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Posts Tagged ‘income redistribution’

The rich and Wall Street executives have been quaking in their boots recently. Their Ponzi Schemes and bubbles known as the financial markets are in danger of collapsing. And it’s all because of President Donald Trump.

Trump is threatening to levy taxes on products made in China and exported to the USA. These taxes are called tariffs, and here’s what the corporate news media doesn’t want you to know. By doing this, Trump is also threatening to deflate the recent stock market bubble, which is the same thing as saying Trump is threatening to decrease by significant margins the income and wealth of the billionaires who control both major political parties in the United States.

Tariffs are taxes on goods being imported into the USA from foreign nations. US corporations export into the USA tens of billions of products manufactured in China, Vietnam, Mexico and other third world nations. Increased tariffs mean US corporations will need to raise the prices of their Chinese and other third world products, or lower their profit margins.

The profits of corporations are the primary component determining the prices of shares. When profits drop, especially in the long term, share prices fall. So the share price of say, Home Depot could fall from $176 a share to $14 a share. If you own millions of shares you lose quite a lot of money. This is why the threat of tariffs in steel and aluminum has roiled the US financial markets as of late. A lot of paper wealth is going to evaporate as stock prices drop should the tariffs be enacted. Dividends may decline, as well.

Tens of millions of US jobs have been exported from the US to China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Honduras and elsewhere over the last twenty-five years. This has been done in order to jack up corporate profits by significantly reducing US labor and environmental costs. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower wages without benefits has gone straight into the already fat wallets and bank accounts of the superrich. They have used their ill-gotten gains to bid up the prices of corporate shares, gold, housing, commodities futures, and other investments.

President Trump’s threat to use tariffs against China and other nations means fewer dollars will go into the pockets of the rich if the tariffs are enacted. It also means potentially massive losses in the stock and maybe even bond markets.

Some corporations may even be inclined to export their jobs in China back to the United States if the tariffs are enacted. The middle class will benefit with additional jobs should this come about. In other words, the tariffs could redistribute income from the rich back into the pockets of the 99 percent, and this is something the billionaires will not allow their corporate media outlets to tell you. The proposed tariffs are limited, and therefore will not have much of an impact, but they will have some positive benefits to the US 99 percent.

Currently, six men own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the world’s people (See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/six-men-own-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-50-percent-of-human-kind/). In the USA, the 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent for the first time in US history (See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/in-the-united-states-the-1-percent-now-own-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-90-percent-for-the-first-time-in-us-history/). In the United States, the 1 percent steal as much as 35 percent of the income produced in the USA every year, up from 8 percent in 1979.

Trump’s tariffs will likely put tiny brakes on the continuously growing inequality of wealth and income produced by free trade agreements. Those brakes will likely only slow down the growing income and wealth inequality rather than halting or reversing them. But the tariffs would be a beginning to reversing the massive income and wealth inequality which the rich have successfully conspired to produce over the last thirty-seven years.

A few other things are in order. The USA has the fifteen to twenty largest trade deficits in world history. That means the US imports more goods than it exports. Our largest trade deficit is not with China, as the media claims. In reality, the largest US trade deficit is with US corporations that have exported tens of millions of US jobs overseas. The purpose of exporting tens of millions of US jobs has been to redistribute trillions of dollars from US workers to the rich, avoid US pollution controls (thereby increasing profits),  and avoid US health and safety regulations.

What American Presidents Have To Say About Tariffs:

“America’s growth and future depend on trade. But we would insist on trade that is fair and free. We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies”. President John F. Kennedy.

“Protection, which guards and develops our industries, is a cardinal policy of the Republican Party. The measure of protection should always at least equal the difference in the cost of production at home and abroad.” President Theodore Roosevelt

“A wise tariff protects American industries and manufacture. It encourages growth and enterprise among our own people. It opens our mines, it erects our machine shops, our furnaces and factories”.
President William Mckinley

It Was Good Enough For Kennedy, Roosevelt & McKinley. Why Isn’t It For Congress?

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There is a lot of talk out of Republican Party circles about the left and its plots to take away our freedoms, such as our guns. However, this is a lie. The left has been dead for decades. There are no popular parties of communists and socialists. Sure, there are a few remaining members of these old parties, but they are hardly a threat to the status quo. Most of them may be FBI informants anyway.

