BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

MATT TAIBBI: We have this kind of community of rich people who genuinely believe that they are the wealth creators and that they should get every advantage and break whereas everybody else is a parasite and they're living off of them.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: How dare they have the gall to actually argue that too much regulation of American financial services is what is killing the economy.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. The new Gilded Age is roaring down on us, an uncaged tiger on a rampage. Walk out to the street in front of our office and turn right and you can see the symbol of it: a fancy new skyscraper going up two blocks away. When finished, this high rise among high rises will tower a thousand feet, the tallest residential building in the city.

The New York Times has dubbed it "the global billionaires club," and for good reason. At least of two of the apartments are under contract for more than $90 million each. Others, more modest, range in price from $45 million to more than 50 million.

Simultaneously, the powers-that-be have just awarded Donald Trump -- yes, that Donald Trump -- the right to run a golf course in the Bronx which taxpayers are spending at least $97 million to build. What “amounts to a public subsidy,” says the indignant city comptroller, "for a luxury golf course." Good grief. A handout to the plutocrat's plutocrat.

This, in a city where economic inequality rivals that of a third-world country. Of America's 25 largest cities, New York is now the most unequal. The median income for the bottom 20% last year was less than $9,000, while the top one percent of New Yorkers has an average annual income of $2.2 million.

Across America, this divide between the superrich and everyone else has become a yawning chasm and studies indicate it may stifle jobs and growth for years to come. At no time in modern history has the top one hundredth of one percent owned more of our wealth or paid so low a tax rate. But in neither of the two presidential debates so far has the vastness of this astounding inequality gap been discussed. Not by Mitt Romney, who is the embodiment of the predatory world of financial capitalism. And not even by Barack Obama, whose party once fought for working men and women against the economic royalists.

So just in time, if not too late, comes this definitive examination of inequality: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Its author is Chrystia Freeland, whose journalism is steeped in years of covering robber barons from Russia to Mexico and India. Once deputy editor of The Globe and Mail in Canada and a correspondent for The Financial Times and The Economist, she is now the editor of Thomson Reuters Digital.

We're joined by the perceptive and merciless Matt Taibbi, who has made the magazine Rolling Stone a go-to source for understanding the financial scandals that roil America. Who can forget his 2009 article on "The Great American Bubble Machine," which described investment bank Goldman Sachs as quote, "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”?

Welcome to you both.

MATT TAIBBI: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: Income inequality has soared to the highest level since the Great Depression, with the top one percent taking 93 percent of the income earned in the first year after the recovery, the first full year after the recovery. Why are the two candidates not talking about inequality growing at breakneck speed?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: You know, I think because it is still a taboo in American political life and in American cultural life. One of the economists I talk to he works for the World Bank. And he said to me, you know, and he's a specialist in income inequality.

And he said, "When you go to think tanks you say you'd like to do a study about poverty, they say, 'That's fine. That's great. We're happy to fund it,' because writing about poverty makes everybody feel good and feel that they're being charitable and beneficent. But if you say, 'Actually, I want to study income inequality,' and even most dangerously, 'I want to study what's happening at the very top of the distribution," what Branko Milanović said to me is the think tanks immediately pull away because they say, "Our donors won't like it."

And that actually challenges the whole economic setup of the United States and of western capitalism. It’s very, very threatening. And I think that that’s why you've had the billionaire class. You know, the minute Barack Obama, I would actually say rather gently suggested that the millionaires and the billionaires should pay a little bit more, you had immediate cries of class warfare from the plutocrats. And very emotional. You know, there was an activist investor who sent an e-mail to his friends. The subject line is, "battered wives." And in the e-mail he compares himself and his fellow multi-millionaires to battered wives who are being beaten by the president. He actually uses those words.

MATT TAIBBI: And I thought it was really interesting in your book how you pointed out that Bill Clinton, himself, responded to Obama's criticism by saying, "You know, I would have done it a little bit differently. I think, you know, you can't attack these people for their success." And I think that's very relevant because if you go back in time, it wasn't always this way.

But I think the shift really began with Clinton and the New Democrats. I think after, you know, Walter Mondale lost in 1984, the Democrats decided, "You know, we're never going to lose the funding battle again." And they began this sort of imperceptible shift, where they continued to campaign on social issues the same way they had before.

They retained their liberalism in that sense. But economically, they began to side more and more with Wall Street and more and more with the very rich. And they've, I think we've now reached the point where neither party really represents the very poor in the way that the Democrats maybe used to. And so, that there's, that's why, you know, you don't see it in the debates, because neither party is really an advocate for that kind of left behind class anymore.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: It is the people at the bottom, as Matt says. But it's also the people in the middle.


CHRYSTIA FREELAND: You know, the middle class is being--

MATT TAIBBI: Decimated, yeah.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: --hammered. Those jobs are hollowed out. And where are the people pulling back and saying, "Okay, technology revolution, we love it." Globalization, I love that too. And I think it's great people are being raised up in India and China and now Africa. But let's think about how our society and our politics need to change to accommodate this. And no one is doing that. And meanwhile, the guys at the top, who are making, who are doing so, so well actually are saying, "We need to slant the political system even more in our own favor."

BILL MOYERS: Why are we so passive about this?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, I think the, first of all the poor in this country have been incredibly demoralized whether it's the relentless attention of, you know, bill collectors. Or if you go to poor neighborhoods, you know, I was out in Queens last night interviewing a kid who's been stopped and frisked 70 times already. He's 22 years old. You have this constant interference by the police if you live in a bad neighborhood.

There're all these obstacles to getting up and rising up and having your own voice. And also I think in the media we get these relentless messages that being poor is actually your own fault and that people who are rich deserve to be rich. And a lot of Americans are disillusioned about their situation. They believe, they actually do believe on some level that if they're poor, they deserve to be that way. I think they're, and so they're reluctant to go out and revolt the way maybe Europeans in the last century, early in the last century would have.

BILL MOYERS: Left unanswered, left unanswered where does this vast inequality take America?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Well, I think to a very bad place. And I see two real and present dangers. One is that you see an increase of the political capture.


CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Of the political capture. So of the people at the very, very top, capturing the political system. And most crucially, I think something that an economist, a guy called Willem Buiter, who's the chief economist at Citigroup, he calls it cognitive capture. Where he says, look, it's not like this vast conspiracy. It's not as if, you know, everyone is on the payroll of the plutocrats.

And this guy, okay, he is now the chief economist of Citigroup. He wrote this when he was an academic economist. But so it's, he's hardly, you know, some kind of Marxist on the barricades. His argument was that part of the reason the financial crisis happened is the entire intellectual establishment, not just people inside investment banks, but regulators, academic economists, financial journalists, had all been captured by the financial sector's vision of how the economy should work. And in particular, light touch regulation.

And I think there is a broader cognitive capture of, you know, you might call it the intellectual class, the public intellectuals, around maybe the inevitability of plutocracy. You know, as Matt was saying, this notion that if you're poor, it's your own fault. You're part of this dependent 47 percent. Unions are very bad. All of that sort of stuff.

So I think that that cognitive capture increases. And I think what you see increasingly is, you know, elites like to think of themselves as acting in the collective interest, even as they act in their personal vested interest. And so what I think you'll end up seeing is social mobility, which is already decreasing in the United States, being increasingly squeezed. You see particularly powerful sectors, finance, oil. I would say the technology sector is going to be next in line, getting lots of government subsidies.

And meanwhile, I think you see much less money spent on the things that the middle class and the poor need. That's why have this, you know, full bore attack on entitlements, right? Why is the plutocracy so enthusiastic about cutting entitlement spending? Because they don't need it. But they're very worried about their tax dollars funding it.

MATT TAIBBI: Right. Where was that outrage when the $5 trillion or $6 trillion in bailouts was coming their way?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Right. So I really worry about that. And then the other thing that I worry about is you do start actually stifling economic growth. So, you know, if you want my dystopia scenario for the United States, it is that America's moving into a more Latin American structure of the economy.

BILL MOYERS: People at the top, rich. And a lot of people—

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: A few incredibly rich, you know, having just great lives. And then people at the bottom really struggling.

MATT TAIBBI: We both lived that. We saw that in Russia and it happened in the mid-'90s. And—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you both cut your teeth in journalism covering Russia. What do you take away from that that is relevant to what's happening in this country?

MATT TAIBBI: You know, I, that experience completely shaped the way I look at the present situation in the, in America. In the mid-'90s, suddenly when Russia became a "capitalist society" you suddenly has this instant division of the entire society into this very, very tiny group of people at the top who had more money than anybody in the world. And then there was everybody else who had nothing. And—

BILL MOYERS: And they got it through privatization, the government sold off the resources of--

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: "Sold" in quotation marks--


MATT TAIBBI: But that was, that's the key part that I think people don't understand, is that what happened in Russian was really a merger of state and private power that empowered this one tiny little class. There was this moment in Russia's history called loans-for-shares. The loans-for-shares privatizations, where a few people, a lot of them were ex-KGB types, were essentially handed the jewels of Russian industry by the people in the Yeltsin government. There were companies that were put in charge of their own auctions. So they--

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: They were all in charge of their own auctions.

MATT TAIBBI: They were all in charge of their own auctions. So they, you would have an auction for an oil company and a bank would be put in charge of that auction. And the bank magically, you know, would win the auction for the oil company, which was worth, you know, billions or even hundreds of billions of dollars. And that's how they instantly created this super wealthy class of people. And everybody else had nothing. This one story, for me this image that I'll never forget. I went to a coal mine up in the Russian arctic north where workers hadn't been paid their salaries for nine, ten months at a time. And when I went to the mine, the mine owners, the first thing they wanted to do was to take me to their bright shiny new lounge that they had built for themselves and show off their brand new slate pool table that they had built with the money that they weren't paying to their workers.

And that, to me, perfectly expressed the divide in modern Russian society. You had these people who were living off nothing on the one hand. And then you had these super wealthy people who had been enabled who had just kept the money for themselves. And that's I think, you know, it's a caricature of what we're experiencing here in America. But I think that's where the world is drifting toward now.

BILL MOYERS: You write about some of these super rich, not only with insight, but with empathy. That is, you've gotten to talk to a lot of them. You have moved among them as a financial journalist, been to Davos and other places like that. And I'm wondering, how did you crack what is clearly a tight knit world?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Well, I guess the way journalists do it, just by talking to people, writing about them. I think you write stories that show people that actually you're interested in what they're doing. And what I would also say is, you know, I believe in capitalism. And I also actually believe in globalization and the technology revolution. If you gave me the option of turning the clock back to the 1950s, I wouldn't do it. Partly because I'm a woman and things were not that great for us then.


CHRYSTIA FREELAND: And, you know, it's important, you know, I think a mistake that the left can make in criticizing income inequality is to behave as if this is entirely a political confection. It's entirely about political capture. There are no genuine, legitimate and actually benign economic forces driving it. Because I think there are. I think the winner take all economic dynamic is something that is existing separate from the politics. The politics in the United States are exacerbating that division rather than mitigating it.

But I do think that when you pull back and look at the global picture, which is something that was important for me to do in the book, it becomes a little bit harder to say, "this particular American tax break," or even, "this particular American financial reform is the only thing driving income inequality," because the really remarkable thing is the extent to which this is a global phenomenon.

It's happening across the western industrialized world. I'm Canadian. So I'm practically born a socialist in the view of many Americans. But even in Canada, income inequality is increasing. It's even, you know, for a while in the economic literature the one outlier was France. And so, insofar as economists make jokes they would say, "oh, the French. They have to be exceptional even in this area." But now you're seeing it increase in France too. And you're seeing it increase in the emerging market economies. So I think we do have to accept that there are some economic drivers.

Now those economic drivers are partly put in place by the politics. It was politics that allowed globalization to happen. And in the United States really crucially, and I think you can't emphasize this too much. Look at what happened with the tax code. I mean, in the 1950s, this era when America felt itself to be a very conservative society, and it was, the top marginal tax rate was above 90 percent.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, 91 percent, I believe.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Right, just think about that. Imagine if Barack Obama had said in the debate this week, "You know what Governor Romney? I think America in the '50s was a wonderful place. That was the age of the greatest generation. They, too, faced a real budget deficit they had to pay off. And the people at the very top were willing to pay a 90 percent top marginal tax rate. Would you be willing to do that, Governor?" I mean, imagine if he had said that.

BILL MOYERS: You cover some of the same crowd that Chrystia's writing about, but you do so with a, with complete irreverence. Do you still gain access to them? Or have all the doors been slammed in your face?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, the very, very top people won't talk to me. You know, I don't have access to the same people that Chrystia maybe talks to. But I do talk to a lot of people who work on Wall Street. In fact I got started down the road of this whole topic, you know, after I wrote a couple of articles. And then suddenly on this there was this outpouring of people from Wall Street who suddenly wanted to talk to me because they were upset about the direction that the financial services industry was taking.

So I'm hearing a lot from people sort of from the middle on down on Wall Street. And what they're really upset about is corruption. Is this merging of state and private power, where the losers don't lose anymore. I think the people who get really upset are small hedge funds, small banks. And they see companies like, you know, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase make mistake after mistake. And they get rewarded for it what with bailouts and even greater market share than they had before.

And so, you know, my analysis is informed by those people. And I think, you know, I think Chrystia and I agree about a lot of things about, particularly about the growing divide and how extreme it's become. My analysis just might be a little bit angrier just because the, you know, from the point of view that I'm particularly looking at is the corruption and the use of force and state power to keep divide where it is and increase it.

BILL MOYERS: You both have pointed out that we tend to talk as if Wall Street and the plutocracy were a monolith. But it's not. Do you think there is a civil war within the one percent?

MATT TAIBBI: There is absolutely a schism developing in this community. Think about it just on one level, on the level of banking, right? If you have these too big to fail banks, everybody in the world knows that nobody's going to l allow the very biggest commercial banks to go out of business. It will never happen. 2008 proved it, that if they ever get in trouble the government will come in and rescue them. So what does that mean for those banks?

It means that it allows them to borrow money more cheaply because anybody who lends them money knows they're always going to get paid off. The government if, in the worst case scenario, they're going to get paid off. So this gives them an inherent financial advantage over the small, regional commercial bank, which does not have that implied government guarantee. And so those people are furious.

They're furious that they have to compete against these gigantic monoliths that have the implicit backing of the U.S. government. Then there's the other problem of corruption. I mean, I hear all the time from hedge funds you know, these smaller guys who believe that some of the big investment banks are selling them out to even bigger hedge funds, that are, you know, giving away information about their positions to even bigger clients so that somebody else can trade against them.

Or maybe the banks themselves are front running their positions and trading against their own clients. There's this schism developing between the smaller guy the medium size financial player and the very, very big too big to fail companies that are perceived as getting a break, and getting the backing of the government. And also are perceived as getting away with stuff that they wouldn't get away with.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: I agree with Matt. And I think what you’re really seeing , actually, it's sort of the battle of the millionaires versus the billionaires because this winner take all dynamic is not just between, you know, the 10 percent and the 90 percent or the one percent and the 99 percent.

What's quite interesting and leads me to really believe that there're some deep economic forces involved is it's happening just as much within the top one percent. We saw it in the recovery. You sited those statistics, Bill, about 93 percent of the recovery going to the one percent. Thirty-seven percent of the recovery went to the top 0.01 percent.

