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The 10 Greediest Americans of 2011

| December 17, 2011

Gordon Gekko's dad.

By Sam Pizzigati

10. Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart CEO
Duke takes home his millions — $18.7 million in the company’s latest fiscal year — by squeezing workers. He ended “premium pay” for the hours Wal-Mart workers have to put in on Sundays, eliminated profit-sharing, sheared health care benefits, and cut staffing levels so low, Retailing Today reports, that customers sometimes can’t find shopping carts because the store where they’re shopping has no employees available to collect carts from the parking lot.

9. Paul Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl CEO
The Sugar Bowl, one of college football’s top four postseason games, enjoys tax-exempt status and regularly touts its contributions to good causes. But Hoolahan’s favorite cause may be his own. He took home just under $600,000 in 2009, almost quadruple his $160,500 paycheck for the same job 13 years earlier. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl and its three “Bowl Championship Series” partners are contributing to charity only 20 cents from every $10 in revenue, the Arizona Republic reports.

8. Robert Iger, Disney CEO
His annual compensation topped $28 million last year, a neat 35-percent increase. In October, Iger picked up a new pay deal that extends his CEO contract into 2015 and then adds on a cushy final year as Disney’s “executive chairman” — at $2.5 million — to help him make the transition into retirement.

7. Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar CEO
In 2009, a year that saw only three U.S. corporations lay off more workers than Caterpillar, its CEO took home just under $3 million. His 2010 paycheck soared to $10.4 million. Caterpillar workers, meanwhile, have a new six-year contract that excludes wage increases and raises health care premiums.

6. William Weldon, Johnson & Johnson CEO
Weldon “restructured” this health care giant in 2007, slashing its quality-control program. For the next two years, a hiring freeze made replacing vacant quality positions almost impossible. In 2009, a flood of recalls began for company products from contact lenses to hip implants, but Weldon took home $25.6 million anyway. After those recalls and assorted other scandals, the company did finally trim his annual pay — to $23.2 million.

5. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO
In 2007, on the eve of the meltdown banks like Goldman did so much to hasten, Blankfein collected a $68-million bonus, the largest in Wall Street history. In 2011, Blankfein had a chance to hit the restart button. He didn’t. In April, Goldman Sachs revealed that Blankfein, after going two years without a cash bonus, had gobbled up $5.4 million in bonus cash for the bank’s latest fiscal year. And plenty more in stock and salary. His total pay: $19 million, about double his pay the year before.

4. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor CEO
After losing $30 billion over three years, Ford has gained back $9.3 billion. In reward, Ford handed Mulally $56.5 million in stock and then, a month later, announced that he pulled down an additional $26.5 million last year. That amounted to 910 times the pay of entry-level Ford workers.

3. Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO
The top exec at business software giant Oracle collected $77.6 million for the fiscal year that ended this past May 31.That piece of change added less than two-tenths of 1 percent to Ellison’s $39.5 billion personal fortune, the world’s fifth largest.

2. Don Blankenship, Former Massey Energy CEO
West Virginia investigators found Massey management directly to blame for the 2010 blast that left 29 miners dead at the company’s Upper Big Branch coal mine. Massey, the report charged, had nurtured a “culture bent on production at the expense of safety.” That culture paid off handsomely for Blankenship. He pocketed $38.2 million from 2007 through 2009, after raking in $34 million in 2005, and retired with a $5.7-million pension and $12 million in severance.

1. Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO
High-tech start-ups like the online social gaming empire Zynga typically attract talent by offering shares of stock. But Pincus had apparently concluded, with a multi-billion-dollar IPO pending, that he had given away too many shares. Pincus demanded that various employees “give back not-yet-vested stock or face termination,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Labor journalist Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. Visit www.toomuchonline.org for more details about the year’s 10 greediest people.
Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)

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68 Responses for “The 10 Greediest Americans of 2011”

  1. Ken Dodge says:

    “[Wal-Mart] customers sometimes can’t find shopping carts because the store where they’re shopping has no employees available to collect carts from the parking lot.”

    So how many empty carts do they pass on their way into the store? People are silly!

    • NortonSmitty says:

      I think you may be missing the point here.