Nowadays, the left is the old political right on bread and butter issues, the environment, and much more. Remember President Richard Nixon? Over forty years ago he was a hard-line conservative who hated communism but made peace with China, ended the war in Vietnam by withdrawing all US troops, signed legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency, and offered a public option on national health care which was rejected by the Democrats. Nowadays Nixon would be considered politically far to the left. He would be a big letter “COMMUNIST!”

So when we hear talk about the left from say, Fox News, especially on economics and politics, those folks really mean the 99 percent. That’s right! They mean us! In poll after poll the 99 percent want a $15 minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich, an end to free trade agreements that are designed to export millions of US jobs but which benefits the 1 percent almost exclusively, Medicare for all, greater worker and environmental protections, legislation that will strengthen labor unions, and a lot more stuff that would be in interest of the 99 percent, but which would not necessarily be in the interests of the billionaires who control your government, both major political parties, and all of the major news media that keep you blinded to the things the billionaires don’t want you to know about.

So when you hear somebody on television talking about how the left is out to steal your freedoms, like a powerful gang of communists, that really is not true. These groups don’t exist in any serious way. That somebody on television is really out to steal your freedoms by distracting you from the real economic bread and butter issues by focusing your attention on the social issues. That person on the news is a paid employee of the billionaires on the political right. That person has little credibility.

By today’s political right standards, even old arch-conservative Richard Nixon would be a hard-line communist. Nixon was, of course, also a crook who resigned under the very real threat of impeachment. Nowadays, the political servants of the 1 percent can commit all sorts of crimes and get away with it, like torture, waging wars against humanity, and on and on.

Oh my! How things have changed.

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The golden rule is at work; he who has the gold makes the rules that determine income and wealth distribution. That is why income inequality has grown so enormous worldwide. The rich are getting wealthier while the rest of us toil in financial purgatory, even the European and US middle class.

The golden rule is also why the global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report.

The folks at Oxfam define severe poverty as those people living on $1.25 or less a day. and according to Oxfam estimates, about 1/3 of the world’s population lives at or below that level.

The world’s 2043 billionaires saw their wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth (wealth) grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Those people are also the folks without the gold with which to purchase political power in the so-called democracies of the world.

Oxfam had published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrived in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. This is an event in which the rich of the world share plans of how to rip the rest of us off. A spokesperson for Oxfam, however, noted “that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, but most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. That’s because the politicians managing the affairs of those governments are being paid to do nothing to rectify growing poverty throughout the world, and they are being paid to ensure the billionaires gain more and more of the world’s income and wealth. This is called corruption.

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.”

“People are ready for change,” Byanyima said. “They want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few.” In addition, p0eople want to limit the effects of the golden rule which allows the rich to control the distribution of income and wealth and send into their bank accounts the vast majority of income and wealth created.

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Did President Donald Trump get bamboozled by his own Republican Party? Or is he simply a liar and or stupid? One thing is certain. As a so-called billionaire, President Trump received a nice tax cut at my expense as of January 1, 2018.

The Trump tax cuts went into effect on January 1, 2018 and my federal taxes went up. I’m just a middle-class kind of guy with a respectable middle of the road five-figure income.

The federal government took nearly 13 percent of my middle-class income out of every paycheck in 2017. So far in 2018, the federal government, thanks to those lying political miscreants Donald Trump and his Republican Party henchmen, are stealing nearly 18 percent from every one of my paychecks. Now, I am paying 28 percent more in federal taxes while rich folks and their corporations are paying less.

I am earning exactly the same amount of money per week in 2018 as I earned in 2017. So, no, I did not move up to a higher bracket.

That makes it official; I am paying more so the rich and their income generating machines called corporations can pay less. And I’m guessing there are millions of folks like me seeing increases in their federal taxes so that the rich folks can pay less.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. However, I do not like being sold something with a pack of lies in order to give corporations enjoying record profits quarter after quarter cuts in their taxes and to give billionaires and millionaires tax cuts they don’t need. That is precisely what the Republican Party has engineered with bald-faced lies, as usual.

