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Archive for September, 2015

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The US middle class has been shrinking for decades, but never as rapidly as under the Obama administration. 95 percent of all income growth since 2009 has gone to the super affluent. This means the uber wealthy now steal 37 percent of all income produced in the United States every year, compared to 21 percent in 2009, and 8 percent in 1980. And they’re stealing it from the middle and lower classes. They’re sucking the middle class dry because these rich folks have all the gold, which follows the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. Check out the link below from the Pew Charitable Trust to see how much your senators and congressional representatives have robbed from the middle class and given to the rich. That’s what the rich pay them to do.

The Shrinking Middle Class Mapped State-by-State–Pew Charitable Trust

Take the case of Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. He is supposed to represent the people of Oregon, rather than the robber barons of Wall Street, but Wyden has led the fight to ship and create jobs overseas, as well as privatization scams. Wall Street Ronnie is no dumb dumb. He knows these things redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That shows whose side he is on in the war against the middle class. The senator has a 100 percent voting record for shipping and creating jobs overseas. He calls his efforts free trade treaties, but in reality, these deals are designed and negotiated by multi-national corporations to redistribute income, wealth and political power from the 99 to the 1 percent. The senator has also proposed measures to redistribute Medicare benefits from the 99 to the 1 percent via a privatization scams. He claims he is bipartisan, but he has never led a Republican to successfully support legislation that reverses his shameful income redistribution policies.

Wyden voted for NAFTA and every income redistribution treaty since. He’s the Democratic senator who led the fight in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest income and political power redistribution treaty ever. The result of the senator’s work in the halls of congress are evident:

In Oregon,

  • 47.7 percent of all people live in middle class households as of 2013, compared to 51.4 percent in 2010. Rest assured, when the numbers are compiled for 2014 and 2015, the number of people living in middle class households will be less than in 2013.
  • medium income has declined from $50,251 per household per year in 2013, compared to an inflation adjusted $56,382 in 2000. Worse yet, the medium family income has declined. The senator has voted to redistribute that $6,000 a year to the 1 percent year after year.
  • Poverty is up.
  • The 1 percent now steal 37 percent of all income made in the USA, compared to 10 percent when Wyden entered congress over twenty disastrous years ago.

Luckily, people are organizing in Oregon because they’re fed up with the disastrous policies of one of Wall Street’s favorite employees, that’s Wyden.

Wyden is in a dominant position inasmuch as he and the local corporate propaganda machine hide his economic legislative record by extolling the virtues of his social issues. However, Kevin Stine, a Medford city council member is running in the primary against Wyden. Wyden’s disastrous economic policies, bad for Oregonians and good for Wall Street, have begun to come out and his position is not so secure anymore.

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There’s a reason the United States is one of the most politically corrupt nations in the world. Stephan Colbert hits the head on the nail with his succinct analysis that wealth inequality will continue to grow in the United States so long as money in politics are at record levels.

The corruption, especially of the federal government, which is massive compared to the years from 1933 to 1980, began when President Ronald Reagan signed into law tax cuts for the rich. Supposedly, this trickle down economics, which had already been a complete failure during the first thirty years of the 1900s, was going to create jobs. Instead, the rich used their new found financial muscle to destroy jobs by pushing legislators for international income redistribution agreements, commonly marketed by those who benefited from these income redistribution scams as “free trade agreements.”

The result has been a progressively weaker US economy as tens of millions of jobs have been shipped overseas, thanks to these agreements. When a job is shipped overseas, the difference between the old, higher, US wages and the new, super low third world wages goes straight into the already fat wallets of the super rich via higher corporate earnings, rising dividends, and soaring share prices. The job losers get a few unemployment checks, if they’re lucky, and maybe a lower paying job, if they’re even luckier.

The proceeds of these treaties find their way into the campaign contributions and pockets of US politicians. And the cycle plays over and over again. More and more income redistributed via legislation from the 99 to the 1 percent, so that nowadays the rich and their legislative henchmen steal 37 percent of all income in the USA, compared to 8 percent before the Reagan tax cuts.

There are several other ways legislators help the super rich to steal from everybody else, such as passing legislation to privatize government services, force school districts to add more and more testing, and numerous other things.

Colbert is completely correct, except for one thing. Nothing will change unless a massive grassroots political movements overwhelms the money in politics, and then the money is taken out of politics. Go Bernie Sanders!

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Below is a campaign video of a presidential candidate, almost any presidential candidate. All of the candidates continue to say the same generic bullshit, with the exception of two candidates. Check out the video below.