    • Riley says:

      What is GREED: GREED is enriching yourself at the pain and suffering of others. As the articles indicates, Mike Duke has ended premium pay of $1.00 for Sunday work. WalMart has also ended profit sharing, cut health care benefits, cut staffing. Many associates have to cover two or three departments throughout the day, puts caps on how much you can earn. Hell, many qualify for public assistance with food stamps while employed by WalMart. Ninety nine percent of associates are hired as part-time so you only receive on average, one personal day per year, no sick time, reduced healthcare. I would call that GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. roco says:

    So. What’s your point. Do you know any poor people who created jobs..

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Thats as far as I’m gonna’ back off:
      Of all of the over sung ditties of right wing Limbagh/Hannity ass-music constantly regurgitated, this one pisses me off most! Of course I know poor people who give other poor people jobs, and so do you. I am one of them. But I have one guy works with me all of the time and several part timers as I need them. Look at you neighbors and I bet most of them work for small companies, and some are doing well, but around here most aren’t, but they still struggle and still hire people.

      I know who you don’t know. You don’t know any of the really rich people, the top 1% you are constantly carrying water for. They not only don’t want to know people like you, but they have security surrounding them (They are the Job Providers!) and guarding their homes and businesses so that if someone like yourself even so much as farts upwind of them they will have them arrested. Even if you are dragged away shouting “No, I watch O’reilly! I’m one of YOU!”.

      I really wish you sheep would think for yourself just once in a while instead of just repeating Fox and Republican talking points.

    • howard huge says:

      millions of poor people create jobs..it’s the spending of the poor and middle class that buy products that creates the wealth and enables people to get wealthy and hire. the rich can still buy whatever they want anytime but take away the spending of the poor and middle class and there’s no product to sell or wealth created. our economy didn’t tank because the wealthy can’t afford to shop and spend it’s because the poor and middle class have cut back.

  3. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    Why did you leave off Jeffrey Imelt, CEO of General Electric? He made $7 Billion and paid no taxes. He is also the President’s Job Czar and GE is now outsourcing to China.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      The ballsiest thing I have seen in a while is the TV ad for General Electric about the cancer survivor that goes to the GE factory in Minnesota to meet the GE employees that made the X-ray and MRI machines that saved her life. They hug, smile and say that this is what make it all worthwhile, tears are shed all around, and the violins play. GE, We Bring Good Things to Life.

      This ad started running about a month after GE came in at midnight one Sunday with a heavily armed Security team, cleared everyone form the factory and announced that they were moving the entire division to a new state of the art complex they just built in Shanghai, China.

      All BEFORE they started this heartwarming ad campaign. Bet they’re really crying now.

      Imelt belongs at the TOP of the list. Along with hundreds of hedge fund managers, the entire Walton Family (The 6 Waltons alone have more wealth than 1/2 of the bottom 50% of the families in this whole country), and The entire 400 richest families who control 70% of the money.

      Ten just isn’t enough.

  4. Doug Chozianin says:

    Greed is Good, as long as it’s legal (good-bye Jon Corzine… I hope you and Bernie Madoff have a long life together).

    FlaglerLive.com, you omitted the honorable mention of the US Postmaster General, the CEO’s of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the insider traders of Congress, all Union Presidents, Civil Service Workers (along with their pension and health benefits)…

    If you can’t handle somebody making more money you, stop whining and do what’s necessary to get a better job… or, better yet, move to Cuba where everybody gets a fair wage, equal rations of rice and beans, free medical care (be sure to bring your own clean bandages) and nostalgic transportation.

    • I. M. Agoste says:

      Why do you lump union presidents and civil service workers in with the rest who are stealing us blind? My lord, these people worked to get their pensions and I don’t begrudge them a single dime of it! As for someone making more money than the rest of us, well, I don’t have a problem with that as long as their EMPLOYEES get a LIVING wage out of their employers.

      “Love America or leave it” is your answer? It’s ridiculous to say if you don’t like it move to Cuba. lol How about stay and fight for what’s right?

      • Doug Chozianin says:

        The above article listed ~$250 million in “greedy Income”. The shareholders can vote the board and executives out of office during the annual meeting. (Personally, I think the compensation packages of certain executive are excessive and are greatly driven by personal ego.)

        Now lets talk about crazy contracts of union workers and municipal employees…

        Did you know that the Metropolitan Opera pays stagehands between $300,000 and $400,000 per year (and they recently left a latch unsecured resulting in singer Wendy White falling over 8 feet during Faust, so much for high quality union labor). Tickets to the Met average $400 and the Met has to beg for money at every opportunity. Opera aficionados are paying for this union greed.

