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Posts Tagged ‘income inequality’

U.S. Senate Republicans cannot figure out the math. As a political party of consequence, they are on the verge of historical irrelevance after the November elections. There are several red (Republican) states turning purple and or on their way to becoming blue (Democratic). Virginia is turning bluer by the moment, and so is North Carolina. Red states such as Texas and Arizona have a blue tinge and are getting bluer.

Now let’s count how many blue states are turning red. Oh, yes! That’s easy. The answer is zero.

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will likely be the next senate minority leader come November, fifteen to twenty  Republican senators will not vote yes to a 5th coronavirus aid package even as the unemployment rate soars during the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

This crisis was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic to be sure, but forty years of Republican and Democratic Party legislation redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent have caused the crisis to be deeper and getting deeper than it otherwise would be. The 1 percent were getting about 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980 while nowadays that number hovers around 38+ percent not counting money the rich have offshore to avoid their fair share of taxes. Three people (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett) had more wealth than the 90 percent of Americans as of a few years ago. Now it is possible that three people have more wealth than the bottom 95 percent of the population since Buffett has gotten richer since then but has fallen to number eight this year.

The rich receive 2/3rds to 100 percent of their income and wealth from corporations. This is why the CARES ACT legislation was easily passed back in March by both Democrats and Republicans. The two parties voted to give the rich $4.75 trillion in a $2.2 trillion package while giving the rest of us crumbs. Click here for that story. The two parties were voting to protect the financial engine of the rich.

One of the sticking points in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans this week is the $600 a week the unemployed were receiving and that officially ended on July 31th. Republicans argue that this paid more money to some unemployed people than they were actually earning on their jobs. Trump’s brain-dead, incompetent and hypocritical Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this morning during an Interview with ABC’s “This Week” than nobody should be given more money than they earn but the Republicans did not mind giving away $4.75 trillion to the 300,000 richest of Americans for sitting on their asses and not doing anything.

Senate Republicans and House Democrats are negotiating this weekend to prevent the economic disaster from spreading.

McConnell and the Republicans could only offer a $1 trillion relief package in the current negotiations that will fall far short of saving the nation from this disaster. U.S. House Democrats, under Majority leader Nancy Pelosi, proposed and passed through the House the HEROES Act, a $3.4 trillion stimulus package two months ago, which is also likely to fall short of our nation’s needs.

The failure of the Republicans to take this economic crisis seriously means more states are going to continue to turn blue for generations to come, making the Republican Party a permanent super minority party for decades to come on its way to becoming the political party of irrelevance.

 

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U.S. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must be as stupid as U.S. Senator’s Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Paul and Cruz oppose the U.S. House of Representatives Heroes bill sponsored by the Democratic Party that will continue to provide $600 a week to the unemployed until January, as well as tens of billions of dollars to cities and states that are experiencing reduced tax dollars and will likely need to lay off tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or more, of public employees without further Federal aid.

Many Republican senators are opposed to the HEROES Act because it will not reward their billionaire owners to the same degree the CARES Act did, and which gave the superrich and their corporations $4.75 trillion in a $2.2 trillion bill. (Click here for that story.)

McConnell, appearing to be a dimwit, does not understand the issue that will decide the election in November. “It’s the economy stupid,” James Carville used to say. Carville was Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign manager in 1992. They won the election in 1992.

“We swears to serve the master of the precious.”

The U.S. economy is tanking big time. The only thing stopping the economy from further falling and moving into a Great Depression is the CARES Act, one of whose most important provisions for the 99 percent is about to expire. That provision is the $600 a week extra in unemployment benefits.

McConnell does not understand the economy needs people to spend money to keep it afloat. He opposes the $600 extra a week because some people are receiving more money than they were earning at their jobs, giving them an incentive to not look for work. Who cares? That $600 dollars is helping to keep the economy afloat, and there are not a whole bunch of available jobs out there right now anyway.

When cities, counties and states begin to lay off employees by the tens of thousands, along with those folks on unemployment who will stop receiving that $600 at the end of this month, the economy will likely move into a Great Depression, if we have not already done so.

