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Sargon Bighorn 1
The top earners are those that have convinced the bottom 99% that having the latest shoes, and cars, and handbags, and I-thingy is REALLY worth having and you will be cool and hip and trendy if you have it. And you know what, it appears to have worked. Twitter that, text that, I-gadget that and the top 1% get rich, you bought that gadget. They are getting rich not because they have a money tree, it's because in the past Americans felt that what they had defined who there were and parting with money was all it took. Let us hope that is changing, finally.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
If only the Wal Mart heirs would spend all of their money shopping at WalMart, then problem solved.
Posted by Chicago Fan on February 16, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this
I'm going to assume you mean "a rising tide of income IN-equality"
Posted by Transient Gadfly on February 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
So Goldy, if we rise up and kill the Wicked 1% in their sleep and seize all their stuff and divide it among the Noble 99% how much would each slob get?

Get back to us, OK?

You clueless pathetic sack of shit.
Posted by Goldy is a Pathetic Envious Little Fuck on February 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
@2, I recently read the Walton family's net worth is greater than the bottom 30% of all Americans combined.

One of the lesser Walton heirs just bought two adjoining mansions atop the Bird streets above L.A.'s Sunset Strip. She liked the land (less than two acres for $40 million), and intends to flatten both mansions so she can build something more her style.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Here comes the scien... er, sociology?…

A study at UC Berkley shows that, were we to establish a minimum wage of TWELVE (12) DOLLARS, it would only help Walmart. In order to accommodate the wage hike, Walmart would have to raise their prices a whopping 1.1%, costing the average Walmart shopper about $12.50. (Keep in mind that this is the MOST EXTREME estimate.) In return, people who are too poor to shop anywhere BUT Walmart would suddenly have a LOT more money to spend there.

It turns out that employee salaries are a negligible portion of the cost of Walmart's goods - the bulk of the cost is in product and transport. They don't want to pay their employees any more out of some bizarre sense of spite.
Posted by Ruke on February 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
That's why they keep supporting charter schools, @2. Keep 'em dumb and barely educated and they'll shop at WalMart.
Posted by StuckInUtah on February 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
David Thompson 8
Where's their money? paying the extra 2% payroll tax
Posted by David Thompson on February 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 9
What states did well and what states did poorly? Are austerity states better or worse?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 10
Then again maybe Wal-Mart shares are tanking because most of what they carry is crap and their service sucks. I'll shop Costco or Fred Meyer before Wal-Mart any day.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on February 16, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Goldy 11
@3 Yes. And I can't express how grateful I am to see that the entire comment thread didn't just descend into snide chatter about a typo. How refreshing.
Posted by Goldy on February 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
@6, That is not surprising what-so-ever.
Posted by Spike1382 on February 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 13
"Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”

Hopefully a large number of them are taking their business to CostCo, which actually pays its employees a living wage.
Posted by Doctor Memory on February 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 14
According to this map, Seattle/King County is near the top of income disparity.…

And you really feel it. A middle class income here entitles you to little more than an immigrant permanent home or easy life.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 15
@2: Well, for the fortunate visitors and citizens of Bentonville, Arkansas - they buy art.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 16, 2013 at 4:48 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 16
Now that incomes in Southeast Asia are rising, and workers there are starting to demand more rights and better pay, it may soon become unprofitable to import goods from this region. Once that happens, one has to ask where Wal-Mart will go to obtain goods. Parts of Africa are starting to develop to a level where they could be exploitable. Wages there are so low. The many problems in these regions are going to have to be addressed first, including endemic disease patterns, warfare, corrupt regimes and non-existent infrastructure.

While it is true that capitalism is a monstrous system in almost every respect, it does produce change much more rapidly than the feudal regimes currently extant in places like Swaziland. If this last undeveloped continent is finally brought to a stage where the working class there can be exploited for their labor, we might see the beginning of the end for capitalism.

Since capitalism is now a totally global system. Almost every nation on the planet is in the WTO now. The only ones that aren't are places like Somalia where there is no real social order present. Socialism cannot exist in competition with such a system, except for a watered down and ineffective form of socialism such as those advocated by the British and Australian Labor Parties and the NDP of Canada. The absurd attempts at socialism that existed in the 20th century weren't socialist in any meaningful way. Perhaps the one that came closest was Yugoslavia, but even that could only exist with the benefit of heavy subsidies from capitalist states who saw it as a bulwark against the USSR. In any event, no real socialist state has ever existed or ever could exist until the entire globe first experienced capitalism. Indeed, if socialism ever were realized, the very concept of a "state" would become redundant.

