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Citizens of the United States spend more per capita for healthcare than another high wage nation. This suggests the US healthcare system is mighty inefficient compared to other systems, both in terms of price and in services provided. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the US Senate on

Sanders introduced a bill in the US Senate on Wednesday September 13, 2017 that would provide “cost” and “services provided” efficient “Medicare for All.” 57 percent of Americans support Medicare for All, according to Kaiser Health News. Fifteen Democratic Party legislators support the bill, which is up from 1 (Sanders) a few years ago.

Fifteen Democratic Party legislators support the bill, which is up from 1 (Sanders) a few years ago. “Medicare for All,” but that’s more of a handy slogan than reality, as this plan would greatly expand Medicare and overhaul it — for example, it would greatly expand the type of coverage offered and also eliminate deductibles.

“Medicare for All” would greatly expand Medicare and overhaul it.  For example, it would greatly expand the type of coverage offered and also eliminate deductibles, copays and premiums. Private insurance companies are also currently a part of the Medicare system. That wouldn’t be the case under Sanders’ plan.”

Under the current US system, premiums, copays, and deductables have constantly increased for decades, long before Obamacare came into being. Medical services have been cut back, even as costs (and profits) have risen. Much of this cost increase (if not all of it) is so publicly traded limited liability health care corporations can increase profits, which tend to push up share prices and dividends. In effect, health care provided by publicly traded corporations is really an income redistribution scam perpetrated on the 99 percent by shareholders of the 1 percent. Such corporation distort the market through collusions.

Sanders plan would be phased in over four years and would cover more things than Medicare currently does. His plan would cover dental and vision care, for example, which are for the most part not covered by Medicare.

So how does Sanders propose to pay for this system that covers all Americans? First of all, it would reduce employer and self-employed healthcare costs by eliminating the need for businesses and self employed people to purchase health care for themselves and their employees. According to PBS, “Sanders proposed a 7.5 percent payroll tax on employers, a 4 percent individual income tax and an array of taxes on wealthier Americans, as well as corporations. In addition, Sanders’ plan says the end os f big health insurance-related tax expenditures, like employers’ ability to deduct insurance premiums, would save trillions of dollars.”

The cost would, obviously, be less expensive and more efficient than the profit motived health care system we now have in the United States.

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The Wall Street Democratic National Committee (DNC), arch supporters of the presidential candidate of Wall Street, Hillary Rodham Clinton, want us to believe their lie that automation killed US manufacturing and created greater income and wealth inequality over the last thirty-five years. They don’t want us to believe US corporations have exported millions of jobs because of Bill Clinton’s trade treaties like NAFTA. Hillary, being a good Wall Street pawn, supported income redistribution scams like Nafta and the Trans Pacific Partnership. These Wall Street DNC folks even have people trolling the web looking for stories with Hillary Clinton tags showing automation did not kill millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs, and that they’ve been instead exported to China, Vietnam, Mexico and elsewhere.

The trolls are reading from the same basic script. It goes something like this; “I worked in high tech for (take your pick – 30, 35, 40) years and I witnessed whole categories of jobs being eliminated through automation. Automation has created joblessness and income inequality, not trade treaties. You progressives are all the same. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to get your facts straight!”

First of all, there is not a shred of evidence that automation causes joblessness or inequality because advances in technology tend to create more jobs than it displaces. For example, the computer industry wiped out the typewriter industry and created tens of millions more jobs in the process than the old typewriter industry ever created. As a 2017 study from the Economic Policy Institute points out, “Yes, automation has led to job displacements in particular occupations and industries in the past, but there is no basis for claiming that automation has led—or will lead—to increased joblessness, unemployment, or wage stagnation overall.”

Trade treaties are the primary cause of the growth in income and wealth inequality in the United States and throughout the world. This is a no-brainer: When jobs are exported the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower Mexican, Chinese and Vietnamese wages go into the already fat wallets of the super rich via higher corporate profits, surging dividends, and soaring share prices. So yes, since Hillary supports trade treaties, she also clearly supports redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

So Hillary wrote a new book that blames Bernie Sanders for her presidential defeat to Donald Trump, and her trolls are roaming around the Internet advancing her cause with lies, half-truths, and distortions. This suggests Hillary may be getting ready for another run at the presidency. It also suggests the Wall Street Democratic National Committee is behind her possible candidacy.