The result will be a Democratic Party wave in November. Then it is likely the Republican Party will begin its fade into the history books as more and younger voters have become Bernie style Democratic Socialists, which is to say New Deal Democrats. McConnell and the rest of the Republican senators are about to send their political party into historical oblivion after voting to reward their billionaire backers $4.75 trillion while providing the vast majority of U.S. citizens crumbs with the CARES Act last March.

Meanwhile, U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi decided to placate her Party’s base by sponsoring the Heroes Act, but not that saving the base and the economy from ruin was something she actually wanted to do. The Heroes Act is the fourth stimulus package since March and her attempts to save the billionaires who control her Party and neglect the financial needs of the 99 percent is most obvious by this fact alone. Something must have clicked in her brain to come up with the HEROES Act.

She likely came to understand saving the economy and the billionaires from ruin means having to save the rest of us. McConnell, Rand Paul and “tiny hands” Ted Cruz have not figured out this basic economic issue yet even as Texas, the state Cruz represents, is rapidly turning blue along with Virginia, North Carolina, and several other states the Republican Party reliably once controlled.

When these states turn blue, this will eliminate the Republican Party as a factor in national politics. This has already occurred on several state levels. The Republican Party used to control California. Now it is the super minority party in both of California’s legislative houses. McConnell, Cruz and Paul are hastening the Party’s decline by their economic stupidity. It’s the economy stupid!

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I wonder how bad this economic downturn is going to be. This recession just began in February 2020. The economy is opening up for the first time since the coronavirus struck the United States and people are saying the economy is going to pop right out of its slump. I doubt that.

This week, I saw all kinds of people standing in the soup line three blocks long, which was three blocks longer than two weeks ago. Facebook just laid off my friend across the street a couple weeks ago. Just a week ago, a long-time friend was furloughed from her job for the summer. My domestic partner has seen her hours reduced at work. Middle class families are rummaging through my garbage and recycle bins. The rich are getting richer. Maybe that was the big boys plan.

No, I just do not see an economic recovery around the corner. I see a deep recession. One of my local bicycle stores is closed, along with two bakeries, the coffee shop, the chocolate shop, my chiropractor and others. Four blocks away two Vietnamese restaurants have closed permanently along with a pizza parlor. Seven blocks away the Roseway Theater is shuttered. Next to it the wedding store is closed forever, and next door to that the appliance repair store is gone. All have closed permanently since March 2020. All have been open since at least the 1980s. The Roseway Theater had been open since 1924.

The coronavirus pandemic ignited this recession, but its depth and misery for Americans have been caused by 40 years of relentless class warfare by the rich. The opening shots of the war began in 1971 when a little known Republican tobacco attorney named Lewis Powell wrote what is known as the Powell manifesto urging the rich to combine their resources, establish a variety of organizations to turn back the clock to the era of the robber barons, take over the courts, and generally fight back against the Constitutional and democratic rights of the vast majority of people. The rich took his advice. They organized. Out popped the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Federalist Society, and a lot more. Two months after he wrote his manifesto, Powell was sitting on the Supreme Court bench serving the rich as a legalized guerilla fighter in their war against the rest of us.

The Roseway Theater is closed and that financially helps streaming corporations like Amazon and Apple and their rich shareholders become richer. The local restaurants are gone but that financially helps Walmart, Domino’s Pizza and other major corporations and billionaire owned private equity companies by eliminating the local competition, and their rich shareholders are prospering at the expense of local business people, the real entrepreneurs, people who are our neighbors. The local coffee shops are gone, and that helps the affluent shareholders of Starbucks and other major coffee corporations get richer.

A recent poll shows 62 percent of Americans think the United States is in the toilet. Political corruption on a massive scale has done that, with the billionaires in control of both major political parties, as well as the Supreme Court. (Click here for that story)

The CARES Act of March 2020 was supposed to help the economy with loans to small businesses, but apparently, the authorized money is not enough and perhaps deliberately so. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. The CARES Act authorized $4.75 trillion to save the 1 percent who derive the vast majority of their income and wealth from major corporations.

Bloomberg reports the Federal Reserve is printing and giving billions of dollars to major corporations, such as Walmart, AT&T, and United Health. Technically, those are loans but will likely be forgiven. Meanwhile, those billions find their way into the hands of the rich via higher dividends and capital gains. Click here for that story.

