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Posts Tagged ‘income inequality’

According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the current economic expansion is the worst of all since and including the recovery of 1949. Robert Scott, the author of the report, blames government reduction of expenditures during this recovery for the weakness of it. You can see from the graph below that this recovery in Gross Domestic Product (GNP) is the lowest of the last 11 recoveries. No doubt government spending plays a role in how fast GNP grows, along with other variables, such as wage and job growth. This recovery is the worst on record for government expenditures. But there is another likely culprit that plays a role in making this the weakest of economic expansions.

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You will notice above that all of the economic recoveries since 1949 and through 1990 grew at rates of 4 percent and higher. The recovery under President Ronald Reagan was the last to top 4 percent GNP growth. Under President Bill Clinton GNP growth averaged 3.4 percent, under President George W. Bush it was 2.8 percent, and under President Obama GNP growth is 2.1 percent. Notice growth was less under Bush than under Clinton despite higher government spending. So what else could be going on? Look at the graph below.

Income inequality has grown since and during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and almost every year since has seen increasing income and wealth inequality. As inequality has grown, the demand for goods and services has been reduced by income stagnation or reduction.

income inequality

Since and including the 1980s, credit has been expanded in the form of credit cards, home equity credit lines, and home equity growth. In other words, much of the current expansion, weak as it is, is spurred on by credit for the 99 percent, with profits and other enrichment going to the 1 percent, who stole 99 percent of all income growth from 2009 to 2014, along with most of the income produced in the USA during 2016. The 1 percent has gone from stealing about 8 percent of all the income produced in the United States to roughly 37 percent, leaving us with less money to demand goods and services, along with historically slow job growth, wage stagnation, and lost opportunities.

Now the rich want more, and a weaker economy, weaker job growth, reduced real incomes, are the price we’ll have to pay for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), should it pass through congress. Wall Street President Obama has already signed it. Wall Street Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has voiced her support for and against it. No doubt Clintonis is really for it, since her vice presidential choice Tim Kaine is for it, as is her newly appointed head of her transition team Ken Salazar. See What the Corporate Propaganda Network Doesn’t Want You to Know: One of the Many Ways the Trans Pacific Partnership Will Destroy US Jobs and Redistribute Massive Income and Wealth From the 99 to the 1 Percent–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

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Email from Arthur Stamolis of Citizens Fair Trade

Dear John,

The biggest challenge we’re facing in the fight to stop the anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is that too many people still don’t know what it is.

That’s a real problem. And corporate lobbyists are hoping to exploit it to quietly rush the TPP through Congress this Fall. Fortunately, we’ve got a secret weapon to help sound the alarm: the Rock Against the TPP roadshow.

Shows are coming up this week in Seattle (Friday) and Portland (Saturday). Can you come to one? Click here for details.

TPP-relaced

We’re teaming up with an awesome group of musicians and celebrities like legendary guitarist Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, and Audioslave), Talib Kweli, Anti-Flag, Downtown Boys, comedian Hari Kondabolu and actress Evangeline Lilly, to organize a nationwide roadshow featuring high profile speakers and performers coming together to educate the public about the grave threat the TPP poses to our most basic rights.

Through a series of large-scale educational concert events, protests, and teach-ins, we’ll reach huge numbers of people who have never heard of the TPP before, and ignite a mass movement to stop it in its tracks.

The tour is coming to the Northwest this weekend, and we need to make sure the events are huge. Click here to RSVP!

Here are all the details for this weekend’s shows:

Seattle Rock Against the TPP Concert
Fri, August 19th, 2016. 6pm – midnight
@ Showbox SoDo,
1700 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA
All ages. Wheelchair accessible.
FREE! RSVP required, click here.

Seattle line-up includes: Hip-hop icon Talib Kweli, Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly, comedian Hari Kondabolu, Anti-Flag (acoustic), Downtown Boys, Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba, Makana, Sihasin, Bell’s Roar, Evan Greer, Taina Asili, and more. Plus lots of information and ways to get involved in the fight to stop the TPP. Invite your friends on Facebook here.

