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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nicholas Kristof, "Occupy the Agenda": No Mention of Where His Wife Works

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Occupy the Agenda" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/kristof-occupy-the-agenda.html?ref=opinion), Nicholas Kristof again pays homage to Occupy Wall Street:

"The high ground that the protesters seized is not an archipelago of parks in America, but the national agenda. The movement has planted economic inequality on the nation’s consciousness, and it will be difficult for any mayor or police force to dislodge it."

Needless to say, no mention by Kristof of the movement's attendant violence, rape, drugs, anti-Semitism, or calls for civil disobedience. Moreover, Nicholas would have us believe that physical confrontations with protesters were exclusively the fault of the police.

Also no mention by Kristof that his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, is a Senior Managing Director at Mid-Market Securities (http://www.mid-marketsecurities.com/team.html), who previously worked at Goldman Sachs as a vice president in its investment management division as a private wealth advisor. Have a look at the Bloomberg article entitled "Goldman Hires Pulitzer-Winning Journalist to Snare Millionaires" (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=agzMMPZAouLw&refer=home).

For the sake of transparency, perhaps Kristof would care to publish his family's combined gross income for 2010 and state the percentile of Americans to which they belong.

Kristof goes on to say:

"The statistic that takes my breath away is this: The top 1 percent of Americans possess a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute."

Indeed, have a look at Table 1 of the Economic Policy Institute analysis (http://epi.3cdn.net/2a7ccb3e9e618f0bbc_3nm6idnax.pdf), which tells us that in 2009, "the top 1% of wealth-owning households owned 34.6% of all net worth," while the bottom 90% owned 27.0%. Now suppose the total of all net worth is $100, and the top 1%, including persons such as George Soros, were required to distribute half of their holdings to the bottom 90%. In essence, this would mean that on average, persons in the bottom 90% would each possess $0.49 instead of $0.30 of the total $100. Bottom line, some may feel that this has contributed to making America more "egalitarian," but little has effectively been changed.

I don't oppose increasing taxes paid by the most affluent Americans, but it won't meaningfully reduce the budget deficit or federal debt. Other solutions need to be found.

3 comments:

  1. My comment to NYT regarding Kristof's column “Occupy the Agenda”:

    While Kristof's contention that the Occupy agenda (aka goals, demands) is far more important than merely occupying 'geography', his suggestion that the highest ground of the agenda is the attention that Occupy's focus has projected on the single issue of "income inequality" is mistaken at best and distractively deceptive at worse.

    Is Kristof really so naive that he actually believes that the highest achievement that Occupy has produced or could produce is merely to point at this one, already well understood, issue of the vast income inequality in America --- with a GINI Coefficient of Income Inequality matched only be Zimbabwe --- when data on the GINI (which is BTW, a economists' 'gold standard' of how to rank inequality) has been broadly known for the last decade, and even pointed out by the CIA as the best barometer and predictor of "civil unrest" in any country by their own 'country casebook'?

    What Kristof misses is not that the 'agenda' of Occupy is the most important aspect of this "Coming Insurrection" in America, but rather the suspicion and appearance that Kristof and the NYT are merely pointing at "income inequality", which is already exposed by Occupy, in order to prevent the attention of the American people catching on to the true seminal point of Occupy's agenda, lesson, and exposure to the American people; namely that our former country has been fully 'captured', 'occupied', and is now totally 'controlled' by a guileful corporate/financial/militarist global EMPIRE, which hides behind the facade and camouflage of its 'bought and owned' TWO-Party 'Vichy' sham of faux-democracy and illegitimate government --- just as the Nazi Empire that 'captured' France in 1940 tried to hide behind an earlier and far cruder single-party Vichy facade of legitimate government.

    "Income Inequality" is merely ONE of the visible surface level 'problem symptoms', like increasing foreign imperialist wars, vast Wall Street looting, domestic spying and lying, police-state violence, global environmental destruction, corrupt legislative and judicial caused the the still hidden and largely undiagnosed cancerous tumor of EMPIRE, which infects not just the presidency but all.

    Best luck and love to Occupy

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
    over
    violent/Vichy
    empire,

    Alan MacDonald

    Occupy Empire, Expose Empire, Confront Empire, and finally Excise Empire

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  2. All these left-wingnuts try to make it seem that the rich have recently and dramatically increased their share of the nation's net worth. The numbers tell a different story. The 34% Kristof cites is essentially unchanged over the last 25 years. See, e.g., http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

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  3. Jeffrey you touched upon something interesting, sadly amusing and ... ugly.
    Since Sept. 17 (I remember the date so well because by chance I was there), we are seeing multi-multi-(many multis) millionaires and billionaires dressed like peasants (or rather like the lowest of the 99%) bubbling about "them", 1% and establishment, hijacking the protest and manipulating the population.
    Poor, poor, poor Russell Simmons, poor, poor, poor Roseanne Barr, poor, poor, poor Michael Moore, poor, poor, poor Nicholas Kristof, poor, poor, poor Katrina Vanden Heuvel (flapping her eyelashes of a serf and complaining about the establishment - I know I will die from laughter), etc.
    They remind me how ugly "changes" usually are when all the ugly creatures crawl out to "cease the moment."
    No, it won't be nice.

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