Government Is Largely Responsible for Soaring Inequality

George Washington's picture


It's Not an Accident ... It's Policy

America is experiencing unprecedented inequality. And a who's who of prominent economists (and investors) say that inequality is hurting the economy.

Defenders of the status quo pretend that this inequality is something outside of our control ... like a force of nature. They argue that it's due to globalization, technological innovation or something else outside of policy-makers' control.

In reality, inequality is rising due to the government policy.

The chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University says that it is inaccurate to call politicians prostitutes. Specifically, he says that they are more correct to call them “pimps”, since they are pimping out the American people to the financial giants.

The government has saved the big banks at taxpayer expense, chosen the banks over the little guy, and

Crony capitalism has gotten even worse under Obama than under Bush.

Obama is prosecuting fewer financial crimes than Bush, or his father, or Ronald Reagan.

Moreover, not only is the cop not cracking down on crime ... he's on the take, and helping carry out and cover up the crimes.

No wonder:

All of the monetary and economic policy of the last 3 years has helped the wealthiest and penalized everyone else. See this, this and this.




Economist Steve Keen says:

“This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people.

Stiglitz said in 2009 that Geithner’s toxic asset plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”.


And economist Dean Baker said in 2009 that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”.

Without the government’s creation of the too big to fail banks (they’ve gotten much bigger under Obama), the Fed’s intervention in interest rates and the markets (most of the quantitative easing has occurred under Obama), and government-created moral hazard emboldening casino-style speculation (there’s now more moral hazard than ever before) … things wouldn’t have gotten nearly as bad.

As I noted in March 2009:

The bailout money is just going to line the pockets of the wealthy, instead of helping to stabilize the economy or even the companies receiving the bailouts:

  • A lot of the bailout money is going to the failing companies’ shareholders
  • Indeed, a leading progressive economist says that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”
  • The Treasury Department encouraged banks to use the bailout money to buy their competitors, and pushed through an amendment to the tax laws which rewards mergers in the banking industry (this has caused a lot of companies to bite off more than they can chew, destabilizing the acquiring companies)

Quantitative Easing

It is well-documented that quantitative easing increases inequality (and see this and this.)

Quantitative easing doesn’t help Main Street or the average American. It only helps big banks, giant corporations, and big investors.

The Federal Reserve has been doing quantitative easing for 5 years ... and inequality has shot up over the last 5 years. It's not a coincidence.

Subsidies to Giant, Wealthy Corporations

Massive subsidies to big corporations is also part of the problem. Indeed, some financial analysts say that the taxpayer subsidy to the giant banks alone is $780 billion per year.

The average American family pays $6,000/year in subsidies to giant corporations.

This is a direct transfer of wealth from the little guy to the big guy ... which increases inequality.

Goosing the Stock Market

Moreover, the Fed has more or less admitted that it is putting almost all of its efforts into boosting the stock market.

AP writes:

The recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.After previous recessions, people in all income groups tended to benefit. This time, ordinary Americans are struggling with job insecurity, too much debt and pay raises that haven’t kept up with prices at the grocery store and gas station. The economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest.


Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low. Until the mid-2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable — about 64 percent through boom and bust alike.

David Rosenberg points out:

The “labor share of national income has fallen to its lower level in modern history … some recovery it has been – a recovery in which labor’s share of the spoils has declined to unprecedented levels.”

The above-quoted AP article further notes:

Stock market gains go disproportionately to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, who own more than 80 percent of outstanding stock, according to an analysis by Edward Wolff, an economist at Bard College.

Indeed, as we reported in 2010:

As of 2007, the bottom 50% of the U.S. population owned only one-half of one percent of all stocks, bonds and mutual funds in the U.S. On the other hand, the top 1% owned owned 50.9%.***


(Of course, the divergence between the wealthiest and the rest has only increased since 2007.)

Professor G. William Domhoff demonstrated that the richest 10% own 98.5% of all financial securities, and that:

The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

Tyler Durden notes:

In today’s edition of Bloomberg Brief, the firm’s economist Richard Yamarone looks at one of the more unpleasant consequences of Federal monetary policy: the increasing schism in wealth distribution between the wealthiest percentile and everyone else. … “To the extent that Federal Reserve policy is driving equity prices higher, it is also likely widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots….The disparity between the net worth of those on the top rung of the income ladder and those on lower rungs has been growing. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the total wealth of the top 10 percent income bracket is larger in 2009 than it was in 1995. Those further down have on average barely made any gains. It is likely that data for 2010 and 2011 will reveal an even higher percentage going to the top earners, given recent increases in stocks.” Alas, this is nothing new, and merely confirms speculation that the Fed is arguably the most efficient wealth redistibution, or rather focusing, mechanism available to the status quo. This is best summarized in the chart below comparing net worth by income distribution for various percentiles among the population, based on the Fed’s own data. In short: the richest 20% have gotten richer in the past 14 years, entirely at the expense of everyone else.


Lastly, nowhere is the schism more evident, at least in market terms, than in the performance of retail stocks:

Saks chairman Steve Sadove recently remarked, “I’ve been saying for several years now the single biggest determinant of our business overall, is how’s the stock market doing.” Privately-owned Neiman- Marcus reported “In New York City, business at Bergdorf Goodman continues to be extremely strong.”


