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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

In the video above, was comedian George Carlin right about the US being a cesspool of political corruption? You better bet he was. Your vote is meaningless, and an academic study shows how true this is.

It is pretty obvious, isn’t it? We didn’t need an academic study to tell us the rich are using the government to financially bleed the rest of us dry. They’ve used the government to redistribute trillions upon trillions of dollars from the 99 to themselves over the last forty years.

Our democracy has been hijacked. Both major political parties have been hijacked. The United States Supreme Court has been hijacked, bought off really. Click here for more on this issue.

This is a no-brainer. The United States has one of the most corrupt governments in the world, aided and abetted by one of the most corrupt corporate news systems in the world if you can call it news. (Click here for how the media lies to us.) The billionaires use their corporate news media to manufacture public opinion in favor of whatever they want, regardless of how it might hurt average citizens (See Trans-Pacific Partnership below). If they can’t manufacture consent, most of the time they still get what they want, with rare exceptions.

Despite the obvious, academic research was conducted on this issue by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study has received lots of attention because the authors conclude that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

The authors discovered that politicians, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, will be happy to fight in the halls of the US Congress for legislation that is desired by citizens of average means, but they “only get what they want if economic elites or interest groups also want it.”

You can see in the graph below that as the percent of average citizen’s who want something from government rises from 0 to 100 percent the odds of them getting it remains tiny.

On the other hand, the graph below shows that as the economic elites and organized interest groups that control both major political parties form ranks behind legislation they want, politicians happily respond to them.  Nobody knows this better than Wall Street’s Senators Wyden, Mitch McConnell, the entire Republican Party, and the majority of the Democratic Party politicians.

Sometimes, to avoid raising the political awareness of the masses, the oligarchs who control the US and many state and local governments will decide not to do something the rich want, such as when then President Obama decided he did not have the votes in the US house and senate to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade treaty that would have redistributed trillions of dollars a year from the 99 to the 1 percent. Public resistance was too significant, but that was a rare defeat for the economic elite.

Why is income and wealth inequality so unequal? Political corruption is the answer. Why is this so? It is the golden rule in action: He who has the gold makes the rules. The US is not democracy except in illusion only. Instead, it is an oligarchy of the rich.

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The people of the United States lead the world in many categories, most of them, however, are not things to brag about. This is where the corruption of both major political parties, all three branches of the US government (that includes the corporate wing of the US Supreme Court) by the rich and their corporate dollars has brought us to during the last forty years.

All three branches of the government and both major political parties have fought tooth and nail to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent during the last four decades. The corporate news media has been complicit in this rape and plunder of their fellow citizens by the 1 percent.

Studies show that the top 1 percent of the US now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The top 1 percent stole only 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980, while studies show they are now robbing the rest of us blind by stealing anywhere from 23 to 37+ percent of the total income created in the United States. The shares of wealth and income of the 1 percent are still growing and at the expense of the rest of us.

Below are some of the findings from the United Nations study.

By most indicators, the US is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.
US healthcare expenditures per capita are double the OECD average and much higher than in all other countries. But there are many fewer doctors and hospital beds per person than the OECD average. (OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which includes 37 nations)

  • US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world.
  • Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the US and its peer countries continues to grow.
  • US inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries
  • Neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA. It has been estimated that 12 million Americans live with a neglected parasitic infection. A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.
  • The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world.
  • In terms of access to water and sanitation, the US ranks 36th in the world.
  • America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Turkmenistan, El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand and the Russian Federation. Its rate is nearly five times the OECD average.
  • The youth poverty rate in the United States is the highest across the OECD with one-quarter of youth living in poverty compared to less than 14% across the OECD.
  • The Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks the most well-off countries in terms of labor markets, poverty, safety net, wealth inequality, and economic mobility. The US comes in last of the top 10 most well-off countries and 18th amongst the top 21.
  • In the OECD, the US ranks 35th out of 37 in terms of poverty and inequality.
  • According to the World Income Inequality Database, the US has the highest Gini rate (measuring inequality) of all Western Countries
  • The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality characterizes the US as “a clear and constant outlier in the child poverty league”.
  • US child poverty rates are the highest amongst the six richest countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.

