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Archive for the ‘wealth redistribution’ Category

Fast-Track-NRD-600

 

From Arthur Stamolis of Citizen’s Trade Campaign

Hi everyone:

Congratulations on yesterday’s impressive victory! In case you missed it, the House voted to block Fast Track from moving forward — a huge win for Main Street over Wall Street, and a testament to your years of strategic organizing. Thank you!

Unfortunately, the offshorers, the polluters, the lobbyists and the profiteers haven’t given up quite yet, so we’ve got more work to do — and we need to get to back to work fast.

Here’s how Friday’s win went down: the House separated the Fast Track bill passed by the Senate into two parts. First was a vote on an inadequately-funded and exclusionary Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program for displaced workers. Then was a vote on the Fast Track process itself. Both parts needed to pass for the bill to pass. You can see how Reps voted on TAA  here and how they voted on the Fast Track process here. Bottom line: when TAA was voted down, the entire Fast Track bill was sunk.

After the vote, Speaker Boehner called for a re-vote on TAA. That vote is supposed to happen within two legislative days, so it’ll either be on Monday or Tuesday (although the Speaker may be able to find ways to extend that if he wants). Voting on Monday starts at noon Eastern, so that’s the earliest the re-vote could occur.

It’s critical that we are profusely THANKING those who voted against TAA and Fast Track and urging them to do so again. We also need to keep respectfully trying with those who voted for TAA, but against Fast Track — urging them to vote against TAA next week. (No-holds-barred with those politicians who voted for both.)

Unfortunately, there is still some confusion about the proposed TAA program even among our allies, and you’d better believe the White House, Republican leadership and others are working overtime this weekend to increase that confusion.

Here’s what you need to know about TAA. Normally, we’re all for it. It’s an important lifeline that provides job retraining benefits to people whose careers are shipped abroad as a result of bad U.S. trade policy. But nobody in their right mind would ever argue that a job retraining program is a smart trade-off for rubber-stamping massive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that will offshore jobs, drive down wages and more. That’s what a vote for TAA next week is. It’s a vote for Fast Tracking the TPP. The current TAA proposal is a cynical ploy that needs to be stopped.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the TAA program being offered isn’t even a strong one. It excludes public sector workers whose jobs are offshored and it is significantly under-funded. The $700 million in Medicare cuts made to pay for it may be partially addressed, assuming the Senate goes along, but even if that is fixed, another $250 million in cuts to a Medicare kidney dialysis program and a whole lot of political liability are still in there.

The good news is that Republican leadership and the White House face a heavy lift to win on TAA next week, as we destroyed the measure in a 126 – 302 vote on Friday. That said, the President wants this BAD. Speaker Boehner wants this BAD. We need to keep pushing so that we win that vote, and that we win whatever sorry plan Team TPP comes up with next to try to squeeze Fast Track through this month.

They know the clock is ticking on the TPP, and they’re going to keep trying — at least for a while. We are winning. Here’s what we need to keep it going:

* If you represent an organization, please make sure to call any Reps who voted against Fast Track and the TAA this weekend and early on Monday to thank them and urge them to do so again.

* If you haven’t yet, please send a personal email now thanking or spanking your representative for their votes on Friday.

* Take a moment to look up your your Reps Twitter and Facebook accounts, and spend a couple moments on social media today urging them to vote against Fast Track and the cynical TAA ploy next week.

Be ready for any rapid-response action requests that come early next week. Again, we could see new voting as soon as Monday.

Together, we’re going to keeping riding this wave of success. Thank you again for everything you’ve done to get us this far.

In solidarity,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN

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Good news for the middle class has finally arrived. The 99 percent has a real candidate for US president now. On Tuesday, May 26, US middle class Senator Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for the US presidency.

Former Wall Street Senator Hilliary Rodham Clinton is Bernie’s only competition for the nomination. Clinton has a boat load of money, but she carries a ton of baggage. Most notably, she and her husband, former Wall Street President Bill Clinton, are notorious redistributers of income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

If you listen to Bernie’s announcement speech above, the defining issue of this election is going to be income distribution, and more specifically, how the 1 percent went from stealing 8 percent of all US income in 1980 to 37 percent today. Who loses on this issue? Clinton does.

