If you missed the last alert demanding that our government restrain financial kingpins from paying themselves huge bonuses when they crash our economies and cost us our jobs and our livelihoods, Americans for Financial Reform has another one. I'll say it again: any healthy and sane society restrains its most powerful members and punishes them when they do wrong. But when Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers execs pay themselves $2.4 billion just in bonuses and stock options between 2000 and 2008, and pay none of it back when they collapse the economy, then I know we live in a sick, immoral, and decadent society. I know far too many otherwise decent citizens who measure immorality by the number of women who can get abortions or the number of gays who get married or the number of vaguely-terrorist-looking people we don't harass or kill. But I measure immorality by how many lies we let the rich get away with telling, how much money we let them pile up, and how much we let them buy our representatives in government. By that standard, we fail as a society. But we live in a democracy, so we can still reverse that failure.
Meanwhile, Psychology Today ran an article last week entitled "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" There's really no way to spin that, though apparently the article's author, Satoshi Kanazawa, has tried more than once, despite a demonstrated lack of scientific rigor. Since pulling the article from its website just a few hours after putting it up, Psychology Today has gone completely silent on the matter, hoping, I suppose, that nobody noticed. Too late. Change.org helps you demand that Psychology Today make sure crap like this doesn't happen again. I suspect the main problem, with this magazine as with so many other media outlets, is editorial -- they simply don't hire enough people who have the expertise to say "this is bad science" or "this is bad argument" or "this is utterly repugnant racist claptrap." And I also suspect that comes from the top -- I've heard executives suggest that editors don't actually make a company money. I've even heard one say "why do we have editors, anyway?" and expect laughs from his own co-workers. As James Brown would say, people, it's bad.
Finally, if you were wondering how the 91% tax bracket came about in the first place, Michael Hudson explains it to you. Long story short: it happened a long time ago, at a time when "free market" meant a market free from "unnecessary costs" like rent and not freedom from government "interference," a time when the American intelligentsia believed that raising living standards made a nation more productive and taxing "unearned income" freed markets and raised living standards, thus raising productivity. Also, "the theory was that, over a given amount of income, you just didn't need any more income." Hallelujah! There's a lot more, too: how capital gains was, once upon a time, income; how the average stock today gets held for about 22 seconds before it's sold; how the "grandfathers" of economics like Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill would deride today's economy as a "free lunch" economy, regardless of what right-wingers tell you. It's thirteen minutes very well-spent.