liar

We’ve been lied to....

time to call out the liars.

Approximately 30 years ago, about 3 something in the AM I was putting my baby daughter back to sleep and I heard someone yelling and banging on walls, we lived in a condominium at the time, so I carefully peeked out the window to see what was going on and witnessed a young man pounding his fists on the garage doors in the complex and yelling at the top of his lungs, moving down the alley, garage door by garage door. Yelling and pounding walls. This image has stuck in my head for 30 years now and I am beginning to understand what type of emotion could drive someone to pound doors and yell, “FUCK THIS SHIT!, FUCK THIS SHIT!, FUCK THIS SHIT!” Today I hit that moment, this morning in my email was an email that stirred in me the desire to pound on doors and scream, “FUCK THIS SHIT!”

What could make me that angry? As usual it was not one simple incident, it was many incidents leading up to this moment. It has been a lifetime of believing lies. Who are the ‘liars’? In this writing ‘you’, ‘liar’ and ‘they’ shall refer to our society at large. Here are some of the lies I was told (and believed) and I passed them on to my kids. However, like my angry neighbor I have realized I was lied to and man, am I pissed.

class

1-You told us that if we did well in school we would be rewarded. "Play by the rules, work hard, apply yourself and do well in school, and that will open doors for you," is how Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, puts it. But a study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference — between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death — are money and family.”

2-You told us if we worked hard we would be rewarded. “According to a new analysis by Paul Buchheit of UsAgainstGreed.org, those at the top make most of their money by betting against the American people.” Thom Hartman

British billionaire Richard Branson is quoted as saying that the wealthy don’t work harder than everyone else–they are just fortunate. “Yes, entrepreneurs may work hard, but I don’t think they actually work any harder than, say, doctors, nurses or other people in society, and yet tremendous wealth comes with it and therefore enormous responsibility comes with that wealth, responsibility to do good things, maybe create new businesses and maybe tackle some of the more seemingly intractable problems in the world...”

“It’s also commonly believe that the rich deserve their wealth because they work harder than others. In reality, a large and growing portion of the super-rich have never broken a sweat. Their wealth has been handed to them.” Robert Reich

counting

3-You told us if we saved our pennies we could become rich. “Investor and blogger Steve Roth recently crunched government data and found that household saving — whatever income people have left over after their spending — has little effect on boosting wealth.”

4-You told us that if we went to college we would get good, well-paying jobs. "Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major.” Brad Plumer

“Sadly, many hard working college graduates cannot seem to find a decent job no matter how hard they try.”
Michael Snyder

5-You told us that if we worked as hard as a man we would be paid the same. “In 2012, the median earnings of American women working full time year-round were $37,791. American men earned a median income of $49,398. The gender wage gap has hovered at about 77 cents on the dollar since 2007.” Laura Bassett

6-You told us that the Constitution said everyone was equal. “It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top. Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in most of Europe and lower than in all of Scandinavia.”  Joseph Stiglitz

7-You told us that we didn’t need an equal rights amendment because the Constitution already promised that.I, like many of the young women of my generation, assumed that we had equal rights with men under the law of our Constitution. We lived in the United States of America, the strongest democracy in the world. Why wouldn’t we? To my surprise, I learned (and it wasn’t that long ago) that I was wrong. The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women.” Tabby Biddle

8-You told us that you were rich because you worked harder than us and if we weren’t lazy we could be rich too. “Unfortunately, hard work doesn't always net high pay. Certainly, chief executives work long hours and are savvy business people. But other jobs are just as difficult, more dangerous, and require unparalleled intelligence. How do they stack up? Firefighters, for example, have undoubtedly one of the most hazardous jobs, and require special training, though not necessarily a college degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters often work more than 40 hours per week – all for a median annual pay rate of slightly more than $45,000.” Amanda Alix

How many of those have you been told throughout your life? How many of them turned out to be true? Executive income disparity The average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007; for the top 0.1 percent they grew 362 percent (Mishel, Bivens, Gould, and Shierholz 2012). In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentiles had wage growth of 34 percent, less than a tenth as much as those in the top 0.1 percent tier. Workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007.”  Natalie Sabadish and Lawrence Mishel While you have been working your tail off the CEO of the large corporation that owns your company has been banking your raise and bonus.

angry

Still don’t believe you have been lied to? I worked with executives, I saw the effort they put in. I was one of them. I also put in unpaid overtime, sacrificed family time, worked off the clock to prove my loyalty just like you. I also saw production employees put their lives in danger daily and get paid a pittance while the CEO was on the golf course ‘discussing businesses. Still not angry? How about if I tell you that they called you monkeys while putting on the golf course, laughed at how they negotiated a cut on your union pay, high fived each other while you were packing your belongings in a box and getting a severance check, and they think you aren’t smart enough to figure it out. Alright, so this doesn’t make you angry or even a little bit upset. What if I told you that the .1% are going to destroy our democracy? “Until we are able to offer a challenge to the 0.1 percent, we will continue to see democracy undermined, social cohesion blown apart, economies destabilized, social mobility stalled, and many other important aspects of our personal and public lives degraded, including our health. We need the lower-uppers to construct a social and political movement big enough and powerful enough to do it.” .” Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

fts

“The ranks of the very top are no longer filled by mainly by entrepreneurs or even financiers who are self-made. Increasingly, they are populated by people who, thanks to several decades of regressive tax policy, have inherited their wealth; names like Walton and Koch have become common at the apex of wealth. This is the new hereditary aristocracy of means and power. As Thomas Piketty noted in his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. They can get wealthier and wealthier just by sitting there doing absolutely nothing. In fact, it would be better if they did just sit there and do nothing, because when they do something, it is often reckless speculation that destabilizes the economy. By seriously taxing our wealthiest households, we could raise significant revenues and invest these funds to expand wealth-building opportunities across the economy.” Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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