Sure the Dems will hold debates, and sure the moderator will make sure the debate issues will be about abortion, gun control, and a ton of social issues, and not income and wealth inequality, and yes the moderator will make certain the television camera’s never light upon Bernie’s face by not calling on him to answer any questions or to respond to Clinton’s answers, but Bernie will win this election, and by a fair margin.

One day after he announced that he intended to run for the presidency, back in April, 75,000 people volunteered to work on his campaign. A month later, he has 200,000 volunteers. By election time, Bernie will have half a million plus, perhaps a million plus, volunteers working on his campaign. Hilliary can spend half a billion dollars, but she can’t beat what Bernie has, volunteers and real hope for the 99 percent, rather than the phoney Obama hope and change!

A message from Bernie:

Friend –

For many months I have been traveling from coast to coast across our country, and have had the opportunity to meet with thousands of good, hard-working, and remarkable people. Like you and me, they are deeply concerned about the future of our country.

They wonder why they are working longer hours for lower wages. They worry about whether their kids will be able to afford college or get decent jobs. They fear that they may not have the savings to retire with dignity and security.

The challenges facing our country are enormous.

After a year of travel, discussion and dialogue, I have decided to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

Our movement needs people like you involved to help it succeed. Add your name now to say you support my campaign for president.

Http://go.berniesanders.com/launch-photos

Bernie Sanders

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Four Graphs that Will Make You Boiling Mad About the Trans Pacific Partnership–Or Why President Obama, along with executives from Nike, Microsoft, Apple and other US corporations Steadfastly Support China’s Currency Manipulations

income inequality

Originally published May 19, 2015 by John Hively

When China manipulates its currency vis-a-vis the US dollar it increases the profits of US job exporters that produce stuff in China and exports that cheap stuff to the USA.

That’s most likely why President Obama said he will veto any congressional legislation that seeks to stop the Chinese government from manipulating its currency.

Why do President Obama and executives of US based multinational corporations, like Nike, want the Chinese government to manipulate its currency? And what does this have to do with the Trans Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Authority?

The answer to one of these questions is simple: the TPP will force China to manipulate its currency even more than is currently the case.

Take a look at the graph below. On the left side is the Yuan, which is the Chinese currency. On the bottom line is the dollar. Now look at the two intersecting lines, which is the supply and demand for dollars. In this example, 600 yuan can purchase $100 in the currency markets, which is roughly what the two currencies currently exchange for.

So when Nike, Microsoft or Apple Inc. manufacture a product in China that costs the consumers, say, 600 yuan in China, given the exchange rate, the same product will cost $100 in the United States, after, of course, it is exported from China to the USA. Assume these US corporations have a 25% profit margin. That means these companies get 150 Y profits in China per product, and $25 profit when they export their products to the United States.

The same is true for companies that manufacture products in the USA, and then export them to China. American manufacturing companies earn $25 per $100 of product sold in the USA, and 150 Y when their products are exported from the USA to China.

The government of China has been accused of manipulating the value of its currency. So what happens when it does this? It purchases dollars. This shifts the D1 line to the left, because there are less dollars on the market, which is shown in the graph below as line D2. This makes the Yuan less expensive in terms of dollars.

Why would President Obama encourage the Chinese government to manipulate its currency by threatening to veto US legislation aimed at stopping it? Why would Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden only pay lip service to the evil of Chinese currency manipulation, while apparently supporting it? Why are the higher up folks at Nike, Microsoft, Apple and every US corporation that is producing goods in China for export to the United States against any legislation that seeks to address Chinese currency manipulation? There is a very good reason they’re all for this.

Look at the example in the next graph below. When the Chinese government manipulates it’s currency by purchasing dollars, 800 Y will now purchase $75. Do the math; 600 Y will purchase now $56. What does that mean?

It means that when Nike manufactures a pair of shoes in China which costs 600 Y there, in the US it should cost $56 rather than $100, thanks to China’s currency manipulation, but that rarely happens. The US corporate propaganda machine will lie to you and tell you it makes Chinese imports less expensive. However, the truth is that China’s  manipulation increases the profits of Nike.

Nike still gets 25%, or 150 Y, in profits when its shoes are sold in China. When it exports the same shoes to the USA from China, Nike still gets 25% profit on $56, which is $14 dollars. However, Nike still sells it’s shoes for $100 in the United States, which means another $44 in earnings per pair, in addition to the $14.

