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The 6 Economic Facts of Life in America That Allow the Rich to Run off with Our Wealth

Do you ever wonder why it takes the average family 47 years to make as much as a hedge fund honcho makes in one hour?

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4. We are under-taxed, not over-taxed. The super-rich want us to believe that taxes are too high and that those taxes are harming job creation and economic growth. It's a fabrication. First of all, taxes for most Americans have declined, according to a recent New York Times analysis:

..... most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.

Second, we have much lower tax rates that our chief European competitors. For example, Germany, an economic powerhouse, has an average tax rate of 40.6 percent while the U.S. rate is only 26.9 percent. Germany uses that money to rebuild its infrastructure, invest in education and find creative ways to nearly eliminate unemployment.

Third, the super-rich use a sleight of hand to make middle-class taxpayers believe that lower-income people are moochers. Like Mitt Romney, they are found of saying that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes and that the rich pay most of those taxes. But income taxes are but a small portion of the tax bite on lower-income people who pay through payroll tax deductions, sales taxes and property taxes.

Finally, because our taxes are declining, it means that our public services are decaying as well. This creates a downward spiral the super-rich want to encourage: the more services decline, the less we want to pay in taxes, the more services decline. If you're really wealthy you don't care about public services since your life is entombed in private services -- private schools, private airports, private planes, private gated villas and so on.

5. Government jobs are just as good as private sector jobs. Another major con job concerns the attack on public employees. The greedy rich are trying to pit public and private sector workers against each other in large part because public employees still seem to have benefits the rest of us have lost (and they have unions and vote mostly Democratic). Corporate greed demands that we snuff out those benefits so workers won't demand them in the private sector. To further denigrate government, elites want us to believe that a private sector job is somehow more righteous that a public one -- that public employment is sort of like being on the dole because government workers are immune to the rough and tumble of competitive pressures that drives the private sector.

It's another hoax.

The truth is that some jobs are better done by government on behalf of the public. We learned almost 200 years ago that it didn't make sense to have competing fire and police departments. We also learned that if we wanted the average person to go to school, we needed public school systems, and not just private ones. Most countries (but not ours) have learned that much of the healthcare system runs better when it's publicly financed and controlled -- that for-profit hospitals and clinics do not provide the best care. In short, every modern economy is a combination of private and public sector jobs that are valuable to our society.

6. Wall Street needs to be shrunk (until we can drown it in a bathtub). The function of finance is simple: moving our savings into productive investments. By doing so, money supposedly moves to where it will do the most good for our economy. This function is considered so simple that most economics textbooks ignore Wall Street entirely.

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