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Posts Tagged ‘Income’

Adam Smith, the founder of modern capitalist economics, argued in his 1776 masterpiece The Wealth of Nations that labor created all wealth. This has been hideously distorted by the political golden rule; he who has the power makes the rules. The idle rich are now wallowing in unprecedented wealth according to a new report from the charity Oxfam. The report found that the world’s richest 1 percent raked in 82 percent of the wealth created last year while the poorest half of the world’s population received none.

In addition, the study found “the wealth of billionaires has grown six times faster than that of ordinary workers since 2010, with another billionaire minted every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.”

Oxfam used its findings to paint a picture of a global economy in which the wealthy few amass ever-greater fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are “struggling to survive on poverty pay”.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement.

Oxfam also emphasized the plight of women workers, who “consistently earn less than men” and often have the lowest paid, least secure jobs. Nine out of 10 billionaires are men, the authors added.

The report, titled “Reward Work, not Wealth”, used data from Credit Suisse to compare the returns of top executives and shareholders to that of ordinary workers.

It found that chief executives of the top five global fashion brands made in just four days what garment workers in Bangladesh earn over a lifetime.

“The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors,” Byanyima said.

To fight rising inequality, Oxfam called on governments to limit the returns of shareholders and top executives, close the gender pay gap, crack down on tax avoidance and increase spending on healthcare and education.

The study was released on the eve of top political and business figures meeting at a luxury Swiss ski resort for the annual World Economic Forum, which this year says it will focus on how to create “a shared future in a fractured world”. However, nothing will come of this.

“It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality,” said Byanyima.

“It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it. Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights.”

The top 1 percent are able to do these things and increase their wealth and income because of their control over the political processes in most nations. This is particularly true in the United States where corruption on an unprecedented scale in the post-World War II era permeates every sector of government and both major political parties.

Wall Street’s US Senator Ron Wyden is a perfect example of this. Supposedly a liberal Democrat representing the state of Oregon, Wyden has voted nearly every time to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent except when the billionaires who control the Democratic party want to appear as though they oppose the billionaires who control the Republican Party and the Republican scams to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, such as Donald Trump’s recent tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

Wyden has voted to export tens of millions US jobs, on the one hand, while voicing support for liberal social issues. The corporate press and Wyden always emphasize what a great liberal he is without never mentioning that Wyden is one of the legislative architects of today’s unprecedented income and wealth inequality in the United States.

When US jobs are exported the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new poverty wage benefits goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. Wyden knows this, and shows his support for doing this by having a 100 percent record on voting to export tens of millions of US jobs.

The result of Wyden’s actions have been an economic system powered by a variety of bubbles, rather than actual real growth.

The latest stock market bubble will soon pop and with devastating consequences for the nation and the world. Just remember Wyden’s corruption has been a key factor in all of this and is a shining example of most Democrats in power and nearly all Republicans.

The last thing to be said about this issue is why the rich need to get richer. We have an international economic system powered by the link between corporations and high finance. Corporations, as I show in The Rigged Game, need fairly consistent ever-increasing profits in order to keep their stock prices rising. Failure to do this results in declining stock prices, if not an outright collapse in stock prices. In other words, the corporate economic system is something of a Ponzi scheme.

https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/bp-reward-work-not-wealth-220118-en.pdf

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The United States Federal Reserve Bank issued a report in September 2017 showing the top 1 percent of US income earners own almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans.

According to the Fed’s report, the bottom 90 percent of citizens have seen their wealth fall from nearly 38 percent of total US wealth in 1989 to 23 percent today, a 40 percent drop. Meanwhile, the 1 percent has seen their share of wealth grow from just under 30 percent in 1989 to 38.6 percent today.

In the same report, Federal Reserve researchers reported the rich took a record-high 23.8 percent of the overall US created income in 2016, up from approximately 8 percent in 1980. The report showed the bottom 90 percent of families now make less than half of the country’s income. That figure slipped to 49.7 percent in 2016, down by more than 20 percent since 1989.

A perusal of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows total US corporate profits hit their highest level ever in the third quarter of 2017. The next three highest were during the three quarters preceding the third quarter. Corporate after-tax earnings were also at their highest levels during the past four quarters. This shows US corporations are doing fine without the tax cuts.