That means Nike’s profit margin on a $100 pair of shoes goes from 25% at the old exchange rate to 58% at the new exchange rate. This sends its earnings and stock prices higher. The same thing occurs with Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and every US corporation manufacturing in China, that are exporting their products to the United States.

So who pays the price for this?

You do; if you work for a living in the United States, or if you’re a  small or medium size business owner. Here’s how. Suppose you are a US manufacturer producing shoes in Oregon that sell in the USA for $100. You ship them to China at 600 Y for $100, and earn 150 Y, or $25, in profits. Now suppose the Chinese government, with the encouragement of your corrupt government and many US business leaders, manipulates its currency by purchasing tens of billions upon tens of billions of dollars. The supply of dollars on the international currency markets shrinks, making dollars more expensive, and as noted above, the D1 line shifts to D2, which represents the new supply of money. BTW, the space between D1 and D2 represents the amount of dollars the Chinese purchased.

Those $100 US made shoes now costs 1000 Y in China. Okay, my graph isn’t too high tech, but the actual figure is 1066 Y, if you do the math, but let’s stick with the 1000 Y, for simplicity sake. There’s still a 25% profit margin per pair of shoes, but at the 1000 Y price, there’s not a whole lot of buyers in China. The US manufacturer could lower the price of the shoes to 750 Y, but he or she isn’t making a penny at that price, and they’re still overpriced for the Chinese market. Say goodbye to the Chinese market for all US products at the new exchange rate.

US exports to China are going to shrink quite rapidly under this scenario. This means fewer American jobs, and less wages for everyone. It means less tax dollars going to schools and other government services, it means no retirement pay for a larger percentage of the 99 percent. Rich folks don’t need the money they’re going to steal from us, except to keep the latest stock market bubble surging, at least until it pops. However, greater profits mean the bubble can keep expanding for a while longer.

So how can US corporate leaders and their corrupt politicians encourage the Chinese government to manipulate its currency even more than it already has?

The scams that have been created to do this are called the Trans Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Authority. So what do these two things have to do with Chinese currency manipulation? More importantly, why would the Chinese

government want to engage in currency manipulation?

The answer in one word; Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of the nation’s involved in negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership. As you can see from the graph below, China’s annual minimum wage is nearly twice that of Vietnam. The wages in China at those Nike and Microsoft and Apple and Hewlett-Packard factories and their suppliers and contractors and subcontractors have been going up rapidly over the past fifteen years. Those labor costs have been able to go up because the Chinese government has increased the profit margins of its US manufacturers by manipulating its currency. But there’s another reason why China needs to manipulate its currency vis-a-vis the dollar.

As you can see from the map below, there are nearly 313,000 Nike workers toiling in Vietnam, and nearly 250,00 in China. Vietnam clearly has lower labor costs than those in China. The Chinese government, however, can offset its labor cost disadvantage by manipulating its currency. So it can keep those jobs in China, and still allow the wages of Chinese workers to expand. But that might not be the case should the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) become a reality.

Tariff is another word for tax. When a US company like Nike manufactures its products in Vietnam, and then exports them to the US, a tariff is charged against the products of between 10 and 15 percent. So another $10 to $15 dollars is added to the cost of a $100 pair of Nike’s Vietnamese made shoes exported to the USA. That means less profits, lower dividends, and lower share prices than would otherwise be the case without tariffs. The US tariffs on US corporate goods manufactured in Vietnamese factories helps to offset some of the Vietnamese labor cost advantages vis-a-vis the cost of Chinese labor.

Under the TPP, should it become law, those tariffs will likely be gone, giving Vietnam a much larger labor cost advantage over Chinese workers.

In which case, the Chinese government will have two options; let millions of Nike and Dell and Apple and Microsoft jobs head south to Vietnam, along with the jobs of contractors and subcontractors, or manipulate its currency even more, which means all of those US corporations manufacturing stuff in China for export to the US will see unprecedented and explosive growth of their profits; and all of this will occur at the expense of small and medium sized US companies that make stuff in the United States and export them to China.

