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Posts Tagged ‘Mitch McConnell’

Eight weeks into the pandemic, Inequality.com reported that during the eight weeks of March 18th to May 14th 2020 thirty-six million workers became unemployed. “Over these same eight weeks, U.S. billionaires saw their wealth increase by $368.8 billion, a 12.51 percent increase. On March 18th, U.S. billionaires had a combined $2.947 trillion, down from $3.111 trillion a year earlier, according to Forbes annual global billion survey. As of May 14, total U.S. billionaire wealth has increased to $3.316 trillion.” 

Their total wealth rose during the first eight weeks of the pandemic by $205 billion compared to just last year as tens of millions of people became unemployed. Anybody see a disconnect here?

“In the last eight weeks, 14 new billionaires joined the U.S. billionaire list, which increased from 614 to 628. Even with a recent decline in markets, Elon Musk’s wealth increased $3.5 billion in the last week, since May 6. Jeff Bezos’ wealth increased by $900 million and Eric Yuan saw his wealth increase by $800 million.  Mike Bloomberg saw his wealth increase by $400 million.

Between March 18, when Forbes published their 2020 annual Global Billionaire Survey, and the morning of Thursday, May 14, these billionaires have seen their wealth surge:

  • Jeff Bezos – up $30 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg – up $21 billion
  • Steve Ballmer – up $11.6 billion
  • Elon Musk – up $11.3 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg – up $10 billion

The top 1 percent receive almost all their wealth and income from corporations. The first four government coronavirus bailouts were written in order to save the rich and their sources of income and wealth, while the rest of us got crumbs. (Click here for that story.) U.S. income and wealth inequality has been created by a corrupt government over the last forty years. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden.  

Share prices rose since the Federal government and Fed stepped in to protect the assets of the billionaires in late March 2020 with the CARES Act, providing nice capital gains income for the billionaires in return. This increase in share prices also made CEO’s wealthier in the process. 

This should tell you how corrupt our democracy, the Fed, and both major political parties have become, and all three branches of government have become. The rich are saved from their losses, while the 99 percent eat theirs. Socialism is used to save the rich, while the vagaries of capitalism are for the rest of us. We know because the corporate news media tells us so. 

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As I mentioned back in March 2020, the economy is in free fall but the billionaires are thriving, and stocks of big private equity firms are soaring dramatically higher. As usual, the billionaires have been the real beneficiaries of the federal government’s massive rescue efforts. 

Ten weeks into the worst crisis in 90 years, the government’s effort to save the economy has been both a spectacular success and a tremendous failure.

Two events showed this better than anything. On Friday, May 8th, 2020, the government reported that 20.5 million people had lost their jobs in April. That is massive damage to the middle class. The rich receive 2/3rds to 100 percent of their income from holding corporate stock. The stock market rallied with the news of the 20.5 million lost jobs. They are likely expecting trillions more from the Federal government and the Federal Reserve. 

The second event happened on Thursday, May 14th. The government reported the middle class lost another 3.8 million jobs, and the stock market rallied again both that day and the following day. 

If you’re looking for the billionaire’s decision on who has won the four government and Federal Reserve bailouts, consider these returns: Shares of Apollo Group, the giant private equity firm, have soared 80 percent from their lows. The stock of Blackstone, another private equity behemoth, has risen 50 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index has gotten back nearly all of its losses. 

 

ProPublica reports that billionaire clubs such as “Apollo and Blackstone, disproportionately the wealthiest and most influential, have been insured by the world’s most powerful central bank. This largess is boundless and without conditions. “Even if a second wave of outbreaks were to occur,” JPMorgan economists wrote in a celebratory note on May 9th, “the Fed has explicitly indicated that there is no dollar limit and no danger of running out of ammunition.”

“Many aspects of the coronavirus bailout that assist individuals or small businesses, meanwhile, are short-term or contingent. Aid to small businesses comes with conditions on what they can do with the money. The sums allocated by the CARES Act for stimulus and expanded unemployment insurance are vast by historical standards. But the relief they provide didn’t prevent tens of millions from losing their jobs. The assistance runs out in weeks, and the jobless live at the mercy of a divided Congress, which will decide whether that help gets extended and, if so, for how long.”

Meanwhile, the billionaire’s investment clubs can expect additional trillions of dollars from the Federal Reserve and U.S. government. Picture the CEOs of these firms manipulating puppets by a string, then picture Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and you’ll understand how politics work. 

ProPublica went on, “The Fed’s efforts, universally praised for their boldness and speed, have come in two stages. First, in February and March, the central bank shored up the capital market “liquidity,” which marks how willing investors are to buy and sell. The central bank’s role is to be a “lender of last resort,” working through banks so they can get money to companies and people.

The second stage of the Fed’s extraordinary rescue goes beyond liquidity. It has said it will buy assets it has never bought before. For almost 100 years, the Fed purchased only government bonds. Now it has announced a wide variety of programs to buy various forms of corporate and other debt, either by direct lending, by buying bonds, or buying loans.”