In 2020, she’ll be the wrong candidate at the wrong time for 99 percent of the people of this nation. We’re heading into an already overdue recession that should be worse than the last one in many respects. Unemployment, for example, will likely be higher than last time. We need a champion of the people, such as Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, or Elizabeth Warren. The last thing the people of the United States will need in 2020 is another brown-nosing Wall Street pawn in the White House.

Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened shows she is completely out of touch with reality and voter’s anxieties over the economic policies that have redistributed trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent. These policies were championed by her, former President Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, and a host of other Republicans and Democrats, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Wall Street’s favorite brown-noser, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

In her book, Clinton blames Bernie Sanders for her defeat in the presidential election. She claims Sanders candidacy split the progressive vote. Hogwash! Hillary lost the presidential election because she is a gold plated pawn of Wall Street. Voters were tired of their jobs and tax dollars being exported to Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Clinton supported the policies that did this. Wall Street loved her support for these policies.

The CEOs of Wall Street, other major corporations, and billionaire investors rewarded her and her husband with $150 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2016, at $225,000 a pop. Progressive voters knew that yes big money had gotten her to change her mind on legislation cutting back on the abilities of working folks to declare bankruptcy on behalf of the big banks who had purchased her lock, stock and barrel (See video above). Progressives knew the mind boggling millions of jobs that would have been exported from the United States to China with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which she called the “gold plated standard” for trade agreements. Then, of course, there was her support as Secretary of State for the coup that overthrew the lawful government of Honduras and resulted in the death of hundreds. You could go on and on about why progressives could not and would not support Candidate Clinton, but you cannot blame Bernie Sanders.

Hillary is completely out of touch with reality, but the book suggests she might want to run for president again.

For the past several years, US job growth has been weaker on a monthly average than when Jimmy Carter was US president. There’s a reason for this and a lot has to do with US corporations exporting jobs. Click here for that story. This brings us to former President Obama.

As a United States senator, Barack Obama demanded President George W. Bush do something to counter Chinese currency manipulation. As president, Obama mentioned Chinese currency manipulation one time. Then some politically powerful billionaires likely placed their arms over Obama’s shoulder and probably said something like, “Don’t mention that again, or we’ll take you behind the wood shed.”

Notice President Trump railed against Chinese currency manipulation as a candidate and hasn’t said a word about it as president. It’s likely some of his fellow billionaires threatened to take him behind the woodshed too if he ever mentioned the issue again.

This is because millions of US jobs have been exported to China; and US corporations have created millions of jobs over there rather than here thanks to President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, both of whom gave China “most favored nation trade status,” and which allowed US corporations to export US jobs and create jobs in China rather than here.

When China manipulates its currency vis-a-vis the US dollar, it increases the profit margins of US corporations manufacturing in China and exporting to the US, while simultaneously decreasing the profit margins of companies manufacturing in the US and exporting their goods to China. This is why all those Nike, Dell, Apple, Treetop, Campbell’s Soups, and thousands of other things are made nowadays in China and exported to the US rather than in the United States. See the-trans-pacific-partnership-the-op-ed-the-liberal-and-conservative-corporate-media-doesnt-want-you-to-see–JohnHively.wordpress.com

This is one of the reasons why income and wealth inequality has grown so great during the last thirty-five years. In the US, the top 1 percent own more wealth nowadays than the 90 percent lowest Americans, and that gap is growing.

The Federal Reserve Bank and the US Treasury could easily counter Chinese currency manipulation, but those organizations work for the billionaires and not for the rest of us. In the meantime, the US economy weakens over the long haul. That’s because workers wages now represent a smaller portion of US gross domestic product since 1947. That’s because when jobs are exported the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower foreign wages with no benefits goes straight into the fat wallets of the billionaires via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices. Trade agreements, nice scams huh?

This is precisely why the rich are now stealing about 37 percent of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent when Carter was president in 1980. This is why job growth was greater under Carter on a per monthly basis than nowadays even though the US economy was only about 40 percent the size of today’s US economy, and the population was only 60 percent the size of today’s US population.

This is something to reflect on when some Wall Street US Senator like Ron Wyden says we need more trade agreements to create more jobs. When Wyden, or Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell says crap like this, you know it’s a lie.

 


How do the rich get rich? In many cases it’s achieved off the backs of taxpayers. Wisconsin is offering over a billion dollars in tax incentives to Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou to build a factory of some sort in Wisconsin.