That means several unpleasant things will occur to the US economy: US unemployment will grow with the TPP, as exports to China diminish, inequality in wealth and income will continue to increase during the reign of Obama and Wyden, the stock market bubble will continue to expand, the coming stock market crash will be even worse than imaginable, US businesses will need to export more US jobs to China, and all of these bad things will trickle down to more crowded classrooms, less government services, reduced wages, fewer jobs, more poverty, and much more negative stuff for the 99 percent. However, the super rich will become even more super rich. And Chinese currency manipulation will not be the only thing in the TPP contributing to all of these things. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/how-the-trans-pacific-partnership-will-destroy-american-jobs-by-destroying-us-exports/

The political game in the US over the TPP and Fast Track Authority currently being played out is a complete farce.

Start with Fast Track Authority, which President Obama, Nike, Microsoft, Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell and just about every major US corporate CEO and investor desperately want Obama to have. Fast track will limit congressional debate on trade deals, it will scuttle any possible congressional amendments, and eliminate the use of the filibuster in the senate to stop the TPP. Fast track needs to pass through both houses of congress.

As a condition for bringing Fast Track Authority to a debate on the floor of the US senate, on May 13, a number of Democrats who traditionally vote to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent (Ron Wyden, Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, Tim Kaine, Claire McCaskell, and Ben Cardin) agreed to first bring a vote for a bill by which the US will crackdown somehow on China for manipulating currency.

These folks know such a bill may not pass the senate, much less the house of representatives. If it did pass, then it will sit on Obama’s desk until Fast Track Authority passes both chambers of congress. Then he will veto the currency manipulation bill. There’s a ton of income to be redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent resting on his shoulders.

Then the above senators will pretend to the folks back home that they did all that they could, when in fact, they did nothing when they could have done something to protect the folks back home from the TPP.

Every US senator and every US house representative knows this is the game, and many are willing to play this deadly game so as to justify their support for giving President Obama Fast Track Authority, even though the TPP will likely rip out the guts of the middle class, as well as the US economy.

If the above named Democrats were at all serious about Chinese currency manipulation, then they would agree to wait until Wall Street President Barack Obama signed the bill into law before opening debate on fast track authority.  That won’t happen.

Fast Track Authority is the only way the president can ram the TPP through congress. It’s an income and political power redistribution agreement falsely marketed as a trade agreement. Most of those in the know say the TPP is dead if the president doesn’t receive fast track authority. So fast track is the key.

Save the United States. Fight against this madness called Fast Track Authority. The TPP will only create greater trade deficits in the future than is currently the case. As US Congressman Alan Grayson famously and recently said, “You will find that the largest fourteen trade deficits in the history of the world have been the US trade deficits in each of the last fourteen years….What sane person can look at these trade deficits and conclude we need more free trade?”

The political fight over the Trans Pacific Partnership, Fast Track Authority, and Chinese currency manipulation isn’t about sanity; it’s about greed and government corruption. It’s about raising the already soaring share prices, dividends and earnings of US corporations that have exported millions of US jobs to China and other third world nations, and doing so at the expense of everybody else. It’s about redistributing your standard of living to a small minority of overly rich people who have corrupted and rigged your government in favor of themselves. It’s about redistributing your income and wealth to the 1 percent so as to keep the current stock market bubble expanding. It’s about redistributing the American dream to the 1 percent. It’s about taking the opportunities that once existed for the majority of American citizens and wiping them out by giving 100 percent of all income growth to the 1 percent, and leaving more and more people in poverty.

Currently, the 1 percent steal 37 percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 8 percent in 1980, back when opportunities for financial advancement existed for most Americans. Now the big boys, and the politicians they’ve bought off in one way or the other, want to eliminate your opportunities, as well as those of your children.

Call your senators. Call your congressmen and congresswomen. Stop Fast Track in the senate. Stop the corruption. Stop the insanity.

Over the past fourteen years, since China was granted most favored nation trade status, Nike’s stock price has risen over a thousand percent, from $10 a share to over a $100. Chinese currency manipulation has helped fuel this bubble. So if you purchased a million shares of Nike in the year 2000, today the value of those shares would be over $10 million. With the TPP and Chinese currency manipulation, the value of Nike’s stock will continue to increase, but only at the expense of everybody else. Much of the US stock market bubble is fueled by the same force, and that goes for the stock prices of Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Adidas, Hewlett-Packard and more. And if the TPP goes through, more US manufacturers will need to shift production to China.

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Why do Nike executives want the US congress to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership?