        There are over 20 million government workers in the US and they cost us over $1.5 trillion dollars per year. Pensions are calculated using a variety of schemes that are actuarially unsound (like pensions based on the highest annual salary ever earned). Taxpayers are paying for this government worker greed.

        So, here you have 10 “Greedy SOBs” that cost shareholders ~$250 million versus 20 million government workers that cost the taxpayers $1.5 trillion dollars annually. $250 is chump change in comparison. (I’d feel a little bit better if pensions were converted to a 401k and if there was a immediate workforce reduction of 10% (as a start)).

  5. Layla says:

    Anyone read about the Good Samaritan who is visiting KMart and paying off the lay a way balances of their customers?

    Anonymous donors pay strangers’ Christmas layaway accounts:

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011111216011

    AWESOME random acts of kindness!

  6. Outsider says:

    Albert Pujols, a baseball player, recently won a $250,000,000 contract. Why are sports figures NEVER called greedy? A person who employs thousand of people is not worth a few million a year, but an 8 foot tall abberation of evolution who can walk over and stuff a ball through a hoop is???

    • jane says:

      hey, why not? That is the contract that was negotiated for him. There is someone willing to pay him that much.

      • Begonia says:

        And so are the contracts of these rich people you’ve listed above. The taxpayers have given them ALL PERMISSION by not giving a damn at election time or voting for an idiot we know NOTHING about and that applies to BOTH PARTIES.

        This is what happens when you sit back and collect your checks.

  7. Outsider says:

    “Why did you leave off Jeffrey Imelt, CEO of General Electric? He made $7 Billion and paid no taxes. He is also the President’s Job Czar and GE is now outsourcing to China.”

    Answer: He’s a Democrat, AND a friend of our useless president.

  8. Laffer Curve says:

    I think Barack Obama should be on this list. At least the people on this list earned their wages. They also create value for the average working person that owns stock in the companies they are responsible for running. Most Americans own stock either directly or indirectly. Earning money is not greed, it is profit, it is American business. Our current President wants to tax (confiscate, steal) money arbitrarily from anyone he decides makes too much money. If all men were really created equal and entitled to fair treatment under the law, there would only be one tax rate for all. If we really wanted to be fair, everyone would pay the same dollar amount in taxes, but let’s be generous and say one rate for all. The people on this list earn millions, Mr. Obama wants to confiscate billions in the name of class envy.

  9. Gram says:

    The greed of this nation is a seriously anomaly. Where do people learn such envy of the super-rich? We should be tearing mansions down, there is an immorality in wealth so large.

    • jane says:

      Greed has many definitions. Who are you to determine what is greedy? It just sounds as if you are just plain envious of another’s good fortune.

      Oh, yeah – greed may also refer to power. Maybe like the power-hungry current admistration? Just a thought.

      • Begonia says:

        Or maybe a President who feels it is ok for his wife to take luxury vacations at some of the top spots in the world every 6-8 weeks while much of the country goes jobless and homeless?

        Or elected officials who have done NOTHING to make our lives easier and less expensive, but taken it to the opposite extreme?

        Is that what you were talkin about?

  10. Wyatt says:

    Hey Mr. liberal editor…Why did you leave out Jeffrey Imelt, CEO of General Electric? He made $7 Billion and paid no taxes. Oh,,,,,I know why…..Typical liberal BS.

  11. Val Jaffee says:

    FlaglerLive, sure you still want to champion public education. There are millions more conditioned with this mindset. Not good for the recovery of this country.

  12. I. M. Agoste says:

    Keep on thinking the rich deserve everything while they steal your homes, health and livelihoods. Americans are so brainwashed it’s pathetic. YOU will never be rich. It’s a very exclusive club and you, part of the great unwashed masses, are never going to belong to it.

    • Layla says:

      I.M. Agoste, I suggest you read the histories of Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs. They also gave back to their country.

      These were all men who became unbelievably wealthy by their own efforts and HARD WORK. This country is full of people like this, but you must make the effort. It will NEVER be handed to you.

      You need to read some history books.

      Americans are not brain washed. We have been given the freedom to be whatever we choose to be. I choose to take responsibility for myself.

      • I. M. Agoste says:

        I read, Layla, so don’t assume I am as ill informed as many who post here. As I’ve stated previously I don’t have a problem with an employer keeping his riches. I’ve got a problem with an employer who doesn’t pay his people a living wage. This country is in a race to the bottom salary-wise and you’d be foolish to believe otherwise. No one gets where they are by themselves so please disabuse yourself of that notion. Regardless of what Gates, Jobs, and Allen have done (or not done) for their employees on THIS side of the world (have YOU read about outsourcing and FoxConn?) there are still countless others that pay a minimum wage and offer no health benefits. Does Wal-Mart ring a bell?

