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Archive for the ‘wealth redistribution’ Category

If money is free speech, then so too are cocaine, cigarettes, gold, silver, services of a prostitutes, and just about everything else you can think of.

If, as the US Supreme Court has ruled, the government is severely restricted in regulating money in politics because money is free speech, then the government also has to be severely restricted in how it regulates cocaine, cigarettes, child pornography, services of prostitutes, and just about everything else you can think of.

There is a simple reason why these assertions are true.

Money is not speech. Money is a medium of exchange. That’s the heart of the matter.

A medium of exchange is something that buyers will exchange with a seller when they want to purchase goods or services from the seller. While many things could be used as a medium of exchange in an economy, money is the most common and useful medium of exchange in our society.

In 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that spending money was speech. Thirty-four years later, the US Supreme Court rolled back 100 years of legal precedence in the Citizen’s United case and severely restricted the US government’s ability to regulate the expenditure of money in politics, since money was speech. Since then, the court has further rolled back the US government’s ability to regulate the money being spent in politics. Strange as it may seem to the court’s less honest jurors, the First  Amendment doesn’t mention money, but it does protect speech, not money.

If a medium of exchange such as money is free speech, then no government anyplace under the US Constitution can restrict your use of it to purchase anything, such as prostitutes and illegal drugs. Based on the logic of the US Supreme Court, the next time you’re arrested for using your free speech rights to purchase cocaine or prostitutes, you should defend yourself through the “spending money is free speech” legal illogic, and take it all the way to the US Supreme Court. The corrupt wing of that court (Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy) have no choice but to side with you if they desire to be consistent in their opinions.

Obviously, any medium of exchange has free speech rights. What about gold? What about bartering? What about cigarettes? Cigarettes and gold have been used as medium’s of exchange, and they too have free speech rights.

Dictionary.com defines barter as, “to exchange in trade, as one commodity for another; trade.”

People trade dollars for goods and services, and so anybody who uses money or any other medium of exchange to purchase anything is merely exercising his or her free speech rights.

Since money is a medium of exchange, and is now considered free speech (even if not one cent of US currency can speak a single syllable of English), it stands to reason that the equal protection clause of the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment protects the free speech rights of other forms of medium of exchange–such as bartering.

Long before money was even an idea, people bartered in order to exchange goods and services.

Say that Short Fat Fanny wants to purchase political advertising on the local television station in Fargo, North Dakota. She doesn’t have any money, but she can offer services. And since Fanny is a prostitute and is willing to barter with William, the manager of the television station, for air time, Fanny’s services are clearly just as much free speech as say a Political Action Committee (PAC) using money to purchase air time on William’s station. Fanny’s services are a medium of exchange. Just like a PAC exchanges money for air time, Fanny exchanges services for air time, and maybe tosses in some crack heroin as part of the bargain. Crack heroin now becomes free speech and has First Amendment rights.

People have used cigarettes, gold, fish, crack heroin, sea shells and other things as medium of exchanges, and therefore anything that can be used as a medium of exchange in the purchase of goods and services should be protected First Amendment rights, according to the logic of the court.

In effect, although the corporate propaganda machine doesn’t want you to know this, the supreme court’s decision to give the action of spending money free speech rights, and the court’s later decisions in Citizen’s United and other cases that rolled back the government’s ability to regulate money in politics, extends beyond politics and into every area of government regulation, since spending money is protected as free speech by the First Amendment.

Citizen’s United and Buckley v. Valeo have opened a whole new ball game in the world of politics, and in everyday life.

One can only conclude that the corrupt corporate wing of the US Supreme Court has made some incredibly stupid decisions in these cases, or they made some deliberate political decisions in helping the 1 percent in their war against the middle class.

However, these are not stupid little boys on the court, we can be rest assured that the decisions made in equating spending money to free speech, and limiting the government’s abilities to regulate money in politics, was done in order to allow the 1 percent to use as much money as they could to purchase every iota of advertising space on the air waves and in print during election cycles. That way, the corrupt wing of the court no doubt reasoned, they can keep the 99 percent ill informed and confused as to where politicians actually stand on issues, and to confuse the voters on ballot issues, as well.

The justices made the above rulings in order to rig the economic and political games for the 1 percent and against the 99 percent. In other words, the justices mentioned above are avowed class warriors on behalf of the super rich.

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Editorial by Brian Schweitzer

Ever since I wrote the opinion piece on the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity that recently appeared in several Montana newspapers (for example, the February 19 Billings Gazette:Brian Switzer on the Koch Brothers in Montana , I’ve heard from a lot of friends and acquaintances in Montana and other states. Folks were as astonished as I was at the amount of government subsidies the Koch brothers receive from one ranch in one state while they hired 11 staffers to keep healthcare from people in Montana. And others have pointed out that the former state director of AFP, former state Senator Joe Balyeat, happily received generous government-paid healthcare.