Portland Rock Against the TPP Concert
Sat, August 20th, 2016. 5pm – midnight
@ Director Park
815 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR
All ages. Wheelchair accessible.
FREE! RSVP required, click here.

Portland line-up includes: Punk legends Anti-Flag (acoustic), Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly, comedian Hari Kondabolu, Downtown Boys, Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba, Makana, Sihasin, Bell’s Roar, Evan Greer, Taina Asili, and more. Plus lots of information and ways to get involved in the fight to stop the TPP. Invite your friends on Facebook here.

The TPP is a legally binding deal between 12 governments, including the U.S., that was negotiated in total secrecy with hundreds of corporate lobbyists helping draft the text. If ratified, it would be the largest backroom deal of its kind in history, and it poses a grave threat to good paying jobs, the environment, internet freedom, food safety, and our basic democratic process.

As Tom Morello says, “Corporate lobbyists want to sneak the TPP through Congress quietly; that means it’s time for us to get loud.”

Click here to join us at Rock Against the TPP in Pacific Northwest!

Thanks for all you do,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN
Online: citizenstrade.org
Twitter: @citizenstrade

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A Great Depression Homeless Camp

A Great Depression Homeless Camp. Looks a lot like a modern day homeless camp doesn’t it?

The US Bureau of Labor announced the United States created 255,000 jobs in July. While good news, and rightly praised by the pundits, there is trouble hiding behind those numbers. The US durable goods sector went into recession early last autumn, while the entire manufacturing sector followed by November. That’s over 12 percent of the economy. Here’s what isn’t well known.

The entire economy has followed the durable goods sector into recession in each of the last recessions since and including the Great Depression. Historically, it takes sixteen to eighteen months for the rest of the economy to follow durable goods. So we’re most likely looking at a recession hitting somewhere between October of this year and June 2017.

Given that 99 percent of all income growth from 2009 to 2014 went to the top 1 percent, an historic record, the next recession will likely be more severe than the last. That’s because the great middle class will historically have fewer dollars to spend during the coming recession, which means the demand for goods and services will be depressed at levels not seen in decades.

This is the fourth longest economic expansion on record, and also among the weakest when it comes to job and wage growth. The US experienced higher monthly job growth in the economic expansions of the 1960s (170,000 per month), 1980s (230,000 per month) and the 1990s (200,000 per month), despite a smaller population, smaller GNP, and less worker productivity. Those expansions also featured real wage growth, especially during the 1960s. The current boom period has seen only 184,000 jobs created per month. Contrast that with the much maligned President Carter. Job growth of 206,000 per month occurred under Carter, with a population 2/3’s the size of today, and a GNP roughly 40 percent of today’s economy. Wage growth was consistent under Carter.

In addition, the most recent housing bubble will burst, as it always has done when recessions hit. Typically, when a recession occurs along with a bursting of a bubble, things are significantly much worse than without a bubble.

So, given the bubble, and historic income and wealth inequality, we should be looking at a whale of recession that is coming down the pike at hurricane speed.

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The big banks are holding 3.67 million homes off the market, according to the new Bloomberg report. What’ve I been tellin’ ya?

According to Bloomberg, the 3.67 million homes “clogging up the market” are more than the total number of new and existing homes combined that are available for sale in the entire United States. The total value of those homes is $382 billion.

The result of this scam is a massive increase in housing prices, both sale and rental prices. The big banks and their rich shareholders are making out like bandits, because they are bandits.

The big banks have conspired to keep these homes off the market in order to drive up prices. This is called “a conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and it is a violation of several different US laws.

This is also a massive income redistribution scam as citizens are forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars more per home, or pay thousands more in yearly rent, than would otherwise be the case. The big winners of this scam are the rich shareholders of the banks, along with their CEOs.

Don’t hold your breath for justice. The big banks own both major political parties, they have judges in their back pocket, and they basically own the federal government, including the US Department of Justice.

You can see from the chart below that the number of people taking out mortgage applications reached a peak in 2005. Currently, applications are at a 21 year low. That means demand for houses isn’t pushing up the value of homes to create the current housing bubble.