If you count capital gains, the rich have gone from stealing 7 percent of all income produced in the United States in 1971 when Lewis Powell wrote the Powell Manifesto to at least 37 percent by 2016. It is likely closer to 40 percent in 2020. You can thank the corporate wing of the Supreme Court for much of that gain.

Don’t you think it’s time to forget about our petty differences on the social issues the rich have used their news organizations to get us to focus on, and unite to save ourselves against the depredations of the rich? If not for yourselves, why don’t you do it for future generations?

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Divide and conquer; nobody has done it better than the billionaires who have controlled the United States via their two major political parties and their Supreme Court for the last forty years. But first a few comments.

I wonder if the downturn of the stock market on June 9-11, 2020 was just a correction, although I am suspicious it marks an increase in market volatility on its way toward the intersection where the real downtrodden economy meets the robust Wall Street market. In which case, we could be looking at a rapid or slow and long-term decline in share prices.

I do not think a lot of people understand that we are at the beginning of a recession and not at the end. I suspect that many people were buying the stocks of corporations for the last two weeks that are going bankrupt (think Hertz) because of desperation of their financial situations since 40 percent of US adults do not have $400 to cover an emergency, not in savings, not in credit cards or other assets, if I remember correctly.

I have read and listened to many experts on the rise of the stock market since March while the economy has tanked, but I have not heard how income and wealth inequality has driven the stock markets to record highs by redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over the last forty years, nor do I hear how financially desperate many people are; not even those who are buying bankrupt Hertz and J.C. Penny shares. Those subjects are not allowed by the billionaires who own all the major news sources.

I have a good neighbor and he just got laid off from his job and fears losing his house. I see desperation written all over his face and in the tone of his voice when I speak with him. I see the middle class families in nice cars and wearing nice clothes rummaging through the recycle bins the night before the trucks pick that stuff up. Most, but not all of these folks, did not begin their rummaging pilgrimages until March. I watched videos a few days ago of the first food lines for the middle class since the Great Depression of 1929-40, a line of 600+ cars deep, people in their new Toyota Lexus’s, and other high end newer cars, who needed to gather free food in order to feed themselves. 20 to 40 million people are unemployed and all the congress would do was save the billionaires. See The CARES Act; the Rich get $4.75 Trillion and We Get the Crumbs.

We are at the beginning of a recession that will be severe because 40 years of the greed of sociopathic rich folks who control both major political parties and the Supreme Court, and who can never get enough money, and far more than they could ever spend, and who derive almost, and in many cases, all, of their income and wealth from the ownership of corporate shares, either through capital gains, dividends or corporate bonds.

Then you have the gullible grassroots on the political right who have been led to think the communists are controlling things; and then you have the gullible on the left who think the Democratic Party leaders actually give a rat’s ass about them; for the grassroots of both the left and right, the reality is unhidden and staring straight into their eyes.

All you need to do is look at Nancy Pelosi’s Heroes Act, the fifth stimulus since coronavirus shut down the U.S.; this legislation extends the government’s extra $600 unemployment insurance per week through the end of the year, and provides other income to the 99 percent too, although much of the money in the proposed legislation will still go to the rich. Pelosi waited to push the Heroes Act through the Democratic controlled House after both Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump said they were not interested in a fifth stimulus. Pelosi knew the Heroes Act was grand theatre for the blind faithful even though she could have easily negotiated more money for the 99 percent with McConnell and Trump during the first, second, and third bailouts, when McConnell and Trump were desperate to save the billionaires who pull their strings, which happen to be the same strings they use to pull Nancy Pelosi with. She did not negotiate for us little folks. Did she?

The billionaires pulled the strings of Pelosi, McConnell and Trump to come up with the notorious CARES Act, which bailed out the rich and their corporations to the tune of $4.75 trillion while throwing crumbs at the masses, which made for good theatrical effect. The billionaire’s corporate news media did their duty and only reported on the crumbs and how great they were.

As for the grassroots on the right, the CARES ACT alone should tell them how insanely wrong they are to assume Democratic Party politicians are controlled by communists, and the CARES Act should tell them that Republican politicians would not give a snail’s fart to help them out during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And you would think the blind followers of the Democrats could figure out that the Democratic Party politicians have not cared about them since Jimmy Carter was president.