Let’s face reality head-on. Just about every publicly traded limited liability corporation is a tool of rich folks, giving them the power to earn and steal money from the rest of us, as well as enabling them to corrupt our political and judicial institutions, which has allowed them to screw the rest of us over. That’s something the rich have been doing since 1980. (To see how they have corrupted the US Supreme Court, please hit https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/the-editorial-the-rich-dont-want-you-to-read-corruption-of-the-united-states-supreme-court-what-the-rich-and-their-corporate-so-called-news-media-dont-want-you-to-know/)

The rich, corporations, the Republican Party, and President Donald Trump have redistributed my income into the pockets of the superwealthy. No doubt millions of middle-class Americans are paying more so the rich can pay less. I want to hear about. Please take the poll below.

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In exercising control of the political processes in the United States, and thereby determining the distribution of income and wealth, one of the foremost strategies the rich use to suppress US democracy is to divert the attention of the 99 percent from looking after their own economic interests by raising social concerns.

Republican Party leaders, such as the Bush family, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Orrin Hatch are awesome at this. So instead of Republican grassroots voters thinking how grotesque and anti-Jesus income and wealth inequality have become in the USA, they are led to think about war against Christmas, the Muslim peril, terrorism, President Obama is going to take your guns, the war against white males, transgender bathrooms, abortion, undocumented immigrants and much more.

Democratic Party leaders, such as the Clintons’, Nansi Pelosi, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden and others, are also awesome at creating social issues that are shamelessly self-serving at diverting our attention away from their helping the rich redistribute our income into their pockets via trade treaties and other legislation. Think about the war against women, keeping abortion legal, transgender bathrooms, racism, undocumented immigration, and much more.

The corporate news media is also quick to divert our attention away from the income and wealth inequality since they also serve the interests of the rich, being linked by the need for advertising dollars to keep their profits and share prices rolling upward.

Diverting us is determined by a “collectively manufactured elite (meaning parasites) consensus,” according to Branko Milanovic in his book Global Inequality. Given the enormous amount of private money that is used in politics and media, one cannot but think that this is one of the aims of these investments.

A perfect example of this is being played out in the media as you read this. Pornstar Stormy Daniels is suing President Donald Trump over an adulterous affair he allegedly had with her at the same time President Trump is pushing for more deregulation of Wall Street. Most media attention is one the Daniels issue because the corporate media does not want you to know the president, the entire Republican Party, and sixteen Democratic senators support the president’s proposal.

The last time there was deregulation of Wall Street we came face-to-face with the Great Recession. The next recession should be even worse, even without the deregulation.

And so it goes again, around and around. Democratic grassroots are gloating over the Daniels issue, while Republican grassroots are rushing to his defense, all the while oblivious to the fact that legislation is about to be passed making it easier for Wall Street to rip the 99 percent off even more than it is already.

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Infamous Drug Cartels

USA Today reported in its February 13, 2018, edition that “The five biggest opioid manufacturers shelled out more than $10 million to patient advocacy groups, professional medical societies and affiliated individuals – who then “echoed and amplified” messages that encouraged use of those highly addictive drugs, which set the stage for the opioid epidemic.

That is according to a Senate committee investigation, released Monday, that examined the financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and outside groups from 2012 through 2017.”

The five corporations investigated by the committed were Purdue Pharma, Jassen Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Depomed and Insys Therapeutics. In terms of global sales in 2015, these are the world’s biggest opioid drug makers.

These corporations gave their millions to such recipients as U.S. Pain Foundation, the National Pain Foundation and the Academy fo Integrative Pain Management. The report finds that the American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Pain Society “…promoted opioids as safe and effective for treating chronic pain and minimized the risk of addiction.” The report also points out that “…the Academy of Pain Medicine and the Center for Practical Bioethics spoke out against federal efforts to limit opioid prescribing.” Apparently, the bioethics of those who receive industry money is on the side of the industry. The industry and all their paid flunkies and flunkie organizations are as corrupt as the representatives of the US government, which is the most corrupt government in the industrialized world.

Note in the very first quote above listed “affiliated individuals” as recipients who received some of that $10 million in cash. Those folks are called medical doctors. Apparently, they are being paid to prescribe opioids to patients.

The day the report was released, bad citizen and opioid manufacturer Purdue announced: “…its employees will no longer visit doctors’ offices to pitch opioids, and it will cut its sales force by half to 200.” We will never know how many pharmaceutical salespeople offered thousands of doctors a little under the table money on behalf of their employers to prescribe opioids with abandon and without common sense to unsuspecting patients, and all for a little extra and perhaps unreported cash.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who launched the investigation, “called Purdue’s announcement “‘a major step forward’ but said the Senate report is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ in terms of how drug company money shapes health care policy debates and legislative outcomes.” In other words, Big Pharma is still calling the shots in the halls of Congress and in the white house, as well as determining what is said in the corporate news media and what politicians of both major political parties say.