So even in there, there's, you know, even more of a gap. And the people one layer down can be very, very aggrieved precisely because, you know, they see what's going on. They see that unfairness. And it makes them really, really mad.

You know, one of the things that I found as I was writing my book and talking to plutocrats was, you know, as Matt says, these are very, very smart people. And many of them, not all, some—

BILL MOYERS: They work very hard too, don't they?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: This is not Downton Abbey. These are not people, this is not a landed gentry. These are people who even, and even if they're sort of a Mitt Romney or a Bill Gates who grew up very affluent, their actual business, they did build themselves. They built in a society that was very supportive of that, but they built it. So, you know, they're hardworking. They have to be thoughtful about the world because they're making investments.

And what I found was very interesting was they were very keen to divide the world into the good plutocrats and the bad plutocrats. And what was very funny was everyone was happy to make that division. But everyone felt that they themselves and their particular type of business belonged to good plutocrats, and somebody else belonged to bad ones. So you talk to the Silicon Valley guys, they love talking about this, especially after the financial crisis because their view was, "Of course income inequality is a problem. Of course there has been state capture by those bad guys in New York. "We however, are the innovators. We created value ourselves. We are completely pure and good. And these issues really have nothing to do with us."

BILL MOYERS: Do you think they think they're really defending honest capitalism?

MATT TAIBBI: Oh, absolutely. I, you know, the one thing that's consistent in my exposure to the financial services industry is that the people who work within it, and particularly the people you know, at the very, very top, sincerely believe that they have not done anything wrong. And, you know, when you bring up things like the mass sale of fraudulent mortgage backed securities, it's just like you say.

It's always somebody else who made that mistake. You know, "We didn't know at the time that we were selling billions and billions of dollars of junk and we were dumping this on pension funds and foreign trade unions." It was always somebody else who was doing that. And they also have built up this very, very powerful insulating psychological justification for their lifestyles. They've adopted this sort of Randian point of view, where--


MATT TAIBBI: Yeah exactly, you know, they genuinely believe that they are the wealth creators and that they should get every advantage and break whereas everybody else is a parasite and they're living off of them. So when you bring up to them, for instance, how is it that nobody, despite this mass epidemic of fraud that appears to have happened before the 2008 crash, how come nobody of consequence has gone to jail after that?

They always, you know, they always argue against more regulation and more enforcement because they say, "We need room to, we need air to breathe, we need room to create jobs. And this is just counterproductive to put people in jail. It'll cast a pall over society.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: If I may say so Bill, this very sincere, absolutely, absolutely sincere self-justification, I think, is one of the most dangerous things that's happening because in our society, and I would say this is particularly powerful in America. Really since the Reagan era, there has been this vision of the successful businessperson as really a leader for the whole society. And there has been a view that the businessperson, what he thinks, and, by the way, all of my plutocrats are men.

But, you know, what he thinks about how society should be ordered, we should all listen to because he, after all, is the hero of our time, is the hero of capitalist narrative. And I think it's so important for us to really understand that what is good for an individual business, particularly in this age of very high income inequality and the ways of thinking, the ideas that are no doubt absolutely the right ones for this particular business, may very well not be good for society as a whole.

BILL MOYERS: Both of you write in different ways that, with irony, that they threaten the system that created them.

MATT TAIBBI: Well this was another thing, another image from Russia that always stuck in my mind. And I studied in Russia when it was still communist. I remember going through the countryside. And you had all these villages and people walked around in the villages.

And then suddenly in the mid to late '90s in Russia you drove through the Russian countryside. And suddenly there were these big brick houses that had these huge walls on the outside, these big brick walls with guards on the outside. It was the rich had sort of built this wall that insulated them from the rest of society.

They were living, there was one society on one side of those walls, and then one society on the other side of it. And I think that's where we're headed now. We have this kind of community of rich people who sort of live, hop from place to place. And they never have any sort of intercourse with the rest of the world.

BILL MOYERS: Disconnected?

MATT TAIBBI: They're completely disconnected. And so they've built this kind of nation where inside, it's all, you know, nice and everything works logically. And it makes sense to them. But they never really see what goes on on the outside.

BILL MOYERS: Do they feel entitled?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yes. Absolutely. And, you--

BILL MOYERS: For what reason?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Because they are treated so well. So my favorite story about this was when I was at Heathrow Airport, about to go to a fancy conference. And I ran into someone also going to a fancy conference, a Silicon Valley senior technology person. You know, I didn't have a car. But he had a car coming to picking him up and so he offered to share the ride. So we're in the car and this technology guy said to me, when you live our life, you are surrounded by such power and such entitlement, you lose touch with reality." And his very personal example was he said, "I was recently staying at this lovely Four Seasons Hotel. And I was beside the pool. I was eating a melon. And my spoon fell to the ground. And he said, "Before I could summon anyone, someone rushed up to me with three spoons of different sizes on a linen napkin so that, God forbid, you know, I shouldn't have the wrong size spoon."

And what he said was, "You know, what was amazing to me," he's talking about himself, "is when I reentered my real life," he said, "I was kind of a jerk because I like, I expected to live a life where I was constantly being presented with three spoons of different sizes. And I just I couldn't deal with the frustrations of everyday life." What makes this a totally ironic story is here he's telling this kind of self-aware story about the plutocracy.

But when we had been in the airport waiting for the car, he was on the phone, screaming at someone about "Where is my car," et cetera, et cetera.

So this is, you know, morning in Heathrow. Middle of the night, you know, in San Francisco. And he's yelling at someone there because she hasn't organized his car and we had to wait for five minutes. And then he tells me this story about how entitlement can make you not an ideal person. That kind of says it all, right?

BILL MOYERS: But political behavior's another thing. And there's no doubt in either of your minds, is there, that they tilt the rules in their favor through their influence and power over the politicians.

MATT TAIBBI: Absolutely. I mean--

BILL MOYERS: I mean, our own government relaxed the regulations, upended the rules, leveled the laws to make way for them.

MATT TAIBBI: They have this power and influence over the government to and they've been continually deregulating the atmosphere to legalize whatever it is that they want to do, whether it's, you know, merging insurance companies and investment banks, whatever it is. The derivatives, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, they lobbied heavily to create a completely deregulated atmosphere for that. And we saw what happened with that in 2008 with the collapse of companies like AIG. They've been incredibly successful in creating their own landscape where they get to do business the way they want to do business.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: And what I think is crucial is, this is not framed as, "I want government to do this so I can get rich and my company can prosper." This is framed as "We need to do these things for the greater good." And this is where I think another big problem in America today is a disempowering and a devaluing of the role of government and of its authority as an independent, respected arbitrating body in the center of the ring. And one of the great contrasts for me in the past decade has been looking at what happened in bank regulation in the United States and looking at what happened in Canada. Matt has just spoken about bank mergers. And with hindsight, you know, one of the great brave decisions taken by the Canadian government was to not allow the Canadian banks to merge. They wanted to. Huge lobbying effort. And they made the same arguments about, "Oh, if we can't merge, we'll never operate on a global scale. You know, Canada will be left behind. We'll be a provincial backwater." And the government just said no. And that decision I think flows directly into the Canadian government's ability to regulate the financial sector.

Leverage at U.S. levels was not allowed. And the consequence was Canada didn't have a financial crisis. It's the only G7 country that didn't have to bail out its banks. So government can actually hold the line. Government can--

BILL MOYERS: But not if it's captured, Chrystia.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Not if it's captured. Not if it's captured. And so--

BILL MOYERS: And it is captured—

MATT TAIBBI: But now we're completely captured, with the banking example, now we have these banks that are literally too big to fail in America because we didn't do the same thing.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: But government can act. I mean, I think it's important not to have a counsel of despair. That you can have a sophisticated, industrialized western economy. People can live, you know, civilized lives. They can have bankers. Their bankers even, maybe they're not going to earn $25 million. But they can earn $5 million or $6 million.

They can be perfectly affluent. And government can actually stand up to its banks and stand up to other sectors of industry and say, "You know what? I'm sure that would be great for you guys. My judgment is it's wrong for the country. And you're not going to do it."

BILL MOYERS: They resent any criticism, despite all the advantages and entitlements they have. They also exhibit disdain, as Mitt Romney made clear in that infamous or famous 47 percent video. You know, when he talked about other people being dependent on government.

MATT TAIBBI: I've heard that attitude more than once, and not just from Mitt Romney. I think it's, again, it's consistent with this mindset that there is an intellectual atmosphere that these people I think have to work within in order to justify a lot of what they do, because you have to be completely disconnected from the real world in order to do things like sell fraudulent mortgages to a state pension fund. If you're actually thinking about that, you know, you're taking somebody's life savings away when you do that. But you can't think about that.

BILL MOYERS: Matt, you quoted the billionaire Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway, who said that anyone who wants to complain about the Wall Street bailout should realize they were, "absolutely required to save your civilization." What did he mean by that?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, again, this group of people believe that all of civilization depends on their health and their wellbeing. So when they were threatened in 2008, when they were all about to collapse, it made absolute sense to them that the government should immediately intervene and give them as much money as they needed, to not only to get back on their feet, but to restore their lifestyles to the level that they had been accustomed to.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: So I'm going to, here, step in as a voice in favor of the bailout. I think that Munger was right. I do actually believe--

BILL MOYERS: Saving civilization?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, I think it was. I think that the bailouts were absolutely essential. I think that, had there not been a bailout, which, by the way, let's remember, voices on the right as well as the left were objecting to the bailout at the time. I think had there not been a bailout, you would've had a much more severe crisis. You would've had a full financial collapse and a much, much deeper economic recession. Now, I think where you can and should criticize is first of all, why was the crisis allowed to happen in the first place and the regulatory failure beforehand. I think second of all, you know, where were the strings attached? And actually Charlie Munger's great business partner, Warren Buffett, drove a much harder bargain with Goldman Sachs than the U.S. Treasury did.

You know, 2008 is not so long ago. And already, the anti-regulation chorus is so strong. You know, I think the re-regulation was not done well at all.

But the fact that people are already making a very, you know, powerful and proud argument against government regulation, bankers are making this argument. I mean, how dare they. How dare they have the gall to actually argue that too much regulation of American financial services is what is killing the economy.

MATT TAIBBI: Right. Right. Just to be clear, I actually agree that the bailouts were necessary. What I completely disagree with was the way they were done. They just simply threw a whole bunch of money at this community and didn't have any conditions at all. They didn't sweep in and change any rules. You know, and after the S&L crisis, for instance, we went in and there were massive criminal investigations.

We put 1,000 people in jail. There were no such investigations this time around. So this was just making everybody well again and restoring everybody to the status quo, which I think was a major mistake because it produced precisely the result we're talking about now. It allowed everybody to think that the previous status quo was okay.

BILL MOYERS: Let me talk about the CEO class because it seems almost every day now there's a new story of some CEO, some boss of a big company who's attempting to tell voters to vote as they say.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: If you really see yourself as a job creator, someone who is not just pursuing their business interest in getting richer, but someone who is creating jobs, doing great things for America and for your workers, and you also sincerely believe that Barack Obama is a bad guy, then you feel you have to help your workers to understand this. You know, you have to let them know that you, the job creator, believe that this job creation of which they are the fortunate beneficiaries, you know, that engine is going to slow down. It's going to grind to a halt.

BILL MOYERS: Do you see this as different from what unions do in urging their voters to go out and vote for the candidates of their choice? Do you see it differently?

MATT TAIBBI: I think it's a little different just because there's an implied threat. It's very, very vague, but, you know, if the CEO of your company suggests to you that you have to vote for Mitt Romney or you have to give money to the Romney campaign, I think the tendency to, you know, to not break ranks, is going to be a little stronger than maybe it would be in a union.

But I think it grows out of this, you know, companies and corporations, they're not democracies. They're authoritarian structures. And the people who work in those companies-- they start to adopt those attitudes after a while. And especially the people at the very top.

I think they've begun to actually believe that their authority extends beyond that. And I just think that people– it’s a little bit different when it’s something your boss tells you to do something than when your union brothers tell you something.

BILL MOYERS: Matt, you have written a lot about the tax code and these plutocrats. Exactly how do they work the tax system?

MATT TAIBBI: Well the plainest example is Mitt Romney. I mean, you know, if you look at his tax returns, he paid, you know, rates of 14, 13 percent. That's totally normal in this world if you work in a private equity fund. Your income is—

BILL MOYERS: Again, he's not an exception, he's an embodiment.

MATT TAIBBI: He's an embodiment. In the financial services industry for sure, the very, very rich mostly receive income as capital gains or if they're private equity people, as carried interest.

In both of those, the max rate is 15 percent. So people who make $20 million, $30 million, $50 million a year like Mitt Romney and like, you know, Steve Schwarzman of whoever it is, they pay half the tax rate of, you know, a nurse or a doctor or a fireman or a teacher. And it's considered totally normal in that world.

BILL MOYERS: So they really do consider tax reform a threat?

MATT TAIBBI: Absolutely. I mean every time that there's been any discussion about rolling back the carried interest tax break in particular, there's suddenly been this intense, you know, hurricane of lobbying. And it never seems to get rolled back. Barack Obama promised to repeal that tax break and didn't do it.

BILL MOYERS: Give us a working definition in the vernacular of carried interest.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: So basically, what this means is that if you're in, if you work in a private equity firm, the money that you earn– so, you invest a little bit of your own money. And the gains that you make on that investment would be treated under any definition as a capital gain taxed at 15 percent. But you also earn money because you are investing on behalf of all of your investors.

That money that you earn, it's called carried interest. And it is treated as a capital gain in the same ways that the gains to the investors are treated.

The economic arguments in favor of the carried interest tax break are so weak. I mean, even Mike Bloomberg, who is, you know—

BILL MOYERS: The tenth richest man—

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: --very far from being a socialist. He has come out and said he doesn't support it. And it says something to you about the power of a very well heeled, very focused lobby group. That, you know, Barack Obama is president. He is opposed to this. He says he's opposed to it. Even Mike Bloomberg is opposed to it. So there's a body of Wall Street opinion that thinks it should go away. It's still there.

BILL MOYERS: But when there was an effort, when the Obama White House and others made an effort to revoke carried interest, the fight was led by people like Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, representing Wall Street--

MATT TAIBBI: It’s always the New Yorkers.

BILL MOYERS: Yes, the New Yorkers. Of course, that's their constituency, they would say if they were sitting here. But the Democratic Party didn't come to the aid and relief of working people at that time.

MATT TAIBBI: Well right, because again, it's because you have a small, very, very concentrated lobby that is very, very noisy and is very, very specific in what it wants and what it needs. And then there's the rest of us who, how many people are really thinking about the carried interest tax break? So the advocacy against the carried interest tax break is dispersed. It's sort of random. It's not focused, whereas the advocacy for it is incredibly organized. It's disciplined. And it has a ton of money.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: And it is bipartisan.

BILL MOYERS: Who's looking out for the rest of us?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, there are, I mean, there definitely are good people in Washington. You know, I meet and talk to a lot of them. There are a lot of honest politicians who are trying to do the right thing. But the-- my experience, the money issue is so overwhelming to people in Congress that--

BILL MOYERS: Raising money for their campaign?