The voters of both sides, you would think, would by now figure out that both Democratic and Republican Party politicians threw them overboard forty years ago. It only takes one thing: using your brains to put two and two together.

Billionaires own this nation, both political parties, they have at least five United States Supreme Court judges in their back pockets, along with a lot of other judges; they own the media and only tell you what they want you to believe, and most of you believe the propaganda and the lies used to turn the grassroots of the right and the left against each other.

No, this economic crisis will not be over soon. This is going to be a long economic nightmare. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have been drained financially dryer during the last few months alone.

We have to figure out how, as a people and as a nation, we want to come out of this crisis. Lurching forward into another economic wasteland like Argentina is for the vast majority of its people; or with a strong political change that reins in the obvious corruption at all levels of the U.S. government, and ensuring a government of, by and for the people, rather than just continuing to impoverish ourselves under the dictatorship of the billionaires.

We have a collective choice to make and the time has come to cast aside our petty differences and organize. The 1 percent were taking at least 37 percent of the income produced in this nation in 2019, up from 8 percent in 1980. They are probably raking in over 40 percent so far this year. Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates owned more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and that was before the crisis began. They are richer now.

If our situation continues on this path, the rich will steal even more income and wealth than is currently the case. Then we will be a nation like Argentina, once boasting a prosperous middle class on a level with the best European nations, and now with a population of mostly desperate people.

In the USA, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue and become stronger unless the grassroots of both sides come together and realize they have economic issues that bind them. Until that day, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue to impoverish us all even more so than today.

The billionaires will continue to use their corporate media to divide us and make permanent their conquest and subversion of our democracy, our Constitution, and our governments at all levels, local, state and federal.

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The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a few days ago that the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May 2020. This hardly seems likely. As you can see from the graph above, over 8 million people filed for unemployment insurance during the four weeks of May. If the U.S. economy added a total of 2.5 million workers, that means more than 10.5+ million of the unemployed returned to their jobs since you would need to add the 8+ million to the 2.5 million to get 10.5+ million. 10.5 million people would have needed to get back to their jobs after the last 1.8 million filed for unemployment insurance during the last week of May. It looks like the government is saying roughly 10.5 million people returned to work on May 30th and May 31, which is possible, but hardly likely.

The official unemployment rate is 13.3 percent when the majority of economists expected it to be closer to 20 percent.

You got to wonder about the corruption going on in government to come out with these numbers, which look like a lie. Some experts wondered what could have caused this increase in jobs.

Bloomberg news reported that, “Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America Corp., pointed to the 1.4 million jobs added in the restaurant industry and said, “maybe this is an indication that PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) is working and it’s being distributed to small businesses — restaurants — and they’re using it to bring workers back.”

And maybe not.

“Another issue is that some workers are being counted on payrolls even if their hours or pay are minimal, said Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist who was the U.S. Labor Department’s chief economist in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession.

“The problem is that Wall Street is used to predicting job loss due to a typical recession, not one in which people are temporarily sent home en masse,” Stevenson said.”

While millions of people are heading back to work in the coming weeks, the damage to the economy is likely to last a while. Sometime in the late summer or early Autumn, we will have a real idea of how badly this recession is. Unemployment should go down from here, but it will still be abnormally high since we will be in a recession that began in March.

Expect the stock markets to continue upward as the economy stays mired in recession since the government authorized the Federal Reserve to give away (officially loan) some $6.6 trillion to the rich via their major corporations. Don’t expect the Fed to carry a lot of these loans on their books. (See The CoronaVirus Stimulus Bill: The Rich Get 5 Trillion, We Get Crumbs.)

It used to be that corporate profits drove the stock markets up, but for the last ten years it has largely been the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government and corruption that has done this. The Fed printed up and handed out $26 trillion to twelve banks to cover the losses the billionaires suffered in 2008-09 (See The $26 Trillion Bailout). The bankers withheld millions of houses off the market in a clear act of conspiracy in restraint of trade that the Obama Administration turned a blind eye to since their Wall Street benefactors were cashing in on the corruption (Click here for that story). Meanwhile, corporate profits peaked in 2014 and therefore clearly have not been pushing the stock market up during the last six years; corruption has been pushing the market up.