In contrast, retail giant Wal-Mart talks of its “busiest hours” coming at midnight when food stamps are activated and consumers proceed through the check-outs lines with baby formula, diapers, and other groceries. Wal-Mart has posted a decline in same-store sales for eight consecutive quarters.

As CNN Money pointed out in 2011, “Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago …” This trend has only gotten worse: The wealthy are doing great ... but common folks can no longer afford to shop even at Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penney or other low-price stores.

Durden also notes:

Another indication of the increasing polarity of US society is the disparity among consumer confidence cohorts by income as shown below, and summarized as follows: “The increase in equity prices has raised consumer spirits, particularly among higher-income consumers. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index for all income levels bottomed in February/March of 2009. The recovery since then has been notable across the board, but nowhere as much as for those making $50,000 or more.”

Business Week notes:

Barry Ritholtz, [CIO of Ritholtz Wealth, and popular financial blogger], says millions of potential investors may conclude, as they did after the Great Depression, that the market is a rigged game for insiders. Such seismic shifts in popular sentiment can have lasting effects. The Dow Jones industrial average didn’t regain its September 1929 peak of 355.95 until 1954. “You’re going to lose a generation of investors,” says Ritholtz. “And that’s how you end up with a 25-year bear market. That’s the risk if people start to think there is no economic justice.”

Americans know that the system is rigged against them. See this. We know that the government is giving Wall Street crooks a pass. 70% of Americans know that the government's economic policies have thrown money at the banks and hosed the people.

In such an environment, the average American has largely gotten out of stocks and other investments.


When a country's finance sector becomes too large finance, inequality rises. As Wikipedia notes:

[Economics professor] Jamie Galbraith argues that countries with larger financial sectors have greater inequality, and the link is not an accident.

Government policy has been encouraging the growth of the financial sector for decades:

(Economist Steve Keen has also shown that “a sustainable level of bank profits appears to be about 1% of GDP”, and that higher bank profits leads to a ponzi economy and a depression).

Unemployment and Underemployment

A major source of inequality is unemployment, underemployment and low wages.

Corporate Profits v. Jobs

Government policy has created these conditions. And the pretend populist Obama - who talks non-stop about the importance of job-creation - actually doesn't mind such conditions at all.

The“jobless recovery” that the Bush and Obama governments have engineered is a redistribution of wealth from the little guy to the big boys.

The New York Times notes:

Economists at Northeastern University have found that the current economic recovery in the United States has been unusually skewed in favor of corporate profits and against increased wages for workers.


In their newly released study, the Northeastern economists found that since the recovery began in June 2009 following a deep 18-month recession, “corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent” of that growth.


The study, “The ‘Jobless and Wageless Recovery’ From the Great Recession of 2007-2009,” said it was “unprecedented” for American workers to receive such a tiny share of national income growth during a recovery.




The share of income growth going to employee compensation was far lower than in the four other economic recoveries that have occurred over the last three decades, the study found.

Obama apologists say Obama has created jobs. But the number of people who have given up and dropped out of the labor force has skyrocketed under Obama (and see this).

And the jobs that have been created have been low-wage jobs.

Low Wage Jobs

For example, the New York Times noted in 2011:

The median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009.




Most ordinary Americans aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent.




“What is of more concern to shareholders is that it looks like C.E.O. pay is recovering faster than company fortunes,” says Paul Hodgson, chief communications officer for GovernanceMetrics International, a ratings and research firm.

According to a report released by GovernanceMetrics in June, the good times for chief executives just keep getting better. Many executives received stock options that were granted in 2008 and 2009, when the stock market was sinking.


Now that the market has recovered from its lows of the financial crisis, many executives are sitting on windfall profits, at least on paper. In addition, cash bonuses for the highest-paid C.E.O.’s are at three times prerecession levels, the report said.




The average American worker was taking home $752 a week in late 2010, up a mere 0.5 percent from a year earlier. After inflation, workers were actually making less.

AP pointed out that the average worker is not doing so well:

Unemployment has never been so high — 9.1 percent — this long after any recession since World War II. At the same point after the previous three recessions, unemployment averaged just 6.8 percent.


– The average worker’s hourly wages, after accounting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower in May than a year earlier. Rising gasoline and food prices have devoured any pay raises for most Americans.


– The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones that pay roughly $19 to $31 an hour, made up 40 percent of the jobs lost from January 2008 to February 2010 but only 27 percent of the jobs created since then.

Money Being Sucked Out of the U.S. Economy ... But Big Bucks Are Being Made Abroad

Part of the widening gap is due to the fact that most American companies’ profits are driven by foreign sales and foreign workers. As AP noted in 2010:

Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.




The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8% last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4% of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.


But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9%, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.


“There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott.




Many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.

Government policy has accelerated the growing inequality. It has encouraged American companies to move their facilities, resources and paychecks abroad. And some of the biggest companies in America have a negative tax rate … that is, not only do they pay no taxes, but they actually get tax refunds.