The answer is simple, they want to offshore more jobs, which the corporation will be able to do once the TPP becomes law. But first let me explain a few things.

The folks at Nike declared that the notorious jobs exporter would create 10,000 new manufacturing jobs in the US if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is passed by congress. President Obama repeated this lie when he gave a speech at Nike headquarters on May 8. I should point out that 10,000 jobs represents less than 1 percent of Nike’s total manufacturing labor force. So it’s a drop in the bucket.

So how is it that the president is willing to share information from his top secret trade negotiations with Nike executives, but not with the rest of us?

This willingness to create jobs in the United States defies both logic and Nike’s history.

Nike is one of the top jobs exporters in all of US history, if not number one of all time. And the defining issue for Nike in the TPP, that we know of via leaked documents, is the desire of Nike executives to reduce or eliminate the tariff on Nike products the company exports to the United States from Vietnam, which swells the US trade deficit, and ask anybody, the latter is a bad thing.

If the TPP becomes law, we can count on tens of thousands of Nike jobs to be relocated from China to Vietnam because the wages in Vietnam are much lower than in China. This will increase Nike’s profits and stock price. Take a look at the history of Nike’s stock price below.

Nike’s stock price was barely over $4 a share in November 1994, just before the implementation of NAFTA in December 1994. It more than doubled between 1994 and 2000, because the company was able to export more jobs. Then China was given most favored nation status. The price of Nike stock has jumped more than a thousand percent since then because the company was able to export even more jobs. If you owned 1000 shares of Nike in 1994, your stock was worth $4000. Now it would be worth $100,000, and that doesn’t even count the yearly dividend payment.

Nike’s stock growth was a result of exporting jobs. When a job is exported from the US, the difference between the old higher US wage and the new lower Vietnam wage increases profits, which drives stock prices and dividends higher, but leaves everybody else in poverty.

So it’s more than likely that Nike will not shift production to the United States with or without the Trans Pacific Partnership. This suggests that people should rightly be suspicious of the dubious claim by Nike executives that they will create 10,000 US manufacturing jobs in the US if only the TPP passes through congress. Nike could do it right now. And the lowering of US tariffs on imports from Vietnam via the TPP gives Nike absolutely no incentive to create production jobs in the US. Rather, it gives Nike incentives to export the few production jobs in the US and the hundreds of thousands in China to Vietnam.

On the other hand, these executives want the TPP in the worst sort of way, which suggests they have had the privilege of seeing the text of the TPP, a right which is being denied to the rest of us.

So what is the president and his chief Wall Street henchman in the senate (Ron Wyden) hiding?

We know from leaked documents that the TPP will:

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010. Wyden wants to increase this number. Jobs are the biggest US export product. Wyden likes this.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA, compared to only 8 percent in 1980. International trade scams and other federal legislation have brought inequality about. For example, when the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices. Wyden is a principle architect of this inequality.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, K-12 education, higher education (tuition and fees will go up), social safety nets, schools, fire, police, public transportation, social security taxes, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination.

* TPP will eliminate millions of jobs in Latin America, which will drive millions of more people illegally into the United States and depress wages here. See How the Trans Pacific Partnership Will Destroy American Jobs and Exports

* TPP will jack up pharmaceutical prices by extending the patents of the pharmaceutical corporations. Hmm, that doesn’t sound like free trade. It sounds like they’re rigging the game against the 99 percent.

These things we know only from leaked documents, and they’re only a tiny bit of what’s been negotiated. It doesn’t seem like the stuff we don’t know about in the TPP is going to be very good for the majority of citizens, otherwise, the president would let us know what is in the TPP, which is precisely what the president doesn’t want us to know. If the TPP is so good for the majority of American citizens, as the president claims, then why don’t the rich folks want us to know what’s in it?

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According to Vermont Public Radio, US Senator Bernie Sanders will announce his bid for the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday. Sander’s is given little chance of winning the nomination by the corporate press, but there’s a reason why this isn’t so. The senator appeals to Democrats and Republicans on bread and butter issues, and he has a 100 voting score with the National Rifle Association.

Sanders will release a short statement on Thursday and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont several weeks from now.

Sander’s candidacy means the middle class wing of the Democratic Party will challenge the deep pockets of the Wall Street wing of the Party, which is represented by Hilliary Clinton.