        I work hard, probably harder than you, yet I see no light at the end of the tunnel except for that train coming down the track. And yes, Americans are brainwashed to think they have the freedom to be whatever they choose and are exceptional, “Team America! F YEAH!” and all that. lol Just keep in mind bootstraps are good only for keeping boots on. It’s not a way out for a great majority of us.

        • Layla says:

          The brainwashing worked with me and that is the way I raised my kids. Work hard, study hard. We have too many living off the government now, more than are able to pay anything into it.

          Personally, I don’t feel it’s up to the employer to provide benefits. They are back breaking. We’d have no business at all and maybe that is the problem right now.

          But I will tell you this, for 30 years I have watched Congress pass the buck on making healthcare more affordable. I watched Congress pass the buck on securing our borders. Suggest YOU take a look at campaign contributions. They can now tell me I must pay in excess of $5.00 for a lightbulb made in China and spend, spend, spend without any accountability? I don’t think so.

          Just how long do you think that’s going to last? F YEAH, Mr. Agoste. I work for a living. No union negotiates for me. If I’m not being paid enough, I LEAVE.

        • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

          Our enemies are not rich people or those who provide us jobs. Our enemy is the thought that our success is limited to what our own government allows us to keep.

          Americans are brainwashed to sit back and collect that check.

    • Doug Chozianin says:

      I.M. Agoste-

      YOU will never be rich!

      Nobody wants an unwashed member in any club (except for the 99%ers losers club).

      DDC

  13. Rocky Mac says:

    If the above readers would read this list you will note that in spite of their extreme salaries and benefits they “screwed” the lower level workers. There was no condemnation against anyway working hard to become what they are………just how many people did they crush on their way up the ladder?

  14. Rocky Mac says:

    And Roco, I personally know a poor person who has created jobs. My sister who has just started to make a small profit in a small she opened who has employed a few local residents who previously did not have jobs. Of course most wealthy business owners create the most jobs, by why do they have to be so dang greedy?

  15. w.ryan says:

    Every dog has his day. Unfortunately there are no alpha dogs in his group.

  16. PCer says:

    Laffer – The current tax code was writtin with the idea that it is the wealthy that create jobs. It is those CEO’s and others that reinvest their money into the economy to create jobs for the middle class. In turn, the middle class would pay more taxes because they have jobs (not necessarily a higher tax rate, just from having a bulk of people working and paying taxes.) Unfortunately, the money is not trickling down. Instead of taking those tax breaks and reinvesting in the AMERICAN econony, they are shipping jobs overseas to create a middle class in China and India. Since they don’t want to create the jobs here, then it is high time they pay the taxes so that someone else can create the jobs. Higher taxes would mean more grants available to help the middle class get businesses started and create job in AMERICA. If the wealthy want to keep their tax breaks, then they need to move those jobs back to the USA.

  17. Layla says:

    I have never heard such envy for what others have. I can only conclude you did not grow up in a household where your parents said, “If you want to be rich, you must study hard, go to college and work very hard.”

    Thank God mine did. I am not rich monetarily. The richness I have is inside me, it is in my community, in my family and friends. And that is the way I raised my children.

    Stop tearing down and try building for a change.

    God Bless you all this Christmas.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Layla, It was true in your day and mine. But are you telling this to your kids as much today, or are you telling them the truth.

      • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

        My kids are living proof it works.

        Norton, my kids know exactly who is directly responsible for this mess…their government, both sides.

        They also vote and have since they turned 18.

  18. Concerned says:

    To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” – Michael Jordan

  19. NortonSmitty says:

    All of you sheeple keep beating on that Republican/Democrat drum. Focus all of your attention on that liberal/conservative meaningless horseshit while our country and fortune are stolen like the have been the last thirty years and solidified in this last decade. It’s too late now to save anything meaningful of The American Dream so you might as well have a good time bleating and thinking your opinions matter.

  20. Stan Buchholtz says:

    I have to laugh at these people who apologize for the greedy wealthy! The must believe that they are going to win the Lottery, and become millionaires themselves.

