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Posts Tagged ‘income inequality’

Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden is one of the great weapons the rich use in their war against the middle class in the US senate. Walmart is a good case in point. Wyden has voted time and time again to export US jobs and redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower foreign wages goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends. The job losers might get a bit of unemployment insurance, if they’re lucky.

In reality, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden stole the American dream from millions of US citizens by supporting international income redistribution scams, falsely marketed as international trade agreements.

In reality, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden stole the American dream from millions of US citizens by supporting international income redistribution scams, falsely marketed as international trade agreements.

Chinese imports made by US manufacturers entering through Wal-Mart in 2013 likely totaled at least $49.1 billion and the combined effect of imports from and exports to China conducted through Wal-Mart likely accounted for 15.3 percent of the growth of the total U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013. Virtually all of those goods are made in China by companies that formerly used to manufacture in the USA, thanks to Wyden.

The Wal-Mart-based trade deficit with those US companies manufacturing in China alone eliminated or displaced over 400,000 U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2013.

The manufacturing sector and its workers have been hardest hit by the growth of Wyden’s Walmart imports. Wal-Mart’s increased trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 eliminated 314,500 manufacturing jobs, 75.7 percent of the jobs lost from Wal-Mart’s trade deficit. These job losses are particularly destructive because jobs in the manufacturing sector pay higher wages and provide better benefits than most other industries, especially for workers with less than a college education.
Wal-Mart has announced plans to create opportunities for American manufacturing by “investing in American jobs.” To date, very few actual U.S. jobs have been created by this program, and since 2001, the growing Wal-Mart trade deficit with US corporations manufacturing in

China has displaced more than 100 U.S. jobs for every actual or promised job created through this program.

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On Feb 4, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman  joined other trade ministers from throughout the Pacific Rim in signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in New Zealand. Signing is not the same as ratifying. What the signing means is that the negotiations are concluded; the text is done; and that the TPP can now be submitted for a Fast Tracked vote in Congress at almost any time. Because of Fast Track legislation pushed President Obama, Wall Street Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, Wall Street Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, and almost all the Republican Party except a few, such as US Senator Jeff Sessions.

The TPP is the largest international income redistribution treaty ever concocted. It will ship millions of US jobs to China and Vietnam, circumvent US law and the US Constitution, and raise prices for US citizens and citizens throughout the area of the Pacific on such things as medicines. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages, and the difference between the old lower prices and the new higher prices, will go straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and soaring dividends. The TPP will also drive millions of immigrants from Latin America to the USA illegally because their jobs will be shipped to Vietnam and China too, and they won’t have anyplace else to go.

Currently, the 1 percent steal about 37 percent of all the income produced yearly in the USA, up from 8 percent in 1980. Wyden, Obama, Clinton and almost the entire Republican Party intend to redistribute even more to the 1 percent with the TPP. And here we are facing the unfolding storm of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. I’ve been watching it unfold since last summer. It’s picking up steam, and officially should hit somewhere between September 2016 and June 2017. The entire US manufacturing sector has been in recession, for example, since November 2015.

It’s critical that Congress is hearing strong constituent opposition to the TPP right now. Please write your Members of Congress and urge them to come out publicly against the TPP.

For the better part of a decade, we have told our representatives we want a “Fair Deal or No Deal” on Trans-Pacific trade. Now that the text is finalized and changes are all-but-impossible, it’s clear that — while a handful of well-connected corporations got a more-than-fair deal for themselves — for everyone else, the TPP would be a disaster for the economy, the environment and public health.

The TPP Is Bad for Jobs & Wages
As you would expect from a deal negotiated with hundreds of corporate advisors, while the public and the press were shut out, if enacted, the TPP would offshore good-paying American jobs, lower wages and increase inequality by forcing Americans into competition with highly-exploited workers abroad paid less than 65 cents an hour.

The TPP’s much-touted new labor standards are so abysmally weak that countries could literally set their minimum wage at $1/day and their maximum hours of work at 24/day and still be in compliance. The pact simply does not do enough to protect jobs at home or human rights abroad. Instead, it would only accelerate the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions.