MATT TAIBBI: Raising money for their campaigns. It's so central to their daily lives, really. And especially in the House, where you have to essentially start raising money the instant you get elected because the reelection campaign is only a couple years away that -- it's just too overwhelming for most legislators to get past that issue.

BILL MOYERS: Despite how the plutocrats have reacted to Barack Obama, he does not seem to be like FDR, taking on the economic royalists or like Theodore Roosevelt, fighting the guys he says are taking the country down. How do you explain Obama's attitude toward these plutocrats?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Barack Obama in many ways is one of them. He is educated the way a plutocrat is educated. He had an opportunity to join the plutocracy. He could very easily right now be a top corporate lawyer. And they know that.

He thinks the way they do. He's a technocrat in the accepted manner of the current plutocracy. And I think they like that. I think that's why he had such a strong reception in 2008. So I think that's one element. Another element though, and I think that this is something that sort of bothers them, is he isn't over-awed by them. And that kind of bugs them too, because they do think they’re pretty great.

MATT TAIBBI: To answer your question about, you know, why doesn't he take the sort of fist shaking attitude of an FDR or a Teddy Roosevelt, I just think Barack Obama has surrounded himself with people, like Larry Summers, like Bob Rubin. And I think he's accepted a lot of the justifications and the arguments that come from Wall Street and the business community.

So I don't think he feels genuine class based rage towards this community. I just don't think that's in him. You know, I think the-- if you listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the likes, they really believe that somewhere under there, there's this raging socialist. And, you know, there's Lenin ready to break out and put them all up against the wall in a firing squad. That guy just isn't there. He really is more one of them than they think.

BILL MOYERS: So you don't think he's fighting a class warfare as the right says he is?

MATT TAIBBI: Definitely not. No. No, I think he's very emotionally and culturally much closer to those people than he is to the rest of us.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: No, but he is moving-- he is and I don't think he says this as directly as perhaps, you know, some of his supporters would like. He is challenging this notion of the successful businessman as the hero and the driver of the American narrative. And that actually is a big-- if you think it through to its logical conclusion, that is a big challenge. And I think that accounts for this hurt. This seemingly completely disproportionate emotional reaction.

MATT TAIBBI: He's made a rhetorical mistake in the way he's occasionally described this community. And that's what's inspiring this whole reaction against him, this feeling that we are like battered wives because they've occasionally been described as rich.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: So it's easy to laugh about this, and we should. But this hurt feelings, the fact that this is really playing out in the emotional space as well as in the balance sheet space, I think is really an important point. I think it's hard for us civilians to get it because it seems so absurd. You know, really? That would hurt your feelings? Are you so thin skinned? But it is real. And I think that it's real for a reason, which is I think that Barack Obama, the Democratic party, but also the political discourse more generally is posing an existential threat, or certainly an existential question to the plutocrats, which makes them very, very anxious.

BILL MOYERS: I haven't heard that, Chrystia.


BILL MOYERS: Barack Obama said—


--I'll tell you what it is-- BILL MOYERS:

--in the debate this week that-- CHRYSTIA FREELAND: No, but I'll tell you—

BILL MOYERS: --he sounded like, he said, "I'm for free enterprise, I'm for--"

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: And I'm for free enterprise too. But what he had started to say—

BILL MOYERS: That sounds very tough on them.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: No, but there is an underlying point that he does make. I think he should make it more explicitly which is to say that American capitalism is not working the way it was in the '50s. That we are not living in a time when a rising tide is lifting all boats. That we are seeing the people at the very top take off. Their economic fortunes actually disconnect from those and from --

BILL MOYERS: Stratospherically leaving earth.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: --most everybody else. And they're not dependent. You know, that old Henry Ford model, where you needed the middle class to be well paid to buy Henry Ford's stuff, that that has broken down. And we can argue a lot, and we should, about the reasons. But the facts are that it has. And to say that, to actually state that, is profoundly threatening because it starts to break down this equation of my wealth equals my virtue.

The size of my bank account doesn't-- it isn't just good for me. It is a manifestation of my civic contribution. And that, in some ways, is Mitt Romney's campaign. He's saying, "I'm a successful businessman. So I will make a good president." And Barack Obama, he is actually saying, "You know what? I don't think that that equation works and is automatic." And actually, in saying that, the plutocrats are not wrong to detect there a very powerful ideological challenge.

BILL MOYERS: If plutocrats keep on winning, if they manage to avoid tax reform, if they keep low regulation, if they get a president who is sympathetic to them or even enables them, what's ahead for us?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, I mean, I fear that what's ahead is just a continual worsening of the situation. You know, what we've seen in our lifetime even since we've come back from Russia is this decimation of the middle class in America.

If we continue on this path, what we'll end up with is, you know, is Russia or some other third world country where, again, you have this handful of people who are protected and who have expanding wealth. And then there's this sort of massive population of everybody else. And that's what I worry about.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: I would like to really issue a clarion call to progressives because I think the sort of the progressive public intellectuals are to blame as well. I think a big reason people aren't protesting is no one is offering sufficiently compelling alternatives and solutions.

And when you think back to the history of the Industrial Revolution, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, these were brand new ideas and brand new institutions designed to cope with changed economic circumstances. What I think is the challenge for everyone who is worried about this, and I think all of us should be worried about it. We should be terrified. But I think we need to start taking the next step. And we need to realize the 1950s are not coming back. What angers me sometimes about these debates is people talking about manufacturing jobs coming back.

That-- it's just not going to happen. So let's really face the facts of how the world economy works. And really come up with what needs to be the political and social response.

And frankly, you know, I see the right not interested in addressing this issue at all. And I see the left not offering enough new thinking. And people know that. And that's why people aren't on the barricades. There's no manifesto to be waving.

MATT TAIBBI: One caveat I would like to just throw anytime you propose anything that has any kind of government, you know, component to it, there's this automatic criticism that it's communist and socialist. So, when you come up with a solution, the boundaries are let's come with a solution that doesn't have-- that can't be criticized as being communist or socialist. And that is incredibly difficult for people to work around.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Okay, but let’s at least see the new ideas. I mean, my argument is we are living through equally profound economic transformations. And we're just trying to rehash and re-tinker with the twentieth century institutions. I don't think it's enough.

BILL MOYERS: Matt Taibbi, Chrystia Freeland, thank you very much for being with me.

MATT TAIBBI: Thank you.


BILL MOYERS: Here’s a significant revelation of which you may not be aware. The plutocrats know it and love it, and the rest of us should be forewarned. When the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, liberating plutocrats to buy our elections fair and square, the justices may have effectively overturned rules that kept bosses from ordering employees to do political work on company time. Election law expert Trevor Potter told us that now “corporations argue that it is a constitutionally protected use of corporate ‘resources’ to order employees to do political work or attend campaign events—even if the employee opposes the candidate, or is threatened with being fired for failure to do what the corporation asks.”

Reporter Mike Elk at In These Times magazine came across a recording of Governor Mitt Romney on a conference call in June with some business executives. The Governor told them there is quote, “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.”

And here’s Governor Romney two months later, campaigning at an Ohio coal mine:

MITT ROMNEY: This is a time for truth. I listened to an ad on the way here. I’ll tell you, you got a great boss. He runs a great operation here. And he—Bob? Where are you Bob? There he is.

BILL MOYERS: Look at all those miners around him, steadfastly standing in support, right? They work for a company called Murray Energy and attendance at the rally, without pay, was mandatory. Murray Energy is notorious for violating safety regulations, sometimes resulting in injuries and deaths. And the company has paid millions in fines. The CEO, Bob Murray, a well-known climate change denier and cutthroat businessman, insists that his employees contribute to his favorite anti-regulatory candidates, or else. In one letter uncovered by “The New Republic” magazine, Murray wrote quote, “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” So much for voting rights and the secret ballot at Murray Energy.

Mike Elk discovered that the Koch Brothers, David and Charles – who have pledged to spend $60 million defeating President Obama – have sent a “voter information packet” to the employees of Georgia Pacific, one of their subsidiaries. It includes a list of recommended candidates, pro-Romney and anti-Obama editorials written by the Koch’s and a cover letter from the company president. If we elect the wrong people, Dave Robertson writes, “Many of our more than 50,000 US employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.” Other ills? Like losing your job?

This is snowballing. Timeshare king David Siegel of Westgate Resorts reportedly has threatened to fire employees if Barack Obama is re-elected and Arthur Allen, who runs ASG Software Solutions, e-mailed his employees, “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

Back in the first Gilded Age, in the 19th century, bosses and company towns lined up their workers and marched them to vote as a block. As we said at the beginning of this broadcast, the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance. Welcome to the plutocracy. The remains of the ol’ USA.

That’s it for this week. On our website,, at your request, we’re starting a book club. Our first is Chrystia Freeland’s “Plutocrats.” Read the book, ask questions, share your thoughts. Then let’s have a lively conversation.

That’s at I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

Plutocracy Rising

October 19, 2012

The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they’re using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama’s modest attempts at financial reform.

To discuss how the super-rich have willfully confused their self-interest with America’s interest, Bill is joined by Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi, who regularly shines his spotlight on scandals involving big business and government, and journalist Chrystia Freeland, author of the new book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

Following the conversation, Bill shares his thoughts on corporate executives who — enabled by the Citizens United ruling — are strong-arming their employees to vote as they say, from the Murray Energy CEO who reportedly made his workers spend unpaid time at a pro-Romney rally; to David and Charles Koch, who sent anti-Obama and pro-Romney materials to the 45,000 employees of their subsidiary Georgia Pacific; to ASG Solutions boss Arthur Allen, who sent an intimidating email to his employees.


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  • William W Haywood

    All of the studies of income equality that I have run across seem to be written by those who have wealth, and those who are trying to understand this inequality are closer to the wealthy than the poor. Capitalism, free trade, and these other forms of economic wealth creation are pushed by the wealthy so that they can make more wealth, and they control and create a system that makes sure their ability to compete and win always grows with their successes. We cannot compete with their entrenched, government enforced, system anymore. Without that ability to compete on an equal basis the system created by the wealthy serves only to increase their wealth and success. In this situation of political oppression, where the wealthy control all of the wealth,and the poor are seen as the enemy, the economy can only get worse because the real dynamic is the wealthy’s fear of being poor like the rest of us. Democracy has been reinvented to make wealth for the wealthy.

  • William W Haywood

    I would like to ask both of these folks what they think is the reasoning behind why the 1% are able to situate themselves so far above the laws of the land? Why haven’t criminals been indicted and gone to jail? Just because I seriously think I have not done anything wrong is not enough evidence to commute any charges against me. It must be that the cover up has to go all of the way to the top. If it were not for the fact that the top was a part of the scam, the crime would be seen as a way to take advantage of lesser powers, or to take advantage of the mistakes of others. There must not be any other than criminals all of the way to the top!

  • Mojo

    “…in the US, the poor regard themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires”. While it may be Morris Berman’s incorrect quote of John Steinbeck, I think this speaks to the fact that it’s not just those at the top that maintain their exceptionalism. Most people (poor, middle class, whatever) don’t complain that the system is corrupt, only that they are not getting their share. The system won’t change as long as that is the case.

    BTW, Bill, you should invite Morris Berman on to your show…

  • amy p.

    The USA is no different then China, Russia, African Tyrannies, we just delude ourselves with the never ending “exceptionalism” ranting we love so much. Its fantasy thinking that there is justice and fair play in America. You only matter if you are rich. You only get justice if you are rich – or evade justice. Our political system is Russia, Syria, etc. We are no better, we are not exceptional.

  • Vlad Jersian

    I happen to be working on this topic for a few weeks now.. Put together a little slide show today…

  • Vlad Jersian

    But, this hasn’t always been the case. During the war our Economy was revitalized.. it had no choice.. and we went into a period of prosperity where everybody prospered.. The Lower Classes as well as the Upper Classes. The Lower Class (Bottom 90%) did much better.. Income growing around 90% whereas the Upper Class (Top 10%) grew around 30%.. Unfortunately the Elite Class (Top .01%) did not do well.. they actually LOST Income .. about -3%. Then in the 50’s and 60’s the Lower Class Avg Income kept growing at a 30+% rate, and the Upper Class kept pace at 20+% and the Elite’s woke up, but still at a slower pace of 10+%… I call thos the Happy Days… :-) And we all know what happened next, starting in the 70’s… sad.. sad.. story….

  • califather

    Ms. Freeland seems to make nice with her plutocrats, feel their pain, understand them in a way that they would never bother to understand us. Also, she is wrong. People are in the street in Spain and Mexico and Van Nuys, California where occupiers are defending the rights of the poor to retain their homes.

  • TomW.

    The United States has always been a plutocracy.This is old news. The authors of the constitution were the wealthy land/plantation owners of the day. Any and all gains made through the years that benefit the common people were made by liberal activism. A new party representing the traditional constituency of the Democratic party is sorely needed.


    I just got done watching your show. I don’t know what troubles me more. The fact that your HATE AMERICA that much or the number of people that WATCH your show that hate AMERICA that much.

  • Anonymous

    I was a little disappointed by Matt Taibbi’s responses, he is usually the voice of reason in these discussions. His co-presenter Chrystia Freeland was all over the place, she kept repeating she was a Free Market supporter while questioning the actions of the people who run the system. Both stated their unwavering support of the bailouts that have been denounced by many Free Market advocates who feel that Capitalism has it’s own system of regulation called bankruptcy that should be allowed to work to sort out the bad players.

  • Cnare

    Mojo, I think this is a bit of an exaggeration. As a poor person I can affirm that I don’t see myself that way. But I must tell you that to face one’s poverty, the classicism, corruption,sexism, racism, looking up the pyramid is so very painful and depressing that some days it just can’t be done.Denial is the only way to survive some days. Off point…Bill thank you for letting us watch your program in its entirety as we all don’t have cable or antenna that wrap around mountains.

  • Dora Taylor

    With the cost of campaign financing increasing by the millions each year, there is no way that elected officials will try to regulate the financial world as Freeland believes could happen.

    That is a very naive belief.

    A few elected representatives might want to regulate and take the reigns over but they would be outvoted.


  • Graciela de la Rosa

    Mr. Moyers:

    Very interesting interview about the rise of these plutocrats in your country. Surprising the pressure towards workers to vote for Romney. What happen in the Soviet Union, is out of all logic but at the same time there will always be reasons trying to explain all this chaos.
    Where is hope Mr. Moyers?, when simple and old man’s greed are the responsible of this inequality. It seems that USA is not only looking like a third world country because of the gap between plutocrats and the rest, but also because of these corporatism model pressuring workers to vote for the boss choice. So the possibility of democracy is at stake? I believe they do this kind of politics in places like Texas, but I don’t believe this happens in Vermont, Chicago, etc. All this process of influence in the voting process are very similar to what the Mexican PRIAN did in the past elections.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Plutocrats:

    Your money does not belong to you; it is not your property–money is a TOOL in the economy–it is not your reward. You had the help of employees and consumers/customers and taxpayers and bank depositors and the government….we were right there while your wealth was being created.

    You are like 100 vampires who descend on the last 10 humans on the planet. Who becomes your meal tomorrow?

    Please stop your warfare against us.