The greater the opioid crisis in fueling addiction, the greater are the profits of the big drug manufacturers. Affluent shareholders and millionaire top executive officers would be far less wealthy without the opioid addictions they have created through the use of their money and corruption.

Mylan’s share price rose from $6.26 in 2008 to $42.14 on February 16, 2018. Depomed’s share price rose from $1.49 in 2008 to $7.44 on February 16, 2018. Isays has dropped 400+ percent since 2008. Janssen and Purdue are privately held companies. Without the sale of opioids, these companies would be in far worse financial positions nowadays.

The rich have corrupted your government, disarmed the US Constitution in the process, and created an addiction that redistributes the health of members of the 99 percent straight into their own pockets via greater corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. The affluent and their corporations have fueled the crisis, and not a soul that I am aware of is going to prison for bribery or conspiracy to create a public health crisis.

That is how corrupt your government has become over the last thirty-five years. Corporate profits, share prices, and dividends are more important than human health. Just ask any Republican politician in Washington D.C. and most Democratic Party members, as well.

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“With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.”

When Bill Clinton became president he took the party straight into the loving arms of Wall Street executives and investors, and the best way to do that was to get rid of labor unions by exporting tens of millions of labor union jobs to poverty wage nations. It began with Clinton and his Wall Street wife, Hillary, and NAFTA. The difference between the old US wages and benefits and the poverty wage workers in poverty-wage nations have always gone straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices.

President Barack Obama followed the Clinton’s footsteps in redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via this and other legislative paths. Of course, they were assisted in this massive redistribution of income and wealth by such Democrats as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, who was ever so happy to join the Republican party stalwarts in doing this. The result was ominous, for the Democratic Party, the nation, and the 99 percent.

Between 1978 and 2017, the union membership rate in the United States fell by more than half — from 26 to 10.7 percent. Naturally, this decline coincides with the redistribution of income and wealth engineered by the entire Republican Party, as well as the Wall Street controlled Democratic Party with such luminaries as Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The decline in labor union membership due to exported jobs also fuels the massive income and wealth inequality the United States suffers from today, thanks in large part to Bill and Hillary, Barack and Wyden and other Democratic Wall Street loyalists as Earl Blumenauer.

In a new study that will soon be released as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper (NBER), James Feigenbaum of Boston University, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez of Columbia, and Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution examined the long-term political consequences of anti-union legislation by comparing counties straddling a state line where one state is right-to-work and another is not. Their findings should strike terror into the hearts of Democratic Party strategists: Right-to-work laws decreased Democratic presidential vote share by 3.5 percent.

This could have been a golden age for American liberalism. The Democratic Party — and the progressive forces within it — have so much going for them. The GOP’s economic vision has never been less popular with ordinary Americans, or more irrelevant to their material needs. The U.S. electorate is becoming less white, less racist, and less conservative with each passing year. Social conservatism has never had less appeal for American voters than it does today. The garish spectacle of the Trump-era Republican Party is turning the American suburbs — once a core part of the GOP coalition — purple and blue.

If the Democratic Party wasn’t bleeding support from white working-class voters in its old labor strongholds, it would dominate our national politics. Understandably, Democratic partisans often blame their powerlessness on such voters — and the regressive racial views that led them out of Team Blue’s tent. But as unions have declined across the Midwest, Democrats haven’t just been losing white, working-class voters to Republicans — they’ve also been losing them to quiet evenings at home. The NBER study cited by McElwee found that right-to-work laws reduce voter turnout in presidential elections by 2 to 3 percent.

The Democratic leadership had a choice; side with the 99 percent or side against them and with the 1 percent. Obama, the Clintons, Wyden and other Wall Street Democrats chose to side with Wall Street and corporate parasites against their own grassroots. Now many of the grassroots have abandoned the Party that no longer represents them. Who can blame them? Oh, that’s right! The Democratic Leadership and their corporate news media blames the grassroots and calls them “deplorables,” but only after the leadership has exported tens of millions of working-class jobs.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/democrats-paid-a-huge-price-for-letting-unions-die.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s3&utm_campaign=sharebutton-b

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