And a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did a huge portion of the money from quantitative easing. More here and here.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
RazvanM's picture

The next step: stupidity and insanity takes over everything. To be really dumb will not be a problem, but an advantage for the gov officials - because the regular voter will find in that official an image of himself.

rustymason's picture

World-wide free trade is the flip side of state communism (which is also global in scope). Both systems use money as the measuring stick to determine what is good. Both reduce man to a rational, economic human resource, destroying family, society, and culture. Free global trade IS crony capitalism.

disabledvet's picture

interesting article and really top shelf comment stream. my personal view is that the Government has "locked itself into" an inequality regime. in other words a cycle of "bailouts" so speak (through the zero bound rate policy) has taken hold and as was said famously in Gangs of New York "i laid down next to the Dragon and found myself warmed." my personal view as to the reasons why NOT going into Syria was a mistake are myriad...but one is to break the cycle of the "bailout regime." at a certain level what's going on here is a total scam. what is the Government getting out of this deal again? certainly not the actuality of an economic recovery. "higher prices only"? at least "until those prices stop rising"? that's sounds irrational to me. i'm no expert here but my first and ONLY impulse is "product, product, product" if i am on the side of capitalism here. in that sense gold and silver have value...but only in that sense. (quite limited in other words...and NOTHING compared to oil. or interestingly natural gas and now maybe electricity.) Affordable Care becomes law and everyone loses their health plan? is this considered a success? i'd sure like to know how...

Setarcos's picture

"my personal view as to the reasons why NOT going into Syria was a mistake are myriad"

Please explain.

Were you in favour of "going into" Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and all other countries targetted by the PNAC, with Iran pending?

Are you unaware of what Gen Wesley Clark revealed soon after 911, i.e. that seven countries were to be destroyed in five years?

Please explain why you think it was a mistake to not bomb Syria like Libya, which is now in chaos.

ableman28's picture

More fact based debate would go along way toward helping people break out of their ideological and wing nut based positions.

Here is the url for a website graphic showing US and major European country income inequality from 1900 to 2012.

The FACT (yes those things, facts) are that income inequality was HIGHEST in the period before 1930, before there was much government regulation of business of any kind.  Aggressive governmental regulation of business during the depression and in the several decades after actually (in real life folks not fanasy politics) brought a real improvement in income inequality.  The real argument in this piece should be that manipulation of the government by business interests results in the ability of a few to gain at the expense of the many....producing income inequality.

I admit this, and I am willing to tip my hat to accuracy of left wing analysis in many regards as to the reality of the policies of conservative republicans.  But, frankly, fuck em.  Being part of the 1% is a lot more fun that being right.

Bazza McKenzie's picture

There is a problem with these historical comparisons.  That is the progressive monetization of life.  In two parent families, the mother typically did not work in paid employment but cooked from raw ingredients, cleaned, raised the kids, repaired clothes, looked after the elderly at home,  etc.  This was all value creation for the family but did not show up in recorded income and was untaxed.

Nowadays in a two parent family there is greater income (taxed) but the loss of time means much of it goes on store bought and packaged meals, child care, replacement clothes, extra travel for work, paid care for the elderly, etc.  Thus, a steady level of real money income actually means a decline in real welfare.

Since the wealthy never did those things for themselves, ie they were fully monetized, increasing monetization of the life of the rest of the populace gives a false impression of their actual welfare relative to that of the wealthy.

kedi's picture

The government certainly has screwed up the economy. At the behest of it's owners, the super rich and powerful. The free market does not remain free for long. Everything has it's price. Morals, laws, souls. If you gain enough in the free market, you can then purchase those things as well. Then the market is no longer free.

The Heart's picture
"It's Not an Accident ... It's Policy"

Blessings and grace to you good Sir George, and to ALL aboard today.

Say this instead: It's Not an Accident...It's a perfectly orchestrated over time rockerfeller/rottenchild banksteronian luciferic/satanic plan to rule the world and kill off 99.9% of the human beings aboard the earth ship.

If the major problems were seen as simply as they are, then the simple answers to the wrongfulness of it all would come to an end for surly, there are far more real good folks out there, than there are babylonians. Right?

Action in good deeds, words, and all ones expressions of positive energy. These are the keys to the great unfolding and ever expanding universe at large starting in your heart. Gratitude feeds the wheel of good fortune. The Heart expresses much gratitude for all you do, and for all what so many other good mates aboard the good ship ZH do.

All for one...and all for the One.


Radical Marijuana's picture

While I agree with your overall perspective, The Heart, THE ISSUES ARE HOW TO BETTER IMPLEMENT "all for the One" ???

I agree that All is One, since we appear to be made out of the same energy, and operate in the same environment, sharing the same DNA code, and so on and so forth. To put that in another way, all particular individuals emerge as forms in the field.

HOWEVER, assuming that we agree with that, then HOW do we apply unitary mechanisms with respect to understanding things? HOW do we move beyond false fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals, in order to be more "spiritual," in the sense of more practical on more different levels?

My comments above on this article, as well as elsewhere on Zero Hedge, as well as in my political activities for several decades, have been focused on those questions!

Walt D.'s picture

IF you invite someone over to dinner and the talk about inequality, check your jewellery box before they leave.

Mr. Schnitzel Face's picture

After the first housing bubble burst the media blamed US real estate, though it was a global bubble. They are running the same scam again now. It is absolutely amazing to me that they are running the exact same play with slightly different mechanism only 5 YEARS later and people are getting sucked in.