With the exception of Donald Trump and US Senator Bernie Sanders, all of the presidential candidates pretty much are backed by the same corporations, whether it’s big oil, or Wall Street. That’s why they all all kind of sound the same. There is virtually no difference in what they support between Hillary and Jeb, although the Bush man did oppose border fences. With exception of the deep pockets of Trump, and the massive grassroots network being developed by Sanders, the other candidates are toadies to big business, of one kind or another. This suggests that Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates with any independence from the big money boys. Stunningly, both Sanders and Trump support raising taxes on the rich, and for Trump, that means raising his own taxes. Hillary and Jeb are part of presidential dynasties and are worth millions. Bernie, by comparison, is a pauper whose total net work is close to the average citizen. Trump’s billions allow him to say anything to anybody since he is the principal financier of his campaign. Everybody else needs to be careful about who they offend.

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The governors of the Federal Reserve Bank voted to keep interest rates at historic lows in their September 17, 2015 meeting. The bank has not raised interest rates in nearly a decade. Lucky us, or maybe unlucky us.

Chairwoman Janet Yellen cited a number of reasons why the bank decided to keep rates low. She mentioned, for example, the weakness of manufacturing in China.

However, she didn’t mention that nearly 50 percent of US manufacturing is done in China, which, quite naturally, indicates a slowing down of US outsourced manufacturing, which certainly impacts the US. Like a good politician, she also did not mention that the evil US trade deficit is fueled by US manufacturers exporting jobs overseas, like Microsoft, Apple, Nike and Adidas. These and hundreds of other companies manufacture their products in China and elsewhere, and export their stuff to the US.

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This is precisely and the only reason why the US has a trade deficit. The US trade deficit, in other words, is with US job exporters, not with China, Pakistan, Mexico or elsewhere.

Anyway, keeping interest rates low was a good thing for the US economy. Typically, the Fed waits to raise interest rates until just after the US economy begins to slide into recession.

That process begins when US corporations see a slowdown in their earnings growth, in the aggregate. These businesses begin to lay people off, which jacks up their profits. Perhaps the folks running the Fed take this as some sort of sacred signal that everything is all right. However, laying enough people off throughout the economy ignites recessions in the process of jacking up those profits, because the demand for goods and services slackens, jobs and profits decline, and a recession begins even while corporate earnings expand.

This is why I mentioned the slowdown of Chinese manufacturing, which in all likelihood, represents something of a slowdown of US manufacturing abroad. Profit growth has been shaky the last two years, though still growing in fits and spurts with sudden quarterly declines followed by rapid growth.

In other words, the US and world economies are still quite weak, especially since the rich have stolen 95 percent of all income growth in the US since 2009, an historic high by a wide margin. This has meant sluggish US and world economic growth since the more money the 1 percent steal in the US and elsewhere, the weaker the demand for goods and services by the 99 percent.

Yellen has the brains to understand all of this. This is likely why the Fed has kept interest rates at historic lows for years. To maintain their standards of living, the 99 percent had to keep borrowing because they haven’t gotten a raise in 35 years on average and in real terms. Raise interest rates and the demand for goods and services begins to die.

Raising interest rates will likely be the straw that sends the world economy into the monstrous fangs of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis may already be in its early less visible stages.

Not a single world leader has learned the lesson from the last Recession. The current US economic expansion is fueled by the same artificially created housing and stock market bubbles as the last recession. Wall Street executives are calling the economic shots in the White House, on Capital Hill and the US Supreme Court. That’s why nobody who could do anything did squat about the corrupt forces that brought about last recession, and now the bill is coming due.

The last recession was the worst since the Great Depression. The next one, as I have pointed out in my book, The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed, will be far more hideous.

The Fed has literally no tools to fight off this coming Great Depression, but it will print trillions of dollars to save billionaires and others from their foolish investment decisions. See breakdown-of-the-26-trillion-the-federal-reserve-handed-out-to-save-rich-incompetent-investors-but-who-purchase-political-power–JohnHively.wordpress.com

The federal government will be forced to expand the deficit, and instead of having 48 million people permanently on food stamps, the US will have 60 to 100 million, unless the madness of redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via job exporting trade treaties, unsustainable and illogical immigration policies (both legal and illegal, HB1 visas), and privatization scams.

Much of this can be reversed simply by amending income redistribution schemes known as international trade agreements, limiting immigration by restricting the flow of people moving into the USA at least until wages begin to rise, enforcing current immigration laws, and putting a halt and reversing many privatization follies.

