Rich getting richer

Not that this will be a surprise but via Kevin Drum, I learned that the Federal Reserve has released a set of economic data that among other things shows that the gap between the rich and the poor has indeed been getting bigger at an astonishing rate within the last 25 years, with the top 3% making enormous gains at the expense of the bottom 90%, with the balance 7% remaining relatively stable.
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Payday loans

It is true that these companies extort money from the needy and get them trapped in a cycle of debt. The problem is that they also serve a need. Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, just barely getting by, and any sudden emergency (car repair, medical bill, broken furnace) can throw their delicately balanced finances out of whack and they often feel they have nowhere else to turn to at short notice.
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Corporate perversion

The latest gambit by American corporations to lower their taxes even more is to take advantage of what is known as ‘corporate inversion’. The way it works is for a big US company to buy a small company in a country that has favorable tax laws, Ireland being the current favored nation. They then ‘invert’ the relationship, claiming that the foreign company is the parent one while the US one is the subsidiary, even though nothing else has changed. This enables them to pay the lower taxes of the other nation while enjoying all the benefits of being in the US.
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Increasing calls for wealth redistribution

People may recall in the 2008 presidential election the huge fuss that occurred when in a casual conversation with a voter, candidate Barack Obama made a vague statement to the effect we need to share the wealth. That voter was the infamous ‘Joe the Plumber’ who then had his fifteen minutes of fame as he became a right wing hero, a so-called common man who opposed socialistic policies, although Obama is far from being a socialist as any rational person would concede.
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Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page on the US political system

The two authors of the study that looked at a large amount of data that enabled them to test various hypotheses about who runs America and came to the conclusion that the middle class and lower have no influence on policy had an extended interviewed on The Daily Show two days ago. They are careful to say that they themselves did not use the word oligarchy, which to them implies control by a very tiny group, say they top 0.1%. They think control here is by about the top 10%.
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