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Inside the billion-dollar brain: How the warped thinking of the super-rich is screwing over America

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Many of us wonder what possible reason could exist for the failure to invest in American infrastructure, to create millions of jobs as a result, and to help everyone in the long run. Analysis reveals personality traits and beliefs and misconceptions that might account for such behavior. Here’s a look inside the billion-dollar brain:

1. It’s All About Me

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Several studies by Paul Piff and his colleagues have revealed that upper-class individuals tend to be narcissistic, with a clear sense of entitlement. Worse yet, they believe their talents and attributes – genius, even – have earned them a rightful position of status over everyone else.

Scarier yet, according to one study, the American sense of entitlement has been growingover the past 30 years, despite the fact that most of us have lost ground to the super-rich. And most disturbing is that ‘upper-class’ individuals tend to behave more unethically than average citizens.

This “all about me” attitude means that the wealthy don’t have to depend on others, and that they have less need to understand the feelings of others. This directly impacts our daily lives. The greater the concentration of wealth, the less a society invests in infrastructure. Our investment in infrastructure as a percent of GDP dropped by 60 percent from 1968 to 2011.

As the super-rich take their helicopters to and from work, they’re having multi-million-dollarbunkers built under their houses to sustain them when the middle-class revolution comes.

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2. It’s All About Lazy People Who Refuse to Work

Congressmen and CEOs don’t normally see the people affected by their actions. This leads to a resentment of the poor, and imagined abuses in the minds of people like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, both of whom likened the safety net to a “hammock,” and Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, who decried the purchase of crab legs by people on a $5-a-day food stamp budget.

John Boehner daydreamed: “This idea that has been born…that, you know, ‘I really don’t have to work…I think I’d rather just sit around.'”

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Almost all healthy adult Americans, of course, want to work. But in 2011 Senate Republicans killed a proposed $447 billion jobs bill that would have added about two million jobs to the economy. Members of Congress filibustered Nancy Pelosi’s “Prevention of Outsourcing Act,” even as a million jobs were being outsourced, and they temporarily blocked the “Small Business Jobs Act.” In April, 2013 only one member of Congressbothered to show up for a hearing on unemployment. When asked what he would do to bring jobs to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell responded, “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

The lazy people who refuse to work are, in reality, the tax avoiders who are getting $2.2 trillion without having to work for it.

The Safety Net costs us $370 Billion.

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But Tax Avoidance costs us $2,200 Billion (tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment). That’s $2.2 trillion, six times more than the safety net, most of it benefiting the wealthiest Americans.

3. It’s All About Waiting for the Free Market to Work Its Magic

Conservative analyst Michael Barone said, “Markets work. But sometimes they take time.” Thirty-five years, so far. Beneficiaries of low taxes and deregulation desperately want to believe that “trickle-down” works, or at least to convince middle America that it works. They want to believe, against all logic, that lower taxes mean more tax revenue.

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All this in the face of mountains of data disproving their supply-side ideas. As far back as1984 the Treasury Department concluded that most tax cuts lose revenue. More recent studies by Saez et al. and by the Economic Policy Institute found no connection between tax rates and economic growth, and Piketty, Saez, and Stantcheva determined that the optimal tax rate could be over 80 percent.

There is also hard evidence that cutting taxes on the rich fails to stimulate job creation, and that raising taxes on the rich has the opposite, beneficial effect. The facts come from Kansas and Minnesota. Despite early optimism by trickle-down adherents, tax cuts in Kansas have been disastrous, leading to revenue losses, cutbacks in education and health care, and sluggish job growth. In Minnesota, on the other hand, tax increases on the rich have led to higher wageslow unemployment, and rapid business growth.

The rich don’t care about creating jobs. They don’t care about Robert Reich’s insight about more and more jobs being lost to smart technologies, leading to a society in which “those who create or invest in blockbuster ideas will earn unprecedented sums and returns,” leaving much less for the rest of us.

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The solution, says Chris Hedges, is to take on corporate power by instituting “a nationwide public works program, especially for those under the age of 25, to create conditions for full employment.” Every American, of course, deserves the opportunity to earn a living wage. It will take a revolution against narcissism to make it happen.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Disconnected from reality’: NY Times editor ridicules Trump for being a ‘farce’ of a president

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New York Times editorial board member, Michelle Cottle, released a scathing op-ed highlighting the president's tendency to give oxygen to his adversaries that no one else would be paying attention to otherwise.

In a piece relating the White House to a "three-ring" circus, Cottle called the president a "farce" for his new war with Anthony Scaramucci.

As the president tweeted, no one had heard of Scaramucci until Trump hired him and former chief-of-staff John Kelly fired him after only 11 days.

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President Donald Trump has an early morning meeting Monday with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. He also has a full day of meeting with the G-7, but that wasn't his focus in the early morning hours.

"My Stock Market gains must be judged from the day after the Election (sic), November 9, 2016, where the Market went up big after the win, and because of the win. Had my opponent won, CRASH!" Trump tweeted Sunday night in the U.S., which was nearly 2 a.m. in France where the president is staying during the G-7 summit.

My Stock Market gains must be judged from the day after the Election, November 9, 2016, where the Market went up big after the win, and because of the win. Had my opponent won, CRASH!

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Robbery sends shoppers at California Westfield Topanga Mall fleeing in panic of possible mass shooting

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Americans are running scared as mass shootings erupt all over the United States. The Los Angeles police are responding to a possible shooting that hasn't been verified. Local news reports that it could have been a robbery, but it was enough to send patrons into sheltering in place at the Westfield Topanga Mall. The mall is in a northwestern suburb of Los Angeles and to the east of Thousand Oaks.

ABC7 News reported that it was an organized group of robbers who tried to do a "Smash and grab" at a Neiman Marcus store in Canoga Park.

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