I do need to correct one error in my opinion piece. My calculations on the state and federal grazing subsidies enjoyed by the Koch brothers in Montana were wrong. They were too low. I based the number of cattle on the assumption that during the driest year since 1960, the Koch ranch would have reduced cattle numbers down that year. I gave them the extreme benefit of the doubt, but they actually have 6,500 head, not 2,000 head.

That means the Koch brothers government subsidies, on just one ranch in one state, are actually 225% greater than I had calculated, meaning the government aid to run the Koch ranch in Montana is not 12.5 million bucks, but actually $28 million. My bad.

These government subsidies help pay for the AFP’s “political attack on the moderate wing of House Republicans,” – an attack reported on by Troy Carter of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (Joe Carter on the Welfare Queens Known as the Koch Brothers in Montana). Carter says Americans for Prosperity is spending thousands of dollars on radio and TV ads to attack Republican legislators like Representatives “Geraldine Custer of Forsyth, Doc Moore of Missoula, Christy Clark of Choteau, Frank Garner of Kalispell, Jeff Wellborn of Dillon and Tom Berry of Roundup.”

These are good and honest legislators – some of whom I’ve disagreed with quite a bit in the past – but they are independent Montanans who are being pressured by one of the wealthiest families in the world to deny healthcare to Montanans.

This is the same AFP the Koch brothers announced will spend a “staggering” $889 million on the 2016 elections (National Public Radio, Koch Brothers to Spend More Than a Billion Dollars on 2016 Presidential Election) – more than any political party has ever spent during a presidential election year. This secretive fortune will be spent to ensure that you and I pay for the Koch brothers’ government subsidies while the elderly, students, poor people and working families get little-to-squat. In essence, according to a political scientist quoted in the NPR report linked above, the Koch brothers have bought and paid for a new political party run by the ultra-wealthy for the ultra-wealthy.

When the Koch brothers attacked labor unions, some people stood back because they weren’t in a union. When they attacked the poor, some looked the other way because they were middle class. When they attacked the Democrats, some stood aside because they weren’t a Democrat. Now, they are even attacking Republicans in Montana. Montana, let’s stand together and send the Kochs’ money and message back to Kansas, where they belong!

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“Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we were so poor that we couldn’t tell–Song of the South by Alabama

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an international income and political power redistribution scam falsely marketed as a free trade agreement, which is exactly why President Obama, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, as well as most of the Republican Party support this scam. It will redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

According to economist Thomas Piketty, in his seminal work, Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, the United States has a record “level of inequality of income from labor (probably higher than in any other society at any time in the past, anywhere in the world, including societies in which skill disparities were extremely large)….”

Don’t let Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden lie to you. If we are going to defeat the job killing, environmentally devastating, Trans-Pacific Partnership from being railroaded through Congress using Fast Track Authority, then we need to get Senator Wyden to oppose it once again. He was against it before he was for it, so he can change his mind on this, but your voice matters, so call now. This time his vote in the senate matters most to all Americans.
Please make the call to 1-866-502-6055 and tell the senator you are against Fast Track Authority and the international income redistribution scam known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
What is Fast Track Authority? What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Why does Senator Wyden support them? I’m happy you asked.
The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Debate is also limited. Fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

Former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder has calculated that 22 percent to 29 percent of all U.S. jobs could potentially be offshored if the TPP is approved by congress. 25 percent would translate to 36 million workers whose wages are in competition with those in largely lower-income nations. Of the 11 nations with which the United States is negotiating the TPP, nine have wage levels significantly lower than ours.

The difference between the old higher US wages of the jobs exported, and the soon to be lower wages overseas, would go straight into the pockets of the super rich via higher dividends, share prices, and soaring corporate profits. In addition, for a job well done in offshoring jobs, CEOs will receive raises and bonuses. Currently, on average, US CEOs receive a record 475 times more in pay than the lowest paid workers in their companies. See The Ratio of CEO to Average Worker Pay

According to Harold Meyerson writing in the Washington Post, “By avoiding discussion of the consequences that trade deals with developing nations have on U.S. workers, not to mention our trade balance, defenders of free trade are indulging in the worst kind of imperviousness to facts. But when the case for free trade is coupled with the case for raising U.S. workers’ incomes, it enters a zone where real numbers, and real Americans’ lives, matter. In that zone, the argument for the kind of free-trade deal embodied by NAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership completely blows up. Such deals increase the incomes of Americans investing abroad even as they diminish the incomes of Americans working at home. They worsen the very inequality against which the president rightly campaigns.

There are ways that a developed nation can trade with the developing world without gutting its own economy. Germany has been able to protect its workers not only through the advantage of having the euro as its currency, but also by requiring its corporations to give their employees a major say in their companies’ investment decisions and by embracing a form of capitalism in which shareholders don’t play a major role. Were the United States to adopt this form of stakeholder capitalism, then its trade accords wouldn’t necessarily come at the expense of its workers. Absent such reforms, however, trade deals will only negate our attempts to diminish inequality.”