The United States continues to see government corruption at all levels rise. The U.S. saw it drop out of the top twenty least corrupt nations for 2019, and that most likely understates how corrupt the U.S. has become. This corruption is caused by income and wealth inequality. The rich want more for themselves and less for you and corruption is part of the cost of doing business and achieving their goals.

 

 

 

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Many corporations pay no taxes, and actually receive tax rebates from the government, and much of this tax avoidance is passed on to rich investors in the form of capital gains, dividends and bond interest. Corporate tax avoidance is only one way the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of us. There are a ton of others ways this occurs. Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and received a $129 million tax refund on taxes it did not pay. That $129 million and the unpaid tax money goes straight into the pockets of billionaire shareholders. Click here for other ways the government is making the rich wealthier at your expense.

Reuters reported last week that the US government is “giving millions of dollars in American taxpayer money via the CARES Act to a number of corporations that have avoided paying U.S. tax.

“In all, Reuters’ analysis of public data found around 110 publicly traded companies have each received $4 million or more in emergency aid from the program.

Of those subject to taxes,” which means profitable, “12 of the companies recently used offshore havens to cut their tax bills, the analysis found. All together, these 12 received more than $104 million in loans from U.S. taxpayers. Seven of them paid no U.S. tax at all for the past year.

The program, which provides low-interest loans that are forgivable if companies use most of the money to pay employees, has been widely criticised for problems ranging from early bottlenecks that prevented small businesses from receiving money, to confusion that led millions of dollars to be handed out to relatively affluent firms.

The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Of the almost 110 recipients of $4 million or more, Reuters found 46 paid no U.S. corporate tax for the last year.”

This is just another example of the massive corruption of both major political parties, the Supreme Court, and the Federal Reserve. The billionaires control them all.

 

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Eight weeks into the pandemic, Inequality.com reported that during the eight weeks of March 18th to May 14th 2020 thirty-six million workers became unemployed. “Over these same eight weeks, U.S. billionaires saw their wealth increase by $368.8 billion, a 12.51 percent increase. On March 18th, U.S. billionaires had a combined $2.947 trillion, down from $3.111 trillion a year earlier, according to Forbes annual global billion survey. As of May 14, total U.S. billionaire wealth has increased to $3.316 trillion.” 

Their total wealth rose during the first eight weeks of the pandemic by $205 billion compared to just last year as tens of millions of people became unemployed. Anybody see a disconnect here?

“In the last eight weeks, 14 new billionaires joined the U.S. billionaire list, which increased from 614 to 628. Even with a recent decline in markets, Elon Musk’s wealth increased $3.5 billion in the last week, since May 6. Jeff Bezos’ wealth increased by $900 million and Eric Yuan saw his wealth increase by $800 million.  Mike Bloomberg saw his wealth increase by $400 million.

Between March 18, when Forbes published their 2020 annual Global Billionaire Survey, and the morning of Thursday, May 14, these billionaires have seen their wealth surge:

  • Jeff Bezos – up $30 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg – up $21 billion
  • Steve Ballmer – up $11.6 billion
  • Elon Musk – up $11.3 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg – up $10 billion

The top 1 percent receive almost all their wealth and income from corporations. The first four government coronavirus bailouts were written in order to save the rich and their sources of income and wealth, while the rest of us got crumbs. (Click here for that story.) U.S. income and wealth inequality has been created by a corrupt government over the last forty years. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden.  

Share prices rose since the Federal government and Fed stepped in to protect the assets of the billionaires in late March 2020 with the CARES Act, providing nice capital gains income for the billionaires in return. This increase in share prices also made CEO’s wealthier in the process. 

This should tell you how corrupt our democracy, the Fed, and both major political parties have become, and all three branches of government have become. The rich are saved from their losses, while the 99 percent eat theirs. Socialism is used to save the rich, while the vagaries of capitalism are for the rest of us. We know because the corporate news media tells us so. 

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Not only did legislators of both major political parties make certain when writing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in late March 2020 that the top 0.05 percent receive 80 percent of the benefits, but they also wrote the legislation so that more than 80 percent of a change in the tax law included in the bill benefited the top, as well. This is according to a non-partisan congressional committee.

The CARES Act was sold by the government and the corporate news media as providing worker and business relief for those suffering from the coronavirus quarantine. In fact, it was written to save the financial well being of the billionaires and multi-millionaires who have corrupted both major political parties, and the federal and likely all state governments in the process. The corruption clearly extended to much of the corporate news media since few of them reported on this.