Sheep may be too intelligent to be compared to sheeple.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

"Don't Blame Free Market Capitalism ... We Haven't Had It for a While"

When, exactly, have we ever seen this mythical unfettered free market system in operation at any point beyond tribalism throughout the entire history of humankind? The wealthy and powerful of ALL known agricultural and industrial economies have always had the means to skew markets in their favor. Governments are their preferred vehicles for doing this dirty work as it gives the illusion that somehow the lowly slaves and serfs have some input into the matter and will likely be less rebellious. Although they like to use religion too.

It's not that I believe in government being the good guy, it's just that this religiously obsessive banter about free markets throws mythology into the mix. If you guys got your way and government somehow disappeared overnight, you can bet the wealthy and powerful would find another way to impose their will over you as long as they still had wealth, which will buy them power. All the while it seems that the free market promoters worship as heroes those who can accumulate wealth (John Gault anyone?) making them good tools for helping to keep the slaves and serfs in their place.

I have been waiting my entire adult life (34 years) for libertarians to buy an island or some poor country and show all the rest of us how to do it. Waiting, waiting and waiting....and still I wait as they continue to bitch and moan and do.....nothing but bitch and moan and tell everyone else how good it would be if we just did things their way. My guess is for all the free market talk, actually putting your money and body where your mouth is, is another matter entirely. Why haven't any really wealthy folks funded such a utopia to show how totally free markets will solve all the world's problems? Do they know something the rest of us don't? They made their money in this current system, know how to play it, and want to keep just as is so they can continue to milk it.

To me this boils down to the way money works today. As long as money works the way it has for the past several centuries, you can bitch and moan about not having free markets all you want, and write books, essays and belittle all who don't agree with you about it. But until we change the way the "capital" part of Free Market Capitalism works nothing will change and you'll never get what you want and your great grandkids will be bitching and moaning about the same things when you're dead. Well, they might be if there's anything left to argue about after this current form of predatory crony capitalism has cannibalized everything of value from the planet. Also, since most of us have been so immersed in this monetary system, we can hardly imagine anything outside of it.

Conclusion: "Free Market Capitalism" is an oxymoron.

You may now set me straight.

Setarcos's picture

Well we are in the ZH zone of Libertarians and "Austrians" who have never had their theories tested, so of course you get ten down arrows from the ideologues and only five ups, including one from me.

Radical Marijuana's picture

I must agree with you, GeorgeHayduke. When you suggested that: "I have been waiting ... for libertarians to buy an island or some poor country and show all the rest of us how to do it," I would reply by referring to Aldous Huxley's last novel, Island. In the end, that attempt at an enlightened paradise results in it being wiped out by a military invasion to take control over their oil resources.

"Free market capitalism" ACTUALLY has fraud and murder added to it, to result in the real systems that exist. We constantly get entangled in the energy laws, as a total package deal. According to the basic principles of energy laws, the most labile component controls the system, which means that the most dishonest and violent people control civilization. According to the basic principles of energy laws, things flow along their path of conserved action, or path of least resistance, which, in human terms, means that things flow along the path of least morality.

To do anything different requires organizing effective resistance, in order to change what the path of least resistance becomes. However, since the vast majority of people have been to successfully dumbed down, and brainwashed to believe in bullshit, they are not interested in understanding their civilization as an energy system, or rather, "understand" in ways which are pretty well all profoundly BACKWARDS.

I tend to agree that I find talking to "Libertarians" to be very similar to talking to other kinds of religious fanatics. They are similarly committed to false fundamental dichotomies, and related impossible ideals. Government IS organized crime, which IS controlled by the best organized criminals. Citizens ought to become more competent to participate in politics, in order to better balance the organized crime that their government operates.

However, in North America practically everyone has been systematically reduced to being Zombie Sheeple who do not understand, and do not want to understand, how the political system really works. Meanwhile, various kinds of reactionary revolutionaries, who favour different kinds of old-fashioned ideologies and religions, are the controlled opposition to the established systems, which are always attempting to "lead" the Zombie Sheeple to become better Sheeple.

Of course, that is how I regard "Libertarians" and the "Liberty Movement." They are goofy believers in impossible ideals, who continue to think using false fundamental dichotomies. Everything they suggest must necessarily backfire it the real world, the same as every other idealized religion and/or ideology ends up backfiring. Reality is ALWAYS different systems of organized lies, operating organized robberies. The "solutions" to problems can never become more than our continued attempts to muddle through the madness that the world IS controlled by lies, backed by violence, because it must necessarily be. That might be done slightly better, IF more people understood and accepted that situation, as the universal basis of all political action, however, pretty well the totally opposite views dominate things, because the biggest bullies' bullshit dominates everything, including their controlled opposition.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Good observations RM. I used to consider myself a libertarian in my early 20's when I thought I had everything figured out. It's quite seductive for free-thinking folks. Over the years however, I found reality much different than they ideals of libertarianism and after much thought and observation on the topic, I find the two incompatible. Perhaps libertarianism could exist in a world where everyone suddenly woke up with a cleared memory, but there's too much of the current "system" ingrained into too many people for such a utopia to exist. It's like the hippies and their communes. It may have worked if it didn't have function as a subset of the larger system.

Chris88's picture

Did you go on welfare after your 20s?

Setarcos's picture

Did your critical faculties desert you after your 20s, or have you always used groundless cliches?

decentralizedscutinizer's picture

No need to set you straight. You pretty well nailed it. There remains a slight and ever-dwindling chance that we could re-invigorate the ideal of a constitutional republic; but the down-arrows we're about to see will quantify how cynicism is taught as an essential part of a "well-rounded" education in private schools ; (political philosophy - not so much). It's most unfortunate that political cynicism is such self-fulfilling prophesy, because that's the only thing keeping us enslaved to a system we all know is wrong and immoral.   