“Sanders’ basic message will be that the middle class in America has been decimated in the past two decades while wealthy people and corporations have flourished because the rich have taken over government, and used their control to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

His opposition to a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.) shows how he plans to frame this key issue of his campaign.

“If you want to understand why the middle class in America is disappearing and why we have more wealth and income inequality in America than we have had since the late 1920s, you have to address the issue of trade,” Sanders said in a phone interview on April 23.

As the longest-serving Independent member of Congress, Sanders has been a vocal critic of the influence that large corporations have on the political process.

“All of the major corporations want to continue with this trade policy. Wall Street wants to continue this trade policy. The drug companies want to continue this trade policy. But organizations representing American workers and the environment do not want to continue the trade policy. They want new trade policies,” he said. Sanders did not point out that Wall Street’s Democratic hopeful Hilliary Clinton also supports these income redistribution policies falsely marketed as free trade treaties, and especially the TPP.

And Sanders says it is imperative that all the Democratic presidential candidates address the issue of trade and income inequality.

“So, I think that Hillary Clinton and every candidate out there should in fact address whether or not they support this T.P.P.,” Sanders said. So expect Hilliary to lie on the issue time and again in public.

In the past few months, Sanders has been actively visiting many of the early presidential primary states. Just last weekend he traveled to South Carolina to address the state Democratic Party and news reports indicate that his economic message drew a lot of support at the state meeting. The grass roots are rallying to Sanders, not to Hilliary.

The corporate propaganda machine gives Sanders little chance of defeating Clinton. However, that’s part of the propaganda ploy they play on the American people. They’ll label the best chance for America’s middle class (Sanders) as having no chance of winning the nomination, and they’ll tell voters not to waste their vote on Bernie. However, Sanders wouldn’t be running if he didn’t have the grass roots support to win.

The reality is that every vote for Hilliary and every vote for a Republican candidate is a vote to continue the political and economic policies that have been destroying the middle class by redistributing their wealth and income to the super rich for the last thirty-four years.

In other words, a vote for Hilliary or any Republican candidate by any member of the 99 percent is a vote to commit financial suicide. It’s a complete waste of your vote. Vote for real hope and change. Vote for Bernie!

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A new congressional study suggests that massive immigration increases in recent decades have hammered middle-class wages. Whether through taking jobs or casting votes, hyper-immigration is revolutionizing the U.S.

We are a nation of immigrants, it is often reflexively said. But it is a little-known fact that our foreign-born population dropped more than 11% in the quarter century after World War II.

Since 1970, however, we have become a nation of hyper-immigration, as the foreign-born among us have exploded from fewer than 10 million to more than 41 million as of 2013 — a staggering 324.5% increase.

If a job cannot be exported, then immigrants are encouraged by business and government leaders to enter the United States to generate greater competition among middle class workers, which lowers wages and benefits. For example, a recent study shows that three out of four high tech workers are unemployed in their areas of expertise, and wages in the high tech sector are the same as during the early 1990s, and yet congressional leaders want to admit more immigrants via the H1-B visa. In this way wages and salaries will continue to stay artificially low, which benefits the 1 percent at the expense of the middle class.

The difference between the old higher wages (what wages should be under normal immigration increases) and the new lower wages with hyper immigration, goes straight into the pockets of the super rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.

The middle class is getting hammered by the loss of millions of jobs that are exported via international agreements falsely marketed as free trade agreements. But the middle and lower classes are also getting hammered by hyper immigration. These two governmental policies are income redistribution scams perpetrated by the leadership of both major political parties and their billionaire and corporate sponsors, such as the Koch Brothers and Warren Buffett.

How badly has immigration and free trade policies been for the middle and lower classes?

“A new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service for the Senate Judiciary Committee finds that during this era of free trade and hyper-immigration, incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans flat-lined, then dropped starting in 2000. By comparison, middle-class wages increased between 1945 and 1970.

Last year, Karen Zeigler and Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies found that, according to federal government data, “since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).”

In the fourteen plus years since 2000, less than six million net jobs have been created in the United States, and all of them have gone to immigrants. On the other hand, according to the Federal Reserve, 28 million jobs were exported from the USA from 1990 to 2010, and several million more have been exported since 2010.