The mere announcement that the Fed would do this had an immediate effect, spurring the boom in corporate borrowing. For example, if Amazon issued a bond costing $1 trillion at face value and it comes due in five years. The Fed simply buys the bond and Amazon gets $1 trillion from the Fed. When the bond comes due in five years,  the Fed will simply print up the money and pay itself. Meanwhile, Amazon and its mostly billionaire and multi-millionaire shareholders divvy up the trillion dollars among themselves. 

ProPublica reported, “The Fed didn’t stop with the most solid, safest corporate stalwarts. In early April, it also announced something unprecedented. The central bank said it would buy junk bonds, debt issued by fragile companies, many of which already have crushing debt loads. Sure enough, junk bonds roared back and their cousins, leveraged loans, revived.

In doing so, the Fed backstopped the riskiest markets in the world. The most dangerous investments in the world, it should go without saying, are not owned by middle- and working-class Americans, to whom every politician pledges fealty. No, they are owned by the most risk-seeking investors in the world, the ones that need the highest returns: private equity firms and hedge funds.

The Fed has to work through the credit markets. The House and Senate have much greater powers, the power of the purse and of legislation. Congress could have passed laws that directed help in different ways. Europe has essentially nationalized payrolls, a much more direct form of aid to people who have lost the ability to work. However, the rotted corruption of the U.S. Federal government has seen it reluctant to use sufficient fiscal measures going back to the 2008 rescue.

What happens if the economy doesn’t come back soon? If the health crisis does not pass quickly, or if the economy does not roar back, the Fed’s actions might prove inadequate. But investors shouldn’t be too worried. They have been taught they can count on the government to rescue them from their bad investment decisions, and so they can make plenty of bad investment decisions. 

The Bailout is Working for the Rich-ProPublica

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Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis by of the United States Federal Reserve Bank showed that the top one percent of Americans have gained, or rather stolen using political and media corruption, $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets.”

Wealth is made up of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and houses. Income is the money that comes to you either via government programs, your jobs, or from your assets, such as dividends.

The growth of wealth inequality over the past 30 years, Bruenig found, is “eye-popping.” This income and wealth inequality has been brought about by the political corruption of all three branches of the United States government by the 1 percent using their control of both major political parties.

“Between 1989 and 2018, the top one percent increased its total net worth by $21 trillion,” Bruenig wrote. “The bottom 50 percent actually saw its net worth decrease by $900 billion over the same period.”

Much of the increase in inequality is due to international trade agreements, which have allowed U.S. corporations to export millions of American jobs to third world nations. The difference between the old higher US pay and other compensation goes straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, dividends and share prices.

This suggests you ought to vote for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for presidents.

Wall Street executives already have Joe Biden and Donald Trump, along with the corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court, and such US Senators as Ron Wyden and Mitch McConnell tucked away in their back pockets. These folks do not represent you.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren cited recent Pew Research Center polling that found only 18% of Americans say they can trust the U.S. government to do the right thing to unveil her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act on Tuesday.

It is well known that the rich, their corporations, and their lobbyists have bought almost every member of the United States House of Representatives and almost every member of the Senate since 1981, which include such corrupt blowhards as RepubliCons Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell and Democrat Ron Wyden. Since 1981, every United States president has bent to the desires of the well-to-do on all matters having to do with redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell have voted to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to the rich and powerful time and time again when they voted to export millions of jobs held by United States citizens via trade agreements.

The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new three dollars a day jobs in foreign nations goes straight into the pockets of the super-rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends. The newly unemployed in the U.S. might get unemployment insurance for a few months if they are lucky.

Political corruption is precisely why income inequality has grown from the 1 percent receiving 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980 to 37 percent today, and why three people own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the U.S. population, and why the 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

Warren’s plan provides a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, Presidents, and agency heads and banning foreign lobbying and lobbyists donations to candidates and members of Congress.

Warren’s bill seeks to eliminate both the appearance and the potential for financial conflicts of interest by banning members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, federal judges, and other senior government officials from owning and trading individual stock, including requiring the Supreme Court follow the ethics rules applicable to all other federal judges. One study has found that members of the U.S. Supreme Court rule in favor of companies they invest in.

Warren advocates “locking the government-to-lobbying revolving door” and eliminating the “golden parachutes” that companies pay some executives when they enter public service, citing the instance of Goldman Sachs paying Gary Cohn more than $250 million when he left the firm to lead President Trump’s National Economic Council.

Warren’s legislation also aims to end what she characterizes as the corporate capture of public interest rulemaking by requiring disclosure of funding or editorial conflicts of interest when corporations and special interest groups pay for comments and studies that support rulemaking, as well as requiring elected officials and candidates for federal office to disclose more financial and tax information and making federal contractors – including private prisons and immigration detention centers – comply with federal open records laws.

A lot more can be done to end corruption in the U.S. government. Banning the paid speeches made by former presidents and high officials is a starter. Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get $250,000 a pop for half-hour paid speeches. Who is to say the lure and promise of future profits do not influence the choices made by people in high office? In addition, the government could limit the amount of funding of political campaigns provided by political action committees, corporations, and individuals. However, the corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court has been so corrupted by the inflow of cash and favors and class warfare mentality in favor of their social and economic class, that they eliminated one hundred years of legal precedent in the Citizens United case of 2010 that limited contributions as outlined in the sentence above. Reversing that, and successfully impeaching the corrupt corporate wing of the Supreme Court would go a long way toward ending the massive wave of political corruption that has swamped the United States governments at all levels like rising tides of overflowing cesspools.