On top of that, the TPP is so poorly negotiated that it contains a massive backdoor for products that are assembled mostly from parts made in third-party countries such as China, with no TPP obligations whatsoever, to enter the US duty free.

The TPP will also force China to manipulate its currency by at least 15 percent. This increases the profits of US corporations manufacturing products in China, and exporting them to the USA. This will compel many US companies to export jobs to China since the currency manipulation will increase the profits of these companies from 36 to 140 percent.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a massive new job-killing, wage-suppressing trade deal.

The TPP Is Bad for Food Safety
The TPP would flood the United States with unsafe foods. Going beyond previous trade deals, the TPP includes first-of-its-kind language allowing corporations to challenge both U.S. food inspection protocols and individual food inspection decisions.

Consumer advocates have warned the TPP could have a major chilling effect on efforts to keep out unsafe foods that don’t meet the same standards that U.S. farmers, ranchers and other producers are required to meet.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that jeopardizes the safety of the food we feed our families.

The TPP Is Bad for the Environment
The TPP would actually roll back environmental enforcement provisions found in all U.S. trade agreements since the George W. Bush administration, requiring enforcement of only one out of the seven environmental treaties covered by Bush-era trade agreements.

Beyond just failing to mention the term “climate change” in its thousands of pages, the TPP would also provide corporations with new tools for attacking environmental and consumer protections, while simultaneously increasing the export of climate-disrupting fossil fuels.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink and the future we leave for our children and grandchildren.

The TPP Is Bad for Access to Medicine
Many of the TPP’s intellectual property provisions would effectively delay the introduction of low-cost generic medications, increasing health care prices and reducing access to medicine both at home and abroad.

The TPP contains requirements that TPP nations allow additional 20-year patents for new uses of drugs already under patent, among other rules that would promote the “evergreening” of patent monopolies. Other TPP provisions may enable pharmaceutical companies to challenge Medicare drug listing decisions, Medicaid reimbursements and constrain future U.S. policy reforms to reduce healthcare costs.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that limits access to life-saving generic medications.

The TPP Is Bad for Human Rights
The TPP includes several notorious violators of international human rights, such as Brunei, where LGBT individuals and single mothers can be stoned to death under Sharia law and Malaysia where huge numbers of ethnic minorities are trafficked through the jungle in modern slavery.

Tell Congress we can’t afford to ignore the actions of notorious human rights abusers.

Too many Congress members have hemmed and hawed about the TPP, refusing to state their position. Now that the text has been public for months, and that the agreement has actually been signed, the time for fence-sitting is over. Please contact your Members of Congress now and urge them to oppose the TPP.

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Other reasons to vote for Bernie:

1. Honesty in government. We haven’t had an honest president since the great Jimmy Carter.

2. Sanders fights for main street, and always has. Hillary fights for Wall Street and large corporations, and always has.

3. Sanders has been completely honest with us.

4. Sanders will do no harm, while Hillary is chomping at the bit to do Wall Street’s bidding, which means screwing us over.

5. Sanders will try to restore the American dream, while Hillary will continue to do the bidding of Wall Street and continue policies that continue the American nightmare of the last thirty-five years that has seen record corporate profits, and massive redistribution of income from the 99 to the 1 percent so much that the middle class has been reduced from 61 percent of all adults to 50 percent today.

6. Sanders will champion policies that reverse the trend of the last and the percentage of total income produced in the USA has gone from

7. How’s that globalization thing going for you? The US middle class has shrunk, and so has the income of the 99 percent. The 99 percent earned 92 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980, and now that figure is down to 67 to 77 percent, depending on whose numbers you use. Hillary has voiced support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest international income redistribution agreement ever, falsely marketed as a trade agreement, 45 times and said she’s against it twice. Bernie has always said he’s against it. The TPP will ship millions of US jobs to China, and the 1 percent will pocket the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower Chinese wages via higher corporate profits, surging dividends, and rising share prices. Hillary is for that by a count of 45 to 2.

