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Archive for the ‘wealth redistribution’ Category

Why does the United States wage perpetual war?

1. War generates corporate profits that almost entirely goes to the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. The profit margins are quite high.

2. War generates a perceived need for societal control. Wage war, declare protestors unpatriotic, keep people ignorant via the corporate press, and keep dissent within the narrow confines of what the rulers of the 1 percent want.

“The first duty of an editor,” the economist Thorstein Veblen wrote in 1904, “is to edit and omit all news articles with a few as to what the news ought to be.” He was spot on. “The second duty of an editor,” Veblen wrote, “is to never offend any major advertiser.”

Major corporations are advertisers, (and along with their CEO’s and billionaire shareholders) corrupter’s of government and the press, as well as conduits for redistributing income from the 99 percent to the 1 percent.

And quite naturally, when President Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, the corporate press dutifully kept the debate within the narrow confines of what the administration wanted, more or less. Hardly any of the so-called US news media questioned any of the administration’s justifications for war, and all of these justifications turned out to be lies. The foreign press did a much better job on this issue.

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Bill Moyers says that Eric Holder has a mixed record as attorney general of the United States. Moyers gives Holder an A on civil rights, but an F on the frauds of Wall Street. Bill Black, a former bank regulator, calls the latter, “the greatest failure in the history of the department of justice.”

No banking executives have been criminally prosecuted for their role in causing the biggest financial disaster since the Great Depression.

“I blame Holder. I blame Timothy Geithner,” Black told Bill last week. “But they are fulfilling administration policies. The problem definitely comes from the top. And remember, Obama wouldn’t have been president but for the financial contribution of bankers.”

“While large banks have been penalized for their role in the housing meltdown, the costs of those fines will be largely borne by shareholders and taxpayers as the banks write off the fines as the cost of doing business. And by and large these top executives got to keep their massive bonuses and compensation, despite the fallout.”

But the story gets even more infuriating, the more Black laid out the culture of corruption that led to the meltdown.

“The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all could have prevented [the financial meltdown],” Black tells Moyers. And what’s worse, Black — who exposed the so-called Keating Five — believes the next crisis is coming: “We have created the incentive structures that [are] going to produce a much larger disaster.”

According to Black, that’s because the bankers have not been proscecuted for their crimes, thanks to Obama and Holder, and federal law prohibits people with criminal records to be in charge of banks. So the same people that brought the economic meltdown are doing the same thing with a nod, a wink, and a helping hand from the white house and both houses of congress.

Check out Moyers interview with Black by clicking on the link below.

Full Show: Too Big to Jail? | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.

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I lost twenty pounds from April to September 2014: I didn’t diet, and I barely exercised. I never went hungry, for anything. I ate so much food my girlfriend Z kept telling me I was eating too much. What did I do? I switched from GMO to organic foods. I had been eating about 50 percent organic prior to that, but something I read prompted me to see if there might be a relationship between GMOs and the obesity epidemic. The answer was yes.

The average US male has gained 22 pounds since 1994, while the average female has added 16 pounds. GMO’s entered the US food chain in a big way in 1996, even though US Food and Drug Administration scientists warned of potentially bad health impacts from them. This included risks for allergies, as well as worse things. However, the political appointees (i.e. Monsanto influenced hacks) running the department decided the profitability of the chemical corporations and their shareholders of the 1 percent were more important than the health of the 99 percent.

So I decided to try this personal experiment. I lost weight despite eating somewhere around a pound of organic chocolate (mostly sweet dark) each week. I also ate organic chips, and desserts and drank non-organic wine and beer on occasion. On the road, occasionally I was forced to eat GMO food at restaurants. The girlfriend and I discovered GMO food made us hungrier, and so we craved more of the poison. Luckily, a quick organic meal or a simple organic banana killed that hunger. By the way, my girlfriend went from 113 pounds to 107 in about one and half months eating 95 percent organic foods.

There was also another side effect to eating 95 percent organic food.