    The Middle Class

  • Anonymous

    It’s there – complete with a Green New deal – the Green Party

  • Anonymous

    “This kind of politics” is all over this country, in some places more than others – Chicago is especially notorious ….

  • Anonymous

    Ms. Freeland said the problem is there are no alternatives being presented on the left – not true, there are the Greens. I was disappointed Mr. Moyers didn’t challenge her on that, especially since he has had Jill Stein on …

  • Rahim Moosa

    Shouldn’t the outcome of true “wealth creation”, “innovation” be to lessen the amount of suffering in the nation (if not the world). Yet, the actual outcome is plain for all to see. Folks being lured into risky mortgages losing their homes. Small business owners (like my friend who owns 2 restaurants ) losing his home and being unable to afford college education for his children. I once spoke to a top fortune 500 executive who told me that more than once he was present at conversations in which buying politician X or Y was discussed.

  • Keith Barton

    Thank you Bill & sponsors for making these shows available on line. This makes a huge difference in our lives.

  • Ed Schilling

    Christia Freeland’s “clarion call to progressives” to come up with “sufficiently compelling alternatives and solutions” makes sense. Manufacturing jobs are not coming back–extremely true. The left has addressed some of the issues of our day, however. We cried out for “single payer health care,” for example, but were ignored. On the jobs issue, we’ve fallen into the same rhetoric. Think about this: “we are producing the same amount of goods and services now as we were before the ‘great recession,’ but we’re doing it with five million fewer jobs.” Think about it–one million iphone workers were laid off in the US, and the jobs were shipped over to China. Now, one million Chinese iphone assembly workers were recently laid off as well. They were replaced by robots. What’s the solution? One solution would be a guaranteed income. In reality, the unemployment rate in the US is off the chart. A guaranteed income is the solution, and some job sharing. Both require a strong government, but of course we have instead, a corporatocracy. Unless corporations give back to the people they took the jobs from, unless they give back to the communities where they locate, the people will have no choice but to revolt. How’s that for an answer to the “clarion call.” We can march for “guaranteed income for all.” Do you think that will go over any better than “medicare for all?” The progressive left is realistic, Christia Freeland, but we are very aware of what’s happening. We just have absolutely no power.

  • Rich Stevenson

    Bill, the change we need is possible through Constitutional amendment, to overcome 120 years of case law that has entrenched the mistakes of the Supreme Court. . MTA and Jill Stein understand this need. Without real change the plutocrats are there to stay.

  • techn0mad

    For 10 years, I’ve been saying that if you want to see what the US will look like in 2025, look at Columbia today: A thin crust of the hyper-wealthy on a decaying body of the abject and destitute poor.

  • Steve H

    While I agree with much of what they said about the plutocrats, I can’t disagree more with both Freeland and Taibbi regarding their comments about the bailout being necessary and here’s why. In the Great Depression, Roosevelt had enough clout in the bully pulpit and Congress precisely because of the devastating effects of the ’29 crash and it’s effects on the economy. Times were so bad for so long that FDR could command attention and implement the legislative changes required to keep our system relatively safe for 70 years. That all ended pretty much by 1999. Maybe we won the Battle of Seattle, but we lost the war.

    The “fix” that this administration instituted in 2008 saved those that should failed and deserted those they should have saved.

    We need completely new leadership but the electorate in this nation are totally cowered by the fear of losing what they don’t own anyway. The banks, Wall St, their K St cronies and the 1% own everything. Until we get that through our heads and elect people who can make real, substantial change, we are dooming ourselves and our progeny to the impending maelstrom.

  • Edward Pastore

    I agree with you, Cnare. It’s easy to kick down, but very hard to kick up. So the poor, blacks, hispanics, food stamp users, etc., get kicked while those far up the ladder aren’t bothered, e.g., even Romney.

  • MissA

    She is also wrong about us being without power. Let the 99% stop paying taxes, stop buying their products, and stop fighting their wars for profit, then see how fast this turns around.

  • gem

    Until the police track your computer from these comments, arrest you without charges, leave you incommunicado for weeks letting prison guards do whatever they like with you, and then only release you because your family was able to pay the asking price for your release, you will never know what it is like to live in Syria or other any nation with no Bill of Rights. America has it’s problems but it is exceptional for the daily freedoms it’s spoiled citizens take for granted everyday. This government actual creates positions & pays someone to care if you disappear, or you are mistreated, starving, living on the streets, dying in the street. 7000 people a day die of starvation in India but the government only pays employees to destroy your body, not to identify you or to find a relative to notify. Yes, the USA is exception, but many of it’s citizens are not.

  • James Ferguson

    It seems to me we need to break up the banks the same way the gov’t broke up AT&T.

  • steve daniels

    Restoring the traditional constituency of the Democratic party is the proper course of action. Any third party activism will only allow the Republicans to gain and retain power – that works against everyone’s interests. The Greens should run candidates that have a chance of winning in Democratic primaries and change the party from the bottom up. Start with school boards and city councils and work into state governments – that’s what the Tea Party is doing. They’re winning by the way, while we continue to lose.

  • Anonymous

    You need to check the recent statistics for the living conditions in this country, they
    have changed since the 1950s and not for the better ! All that flag waving while we incarcerate more people in this country than anywhere else on the planet is indicative of an evolving police state and military empire that is increasingly
    financed by taxpayer money that is increasingly diverted from programs to maintain a reasonable standard of living for everyone, not just the super wealthy. Your cries of all the bad people in this country has been the staple propaganda of totalitarian dictators for centuries who were tolerated by people like yourself right up until the jack booted thugs of the state police knocked on their door ! When the only two real candidates for president are both inextricably joined at the hip to private financial interests and money is deemed more important than the votes of citizens, we are not that far from becoming one of those authoritarian third world countries.

  • Anonymous

    The Tea Party has been carrying out this program of capturing a majority of the political positions in local and state governments for forty years. We don’t have another forty years for the Democrats to duplicate this process if they even cared to take the time. It’s easier to just take the money and look the other way. That’s what got the Clintons and the DLC in control of the Democrat party in the late eighties and the Progressive Democrat Base has just sat by and watched it all happen !

  • Anonymous

    . . . and now AT&T pretty much owns everything, again. Something that those of us who worked in the telecommunications industry for decades actually anticipated from day one of deregulation in 1984. These are some of the people who have always owned this country and, as an earlier poster said, we better get use to that fact and stop hoping for an imaginary third party to come to our rescue !

  • Anonymous

    Bill, I’m a long time fan and have seen all your shows through a couple of reincarnations in the past five years, always glad to see you return for another round. Even age can’t keep those who truly care about the human condition down !

    There is one individual that you should have on and he is located in the New York City and teaches at the New School University in the city. His name is Prof. Richard Wolff and he has become very popular over
    recent years. He has a PhD. in Economics and is very outspoken about Capitalism’s failures and the long time resistance of the Right to allow any meaningful discussion of our economic system that has had numerous major and minor failures over the past 75 years. strangely enough he is opposed to any new regulation of the financial industry as it will only cause a repeat of the past where the wealthy owners who have endless financial resources will only lobby for and get new laws that allow them to divert their resources around any legislative obstacles. Prof. Wolff does promote a new direction for working class Americans who face low end employment and wages after losing good paying manufacturing jobs that will never return, one that allows them to go beyond the Capitalist model of a virtual indentured servant and it has been very successful in various Western countries and in limited versions in this country.

  • CC

    I disagree with Chrystia Freeland’s
    assertion that progressives are bereft of meaningful, coherent
    alternatives to the crony-capitalist status quo. If 95 % of
    television, radio, digital and print media are controlled by the same
    5 or 6 companies, where, one should ask first, would such alternative
    proposals be heard? That plutocrat-controlled media has exerted
    extraordinary effort to convince us that every issue has exactly two
    sides, that every other voice is meaningless, marginal and/or
    incoherent, and that the truth always resides exactly halfway between
    the two officially anointed sides. I think the real failure has been
    to resist this deceptive, mendacious presentation of the “meaningful

  • richard stanbridge

    christyia asked for solutions to this insidious situation that the world has found itself in. the solution lies in simplicity and honesty replacing deception at all levels. let me ask a simple question. would any of this have happened if the accounting laws were simple and honest. i think not. why are they not simple and honest, because it is much easier to rape the public, whether it is public or private money when everything is covered by smoke and mirrors. it would be an interesting exercise to go back in history, say every 25 years and simply count the pages in the tax code and compare it to the lobbying activity that took place at the same time. the root purpose of lobbying is to convolute financial matters so badly that nobody but the plutocrats understand it. it is a liscense to steal. another reason that this has been allowed to take place is because of apathy of the public. and unfortunately the problem will not be truly addressed until the public cannot stand the pain any longer. sadly, human history shows that usually involves violence in the form of international war or civil war, or both. it is not unlike addiction where the addict has to hit a bottom before they are willing to go to any lengths to change. after all the most addictive entity on earth is control. when an individual or nation thinks they have total control of anything they are always, without exception, proved wrong, sometimes with catastrophic results.
    richard stanbridge

  • Carlos Llanos

    Check this out. (as per the book, A People’s History of the U.S., Pg.255). During the Civil War, J.P.Morgan started his wealth by buying 5000 worthless rifles with his father money ( a banker) for $3.50 ea. and sold them to an army general in the field for $22.00 each. He was brought to court after this was brought to a congressional committeed and the federal judge upheld the deal as the fulfillment of a valid legal contract.

  • Anonymous

    When I was young (1960’s), I lived in Latin America. I noticed there were a few very Rich, a very small Middle Class, and a Huge Poor. Shacks dotted the highways, one light in the middle of a four sided one room house,where you could see people through the slats in the house. Usually cardboard insulated. I did not know what a Lottery was but I noticed that the people standing in line to buy a ticket had no shoes and lived in those shacks. To Control Crime, from the poor, the National Guard patrolled the neighborhoods with M1 Carbines. If someone was accused of stealing, the National Guard shot and killed them, and that night, the body, blood and all, was on pictured on the front page of the local newspaper.The country has not changed much. As Lotteries sprung up in various states, Gambling, I noticed that people are “standing in line” buying Lottery tickets – One fellow said “this is my retirmement”. I watched as the Private Defined Benefit Pension funds were stolen with “Merger and Aquisitions”, Leveraged Buyouts with over 100,000 plans disappearing worth $7 Trillion affecting Millions of Babyboomers and wealth from these funds extracted and passed along to Corporate Executives and Wall Street Leveraged Buyout and Merger and Aqusition Shemes of Bain Capital, and no one, in our government did anything to stop it. The recent closing of a former Honey Well plant in Freeport, Illinois is an example. The employees Pensions have been raided and their jobs moved Offhshore to China along with the plant manufacturing equipment. We better fix this and fix it quick. Otherwise, I am afraid that the road, to the same type of economic picture of the Latin American Country I lived in 1960 will happen in the USA. We need to “Tax Incentivize” the Rich to invest in America and its people. Today, the Rich has taken over and we are, as pointed out by this program, we are headed into the Latin Amerian Model of an Economy. A Few Very Very Rich, a small Middle Class, and Huge Poor. A few Rich in a Poor Country. We can fix it, but not by voting for people who profess “Personal Responsibility and claim that Social Security is an Entitlement”. I paid into for 50 years.

  • Fred Mannheim

    Ms. Freeland seems to feel that the solution lies in “New Ideas”. I wonder if in fact that is true. Maybe it’s not really new ideas so much as the fact that we let what used to work, devolve into rampant greed on the part of those who had allowed themselves to feel that nothing should or could touch them where it came to their being allowed to run free rein of the laws. How is it that those times in which we had a successful society end up being deconstructed. It seems to me that the Plutocracy weren’t happy with just the millions that they had, they had to also have Billions. What’s next Trillions. Or is money really not the endgame at all. Think on this, what do you really care about once you have all the wealth you need. Power. It has to be said that all the supposedly great leaders in the final analysis most often merely enjoyed ruling. It’s nice to be the King, and have subjects. Americans began as Serfs, and now they are merely be returned to serfdom.

  • Fred Mannheim

    Yes there was a period of prosperity and some in the lower classes did get a taste of a better life, but it’s a matter of degrees. While the very lowest did acquire some more wealth, the upper levels acquired a disproportionate share of that wealth as is witnessed by how much is in their hands presently. If you think that WWII wasn’t used as a vehicle to achieve that inequity than you are mistaken. Then as now War profiteering existed. WWII wasn’t simply a war of differing ideologies it was a war of differing economic realities.

  • Fred Mannheim

    There should be more than a third party, there should be as there is in other nations many parties. When we have had the rise of a third party in this country, they were always, by hook or by crook, absorbed into one of the two mainstream parties. We the People could create more parties and sometimes we try, but we aren’t energetic enough about it. In point of fact the two others that do exist, the Tea Party and the Libertarians, are so much like the Republican Party as not to be real and separate Parties at all. In the main they vote together when put to it.

  • Fred Mannheim

    The answer is simple. When you own the Government because your money has bought their service, then you have conveniently eliminated yourself from having to observe the laws of the land. The Wealthy own the Supreme Court as well,as the Congress and the Presidency. In reality they have always owned them.

  • Fred Mannheim

    Ah but you are forgetting their usual easy answer. Join the Military, it has been the boost for every poor individual.That is if they live through it. And as a special bonus, if things run true to form, they can convert you into a conservative. Facts show that a high proportion of those who serve or have served in our military are conservatives.

  • Fred Mannheim

    Steve, Maybe you could tell us how we get honest people elected who haven’t resorted to selling their soul to the rich so that they can get elected. I would be interested in hearing your answer.

  • Fred Mannheim

    MissA, I would truly like to see what you say happen, but I fear that is an impossibility. Think on this. Last couple of years there has been this movement calling itself the 99%, but are they in fact 99% ? How can that be when at least 49 percent of the American Population consider themselves Conservatives, who gladly support the “Job Creators” and will do anything and everything to keep them in the money. Even the down and out poor shop at WalMart and why. Because they have few alternatives. There is no 99%. Maybe 50% or less if we are lucky. That’s not enough to make a real dent in the wealth of the 1%.

  • J.O.

    When Romney says he will cut the tax rates by 20% for everyone, it doesn’t make any difference to him because all of his earnings will be subject to capital gains not our federal income tax rates. With his running mate(Ryan) proposing to eliminate the capital gains tax, Romney and his friends will pay no tax! Sounds pretty good for the 1%.

  • MAnthony

    I am uplifted by the comments on this program! The commenters are more informed and progressive than the guests on a progressive show! This is encouraging. Yes, Ms. Freeland kept defending the system while pointing out the weakness of such a system as if they are exceptions and only occur sometimes and can easily be dealt with. I don’t even know what she means by “free enteprise.” If you mean that small businesses are continually crushed by larger ones and rig the system so that there is little competition, well then there’s nothing free about that market system. We have a form of state capitalism and the system is fundamentally flawed. When I hear people like her speak about all the people lifted out of poverty in India and China, I cringe. She certainly illustrates how ignorant television journalists are. If you know anything at all about these countries you know the horrible abuses and the number of lives that are destroyed in the name of “progress.” Yes, some people are lifted out of poverty. Others are murdered outright. Yet, on this progressive show there were no alternatives brought forth because such alternatives can’t be discussed on mainstream news. I’d love to see a real debate take place between the so-called progressives who want “capitalism with a human face” and people like RIchard Wolff the marxist economist who discusses democracy in the workplace. No doubt democracy in the workplace represents the ultimate enemy of any “democratic” government. It would certainly revolutionize the way we live for the better. As for the comparisons with Russia, in a lot of ways we are already there. In Russia professors travel around to several universities to eek out a living. Here, adjuncts now barely survive by traveling from college to college teaching to students who are increasingly in debt while the administrative staff and university presidents make six figures or more. A society in which education is not valued is a society in which life is not valued. That’s not one I want to live in.