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The 1 percent now steal over 37 percent of total US income, up from 8 percent in 1980. They’ve been stealing their income by corrupting both major political parties, which control the federal and state, as well as most local governments. Wall Street Senators, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden, are notorious for pushing legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

This government created inequality has created an economy spiraling toward third world status, with only 50 percent of US adults considered middle class, down from 61 percent in 1970. Another by-product of this is that people are dying younger, but not if you are rich. A new study by Angus Deaton and Anne Case show the mortality rate for white males, ages 45 to 55, is increasing.

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The author’s lay the blame straight at income inequality pursued by senator’s like McConnell and Wyden. So why only white males of this age? Why not white or Hispanic women? Why not younger white males? The answer is expectations.

White males of this age group could always count on getting decent jobs, such as in manufacturing, from the 1970s through the 1990s. They had jobs, and then millions of those jobs were exported, leaving millions of people in debt, and unable to find a suitable job replacement. This has led to financial and emotional distress, increasing suicides, alcohol use, drug use, eating excessively, and other methods of self-perceived alleviation.

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Note below, that mortality rates for white males in this age group declined from 1979-1998. These three decades witnessed extraordinary job growth, which meant opportunity. The guys in the 45-54 age range were in their physical prime. While the rich were getting richer, their share of income rising from 8 to roughly 15 percent of the total national income, real wages, or the illusion thereof, rose for a few years of the late 1980s, and the late 1990s. Now those jobs and opportunities have declined in numbers.

The authors write:

Midlife increases in suicides and drug poisonings have been previously noted. However, that these upward trends were persistent and large enough to drive up midlife mortality has, to our knowledge, been overlooked. If the white mortality rate for ages 45−54 had held at their 1998 value, 96,000 deaths would have been avoided from 1999–2013, 7,000 in 2013 alone. If it had continued to decline at its previous (1979‒1998) rate, half a million deaths would have been avoided in the period 1999‒2013, comparable to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic through mid-2015. Concurrent declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, increased reports of pain, and deteriorating measures of liver function all point to increasing midlife distress.

Click here for the full study.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A friend on the political right wrote me about my support for Bernie Sanders for US president. My friend had some objections about Senator Sanders positions. So I wrote the response below. I should also like to point out that Bernie is a US senator from Vermont, where large pockets of conservatism flourish, and Republicans are elected to statewide offices. Yet Bernie continues to win election after election, campaigning mainly on bread and butter issues.

Anyway, below is my reason why everybody should vote for Bernie, regardless of their political ideology.

“…the Democratic and Republican Party leaderships, and the big money that controls them, also controls the levers of political power. I am against any candidate supported by the leadership of either major political party. That’s why over the years I’ve been a supporter of such diverse independent minded politicians as Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders. Besides, it doesn’t matter what Bernie wants, what matters it what he can achieve as president. If Bernie becomes president, with both houses of congress likely to be controlled by the twin party leadership, Bernie will likely only be able to limit their damage to the middle class in terms of economics.”

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With the help of the corporate news media, which can better be described as the corporate propaganda machine, the Democratic and the Republican leadership rip the grassroots of both parties apart and against each other by inventing social issues, while raping the grassroots of both parties financially on behalf their billionaire and millionaire benefactors.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Fast Track Authority are classic examples of how the leadership of both political parties team together in their financial rape of the 99 percent.The Federal Reserve estimates the TPP will cost four to five million US jobs. The difference between the old higher US wages, and the new lower overseas wages, will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, dividends and share prices. That money will be stolen straight out of the pockets of working Americans and redistributed into the already fat bank accounts of the 1 percent, much of which will find its way into the pockets and campaigns of the Democratic and Republican party leadership. The local and state tax dollars paid by the jobs losers will no longer support schools, police, fire, road maintenance and much more. In other words, the TPP will rape our schools and other public services.

The TPP will also steal money that should go to the social security trust fund because the rich only pay social security taxes on the first $118,000 of their income. Worse yet, the TPP will force China to manipulate its currency even more than is already the case, costing the US millions more jobs than the Federal Reserve estimates. This manipulation of currency will compel US corporations to ship more jobs overseas because Chinese currency manipulation increases the profits of those who manufacture in China. (See 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–JohnHively.wordpress.com).