Salaries, wages and benefits would be going up if the United States had six million less working age immigrants. More significantly, however, US wages would be surging and our tepid economy would be booming if those trade agreements hadn’t been conceived. In both cases, trade agreements and immigration, income and wealth inequality in the USA would not be nearly so significant as it is now.

While so-called international trade agreements are the major cause of the income and wealth inequality of the last thirty-five years, with the 1 percent going from taking 8 percent of all income created in the USA in 1980 to 37 percent today, immigration (legal and illegal) is another, though admittedly lesser, but still significant, culprit in the financial war the super rich are waging against the middle class.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest income redistribution scam of all time. It is falsely being marketed as a free trade treaty. The Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, led by President Obama and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, have merged with the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party. The TPP will provide incentives for US corporations to ship millions of US jobs overseas, and drive millions of Latin American immigrants illegally into the United States simultaneously, just like NAFTA did.

That’s why the TPP is another income redistribution scam for the 1 percent.

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This story was written by Katie Rose Quandt and originally published on BillMoyers.com.

Front-line workers at our nation’s big banks — tellers, loan interviewers and customer service representatives — are required by their employers to exploit customers, according to a revealing report out today from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). Big banks have internal systems of penalties and rewards that entice employees to push subprime loans and credit cards on customers who would be better off without them.

CPD’s report outlines several illegal predatory practices big banks have been caught employing, usually via their front-line workers:

Blatantly discriminatory lending:
In 2011 and 2012, Bank of America and Wells Fargo paid out settlements for charging higher rates and fees to tens of thousands of African American and Hispanic borrowers than to similarly qualified white customers. Minority customers were also more likely to be steered into (more expensive, riskier) subprime mortgages.
Manipulating payment processing to maximize overdraft charges:
When a savings account balance drops too low, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee on each subsequent purchase. Both Bank of America and US Bank paid settlements for intentionally processing customers’ largest debit card payments first, regardless of chronological order, in order to hit $0 faster and maximize overdraft fees. US Bank was also accused of allowing debit card purchases on zero-balance accounts to go through (and incur overdraft fees), instead of denying the charges upfront.
Forcing sale of unneeded products:
Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup were accused of forcing customers to purchase overpriced property insurance.
Manipulative sales quotas:
Lawsuits show Wells Fargo and Bank of America created incentive programs for employees with the interests of the company — not the customer — in mind. Wells Fargo’s sales quotas encouraged bank workers to steer prime-eligible customers to subprime loans, while falsifying other clients’ income information without their knowledge. Bank of America’s “Hustle” program rewarded quantity over quality, encouraging workers to skip processes and checks intended to protect the borrower.

Instead of cutting back on the risky, unethical practices that led to the Great Recession, the CPD report asserts that big banks have not learned from their mistakes. Bank workers report higher levels of sales pressure in 2013 than in 2008, and most do not have the job security or seniority to simply refuse to hawk credit cards or steer customers into risky financial situations. While the financial sector is turning near-record profits, the average bank teller made just $12.25 an hour in 2013 (a real-dollar decrease from 2007), causing 31 percent of tellers’ families to rely on public assistance. What’s more, 85 percent of these underpaid front-line bank employees are women, and one-third are people of color. Most are in no position to risk losing their job or having their pay docked for stepping out of line.

Several anonymous big bank employees went into detail about how their employers incentivize sales:

An HSBC employee reported that when workers fell short of sales goals, the difference was taken out of their paychecks.
A teller at a major bank said she is expected to sell three new checking, savings, or debit card accounts every day. If she falls short, she gets written up.
Customer service representatives at one major bank’s call-center said everyone is expected to make at least 40 percent of the sales of the top seller. Credit card sales count for extra, encouraging callers to push credit cards on customers who would be better served with checking or savings accounts.
A call-center worker said she offers a credit card to every customer, regardless of whether it would be beneficial. She explained: “If you aren’t offering, you can get marked down — the managers and Quality Analysts listen to your call, and can tell if you aren’t offering.”

“We’re not servicing their needs,” said one front-line worker. “What they want, what they need, isn’t important to us. Selling them a product is … Some of our customers just have their savings, many are just retirees.”

As the report concludes, “Our nation’s big banks are committed to a model that jeopardizes our communities and prevents bank employees from having a voice in their workplace.”

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