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Archive for February 14th, 2015

The mob is an old term for criminal gang, as in the mafia. So what Roosevelt is actually saying, in modern terminology, is “We know now that government by organized money (organized rich people) is just as dangerous as government by organized crime.”

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Originally published 2.14.2015

From the Economic Policy Institute:

“Labor unions both sustained prosperity, and ensured that it was shared. The impact of all of this on wage or income inequality is a complex question (shaped by skill, occupation, education, and demographics) but the bottom line is clear: There is a demonstrable wage premium for union workers. In addition, this wage premium is more pronounced for lesser skilled workers, and even spills over and benefits non-union workers. The wage effect alone underestimates the union contribution to shared prosperity. Unions at midcentury also exerted considerable political clout, sustaining other political and economic choices (minimum wage, job-based health benefits, Social Security, high marginal tax rates, etc.) that dampened inequality. And unions not only raise the wage floor but can also lower the ceiling; union bargaining power has been shown to moderate the compensation of executives at unionized firms.”

The attacks on labor were intended to redistribute income from working people to rich shareholders and CEOs. This is precisely why attacks on labor unions began, the conservatives, the Republicans, the news media, and eventually many Democrats joined in the great feeding frenzy. Numerous policies were used to weaken and destroy labor unions; most important of these tools were the alleged free trade agreements, which shipped good paying jobs overseas, and placed the difference between the old higher wages and the new lower wages into the already fat wallets of the 1 percent.

This massive income redistribution scam via a series of international income redistribution agreements falsely labeled as free trade agreements fueled the rise of the stock markets from 1983 to the current day. Twenty-eight million jobs were exported from the US between 1989 and 2011, according the US Federal Reserve Bank. Millions more have been exported since then. That’s why the Dow Jones Industrials has been surging for three decades, except during periods of recessions (See graph below).

Rising income and wealth inequality is also why the negative impacts of recessions, such as high unemployment rates, last longer and longer. As more and more money is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, the demand for goods and services weakens. The last recession officially ended almost six years ago, and yet, many of the effects of that recession are still with us.

You will notice in the two graphs above the linked demise of labor unions, the rise of inequality, and the remarkable surge in a major stock market, the Dow Jones Industrials, during the period in US history which might be called the free trade epoch. Income and wealth inequality fueled the rise of the Dow Jones, and these fed off the carcasses of slain labor unions, exported jobs, and other vile acts of government on behalf of the 1 percent.

And now President Obama and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden are teaming up with most of the Republican congressional delegation to redistribute more and more income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the president and Wyden falsely label an international trade agreement, but which really is a massive income and political power redistribution scam.

Currently, the 1 percent steal about 36.6 percent of all income produced in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1980. See the-rich-are-now-getting-more-than-36-percent-of-the-total-income-produced-in-the-united-states–JohnHively.Wordpress.com. If the TPP is enacted by congress, that 36 percent will become 40 percent, the Dow Jones will go higher, more jobs will be exported and at faster rates, and labor union membership will go down. Schools, fire, police and other public services will see a decline in tax revenue on the state and local levels, along with other social safety nets.

This month, President Obama and the corporate Republican Party leaders are going to push for legislation called Fast Track. They are opposed by progressive Democrats and Tea Party Republicans. See Left and Right United–New York Times.

If passed, Fast Track will allow only limited debate, no amendments, and no filibuster in the senate on the Trans Pacific Partnership. The key is most likely the filibuster. The TPP will export millions of US jobs, redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the process, eliminate your voting rights on health, safety and labeling issues on the state and local levels, and lots more, and none of it good for you or the environment. That’s only a few things we know about the agreement because it is the most secretive trade agreement in US history. Call your congressional representatives and tell them to represent you in the issue of Fast Track. Tell them to vote no. You can discover your US house and senate representatives and their numbers at ContactingtheCongress.org .

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