The current crony capitalist system in place since the Reagan Revolution dismantled the New Deal consensus that capitalism had to serve both labor and capital is requiring ever-increasing levels of repression to milk additional increments of wealth out of labor for the benefit of capital. Currently almost 5% of the U.S. population is either in jail, on probation, or otherwise involved in the correctional system. We have more people in prison both as a percentage and as a sum total than Stalin had in his gulags.
It was amazing to see the amount of police state brute force used against the Occupy movement. We're talking about a movement that, if it had been ignored, would have simply faded away within a few weeks because people would have gotten bored and moved on. Instead it was in the headlines for weeks because of the level of brutality used to suppress it. Why in the world were the oligarchs so panicked? It's because they have just about reached the end of the amount of force they can apply to eke out tiny increments of wealth out of the labor of the 99%. When you're already applying as much force as Stalin applied, you're reaching the point where it costs more to apply additional force than you'll get as a return on that additional force.
At this point I want to mention something called "retreat mining". In pillar-and-room mining of large shelves of valuable mineral, pillars and walls of valuable ore are left standing to hold the roof up. Once the shelf has been exploited to its full extent, then starting at the back of the mine, and moving forward, the pillars and walls are systematically pulled out and as the process moves towards the front of the mine, the back part of the mine starts caving in behind them. The goal is to outrun that process of collapse, get all that valuable ore out that had been wasted as pillars and walls to hold the ceiling out, and if the whole mine ends up collapsing behind you after you get the last bits of ore out of the last pillars and walls, well who cares, right? This reminds me of what our elites are now starting to do. Because the cost of the violence to hold up the walls / keep the system from collapsing is so expensive, they're now retreat-mining -- cutting police forces and fire departments (San Jose now has fewer cops than in the early 70's when it was literally half its current size), cramming more and more prisoners into less and less space with fewer and fewer prison guards in order to save money, etc. They're hoping they can suck the very last resources out of the economy and spirit them off to safety (where?) before the whole system collapses.
Will it work? Who's going to stop them? Us silly flightless waterfowl babbling on the Internets? I don't think so! But at least there will be this record, some time in the future, of what they are doing...
-- Badtux the Violence Penguin