Rather, a more than 50 percent reduction of supply has caused the bubble. The only way for the banks to keep such a huge amount of houses off the market is for them to illegal conspire together in violation of the law.

For more on this story see The Shadow Housing Inventory–Bloomberg News

MBAApril152015

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The Democratic Party has been under control of Wall Street investment bankers since the Bill Clinton presidency. They also control the current Democratic presidential candidate.

Bernie Sanders has created a movement that will likely take over the helm of the Democratic Party within the next four years. In other words, a movement is being built for FDR Democrats to retake the party from the investment bankers.

“We have a political revolution to transform America,” Bernie said during his Democratic National Convention last night. The time is close at hand for this revolution to succeed. We have a Great Depression rumbling down the road at full throttle (See The Coming Recession: It’s Going to be a BIG ONE–JohnHively.wordpress.com.

The Republican Party leadership will, quite naturally, insist on more trickle-down economics as a means to remedy the disastrous Depression that trickle-down economics got us in to in the first place. Trickle-down has produced the greatest income and wealth inequality of any major industrialized nation of the last two hundred years. It’s created the most corrupt government in modern US history.

This Depression will hit the United States somewhere between October 2016 and June 2017. And when it arrives, a vast political change will occur over a period of many months that has not been seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president by becoming a traitor to his class. And it will be through the Democratic Party that this political revolution will bare fruit, just as it happened in 1932-33.

It is “not sustainable,” Bernie said last night, “that the top 1/10th of 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.” He is correct. It is not sustainable. Let’s be correct about one thing.

The idle rich will not give up their political and economic power easily. It’ll be a fight to the finish, but a growing movement has formed around Bernie Sanders that will reestablish the tradition that the power of the US government, and the gains from the US economy, are going to go to those who earn it. This battle will not be won overnight, but it will be won.

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From the Citizen’s Trade Campaign:

TPP - Investor State Dispute Settlement

TPP – Investor State Dispute Settlement

The TPP covers 40 percent of the global economy, yet it was negotiated in secret with hundreds of corporate advisors while the public was locked out. The key provision in TPP grants new rights to thousands of foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government before a panel of 3 corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by America’s taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. These foreign corporations need only convince the lawyers that a U.S. law or safety regulation violates their TPP rights. Their decisions are not subject to appeal and the amount awarded has no limit. This agreement is not good for American taxpayers. It means higher drug prices. It makes it easier to send jobs overseas, means fewer jobs and lower wages, and a government that doesn’t work for us. It’s also unconstitutional, and should not be upheld in a legal challenge. Italics mine

Shameless and valueless Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden supports this illegal international trade agreement because it will lower US wages by pitting Americans against workers making 65 cents an hour in countries like Vietnam. Wyden also wants us to import food that does not meet U.S. safety standards, limit policies to combat climate change, and raise drug prices. This TPP trade agreement is not good for American taxpayers and workers. That’s why Wyden, Obama, and the entire Republican leadership supports it. Mainly the TPP will redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wyden and the rest of its supporters know this.

The TPP means that government will not work for working families and the middle class.

The most impactful arguments against the TPP in order of voter opposition generated:

FOOD SAFETY: The U.S. currently rejects a significant portion of food imports from TPP countries like Vietnam and Malaysia as unsafe, but TPP would require us to accept food imports that do not meet U.S. safety standards.

ISDS LAWYERS: TPP will allow foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals/ corporate courts run by three corporate lawyers who rotate between judging these cases and representing corporations, which is a conflict of interest, and there is no outside appeal

ISDS FUTURE PROFITS: Under TPP, the American taxpayers could be forced to pay foreign corporations compensation for any American law or safety rule. They can sue for their current losses but also future expected profits, and there is no limit to the amount they can win from U.S. taxpayers. This clause will likely eliminate your voting rights on state and local issues if it conflicts with foreign corporations, such as food labeling laws. I should point out that many of these foreign companies have US investors, which means they’re circumventing US laws using the TPP. Wall Street Ronnie Wyden knows this all too well.