  • Stefa Shaler

    I wanted to hear more from Matt Taibbi but Chrystia Freeland kept interrupting both him and Bill Moyers. I wish Mr. Taibbi had been allowed to finish his point on dissidents immediately being labelled communist or socialist. And, why that’s a problem. So what? Why can’t communists and socialists get a fair hearing? Or why not just say I’m sort of socialistic and keep talking? There’s no valid reason to discount socialist arguments in this day and age when capitalist arguments are so weak.

  • Steve H


    In a sound bite, it’s too complicated. In general, before we can get qualified people elected we need an educated, committed, curious and compassionate electorate that explores how the Web of Life works. Without a far greater general understanding of the relationships between things, we’ll continue acting out of our individual self-interest. That, to me, is the root issue.

    Humans fail to see themselves as a part of Nature. We see ourselves as apart from Nature. Our historical religious influences put us at the pinnacle of creation. The fact is, at the source of our existence, we are all made of the same material that everything else is but, because of the way our brains are organized, we see ourselves as a force more privileged than the rest of Nature. We believe that the resources of Nature exist for us to exploit. And we certainly have.

    Because we perceive Life in that way we are approaching, perhaps even passed, Nature’s carrying capacity to continue supporting us, the exploiters. Our political systems are ill-equipped to comprehend that and adjust. So I don’t think the answer is a political one. I believe it’s a spiritual one.

    I’m not saying we are doomed. However, your important question becomes “How do we educate people to see that what we collectively do to Nature, we do to ourselves?” Then we can move to the next question: “How do we assume personal responsibility to participate in all the ways that demonstrate profound respect for this precious opportunity we call Life?”

  • John Sellers

    There is a wonder objective test that without external reference proves what would be equitable between the moneyed rich, the powers that be,, compared to the american people…in fact all people.

    Do the simple thought experiment: On one hand put all the people, and on the other hand put the powers that be, plutocrats, the government, and moneyed interests.

    WHAT IF the powers that be, the plutocrats, the government, and the moneyed rich all suddenly disappeared and no longer existed. What would happen? Well things would be awful because institutions prevent chaos, however people would still exist and would rise up and create institutions again and life would go on.

    WHAT IF on the other hand all the people disappeared? What would happen? THERE WOULD BE NO POWERS THAT BE, P:LUTOCRATS, GOVERNMENT, AND MONEYED PEOPLE! This proves beyond all doubt that people are more fundamental than any institution. And if the institutions have the balance of power in their favor the tail is wagging the dog. In the best of all worlds there needs to be an equitable balance of power between institutions and the people. In this more objective light, we, the people, have been potty trained to accept an inequitable of the balance of power. For example, consider bank loans for homes. The individual home buyer gets the equity of one home, and the moneyed interests get the profit equal to 2 or 3 homes! And we accept that and goes a long way to explaining why the Middle Class is disappearing! But if things were truly equitable the people would get at least as much equity from the loan as the moneyed interests would make profit. Then the balance of power due to money concerns would be much, much better than it is now.

    Think about it!

  • Bobb

    Both guests as well as Bill Moyers seem to blame the very rich: they’re FOLLOWING tax laws. It is the law makers that created this problem. THEY accept the money from lobbyists in return. Watch frontline’s Money, power and Wall Street.

  • Linda Seaton

    intent is equal. if the filthy rich here, were not getting what they want, it would be just as you describe. matoff is in jail. who else is?

  • Thomas Stevens

    Bernie Madoff is in jail because he committed the sin the elites do not allow. He robbed from the rich instead of the poor.

  • Linda Seaton

    consecrated prayer. collective, consecrated prayer. desire. desire is prayer. prayer is always answered. always. where your focus is, is where your prayer is. that’s scientific.

  • Linda Seaton

    stop buying their products…and you will also be conserving energy, waste, materials, resources, health. we don’t need any of them.

  • Linda Seaton

    its easy to make that dent. all it takes is commitment. with the coming of the internet (the wonder tool) we could stop anything.

  • Linda Seaton

    those who don’t, really don’t want it to happen.

  • Linda Seaton

    excellent commentary. we’d better fix this and fix it quickly.

  • Linda Seaton

    excellent. truth speaks. I’ve been stating Truth for years. the internet can gather Truth quickly. I believe we are being called to do so.

  • Linda Seaton

    excellent. we’re building momentum.

  • Linda Seaton

    they’re also greedy. when you are in the company of people doing something like not chipping in their share of a tip at dinner, or compensating for the drinks they enjoyed and allowing (expecting, even) the people they are professing to be friends with, all sharing a meal, do you cringe? I do. Then I grab the check and announce who owes, what.

  • Ewan Fallon

    Before the fall of communist Russia there was a brake on the corporation excesses. The fear that the poor might turn to communism tempered the goals of the would be plutocrats. The fall of communism removed this fear of civil unrest and let loose the Dogs of Plutocrat War

  • Linda Seaton

    campaign dollars are criminally sinful. they will swallow themselves in time. do you listen to them? the more money spent, the more ridiculous America comes to realize their messages are…and the more ‘power’ Americans will come to realize they truly hold. in the very same way TV drug commercials have campaigned, disclaimers and all. we are entering a new spiritual-enlightenment era, where the state of consciousness will rise above such demeaning behavior and desperate liars will melt away, in the only way evil can…the wizard of oz.

  • need campaign finance reform

    Yes, Campaign finance reform is a must.

  • Linda Seaton

    I flew with Silas Chau. I served Lawrence Stroll. I flew Jann Wenner and the Kennedy’s. I have actually entered the very exclusive all men’s club, China Club. I have a terrific perspective. In 2011, I changed my mind and opened a retro retail store, named it Whoa! Nellie and began my mission, quietly, prayerfully and all alone.

  • Not American Exceptionalism

    Multinational Corporatocracy. They are Nations within themselves, and a law unto themselves.

  • Return to Feudalsim

    Someone in the Financial Sector said, all the wealthy know is one word: “MORE!”

    Our corporate owned media is a big problem, where else on TV except Democracy Now, Rachael Maddow, The Ed Show, do you see anything like this? Many people get news from FOX and Rush Limbaugh and that is it, and here is the kicker — they believe them!

  • Anonymous

    Who do you think pays the lobbyists to bribe the politicians? The Plutocrats. That’s why they’re called Plutocrats.

  • Maine Coast

    You set the bar very low. I don’t particularly want to see the US be just better than the most suffering of people or nations.

  • mike

    In the interests of balanced journalism, do you plan to do a program examining the effect of labor unions on elections?

  • Reading Between the lines

    .: (

  • Barbara Sonderman Walters

    I agree with you; however, the notion of exceptionalism where quality of life (health, culture, freedom, education etc.) is concerned is also a part of living in many other countries, (France, Japan, United Kingdom, and many more) and they are exceeding us in many of these ways, especially health and education.

  • Linda Seaton

    my point, prescisely

  • Linda Seaton

    I have no idea why my comment was removed. any ideas?

  • Anonymous

    The people gave very good logic about Plutocracy. In each area, like economics, capitalism, democracy, inequality etc, they came very close, but failed to find the root cause. They also failed to provide real solutions to each one of the above items. I would like to send a published article to any one who is interested in knowing the root cause and a real solution. Please write an email to me at

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Ms Freeland’s comment about developing an entirely new political and social response to the current technological revolution, rather than rehashing those developed for the Industrial Revolution and the 20th Century. It may be much more urgently needed than even she compreheds. Just the other night, while half asleep, I heard an interview (not sure what PBS show) of a gentleman highly enthusiastic about the technological revolution and all the businesses and industries that technology would “deconstruct”. Again and again he used the word “deconstruct” without ever seeming to realize that the functions that technology would be taking over after those businesses were “deconstructed”… would produce a fraction of the jobs that that “deconstruction” had decimated.
    What we face in the future… as technology in the form of software, automation, robotics…. consume more and more jobs… everything from medical diagnoses, reading of tests, even in some cases performing tests w/o much human intervention…. to performing legal research… a single software program can perform case searches in 1 day that would take a team of lawyers and clerks 6 weeks or longer….. even mechanics… no longer do cars have to be taken apart to be diagnosed and repaired.
    What then? What happens when human beings are no longer needed to create and code software? What happens when robotics do a better job at assembling an iPod than a Chinese worker?
    What happens when human beings are no longer needed as workers?
    Will there be a way for them to earn a living? Are we all doomed to be each other’s cooks and waitresses… or will those jobs too be automated?
    Somehow… human beings must again be given a priority… there must be value in their existance unrelated to their function as a worker… because we are at the beginning of the end for that function.

  • Linda R

    “We can do better.” Right?

  • Bobb

    I get your point, but the POLITICIANS accept the ‘bribes’. The politicians could/should outlaw lobbyists in govt hallways. Since they do not they must ‘be happy’ with it, right? Btw, I’m unemployed – not attending 40k per plate fundraisers for either party. Congress pretends to commiserate…they should earn average of district… example… What does Rangel have in common with constituents? He cheats on taxes , gets caught after many years and what happens to them , nothing. Watch that tv show – it’s online.

  • kris

    “America has it’s problems but it is exceptional for the daily freedoms it’s spoiled citizens take for granted everyday.”


    Three liberals with no clue about economics discuss economics. This is what passes for journalism. Pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism is
    deeply ingrained in the American and even the North American psyche.

    Even your guest Chrystia
    Freeland tends to be an apologist for capitalism and seems to have drank the
    capitalist one-track mind system cool aid when she downplays the return of
    manufacturing jobs as impossibility. Why shouldn’t North-Americans manufacture what they consume? This type of discourse is what fuels the
    Plutocrats’ and the corporate welfare bums’ justification and narrative to keep
    on doing what they do best highjacking our economy and maintaining myths of
    Monetary scarcity and exporting North American jobs out of the country pretending to create jobs with our taxes and not paying there’s. Our course many wannabes of this insane and pathological lifestyle of denial dream this to be one day their own.Ignacio Ramonet once editor of the journal Monde
    Diplomatique warned us about how this one track mind system or “ la pensée
    unique (” functions on our collective psyche making part and parcel of this
    capitalist narrative. (
    This situation sort of reminds us of Fran Lebowitz’s
    famous quote: “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In
    this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

    Maybe we need to see how
    Pogo’s author’s famous quote:”We have seen the enemy, he is us”, applies and
    contributes to America’s one track mind or Pensée unique and near psychotic and
    quasi-religious narrative about capitalism. This is the way Humpty Dumpty, a fragile ego
    egg, living in his wonderland and balancing himself on the edge of a wall from
    falling off, redefines reality with ever changing terms of insignificance to
    mix Alice up so that she can never understand anything he rants as truth. Well this is what apologists do in America to stifle any change and hence mix North Americans up about the real face of Capitalism that has put Americans into a trance.

  • Irwin B. Platzner

    1% vs 99%!!! Sharing on The Platzner Post Facebook, and Twitter

  • skpknowsthis

    This week’s show reminded me of the last place I worked
    before retiring. The CEO and CFO of a billion dollar not-for-profit were
    certainly not in the 1%, but they were each making in excess of a quarter of a
    million a year. About every six months at an employee meeting, they would
    deliver what I called: The Greedy Ingrate Speech. The crux of the tirade was: you are lucky you
    have a job, you are even luckier that it’s a full-time job because we could hire
    part-timers or consultants, you should grateful for the current benefit package
    we give you (like it was a gift), etc. At one meeting, employees questioning
    low pay increases were told: If you don’t like it, you can leave.

    At every level there are plutocrat-types. And the 1%
    convinces those lower level strivers that they too are privileged and can
    threaten those below them. I heard Marco Rubio say that employers were already
    converting jobs to part-time, so they wouldn’t have to comply with job-killing Obamacare.
    I heard another local employer say he would fire seven employees if Obama wins,
    so his small company won’t be subject to ACA. Every Republican in my state is saying that if
    we don’t give the job-creators more tax breaks, there will be no new jobs. One
    local industry that was given a major tax abatement to move here is now
    threatening to leave unless the abatement is renewed. In this really close election,
    the Greedy Ingrate Speech is being used everywhere to further frighten people who are
    already scared

    Why should a citizen of the richest, most powerful country
    in the world feel grateful to have a job? Your guests are right, something has gone
    terribly wrong.

  • gray_penguin

    I caught the last half of this episode and it really put a lot of thoughts I have had over the years into perspective.

    To the people that call themselves “Job Creators” I have a couple questions.

    How many times have you posted job openings?
    How many times have you created a positions just to give someone a job?

    Now tell me, who is enabling who?

    Get off your high horse and wake up to the fact that your employees enable you, you do not enable your employees.

  • William McQuaid

    “Plutocracy Rising” poignantly shows us the reality based conversations the Presidential debates will never cover. According to a recent Pew poll, after jobs, corruption is this country’s top concern . All those desperately clinging to the current Presidential debates for answers only serves to expose this country’s ignorance of who controls the levers of power in the U.S. Our national media is also entirely complicit in this sad scenario. Until the cancer of corruption is cut out, our problems will remain in a permanent, repetitive, and powerless loop.

  • LaVerne B Wheeler

    Chrystia Freeland articulated the problem exactly – 20th century fixes are being applied to a 21st century problem. I am reminded of the comedy album by Firesign Theatre – Everything you know is wrong. Just as in the days of Louis XVI, it’s good to be the king. It should surprise no one that the “plutocrats” want to extend their reign. If all that takes is buying an election, that becomes a very easy call.
    As long as the average American male continues to believe in the factory lights coming back on and 30+ dollar an hour line jobs with full pension and benefits the GOP will contiinue to lead them with that carrot. and as long as the average American woman is pulled more to “motherhood” than personhood the GOP will continue to induce them into working against their own self-interest. I’ve known this since I saw the Equal Rights Amendment go down in flames.

  • Joe Shoemaker

    If Romney supports Murrary Energy he must also support what an unregulated coal and energy can do to the environment…and that can’t be good for human beings.

  • Lynda van Leeuwen

    Disney World is a perfect example of this!!
    They own the roads, you must buy their food, stay in their own hotels.Perfect American Corporatocracy.