All three of these policies have stolen jobs from American citizens, while enriching the politically and financially affluent in the process, all at the expense of people who produce goods and services.

Of course, that is precisely what the corrupt US government (all three branches), and both corrupt major political parties, have been driven to do by the money unleashed in the political markets since and because of the Reagan tax cuts for the rich.

The ultimate end game of Reaganomics is coming to its ugly conclusion.

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Schools are closed in Seattle again today as the city’s first teacher strike in 30 years enters its sixth day. Last week, teachers, represented by the Seattle Education Association, unanimously voted to go on strike, demanding fewer standardized tests for students, more time to prepare for classes, and better pay. The impasse has delayed the start of the public school year for about 53,000 students. The strike comes after Washington’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the state’s new charter school system is unconstitutional.

Charter schools and high stakes testing have virtually nothing to do with education. They have everything to do with enhancing corporate profits. In other words, they’re an income redistribution scam, which redistributes income from taxpayers to the rich shareholders of the charter school/testing industries.

Char

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Ready for Bernie Sanders 2016 announces "BETONBERNIE.COM" for contribution pledges to support a presidential bid from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a Brooklyn native, who was active in the Civil Rights Movement, has devoted 35 years as a politician for the people, and has been a member of Congress since 1991. (PRNewsFoto/Cyber Media Services)

Vice President Joe Biden is toying with the idea of entering the race to become the presidential nominee of the Democratic party for 2016. The question is why? The answer may be Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is developing a following as he builds a monster of a grassroots campaign that all the money in the world will not be able to match. Some polls have shown him charging ahead of Hillary Clinton, Wall Street’s choice to be the Democratic candidate, and a person who has deep pockets because of her ties to Wall Street.

A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday showed Sanders edging Clinton in Iowa, even with Biden in the race. On Wednesday, an NBC/Marist poll showed Sanders wiping out Clinton in New Hampshire, with Biden also included in the polls.

Biden hasn’t entered the race yet, but the polls list him as a candidate. Why?
The answer might be that Sanders would be wiping out Hillary by wider margins, and Wall Street doesn’t want that.

Biden has long been touted as a man of the people. Yet his record suggests he is a man of the people along the lines of Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, who always votes liberal on social issues while always voting to economically rape and pillage the 99 percent on behalf of Wall Street and the 0.01 percent. In other words, Biden is Wall Street’s wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The idea here is that Biden’s largely false reputation as a man of the people is being used to attract Democrats who otherwise would vote for Sanders. Sanders, instead of beating Clinton by 1 percent in Iowa, and 11 in New Hampshire, would likely be winning by 15 to 20 percent in both states against Wall Street’s favorite female candidate.

Wall Street’s dirty tactics against Sanders haven’t even begun yet, but Biden’s toying with his candidacy suggests those tactics are right around the corner, the more that Sanders gains strength against Clinton.

That’s the way the Democratic leadership works on behalf of Wall Street. Vote for Biden, the stealth candidate. Don’t buy it. Vote Sanders.

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Germany and the Migrant Crisis

German industrialists and financial gurus have a problem. The economic powerhouse of Europe has a looming crisis, which is developing another crisis of its own.

Germany has an aging and declining population. The population of Germany has dropped nearly a million and a half during the last five years. In other words, more Germans are dying than are being born. The workforce is getting older and fewer. This has led to the first crisis for the industrialists.

A declining population means fewer workers will compete for more jobs, meaning wages must go up. This, in turn, means profits must decline, which, in turn, means there is downward pressure on the values of German stocks and bonds. Downward pressure also means the bubble economy of German high finance faces the prospect of a slow or explosive implosion on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

The great German financial and industrial geniuses came up with a great idea to cut German wage, social service, and salary growth off at the pass: they engaged in a public campaign to encourage millions of immigrants to seek economic and political sanctuary in Germany, which tens of millions of Germans oppose, especially if they want their wages to grow, and the German economy has plenty of room for that.

However, now that the German populace has turned against the rapid influx of immigrants, Chancelor Angela Merkel has reversed course. She no longer wants unfettered immigration, leaving hundreds of thousands of immigrants in limbo, thanks to those wonderful German financial and industrial geniuses.

There are many victims in this scenario, but not one of them is a rich industrialist or affluent master of finance.

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Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley has a plan for strengthening the middle class, which is in crisis as it is hammered by the legislative war machine of the 1 percent that is waging class warfare against the middle class.

