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Posts Tagged ‘legislation’

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that CEO compensation at major US corporations dropped a bit to 271  times the average annual pay of the average worker. EPI reports that, “While the 2016 CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 271-to-1 is down from 299-to-1 in 2014 and 286-to-1 in 2015, it is still light years beyond the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and the 59-to-1 ratio in 1989.”

Much of CEO compensation is based on stock options. Boards of Directors offer CEOs stocks at certain prices. So, for example, if a CEO is offered stock at $5 a share, and the price rises to $25, the CEO can purchase a high number of shares at $5 and turnaround and sell them at $25 a share. So who signed the legislation that brought this about? Why, none other than Wall Street President Bill Clinton. See Bill Clinton Created Terrible Corporate Loop Hole–New Republic.

Naturally, stock options have led CEOs to outsource and export jobs at higher rates than they normally would, which in turn, has led to much of the income inequality we experience today. Depending on whose figures you use, the 1 percent now steal anywhere from 23 to 37 percent of all income produced in the USA, up from 8 percent in 1980. This inequality of income, and also of wealth, continues to grow. Thank you Bill!

According to the report, “Over the last several decades CEO pay has grown a lot faster than profits, than the pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, and than the wages of college graduates. This means that CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are more productive or have special talent or have more education. If CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment. Policy solutions that would limit and reduce incentives for CEOs to extract economic concessions without hurting the economy include:

  • Reinstate higher marginal income tax rates at the very top.
  • Remove the tax break for executive performance pay.
  • Set corporate tax rates higher for firms that have higher ratios of CEO-to-worker compensation.
  • Allow greater use of “say on pay,” which allows a firm’s shareholders to vote on top executives’ compensation.

Click here for the complete EPI report.

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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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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.

F1.medium

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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From Arthur Stamolis of CitizensTradeCampaign.Org (words in parenthesis mine)

Just last year, the U.S. State Department listed Malaysia among the world’s worst countries when it comes to human trafficking. While exact counts are impossible to come by, we’re likely talking about millions of people affected. Many of these modern-day slaves end up not only as prostitutes and domestic servants, but working in Malaysia’s export-oriented electronics and palm oil sectors. One-third of all electronics workers in Malaysia are estimated to be trafficking victims. (Some of these slaves will likely wind up working for US corporations, their contractors and subcontractors, should Malaysia be included in the TPP. This means US workers making $30 an hour will need to compete against slaves. Thank you Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden!)

Less you think this is anything less awful and barbaric than it really is, just this spring, dozens of trafficking camps with guard posts, barbed wire and their own mass graves were uncovered in the country’s jungles. A human rights campaigner said at the time, “The only way these kinds of camps could operate was with the support of military, police and politicians who were either directly involved or were paid to look the other way.”

The Fast Track legislation recently passed by Congress — as awful as it was — at least included a provision against fast tracking trade deals with the worst human trafficking abusers. Rather than requiring the Malaysian to clean up its act before it joins the TPP, the Obama administration has reportedly chosen to just write the problem away with a new trafficking report that says the country is no longer that big of a concern. (What an asshole we have as a president)

Top human rights advocates all agree the sudden “upgrading” of Malaysia’s trafficking status has nothing to do with human rights improvements, and everything to do with greasing the skids for the TPP, which means greasing the skids for Wall Street and the 0.01 percent to financially rape and pillage the 99 percent since the TPP is nothing more than an income and political power redistribution scam falsely marketed as a free trade agreement, and its political supporters all know this. They aren’t stupid little boys and girls.

A “stunned” Human Rights Watch representative said Malaysia has done very little in the past year to protect trafficking victims, and “This would seem to be some sort of political reward from the United States.”

An Amnesty International representative further argued that “Malaysia’s anti-trafficking efforts have been severely wanting,” and that “the U.S.’s willingness to sidestep one of the world’s worst rights crises” was instead motivated by “the value of trade this would bring.”

TAKE ACTION NOW: Please urge your U.S. Representative to speak out against attempts to cook the books in the State Department’s forthcoming human trafficking report.

For more on this subject, click the following link, first-remains-brought-down-malaysias-human-trafficking-camps–Asia One.

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According the good economists at the Economic Policy Institute, “Despite a falling unemployment rate and a stepped-up pace of job growth in 2014, the economy remains far from fully recovered. This is illustrated by the sharp slowdown in nominal wage growth (wages unadjusted for inflation) that has persisted in the recovery from the Great Recession. Given trend productivity growth (1.5–2 percent) and the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation target, hourly wage growth could be twice as fast—around 4 percent—without spurring inflation. And wages could grow significantly faster than this for an extended period of time—say, 6 percent for six years—before they hit the healthy wage target set by 4 percent growth since 2007.”

That $3.16 cents per hour that should be going into the pockets of the 99 percent have instead been redistributed by the Republican and Democratic Parties via legislation into the already fat wallets of the 1 percent, who are their financial masters.

95 percent of all income growth has been funneled by corrupt politicians to the 1 percent since 2009, a record by a whopping margin. The wage gap is suppressing demand, curbing job and wage growth, and diverting more of the 99 percent’s income to the 1 percent, which suppresses growth by diminishing the demand for goods and services. That’s why we are

This shows how corrupt both political parties have become, and how corrupt they have made the federal government, which includes all three branches. So long as this corruption continues to hollow out our government, we will never have a full recovery, not by any historical standards. The economic and political games were rigged against the middle class decades ago by the big boys with money.

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According the a report from the Economic Policy Institute, While pay at the top of the labor market has outpaced nearly every labor market indicator for decades, pay at the bottom—the federal minimum wage—has severely lagged most. This figure shows the decline in the real (inflation-adjusted) value of the minimum wage since its high in 1968 as well as what the federal minimum wage would be today if it had kept pace with the growth of real hourly wages of production and nonsupervisory workers (who make up 80 percent of the workforce) or economy-wide productivity. Had the federal minimum wage kept pace with productivity it would be over $18 today. Though not shown, the federal minimum wage did keep pace with productivity in the 30 years before 1968.

Why the minimum wage hasn’t risen with productivity is simple. Those increases in the minimum wage that should have been have been redistributed to the wealthiest of Americans via federal legislation. That only goes to show how corrupted the federal, and for that matter state, government has become due to the Reagan tax cuts.

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The Top 1 Percent’s Share of Income from Wealth Has Been Rising for Decades, thanks to legislation supported by Wall Street senator’s Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell, and Orrin Hatch, as well as President’s Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. We can’t forget Wall Street executives and the Koch brothers are also keen political supporters of the 1 percent massing more and more of the nation’s wealth, which is mostly accrued by the rich via legislation supported by those listed above, among many others.

By the way, wealth is assets, such as stocks, bonds, gold, houses, and other things of value. Income is money derived from either salaries, wages, dividends or capital gains.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

The result of an unequal flow of political power is an unequal flow of income and an unequal flow of wealth. The result of all of that is an economy tittering on the brink of the next great depression, which will be far worse for the 99 percent than the last recession.

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