In other words, the TPP has been negotiated specifically to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and since 2009, the 1 percent has stolen 95 percent of all US income growth. Their share of the total national income has risen from 8 percent in 1980, to 21 percent in 2008, to 37 percent in 2015.

The TPP has also been negotiated to undermine US laws and democracy.

Hillary Clinton has stated publicly on 45 occasions that she is for the TPP. All of the Republican candidates are for it. Bernie would veto the TPP if he was president. Ergo, damage to the vast majority of US citizens would be limited.

Here’s something to think about. Opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership brought together unusual allies, such as the John Birch Society, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter, and the AFL-CIO. We need more, not less, of that kind of cooperation among US citizens. Bernie understands this, and his candidacy is encouraging this. That’s precisely what the leadership of both political parties and their billionaire benefactors don’t want: Americans of all colors and political persuasions united together in opposition to the billionaire class and their complete corruption of the US government for their own ends.

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In the video below, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the powerful wealthy vested interests that had taken over the USA government prior to his election in 1932. FDR proposed and signed into law legislation that curbed the power and influence of those vested interests in government at all levels, including a 90 percent top marginal tax rate. That reduced the influence of corruption in government, by reducing the money the corrupting people possessed.

President Carter was the last president under the old regime of anti-corruption established by FDR, which is why the US government never fired a missile, or a pistol, or dropped a bomb on another nation during his reign, which, coincidentally, is looking better and better every time we look back at it.

The Reagan tax cuts for the rich unleashed the power of the rich to corrupt government, and that is precisely why, as FDR said in 1936, corporate interests now consider the US government to be a “mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money (corporate interests) is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob (organized crime).” Parenthesis mine.

This is why the US government,

1. demands state wide testing, because it’s highly profitable for the publishing industry, and it redistributes income from local and state taxpayers to rich investors of the publishing industry.

2. wages constant war, because it is highly profitable in that it redistributes income from the taxpayers to the rich shareholders of the war industry.

3. gives fewer grants to university students, because it forces college students to take out more student loans, which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wall Street banks purchase the loans, and then issues bonds against the loans to rich investors. Students pay back the loans, but a large portion of their payment goes to the rich bondholders.

4. raised student loan interest rates from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on all new loans a year ago. Republicans and Democratic lawmakers supported this because it forces students to pay more interest to rich investors.

5. negotiates trade treaties, which are nothing more than income redistribution scam. The treaties pave the legal way for corporations to ship and create jobs overseas, and the difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world pay goes straight into the wallets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, surging dividends and rising share prices.

The list goes on and on. The federal government is totally corrupted to the core, as are many state and local governments. This corruption is the only cause of the income inequality that has occurred in the USA over the last thirty-five years, whereby 1 percent of the population stole 8 percent of the total income produced in the USA when Carter was president, but now rob the rest of us blind by stealing 37 percent of all income produced in the USA. Since President Obama took office, the 1 percent have been stealing 95 percent of all income growth.

That’s why President Carter created on average more jobs per year with rising real wages than every president since him. That’s why Carter was one of the great presidents in US history. The 99 percent earned 92 percent of all income back then, and were able to purchase goods and services in sufficient quantities to create more jobs per year, and with rising real wages every year, than during the reign of any president since then. And that’s precisely why the propaganda machine known as the corporate news media, politicians like Wall Street Senator John McCain, and rich parasites are always putting President Carter down, and call him weak and a bad president, If we look back at the economy of Carter, and his foreign policies, we would call his era the last golden age of the American dream.

Today’s economy is the weakest in history by any measure, including wage and job growth. That’s because the 99 percent now receive only 63 percent of all income in the US. Those people can no longer afford to purchase the goods and services necessary to sustain a strong economy, and those in business and political offices know this is the problem that vexes this economy, but they won’t do anything about it due to the massive corruption.

Excerpt from FDR’s speech:

“For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me‹and I welcome their hatred.”

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