Merkley suggests three ways of dealing with this onslaught. One is to end bad trade deals, which have little or nothing to do with trade. They’re about stealing the jobs of the middle class, and redistributing the income from those jobs to the 1 percent.

check out the video for more on Merkley’s proposals.

For a related topic, check out why-its-long-past-time-to-raise-the-federal-minimum-wage-to-15-an-hour-by-2017trib

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15 dollars

People earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 aren’t going out to eat at restaurants because they can’t afford to do so. That’s pretty much true for those who make higher state minimum wages of nine and ten dollars an hours. These people are not taking yoga, piano, or karate lessons. They don’t belong to gyms, and they don’t take part in yoga classes. They purchase few if any new books, and buy clothes at second hand stores, like the local Goodwill. They don’t buy flowers for their mother’s on mother’s day. They’re not purchasing new computers, cameras, tables, chairs, carpets, washing machines, dryers, I-phones, cars, organic food, or houses. They’re not buying a lot of other things.

What good are these people to the economy, other than to provide rich people with cheap labor? Like the idle rich, minimum wage workers barely stimulate demand for goods and services.

What do low wages have to do to with rich people? Low wages boost profits. As a consequence of that, corporate dividends and share prices go up. People who earn less than $100,000 a year own hardly any shares of corporations. The primary beneficiaries of people working at minimum wages go primarily to the rich.

If you raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the people who benefit from this raise will be buying a lot of the things listed above and more, even a house in Detroit, Michigan, and elsewhere, as well.

And all of a sudden, not just large businesses, but small businesses thrive because demand for goods and services is stronger.

Studies over the last fifteen years show that the idea that high wages weakens employment is a myth.

There are two fundamental laws of capitalism. One is something about supply and demand, which is often rigged in favor of those who believe and act upon the golden rule; he who has the gold makes the rules. The other rule, which Henry Ford (the founder of the Ford Motor Company) believed was simple: When people have more money, businesses have more customers, and need more workers.

This explains why the current economic expansion is the worst since the Great Depression in virtually every category having to do with jobs, wages, GNP, and the things that are important to 99 percent of the US population.

Currently, 1 percent of the population has rigged the economic and political games over the last thirty-five years to the point where they have received a legislatively determined 95 percent of all income growth since 2009, the most ever on record. Worse yet, the rich steal 37 percent of all income produced in the United States nowadays, and that figure is growing, and with no end in sight. Rich parasites will soon be larger in terms of total income than their hosts, the 99 percent.

Ever wonder why the economy under President Jimmy Carter produced more jobs, raised wages, and had greater GNP growth on average than any year of the last fifteen with an economy that was ½ the size of today, and with a population that was 60 percent the size of today? The answer is simple.

Back then, the rich only stole 8 percent of the annual income produced in the United States. That means the rest of us earned 92 percent of all the income created in the USA, which meant demand for goods and services was far more plentiful then than today, job growth was greater, and wages for the 99 percent also rose. Under Carter, the economy created 225,000 jobs a month. Over the last fifteen years, 90,000 has been hailed as an outstanding achievement by President George W. Bush, as well as President Obama.

Something clearly is out of whack with the economy, and yes, most of it has to do with the massive corruption of the US government that was unleashed by the Reagan tax cuts. But if income can be massively redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, as it has been for the last thirty-five years, then the government can act to redistribute it back to where it belongs, and all for the good of the economy. This can partially be achieved by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2017.

And don’t tell me corporate America doesn’t have the money. Currently, they’re sitting on 7-8 trillion dollars inside the US, while holding another 7-8 trillion outside the US, because the demand for goods and services is so low they have no reason to invest it in new plant and equipment so as to increase production, which would require workers.

You can go back 150 years and literally find the same people shouting over and over again on behalf of their rich patrons saying the same thing, “If people on the bottom get paid more, it will be bad for them, and they will lose their jobs.” That’s just a polite way of saying, “My patrons and I are rich, you’re poor, and my boss and I want to keep it that way. And besides, it’s good for Wall Street.”

The fact that corporations are sitting on trillions upon trillions of dollars because demand is slack shows the opposite is true. Every one of those trillions of dollars could be used to create jobs if only the demand was there. The years between President Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan also show the same thing.

If you pay people more, they will purchase more, and everybody will be better off, not just a few politically powerful people. Those trillions of dollars will be used to invest in the production of goods and services. Those trillions also show that US corporations are quite capable of paying their employees more, and not just the already rich CEOs.

That’s why it’s long past time to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Besides, if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity (or real inflation) over the last 56 years, the US federal minimum wage would be nearly twenty dollars an hour.

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