The Guardian points out that the “change – which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes – will allow some of the nation’s wealthiest to avoid nearly $82 billion of tax liability in 2020.

Nearly 82% of the benefits from the tax law change will go to people making $1 million or more annually in 2020, according to an analysis by the joint committee on taxation (JCT).

Taxpayers will lose nearly $90 billion from the change, which suspends a restriction introduced in the 2017 tax bill.

The change allows owners of businesses known as pass-through entities to lower their taxes by deducting as much as they want against income unrelated to the business.

Before, owners of pass-through entities could deduct a maximum of $250,000 in losses from non-business income such as stocks and bonds. This limitation was introduced in the 2017 law to offset other tax benefits going to firms.”

The rich lost trillions of dollars in paper profits with the stock markets down around 15 percent from their all-time highs. The billionaire owners of hedge funds (largely unregulated investment businesses with 99 or fewer clients) and big-time real estate investors will be the primary beneficiaries.

Currently, the top 1 percent steal 37+ percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 8 percent in 1980. Three people (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates) own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans. This lopsided distribution of both income and wealth has come about due to political corruption. Those at the top of the financial food chain are eating those at the bottom via corrupt politics and with deadly impacts. For example, the US white mortality rate has dropped three years in a row for the first time since the Spanish flu of 1918 struck.

I also want to point out that the CARES Act itself provides a little over $5000 to each member of the 99 percent while giving away an average of over $16 million each to the members of the top 0.01 percent, proving how rampant corruption is in the government. Click The CoronaVirus Stimulus Bill: The Rich Get 5 Trillion, We Get the Crumbs for more on that.

Click Tax change in coronavirus package overwhelmingly benefits millionaires, congressional body finds-Washington Post for more on the story.

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You can see the effects of the Coronavirus in the nearly empty restaurants, coffee shops, health clubs, etc…. throughout the United States. The U.S. should have gone into recession sometime in 2016 to 2018 after corporate profits peaked during the third quarter of 2014 and annually during that year. The U.S. always follows a decline in total corporate profits with a recession unless corporate earnings pick up. However, something kept this business expansion going far beyond what it historically should have since corporate earnings have been down for almost six years.

The Fed’s $26 trillion bailout of billionaires and multi-millionaires during the last economic crisis, as well as record corporate debt, helped to prolong the record economic expansion and the stock market bubble far beyond what economic fundamentals would normally have allowed. Record corporate share buybacks have helped the bubble and expansion along, although share buybacks had long been considered market manipulation.

Apple, for example, purchased $320 billion of its own shares over the last seven years pushing its stock price after a seven-way split in 2014 from $92 a share to over $320 until January 2020. The shares have lost $50 so far and are likely to lose a lot more. $320 billion are heading down the drain.

President Donald Trump’s tax cuts which largely went to the rich and their corporations should be given plenty of credit for extending this expansion and stock market bubble. Most corporations used the tax savings for share buybacks. All that did was inflate perhaps the largest US stock market bubble in history. As the number of people filing for unemployment insurance rises, the bubble will have further to fall, and it is likely the business contraction will be worse because of it, and the president should be given plenty of credit for that too.

Income and wealth inequality has continued to grow over the last forty years to historic proportions. Consumer debt is at record levels, as is corporate debt. Gross domestic product growth has been much lower over the last decade than under President’s Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton. The same is true with job growth. Wages have been stagnant for forty years. Home prices have fallen 8 percent since and including the fourth quarter of 2017. Rich investors are pouring out of the mortgage bond markets.

All of this suggests a recession of historic magnitude, among the worst ever. I am not the only one who thinks this way. The Fed over the last ten days has lowered interest rates, and will likely lower them even further this week. Normally that does not happen until after a recession has officially begun. In addition, the president has declared a national emergency and the Democrats and Republicans have a relief package all set for the Senate to vote on this coming week.

None of the share buybacks, federal stimulus packages, and interest rate decreases will likely defeat the impact of the Coronavirus unless they come with a vaccine. Many months from now expect the folks at the National Bureau of Economic Research to get together and determine the recession began in March 2020, maybe April.

