Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HOW the One-Percenters Live

In the continuing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, it is good to know that part of their thrust will be to actually ferret out how some of the elite 1% of the wealthiest in this plutocracy (or better, Corporatacracy) live. The very continued easy times for these folks, and their continued despicably low tax rates, often hinge on the 99% (or 'hoi polloi' as the 1-percenters call them) not knowing how they live. This is believed to ensure they can go on about their Tiffany's shopping sprees, and lengthy golf vacations to St. Kitts-Nevis, without being harassed by the "lesser" folks or made to feel some guilt for their excesses.

Of course, Michael Parenti, in his landmark expose of financial and other corruption (Dirty Truths) also notes that the economic facts concerning these one percenters are kept well hidden. He learned that even most census data, which readily quantified the poorest, doesn't reveal a lot about who the rich are and how most got that way. It was only after extraordinary work and determination he was able to learn that more than 94% of the wealthiest one percent never got that way from hard work, but via inheritance!

Instead, they and their Overclass PR-hucksters and hacks have exploited the "hard work" theme to make the large American proletariat believe they can also become rich like the one percent if they only keep the pedal to the metal, and the nose to the grind stone. In other words, serving up more of the 'Horatio Alger' codswallop. Never tell the 99% (or the 90%) that they can work their fingers to the raw bone but they'll never compile enough wealth to be in the top 1% without some major breaks! And maybe winning a lotto!)

So, in the country now - where we have 47 million unable to afford health insurance, and 22 million kids who go to bed hungry each night, with 24 million adults under- or unemployed, and three million facing home foreclosure, it is of interest to ascertain what the One percent are doing with their money.

First, what is the one percent income threshold? From Diane Sawyer's piece on ABC News last night, she noted the median income is $1.1 million. Of that, barely one tenth actually goes to taxes, since they can keep the rest by exploiting the Bush tax cuts which disproportionately favor the top 1% the most. For most of these folks, the equivalent benefit is roughly equal to one new Bentley each year. So, having benefited from these tax cuts since 2001, they've received roughly the equivalent in ten Bentleys.

Obviously they don't spend solely on Bentleys but their equivalent cash benefit provides them with many options and a multitude of luxuries, including:

- At least one new yacht,

- 10-15 kt diamond jewellry (often necklaces) from Tiffany's - which outfit has recently said they're essentially no longer even token catering to the lesser income types

- Going on luxury golf trips

- Going on special luxury spa and foodie sojourns,

At which the "One percent" females can enjoy "chocolate sugar scrubs" and "rose wine wraps" while they wait in comfort for their bottles of bubbly.,....or partake in "other amenities", including: herbal steam room, guided beach walks, poolside yoga or pilates. They also have their choice of one of 33 treatment rooms.

After their ministrations, the one percent wife and hubby can enjoy their special candle-light dining in a special luxury Villla. There, they can feast on endless foie Gras, fresh salmon, lobster thermidor, and as many Magnums of the best champagne as they desire.

Why should they have to worry about disgruntled Wall Street protestors, when they have likely derived the optimum benefits from Wall Street via flash or high speed computer trading, whereby special algorithms are used to buy and sell millions of shares before an ordinary 401k small fry can get to his phone to call in a redemption?

After the 1 percenters' enjoyable holiday, they can take their yachts anywhere they want, maybe hobnob with friends off Bimini or go to Anguilla for scuba diving among the corals.

On getting home, they can check their portfolios again, and ensure their hedge funds are still making money while all the little guys are losing with their pathetic and pedestrian mutual funds. (See also my next blog on why this may be happening).

Ah yes, the life of the typical one percenter. How sweet it is!

And no surprise so many of them are now scared and worried by the "riff raff" Occupy Wall Streeters, as one recent letter writer to the Denver Post put it, saying that she was concerned about it "getting out of hand" like what we saw in Greece and the UK.

Hmmmmm.....we should be so lucky! Bottom line, it's good these people are afraid. Maybe now they will do the right thing and push their favorite Repuke thug congress critter to raise taxes, as opposed to cutting food stamps!

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