The Hightower Report

The fountain-pen economy

Even the word "greed" is not negative enough to characterize the all-out assault on workers by today's corporate elite.

From offshoring jobs to busting unions, from slashing wages to looting pensions, corporate takeaways from America's used-to-be middle-class workforce certainly are driven by the avarice of top executives and wealthy investors. Plainly put, the more they can take from workers, the more they can put in their own pockets (or, most likely, in their offshore bank accounts). It adds up to a massive redistribution of wealth from the many to the few.

In addition to greedy, though, these people are rank thieves. As Woody Guthrie succinctly put it: "Some'll rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen." We're now in a rapacious fountain-pen economy. Since the Wall Street crash of 2008 (itself a product of grand theft by financial elites), the productivity and creativity of all Americans have regenerated every bit of the wealth that was frittered away by bankers, and we created trillions of dollars in new income. What a phenomenal national achievement that is, produced in an astonishingly short time by the shared effort of our people!

But strenuous effort is all we shared. The richest 1% of Americans have grabbed 91% of the gains in income, and the even richer one-tenth-of-one-percent sucked up 22% of the new wealth. Thus, the vast majority of us have still not recovered the wealth we lost (homes, cars, savings, etc.), and 99% of us are getting less income today than we were before Wall Street crashed our economy seven years ago.

It's time we "robees" started talking plainly about what's going on. The rich are not getting richer because they're more enterprising than everyone else, harder-working, or of strong moral character. They're thieves. They're getting richer by stealing from you.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

income inequality, Woody Guthrie, fountain-pen economy, Wall Street

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