According to the BEA, despite record aggregate corporate earnings in 2017, average monthly job growth was lower than in 2016. Rather than increasing jobs, much of those record earnings are providing higher dividends and share buybacks. Both of these are done with the intention of raising share prices, thereby fueling an already dangerous stock market bubble.

There is a good chance that much of the corporate tax cuts will be used to increase dividends and find ways to increase share values, which redounds mainly to the rich.

In a research report for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economist Edward N. Wolff shows that the top 1 percent own 40 percent of all corporate shares, while the 90-99 percent own 44 percent, as of 2016. That means the top ten percent will be the primary beneficiaries of the new tax cuts for corporations, increasing both their income and their wealth relative to everybody else.

Thus, income and wealth inequalities are certain to increase under the newest Republican tax cuts. People may reasonably suspect the tax cuts were written to ensure this result, and with potentially dire results.

The stock market bubble may grow bigger than would otherwise be the case in the absence of the tax cuts. Once the bubble bursts, the 99 percent will likely be the principal victims in the form of higher unemployment, reduced incomes, home foreclosures, increased homelessness, and all the things that historically come with the bursting of stock market bubbles.

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Portland Oregon opened up a new front in the battle against income and wealth inequality. On December 7, 2016 local officials voted to slap a surtax on corporations that pay their chief executive officers more than 100 times what they pay their typical workers. The bill was sponsored by outgoing City Commissioner Steve Novick.

According to the Nation, “The Portland move will be the nation’s first tax penalty on corporations with extreme CEO-worker pay gaps. But it’s unlikely to be the last. Much like the Fight for $15, this bold reform could well spread like wildfire.

Indeed, we may look back at the Oregon vote as the dawn of a new “pay ratio politics.” Thanks to a new Securities and Exchange Commission regulation, publicly held corporations will this year have to start calculating the ratio between their CEO and median worker pay. The first of these ratios will go public in early 2018.

These federally mandated pay ratio disclosures will make it easy for states and cities to adopt Portland-style surtaxes—if they have the political will to do so.”

For Novick the bill was all about striking a blow against our nation’s skyrocketing inequality. “CEO pay is not just an eye-catching example of, but a major cause of, extreme economic inequality,” he said in a statement after the council vote. “Extreme economic inequality is—next to global warming—the biggest problem we have in our society.”

Currently, the top 1 percent steal via federal legislation anywhere from 24 to 37 percent of all income produced in the USA every year, compared to just 8 percent 36 long years ago. The top 1 percent now own more wealth in the USA than the bottom 90 percent as of a few years ago, and that is sure to have grown since then.

Click here for the entire story in the Nation.

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fredgraph

As you can see from the graph via the Federal Reserve Bank, real family income is still down below the level of 2007 eighty-eight months into the newest economic expansion. The median is the number of families in the middle of any series of numbers.

The top 1 percent received 99 percent of all income growth from 2010 to 2014, which was an historic record. Although incomes rose in 2015, the typical household is still worse off today than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. The assets of the typical family today are worth 14 percent less than the assets of the typical family in 1984. And the typical job is less secure than at any time since the Great Depression.

That’s all because the 1 percent has used its financial control over both major political parties to wage war against the 99 percent. Waging war in this case means redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via the actions of the federal government.

We are now fast approaching the newest recession, which should hit by June 2017. It’ll be worse than the Great Recession in any number of ways. This will be because trillions of dollars have been redistributed to the wealthy over the last thirty-five years. This epoch is about to end.

Enough people will finally be aroused for working folks to take back control over both major political parties as the reality of the severity of the next financial crisis takes hold. Then real middle class incomes can grow again.

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'America's Biggest Export, Our Jobs!!'

‘America’s Biggest Export, Our Jobs!!’

The corporate news media, more accurately described as a propaganda machine, is on the move in an effort to derail the campaign of Bernie Sanders.

Below is an op-ed in the March 20, 2016 Oregonian newspaper. The Oregonian is a charter member of the corporate brainwashing machine. They used an op-ed written by economics professor Kimberly Clausing of Reed College.

The professor uses the economic fairy tales of free trade to point out the errors of those who are against the Trans Pacific Partnership, and other trade agreements, which are nothing more than scams to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. In Italics I show how she aims to mislead. The professor’s point of view is supported by the editors of the Oregonian, otherwise they would have offered a counter argument to the professor’s claims. So here it goes.

