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Posts Tagged ‘Moyers & Company’

With the super rich determining the rules and regulations handed out by government, the game has been stacked and rigged by the 1 percent against the 99 percent, and against the USA, as well. It began with the Lewis Powell Memo of 1971. It was a manifesto outlining how the super rich could dominate the economic and political landscape of the United States, as they had before the 1930s. The Great Depression was a direct result of their rule. Within a year of giving his manifesto to the US Chamber of Commerce, President Richard Nixon selected Powell to become a US Supreme Court Justice. Powell had never been a judge, and in fact, he was a lawyer for a tobacco corporation, defending the company against claims that the company lied about tobacco not being a cancer cause.

The US Chamber acted on Powell’s manifesto, and essentially, that’s how we got to where we are today; lower standards of living, massive personal and government debt, decreased real wages, massive redistribution of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via federal and state legislation, a federal government corrupted by big money and as corrupt as any banana republic on both the state and federal levels, financial inequality like none ever before in US history, an historically weak economy, huge media consolidation so bad that the news media in the US no longer exists and has been replaced by a network of propaganda machines whose purpose is to keep the 99 percent dumbed-down and ignorant to the benefit of the 1 percent, school districts starving for money because the jobs that supported the tax bases have been shipped overseas and the difference between the higher old wages here and the old wages there have gone into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, share prices and dividends, and the list goes on and on.

Understand one thing that Lewis Powell showed up; the US Supreme Court is nothing more than a tool of the 1 percent, and has been for at least twenty years. Justice in the USA? What a joke! The deck is completely stacked against the 99 percent.

Check out the links below for the Powell Manifesto, the plan by a future supreme court justice to steal democracy, and the Bill Moyers video of where we are in that plan.

The Lewis Powell Memo–Common Dreams

Full Show: Plutocracy Rising | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.

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According to Bill Moyers, “As we near the end of 2013, it suddenly seems everyone’s talking about inequality. Earlier this month, Barack Obama spoke of a “relentless decades-long trend” of “dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility.” Around the same time, in a papal exhortation, Pope Francis wrote, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” And a month earlier in New York — the most unequal big city in the USMayor-elect Bill de Blasio won a landslide victory campaigning on the issue.

But just how bad is American inequality? How did we arrive at this new Gilded Age? And how might we create an economy of broadly shared prosperity?

If you’ve got questions, we’ve (hopefully) got the answers in this Essential Reader…”

One thing that needs to be addressed when it comes to inequality is what nobody seems to be talking about. Inequality has been brought about government legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This process of corrupting government at all levels began with a variety of tax cuts to the rich and corporations under President Ronald Reagan, and which has enabled them to buy the legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and resulted in the complete  corruption of federal and state governments and politicians, such as Wall Street Senators Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. This includes legislation that has weakened union organizing efforts, such as the passing of right-to-work-for-less laws, as well as free trade treaties, privatization scams, and other vicious attacks against the 99 percent.

Check out the link below for the complete story.

Inequality: An Essential Reader | The Poverty Line, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com.

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Much of the federal government has shut down and unlike the 1996 version, it may drag on and become a protracted affair. Then, in two and a half weeks, the government will hit the debt ceiling, and the GOP’s tea party faction is preparing to make…
Click the link below for the full story.

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By Joshua Holland

Last week, a new study found that the top ten percent of American households raked in over half of the nation’s income in 2012. The results were widely reported, but another study garnered less attention. It concluded that your government is working hard to boost the incomes of the top ten percent further, while continuing to depress the wages of the vast majority of American families.

The study, by economist David Rosnick at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, attempts to estimate the likely effects on wages from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a mega-trade deal that’s been negotiated out of view of the public, with what government transparency watchdogs call an “unprecedented level of secrecy.”

The TPP is a proposed deal between twelve countries in the Americas and Asia. It would expand an already controversial agreement between Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, and Singapore – if finalized, it would become the biggest trade pact ever.

These kinds of regional deals are the neoliberal response to widespread opposition to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and they include the most controversial provisions on multinational corporations’ wish-lists – measures that have been stuck at the WTO for years.

Public Citizen calls the TPP a “corporate power tool for the one percent.” According to a leaked draft agreement, the treaty would establish independent tribunals that would allow corporations to bypass member countries’ judicial systems to challenge domestic laws and regulations that interfere with their business. According to an analysis of the text by Public Citizen, “the tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers that rotate between acting as ‘judges’ and as advocates for the investors suing the governments” – a conflict of interest that would never stand in an American courtroom. The tribunals could order countries to pay monetary damages to foreign investors if they didn’t comply with the rulings. Fair trade activists call it a back door to deregulation.

Writing at the Campaign for America’s Future, Dave Johnson notes that Chile’s lead negotiator recently quit his job in order to warn that “the TPP is solidifying multinational corporate control over the Internet, copyrights [and] patents (especially drug patents),” and that “giant financial interests are solidifying their current control over the regulatory process.” (Last year, New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson detailed how Wall Street might use international trade deals to derail reforms like Dodd-Frank.)

That’s a lot of controversy. Yet according to Rosnick, economists estimate that the TPP will have only a miniscule impact on our overall economic growth in the future – if enacted, it’s projected to increase U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by only 0.13 percent between 2015 and 2025. As Rosnick puts it, “this figure is meaninglessly tiny in almost any reasonable context.”

But the distributional effects are anything but trivial. Rosnick expects those at the bottom of the ladder to be protected by minimum wage laws, those at the top – highly paid professionals and the investor class — to see their incomes increase significantly as a result of TPP’s expanded patent protections and intellectual property rights, and the vast majority in the middle to experience yet more downward mobility.

Estimates of how much trade has contributed to rapidly rising economic inequality vary. In his study, Rosnick extrapolated the TPP’s impact on wages based on four different estimates of how much trade deals have contributed to rising inequality in the past. The graphic below illustrates his results.

All four estimates result in the median wage – the one right in the middle of the pile – declining in absolute terms. Rosnick writes, “thus, under any reasonable assumptions about the effect of trade on inequality… the majority of workers” will suffer “a net loss as the result of these trade agreements.” And again, the pact’s overall impact on growth would be negligible.

This dynamic – those at the top grabbing a bigger share of the pie while the rest of us lose ground – is typical of these trade deals for the simple reason that they’re not negotiated with the greater good in mind. Rather, they provide a shining example of how economic inequality and political inequality are inexorably linked. As former trade negotiator Clyde Prestowitz writes in Foreign Policy, the winners of these trade agreements are always “going to be the shareholders — the guys at the Business Roundtable who dominate the ‘cleared advisors’ to the trade representative and who, of course, are investing most of the money that’s being invested to make this deal happen. They own it, so it’s likely that they will win something from it.” They’re the only ones who can even take a look at what’s being discussed behind closed doors by TPP negotiators; the only ones who have the U.S. trade representative’s ear.

This is what proponents of these pacts overlook or ignore. They rely on idealized economic theories of trade to argue that signing more binding trade deals will lift all boats. And in a perfect world, those theories might hold true. But in reality, these deals are about corporate lobbyists getting their firms’ narrow, bottom-line interests codified into international trade law – the one area of international law that is readily enforceable. That a majority of workers, the environment, food safety and public health regulations and a host of other priorities are given short shrift should come as no surprise – those things don’t help powerful multinationals’ bottom lines.

This article, Study: Mega-Trade Deal Would Make Most Americans Poorer, is syndicated from Moyers & Company and is posted here with permission.
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