I had had an allergy to a cat named Sabina for years. She was the only cat I’d ever been allergic to. My friend Shawn owned her, but he was moving and needed a temporary place for the fat, evil, foul mouthed, bad tempered thing to stay. She moved in with me. I washed my hands after every time I touched her, because every time I’d visited Shawn, and Sabina had gotten close to me, the allergic reactions set in and made me miserable for hours, despite taking allergy pills. One day after the evil feline moved in, I found her in bed with me! I didn’t have an allergic reaction. That allergy was gone.

Back in 98, I got my first allergy. It was to carpet dust. That allergy has also vanished.

I should mention one other thing. Shawn came to visit Sabina. He noticed Sabina had lost weight. We had gotten her off of the GMO diet, and let’s face it, virtually all cat food has the poison in it, or at least I would think so.

So I can say from experience that the weight and the allergies left me when I banished GMOs from my personal food chain.

Additional testimony below.

removing-junk-foods-and-gmos-improved-children’s behavior–Dynamic Health Now

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US Senator Elizabeth Warren is, of course, is describing a government corrupt to the marrow.

The corruption of the US government goes way back, but a relatively small wave held in check by the New Deal turned into a tidal wave of corruption beginning with the tax cuts for the rich of President Ronald Reagan. That money was used by the 1 percent to stimulate corruption at all levels, and which in turn purchased legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s why we have inequality and its growing.

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But how is the profit in university education compared to perpetual war? Guess what is most profitable to the 1 percent. And guess who your government works for? Hint. It isn’t you.

By the way, student loans are purchased by Wall Street investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs. The banks use the loans to issue bonds, which they then sell to rich investors, hedge funds, etc… for large, risk free, government guaranteed profits.

When you make your student loan payments, much of that payment goes to the bondholders. That’s precisely why congress and the president allowed the interest rates for student loans to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent last year. It made the bonds backed by the loans more financially attractive to rich investors. That’s also why the government does not increase grants to needy students. To do so would mean less loans for Wall Street to purchase.

Of course, war is even more profitable to the 1 percent than student loans. However, war and student loans are both big income redistribution conduits through which money travels from the 99 to the 1 percent. And, of course, some of those profits travel back to US politicians in one form or another. So you can see that your elected representatives have absolutely no incentive to do the right thing, and the thing they can do, by providing free tuition at American colleges and universities. To do so would destroy one conduit of redistributing your income to the 1 percent.

That’s what the corrupt US government, and its corrupt representatives are paid to do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it. They’re not stupid little boys and girls. They’re merely corrupted by the money of the 1 percent.

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From the Economic Policy Institute:

“Wage trends greatly determine how fast incomes at the middle and bottom grow, as well as the overall path of income inequality, as we argued in Raising America’s Pay. This is for the simple reason that most households, including those with low incomes, rely on labor earnings for the vast majority of their income. That is why my initial look at the data from the newly released Census Bureau report on income and, poverty in 2013 will look at wages and the incomes of working age households.

The Census data show that from 2012 to 2013, median household income for non-elderly households (those with a head of household younger than 65 years old) increased 0.4 percent from $58,186 to $58,448. However, that modest growth barely begins to offset the losses incurred during the Great Recession or the losses that prevailed in the prior business cycle from 2000 to 2007. Between 2007 and 2013, median household income for non-elderly households dropped from $63,527 to $58,448, a decline of $5,079, or 8.0 percent. Furthermore, the disappointing trends of the Great Recession and its aftermath come on the heels of the weak labor market from 2000-2007, where the median income of non-elderly households fell significantly, from $65,785 to $63,527, the first time in the post-war period that incomes failed to grow over a business cycle. Altogether, from 2000 to 2013, median income for non-elderly households fell from $65,785 to $58,448, a decline of $7,337, or 11.2 percent.”

So the question is: why has average US family income dropped from $65,785 in 2000 to $63,527 in 2007 and then to $58,448 in 2013?

The answer is simple. The money has been redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, which is why the stock markets and corporate earnings are at record levels and family income has plummeted for fourteen years, and now remains static and historically low.