By Kimberly Clausing

“Candidates on both ends of the political spectrum, the far-left Bernie Sanders and the extreme Donald Trump, have displayed skepticism and even outright hostility regarding the influence of foreign competition on the U.S. economy.”

When was the last time you purchased an I-phone or a Dell computer made by a Chinese company? When was the last time anybody purchased something by a Chinese company? How about hardly ever? Much, and perhaps most, of Chinese exports to the USA are made by US corporations producing their products in China. The “foreign competition” isn’t with China. That “foreign competition” US companies face is US companies manufacturing stuff in China. The US trade deficit with China does not exist, at least not in total. In reality, the so-called trade deficit with China is largely a US trade deficit with US corporations that have shifted production from the US to China, and then exported their Chinese made products to the USA. Stunningly, the professor does not know this, but her ignorance is serving Wall Street and the rest of the 1 percent by brainwashing us to reality. 

The professor went on:

“Both Sanders and Trump have vowed to tear up existing trade agreements, table new international initiatives and make tougher deals with China.”

As pointed out above, Clausing is clueless about what she writes, but Bernie Sanders is not. Sanders understands that the primary export product of the US is US jobs. I don’t know what Trump understands about these deals, but it is clear that the editors of the Oregonian newspaper, as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, Foxnews, MNSBC, and others, don’t want you to know this reality.

The Professor goes on and on:

“While both candidates are responding to very real voter concerns regarding wage stagnation and income inequality, they are proposing destructive solutions that will cause more harm than good for Americans, including Oregon’s workers and consumers.”

Clausing doesn’t understand that all those millions upon millions of US jobs in China, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, and elsewhere, are depriving many US citizens of employment. Trade treaties paved the legal road to ship those jobs overseas, or create them there rather than here. One corporation alone, Nike, accounts for approximately one million jobs overseas. About 250,000 of those are in China, and another roughly 350,000 are in Vietnam. That’s just one US corporation, meaning tens of millions of US jobs are overseas exploiting lower wages, as well as lesser environmental and legal rights of workers.

“Let’s be clear,” Clausing wrote. “American workers have had a tough several decades. Aside from a period in the 1990s, wages have been nearly stagnant in recent years. And while economic growth in the United States does well in comparison with other rich countries, gains in gross domestic product (GDP) have increased incomes at the top of the income distribution far more than in the bottom 80 percent.”

Clausing’s got it correct there, but then she puts in the typical propaganda below. 

“Workers, and voters, are understandably frustrated. But many factors other than trade play a role in these economic outcomes.”

Trade is likely the biggest factor causing this frustration, and by a wide margin. Just look at all of those tens of millions of US jobs that have been exported, thanks to these trade agreements, but then Clausing steps into her own bullshit on her next paragraph.

“Foremost, technological change has revolutionized production processes, with computers displacing workers in many sectors. We no longer need secretaries to type our work or bank tellers to hand us cash. Assembly lines are more automated than ever before. Yet no one is suggesting that we throw away our computers to get these jobs back, because computers are useful in countless ways in our daily lives. And computers augment what skilled workers can produce and earn. The maker of a software application, the designer of an aircraft engine and the analyst of data are all more productive than they would be without computers to aid them.”

Economists have been warning for over two centuries that technology growth will lead to higher rates of unemployment, but that has never happened, then or now. Clausing, in the paragraph above, doesn’t understand reality, just obscure theory that isn’t based in reality. Technology wipes out jobs, and that’s true, but it typically creates far more jobs than it eliminates. Let’s take one example.

The National Cash Register Corporation (NCR), whose stock is traded on Wall Street, has been a US company since 1888. The company used to manufacture cash registers in the United States.Those jobs are long gone.

Nowadays, NCR manufactures its retail and restaurant self-checkout machines in China (which are officially called “Retail and Restaurant Point of Sale hardware and software,” on the company’s website). NCR is the largest manufacturer in the world of ATM machines, and almost all of them are made in China, and well, maybe they’re all still made there. A few years back, NCR announced that a tiny number of jobs manufacturing ATM’s might be brought back to the USA, but there is no evidence that I’ve been able to find to suggest this has come to pass. So it’s likely that all of NCR’s ATM machines are still made in China. NCR also manufactures Airport Self-Service Kiosks and a bunch of other items in China. In fact, everything it produces (with the possible exception of that small number of ATMs) are manufactured in China).

