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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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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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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Let’s look at what the EU commissioners call the sacred “four freedoms”: the free movement of goods, capital, services and people. Notice something strange about the list? Goods are manufactured things, capital is money, services are transactions, but people are of a different category, are they not?

Human beings have cultural ties, feelings, attitudes, patterns of behaviour, social assumptions and… add all the other obvious words you can think of. But to CEO’s of corporations, or hedge fund managers, they’re all inputs into the production process.

Not only does the free movement of labor in unlimited numbers in the European Union present a much more complex and potentially delicate problem, but it seems quite wrong to lump people in with manufactured goods and commercial services. Is this the dream of conservative and liberal politicians of Europe: to build an economic and political system that shunts people around a continent to fill whatever quotas big business requires at any given moment?

The answer is yes. And so British corporations have exported jobs to lower wage EU nations, like Hungary. In turn, Eastern European labor has been given unrestricted access to immigrate anywhere in the EU they desire, and for many, that means higher wage nations, which includes Great Britain.

As jobs leave Britain for lower wages elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have entered Great Britain and placed downward pressure on wages and benefits there. That puts upward pressure on corporate earnings, stocks prices and dividends, which go mostly to the rich.

The EU is politically constructed so as to ensure the rich get wealthier by redistributing income from the 99 percent to themselves.

That’s precisely what globalization is all about.

The United States has followed this pattern with hyper-immigration over the last thirty-five years, and with massive international income redistribution scams falsely marketed as international trade agreements, which have lead to the exportation of tens of millions of US jobs. Notice real US wages have stagnated during these years while the stock markets have exploded, and the rich have gone from stealing 8 percent of all income produced in the US to 37+ percent today. That’s precisely what globalization has brought us.

In the meantime, the corporate press of both the US and Great Britain cry out against the success of Brexit on behalf of their fellow corporations and advertisers. However, the people of Great Britain knew what they were doing.

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To a remarkable extent, the level of inequality—which fell during the New Deal but has risen dramatically since the late 1970s—corresponds to the rise and fall of labor unionization in the United States; and US labor union participation rates corresponds with the number of free trade agreements the US government enters into, as well as the development of historic levels of income and wealth inequality.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015 (not shown in the figure). The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earliest year data are available). When union membership was at its peak (33.4 percent in 1945) the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent.”

As you can see in the graph below, the share of US workers represented by labor unions began to drop in 1960 as electronic jobs, such as manufacturing televisions and radios, began to be exported more and more to places like Taiwan. That process began in the 1950s.

Union membership began to decline even more in 1964 when Mexico and the USA signed a treaty creating the free trade Maquiladora Zone inside Mexico. This zone runs along the US border, and is twelve miles wide and runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Corporations are allowed to import parts into the zone, assemble things there, and export the finished products into the United States duty free. Tens of thousands of US labor union jobs were exported into Mexico because of this treaty.

Other maquiladora zones have been created throughout Central America since then. What happened to the US textile industry? Much of it is in Central America. Roughly 225,000 former US textile jobs now reside in El Salvador alone.

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US labor union membership dropped from 28.5 to 25.4 percent from 1964 to 1980. Then, of course, Reaganomics and more trade treaties hit US workers. NAFTA struck, and the rest is history. The stock markets shot up as labor union members saw their jobs being exported. You can see the amazing coincidence in the graphs above and below. As the jobs were exported, the stock markets exploded upward. Roughly 35 million US jobs have been exported since 1990.

S&P500_(1950-12)

Nowadays, the top 1 percent are stealing 37 percent of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980. That’s because when a job is exported the difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world country pay goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, surging dividends, and soaring share prices.

This is the link between income/wealth inequality and trade agreements business leaders, politicians, academics, and the corporate press don’t want you to know about.

Corporate stocks and bonds, by the way, are wealth. Wealth is something of value that you own, while income is money coming in. So the rich get more income by shipping jobs overseas, and in the process, they inflate the value of their wealth, such as stocks and bonds. The rich get richer with every trade agreement.

Now President Obama, and several Wall Street Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Ron Wyden, have joined with the majority of Republicans in congress to redistribute more income from the 99 to the 1 percent via the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest income redistribution scam in US history, and the Wall Street Democrats and most Republicans are falsely marketing it as a free trade agreement. The Guardian News Paper calls the TPP “NAFTA on steroids.”

As more of those labor union jobs are exported, much of the tax base is exported with it. Actually that tax base is redistributed to the rich. As that tax base diminishes, the tax funds for fire, police, Social Security, public schools, slowly evaporates. And unionized public sector employees find themselves under attack.

It’s a big scam folks.

Protect your jobs! Protect your future! Fight against the TPP! Vote for Bernie Sanders!

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