President Trump will not be at fault, though his tax cuts for the rich and their corporations will have played a negative role in the coming debacle.

There is a reason why income and wealth inequality has gotten so bad in the United States that three men own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the population.

You can blame the Democrats and the Republicans and the billionaires who pull their strings. For tax cuts for the rich blame Republicans; for exporting millions of jobs and redistributing trillions of dollars of income from the 99 to the 1 percent blame the Democrats, especially the Clinton’s and Joe Biden. For deregulation of Wall Street blame Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. The list goes on but the leaders of the two parties work together behind closed doors to ensure all this stuff occurs.  This is precisely why the two parties have acted so quickly together to fight the Coronavirus and the ensuing economic debacle they have created.

**An hour after I wrote and posted this story the United States Federal Reserve Bank dropped interest rates a full percent down to virtually zero and announced it would purchase $700 billion of U.S. Treasury Notes and Mortgage-Backed Bonds. The recession has not even begun and everybody in power is acting as if the next Great Depression began a year ago. The folks in power know a disaster coming when they see it. Hell, they created it by redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent during the last forty+ years. Now the chickens may be coming home to roost.

 

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Income inequality continues to rise, according to a September 2019 study from the United States Census Bureau. However, it is terribly understated. In Oregon, income inequality continues to grow. This reflects what is happening nationally, as well as internationally.

According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP), “Oregonians are facing a scary reality: the income gap separating those Oregonians in the middle of the income ladder and those at the very top has never been wider. In 1980, it took 26 typical (median income) Oregonians to equal the average income of the highest-earning taxpayers — the top one-tenth of 1 percent. By 2017, this had grown to 131 typical Oregonians. That is nearly a five-fold increase.”

“As frightening as income inequality is, inequality by wealth is even scarier. Income refers to how much money you earn in a year, while wealth is the sum total of all of your assets minus all of your debts. No good sources for wealth inequality at the state level exist, but national figures show that wealth is even more concentrated at the top than income. In 2018, the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans together held 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom half of Americans together owned only 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.” In addition, three Americans (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) hold more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and these figures are from two years ago, meaning these figures are most likely understated as of 2020.

With rising inequality, our faith in the “American Dream” is fading, being replaced instead with an American Nightmare. Research from the Center for American Progress found that as income inequality has increased, it has contributed to Americans becoming more pessimistic and less trusting of one another and our political leaders.

Federal policy, and the policy of both major political parties, is to redistribute income and wealth from the 99.5 percent to the 0.5 percent, the multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Quite naturally, the corporate media have now undertaken a campaign of disinformation, questioning what is obvious to the vast majority of Americans, seeking to instill doubt about the extent of income and wealth inequality.

However, both inequalities are far more significant than have been accepted. For example, three economists have examined U.S. income tax returns from the last several decades. These three have determined the top 1 percent receive 22-23 percent of all income produced in the United States nowadays compared to 8 percent in 1979. The Census Bureau’s study shows the top five percent took 23.2 percent of all income in 2018, compared to 22.3 percent in 2017.

On the other hand, there is unreported income, income hidden in Panamanian and Swiss banks, as well as elsewhere. The reality is that the top 1 percent steal closer to 38 percent of all income made in the USA. No doubt their accumulation of wealth mirrors that since you need income to generate wealth.

The results of these growing inequalities have not been kind to the 99 percent. Suicide rates, alcoholism, rates of depression and other maladies have all increased for the 99 percent during this era of inequality and political corruption. The corporate news media has been supportive of the growing inequalities by sowing the seeds of discord, pitting a variety of sectors of the 99 percent against each other in order to divert our eyes from income and wealth inequality. People trust each other less than in decades past because of the media.

In the meantime, the corporate news media, the billionaires who control both major political parties, have waged war against the only two presidential candidates of the people, while supporting the candidates of the billionaires, such as Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg’s recent attacks on Sanders and Warren suggest the billionaires who control him have unleashed him in order to stop veteran billionaire brown-noser Joe Biden from having to do so and alienating Warren and Sanders voters in the process, which might not be a good thing to do with the general election coming up.

Do not fall for this con if you are tired of working more and earning less so that billionaires can have more of what you earned.

US Census Bureau on Income Inequality

See https://www.ocpp.org/2019/10/30/scary-facts-economic-inequality/

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