You’ve heard of Foxconn. Apple Inc. products are made in a Foxconn factory in China, rather than in the USA. Conditions were so bad there workers committed suicide by jumping off high areas of the factory in large numbers. They did so because they were not allowed to leave. They were de facto prisoners. Factory management decided to do something about that. They installed nets to stop the workers from jumping to their deaths.

This is precisely why Apple manufactures its products in China. It’s virtual slave labor there. Now Foxconn is coming to Wisconsin and Koch Brothers Governor Scott Walker is awfully proud, as he should be, since Foxconn obviously represents the position the idle rich should be in vis-a-vis those who labor.

According to Ourfuture.org, “Wisconsin taxpayers will, if this deal gains expected state Senate approval, hand Foxconn $1.35 billion for building a factory complex that will employ 3,000 workers. The total package of “incentives” for Foxconn could hit $3 billion — with $2.85 billion of that in taxpayer cash and another $150 million in various tax breaks — if Foxconn’s operation in Wisconsin ends up employing 13,000 workers.

How much per job would Wisconsin be shelling out? One likely scenario: about $500,000 per job. The worst-case scenario: as much as $1 million per job. And neither number here takes into account the Foxconn deal’s eventual environmental cost. Foxconn will be receiving, besides the taxpayer cash, an exemption from regulations that protect Wisconsin’s wetlands.

So Foxconn gets mountains of cash and a free pass to pollute. What do the people of Wisconsin get? One of the largest “economic development” projects the United States has ever seen, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker crowed last month at a White House ceremony announcing the deal with Foxconn’s Terry Gou and President Donald Trump.”

However, taxpayers are really getting a financial spanking so that billionaires like Terry Gou can get richer off the average Joe. All of which is intended to widen the already historically huge income and wealth gaps in the United States.

For more on this story, see Wisconsin’s Foxconn Deal Enriches Billionaires With Taxpayer Cash–OurFuture.org

Several decades ago Professor Mark Naison, eventual chair of the African-American studies department at Fordham University, wrote something to the effect that the corporate press divides us along racial lines by boldly reporting on the negative encounters among people of different races that happen now and then while ignoring the tens of thousands of positive encounters that happen every day in the United States among people of different races.

By stressing our differences, and ignoring the positive encounters, the corporate news media keeps us divided as a people, and our eyes and attention off of the financial issues the 99 percent have in common; 1 percent of US citizens now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of Americans (an historic record), and the 1 percent now steals roughly 37 percent of all income (another record) produced in the USA every year compared to 8 percent in 1980. That means the 99 percent now earn about 62 percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 92 percent in 1980. You bet they don’t want us to know this stuff, or to ever think about it.

Instead, the corporate news media wants us to think as intensely as possible about racism, guns, violence, bad police officers, public bathrooms and transgender folks, and anything except income and wealth inequality and what brings this about.

So here are a few things to think about in the violent encounter that occurred in Charlottesville.

  1. Out of 310 million people, about 500 showed up in the largest white supremacist gathering in decades, and that’s after six months of publicity.
  2. The thousand people opposed to the white supremacist meeting were multiracial.
  3. Tens of millions of people went to church the next day, many in multi-racial congregations, and prayed to the same God.
  4. Tens of millions US citizens went to work the following Monday and collaborated with their co-workers of different races, ethnicities, and religions.
  5.  Tens of millions of US citizens gather together in small and often diverse groups and cheer on the same sports teams.
  6. Tens of millions of Americans of all races will come together to cheer on the US Olympic team.
  7.  Thousands of people in interracial groups build houses for Habitat for Humanity.
  8. Tens of thousands of people of all colors, sexual orientations and political persuasions, from Tea Party and John Birch Society members to labor unions and Black Lives Matter, came together to successfully fight the massive income redistribution scam known as The Trans Pacific Partnership, which was championed by the first African-American president and some of the most politically and financially powerful members of society.
  9. No, the corporate news media doesn’t want you to know about this stuff.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

More than 40 million US workers would get a raise if the US minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour. Doing so would do five important things to help the US economy.

1. It would increase the demand for goods and services and create jobs in the process. Currently, we are in the worst post World War II economic expansion in US history, except for the last one, you know, that negative job growth under the economic policies of the worst president in US history, George W. Bush! Outside of that expansion, the current expansion is the worst, with the lowest job growth, the least GNP growth, and lots more historically weak statistics.