  • David George

    When ATM’s first appeared on our streets it was a wonderful convenience: now you could get cash at any time of the day or night as long as the machines were in working order. The banks got to replace tellers with tireless computers who didn’t care about belonging to a union, and were there for the bank and their customers 24/7. The brilliance of these cash dispensers was that when a customer made a deposit, or withdrew funds, or made a transfer the customer was doing the data entry for the bank! To add insult to injury, later banks would charge fees to the customer for making the ATM transactions! Banks didn’t have to pay a human teller and customers were working for the bank and paying them for the privilege. Lately when you park your car at the mall parking lot, a machine now processes the ticket and fee, and drivers do the data processing. Result? Thousands of parking lot attendants across the country are out of a job. There are about eight self-checkout stations at the local supermarket chain. Convenient? Yes. Killing the bargaining power of union workers? Certainly. Once again, the customer does the data processing and bagging of the groceries and pays to do so. When you shop online for a book, you enter your data which is stored on a computer, buy the book for less than it would cost at your local brick and mortar store and wait for it to arrive on your doorstep. More jobs lost to the efficiency of technology. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all this technological advancement, but not enough jobs are being created to replace the ones that are lost. Unemployment is at a record high; while corporate profits are soaring. Wages are flat but the cost of food and gas rise steeply. The gap between the (less than) 1% and the 99% is wider than ever. As Jeremy Rifkin noted in his book The End of Work, these lower and middle jobs are gone and they are not coming back. Less and less people are required to keep the machinery going and there are not enough positions that the unemployed can be retrained to fill. Hi-tech has permanently taken their place. In the 1950’s when we looked forward to the “Jetson’s” fantasy of the near future, we might have thought that computers, hi-tech and robotics would have freed us from the drudgery of mindless work. Perhaps a three-day work week? More leisure time to spend with our families or to pursue our passions – whatever they might be. The workers who created the wealth might have thought they had an ally in the robot; that the wealth the tireless computers would produce, might be shared with the general population via fair taxation, and dividends paid back to the civilian population. After all people still need to spend money in the marketplace to keep the economy working and sustainable. This “brave new world” would follow if we thought the machines belonged to all of us. As the 1% got richer and richer over the last thirty years, owned the political process and co-opted the media, it seems like they see a need to defend themselves from the desperate hordes who have now lost their homes to unscrupulous banks. Folks who were once proud members of a robust middle class are finding themselves now permanently unemployed at the bottom of the pyramid. They can’t retrain “up” where there are fewer and fewer jobs, and fading skills make them less and less relevant. I bring this up because the connection between hi-tech and chronic unemployment is not being made often enough. Are we in denial?

  • Shirley Blackburn

    We need to take action. I will vote for the President, however, I don’t know how to get people to understand if Romney becomes President, I believe we are headed for horrible times. How can I help fix this mess?

  • mikemis

    Chrystia Freeland made a point of fundamental importance – the sensitivity of plutocrats to the criticism that they are not virtuous because of they are wealthy. It reveals their vulnerability, but this vulnerability is more then the moral issue she implicitly raised. To be sure, challenging the equation wealth = virtue threatens to undermine the status of plutocrats. But it goes deeper; once debunked, it will force plutocrats to confront the shallow lives they live, and to acknowledge that they are not contributing to the betterment of society. The illusion that civilization would collapse without them is the sort of nonsense fools use to convince themselves of their self-importance. The question is when will the rest of society see them for what they are: modern day robber barons who contribute little of significance, and who are self-absorbed, self-important people of little actual consequence.

  • David Kerrigon

    And there is a fertile intellectual consensus behind replacing crony capitalism with a political and economic system that works for everyone. Further, the consensus comprehends climate protection, encompassing a holistic solution. There are solutions, the problem is more that 5% of the US population needs to actively advocate for the solutions. 4 books are representative:The Bridge at the Edge
    of the World: Capitalism, the Environment and Crossing from Crisis to
    Sustainability by James Gustave Speth

    Agenda for a New
    Economy: From Phantom Wealth to
    Real Wealth by David Korten

    The End of Growth:
    Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard

    America Beyond
    Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy by Gar
    Details at:

  • Smithlin, Tustin Ca

    The show that just concluded on “Plutocrats” is exactly why public television should not receive tax payer funding; is there another program on PBS that is the counterpart and answers the incorrect assertions put forth? No. The idea that wealth is finite and taxing even 100% of the top 1% will enrich the 47% is NOT true; it just enriches and grows government. What about Russia? Does anyone think life in the old Soviet Russia was equal and everyone got a fair shot, as Pres. Obama likes to repeat and repeat? No, there was a slice at the top, the privileged few in government, that lived well and everyone else was equally miserable. Why do liberals delude themselves with the idea that big government legitimizes everything and will make everything ‘fair”? As for Wall Street; Dodd Frank passed.. Isn’t everything fixed now that was enacted? No? The mortgage meltdown was the result of government passing regulations, in the 70’s, to penalize banks that didn’t lend to people with no income, jobs or credit because it’s fair that everyone own a home. Wall Street bundled and sold the loans to CYA knowing they were going to end up getting screwed. Government redistributing the wealth is only going to benefit government and take away freedom and destroy our free enterprise system.

  • Anonymous

    Regarding the Plutocracy interview, what is an alternative definition of virtue?

    One suggestion:
    Lynn White Jr., “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” SCIENCE, 10 March 1967, Volume 155, No. 3767, pg. 1203-1207

  • jackal

    It is unfortunate that the word “communist” has such a negative connotation in American history. One would surely thinks that there would be an opening for a party to represent the 99.99% of American people who are getting the sharp point of the stick in today’s society.

  • DGW

    I enjoyed the discussion with Matt and Chrysthia. The plutocracy is not new in this country, or in many others (Read Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States). But the income and wealth gap is frustrating right now. Much of the US slowdown is probably due to the dip in the birthrate after the baby boom surge. We can expect economic recovery by 2020 or so when the following generations birthrate picks up.

    If found a comment made by Chrystia near the end of the segment to be important. She suggests that the Progressives are not providing viable alternatives. Naomi Klein points out in The Shock Doctrine, that when a shock occurs, like the last economic crisis or the next one, it is the ideas that at laying around that have a chance of being put into use. Although this may sound simplistic, it is not. Those people pushing the Chicago School economic ideas for the last 40 years, basically Milton Friedman style unfettered Capitalism, have had astounding success at increasing their hold on the US and many foreign economies each time a shock occurs. The conservative think tanks are ready with new proposals, laws, and usually deregulation. Liberal and progressive think tanks need to at least match these ideas. Although money has undue influence over the US political system, liberals and progressives have money too.

    It won’t work to threaten the wealthy elite directly with the demand that they give their economic inferiors something that they feel they have earned and are entitled to. They must agree that to maintain their privileged position in society, more people must be empowered to share in their upward mobility, by hard work of course. This is the leveling of “playing field” that is necessary to start reducing the wealth/income inequality. Even ultra-capitalists want stable markets that avoid meltdowns. Enforced regulations and good laws can help immensely with this. Even the wealthiest elite want a stable society in which to enjoy their wealth and the prospect of even more. Fair laws can make this possible. These kinds of good laws are made by government and government is supported by taxes.

    Remember, Canada did not have a financial meltdown of its banks.

  • jackal

    The problem is there are more people praying to have their wealth increased rather than praying for equality. Linda, you really need to read “THE GOD DELUSION.”

  • jackal

    Read Susan Jacoby’s book, ‘THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON,” in which she talks about the deliberate “dumbing” of the American educational system for the benefit of the people in power.

  • jackal

    Just how do you go about that?
    The people who don’t want reform are the people who can actually enact any change–and they are not about to do that!

  • jackal

    Although Taibbi “said” he was in favour of the bailouts, you could see that he was just saving Freeland’s face. I was just about to go on line and order her book when she said that she favoured the bailout — but if that is her attitude (and her explanation was unacceptable to me)– she just lost a customer.

  • jackal

    You had your chance to build momentum with the 99% demonstrations, but you let them down by allowing them to be closed down.

  • Anonymous

    Chrystia Freeland erroneously stated that Canada is the only G7 country not to have bailed its banks out. She was wrong. Japan didn’t have to, as their banks are extremely healthy. And Japan is orders of magnitude larger and richer than Canada. How did she miss that?

  • Beevis

    Very good program, as you can see it got many people thinking.
    Political finance reform would work, but how to enact? That is the question.
    The dumbing down of the education system is a very real challenge. With the misappropriations of our tax dollars, we loose much of our edge in music, sports, and language classes to name a few items that get cut.
    The uber rich don’t have a problem educating their calculated offspring and send them to expensive private schools; the gap widens, the cycle continues.

  • Anonymous

    In today’s show on Plutocracy, Bill and his guests said that no adequate solutions have been proposed to the growing gap in income and power. Here’s one: let’s return to the income tax policy of the 1950’s. Our nation’s longest period of economic expansion occurred from 1945-1975 when the top personal income tax rates were never less than 70 percent. In the 1950’s, under our patriotic war hero president Eisenhower, the top rate was above 90 percent!. Full employment and a vibrant middle class were the result. Profits were put back into business, not extracted.

    —— The point few understand is that the proposal to drastically raise income taxes at the top is not primarily about fairness or even about “revenue generation” – it’s about encouraging strong economic activity and the creation of good jobs. Let me explain why.

    —— All agree that a successful business one that brings in more than it pays out. The question facing many plutocrats is what to do with the excess revenue that results from such success – reinvest or extract? Extracting profit from a business as personal income does not contribute much to the productive economy (though it certainly feeds the useless luxury economy economy of gated communities, country clubs, vacation homes, and Swiss bank accounts, etc…). Our productive economy is aided by the reinvestment of excess revenue (potential profit) back into the successful business (hiring, improving employee benefits and training, buying equipment, etc…). Reinvestment also grows the business, allowing the owner to both retain wealth and contribute to a stronger economy for the rest of us (Win-Win). Reinvestment benefits employees who help to create profits, and strengthens the middle class. On the other hand, extraction benefits the owner, but no one else. The extraction of revenue in no way benefits the business or its employees, and often harms it. Given the importance of this choice of what to do with excess revenue, we musk then ask, “Do income tax rates affect the choice of whether to extract or reinvest?”

    —— Many insist that raising income taxes inhibits business reinvestment, discourages “job creation” and harms the economy. While this understanding of income tax may be true for the lower and middle income tax brackets, for the top bracket it’s “backasswards”. As we saw in the 1950’s, very high top marginal income tax rates are associated with a strong economy. Why is this?

    —— While a business itself may pay certain federal taxes, it does not pay personal income tax. The top income tax rate is only paid by a business owner who chooses to extract large amounts of excess revenue from the business as profit. On the other hand, the business owner can retain wealth and avoid paying so much income tax by instead reinvesting extra revenue back into the business. Increasing tax rates for those with very high personal income encourages the second choice, while lowering rates encourages the unproductive extraction of profit out of the working economy.

    —— Consider this LOW Tax scenario 1: Your business generates 2 million dollars revenue, with 1 million dollars of base expenses, leaving potential profit of 1 million. With a low flat income tax rate of say 20%, if you decide not to create any jobs and extract all of the profit as personal income you pay $200,000 tax and your net worth is up $800,000 – guaranteed. If instead you extracted only $250,000 and put $750,000 back into your business (i.e. expanding operations), you would only pay $50,000 income tax, saving $150,000, and your net worth would increase by $950,000. However, $750,000 of this would be at some risk if the value of your business declined.

    —— Consider HIGH Tax scenario 2: the Tax rate is 90% above 250k and 20% below. If you extract the entire $1,000,000 excess revenue, you would keep only $275,000 and would pay $725,000 tax (50k tax on the first 250k income, and 675k tax on the remaining 750k). BUT if you extracted only $250,000, and reinvested the remaining $750,000, you would pay only $50,000 tax and your net worth would increase by $950,000. It would be hard not to “create jobs” with the bulk of excess revenue.

    —— SUMMARY: With a low top tax rate, the owner of a successful business can easily chose to extract and keep most profits and avoid placing their net worth at risk, but with a very high top tax rate, they must chose between giving most of it to the government or keeping it in the business (most would choose to reinvest). This is why the lowering of income taxes on the very wealthy has harmed the economy and middle class over the past 30 years, and why returning to the very high rates of the 1950’s is necessary. I believe that without this correction, no other public policy solutions will work, and if it is enacted many will become unnecessary. For example, when a successful business uses extra revenue to retain skilled workers by improving training, pay and benefits, it reduces the need for government funded job-training, health and welfare programs.

    —— Retaining the historically low income tax rates on those who extract great amounts of business profits as personal income, perpetuates that “Vampire Capitalism” that is sapping our nation’s economic vitality and corrupting our moral traditions. It is our income tax policy that has created this new Gilded Age and new ruling class – the plutocracy. Unfortunately, if this trend is not reversed, history and prophecy are clear that our society will continue to reap the tragic fruits of greed and hyper-concentrated wealth and power: decline, instability, tyranny, rebellion and collapse.

  • Donna R.

    Big Businesses
    like Coca Cola sending out political material to their employees urging them to
    vote for a particular candidate is just further proof that the Plutocrats are
    running our country, not the government. In the 50’s there was no deficit of
    these astronomical numbers. America was
    successful, the most desirable and wealthiest country but the top 1% paid 90%
    in taxes. The Plutocrats of 2012 every year lobby more and more for more tax
    breaks/credits while the middle class pays more than they do and will continue to pay more than they do…pretty
    soon we will not have enough money to buy what the Top elite are selling only
    then they will see the error of their ways. The entitlement of the very rich is leading
    our country towards becoming more like Russia every day.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you that our nation only corrects itself in the aftermath of calamity, such as the Great Depression. This probably has something to do with human nature. The same myopia, wishful thinking and denial of reality is seen throughout history. The lack of true reform following the recent financial collapse may well be the direct result of the short-term “success” of the bail-out.

    Stepping back to consider the planetary impacts of our way of life and this apparent inability to make proactive and informed societal changes, I fear for the children.

    Stepping back yet further, I wonder if maybe we should let our plutocratic brothers lead us off the cliff, so that we fall long and hard, becoming a truly broken nation (again), forced to repent, collapsed down into a sustainably simpler way of living, humbled and redeemed once more.

  • Anonymous

    This was a phenomenal show with detailed and thoughtful analysis of the economic landscape. It is kind of ironic that in an article appearing today, Bob Benmosche of AIG whines that no one thanked him for paying back the bailout money. If there was ever a sense of entitlement, it is awash in the land of the plutocrats. If you could follow up with some discussion about ideas that might bring about a correction to this situation, I would be most grateful. Thank you!

  • Gary Reber

    The resulting impact of our current approaches has been plutocratic government and concentration of capital ownership, which denies every citizen his or her pursuit of economic happiness (property). Market-sourced income (through concentrated capital ownership) has concentrated in individuals and families who will not recycle it back through the market as payment for consumer products and services. They already have most of what they want and need so they invest their excess in new productive power, making them richer and richer through greater capital ownership. This is the source of the distributional bottleneck that makes the private property, market economy ever more dysfunctional. The symptoms of dysfunction are capital ownership concentration and inadequate consumer demand, the effects of which translate into poverty and economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people who depend entirely on wages from their labor or welfare and cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. The production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result.

    While Americans believe in political democracy, political democracy will not work without a property-based free market system of economic democracy. The system is the problem, but it can and must be overhauled. The two prerequisites are political power, which is the power to make, interpret, administer, and enforce laws, and economic power, the power to produce products and services, whether through labor power or productive capital.