According to its website, NCR manufactures, “POS Terminals, POS Software, POS Printers, Fuel Controller, Back Office Software, Self Checkout.” Under the travel category, “Common Use Self-Service, Airport Kiosk, Hotel Check-In, Car Rental Software, Bus Check-In.” If this was fifty years ago, before the World Trade Organization, before all the free trade treaties, all of the company’s jobs would be in the United States.

NCR has more employees now than ever in its history, and this is especially true when you count the use of contractors and their employees in China. The technology produced by NCR has created more jobs than the old cash register business thirty years ago. Thousands of jobs were wiped out, but hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more jobs have been created with the new technology.

Technology did not put those jobs in China. Low wages did, and the demands of its stock price did. The ability to produce massive amounts of pollution did. The ability to use an essential slave labor force six to seven days a week, and up to sixteen hours per day and without overtime pay, put those jobs in China. But something else paved the way to export those jobs; trade agreements.

“Trade, like computers, creates both winners and losers. Unfortunately, the workers that would have made the imported goods may be harmed.”

The professor should have added, because their jobs will be exported.

“But workers in export industries benefit greatly, and consumers benefit from price reductions on virtually every product they consume.”

The professor is way off base on this one, perhaps because she lacks real life experience. I have a friend named Sloan. He is a contractor who builds homes. He used to purchase his ceramic tiles from a company that manufactured them in the USA. Then one day he realized the company was now making them in China, and the price they charged him was the same.

“Increased foreign competition prevents domestic firms from wielding undue market power.”

Just look at the political markets and you’ll see who owns what. Wall Street investment firms own the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Koch Brothers own Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and you can go on and on, but the professor shows total ignorance.

“Economic growth abroad makes more stable societies and alleviates world poverty.”

Tell this to the folks in Vietnam. They’re not allowed to unionize, their air is totally polluted, and they live in a total police state. Poverty is difficult to determine, and sometimes it’s a matter of opinion. But if the rich are getting richer, then the rest of us must be getting more poor.

Close, mutually beneficial economic ties between countries build peaceful relationships and reduce needless antagonism among nations. And addressing global policy problems like climate change will require an international community that is more interested in building bridges than walls.

I agree with the professor above, but that’s part of her propaganda about how everything is wonderful with trade agreements.

“Indeed, the country as a whole benefits from trade.”

Trade agreements have largely created the income and wealth inequality we have here in the USA, so the professor is way off base here. The rich primarily benefit from the scams that redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent and that are marketed as trade agreements. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices. The job losers get unemployment insurance if they’re lucky. So no, the country as a whole has not benefited from international trade, but the rich as a whole has.

I could go on and on with Professor Clausing’s propaganda op-ed on behalf of the 1 percent, but by now you should see the difference between the reality of trade agreements, and the theory offered by the professor.

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We need to make a choice this election season. Do we want the rich to continue to rule this nation for their own purposes? Or do we want to call the shots and take back our government? Do we want the government to continue redistributing our income to the rich via international income redistribution agreements, falsely marketed as international trade agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership? Hillary has been for it 45 times, and against it twice. The rich now steal 37 percent of all the income produced in the USA. They seemed pretty well off back in 1980 when they only stole 8 percent of all income. How much do they need in order to pay the bills?

Do we want a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, or for Wall Street? Hillary has received over $2 million from Wall Street investment corporations since leaving office less than two years ago. That exceeds Bernie Sanders net worth by a factor of over five. Do we want to continue exporting jobs overseas, like Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden enjoys doing? And like Hillary and Bill Clinton has voted to do. Do we want more and more citizens of the 99 percent to work four and five jobs in order to make ends kind of sort of meet, like the woman in the video above?

There really is only one answer for Democrats if you don’t like redistributing middle class income to the rich, if you don’t like it when the USA signs agreements to ship jobs overseas, and you think the crimes of Wall Street executives and their underlings should be brought to justice, and that one person is Bernie Sanders.

Okay, fine, vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, but there isn’t going to be hope and change with her if she’s elected.