Free trade policies that have made it easy for the billionaires and their corporations to export tens of millions of United States jobs to third world nations and the pocket the difference between the old high US wages and benefits and the super low third world wages with no benefits have caused much of the US crisis outlined in the UN Report. These same trade scams also pave the legal road for US corporations to create tens of millions of jobs overseas rather than here at home with the same result of increasing income and wealth inequality. There are other culprits in the current state of US political corruption; deregulation, monopolies, lawlessness on Wall Street, a US Department of Justice unwilling to take on Wall Street corruption, unfettered campaign contributions leading to the political corruption of both major political parties, a Supreme Court corrupted by the influence of the billionaires, such as the Koch Brothers.

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Income inequality is getting worse in the United States, and some new data from Pew Research shows this to be true.

An analysis that weighs the U.S. against 11 countries in Western Europe shows that America holds the tiniest middle class, with just 59% of the United States’ population falling between rich and poor on the income scale. By contrast, 72% of the German population falls into that middle-income bracket — defined by Pew to be between two-thirds the country’s median income and double the median — as does 80% of the Danish population.

“Countries with higher income inequality tend to have smaller middle classes,” said Rakesh Kochhar, the associate director of research at Pew Research Center. The US rates 93rd worst when it comes to income inequality. That’s because the vast majority of new income in the United States is being redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, and because the rich control virtually all levers of government that determines income and wealth redistribution.

Tens of millions of US jobs have been exported thanks to Free Trade Treaties since 1990, for example. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower third world wages with no-benefits go straight from the pockets of the middle class to the super wealthy via higher corporate profits, soaring share prices, and surging dividends.

There’s one interesting wrinkle to the Pew data: While the U.S. middle-income segment is smaller than in European countries, it takes a higher income overall to make it into that group. The median income for a middle-class household in Italy is $35,608. It’s $44,000 in France and $46,000 in Denmark.

But in the United States, it’s $60,084. That, however, simply measures how badly income inequality has become in the US since income inequality in the US badly skews the data. Pew defines the middle class to be between two-thirds the country’s median income and double the median. The median is the midpoint. So if the highest earner in a nation earns $1.2 billion a year and the lowest worker earns $50,000, the midpoint is $599,950,000.

The median is the midpoint. So if the highest earner in a nation earns $1.2 billion a year and the lowest worker earns $50,000, the midpoint between the two is $599,950,000. Whereas, if the highest earner garners $1 million while the lowest worker earns $100,000, then the median income is $450,000. The higher income inequality, the more money it takes to get into the middle class. The less income inequality is, the less cash it takes to be in the middle class.

 

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President Donald Trump admitted on national television a couple days ago that Australia’s universal health care system was vastly superior to the private for profit system of the United States. If Trump knows that, then every major US politician in both major political parties know this, and yet, the US still does not have universal health care. This suggests the only reason the US doesn’t have universal health care is because of the massive US government corruption, which is a function of the corruption of the two major US political parties who dominate the US federal, state and local governments. We in the US have an inefficient but profitable system, though it’s only profitable for a relative few. The rest of us pay the price in higher costs, while the rich profit from it via higher profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends.

How superior is the Australian universal health care system to the USA?

1. Australian life expectancy is over 82 years, compared with 78.5 years in the USA.

2. Australians spend 8.9 percent of their GDP on healthcare compared to 17.7 percent in the USA. The USA has the highest healthcare costs in the entire Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations.

I could, of course, go on and on. One thing is clearly certain. The US has the most inefficient healthcare system in the entire developed world, and that is mainly due to political corruption and the financial abilities of those who benefit from this bloated system to control the corrupt US corporate media establishment, allowing them to effectively hide the truth from most of us and play on our fears.