We need to re-think the whole concept of *incorporation*, from basic  premise to practical outcomes. They can be our best friends or worst enemies, depending on who's writing the charters and what the charters say. Please consider:


28th Amendment (aka Corporate Firewall Amendment)

    Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
    1, prohibitions against any corporation;
    a, owning another corporation,
    b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
    c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
    2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
    a, congressional lobbying
    b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
    c, educational sponsorship or publication
    d, media news reporting
    3, provisions for;
    a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
    b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
    c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

Optional: (or possible 29th amendment)

    The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is hereby repealed and Congress shall re-write the U.S. Code to reflect the changes embodied herein.

    (While we're at it, we could also repeal the 17th amendment)

Direct link:

NihilistZero's picture

If you accept the premise of this article you might consider going the Trapped Anarchist path.  Embrace whatever role in the free shit army you can.  Avoid all taxes.  Get your food stamps, medicade, etc.  If you are a small biz guy fuck the system over as much as possible to your benefit.  The entire system is shit.  It has been this way from the beginning.  Its collapse is inevitable so do everything you can to secure you and yours.  We are so far past arguing the principles of this cesspool of a society.  Anyone criticizing the free shit army while acknowledging that .gov actively dedtroyed the family, community and employment ties that would have prevented its creation is either willfully stupid or performing an astounding feat of double think.  There really is nothing left beyond doing what's best for yourself.  The time for discussion of social responsibility and greater ethics passed decades ago.

Radical Marijuana's picture

I WISH that I was not forced to agree with you, NihilistZero! However, from a practical politics point of view, your conclusions are unavoidable. Too bad, so sad, that: "The time for discussion of social responsibility and greater ethics passed decades ago." ... Pretty well ALL of the serious social and environmental problems are in the same boat. The ruling classes decided to entrench and double down on every aspect of their established systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, several decades ago, when it first happened that a significant minority of the population began waking up to those social facts.

I regard marijuana laws as the single simplest symbol, and the most extreme particular example, of that general pattern of social facts. In the 1970s, governments in North America paid for good research studies to look into the criminalization of cannabis. Both the Shafer Report in the USA, and the Le Dain Report in Canada, in 1972 concluded that pot prohibition caused far more harm than the pot did. However, both of those reports ended up being deliberately ignored by the governments that paid for them to be done. Instead, the war on drugs grew and grew, and more than 75% of the war on drugs became the war on marijuana.

Shafer report:

Le Dain report:

Since the early 1970s, it became clear that the governments of North America were deliberately ignoring the truth about cannabis. Of course, they were always doing that from the beginning, however, since the early 1970s, it became clearer and clearer that the real governments of North America were evil fascist plutocracies. Marijuana laws were never based on anything but huge lies. Those legalized lies asserted that the single best plant on the planet for people, for food, fiber, fun and medicine was "marijuana, that is almost as bad as murder." When governments paid for research studies to look at marijuana laws, those are the social facts that were discovered and reported upon. However, more truth makes no different to established systems of lies backed by violence.

IN VERY REAL WAYS, SLAVERY AND RACISM SEGUED INTO THE WAR ON DRUGS. WHAT THE PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY AMOUNT TO ARE THAT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE BEING TREATED LIKE NIGGERS! The same pattern of social slavery, only on an astronomically amplified scale, is followed by the way that the monetary and taxation systems work. Tragically, it is about a Century too late to have "time for discussion of social responsibility and greater ethics" about those systems becoming based on runaway triumphant frauds.

EVERYTHING NEOLITHIC CIVILIZATION IS DOING IS BASED ON DEEPLY ENTRENCHED SYSTEMS OF LIES, BACKED BY VIOLENCE, WHICH DELIBERATELY IGNORE ALL EVIDENCE AND LOGICAL ARGUMENTS THAT THEY DO NOT LIKE. THAT IS THE REAL SITUATION IN WHICH PEOPLE END UP BEING FORCED TO DEFAULT TO THE PERSPECTIVE OF NihilistZero! The established systems are nothing but huge lies, backed by lots of violence, automatically getting worse, faster, ... while there appears practically nothing that can be done about that, except to personally adapt to those runaway social facts!

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Any organization [government] that obtains its income from theft [taxation] cannot be trusted to be honest, fair, or equitable...  One would have to be either blind or dense or both to believe otherwise....

GeorgeHayduke's picture

True. But remember that a good part of those tax dollar go toward paying interest to bankers and toward the military industy who keep the government in money and weapons so that they can impose their taxation upon you. It's a big circle jerk with the government on the front line taking the brunt of the criticism while their owners hide in the background collecting the money.

decentralizedscutinizer's picture


A good case could be made for blaming either private or public bureaucracies for the corruption of our society, but the truth is that they corrupt each other; and reinforce each other's sense of righteous indignation at the very suggestion they might be guilty of fraud or misconduct. We're taught to aspire to that level of delusion where the corporate end justifies the amoral means. Never apologize; never explain.


