How Wealth Reduces Compassion

As riches grow, empathy for others seems to decline.

Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal—the poor person or the rich one? It’s temping to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly. After all, if you already have enough for yourself, it’s easier to think about what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate feelings towards other people decline.

Berkeley psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner ran several studies looking at whether social class (as measured by wealth, occupational prestige, and education) influences how much we care about the feelings of others. In one study, Piff and his colleagues discreetly observed the behavior of drivers at a busy four-way intersection. They found that luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other motorists instead of waiting for their turn at the intersection. This was true for both men and women upper-class drivers, regardless of the time of day or the amount of traffic at the intersection. In a different study they found that luxury car drivers were also more likely to speed past a pedestrian trying to use a crosswalk, even after making eye contact with the pedestrian.

Scientific American

The CARES Act Sent You a $1,200 Check but Gave Millionaires and Billionaires Far More

The stimulus checks were meant to get average Americans through the lockdown, but those $1,200 payouts were small change compared with the billions in tax breaks the CARES Act handed out to the country’s wealthiest.

…with massive unemployment upon us and the fall elections drawing near, there’s a temptation for Congress and Trump to produce legislation that will help needy people a bit but help the non-needy a lot more by doing things like reducing capital gains taxes.

ProPublica

In a Time of Financial Crisis, What Does the Fed Do? It Bails Out the Rich and “Investors”

From Wolf Richter (Wolfstreet.com):

America Convulses in Pain, Fed Bails Out the Wealthy

“We’re in an economic meltdown like I’ve never seen before. Tens of millions of people have lost their jobs – and so suddenly, that the government data to track them has fallen into chaos, with different agencies reporting data that is all over the place and contradicting each other. None of these systems were designed to track this type of sudden collapse of the labor market during a pandemic.”

So what is the fed doing to alleviate the pain?

ALEC Leading Right-Wing Campaign to Reopen the Economy Despite COVID-19

Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) show that a powerful corporate lobby front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is playing a leading role in the right-wing movement to push for early reopening of the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has cost the United States 61,680 lives to date.

ALEC is a corporate pay-to-play operation where legislators and corporate lobbyists vote behind closed doors to adopt model legislation on a broad range of public policy issues.

Common Dreams

Related:

ALECexposed.org

Plutocrats Promote Hate by Organizing and Promoting Street Theatre

The Koch machine (the Kochtopus) and its ridiculously rich members, as well as people like the DeVos family, spend hundreds of millions of dollars to promote hate and anger. Their agenda: No rules (which they call “economic freedom”) and control of government.

A bunch of right-wing protesters in Michigan demonstrate how the plutocrats brainwash simple-minded people into doing their bidding. There was a Michigan protest against the social distancing and voluntary quarantining ordered by Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer. They brought all their teabagger paraphernalia (snake flags, nazi flags, confederate flags, assault rifles) and blocked ambulances making runs to the hospital.

This is the modern Republican party.

It’s controlled by plutocrats like the Koch and DeVos families.

Hopefully, those Republican puppets at the protest contracted the coronavirus.

#NeverVoteForARepublican

Related:

In the standard prestige media presentation, the “spontaneous” protestors against COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan and elsewhere are presented thus: those salt-of-the-earth working folk, battered by economic hardship, who want their jobs back. However misguided, their motives generally aren’t questioned.

Who could have imagined that they [included] neo-Confederates, NRA extremists, anti-vaxxer lunatics, and other fringe types [and that their organizers included groups that have been] funded in part by the Koch brothers and a Trump cabinet member, Betsy DeVos? Why does it take a British newspaper to make that clear?

The Atlantic

The Koch network is reorganizing under a new name and with new priorities

The Seminar Network, which includes the constellation of groups funded by the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and around 700 like-minded conservatives and libertarians who contribute at least $100,000 annually, will now operate as Stand Together.

Freedom Partners, an entity that was once used to air campaign commercials, will cease to exist. Americans for Prosperity will now oversee all political and policy efforts. Groups that cater to specific constituencies, like Libre for Latinos or Concerned Veterans for America, have moved under the AFP umbrella.

Washington Post

The #GOPTaxScam: A Look Behind the Scenes at the Corruption Involved. How the National Debt Increased by Over $3.5 TRILLION.

Corporations, which drove the train, got even more of a tax cut than they wanted. Yet they refused to promise that their huge tax break would hike worker wages. Medium-sized and big businesses got something they had only dreamed of — though in provisions so badly written one tax expert called them a “travesty.”

Rich Republicans lobbied Trump at a Manhattan fundraiser and got 2.6 percentage points lopped off their highest tax bracket.

Deficit hawks, that is, those opposed to creating any new federal debt, hemmed and hawed and finally folded, as one commentator put it, “like a cheap suit.”

An idea that would have raised $1 trillion and paid for much of the tax cuts was soundly defeated by a powerful business lobby.

Republicans used $1.5 trillion in what some call accounting gimmicks to either hide the true cost of the bill or help justify their votes.

The bill was drafted in secret, partly to keep it from Congress’s own members who, it was feared, would leak it to lobbyists.

[And, of course, the Koch brothers and their fellow plutocrats were involved.]

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in September 2016 looked at its proposals for individual tax cuts and found that by 2025, 99.6 percent of its net tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent of earners. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said the plan would cause the federal debt to rise $3 trillion in its first 10 years and $6.6 trillion by the end of the second decade.

The Center for Public Integrity

The Takeaway: NEVER vote for a Republican.