2. Every US economic expansion since 1981 has been caused by artificial bubbles which have created artificial stock market bubbles, which have almost completely benefited only the rich, and mostly the super rich, at the expense of everyone else. The Bill Clinton presidency saw the creation of 22 million jobs, which came about because of simultaneous housing, tech, stock and telecommunications bubbles. The tech and telecommunication bubbles were created by Clinton’s signature on legislation. The current economic bubble has been created by an illegal housing bubble created by the big banks. See The fix is In! The Banksters are Manipulating the rise in housing prices: Mortgage applications are down for home sales–Johnhively.wordpress.com Raising the minimum wage would create more demand, possibly creating the first demand inspired economic expansion since the Great President Jimmy Carter.

3. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would steer money away from the stock market bubble because it would decrease corporate profits, and perhaps gently deflate the current bubble that is due to burst in a few months anyway. The other option is to allow the bubble to run its course and essentially ruin the US economy like what occurred from 2007 to 2012 and from 1929-1933. The next recession will be worst than the last one, and it’s just around the bend.

4. Income inequality is at an all-time US high with the 1 percent stealing about 37 percent of all income produced in the USA every year compared with only 8 percent in 1980. That means the 99 means we have less money to buy things, while the rich primarily purchase things like stock options, stock, bonds and politicians. This inequality is stifling the demand sector and weakening the economy which is why the US economic expansions since 2000 are the weakest in history. This is, of course, unless, the creation and functioning of the US and worldwide economies are solely for the benefit of the 1 percent, and always at the expense of the 99 percent. You can see from the graph above the rich are stealing $17,867 from every working American, and they do this year after year after year. I think it’s time we get a little of our money back.

5. Wealth inequality is also near an all time high in the USA, and this means (along with income inequality) the rich can afford to buy the services of more politicians, which has already effectively turned our democracy into both an illusion and a myth, and this occurred perhaps as early as 1981. Raising the minimum wage would cut away a bit of the economic cancers known as wealth and income inequality.

The corporate talking heads will also insist raising the minimum wage will result in lost jobs, but there are plenty of studies showing not a whole lot on this issue. Most studies on this subject during the last twenty years show a rise in the minimum wage has a negligible impact on job loss, or jobs experience slight growth. On the other hand, most minimum wage increases that have been studied have been minimal and very local.

However, all of this is irrelevant because there is one gigantic study that shows that when the real wages of the 99 percent go up, so too does the US economy, and not just for the benefit of the few. This study is called the history of the US economy. Notice in the graph below real wages grew in the US economy from 1948 to 1978. In reality, you can go back to 1938 and see the same stuff. Inflation was low and job growth was high during the years 1938 to 1980. The middle class was strongest then, and demand for US goods was incredibly strong, especially the demand from US citizens. Even the rich got richer, although the percentage of income and wealth they could steal from the rest of us was small compared to today.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

Corporate talking heads will always lie and say raising the minimum wage will increase inflation. In reality, allowing the financial markets to rise in bubbles creates inflation, as I pointed out in my book, The Rigged Game.

Now some people will say inflation was fairly high during the 1970s, and yes that is kind of true, and then kind of not. That’s because the US government has changed the way it measures inflation twenty times since 1981, and every change has the intended effect of lowering the rate of inflation. In other words, if inflation is 1.5 percent nowadays, using the methodology of 1975, today’s inflation would be about 6 percent. Average yearly inflation during the 1970s was 7 percent, and so using today’s inflation methodology, inflation during the 1970s would have averaged about 2.5 percent, which isn’t all that much.

You can also see from the graph above how real hourly wages have stagnated since 1978, but of course, that’s a lie since real wage increases are measured against inflation, and we know inflation is no longer measured like it used to be. If inflation over the last 35 years was measured with the methodology used by the US government in 1975, US inflation would be significantly higher each of those years, and real US wage growth during this period would be negative, year after year after year for the last thirty or more years. This means real wages are significantly lower nowadays than the available statistics will allow us to measure, and this, of course, is one of the reasons why the government changed the way it measured inflation: it stops us from seeing how much we of the 99 percent are getting screwed by our corrupt government in redistributing our income and wealth to the 1 percent.

I don’t know about you, but I want my money back! Raise the minimum wage!