And we may be on the verge of that precursor's occurrence. Africa and several island states such as Tonga remain the last pre-capitalist holdouts on the planet. Should Wal-Mart, in an attempt to overcome the drop in profits described in this article, decide to follow the Chinese lead and begin developing Africa to a stage where the workers there could be exploited, the beginning of the end of this system may be initiated at long last.

Wal-Mart will need a very good incentive to do so, like the threat of near bankruptcy. Africa's challenges are numerous and intimidating. It remains questionable as to whether one company (even one as rich as Wal-Mart) could begin to make a difference there. The Chinese though have developed a toe-hold there, so its obvious that they see some profit in the enterprise. Should American corporations see the same, we might soon see a serious effort being made to combat malaria, cholera, yellow fever, and the numerous other local plagues. We might see pressure brought at long last to corrupt dictatorships that the world has heretofore ignored, such as Mugabe, al-Bashir, and Moseveni. Since workers dying of HIV at very young ages are not able to work, the capitalist system might finally topple Mswati's heartless family, who have let over half their countrymen contract the disease with no hope of treatment.

Is this a good thing? In a sense yes, in another sense, no. While much existing pain is going to be alleviated as a side effect of capitalist exploitation, it is neither the central focus nor is it something that will occur in the interests of those being relieved of it. It will be done merely to provide low cost labor to companies such as Wal Mart so they can lower the cost of t-shirts from $5 (already too expensive) to something more profitable, like maybe 50 cents. In the end, workers wages in America will be slashed even further. Unions will be broken even more than they have been in the past. This will be done to keep down labor costs, and will go as far as it can before Wal Mart finally gives in and starts developing a production market that it can afford in Africa.

On the other hand, an end to malaria is a dream that mankind has pursued fruitlessly as long as history records. The realization of an end to the horrible and murderous paramilitaries that plague Africa will mean that people will no longer have to live in terror of the likes of Kony, the ICU, and the Interhamwe. The government of the DRC will no longer be a fiction, even if it will become a puppet regime of the corporate interests like the rest of us. First world problems such as obesity will displace real problems such as trachoma.

And it is necessary that this event occur if socialism is ever to come about.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on February 16, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17
Hoist by their own petard.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 16, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 18
I'm doing better than the median area resident by a good margin, and my wages go up every year -- but by less than my share of my health care premiums (which rose something like 18% this year). My check has gotten smaller as a result. I'm taking home less than I did three years ago. I can't even imagine how people earning below the median survive -- by not having health care at all, I imagine. And ACA has a ton of gaps in it.
Posted by Fnarf on February 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Are they serious? "The Wal-Mart executives blamed the hike in payroll taxes and a delay in tax returns for why customers aren't shopping, according to Dudley's story.


It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that minimum wage is a poverty level, or below, existence, right?

@18 - health care is more available for the poor than for the lower-middle class. If you're poor enough, there are some options for free care. If you're not poor enough for free care, but unable to afford paid-for health care and you've been squeezed into several part time jobs so your employer doesn't have to provide any, you're pretty screwed.
Posted by randoma on February 16, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Fnarf 20
@19, that's exactly the situation more than a few people I know are in -- multiple part-time jobs, in retail, no health care. You buy it on the open market, and pay ridiculous sums for it. And the rates keep skyrocketing, because most "health care" is actually bullshit overprescribed shit (not just pills, either) that costs fifty times what it would on the open market, if it was even allowed at all. Some of the stuff I've seen in the CPAP market just boggles the mind that they get away with that cpap, er, crap. That's a huge part of the reason health care is so expensive in this country.
Posted by Fnarf on February 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
well obviously everything ever posted on facebook by a kid is 1000% true.

fuck the trial, grab a rope and let's string the bitch up.....
Posted by how we do it in Gommorah on February 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Oh No;

lock your brain in a safe place,

Danny is quoting 'Science' again....

(Lucky for Danny he never reads the articles he cites. His head would explode)

BTW the same issue of 'Pediatrics' has an article linking food allergies in kids and bullying.

