Michael Parenti’s America Besieged turns the idea that the U.S. is threatened by foreign enemies on its head. His notion is that a politically active segment of the  privileged and wealthy class is intent on maintaining their privilege at whatever cost. The freedoms the rest of us enjoy are thus under siege to the extent that those freedoms threaten that privilege. His chapter on distribution of wealth confirms what Chomsky and others have said in various of their books and lectures (not something you’ll find on TV where the greater population gets its information, – another subject). Parenti’s book was published in 1998 so it can be safely assumed (recall which administration presided over the period since, leaving the current administration with a paralyzing mess, assuming it is not complicit – a big assumption) that the trends he cites have gotten even more pronounced.

  • 1% of the population owns 60% of all stock
  • 90% of U.S. families have little or no assets
  • The top 500,000 people have more wealth than the bottom 200,000,000.
  • From 1983 to 1998 after-tax income for the top 1% increased by 85%
  • For the same period income for the bottom 20% dropped 10%
  • Using a child’s building block to represent $1,000, the average income would stack about 36” while the wealthiest would be far higher than the Eiffel Tower
  • The census bureau excludes the highest earners when it averages U.S. income, giving the skewered impression that making about $300,000 annually puts you in the top bracket

One of the ways the privileged are doubling, tripling, etc., their fortunes these days is to look at the IRS as their collection agency… all that money, must be a way to get your hands on it… use your connections, get the right people in public office who will grease the skids, start the wars, cut your taxes (yours not “theirs”), jack up military and security spending (profitize), create or exploit crisis in order to privatize (profitize), deregulate (profitize) and de-democratize.

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson

Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

  • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
  • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
  • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
  • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)