  21. Ralph Belcher says:

    So, I’m assuming someone is saying here that perhaps Alberto Puljos (sp?) ought to concede during his salary negotiations something to the tune of “uh, boss, I think I can do this job for only $150,000… that’s all I need a year and some free atheltic gear thrown in maybe. Riiiiight. Hey, it’s good work if the market can bear it.

  22. Layla says:

    Norton, I tell my kids it’s wrong that the government gets half of everything I make and then gets to continually tax me over and over again. That’s wrong. We should be allowed to keep more of what we make.

    Am I regurgitating? I don’t listen to either Hannity or Oreilly. Like you, I am old enough to have seen enough.

    I get mad when Washington gets no blame. They make the laws that allow these clowns to get away with murder. The two most recent Presidents and Congress have just about ruined this country and they are not even civil about it anymore.

    And lastly, why shouldn’t they have to cut back? We have.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Layla, you know why the Government takes half of everything you make? Because it takes 12.5% of what a $350 million a year hedge fund manager makes. It takes 5% of what Haliburton hides offshore when it brings the billions it stole in Iraq and Afghanistan back home to Dick and The Investors. And Imelt as well as General Electric, General Dynamics, General Foods, General Motors, hell all the Generals and Coca-Cola ALL PAY ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, ZIP, 0.0%, NOTHING IN FEDERAL TAXES AT ALL!

      So the money for the wars, police roads, National Security all comes from you and me, while they rake in billions in no-bid contracts out of our tax dollars. You are paying 50% because they are not paying their fair share.

      For the life of me I can’t understand what is so hard to understand here. Why good people like you continue to defend these greedy bastards. I don’t ever recall any one of them commiserating with us.

      • Layla says:

        Where did you get the idea that I was defending them? Because I blame my government? I blame them all, Norton.

        Congress and the administration give them TARP money to keep them there and in return WS keeps the administration and Congress in office. It is a vicious cycle.

        Not defending anybody here. Just trying to survive the best I can, just like everybody else. And wondering why most of Palm Coast won’t even vote. That’s the big question, Norton. Do you think we have a chance if this continues?

  23. NortonSmitty says:

    Pujolis plays his games out in the open where we all can see. Whether you think he earns it or not, he can’t cheat or scam others to get paid more. The all powerful Free Hand of the Market says he’s worth the $250 million. You got a problem with that commie?

    However, the fat cat Hedge Funds, Derivative Marketers and the rest of the Wall Street 3 Card Monty Play by rules they make up as they go along, have only the equivalent of one umpire per division, and the pay his salary as well as his boss’s. And if that isn’t enough, they own the people who make the rules and if even that gets them in trouble, they decide what there punishment should be. It usually ends with a not-quite apology and a promise not to ever do it again until the next time.

    They don’t earn the greatest portion of their money, they scam it in a rigged game. That is undeniable, and it should be the one thing we all can agree to fight. Why do you feel the need to defend them? And “{Rush told me to” don’t count.

    • Layla says:

      I have a problem with it, Norton and I’m not a commie. There is no difference between the leagues and Wall Street. They are all operated as corporations. But you don’t see me picketing outside that game, do you?

      I don’t think any president has the right to say how much you can earn, but leave athletes and movie stars off that list.

      And it has been nearly 30 years since I could afford to take my family to a sporting event because prices are through the roof. You can’t afford to attend UNLESS you have corporate tickets.

      It’s like gambling. They know they can count on you to participate. Is it a perfect world? No. But it’s a hell of a lot better than most countries. I’ll stay. And they don’t own me.

  24. w.ryan says:

    Ir’s incredibly! Reading this thread and disbelieving those not seeing what’s in front of their noses. Most of the supporters of these rich bastards don’t understand how responsible they are for these bastards success. Repubs or Dems , it doesn’t matter. Let the serfs fight among themselves while they rob us blind. When we stay faithful to their projected idea of success they will continue to buy government changing policies and laws to keep their power. This is not your America! The days of the white picket fence, a car and a dog are gone. wake up! As for the poor that create jobs. The talking points have taken your minds. Look around and see how we spend and get taken advantage of. Is it about supply and demand? I say this is creating jobs. As long as we keep the same spending habits and believe that they got rich all by themselves we will have those that think this is on the up-n-up. Henry Ford ” I pay my workers enough to buy my cars” … NortonSmitty is so right!!!