    Binary economist Louis Kelso wrote: “In the distribution of social power, whether it be political power or economic power, all things are relative. The essence of economic democracy lies in the elimination of differences of earning power resulting from denial of equality of economic opportunity, particularly equal access to capital credit. Differences of economic status resulting from differences in advantages taken and uses made of differences based on inequality of economic opportunity, particularly those that give access to capital credit to the already capitalized and deny it to the non- or -undercapitalized, are flagrant violations of the constitutional rights of citizens in a democracy.”

  • WOW

    America has been exceptional (past tense). We have seen great advances in social freedom (now under threat).
    Our exceptional justice system and America’s promise of economic opportunity have taken direct hits.
    When one compares America to the conditions seen in third world countries it reveals the erosion of public education. This sad comparison is illogical at best. But in the context of America’s decline, it is propaganda for simpletons at its worst.

  • Anonymous

    I would’nt advise her to wait around for an order from me either !

  • Lew Witham

    It’s an increasingly fashionable leap to equate American injustice with the most prominent injustices on planet earth. True, we’re often over-ballyhooed, but for the great majority of us, our worst day in this society would be better than our best in countless other societies.

  • John G

    My wife is from the Philippines and when she comments about the rampant corruption there, she often then asks if we have it here. I usually reply that yes, we do have corruption here and that most of it is institutionalized and not as publicly visible as it is in the Philippines. I have explained how the wealthy and politically connected here game the system to maintain and enrich their positions.

  • yaz

    As a Canadian, I am embarrassed Chrystia Freeland first self-identifies as a Canadian and then confuses “free market” capitalism with the corporate capitalism … which some call neo-fascism based on the definition of that term given by both FDR and Mussolini – that exists in both the USA and even more so in Canada with our current regime. Also, as a financial reporter, I was surprised when she only mentioned Canada’s financial regulatory system and said we didn’t do a tax-payer bailout of our banks. We did, being Canadian, we just called it something different … transfer of toxic assets from private to public books. Also, Freeland talked of the “capture” of the intellectual class around the world as if that happened based on the merits of the ideas rather than throught the intentional funding of think tanks such as those associated with the Institute of Economic Affairs and Atlas Foundation for Economic Research … both founded by Anthony Fisher.
    Please arrange a conversation between Vandana Shiva and Chystia Freeland about how well corporate capitalism is working around the world as well as in the USA. Another great show folks – well done.

  • Victoria M. Young

    The thing I find most frustrating is the fact that people like Chrystia Freeland say they want to hear “solutions” but how is that going to happen? My experience thus far has me believing “they” can’t listen long enough to hear the solutions. But I will try again!

    It isn’t just a divide between the ultra-rich and “other,” it is ordinary people that have the answers to the problems they face but can’t be heard because they have no “clout.”

    “Do-gooders” can’t understand what we need, but we know. Take education. The public education system is being taken over by greed-driven privatization in the name of “reform.” Yet, we know what we need.

    Intellectuals, as well as the plutocrats, don’t welcome solutions from ordinary people. We are demoralized because no one will listen!

  • Scott Baker

    The guests are missing the point. Why is that the ire against the rich is so much greater towards people like John Paulson and not against Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, despite the fact that the later two are/were worth much more than Paulson? Because people realize, on a gut level, that speculators like Paulson contribute nothing to economic growth, and may (DO!) decrease it, while Gates and Jobs, for whatever their faults, gave us major innovations.
    The Democrats have failed to capitalize on this difference between the Rentier class and the true Entrepreneur class. The rentiers need to be taxed more heavily, until they get a real job, while true entrepreneurs have to be encouraged with lower taxes. This truly progressive position would create a real choice between Republicans and Democrats, not the false choice of poor/middle class vs. rich.
    Instead of relying on the tired policy of pie-slicing, we need to learn to create a new pie, with true opportunity for real producers.
    Oh, and America is not broke. There’s $100 Trillion (not a typo) to be recovered if people know how to look:
    – Scott Baker, president of Common Ground-NYC (a Georgist reform group) & NY State Coordinator for Public Banking Institute. Videos here:

  • ilse

    A very cogent discussion, Bill. Thank you. One of the best – I think that Chrystia and Matt’s experience in Russia is so important to the discussion of the financial disaster capitalism framework here in the US UK EU – at times,near term history seems too close to be relevant. But Poland, Argentina, Russia, Greece… are we all too blind to see?.

  • Steve H


    Though I accept we have other choices, the current state of political affairs in this nation, given that corporations are running the country and the People are supporting corporations by participating in that economy, I reluctantly concur with your last paragraph.

  • Steve H

    Sorry, Linda, while prayer may comfort the person praying it is passive and appeals to some other force to fix what we, ourselves, are destroying. I don’t believe in god but if that entity existed it, and as the religious teachers tell us, we have been bestowed with “free will”. That explicitly states that we have choice and if we choose to destroy this paradise through irresponsible action and ignorance of our impact, then why should any god want to save us?

    No, if we want to save the world that we are destroying then WE must stop destroying it. That’s fact.

  • Anonymous

    We do need to return to what has worked on the past to grow the economy for all Americans. See my post below about the benefits of raising top income tax rates.

  • Anonymous

    Come on, Bill! I don’t even like Romney, but at the end of the show you had a segment showcasing businesses that “promote” one candidate over another to its employees, and you focused on Mitt Romney.

    It’s not hard to find liberal businesses doing the same things (or worse), including people matter-of-factly saying if they didn’t attend a Democrat rally their employer was going to fine them $200.

    Do you not even care to have the illusion of being unbiased and nonpartisan, Bill? I thought that’s what journalists are supposed to be; not taxpayer-funded shills that belong on MSNBC.

  • Garry Davis

    Ownership then becomes the solution. Louis Kelso in Two-Factor Theory wrote “The heart of an economic system is its principle of distribution. Real Wealth is goods and services; its production takes place in the physical world under natural laws that are everywhere the same. Regardless of an economy’s political structure, production problems must be solved pragmatically through science, engineering, technology, management and skills of labor. Out of the production process, however, arises wealth or income, and distribution of this wealth or income involves problems of a different order. There is a political dimension to distribution as well as a physical one; its character is derived from the economy’s principles of distribution.” See “Who Owns the World” in my book “World Government, Ready or Not!.” World Citizen Garry Davis

  • Anonymous

    Really? The Libertarian Party is so much like the Republican Party? The Libertarian Party with presidential candidate Gary Johnson who wants to balance the budget right now, stop foreign interventions, repeal the Patriot Act and NDAA, cut military spending by 43%, cut all foreign aid, end The Fed, allow gay marriage, etc, etc.

    Presidential Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is not only different from the Republican Party, he’s different from the Democratic Party’s current figurehead Obama who, the same as neocons, is for big spending, policing the world, debt, “stimulus,” The Fed the Patriot Act, TSA, NDAA indefinite detention without trial or charge…..

    It’s the Democrats and (neocon) Republicans who are so similar.

    Gary Johnson 2012.

  • Anonymous

    If people want to end the two-party corporatism that includes keeping anyone other than Democrats and Republicans out of televised debates, they should vote for Libertarian Party Gary Johnson. If he gets 5% of the vote, the L Party will get a lot of attention as well as qualify for more funding.

    Watch “Ben Swann’s Reality Check: DNC Scripted Vote” to see how rigged both main parties are. At the Democrat Convention, the speaker took a party vote three times because he didn’t know what to do when the delegates actually voted no. On the third vote, he just pretended they voted aye, like his teleprompter told him to.

    Gary Johnson 2012.

  • George Bailey

    One of the reasons we could collectively aim for a decent society in the 1950s was WWII. Sending workers to war to fight together, side by side with our elites, tended to clarify for everyone the reality that rise or fall, we are all in this thing called life together (no matter what our economists try to pretend). Freedom from want and a right to a good job with a decent wage were also goals for winning such a world war and convincing so many to lay down their lives to win it. And then, what happened? That such human ideals have been so relentlessly corrupted by a narcissistic corporate elite (who somehow are quite happy to send poor people’s children to fight their wars of profit) is just one of the remarkable ethical absurdities of our time. You could have just as easily called episode “Sociopaths Rising”. Bill Moyers, thank you for continuing to gently and thoughtfully prod all of us to take a deeper look at the dark reality of our situation, you are a tonic for this bewildered soul.

  • Anonymous

    I bet most of the middle class will say the money they worked for is theirs to keep.

    But feel free to give your money to someone poorer than you. After all, you didn’t earn it; it doesn’t belong to you. Give it to those people who sit on their couch all day watching TV living off of taxpayer-funded welfare and buying lobster with their food stamps and talking on their “free” cell phones and using “free” taxpayer-funded internet.

    People Who Work For A Living

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, MUCH prefer Jill Stein – same stats apply to the Greens

  • katemcshane

    This was one of the most wonderful discussions you’ve ever brought to us, Bill. Freeland and Taibbi are brilliant. Your decency is always the greatest gift in your interviews. Thank you so much.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, i gotta chuckle at this one – prog Dems can’t even win Dem primaries, let alone Greens – prog Dems, if they aren’t squeezed out from the get go, are marginalized or squashed later – look what happened to Kucinich – he get read the riot act and folded like a cheap suit on one of his signature issues – single payer. Greens know that the Dem party is a coffin for any prog ideas – that’s why they are Green and not Dem. The Dems have hopelessly compromised anything decent they ever stood for to catch those corporate dollars – well they did and are caught in return …

  • Anonymous

    Was with you until that last sentence – shucks wouldn’t that be nice if true – then they would be guaranteed a lot of votes! LOL But young folks have a lot of good reasons to vote Green – they don’t need hypnosis!

  • Anonymous

    As I said earlier, there is a party for the 99% – the Greens …

  • Anonymous

    So you kick those guys, ther duoploy, out and put in folks who will reform it – the Greens

  • Anonymous

    We do have power at the polls via 3rd party and have had for some time – we just refuse to use it … E.g. you want single payer? Vote Green …

  • Anonymous

    How do we get honest people elected? Why the same way we gat anyone elected – Vote for them! Try Stein for starters …

  • Anonymous

    Manufacturing jobs will return if we decide we want them – it’s called “protecting our industry” and it used to work pretty well … but we stopped doing that in the name of obtaining the glorious gifts of “free trade” …. and traded our jobs over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house where the corporate wolves ate our lunch …

  • Anonymous

    Vote Green – check out;

  • janv

    When the “job creators” actually hire someone then they should get a tax credit, this tax break should not be given simply because you own a company. As many of us are saying, “where are the jobs?”. I am free-enterprise but I am not free-ride just because you own a small business. And, of course we all know where the jobs are. . .they died in the house where the republicans live!

  • Anonymous

    They are “following” the tax laws – that they paid the legislators to pass … And even when they don’t they have gotten their own appointed as the regulators so they never get convicted …. Throw the corporate owned duopoly out and get decent legislators who will pass decent laws and appoint decent regulators …..

  • Anonymous

    And who votes for these schmucks? We do … you want better pols, vote for them!

  • Anonymous

    Vote Green …

  • Susan Cain

    My dad and I had a discussion about this very issue. He said that because technology was going to take away jobs that there had to be a means by which technology paid a dividend to the people. It is a completely different economic model we need to start looking at different economic models as the old ones no longer apply.

  • Sue Buttram

    ..and he is already out of jail.

  • Henry

    Keep building your walls, The 1%. As your wealth builds, so too your walls. And when your sins come rushing over them, and you still think the “rich deserve to be rich”, than you also deserve everything associated with it.

  • sipapu

    People need to see this! I downloaded Adobe Flash Player and I’m still blocked from viewing and sending to friends. We are too close to the election to have a techno glitch block viewers from this important information. Please fix!

  • Robert E. Hlebowicz

    Ms. Freeland and Mr. Taibbi does superb job digging the methods and tools the plutocrats of Wall Street use to get what “Carl Marx was dreaming about for all people, namely global reach. Theygot there first! And they are crying about social warfare; this is like hutzbah when kid after killing parents ask judge for mercy ’cause he is an orffan:(

  • Anonymous

    What’s good for GM is good for America. I heard that a few times in my youth.

  • Private

    I will never understand why this simple little concept seems so hard to get. Imagine there is $10 on a table, in all one’s, and one person takes $3 and the other takes $7. If we were to tax that $10 what percent should each person pay to be fair? I would say the one with $3 should pay 30% and the one with $7 should pay 70% of the tax on that total $10.

    So why are the wealth who take home between 70-90% of the total GDP only paying 40-60% of the total tax on the total taxable GDP?

    So they take 70-90% of the GDP pie and only pay 40-60% of the tax pie. How dcan I make this any clearer? Its deceptive and a distortion of fact, logic, and mathmatics to manipulate the population into thinking this is somehow fair. One percent of the population paying 40-60% of taxes might seem disproportionate out of context, until you realize how much of the GDP they are taking.

    Hopefully citizens will wake up to this inequity in the 1%’s money out vs taxes in.

  • Michael Federico

    Just in case you forgot or never knew: The Patriot Act now gives Police the right to detain anyone without due process and one can even be caught n renditioned to a Eastern Block country and tortured under American rules as long as the torturer and the handler are foreign born? So don’t try and play that
    God bless america card when in fact innocent people have been imprisoned and tortured for being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

  • C. Ikehara

    When Ms. Freeland said, “…One of the great brave decisions taken by the Canadian government was to not allow the Canadian banks to merge,” the following former Presidents’ comments came to mind:
    – The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States. (Woodrow Wilson)
    – The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

  • Bruce Vida

    Thank you Bill, may God keep you and your two interviewees for us lowly jack asses of the society, I mean as our pal Mitt Itcheski called us the Victims and lazy no good doers who are forced to retire and asked to give up on out retirement income, which we just discovered is called “entitlement”, as if we didn’t earn it working 10 hours a day 5-6 days a week over 30 years, just paid in advance!!!! Loved your show even though it deepened the depth of my old age economic worries about for my children and grandchildren!

  • ks

    Dear Mr. Moyer,
    Chrystia Freeland said, inaccurately, that “the Left” had not offered any new thinking about our economic system. I suggest you invite Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus, U of M Amherst, now visiting professor at the New School University to discuss his ideas, which definitely don’t involve tinkering at the edges. (As Matt Taibbi noted, the parameters of allowable ‘new thinking’ are narrow.)

  • Sirk

    I think Native Americans understood how to be part of nature. Western man is hopelessly arrogant.

  • Ingrid Dabney

    Wars have always been for economic benefits, nothing else.

  • Ingrid Dabney

    So true

  • ks

    I duplicated your efforts before I read your comment. Prof. Wolff must be getting some traction.

  • Anonymous

    We need a general all-out strike for a week and demand that Citizen’s United be reversed immediately before going back to the job. That would give “the people” one big win that would bolster our confidence and send a big poke in the eyes to the corporations. If anyone thinks that going along with the status quo will save them, they are woefully, miserably mistaken.

  • Anonymous

    Yes but you can see the trajectory we’re on can you not? Of course it’s the people’s fault for not being vigilant, not standing firm when violations to the Constitution occur. We think of only ourselves and that’s a sure recipe for disaster. If we cared about the poor, and for animals, those weaker than us, we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be treated ignobly either. How dare a few men impose their will on everyone else? Why do millions of us let a few men get away with it. I’ve seen chickens behave this way. Humans must upgrade their thinking. As a united people, we can stand up against this system that so easily crushes most under its wheels. We all consent to this type of Capitalism without thinking. Should it collapse, which is on the cards for happening soon, our efforts on making a living will be for naught. Better we forge relationships and become as independent as possible. We need to design an economic system that mimics nature not this vileness that adulates big money. It’s dumb.