If the TPP is approved by congress and signed by the president, only the rich will benefit, and at the expense of our jobs. But there’s more. Those lost jobs pay our taxes, and so the TPP will lower the amount of tax dollars going to schools, fire, police, parks, recreation, road maintenance, and DMV services, among other things.

So we know President Obama, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, and the Republican leadership in congress (think Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch) are intending to rob from the middle class and give to the super rich, and those are the people they serve.

For more on what Harold Meyerson has to say about the TPP, click on the link below.

Free Trade and the Loss Of US Jobs–Washington Post

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US Senator Elizabeth Warren and US Congressman Elijah Cummings today announced the launching of the The Middle Class Prosperity Project. Warren pointed out the unequal distribution of income and wealth has been due to the government, which has been rigged (you can say corrupted) to only help the rich at the expense of the middle class.

Warren and Cummings call for reversing some of the inequality which has taken place. Warren pointed out that the government earned over $60 billion in interest from nearly $3 trillion student loans last year, and that this profit subsidizes tax cuts for billionaires. She said that student loans could be renegotiated to reduce the interest rates student pay, and that would help out the middle class. Run! Elizabeth! Run!

Check out the USA Today story by clicking on the link below.

Warren & Cummings: Free the middle class–USA Today

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“A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – along with its localized sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.”

Why would rich people want to stop poor people from earning more money? The answer is simple.

The financial markets are Ponzi schemes. More and more money has to be pumped into the financial markets, or the values of corporate shares that are traded on those markets will crumble into nothingness. For example, if shares of Weyerhauser climb to $50 per share, yet profits go down, more sellers will enter the market than buyers, and the value of the shares go down. However, the process is also true if profits stay the same from one quarter to the next. In which case, there might be exactly as many buyers as sellers of Weyerhauser shares if other stock prices are rising.

Why hold a static stock when when you can sell and purchase shares that are on the rise? The result of static corporate profits (and profits are the key to whether or not share prices rise), is to send share prices down. Weyerhauser’s stock plummeted from $50 to $1 per share from 1929 to 1933, which is when the Ponzi Scheme known as Wall Street collapsed. I demonstrated this in greater detail in The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed.

This is why ALEC opposes increasing the minimum wage anywhere except for shareholders, CEOs and corporate lobbyists. If corporations need to pay workers higher wages, that will reduce profits and potentially send share prices lower. This is also why the 1 percent wage war against the middle class, corrupt government at all levels with their ill-gotten gains, and have their legislators push legislation to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This is also why we have much greater inflation today than the government lets us know about, but that’s another story.

Check out the rest of the story from the Guardian by clicking on the link below.

How a powerful rightwing lobby is plotting to stop minimum wage hikes–the Guardian

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The top two percent do not pay any social security taxes on any amount of income they earn over $110,000. That’s called a cap on contributions. So a person who earns $110,000 a year pays the exact same amount in social security taxes as people who earn $4 billion a year. Currently, the 1 percent steal over 36 percent of the total income produced in the United States, up from 21 percent in 2009, and 8 percent in 1980. The 1 percent are stealing more of your income via federal legislation, such as Fast Track, free trade agreements, privatization scams, and tax cuts for the rich. the-rigged-game-how-much-do-us-corporations-pay-in-taxes?-well-now-how-much-did-bank-of-america-pay-in-taxes-in-2013-on-profits-of-over-4-billion-in-profits?-and-what-does-fast-track-legislation have to do with this?–JohnHively.wordpress.com

To make the social security trust fund more solvent, and it’s pretty solvent right now, the obvious initial thing to do in order to by-pass the government corruption that has brought about this lopsided and non-market related redistribution of income over the last thirty years is to eliminate the cap on social security tax payments. Let Warren Buffett and the Koch Brothers pay their fair share.

The social security trust fund has a surplus of $2.6 trillion that earns nearly $200 billion a year in revenue. Those figures would go way up if the cap were eliminated. If the 1 percent were stealing only 8 percent of the nation’s income, the surplus would be closer to $4 trillion, and collecting $350 billion a year in interest payments.

Obviously, under current circumstances, as income continues to be redistributed to the 1 percent from the 99 percent, less and less money is paid into the social security trust fund because of the cap. This will bring about the program’s insolvency by roughly the year 2042. Some estimates are 2035 or so. In other words, rising inequality brought about by government policies is jeopardizing the social security program.

President Obama and Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell want to ensure you and your grandparents live in utter, abject poverty so that the rich can continue to steal more of your grandparents money because they support the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest and most sinister international income and political power redistribution scam in the history of the United States, which is falsely labeled a free trade agreement, and which has virtually nothing to do with trade. See the link above for more information of this.

See the link below for more information of the effect of government sponsored inequality on the social security trust fund.

The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security–Center for American Progress

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