  25. palmcoaster says:

    We defend so much the human rights outside our borders. What kind of inhumanity is to take these homes form their original residents to bulldoze them? Put people out in the street making them homeless… why? Let these people live in these homes until they find jobs and then have them going back paying their mortgage and with a higher monthly amount to cover for the arrears on their mortgage payments. I am not wealthy and in the only rental property I own, I did not evict my renters when they lost their jobs and could not pay..Instead had them document their situation to me and I allow them to pay whatever they could, while they were looking for “whatever type of job, as they said” they could find. I even help them looking for jobs and I gave excellent references for their applications about them and guess what….??? The wife found a job and went back to pay the rent. Though the job is part time and the rent pay is 2/3’s of what should be…they are not homeless in the streets and I cover the property expenses so far and their promise is to comply with all arrears, as soon as she is given a full time schedule by her nation wide corporation employer. After her first 3 months of trial period she received her medical benefits and is anxiously waiting for her employer in the hospitality business, to get busier so she can be full time. Meanwhile I can get by with less rent income, as does not break me as I am not a greedy bank and my renters are not homeless. What I have done should be done by the banks, at national level. I can’t bare on my heart and mind that these families are thrown out their homes so these houses can be bulldoze. Is this the America of our dreams? Please endure the advertisement first :
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7392090n&tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel
    Where our stimulus went? To investors, millionaire bonuses and overseas?

    • Layla says:

      Everybody needs to go to that link palmcoaster provided. Some of the homes here may be ruined and moldy after sitting vacant for so many years. Banks need to be held responsible for this, not local neighborhoods.

      Instead, the administration and Congress keep the banks funded and let the citizens sleep in their cars. Next, they will be telling us there is a housing shortage. Not kidding about that. We have homes standing empty and new developments going up. That is what is trashing property values.

      It also does not help our home prices when developers are still building here and selling nothing. We need a temporary halt to that.

      Thanks for the link, palmcoaster. And thanks for keeping that family in your house.

    • I. M. Agoste says:

      May God bless you and yours, palmcoaster, for what you’ve done for this family. Thank you for being politically aware of what’s happening to this once great nation. I don’t think this country is going to survive much longer as “free and democratic”. The oligarchs have taken over and they don’t have much use for the peasant class so it’s left up to the 99% to help each other.

  26. Layla says:

    “[A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” –Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801

    Note the word labor.

    People have been regurgitating this stuff long before Fox and OWS.

  27. Outsider says:

    I never said Pujols should give back anything: I only questioned why he and other athletes are not called “greedy” by the press or the president, and if throwing a baseball harder or faster than someone is worth any more than someone who employs thousands. Sorry Norton, there’s nothing liberal or conservative about that question; it’s just a question.

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      I agree with you, Outsider. Though I will say that some athletes have given much to their communities. I remember when sporting events used to be family outings. Then the tickets became too expensive and I couldn’t even afford the parking.

      Now it’s corporate, all the way.

  28. palmcoaster says:

    As usual Norton you tell it like it is. We, the non greedy small business owners are among the ones that in spite of our very limited sources try our best to help our fellow man. So do many other compassionate Americans paying for law away merchandise at Kmart and other stores across the country so needy families can still afford Santa for their little one’s and that is what we should be concentrating more into.
    Helping each other than wasting time battling each other conservatives and liberals making the perfect environment for these wealthy, corporate and mutinationals to gain more control. Talking about hedge funds (biggest sub prime fraud that created the homeless).
    The SEC claims that Abacus was created in 2007 at Paulson’s request and that he bet on the failure of the hedge fund while investors were sold on the prospects of its success. Paulson went on to make $3.7 billion by betting that the housing market would collapse. Investors lost their shirts.
    Thou No One, including Paulson John, went to jail.
    http://www.examiner.com/populist-in-national/sec-sues-goldman-sachs-accusing-it-of-fraud-subprime-mortgage-meltdown. Just slap in the wrist. Meanwhile families lost it all, jobs, homes and healthcare insurance…needless to say the food in the table.
    See the next link after the advertisement please:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4668112n
    http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2011/2011-252.htm

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Palmcoaster, do you provide benefits to your employees? And you call yourself non greedy? It all depends on what end your looking at and its all wrong.

      Vote the bastards OUT and change the laws. Don’t leave ANYBODY in Washington more than ONE TERM.

      Check and see how much Soros made while your looking at Paulson. The only way any of this stops is to vote EVERY INCUMBENT OUT.