Relax Kids; It Get's Peanut Butter!
Posted by Slog: Junk "Science" Advocacy parading as Science everyday on February 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 23
Now see what you've done? You've gone and confused the troll. He can't figure out if he's mad at David or Dan.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 16, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Report this
But, but... we always paid our employees the lowest possible wages we could, even if we had to hire them in countries with lax labor and environmental standards to do it. We figured that our our customer base would be comprised of employees of OTHER companies, the ones who paid more than subsistence wages. Are you saying that the party's over? I've got a whole showroom full of flat-screen TVs to sell here, who's going to buy them? Are you trying to put me out of a job?

We offer generous financing terms -- no interest for a year. Please? Anyone?
Posted by Proteus on February 16, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 25
That was long, but really interesting, thanks for writing it!

I've always thought that instead of invading Iraq with military forces, we should have bought as much property there as possible and opened up a bunch of retail stores.

You can't force capitalism and "democracy" on countries by bombing them, but perhaps you can do it by buying them.

I also despise most of what capitalism represents, but the idea of eliminating some of the world's most devastating plagues might sweeten the bitter pill of exploited workers.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading what you wrote.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 16, 2013 at 9:05 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 26
@16: It astounds me how socialism is revered by gay liberal progressives given the inhumanity sexual minorities suffer in countries slightly to the left of Sweden but not far from totalitarian Stalinist states like China and North Korea.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Report this
Golly, Phoebe in Wallingford, that would be like totally ironic and a really awesome burn in a world where correlation and causation were the same thing.
Posted by Alden on February 17, 2013 at 6:38 AM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 28
Walmart employees can't afford to shop at Walmart. Most of the hourly workers need food stamps and medicaid to survive. Our taxes pay their workers a living wage so that Walmart can rake in the profits.……
Posted by Y.F. Redux on February 17, 2013 at 7:10 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 29

Well, at least you read it, even if you didnt understand it.

North Korea is not socialist. They follow a doctrine called juche. China is not to the Left at all. Its as capitalist as it gets. Deng Xiopeng himself stated that "to get rich is glorious", which is hardly the sort of rhetoric you would hear from a socialist.

Again, socialism does not exist anywhere on Earth yet. It cannot exist until capitalism exists in the entire global system. Since some parts of Africa and the island states are still very much feudal, they have not yet realized capitalism. Thus, the entire globe is becoming capitalist, but until it is, socialism cannot come about.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on February 17, 2013 at 7:31 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 30
@27: that's the world conservatives live in.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 17, 2013 at 7:40 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 31
Hey, you guys, Bailo posted a decent link @14.


That isn't irony.

The link goes to a weird WSJ article that shows the average income of the top 5% vs the middle 20%. Of course, if you shaved the bottom 4% of slackers from their top 5%, that ratio would skyrocket. And, if you went to the bottom 20%, it would also double, at least.

But, still, it shows a disparity that's gross.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@Goldy, this is one of those duuuuuuhhh-type postings.

Although I appreciate Goldy's posting this, anyone who has yet figured out that the consumer-based economy collapsed many years ago, please vacate the country, we have no further need of 'tards and douchetards!

With the top 15% making up the vast amount of the consumption of that frequently bandied about figure, 70% consumption making up the GDP (used to be 20%, but has shrunk to increased concentration of wealth), obviously there aren't any consumers left due to the obvious outcome as demonstrated by latest Census data:

1 out of 2 Americans (that's 50% for all those arithmetic-challenged types out there, and among some of the commenters here, that's quite a few individuals) don't have any money.

And if you recall (just kidding, I realize reading and memory aren't many people's strong points anymore), those members of Anonymous who were busted (really, really skilled hacker types, although perhaps not at the uppermost pinnacle?) by the Feds, occupied the lowest income to NO income groups: in America, the UK, Europe, etc.

Begins to make sense if one can do the arithmetic....
Posted by sgt_doom on February 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
I disagree wholeheartedly. We need to expedite the transfer of wealth/power from the former US middle class to the insulated top. Leaders in government and business are far more likely to encourage fairness and equality than smaller autonomous operations and certainly the "mom and pops". Despite the bitter peel of job outsourcing this is all a necessary element of the larger positive trend of progressive global equality. You apparently hold the illusion that this particular example of disproportionate wealth distribution is damaging to the cause when in fact the opposite is true. It is representative of a transfer of the burden of responsibility and self sufficiency and allows for a more desirable form of connectivity, inclusivity and cooperation. You can't have a strong middle class without a strong lower class; should we solicit volunteers? Is there a group among us that is more deserving of this inhumane status?
Posted by ry coolage on February 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this

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