  • Anonymous

    Seems these laws just keep on coming down the pike without any contest by lawyers who have a heart. There is such a thing isn’t there? Lawyers with a heart?

  • Anonymous

    Somewhere I saw a mention of a former
    appearance by Dr. Wolff on one of Moyer’s previous shows, It might be a good
    time to bring him back in light of his increasing popularity. No doubt that the
    spin masters have done their best to trash Marx over the years, it was to be
    expected in a Capitalist owned and operated government. FDR used the fear of the
    rapidly growing support for Socialism and Communism during the great Depression
    that was brought on by a total lack of any action by this government to resolve
    the severe economic issues, the same thing we are seeing today. Since
    Roosevelt’s death in 1945 the reputation of Socialism and Capitalism has been
    viciously attacked by the Capitalist masses who, as Dr. Wolff has said
    repeatedly, don’t want a repeat of the New Deal Reforms of the
    1930s-1940s and no distractions that might force the first real national debate
    of Capitalism in this country. An unstable economic system that has performed
    miserably over the past 75 years with 11 Recessions and now two economic
    depressions !

  • Boz Hobbs

    Nothing will improve in America until we get money out of our political process…period. Ours is an insane process fraught with fantasy to the point of absurdity. Hang in and hope that there is hope.

  • tholder

    Statement & Question:
    There is a class war raging. It is an undeclared war – the Plutocrats have been waging this war at least since Reagan and even before.

    I understand why the Plutocrats believe their own worth and the value of their philosophies; but, why do so many middle class and under class people support the Plutocratic policies?

  • apathy101

    All of the problems posed by the plutocracy could be solved by an informed, concerned and activist electorate.
    No one has ‘cancer’ until it is diagnosed.

  • BoomKing

    We don’t dislike them (super rich) because of their SUCCESS, we dislike them because of their EXCESS.


    In citizens united the supreme court laid down a law that says Money = Speech so therefore the more money you have the more influence over politics and legislation you have. BIG Bank CEO’s commit crime after crime yet they don’t have to go to jail because they can afford to pay the 300 million dollar fines those crimes entail, AND STILL THE GOVERNMENT GIVES THEM MILLIONS TO BILLIONS OF TAX PAYERS MONEY EVERY YEAR and completely ignore any bank or business that isn’t a multi millionaire or billionaire!!! IN 2008 THE GOVERNMENT BAILED OUT MASSIVE BANKS THAT WERE ABOUT TO GO BANKRUPT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN RISKY INVESTMENTS, THE MONEY THEY USED WAS TAXPAYER MONEY, BY 2009 THE BANKS WERE TO BIG TO JAIL. IF YOUR TIRED OF THE RICH PLAYING BY THEIR OWN SET OF RULES THAT THEY PASS THROUGH CONGRESS BY WAY OF LOBBYISTS THAT SHOWER SENATORS WITH MONEY THEN SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND GET THE WORD OUT THAT WE WONT BE LOOKED DOWN UPON AND WONT LET THOSE MASSIVE CORPORATIONS BE IMMUNE FROM THE LAW!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zohar

    Fantastic observation…

  • Don Jessy

    This continent was resettled because people wanted to get out from under their oppressors elsewhere. To do so successfully, they needed to grow in both unity and self awareness.
    For a while the middle class understood this. But the seduction of technology and the brainwashing by the mainstream media have sidelined people with their fears and addictions. Without self awareness and a desire for greater self knowledge we are lost.
    Immagine people coming to America willing to believe the streets were paved with gold…

  • Don Jessy

    Only those who chose to be owned. If you believed you would be “taken care of” by your employer, the govt, corporations, the railroad pension, or anyone else without reading the fine print…
    How many people actually read the contracts they so eagerly sign -mortgages, or any “legal” document? These contracts are only as good as the public are willing to back them.

  • Don Jessy

    Your greed is showing. Everyone works for a living. Unfortunately too many believe they work for the money. The money is merely a symbol of exchange.
    Too many people have put their faith in the dollar, and those are about to learn that they have become addicted to a fantasy.

  • Don Jessy

    What would happen if people got off the bus and stopped suporting Federal representatives – only voted for and exchanged with local representatives? -like local municipal, district, or county, that would talk in town hall meetings, and to individual neightbors they knew?
    How would it work if we organized our own local activities so we supported one another, people we know and can trust because we see them daily involved in the community?

  • Don Jessy

    Do most people even know what communism is? Ask the next person who accuses others of “socialism” or “communism”. Ask them to define those words.
    I believe many would be surprised at how close those terms come to what they would support if used in a positive way about their neighborhood, and how they wished it would work. We are not incouraged to look closely at how well the socialist countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France work in the real world because it would shatter the illusion we have of “America, the best.”

  • jackal

    @ Don Jessy.

    I think you would be interested of the view of American politics from one of the best journalists Great Britain has to offer. Check out the following link:

  • Al

    The difference between corruption in the USA and corruption in third world countries is that in the USA it’s legal. The one major point where I disagree with the speakers is that I don’t
    think things would have gotten irreparably worse if we had allowed the
    “too big to fail” to fail and thrown the crooks in jail. The smaller
    banks would have quickly filled the void. That’s what happened in
    Iceland when that government refused to reward the culprits.

  • Mike Dipietro

    w/business strongarming their employees, we need more gov’t help to protect the employees interests, reminds me of the past………..

  • Mike Dipietro

    govt needs to rain in wall street, get rid of those tax deductions for the hedge fund guys, etc……

  • Mike Dipietro

    employees unite!; tell your bosses’ where to stick the ‘opinion!

  • Lawrence de Martin

    Most places in the world people will prepare in advance of disaster. Americans have a unique sense of entitlement to good luck. This may have come from the good luck of taking over a continent rich in natural resources where great civilizations built trade roads and then succumbed to the diseases of the filthy European illegal immigrants followed by the ravages of gunpowder. It may come from the good luck of oceanic isolation from the Great Wars. They all believe “it’s not going to happen to ME”. Now they all think they are going to get rich someday, and don’t want the rich taxed for that eventuality. It’s a rigged game, because the rich don’t want any new members in their club.

  • Anonymous

    Just because YOU have not been “tracked,arrested, and left incommunicado…” does not mean this government does not have the authority through the NIA, to do just that. In fact, how would you even know if hundreds of people in America were “disappeared”. The fact is you wouldn’t. What if YOU were “disappeared”? We would never know it, becaused FOIA does not apply.


    There is no more democracy in America because the Federal, state, and local governments have institutionalized corruption. There are no more rules or regulations that protect the well being of this country’s citizens or its environmental resources.

  • Robert Stevens

    By way of summarizing many of the previous posts here, let me recommend the book “The Assault on Reason” by Al Gore. Far too many people ignored this book.

  • Sadie Custer

    The exceptionalism of of America is, that as a people, we get to rise up and make a difference. Always, our country sees injustice and moves, maybe slowly, but does move towards correction. Think Teddy Roosevelt and the 44 anti-trust lawsuits brought against the likes of Rockefeller, and Carnegie. It is who we vote for and how we voice our desires. We get to do that.

  • :AF

    I am glad you replied. As an American who has traveled to India I know you speak the truth. The myth of American exceptionalism, depending on which aspect is spoken of, is destructive, or soporific, to our national work ethic and standards.

  • Ronald Sander

    This is almost as old as the hills. America, like ancient Rome, is starting its descent. As a Canadian I feel sorry for my American friends but wish to shelter myself and my country from the American avalanche. Divesting myself of American financial instruments and avoiding American press, radio and TV (as hard as it my seem) is what I’m personally doing. My country is desperately trying to find trade partners in Asia and the rest of the world so that the backlash of a crippled America will have less of an effect economically. Sorry America, but you did this to yourself. You are divided and will fall.

  • M

    I was just on a plane & I overheard the guy sitting next to me talking to the off duty pilot sitting next to him. He said, “I had to fire 4 employees to make sure I had under 20to slide under the Obama Care demands. I called a meeting and asked “Who voted for Obama?” Four people raised their hands and I said you four are fired.” They two guys “hi fived” each other. Wow. What a world? Like there was no other way to adjust their budget and accommodate the change. Ugh.

  • Guest

    An economics of compassion respects the gorging 1% of our population as the caterpillar phase
    of our economy, ready for a metamorphosis into butterflies. If you want butterflies, you don’t step
    on the caterpillars. However, when our conscious economic design disconnects the 1% from the rest of the population, it is like deliberately disconnecting caterpillars from what they need for their metamorphosis into a butterfly. The cycle of economic life and sustainable prosperity is broken.

    Chrystia Freeland, you challenged Progressives to offer alternatives. I wrote about using a customized version of the 75-year old model of the WIR Card
    in Switzerland as a form of an individual debit card for job creation through reciprocal risk and reciprocal lending of sweat equity points with each cash exchanges. The WIR Card is one of my many favorite examples of an Economics of Compassion that I’ll be
    celebrating with the walking conversation group called Topic-Talk Walks (TTWalks) in the 2013 annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Marade here in Denver, Colorado on January 21, 2013.

    Bill Moyers, Chrystia Freeland, Matt Taibbi, the wonderful sponsors and listening audience of the Bill Moyers show, today Sunday, December 30, 2012, I challenge each and every one of us to share and celebrate our personal favorite examples (past, present and/or future) of an Economics of Compassion with TTWalks in writing and/or in person. Please feel free to call or email me, Fran Rew, with any questions or comments at (303) 321-1064,

  • Fran Rew

    An economics of compassion respects the gorging 1% of our population as the caterpillar phase of our economy, ready for a metamorphosis into butterflies. If you want butterflies, you don’t step on the caterpillars. However, when our conscious economic design disconnects the 1% from the rest of the population, it is like deliberately disconnecting caterpillars from what they need for their metamorphosis into a butterfly. The cycle of economic life and sustainable prosperity is broken.

    Chrystia Freeland, you challenged Progressives to offer alternatives. I wrote about using a customized version of the 75-year old model of the WIR Card in Switzerland as a form of an individual debit card for the personal choice of job creation through reciprocal risk and reciprocal lending of sweat equity points with each cash exchange. The WIR Card is one of my many favorite examples of an Economics of Compassion that I’ll be celebrating with the walking conversation group called Topic-Talk Walks (TTWalks) in the 2013 annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Marade here in Denver, Colorado on January 21, 2013.

    Bill Moyers, Chrystia Freeland, Matt Taibbi, the other wonderful sponsors and listening audience of the Bill Moyers show, today Sunday, December 30, 2012, I challenge each and every one of us to share and celebrate our personal favorite examples (past, present and/or future) of an Economics of Compassion with TTWalks in writing and/or in person. Please feel free to call or email me, Fran Rew, with any questions or comments at (303) 321-1064,

  • Charles Henry

    agree, although the money is their “reward”; (how else would they keep score?) consumer-driven economy will fail when there is no more spending! I am close to 90% rent, gas, and utilities. bye-bye every other industry!

  • Charles Henry

    “middle-class” is a misnomer; please call us the “working-poor”; we are more like everyone else lower than us; than we are similar to those higher (economically)…[p.s. no-one is buying lobsters with food stamps; and forget about free-phones…how much does that really cost?(my prepaid phone was $5.)

  • Anonymous

    Fortunately, some economists seem to be coming around, speaking out, and writing books about the simple facts that wages and the health of the worker’s wallet are what really make an economy grow.

    well-paid workers = monied consumers = long-term profit for business = healthy economy for ALL

    No calculus required, just simple math.

    I’m sorry you are living on so little in the wealthiest country on the planet. I think we could agree that something is VERY wrong with that picture.

  • Steve Doyle

    Do all these daily freedoms you refer to apply blacks and American Indians?

  • Steve

    Yes! Both candidates and political parties represent big business interests, not the poor and the middle class. And if a bad, or even booming, economy can distract people from becoming aware of the reasons for their plight, things stay the same.

  • Marcia Deforest

    Bill Moyers, a national treasure opening our minds, telling us the background behind what needs fixing and what we can do about taking action! Forever indebted to your dedication to helping us become a better society and nation!

  • Anonymous

    I hope one of those four owns a pistol.

  • Anonymous

    The American Dream has become the American Myth.

  • mimilissy

    And I thought Americans had an overblown sense of self I think the Canadians are just as bad. Wake up and smell the coffee, canada has the same issues with corruption and oligarchs running the show. Think Tar sands. Wake up.

  • Steve Jobe

    Nope, not caterpillars. Nope, not going to turn into butterflies. These are, better analogy, leeches. Who will not stop until all the resources are gone and the planet is dead. They’re only hoping to be able to escape in their 1% spaceships and leave behind a ruin. Wake up!

  • Anonymous


    ~Well, Here (modally) Is What One Works For:
    factoring in escheatment thru currency devaluation, planned obsolescence then repetitive taxation on everything one pays said fiat currency to possess; then add in compound interest rates, e.g. for education expenses, coerced risk indemnity policies and formulated increases in said expenses for climate change and habitat depletion, a mite of thousandth’s of the population might modally expect to extract equipoise between ones work investment and lifetime

    But that’s virtually the same percentage ratio between the Übermensch Elites (who personally invest an inverse work output, [i.e. Negative Work—e.g., debts or deficits for assets] to provide
    their opulent living circumstances) vs. circumstances of all others; so the scheme for successful living in the current world becomes a concoction of lies—a boondoggle overwhelming wholesome liberty of virtually everyone else—lies created by, e.g.:
    Lawyers/judges/ abetting politicians/ lobbyists—and syndicates who control them, syndicates of, e.g.: computer hardware or software design or manufacture, Banking, Finance, Risk definition and indemnity; Armament hardware or software—their strategy, formulation, design, implementation or deployment; Illicit behaviors, strategies or substances; Broadcast media, etc., viz.:

    The matter Is Not Of Need; But of Liberty, Based on Greed. Only if we fail will this conflict continue to feed; whilst we, afflicted and by its temper shun villainous nurture’s seed; yet not decry loudly thru our vote, viz.: “‘Bibar,’ thy guilts are pernicious weeds—a farce of bedeviling tricks shone bright thru malicious deeds!” vide:


    Oh Bibar, on what dost thou fix taste for price of bake?
    Does time of oxen plow or grain they gnaw vex thy wage?
    Too hardtack grits each chew with pain of teeth they break;

    Yeast blended in eases dough’s bite but raises greed’s rage.
    More plowmen’s sweat might sweeten yield—yet jinx the pay!
    By Opportunity’s slight, won’t more work be a fix for duty?
    Yes! Set, for hands and muscle’s pride, to plow an extra day!

    And for its trick praise teachers who grease this gullibility!
    Arrange tribute, from their common purse—a workers’ prize:
    “To These, Who with Heartiest Pace, Plow Best with Grace”
    For this they’d give all; nibbling none nor eyeing otherwise.

    Thus by fete, greedy whimsy brings delight to
    Bibar’s face:
    Exalted high, too far beyond for sycophants’ gaze to glean;
    Despising all who beg and vow their liberty for a fiend. ©Copyright George Thompson, Sr. 201