The last thing any bureaucrat wants to discuss is the nature of incorporation. That's exactly why we need to have this adult conversation. Between ourselves. When the children have left the room.

batterycharged's picture

I don't know who's more delusional, people that think Communism is possible or the people that believe in the fantasy of "free market".

Gov't is part of the economy and market.

"We havent had free market" - and based on your fantasy of what free market is, we never will.

Sorry, if you take out gov't, people don't suddenly gain morals and ethics.

Shad_ow's picture

"Sorry, if you take out gov't, people don't suddenly gain morals and ethics."

True, but in a free market, those who have morals and ethics refuse to do business with those who do not.  In the current controlled market, corruption is forcing the destruction of honesty and profit from production.  That has been replaced with the necessity to do business with what is available, the winners chosen by tyrants.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Spot on batterycharged.

I said the same thing above in many more words. Good job of putting forth this reality so concisely. I especially like the negative vote with no comment whatsoever as they cannot defend against what you said.

akak's picture

You are an ignorant idiot and full of shit.  Aside from that, very insightful.

If you could move beyond your first-grade level of thinking (and apparently education), you would realize that there are and have been DEGREES of free market character within the US (or any other) economy --- the situation is not and never has been all or nothing, black or white as you would imply.  That takes nothing away from the fact that the greater the degree of freedom within an economy, the more prosperous it invariably will be.  History is quite clear on that fact, even within the limited examples provided by US history.

Please take your head out of your ass --- you may learn a thing or two.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Instead of expending energy calling me names, please point to some of these flea markets in history where free markets existed without government's hand in the mix. I want to know what they were so I can re examine my thoughts on this topic. Of course barter and trade have always existed, but pointing to something that is .1% of the entire economy as a model we can use while the transport and production of many of the items sold in such markets relies upon the greater, non-free market economy to exist doesn't impress me much.

"That takes nothing away from the fact that the greater the degree of freedom within an economy, the more prosperous it invariably will be. " Sure, but where does reality come into play within that reasoning? According to Christians if everyone believed in Jesus the world would be wonderful.

Sorry if you perceive my observations as first-grade, but I've read a ton of anarchistic and liberatarian ideals over the years from a vast array of authors, some you've likely never heard of.I've given up on the idealistic crap as it leads to nothing but name calling, arrogance, and feeling as though you're doing something by putting down someone who doesn't share your beliefs. From what I've seen over the years, none of these things accomplishe anything of value.

akak's picture


Instead of expending energy calling me names, please point to some of these flea markets in history where free markets existed without government's hand in the mix.

I don't believe for a second that you have ever read ANY libertarian-oriented material at any point in your life, as in doing so you would surely have graduated from positing such ridiculous strawman arguments and false dichotomies as you have repeatedly done here.

You still fail to recognize or acknowledge the fact that the free market nature of an economy exists in DEGREES, and is NOT some absolute, all-or-nothing characteristic, or at least never will be as long as government exists.  An economy may never be perfectly free, but it is still manifestly obvious from even a cursory examination of the historical record that the greater the degree of freedom within an economy, the more prosperous it is overall, and the greater it serves the general good.

Your willful denial of these facts, and purposeful digression into disingenuous strawman argumentation, only serve to demonstrate that you are neither very intelligent nor sincere in your discussion here.  Your applause and praise for the cheap and nonsensical anti-American propagandist drivel of our Chinese troll AnAnonymous above only further highlights your dishonest and malicious agenda.

Chris88's picture

Are you surprised none of them have read any libertarian material?  Are you surprised none of them have degrees in finance or economics, or work in the fields?  Who else could believe in the government magic wand after it fails in everything it does.  

decentralizedscutinizer's picture

".....An economy may never be perfectly free,"


Nothing may never be perfectly nothing .


".....the greater the degree of freedom within an economy, the more prosperous it is overall "

The greater the degree of freedom within an economy - the greater the degree of freedom within an economy.

The more prosperous it is - the more prosperous it is.

The first thing Libertarians need to learn is how to spot a false equivalent. We learned that in first grade while you were perfecting your talking points. Since you all seem to rely on that same Sophist tactic, I assume that's the only education you've been exposed to. That's OK . We all had to start somewhere and we're all happy to see you at least care enough to get involved.  

akak's picture

Thank you for taking several dozen words to say exactly nothing.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

akak, you are an excellent example of a true believer. Thanks for being that that example.

As for reading and knowledge of freedom systems it appears that my knowledge outweighs yours by degrees. I can at least talk about the subjects without getting upset, which is well beyond your abilities at this point. Also, you obsess about market freedom as though that is the entirety of freedom. This show how limited in scope your thinking goes and hence your attempt at rebuttal.

Again, can you present any real world examples of the free markets you talk about? Then, explain how these relate to the larger systematic non-existent free markets that George Washington is bitching about in his article above? This is your chance to enlighten the idiots here and help us to see the errors of our ways. Or, you can just cast insults and emotional rants to explain how stupid we are. Show us what you've got.

akak's picture

George Hayduke,

You truly are a liar and an idiot, as nowhere did I claim or imply that market freedom constitutes the entirety of freedom itself.  Furthermore, you STILL refuse to even implicitly acknowledge that your specious and strawman argument that "the free market does not exist" is a ridiculous black-and-white false dichotomy that bears no relation to the real world.