Free trade treaties, for example, have shipped jobs overseas, and the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower overseas wages and benefits has gone directly from the 99 percent and into the pockets of the 1 percent thanks to politicians such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. Nearly two million US jobs were exported from the US in 2013, according to the Federal Reserve. Around thirty million have been exported since 1990. Thank you Senator Wyden.

Corporations have also pushed the income of their employees down, except of course, for CEO’s and important members of the major Wall Street investment banks. Many of these Wall Street people earn millions of dollars by illegally ripping off the retirement accounts of working Americans. US politicians make certain they’re able to do it. See the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

There are a myriad of other ways the government acts as a legislative conduit to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This has been ongoing since 1981.

Essentially, this means that the current massive income and wealth inequality we experience today is a function of tax cuts for the rich, which were then used to corrupt government at all levels, as well as both political parties.

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Apple’s new I-phone is out. It’s i-watch is also out on the market. Apple also shifted $79 billion overseas from 2009-2012 so it didn’t need to pay a single cent of taxes on it. Apple has plenty of money on hand to pay taxes, but then the company would have less money to pay its shareholders, so the argument goes, except its not paying its shareholders tens of billions of dollars its holding. And if the company paid taxes so that schools could operate, police could work, and roads could be maintained, Apple would have less money to pay its shareholders what it isn’t paying them. By not paying taxes, Apple is crushing job growth since there are less policemen, teachers and road workers on the job and demanding goods and services. Sound confusing? It isn’t.

According to the Guardian newspaper, (bn = billion below).

“At the last count, at the end of June, Apple had $164.5bn of “cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities” on its balance sheet – up a heady $18bn on just nine months earlier. The vast majority of that money – $137.7bn – is held by Apple’s foreign subsidiaries. From September 2013, its overseas cash mountain increased by $26bn.

In April, US Trust, a private bank, calculated that Apple’s hoard, then $159bn (£97bn), was more than twice the UK’s cash reserves, which stand at $70bn, or roughly equivalent to Britain’s annual spending on education and housing combined.

Only $8.3bn of Apple’s stash is actually in hard cash. The rest is invested in government and corporate securities and other investments. Its biggest holdings are $35.5bn in US treasury bonds and $73bn in corporate securities. Apple also holds sizable investments in foreign countries’ debt, commercial paper-based and mortgage-backed securities, all controlled by its own fund management group, Braeburn.

This giant portfolio is bigger than the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater, which manages about $150bn. But Braeburn Capital – named after the apple – is not run from Wall Street. It is based in Reno, the capital of Nevada, a state where there is no corporation tax or capital gains tax.”

Apple management, in other words, is charging too much for its products, most likely in concert with its supposed competitors. Management and its not so rivals are regulating their market, so that they can regulate their share prices slowly upward, among other things. (Most major US corporations do this.)

Otherwise, if the market in these items were truly competitive, profits would be minimal and Apple’s share prices would be much lower than today’s share price. That overcharge payment to its customers is redistributed to its wealthy shareholders via higher profits, dividends and share prices. It’s an income redistribution scam. Management keeps the billions in reserve for hard times, which it will divvy up to its shareholders in the hopes that such a move will keep its stock price up, which coincidentally, is the only real way to keep score as to how management is doing.

Today Apple’s share price is $102.80. If it were a truly competitive business, the share price might be closer to $5. Which suggests Apple’s management team would not be so wealthy.

What would happen if Apple management stopped regulating its profits and retained earnings? What would happen if Apple suddenly decided to award its billions of dollars to its shareholders? The price of shares would rise in the short run, perhaps to two to three times its current rate, but then awarding those billions to the shareholders (the powerless owners of Apple–in theory) would not leave Apple management with a healthy reserve for when hard times hit.

The other thing that would occur is that more jobs would be created, inequality would be lessened, and the economy would be more robust than the historically lackluster economy the US has today. Further, if all corporations stopped regulating their markets and engaged in real competition, the positive effect on the US economy would drive it forward and strengthen it like never before.

But that’s not going to happen with the massive corruption of government and both major political parties. That’s why the economic game is totally rigged against the 99 percent.

Money–Apple Shifts Billions Overseas

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