Posts Tagged ‘income inequality’

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.”


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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After thirty-five years of globalization, most people in the world are still living a wretched existence by US middle class standards, according to the Pew Research Center. More people than ever before have entered the middle class throughout the world, which the US corporate news media will brag about, but definitions of middle class vary throughout the world, which the same corporate news media won’t tell you. So, for example, people living in poverty in Vietnam on $2.70 a day might be considered middle class if their wages double, which would mean those folks are still living a wretched existence by any standard, except now they’re considered middle class, by somebody’s definition.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis, “…though there was growth in the middle-income population (in the world) from 2001 to 2011, the rise in prosperity was concentrated in certain regions of the globe, namely China, South America and Eastern Europe. The middle class barely expanded in India and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.”

This rise in the third world middle class corresponds with a decline in the middle class in the United States, which the corporate news media won’t mention. That’s because globalization is a facade hiding the reality that free trade as is currently negotiated is nothing more than an income redistribution scam. Here’s how it works, and here’s how the researchers at Pew have been easily fooled.

One needs to earn between $6,000 and $25,000 a year to be considered middle class in China. See understanding-chinas-middle-class–China Business Review. In China, these people are free from such things as social security, free from overtime pay, free to suck in the world’s worst air pollution, free to drink among the world’s most polluted water, and they’re are often forced to work sixteen hours a day.

Do a little math. A person in the USA earning the federal minimum wage of $7.50 an hour working forty hours earns $15,600 a year, hardly middle class by US standards. The difference between middle class in the US and China is one of income redistribution.

When the US government signs a so-called free trade treaty, the result redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent because these agreements legally pave the way for US corporations to ship jobs from the US to lesser paying nations, like China. The treaties also pave the way for US corporations to create jobs overseas, rather than in the US, so they serve to discourage US job growth, and corporate investment in the USA. The difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower pay, in say China, goes straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and soaring dividends.

So, for example, a job paying $50,000 in the US may pay only $6,000 in China (with no overtime pay, and often being forced to work 16 hours a day). The difference between the two figures is $44,000, and that goes toward rising corporate profits, which in turn, goes into the pockets of the one percent via rising dividends and share prices. The US jobs losers get a few months of unemployment insurance, if they’re lucky.

In the meantime, as millions of jobs are shipped overseas, or created there when they would have been created over here in the absence of these income redistribution scams known as free trade agreements, the tax dollars that normally go to schools, fire, police, roads and other infrastructure, and our social safety nets, are being redistributed to the 1 percent with every job that is exported overseas. By the way, the BIGGEST EXPORT PRODUCT OF THE UNITED STATES IS JOBS.

These agreements weaken the Social Security Trust Fund because the people earning $55,000 a year are paying into it, and the people who steal their wages when jobs are shipped overseas, pay social security taxes on only the first $118,500 of their their $10,000,000+ income, which, coincidentally, violates the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause of the US Constitution.

However, narrow minded researchers and corrupt news media reporters influenced by corporate dollars will declare that free trade agreements are good things, and they’ll point to China’s growing middle class as their evidence, rather than the declining US middle class, as an example. And they’ll do this without mentioning that middle class in China means living a very subsistence life style at best, and being encapsulated with dire poverty at the worst.

So when the corporate news media reports on the growth of the middle class throughout the world, take it for what it’s worth, which is nothing.

A Global Middle Class Is More Promise than Reality –Pew Research Center

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“Folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, yet his words, music, and mission continue to stir us as if he were a contemporary figure, not just a legendary one. On what would have been his 100th birthday, NPR produced a retrospective on Guthrie that included this insightful quote from Time‘s  Joe Klein, who wrote a biography of the iconic figure in 1980.

“The further we get away from Woody’s birth and death, and take a look at his influence, [the more] it helps us learn about ourselves as Americans… There’s a wild-ass quality to this country that he personified. I go around the country. The greatest fear is that we’re losing that — we’re losing our creativity, our individualism. Woody was an individual, and a militantly individual individual.”

Woody wrote songs about income inequality, political power inequality, undocumented immigrants, poor people and their struggles (think the rising number of homeless and jobless), the dust bowl (think California drought), crooked politicians, corrupt bankers, and much more that is applicable to the circumstances of today, which has been created by rich folks utilizing the levers of political power that their ill gotten gains are able to purchase. Woody’s songs have been recorded by a massive number of singers, ranging from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Billy Bragg, and U2.

One of my favorite Woody Guthrie quotes is his philosophy of song writing

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good.

I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose.

No good to nobody. No good for nothing.

Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that.

Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.

i am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.

I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and your work.”

In his web-only video essay, “Bill Moyers looks back at the singer-songwriter’s life and work, finding many points of irony and relevance given the current state of our economy and democracy. Is this land truly made for you and me? In this visual and musical journey, Bill asks the question, and puts forth a sobering answer.”

To check out Bill’s video on Woody Guthrie, click on the link below.

Woody Guthrie: What He Still Teaches Us | BillMoyers.com.

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The time to stop Fast Track is now or never.

This terrible trade-negotiation policy recently passed in the Senate. Now that members of Congress are back from vacation, they’re expected to bring Fast Track to a vote any day now. Some of our lawmakers already have committed to stand with their wealthy campaign donors and support Fast Track. But many of our elected officials still can be moved—especially if we remind them that we vote.

Call and ask your representative to oppose Fast Track right now.

This week, people across the country are making calls to their lawmakers to let them know that working folks absolutely cannot afford another bad trade deal.

We need to let them know we’ve got the facts and we don’t support Fast Track. In the past, deals that were passed using the Fast Track process deepened our trade deficit, weakened our manufacturing sector, lowered wages and gave the 1% more control over our economy. More of these bad policies will shrink our paychecks and stifle middle-class growth.

Not only does Fast Track encourage the passage of bad trade deals, but it will tie the hands of Congress, preventing lawmakers from improving bad deals or telling negotiators the deal won’t get a vote unless they go back to the drawing board. We deserve better than a policy that limits Congress to a simple up-or-down vote on trade deals that will affect working families everywhere.

I believe we can win this, but we have to act now.

Contact your representative now and tell her or him to stand up for workers and democracy by opposing Fast Track.

To call your Member of Congress:
US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

To locate your Member on-line:
U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov
U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov

In Solidarity,


Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

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

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

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

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

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

A message from Bernie:

Friend –

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

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

The challenges facing our country are enormous.

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

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


Bernie Sanders

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