Your entire argument here (such as it is) and your claim that free markets are "non-existent" are analogous to arguing that because the 'perfect' good man does not exist, that therefore goodness itself does not exist, and is a meaningless notion, and nobody should even try to be good as it is an unattainable and unreachable goal.

It irks me to even have to address such mindless and illogical drivel as you stubbornly and maliciously continue to spew in this forum.

Radical Marijuana's picture

How does one reconcile "freedom" with the conservation of energy?

Hint, stop understanding entropy backwards!

DarthVaderMentor's picture

"Government Is Largely Responsible for Soaring Inequality"




"Government Is COMPLETELY and SOLELY Responsible for Soaring Inequality".

shovelhead's picture

I'm actually thrilled that I'm now the proud owner of about 5 mil in toxic mortgages and derivatives.

As a cautious fellow, I never would have made these risky investments on my own.

Thanks Washington DC.

AnAnonymous's picture

That 'american' propagandist at it again.

Unable to tell when the US had that period of free market capitalism because actually, if he does, he will expose that he disregards people who are screwed by the 'american' system rather than he disregards the system itself.

For 'americans', everything is situational and as long as you are on the right side of the fence, you can move on and their system is the best thing to have ever happened to humanity.

Right now, due to excessive consumption of the environment, not so many 'americans' can be maintained in the hallowed 'american' middle class status so some are falling over the wrong side of the 'american' system.

Leading them to think and propagate there has been a change in the system, not in their situation.

'American' once...

akak's picture

That lame Chinese shitizen propagandist at it again.

For Chinese Citizenism citizens, everything is shituational and as long as you are on the right side of the roadside, you can move your bowels and their system is the best thing to have ever happened to subhumanity.

Right now, due to excessive consumption of the environment, not so many blobbing-up, rabbit-breeding Chinese shitizens can be maintained in the hallowed Chinese Citizenism slaving class status so some are falling over the wrong side of the roadside and flopping into the nightsoil.

Leading them to stink and propagate their filth there has been a change in the system, not in their shituation.

Chinese shitizens once and always ...

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Very nice commentary. It's good to see more and more thoughtful posts on here instead of the usual libertarian, Tea Party, historical revisitionist dogmas so prevalent on message boards, and usually here at ZH. More and more people are seeing through the entire BS story we've been fed for so long.

shovelhead's picture

Glad to see you back...

I thought you might have floated down the river.

Racer's picture

Notice how Camerwrong puts it….

“I'm not going to stand back while people's aspirations to get on the housing ladder... are being trashed"


But it isn’t an aspiration to get up to the eyeballs in debt is it? Because that is EXACTLY what it is……

For  example in the last 40 years there have been THREE occasions where house prices fell! So they will be even deeper in debt with a 95% mortgage millstone round the neck with high chance of another housing crash over the lifetime of the mortgage.


"Under the second phase, which was due to launch in January, the government will guarantee 15% of a mortgage on any property worth up to £600,000, allowing lenders to provide up to 95% mortgages at reduced risk.

If financial institutions are asking for a 20% deposit, the government will guarantee 15% of the mortgage, allowing for deposits as low as 5%."

And if you add up, solicitors fees, removals, estate agents for moving in/out that 5% 'equity' is all but non existent!


shovelhead's picture


Because if it's good enough to destroy America, then it's good enough for Britain too.

sister tika's picture

Excellent post, GW.


Milton Friedman on LIBERTY vs EQUALITY, speaking a Sanford University many years ago:


"A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with equality nor liberty."

"You can only aim at equality by giving some people the right to take things from others, and ultimately what happens when you aim at equality is that - A and B decide what C shall do for D, except take a bit off on the way."



Dr. Bonzo's picture

Thanks George. Excellent write-up today and especially enjoy the thorough referencing.

Any reasonable-minded person will have to conclude this mess is completely beyond repair. The thing will quite simply have to collapse from pure dysfunction. Our chief dilemma observing this spectacle is to attempt to analyze and locate the fault lines and determine when and how they will fracture; determine the appropriate defensive posture to this mess by reallocating finances, business, even oneself if need be, in order to extricate oneself from this mess as whole as can be expected.

Prepare accordingly.

Son of Loki's picture

Everyone should also read a little of Lawrence Lessig's work:

Before we can tackle climate change, financial reform, education reform or, well, anything, there is a single issue that we in the United States must confront. As legal activist Lawrence Lessig says in today’s talk, before we can bring about change on any of the thousands of issues that matter to us, we must change a central corruption at the root of the American political system — that politicians must raise vast amounts of money in order to have a chance in the general election. This makes them prone to the influence of a very small percentage of the population.

thereisonlyonelaw's picture

What that sounds to me is: "before we can implement socialism, we must make sure politicians answer only to the state and the financing it provides, not to any private groups or individuals.". The problems today arise almost entirely from the belief that one can exercise power anonymously; this is not a problem that comes from the top down but from the bottom up, starting with the suffrage movements. Abolish the secret ballot and things will begin to self-correct because you will actually know your enemy, instead of it being a nebulous thing you cannot fight against. Political power today is hidden under a cloud of secrecy so the weak can bluff their way to power. Expose it to the light.

Radical Marijuana's picture

ABSOLUTELY, Son of Loki!  However, good luck with that kind of double-bind paradox, or Catch 22, sort of social situation! The double-bind paradox is that one cannot fix A unless one first fixes B, but one can not fix B, unless one first fixes A ...

