United States Is Officially A Banana Republic

Banana USA In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof reels off some key statistics in confirming what most Americans have suspected for years —the United States has now become the largest banana republic of it’s kind, with the largest slice of income going to the smallest group of oligarchs.

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976.

As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

Not really breaking news, but he includes several helpful links to recent studies demonstrating the emotional toll of striving to achieve the hyper-riches of the Bushes next door, through higher divorce rates and forced moves to hunt down the more lucrative positions.

25 Comments on "United States Is Officially A Banana Republic"

  1. Yay, bananas for everyone . . .who doens’t love bananas??? . . . (reads article) . . .oh . . .:(

  2. Yay, bananas for everyone . . .who doens’t love bananas??? . . . (reads article) . . .oh . . .:(

  3. emperorreagan | Nov 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm |

    Eventually, even the mainstream media is forced to state the obvious.

  4. emperorreagan | Nov 8, 2010 at 9:10 am |

    Eventually, even the mainstream media is forced to state the obvious.

  5. Get ready for the second revolution. Restore the Republic.

  6. Get ready for the second revolution. Restore the Republic.

  7. The numbers aren’t lying…and the other difference between us and them is the infrastructure our grandparents built…which we refuse to levy taxes to maintain…so we’ll get a taste of real third world living pretty soon.

  8. The numbers aren’t lying…and the other difference between us and them is the infrastructure our grandparents built…which we refuse to levy taxes to maintain…so we’ll get a taste of real third world living pretty soon.

  9. Cerebralcaustic | Nov 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm |

    “Desperate efforts to depict all the prosperity and progress in the U.S. as being monopolized by “the rich” have led to statistical mumbo jumbo, such as comparing the changing ratios between statistical categories over time and ignoring the fact that most people move from one category to another over the years.

    “Studies that follow individuals over time show the exact opposite. That is, most of the working people in the bottom fifth of the income distribution rise into the top half, and the rate of increase of their incomes is greater than that of most of the people initially in the top fifth.

    “Those individuals in the top 1 percent, as of a given time, actually have an absolute decline in income over time. As they drop out of the top 1 percent, they are replaced by others, so the statistical category can be doing great, while the flesh-and- blood people who pass in and out of that category are by no means gaining on those further down the income distribution.

    “None of this is rocket science. But most people in politics, in the media and in academia still insist on using statistics based on the fate of abstract categories over time – households, families, income brackets – even when other statistics, based on following specific individuals over time, are available.”

    Economist Thomas Sowell, winner of the National Humanities Medal

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-sowell_28edi.ART.State.Edition1.4dfdac3.html

  10. Anonymous | Nov 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm |

    Here here.

    ‘Course, as is demonstrated by Dick Cheney’s belief that Nixon’s crime against the constitution was getting caught rather than the abuse of executive power itself, people are apt to learn the wrong lesson, being seduced into interpretation errors by their own bias.

    I fear that some people, reading about the increasing influence of the top 1%, will decide that the answer is to toady up and touch their ankles rather than to challenge the injustice.

  11. Liam_McGonagle | Nov 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm |

    Here here.

    ‘Course, as is demonstrated by Dick Cheney’s belief that Nixon’s crime against the constitution was getting caught rather than the abuse of executive power itself, people are apt to learn the wrong lesson, being seduced into interpretation errors by their own bias.

    I fear that some people, reading about the increasing influence of the top 1%, will decide that the answer is to toady up and touch their ankles rather than to challenge the injustice.

  12. Anonymous | Nov 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm |

    Yeah, that is a good one. Puts you in mind of Stephen Colbert’s blather in ‘I Am America (And So Can You)!’: “I won’t rest until each and every American is within the top 10%!”

    Get real. That Thomas Sowell stuff is so prima facie stupid that it’s hard to believe anyone uses his stuff for anything other than toilet paper.

    I’m curious: Is the reason you quote him so often because he’s black and you figure that’s gonna cut some ice with a presumably left-wing audience?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell

    ‘Cause if that’s your thinking, go back to the drawing board.

  13. Speaking of absolutely bananas…

  14. Anonymous | Nov 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm |

    “most people move from one category to another over the years.”
    Oh, do they now? Who’s these people? Yeah, every body moves up from min. wage to CEO in a lifetime.
    Alot of people are lucky if they make it from “dishwasher” to “factory worker clone” status. Or the ever productive office world of cubicle jobs, happily promoted to lower management underlings?

    Thomas Sowell is laughable and so are you “Vox Penii”……

  15. Anonymous | Nov 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm |

    Some of those rich, is in Beijing by now (their assets and fortunes are), trading on terms made by the Chinese Government. The Bond-sale will release the Kraken and the dollar-deal goes zero-grounded. “In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One Eyed Man is King”

  16. gondolfin | Nov 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

    Some of those rich, is in Beijing by now (their assets and fortunes are), trading on terms made by the Chinese Government. The Bond-sale will release the Kraken and the dollar-deal goes zero-grounded. “In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One Eyed Man is King”

  17. “Restore the Republic”? When was it formally dissolved?

  18. Untitled-01 | Nov 9, 2010 at 7:30 am |

    The CEO of Starbucks grew up in the projects. Steve Jobs was adopted by working class parents and dropped out of college. Now I don’t know how rich these two people are but you know those are examples of change. I personally know people who have worked their way up. and fallen down.

  19. Anonymous | Nov 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm |

    A Banana Republic brought to you by Banana Republicans (and the corporatist DINO’s like Ben Nelson who help them).

  20. A Banana Republic brought to you by Banana Republicans (and the corporatist DINO’s like Ben Nelson who help them).

  21. Anonymous | Nov 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm |

    Traditionally, there has been more class movement in America than in some other societies. But it was always rare to go from “rags to riches” and now with the widening chasm between rich and poor, that jump is becoming far more difficult, if not impossible. When analyzing something like this, you have to distinguish between random chance / happy accident, and something systemic that makes such inter-class movement possible.Right now, the system works primarily to push people down, not lift them up.

  22. Anonymous | Nov 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |

    And they got LUCKY. Yes, they also expended effort, but so do vast numbers of people who despite their best effort, get nowhere.

  23. If something is more true because a black ‘intellectual’ said it…then the GOP should start showing unilateral support for Obama…I won’t hold my breath on that one though.

  24. Untitled-01 | Nov 10, 2010 at 12:46 am |

    Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Nicaragua.

Comments are closed.