  29. Liana G says:

    @ w.ryan, norton, and palmcoaster, thank you…I am so gad damn tired

    Terra Instabilis – by: Jon Harrison (Published in the November / December 2011 Humanist)

    …”Sluggish growth, high unemployment, and increasing income disparity playing out against the background of a mounting fiscal crisis means, surely, that a perfect economic storm is brewing—a storm unlike anything seen in America since the 1930s. Add to this the fact that emerging economies unburdened by anything like the fiscal drag the United States suffers from are competing with us for both resources and markets, and you have, it would seem, a recipe for economic—and therefore social and political—disaster.

    The economic dilemmas America now faces are politically driven. That is to say, past political choices—to run up massive deficits, to encourage consumption over investment, to impose a free trade regime on a playing field tilted against the United States—have landed the country in its current economic situation. These choices were made not by a well-informed electorate, but by political leaders acting at the behest of powerful constituencies, i.e., the interests that finance political campaigns and maintain the great lobbying firms on K Street. Solutions to the problems that have been created by the U.S. political system will come, if at all, from that same system. Should we expect this sort of self-correction? Given the record of the past, skepticism on this point seems more than justified.[...]

    Consider the two major political parties. The Democratic Party of today responds to interest groups like the trial lawyers and the unions, but its leaders no longer have any real connection to average Americans. Instead, they turn a blind eye to the vital need for fiscal reform; one could hardly be blamed for suspecting that, in their hearts, they subscribe to Keynes’ dictum that “in the long run we are all dead.” But Keynes had no children. In reality, when we are gone, our children and grandchildren will be left with an almost inconceivable amount of debt.

    The Republican Party wants to solve the fiscal crisis by “reforming” key components of the welfare state such as Medicare and Social Security. Its conception as regards the former amounts to abolition, despite the fact that very few Americans of retirement age can afford private health insurance. Indeed, Medicare was created in large part because elderly Americans simply could not obtain private insurance. But Republican austerity plans are bound to fail in any case. The elderly, who would be most affected by cuts in entitlements, not only constitute a very large voting bloc, but go to the polls in big numbers. In American terms, austerity is a cul-de-sac.

    Both parties adhere slavishly to the current free trade regime, which has devastated U.S. manufacturing and turned a considerable portion of the working class into a new lumpenproletariat. And both parties continue to support foreign and defense policies that reflect not present-day realties, but those of the 1940-1990 period, when the existential threats of Nazism and Communism existed. No such threats exist today, yet we spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, maintain bases in some 130 countries, and pay 75 percent of the cost of the NATO alliance, even though the European economy is larger than our own. Like other empires before us, we have become overextended both militarily and fiscally. Bankruptcy stares us in the face, while our politicians sleepwalk through history.[...]

    A crack-up is probably coming that will make 1848 and 1968 look like child’s play. A future of booming birth rates among the world’s poorest inhabitants, of increasing income disparity between rich and poor, of cutthroat competition for scarce resources, and of political weakness and social confusion will lead, eventually, to violence. “Resource wars” between states (over water, for example) may occur, or states may use war as a means of deflecting internal discontent outwards. But the greatest danger is perhaps violence within states, with the desperate masses striking out against the ruling class and the state apparatus. The state in turn, if it chooses to fight (and most states do), would then unleash its full power upon its own citizens, as happened in China in 1989; as is happening in Syria now [as is happening at OWS rallies throughout the US]. States in disarray rarely roll over and die; the Soviet experience stands almost alone in history. Moreover, in an era lacking a relatively benign hegemon (and we are almost certainly entering such an era, as the United States’ economic decline brings with it a retreat from global responsibilities), violence both within and between states inevitably increases. The period 1914-1945 is instructive; so too is the epoch of Rome’s decline.”

    http://thehumanist.org/november-december-2011/terra-instabilis/

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Liana, it isn’t just K Street. This is world wide. We’ve been here before. We still have people trying to come to this country. Start reading some history.

      We’ve been here before and we survived.

  30. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Palm Coaster – may you receive all the blessing life has to offer for what you are doing. We have put people through university anoymously trying to help. One brick at a time….
    Merry Christmas Palm Coaster Merry Christmas.

  31. Liana G says:

    Two stories worth reading…dark times are upon us

    …”Retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis refers to the NYPD as “Wall Street mercenaries,” which is an apt title given that JPMorgan Chase made a massive $4.6 million donation to the NYPD, the largest such gift in the history of the New York City Police Foundation.