I have spent the last thirty years working on the problems regarding the funding of the political processes, including two court cases over the Canadian laws that regulate that, which took about 15 years, BUT I have only dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole, by discovering that the more I learned, the worse that it got! While what I have done was in the Canadian context, the social situation is basically the same in the USA, other than being WAY WORSE in the USA!

The endemic and entrenched political corrupt was primarily caused by the triumphs of the international banksters being able to dominate the funding of the political processes for a very long time, and that included that they would not hesitate to pay for politicians that could not be bribed or intimidated to be assassinated. That bigger picture pushes all of the problems you mentioned off of the deep end!

George Washington's series of articles on this topic of runaway inequality are relatively optimistic and superficial, compared to how bad things actually are. To point out just one of the tips of the iceberg, there is no reasonable doubt that the events on 9/11/2001 were an inside job, false flag attack. After one faces the magnitude of that situation, things are almost infinitely worse than is possible to imagine. The runaway financial crises and social inequality IS being deliberately directed to happen by the people that actually control the government, through having been able to get away with doing that for so many generations, that they can now continue to get away with doing that with remarkable ease.

The problems are not merely that there is runaway inequality ... The problems are that there is a runaway processes to destroy America as a democratic republic, and to deliberately impose democidal martial law! OF COURSE, "Government Is Largely Responsible for Soaring Inequality!" However, that barely scratches the surface of what is going on ...

After spending a few decades to understand the funding of the political processes more and more deeply, my work has been directed to go beyond the truisms in Lawrence Lessig's work that: "Before we can tackle climate change, financial reform, education reform or, well, anything, there is a single issue that we in the United States must confront."

To face the deeper facts about the nature of our political problems actually takes us through the deeper "single issue," which is the death control, or the murder system, which was the basis and the back-up system for the debt control and the money system. There has been a positive feedback loop between the money system paying for the murder system, and then the murder system backing up that money system in return. FOR SURE, the funding of the political processes were where the maximum leverage was exerted in that overall combined money/murder system. FOR SURE, the funding of the political processes has been the keystone of the overall system, as well as the lynch pin that held all the components together. However, the core of all that has always been the most extreme form of organized crimes, done by the biggest and best organized gangs of criminals, that made and maintained the powers of government in the first place, and which continue to do so NOW!

The international banksters were able to take back control over the American democratic republic, and deliberately drive it into the ground, through the prolonged and persistent application of the methods of organized crime. Furthermore, when one looks at government itself more critically, it is clear that governments were actually based on the principles and methods of organized crime, because governments were created in the crucible of conflicts, through the history of warfare, and warfare is merely organized crime on a large scale. Therefore, the government of the USA is organized crime, controlled by the best organized criminals, who happen at the present time to be the international banksters, since they are the biggest gangsters. (Moreover, there are no other significant social groups which are not also some form or another of organized lies, operating organized robberies.)

The runway social inequality in the USA today is due to the runaway triumph of the international banksters, being able to dominate all aspects of the funding of the political processes, until we have reached the point where almost 99% of what the government of the USA does is legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Furthermore, to be more deeply honest about the human condition results in understand why that happened, as well as how that happen.

Militarism is the supreme ideology. It can not be any other way, since the murder system is the supreme set of social controls. The combined money/murder systems, which were made and maintained in the past, were selected to be driven to become based on the maximum possible deceits, and maximum possible frauds. The real reasons WHY that happened is that on every level, over every different duration of time, the death controls are what directed every different kind of evolutionary ecology. The ONLY genuine solutions to the problems that Americans face are better death controls, or murder systems. Nothing less than that addresses the social facts about what actually exists today, due to the real history that created that situation. Furthermore, by definition, there are no other ways to understand human ecology than to regard the death controls as the central controls regarding everything else.


That is the context in which I agree with the comments which you quoted from Lawrence Lessig, however, after working on that problem for a few decades, I have ended up digging deeper and deeper into the nature of that problem. There is no doubt that the funding of the political processes is the single most important issue. However, the ways that those political processes also includes paying for the murder systems to operate their death controls is actually the most crucially important way that the funding of the political processes play through.

The ways that organized crime pays for itself, and thereby acts as an on-going entropic pump, is crucial to understanding our political economy, inside of our human ecology. When one does that, then fixing the problems with the ways that politics is funded can not fully be done unless one faces the ways that funding pays for the death controlling murder systems. Those problems open up almost infinite tunnels of deceits, due to the ways that the history of successful warfare depended upon deceits.

It is not an accident that the policies of the government are deliberately driving social inequality towards resulting in democidal martial law. Furthermore, it is not an accident that the only genuine solutions have to accomplish the primary purposes of death controls in better ways. It is not an accident that the vast majority of people do not understand that, and do not want to understand that.

Paradoxically, but naturally, Americans operate the single greatest combined money/murder system on the planet today, and so, they do that through maintaining the maximum possible dishonesty about what they are doing. Therefore, while I agree with your quote from Lessig, I would deepen and broaden its meaning: "Before we can tackle ... anything, there is a single issue that we in the United States must confront," and that is the relationship between the funding of the political processes and the death controls.

decentralizedscutinizer's picture

+1 however; Two points: 1, governments are corporations too, my friend and 2, Lawrence Lessig is a corporate shill


Otherwise, right on!!!!! Storm the Bastille !!!