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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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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The New York Times recently reported that Toys R Us had exported 67 jobs from its headquarters to India via the H1B visa.

According to the Times,

“A temporary visa program known as H-1B allows American employers to hire foreign professionals with college degrees and “highly specialized knowledge,” mainly in science and technology, to meet their needs for particular skills. Employers, according to the federal guidelines, must sign a declaration that the foreign workers “will not adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans or lower their wages.

In recent years, however, global outsourcing and consulting firms have obtained thousands of temporary visas to bring in foreign workers who have taken over jobs that had been held by American workers. The Labor Department has opened an investigation of possible visa violations by contractors at the Walt Disney Company and at Southern California Edison, where immigrants replaced Americans in jobs they were doing in this country. Four former workers at Disney have filed discrimination complaints against the company. The companies say they have complied with all applicable laws.”

The problem with the H1-B visa are numerous. They are primarily used to reduce American wages and salaries, for starters. In addition, there must be a shortage of US workers in order for a US corporation to bring in H1-B workers, but there never is a shortage. The Times reports, “…in recent years, many jobs that American workers lost have been in accounting and back-office administration — although there is no shortage of Americans qualified to do that kind of work.”

Then the H1-B visa worker must have “exceptional skills,” but that is rare, especially in the case of Toys R Us. Toys R Us employees trained their replacements so their jobs could be more easily exported to India.

Christine Brigagliano, a lawyer in San Francisco with extensive experience advising American companies on obtaining visas, says “Those contractors are signing on the bottom line, saying we will not undercut the wages and working conditions of Americans. But, in fact, they are.”

Of course they are! That is the purpose of the H1-B visa, and always has been.

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jelly-belly

Hershey moved its production to Mexico years ago so as to pay lower wages and avoid health, safety and environmental regulations. Many US candy corporations exported US jobs there and elsewhere rather than stay here in the USA. Why buy that low wage anti-American stuff when you can buy US made candy? Why not boycott Hershey’s products, as well as the products of other things not made in the USA?

They’re plenty of choices in Halloween candy that are made in the USA.

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Tootsie Roll Industries is an American manufacturer of popular candy brands like Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Junior Mints, Charms Blow Pops, DOTS, Sugar Daddy, and Charleston Chew. Most of these candies are made in Chicago, Illinois. Junior Mints are made in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Just Born Candy, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, manufactures all of it’s candy in the USA, including brands like Teenee Beanee Jelly Beans, Mike & Ike, Hot Tamales, Peeps, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.

Dum Dums Lollipops are made in Bryan, Ohio by the Spangler company.

Elmer Chocolate has been making chocolate candies in Louisiana since 1855. Look for Elmer Gold Brick Eggs and Heavenly Hash Eggs at Easter time!

Hillside Candy manufactures the Go Naturally candy line in New Jersey. This candy is organic, dairy free, gluten free and made by hand.

Jelly Belly jelly beans are made in Fairfield, California.

Income inequality in the USA is at an all time high and getting bigger. Every time you purchase something foreign made, like Hershey’s candy bars or Apple smart phones, you are redistributing your income straight into the pockets of the super rich. Why not buy American and keep income inequality from getting worse?

Click here for a fairly complete list of US made candy.

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