Posts Tagged ‘US’

Here are some heartening numbers:

From the Great Depression until 1980, during every recession employers shed jobs, but the economy quickly regained the lost jobs and then added more, and with rising real wages for the bottom 99 percent. Here’s what’s happened since then.

* Real GNP has grown 83 percent over the last thirty-four years, and the top ten percent of income earners have garnered all of the income growth during that time.

* In the last twenty-five years, corporate profits have increased 100 percent in real terms, which means if you factor inflation into the equation.

* 81 percent of US counties have a lower median income than fifteen years ago.

* US workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services as they did in 1989, but they get paid about the same amount as they did in 1989, when inflation is factored in. In other words, their spending power hasn’t grown in 26 years, although their productivity has doubled.

* The average private sector worker earned less in November 2014 than they did in April 2009, almost six years ago. The average private sector worker earned $10.33 an hour in November 2014, in 1984 inflation adjusted dollars.

Shared prosperity changed with the Reagan Revolution, in which corporate leaders, the US Supreme Court, politicians of both political parties, and Wall Street investment banks attacked the middle class with an eye toward redistributing middle class incomes to themselves and their benefactors.

Organized labor was publicly excoriated, and eviscerated in large measure by shipping jobs overseas via trade treaties, and redistributing the difference between the old higher wages and the new lower wages into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. And, oh yes, we can’t forget those bogus tax cuts for the rich, the rationale of which was grounded in the failed 1920s policy of trickle down economics.

Trickle down gave the rich more money to rig the political and economic war against the middle class through the purchase of political advertisements, pundit opinion shaping, rigged economic studies, and politicians that need to grovel for cash from their affluent masters.

We can get back to shared prosperity, and return to a democracy of all the people, rather than the current system in which well-heeled movers and shakers make all the decisions.

Get out of the house, and get politically active. The time is coming when an unprecedented economic tsunami is headed our way. That’s when we working folks can turn the tide, so get organized now.

And if you’re already active, fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest income redistribution scheme in the history of the United States.

Many of the TPP’s provisions will be unconstitutional, but the corporate press, corporate spokespeople and politicians will dutifully not note this, and will certainly tell you otherwise.

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How much does the US federal government like Israel compared to Detroit?

How much does the US federal government like Israel compared to Detroit?

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Yesterday, US Senator Elizabeth Warren called for a Federal investigation of the passionate relationships between the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the investment banks of Wall Street. The senator wrote on her Facebook page, “When regulators care more about protecting big banks from accountability than they do about protecting the American people from risky and illegal behavior on Wall Street, it threatens our whole economy. We learned this the hard way in 2008. Congress must hold oversight hearings on the disturbing issues raised by yesterday’s whistle-blower (sic) report when it returns in November – because it’s our job to make sure our financial regulators are doing their jobs.”

US Senator Sharrod Brown serves on the Senate Banking Committee with Warren. He backed her request in a statement of his own. “These allegations deserve a full and thorough investigation, and American taxpayers deserve regulators who will fight each day on their behalf,” the Ohio senator and frequent financial industry critic said.

Carmen Segarra, fired by the New York Federal Reserve for doing her job.

Carmen Segarra is the whistle blower in question. The former bank examiner jumped into public consciousness earlier this month when she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York fired her after she refused to go soft on investment banking behemoth Goldman Sachs.

Her allegations of cozy relationships between the big investment banks and a 2009 internal report cited by This American Life and Pro Publica paint a picture of what’s called “regulatory capture” at the Fed. That means that an independent oversight body has stopped acting on its intended motivations of protecting the public from misdeeds by the entities it regulates and started acting on behalf of those entities’ own interests. Regulatory capture is a subtle thing defined less by concrete facts and figures and more by the tone of meetings and the way friendships between regulators and businesses color the regulators’ actions and views. If capture takes hold and goes unchecked, the regulatory cops on the beat turn into enablers. In the radio segment based on Segarra’s tapes, host Ira Glass compares captured regulators to “a watchdog who licks the face of an intruder, and plays catch with the intruder, instead of barking at him.”

Regulatory capture is just one example of the many abstract cultural forces on Wall Street that create an environment where financial misdeeds can flourish, imperiling the real economy that employs everyone else in the business of making and selling goods and services. Surveys of industry insiders have repeatedly found worrying evidence of ethical lapses among people in the financial business, including outright disregard for the law. A quarter of those surveyed in 2013 said that they would knowingly break the law for financial gain. That number jumped to 38 percent for respondents who have worked in finance for less than a decade. The same survey also found that women are twice as likely to fear retaliation for whistle blowing as men.

Most government regulations of Wall Street are to keep things honest, which you can’t expect Wall Street to do. The result of Wall Street investment bank transgressions in both the short and long term are typically income redistribution from the 99 to the 0.01 percent.

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The US corporate press dutifully castigated Venezuela President Hugo Chavez whenever possible. There were several reasons why and most of them are in the poster below. In addition to those reasons, Chavez stood up to Big Oil and nationalized the oil industry, stood up to to rich vested interests of his own nation, survived a US backed coup, won honest elections (unlike George W. Bush), established universal health care for his nation, and because of all of this Wall Street hated him. He was the great threat to US corporatism. What US president since Franklin Roosevelt can boast of any of those accomplishments, as well as those below?

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“In debates over the federal budget, Social Security is too often treated in strictly accounting terms or as a bargaining chip. But as this graph shows, the human consequences of Social Security are profound. It demonstrates that declines in elderly poverty in recent decades are directly associated with sharp increases in per capita Social Security expenditures. The program has lifted tens of millions of Americans (mostly the elderly) out of poverty, just as it was intended to do.” Economic Policy Institute

When President Obama put Social Security benefits on the negotiating block to avoid the faked fiscal cliff, he and Congressman John Boehner were agreeing to shove more and more elderly people into poverty while refusing to acknowledge that social security has a $2.5 trillion surplus invested in US treasury bonds that collects $118 billion in interest per year. If there is a problem with social security funding, it’s twenty or more years into the future and is easily fixed. Just eliminate the cap. People pay no social security tax on any income earned above $110,100. Eliminate this cap and you wipe out any problems social security will have for a hundred years or more. Failure to eliminate the cap means old people can be scared witless and manipulated with lies for a long time to come. That’s what Obama and Boehner (pronounced Boner) want.

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Republicans want to cut the deficit while giving tax breaks to the rich. They want to cut social security benefits even though the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.5 trillion surplus which collects $118 billion in interest per year. They want to hack away at unemployment benefits, Medicaid, Medicare and just about anything that helps the poor and middle class. All of this, they say with a strait face, so as to cut the deficit, which has always grown exponentially under Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, like Reagan, they think they can cut the programs that benefit the masses while increasing military spending that primarily benefits the 1 percent, and they want to give those same rich folks another tax cut that will, they claim, reduce the deficit. Unfortunately for Republicans, all of those tax reductions for the rich since Reagan destroyed jobs and created the economic wasteland we now have. They call this policy “austerity.” Europe tried it a few years ago. Look below to what’s happened to the European economy since the Europeans tried “austerity.” Look what happened to the USA since the USA under President’s Bush and Obama didn’t try “austerity.” The Republicans know austerity will tank the economy. That’s the only reason they want the austerity program. They want mass misery.

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