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US Senator of Wall Street Ron Wyden wants to eliminate your voting rights, and redistribute your income to the 1 percent. And he knows exactly what he’s doing, as you can tell by the film below. He doesn’t even deny the accusations on this matter when confronted by a citizen of Oregon at a town hall in January 2015. He simply avoided the answer to the question over six boring minutes.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will steal your voting rights on many issues. It will also redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 percent, and stuff that money straight into the pockets of the 1 percent. Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden knows this, and yet, he was the right hand man of President Obama to hustle the TPP out of the Senate Trade and Finance Committees. He is also the person who pushed Fast Track Authority through the US senate. Fast Track forces congress into an up or down vote on the TPP, limits debate, and stops the filibuster from being implemented when the TPP comes up for a vote in the US Senate. The final version of the TPP was introduced to congress a week or so ago, and the text of this international income and voting rights redistribution scam are being reviewed.

We know, as has Wall Street and its senator, the TPP will unconstitutionally allow foreign corporations to challenge US laws that the management of these corporations deem to negatively impact their alleged future profits. Such cases will be tried in secret corporate established tribunals.

If the citizen’s of a state or county vote to establish mandatory GMO labeling laws, for example, and a GMO company decides that this will negatively impact their future profits, that company can sue the state in Wyden’s secret tribunals. If the company wins, the state will have two options; pay the difference between what the company says its future profits if the law didn’t exist, and what the profits were before the law goes into effect, or rescinding your voting rights by eliminating the law.

In other words, your vote will be rescinded, or you will need to pay a foreign corporation every year in perpetuity to enact such a law.

So if a company is selling a gasoline additive, and poisoning the ground water of a state, and killing people with it, and the state legislators or the voters decide to eliminate the poison from their state, the same financial situation will crop up. Be poisoned and in the process lose your voting rights on the issue, if you lose in the secret tribunal, or pay forever a foreign corporation to exercise your right to vote, which is nothing more than an illegal and unconstitutional poll tax in perpetuity.

A US trade treaty can override US law, but only if it receives 67 votes in the US Senate. That’s why the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is legally called an agreement, rather than a treaty. NAFTA didn’t get 67 votes in the senate. Don’t ask me why the US Supreme Court has ruled that an agreement between two nations is not a treaty, but it has ruled this way, and don’t ask me why foreign corporations are allowed to sue state and local governments in NAFTA’s secret tribunals, since clearly such a process is overriding US laws, and NAFTA only received 62 votes in the senate. Okay, it’s called the corporate takeover and corruption of the US supreme court.

Regardless, that’s how Wyden is intending to illegally steal your right to vote, and all on behalf of his Wall Street masters. This year he has brought the TPP to the brink of a vote in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. It’s time for folks to start calling their senators and representatives.

Only an insane or totally corrupted person would want to continue following the same trade policies that have redistributed massive amounts of income and voting rights from the 99 to the 1 percent and brought us to the most massive and destabilizing income inequality and historically high trade deficits in US history. Take your pick. Are the supporters of this income redistribution scam insane or corrupt?

As an aside, and as a final note, since 2009, the 1 percent has stolen 95 percent of all US income growth. In 2008, the 1 percent stole 21 percent of all income produced in the USA, up from 8 percent in 1980. This year the 1 percent is stealing 37 percent + of all the income produced in the United States. What do they do with that money? They corrupt your politicians and Supreme Court justices, and the legislation that flows from the US congress, and the white house. In other words, that money is used to rig the economic, political and financial games against the 99 percent.

Think about these numbers. They mean that the 99 percent went from earning 92 percent of all US income in 1980, to 79 percent in 2008, to 63 percent in 2015.

Do you feel like your working more and earning less? Where has your retirement gone? Where are the jobs? Why haven’t the 99 percent received a raise in pay when factoring inflation since 1980? Why are housing prices so high? The above numbers are the answers to every one of the these questions and more, and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden is one of the main culprits as to why these negative things are occurring.

As for how Wall Street Ronnie plans to steal your money, see what-the-corporate-new-media-refuses-to-tell-the-public-about-the-trans-pacific-partnership-its-a-massive-income-redistribution-agreement-that-will-drive-the-middle-class-further-into-poverty–JohnHively.wordpress.com

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