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Mike Luckovich | The pain was worth it / blogs.ajc.com

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Washington at Work--for the Wealthy

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  • "We cannot avoid the sad irony," as one new report has just concluded, "that government policy aimed at building wealth is largely helping the rich get richer."
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  • Uncle Sam is concentrating America's wealth, not sharing it.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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Sam Pizzigati, Other Words

Kahlil Bendib

Scroll through the right-wing blogosphere, or listen in at a tea party rally, and you'll find angry people ranting about an out-of-control federal government that's redistributing the nation's wealth to the undeserving poor.

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Those rants do have one point right: The federal government is shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars into programs that redistribute wealth. But these "wealth-building" programs aren't redistributing wealth from the top to the bottom. They're actually shifting more wealth to the top.

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"We cannot avoid the sad irony," as one new report has just concluded, "that government policy aimed at building wealth is largely helping the rich get richer."

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More...

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Related:

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Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics, Eric Alterman, Center for American Progress

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  • Economic inequality in America is growing to proportions we have never seen before, threatening not only our social structure but also our democracy as the U.S. Supreme Court equates the right to spend money on politics with freedom of speech
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.
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Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth' William AldenHuffington Post

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  • Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.
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  • Class Warfare from the Top Down
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  • Third world America
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"Inside Job": Global finance as a criminal conspiracy

It's hard to overstate the importance of this angry, elegant film about the greatest financial swindle in history

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Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

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Elliott Spitzer

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"Inside Job" is an angry and elegant new documentary from entrepreneur-turned-filmmaker Charles Ferguson, who took on the mismanagement of America's war in Iraq in his Oscar-nominated "No End in Sight." It might well be the most important film you see this year, and the most important documentary of this young century. In clear, ruthless and specific detail, Ferguson explains how the ongoing financial collapse that began in 2008 was itself caused by the criminal greed of the global financial elite that ordinary citizens had (unwisely) trusted, empowered by government deregulation and by the viral spread of rapacious free-market ideology.

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Angry and elegant is an unusual combination, and as a wealthy, well-connected policy wonk who makes expensive movies aimed at a large audience, Ferguson has gotten a mixed reception from the documentary world and from film critics. But "Inside Job," which was the smash hit of last spring's Cannes Film Festival and reaches American theaters this month, has made me a believer. Ferguson is here to tell the world that the crisis that has wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth, thrown millions of people out of work and out of their homes, and further widened the global gulf between rich and poor was no accident. It was a crime.

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Section(s): 

Hey, Small Spender

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  • Where’s all that spending we keep hearing about? It never happened.
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  • If job-creating government spending has failed to bring down unemployment in the Obama era, it’s not because it doesn’t work; it’s because it wasn’t tried.
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Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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Here’s the narrative you hear everywhere: President Obama has presided over a huge expansion of government, but unemployment has remained high. And this proves that government spending can’t create jobs.

Here’s what you need to know: The whole story is a myth. There never was a big expansion of government spending. In fact, that has been the key problem with economic policy in the Obama years: we never had the kind of fiscal expansion that might have created the millions of jobs we need.

More...

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Summary: America's Financial Crisis: Week of October 3

6 New Items including:

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  • Household incomes down, and poverty up, survey finds
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Dan Wasserman

Five myths about the Bush tax cuts, William G. Gale, Washington Post | DC

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  • A gloomy economic and fiscal outlook has given rise to a number of stubborn myths about what extending the Bush tax cuts would -- or wouldn't -- do.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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Household incomes down, and poverty up, survey finds, Washington Post | DC and Seattle Times | WA

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  • Household incomes shrank for a second year in 2009, while the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it swelled. Income estimates out Tuesday from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, show the recession's effect on millions of families.
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  • Inequality: A threat to nation?
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  • Wage stagnation imperils consumer spending
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  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.
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Paul Volcker Slams 'Broken' Financial System, Banks, Regulators, William Alden, Huffington Post

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  • Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker scrapped a prepared speech he had planned to deliver at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on Thursday (Sep 23), and instead delivered a blistering, off-the-cuff critique leveled at nearly every corner of the financial system.
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  • Volcker Spares No One in Broad Critique
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Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics, Eric Alterman, Center for American Progress

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  • Economic inequality in America is growing to proportions we have never seen before, threatening not only our social structure but also our democracy as the U.S. Supreme Court equates the right to spend money on politics with freedom of speech
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.
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Bleeding-Heart Republicans, Jim Hightower, Common Dreams

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  • The GOP Stands Up for Downtrodden Minority: The Super-Rich
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  • The Angry Rich
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Anti-austerity protests sweep across Europe, Raf Casert, Associated Press/Washington Post | DC

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  • All the actions sought to protest the budget-slashing, tax-hiking, pension-cutting austerity plans of European governmentsseeking to control their debt.
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  • Romanian govt in uproar amid austerity protests
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  • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Says EU Austerity Is Wrong Bet
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  • Nobel Laureate Krugman: The Myths of Austerity
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Household incomes down, and poverty up, survey finds

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  • Household incomes shrank for a second year in 2009, while the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it swelled. Income estimates out Tuesday from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, show the recession's effect on millions of families.
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  • Inequality: A threat to nation?
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  • Wage stagnation imperils consumer spending
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  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.
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Washington Post | DC and Seattle Times | WA

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Job applicants move through a rope line at a March 2009 job fair in New York. Economists generally agree competition from low-wage nations and other factors hurt U.S. workers.

Household incomes shrank for a second year in 2009, as the recession eroded the share of American families earning more than $100,000 and swelled the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it.

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Income estimates out Tuesday (Sep 28) from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, show the recession's effect on millions of families.

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More...

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Related:

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Inequality: A threat to nation? Tom Abate, San Francisco Chronicle |CA
Soaring unemployment has poured salt into a long-festering economic wound — the widening gap between rich and poor Americans, a trend that has been accompanied by a hollowing out of the middle class.

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Wage stagnation imperils consumer spending, Tom Abate, San Francisco Chronicle |CA/Seattle Times | WA
Americans did not invent consumerism, although they hold the dubious distinction of being the world heavyweight champions of shopping.

Special Report | Poverty in the U.S., David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
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  • US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...
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