    As massive corporations buy up public space and police forces, protesters are faced with the impossible task of facing off with police who increasingly work on behalf of Wall Street, and not the American people.”…

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/165214/occupy-highlights-authoritarian-behavior-police

    ——–

    …”Consider the two major political parties. The Democratic Party of today responds to interest groups like the trial lawyers and the unions, but its leaders no longer have any real connection to average Americans. Instead, they turn a blind eye to the vital need for fiscal reform; one could hardly be blamed for suspecting that, in their hearts, they subscribe to Keynes’ dictum that “in the long run we are all dead.” But Keynes had no children. In reality, when we are gone, our children and grandchildren will be left with an almost inconceivable amount of debt.

    The Republican Party wants to solve the fiscal crisis by “reforming” key components of the welfare state such as Medicare and Social Security. Its conception as regards the former amounts to abolition, despite the fact that very few Americans of retirement age can afford private health insurance. Indeed, Medicare was created in large part because elderly Americans simply could not obtain private insurance. But Republican austerity plans are bound to fail in any case. The elderly, who would be most affected by cuts in entitlements, not only constitute a very large voting bloc, but go to the polls in big numbers. In American terms, austerity is a cul-de-sac.[...]

    ““Resource wars” between states (over water, for example) may occur, or states may use war as a means of deflecting internal discontent outwards. But the greatest danger is perhaps violence within states, with the desperate masses striking out against the ruling class and the state apparatus. The state in turn, if it chooses to fight (and most states do), would then unleash its full power upon its own citizens, as happened in China in 1989; as is happening in Syria now [as is happening in America with the OWS movement]. States in disarray rarely roll over and die; the Soviet experience stands almost alone in history. Moreover, in an era lacking a relatively benign hegemon (and we are almost certainly entering such an era, as the United States’ economic decline brings with it a retreat from global responsibilities), violence both within and between states inevitably increases. The period 1914-1945 is instructive; so too is the epoch of Rome’s decline.”

    http://thehumanist.org/november-december-2011/terra-instabilis/

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Good article, but what I think it means is that we’re broke. So why are they so busy spending more? These people ALL belong in jail. We may not be able to put them there. But we sure as hell can put them in the unemployment line with the rest of us.

  32. palmcoaster says:

    Merry Christmas to you too, “those brave and adventurous Palm Coast Pioneers that have all my respect and admiration for being the first ones to buy from ITT, its envisioned jewel in Central East Florida, named Palm Coast! If were not for you all, probably I would not be here now and trying to do my best, to preserve this harshly embattled jewel still. Meanwhile, have some Happy Holidays you all.

  33. Liana G says:

    @ Oneofthe10%whovoted. And that makes it okay? Are you serious? Are we not supposed to learn from history so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past?

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Liana, NONE of this is okay. None of it. Do you vote? do you realize how long these people have been in office?

      We need to take them out. That’s how you change it. You take them out, ALL OF THEM.

  34. some guy says:

    NortonSmitty says:
    December 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    I know poor people who give other poor people jobs, and so do you. I am one of them. But I have one guy works with me all of the time and several part timers as I need them.

    So your like walmart you have people work for you when only you need them?? Do you pay them a “living wage”?? Im not against what you do or how you do it just pointing out how some on the left want one set of rules for some and another for themself.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Guy, I keep my one man on even if it means I take home less, sometime even if I don’t break even. He has a family. The others I use when I get the work.

      Is that OK with the Rupert Murdoch School of Economics?

  35. palmcoaster says:

    These big corporations are only to make the big dollars for investors and their CEO’s and VIP’s and will not content themselves with a little less like you and I do, in our small businesses even if our diminished sales in this pathetic economy will force, a reduction of labor hours after also we take home less revenue. http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/southeast-volusia/2011/12/30/volusia-county-losing-3-sears-and-kmart-stores.html. They have no qualms closing down stores and leaving workers with no jobs on behalf of greed for more $$ for stock holders and millionaire compensation for their VIP’s. Scroll to the right side of the next link their annual pays: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=SHLD+Profile
    We should all take home less, including corporations, if our workers have to!

  36. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    Interesting to me that no one here blames the politicans who have been in office for decades for any of this.

    Run for office a make it a lifetime career, and the wealthiest. Take a careful look at what your politicos are worth and how long it has taken them to get there. Then take a good look at how long they’ve been in office. I’d say they are the richest and the greediest.

    Who is responsible for this mess? We are.

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