Monday, July 14, 2014

John Oliver explains the wealth gap



John Oliver does a great job, doesn't he?

This strikes home for me, because my 88-year-old mother worries about estate taxes. The fact that she doesn't have any money doesn't seem to matter. Well, she's a Republican, and she's been convinced that she has to worry about this.

(Face it. Even if she were wealthy, she wouldn't have to worry about it. Her heirs might, but not her. As it is, that's the last thing any of us are worried about!)

Also, I hate to break it to you, but you're not going to win the lottery. You might as well stop wasting your money by buying tickets. Certainly you need to stop wasting time wondering what you'll do with your winnings!

Lotteries are just a tax on dumb people. (OK, OK, people lacking in math skills. Is that better?) Rich people don't want to pay an extra dollar or two in taxes, so they take it from the gullible, instead. And then they promote gullibility on television, to promote the damned thing! Don't get me started.

If there's class warfare in America, you and I are losing. Worse than that, you're probably fighting on the wrong side. Somehow, the astoundingly wealthy have convinced ordinary people to support them, instead of themselves.

These days, children are less likely than their parents to graduate from high school. How's that for a sobering statistic? Kids lucky enough to make it to college come out of it with a staggering level of debt. But the wealthy are making out like bandits, thanks to tax cut after tax cut (and corporate welfare, too, to add insult to injury).

Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been brilliant in convincing poor and middle-class white people that black people and Hispanic immigrants are the problem. Remember those so-called "Reagan Democrats"? They were working-class white people who'd been manipulated into seeing economics in terms of race (thus supporting economic policies which were not in their own best interests).

Yeah, that was stupid, but it worked. Republicans may be piss-poor at governing, but they can sure take advantage of the worst of human nature, when they want votes. They're also great at taking a serious issue, dumbing it down into two words - "class warfare" - and then repeating it in unison.

It's maddening, but plenty of people are gullible enough to believe that sort of thing. And our news media help not at all. Thanks the gods for comedians, huh?

3 comments:

Gregg Garthright said...

That's a great clip, Bill.

The "Death Tax" thing has always amazed me - we should all be so lucky to have to worry about taxes on our estate.

On the other hand, most of my long term financial planning is based on the purchase of large numbers of lottery tickets......

jeff725 said...

"Never underestimate the marketing ability of the Republican Party and the stupidity of the American people."

--Bill Maher

WCG said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Hmm,... it's supposed to be over 100° today and tomorrow. Maybe I'll get caught up on my blogging...