Our Lenin must be out there already. I wonder who he (or she) will turn out to be?

  4. feminazi says:

    The US is yawing under a $13,800,000,000,000 debt and the uber-rich can’t pay their fair share and want even more Federal income tax breaks and Obama is more than happy to accommodate their greed. I have to think being a millionaire himself factors into this behavior. Gone are the days when he was a struggling, local Chicago politician.

  5. Brigadoon says:

    “Only the little people pay taxes.” – Leona Helmsley

  6. Marcus Ybanez says:

    The whole house of cards will come tumbling down the day Communist China says they’re not interested in buying America’s debt.

    Then the Piper will have to be paid and I predict we will see rioting in the streets, as services and programs get eliminated and cut.

    Like Social Security.

  7. R.J. Lawson says:

    Destroy the middle class? It’s already happening where I live. I’m just waiting for the next wave of foreclosures to hit for it to be official.

  8. Harry says:

    Ours is the first generation to have a lower standard of living than our parents.

  9. Eric Equality Kuntz says:

    Tell me again, why do the rich deserve a tax cut?

    I’m very patient and I’ll await an intelligent explanation.

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