Diagramming a Con-Job: The Graphics of Giving It All to the Superrich (updated, with an Academy Award Mention)

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

(Update I, II, and III, below)

Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot, in a graphic essay It’s the Inequality, Stupid, give a run-down of what has happened to the economics of the different financial classes within the last three decades.  In short: what is touted as “free market” is actually a redistribution of wealth to the upper 1 to 2% of the population, and even more to the upper .01%,  the Superrich (who caused the financial crisis and too who we gave  more and more money to just so they could “keep it up”! Read a summary here).

This small section of the population (that upper percentile of the super-haves) have only reaped more rewards in the ensuring two years for their prime roles in collapsing the world economies and are on a wild ride to grabbing the last pieces left of the economic “pie” (which are actually taken from 90% of the rest of the population, see the final graph below).

Check out the consequences in the graphic sign-language of the Con-job of the 21st century. As it has been succinctly put what this has meant is that; the Super Rich Classes  determination to minimize their contribution to public funds is matched only by the lavishness of the benefits they have enjoyed at public expense.

As the graphs show the “supply-side” economic period has not been a time of trickle-down, but of “gush-up”.  And we are set to continue this trend in the misleading calls for Austerity (which is actually a snatch by the upper percentiles of the Rich to enclose the last bits of moneys they do not currently have their hands on).

Yes that small section at the top is the upper 1%, then divided down to smaller percentages.  Bottom line, they have most of it and we are all of the lower (90%) blue squares who happened to bail them out last time they ruined their companies (and the world).

After the tax cut of the 21st century (first Bush and now Obama) those guys at the top pay much less (top graph), and look how much we pay in taxes (yellow and Blue lines) and what those companies pay (red, rapidly falling, line).  Not only in the US, See the Guardian page, which shows the exact same trend in the UK for a Tax Gap and redistribution of money:

General Populaces pay decreases, while the upper moneyed classes pay increases.

And the money the upper moneyed classes take –  Its from the rest of the populace.  Note that what is “lost in revenue” by the lower 80% of the population is what is “gained in revenue” by the upper 1% of the economic pyramid.  Wish they would share, or just wish they would stop stealing from the general population under the guise of “freedom”?


Update I:

Came to remember an essay on the construction of conservatism by Phil Agre which explains why the Superrich would want to destroy the societies which founded their own wealth by Taking it All.

From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy. These people and their allies are the conservatives.

The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats.


Update II:

Inside Job wins the Oscar of the Best Documentary and Kevin Welner, who is the director of the National Education Policy Center, tells why inequality is one of the basic core problems for education as well (and why “Waiting for Superman”, the much touted documentary on Education privatization was wildly mistaken):

The film also points out the growing and now extreme inequality of wealth distribution in the United States. “The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation’s pretax income in 2007—up from less than 9 percent in 1976.”

Consider those final three items: (1) the advocacy of deregulation in order to free up innovation, (2) hubris and general belief among hedge fund titans that they are infallible, and (3) increased wealth inequality.

If Superman had explored these issues instead of bashing unions and promoting charters, moviegoers might have walked away understanding a great deal about why the families it profiled and so many similar families across America face a bleak educational future.


Update III:

Charles Ferguson’s oddly beautiful and majestic documentary “Inside Job”, exploring the culprits of the financial crisis of 2008, won the Oscar for Best documentary.   His acceptance speech starts in the right place by lamenting the lack of accountability and legal action against the criminals in the financial markets three years later:

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.”

And, he could have added they are still running those companies (which failed and had to be bailed out)  and coming home with more and more “bonuses” since this collapse (and sending Lobbyists to Washington D.C. at a rate of 5 to 1,to keep it that way):

“Total pay at Wall Street firms rose 5.7 percent in 2010, as the 25 companies that have already reported results shelled out a record $135 billion…. “Combined pay at the financial firms surveyed by the WSJ hit an all-time high last year. Despite concerns in recent months that firms were suffering from a decline in trading volume, revenue rose 1 percent to $417 billion, another all-time record. Meanwhile, the percentage of revenue that went into employees’ pockets climbed as well, from 31.1 percent in 2009 to 32.5 percent last year.
The taxpayer bailout that firms received during the crisis has helped amplify Wall Street’s bottom lines. With hundreds of billions from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and other initiative­s, the five biggest investment banks — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — saw their revenues soar, Bloomberg News reported la­st year.

As TARP has wound down, the Federal Reserve has launched a $600 billion asset-purc­hase program, intended to augment the flow of cash through the economy, which has also been a direct and indirect boon for the banks. As it buys U.S. government debt, the Fed announces its purchases ahead of time, giving certain banks an opportunit­y to profit on the trades.­”

  1. maaretta says:

    Thank you for the post. Important issue that needs to be talked about more.
    The documentary “Inside Job” explained the financial crisis very simply and well too. But this post has more recent statistics.

  2. […] Diagramming a Con-Job: The Graphics of Giving It All to the Superrich (updated, with an Academy Awar… […]

  3. […] Diagramming a Con-Job: The Graphics of Giving It All to the Superrich (updated, with an Academy Awar… […]

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