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A new report from the United Nations shows that Norway has overtaken Denmark as the world’s happiest nation. The study was performed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which was launched by the United Nations in 2012.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The United States dropped to 14th this year from 13th last year. Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.

US Senator Bernie Sanders had a lot to say about these issues.

“Norway,” he wrote, “is now the happiest country on earth followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, the United States has moved down to 14th on the list. Why are the people in Norway so much happier than the U.S.? It’s not that complicated.

While hundreds of thousands of bright, young Americans don’t go to college because they cannot afford the cost, public college is tuition-free in Norway.

While the U.S. is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care as a right, Norway has a single-payer health care system that provides high-quality health care to all of its citizens at a far lower cost.

While the U.S. is the only major country that does not guarantee workers some type of paid sick leave, Norway guarantees 50 paid sick days.

The U.S. has the highest childhood poverty rate of nearly any major country on earth, while Norway has one of the lowest followed by Denmark and Finland.

As we strive to be a more just society, we must follow the examples of our brothers and sisters in other countries who have made better progress. What do you think?”

Click here for more on the story from Reuters.

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Finland is several heads above the United States in public education. They used to be about the same in terms of student testing. Then in the early 1970s, the Finns decided to undergo a massive reconstruction of their educational system. They took off, leaving the US in the dust.

Finland has the highest test scores in the Western world. How’d they do that?

Finland’s students have the western world’s shortest school days and shortest school years. That’s to give kids time to be kids. They’re in school no more than 20 hours a week, and that includes lunch. They’re also among the least tested students in the world. Finland provides a vast social safety net for all families.  Finnish students get almost three times as much recess as US students. All of this is because Finland has a student centered education system. The success of students is the most important thing in the Finnish system.

In the United States, increasing the corporate profits of the publishing industry is the most important thing the US educational system is supposed to do. So most everything in the US K-12 educational system is geared toward testing.

Corporate profits are had with every test a child takes. This is precisely why US students are the most tested in the world, and by a wide margin. However, it gets worse than that. Standards are continuously raised, even if most of the students, or a significant segment of them, fail the current standards. That’s because the higher the standards, the more students fail and need to retake the tests, over and over again, until they pass the tests, or they move up in grade. Every test students are forced to take provides the testing industry with greater profits. But when a sufficient number of students begin to pass the tests, the standards are raised, or the tests are changed, to make them more difficult to pass.

The movement to tie teacher pay to the success of student testing forces teachers to teach to the test. Recess has been massively cut at many public schools. Recess has been eliminated in some. US education is about massive test preparation, and much of the preparation materials comes from the US publishing industry, which increases their profits.

The last thing the people behind US educational reforms want, as well as the corrupt politicians behind them, is an educational system that prepares students to be better citizens and gives them enhanced job skills, although many educators try to do this in what spare time they have to teach this stuff.

The testing industry keeps this farce going by giving campaign contributions and other perks to US politicians, which is precisely why the US educational system typically ranks about thirtieth in the world, and never moves up, and why Finland typically rates in the top five, and is often number one in the world.

In the US, educational reform means redistributing local and state tax dollars to the rich shareholders of the testing industry. Local control of public education means the testing industry might not be able to get away with this theft throughout the US, and this is why the Feds have become more involved in K-12 public education.

In other words, financial corruption guides US government K-12 educational reform, while the needs of students guide educational reforms in Finland.

 

 

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When a U.S. company closes an American plant and builds one overseas, the U.S. tax code allows the expenses incurred in both activities to be written off it’s taxable income.

Under Current US Tax Laws Businesses Are Allowed To Deduct Operating Expenses. Which Include The Cost of Moving Jobs In The U.S.A. Overseas. (Internal Revenue Code)

Companies That Create Jobs In The U.S.A. Should Receive Tax Breaks. Companies That Send American Jobs Overseas Should Not. In fact, US corporations that export jobs overseas should be taxed on any products they export to the USA from their factories overseas, like president-elect Donald Trump promised he would do.

Tell Congress To Stop Using Our Tax Dollars To Fire American Workers

Contact Congress
http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

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