For the complete story, see Elizabeth Warren Proposes Ways to Fight Political Corruption–MarketWatch.

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The Communist Party of the United States never amounted to more than a few thousand people. The Socialist Party of the United States, quite different from the Communist Party, peaked in 1912 when presidential candidate Eugene Debs received 6.0 percent of the popular vote. The socialist party went downhill from there, and never really was a political threat to the two major corporate political parties. The political left of the United States has been effectively dead for decades in terms of communists and socialist. So who makes up the political left nowadays? And who is on the political right?

The political left is the 99 percent, while the political right is made up of the billionaires, their corporations, their corporate media, the two major political parties they own, their allies in political office, their anti-U.S. Constitution corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court (John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brent Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas).

In the days of yore, during the Great Depression, the left came up with socialist legislation, such as the 40-hour work week, social security, the minimum wage, labor union organizing rights, unemployment insurance, and so on. The right tried to prevent these things, and as President Franklin Roosevelt noted in 1936, the millionaires previously in control of the government and both major political parties wanted everything as it had been before the Great Depression. The millionaires wanted nothing for the 99 percent. They wanted to be in charge so to use government as an appendage of their own corporations, and let political corruption run rampant, just like the billionaires today in the United States.

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, when all those socialist programs were put in place, the United States middle class thrived. The middle and lower economic classes even won political battles, such as ending racial segregation, terminating the profitable war in Vietnam, winning the battle of the environment which industry lost, winning women’s rights, etc….

The 1 percent felt threatened enough to organize among themselves, using their corporations, and creating propaganda think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, and by 1975, the rich began a massive propaganda campaign, along with corrupting both major political parties and the United States Supreme Court into giving them more rights and a vast array of political victories over the 99 percent, especially when it comes to redistributing income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves.

The rich use social issues to divide us, and keep our attention from the redistribution of income and wealth from us to them, led by such politicians as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, and Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell. The billionaires who own the Democratic Party and the billionaires who own the RepubliCon Party often work together to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves, such as pushing legislation to export millions of jobs, while simultaneously using their corporate news media to divide the 99 percent via social issues, such as abortion, racism, the war against Christmas, the war against women, and the war against dirty diapers.

There you have it: the political right is made up of the billionaires and millionaires, and the political left is made up of the rest of us.

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The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite. So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page. So what? Everybody already knew that.

Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing their business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. In other words, the wealthy few determine public policy, while the average American has no power, and very little of it when organized in large numbers.

This is precisely why there is little or no movement in government policy in the non-battle against climate change.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats largely held together in boycotting what they decried as a “sham” vote forced by Republicans on the ambitious Green New Deal. The vote on the procedural motion failed on a 0-57 margin, with 43Democrats voting “present” to protest the GOP tactics. Just three Democrats — Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — broke with their party to vote against the proposal for massive clean energy and infrastructure investments to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions and attempt to break economic inequality. The rest voted present, including six presidential candidates who co-sponsored the non-binding resolution S.J. Res. 8. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, also joined Republicans in voting no on Tuesday.

Quite naturally, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez railed against the do-nothing representatives of the rich, which can be seen in the video above.

Something else needs to be mentioned. The rich own the news media as much as they own politicians like Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, and we the people only get the news and opinions the rich want us to see.

BBC – Oligarchy in Charge of the United States

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There they go again. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) recently suggested the United States should raise the top marginal tax rate on the rich to over 70 percent. Republicans, naturally, have attacked her as being crazy, although all the evidence points toward higher marginal tax rates on the rich produces a stronger United States economy for all citizens, not just the rich ones.

As you can see from the graph above, the higher the tax rate on the rich, the stronger is GNP growth. The same can be said for jobs and wage growth. It can also be pointed out that when the rich have fewer dollars to spend, they have less spare change to bribe politicians with political contributions.

The only crazy people out there on this issue are Republicans, as usual, performing their jobs as lying lap dogs of the rich. As I have been saying for years, there is not a shred of evidence that suggests, as the Republican Party lap dogs proclaim, that lowering taxes on the rich has created a single job, and you can see that from the graph.

There is a ton of evidence in the form of peer-reviewed studies that show AOC is correct.

Paul Krugman recently wrote, “Republicans almost universally advocate low taxes on the wealthy, based on the claim that tax cuts at the top will have huge beneficial effects on the economy. This claim rests on research by … well, nobody. There isn’t any body of serious work supporting G.O.P. tax ideas, because the evidence is overwhelmingly against those ideas.”

Reducing taxes on the rich have always reduced gross domestic product, wages, and job creation. It also creates income and wealth inequality since the rich have more income to burn at buying both Republican and Democratic Party lap dogs, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden. These guys have voted time and again to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations-Journal of Economic Perspectives

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist–Columbia Journalism Review

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