LOWER WAGES/FEWER JOBS: TPP will pit American workers against workers in Vietnam making less than 65 cents an hour. Economists who have looked at this deal say it will lower wages for 90 percent of Americans and gives corporations more incentives to move American jobs overseas

ISDS CORPORATE RIGHTS: TPP gives foreign corporations that come to the U.S. even more rights and privileges than the American people and our businesses, and elevates foreign corporations to the status of the U.S. government by allowing them to sue our country in special tribunals/corporate courts.

SECRET CORPORATE NEGOTIATIONS: The terms of the new TPP trade agreement were negotiated in secret with over 500 corporate advisors, but the people, the press, and even the U.S. Congress were shut out so it favors corporations, not working families.

BIPARTISAN DISAPPROVAL: For the first time, the presidential nominees of both parties, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, oppose this new trade agreement because it does nothing to stop currency manipulation, will hurt U.S. wages and jobs, and means higher drug prices

BAD FOR CLIMATE: All of the countries in the world are working to combat climate change, but TPP would forbid many of the policies we need to stop the climate crisis.

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NAFTA is not a treaty! The Trans Pacific Partnership is not a treaty. The 1 percent doesn’t want you to know this.

Section 2 of Article II of the US Constitution clearly states that the US president “….shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make treaties provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Only 61 of 100 senators voted for NAFTA. That means NAFTA is not a treaty under the US constitution. In addition, the TPP would require 67 yes votes, which makes it highly unlikely that it will pass treaty status.

The US constitution does not give any branch of the US government the power to negotiate international trade agreements (as opposed to treaties)  with other nations. It only gives the president the power to negotiate “treaties,” and only with the 2/3rds requirement. International agreements are not mentioned in the US constitution. All other powers not given the federal government redound to the individual states, which are prohibited from negotiating treaties with other nations. Therefore, such an agreement is only fiction, make-believe to fool us into believing the legality of such things.

A treaty is not required to pass through the House of Representatives. It must only pass through the US senate. NAFTA was forced to pass through the House because it is an illegal fictional agreement that could not probably resist a court challenge through honest judges.

In other words, these international income redistribution agreements, which are falsely marketed as international trade agreements, most likely cannot withstand a court challenge.

nafta

Now the US Supreme court has ruled that if your government is doing something illegal, you cannot challenge that law unless you can prove it has harmed you. In other words, the court has ruled the US government can illegally spy on you, burglarize your homes and businesses, and even kill you, but unless you can prove the US government is behind these things, you cannot challenge the law that allows this in court. That, of course, means the Supreme Court has ruled that the US government can do anything it wants outside of the law, just so long as it doesn’t get caught. There’s something corrupt there. Don’t ya think?

Now we have a special case coming up. TransCanada Corporation made its intention clear that it is going to sue the US government through an unconstitutional secret tribunal because President Obama refused to give the company a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. It is filing its claim for $15 billion in damages under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions, which is through an illegal secret tribunal.

A secret tribunal made up of corporate lawyers will determine if US taxpayers have to ante up $15 billion in order to not allow an environmentally hazardous pipeline to cut across the USA. Only corporations can use this secret tribunal to sue governments over alleged damages and the loss of alleged future profits.

Some of the biggest US investors in TransCanada include JP Morgan/Chase, Vanguard Corporation, and Prudential. You can bet there’s a bunch of rich US citizens cheering on TransCanada executives in this case. These companies are circumventing US law via the unconstitutional secret tribunal.

If the US government loses, there is no reason why we as taxpayers should not launch a class action lawsuit challenging these secret tribunals as unconstitutional, since they are. Since the US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, a challenge can be issued under the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, which should render illegal the secret tribunal provision of NAFTA, depending on how corrupt the US courts are. In addition, of course, the US constitution says the establishment of any “tribunal” must originate in the US house of representatives, and NAFTA clearly did not. There are several other ways that provisions of NAFTA violate the constitution.

In other words, the secret tribunals of NAFTA cannot withstand a legal challenge the moment the US government spends a penny of our hard earned tax dollars on defending the US government in this unconstitutional tribunal.

Perhaps it’s time for some legal action? What do you think fellow citizens? Anybody want to join me?

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