Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wealth inequality’

“I worked for Walmart as a shift manager,” twenty-nine-year-old Emily said. “I barely earned enough money to be able to share an apartment and drive an old beater car.” At Walmart, Emily told me her health insurance came from the state of Oregon’s health plan, which is for low-income people. In other words, Walmart’s medical benefits package is welfare from the state. This benefits the billionaire owners of Walmart while impoverishing state tax coffers.

Emily is a millennial. She now works as a waitress, but still owns the same beater car, and she needs to share a home. Emily has a friend she did not care to name, but whom we will call Ken. He works for Starbucks and under the same financial restraints as Emily, who obviously, is not alone in her financial and career situation.

Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from Portland State University. Her story is not atypical.

According to a new study, millennials still suffer from the effects of the Great Recession. Their earnings have barely budged as they enter their mid-30s, making it even harder for them to cope with the economic pressures of having a family, a leading think tank has warned.

Their pay has suffered by far the biggest squeeze of any age group since the 2008 crash, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation. While the wages of the over-50s have recovered to levels above those seen a decade ago, it found the typical salary for workers in their 30s was still 7% below its pre-crisis peak last year.

As young workers in their 20s during the financial crisis, millennials were by far the worst affected as salaries failed to keep up with inflation. Their pay fell by 11% from 2009 to 2014 before recovering some lost ground after that.

There are a number of reasons for this. Political corruption is one of them.
That corruption has brought us;

Tens of millions of U.S. jobs have been exported over the last three decades. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. high tech jobs have been outsourced to foreign workers by the H1-B visa. The difference between the old U.S. wages and the new lower wages goes straight into the pockets of the billionaires, who control the entire Republican Party, and most of the Democratic Party representatives in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden is a perfect example of a Democratic party politician who serves the billionaires in their war to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Currently, depending on whose sources you use, the 1 percent steal anywhere from 24 to 38 percent of the total income produced yearly in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1980. That leaves the 99 percent with only 62 to 76 percent of the total yearly income produced in the U.S., down from 92 percent in 1980.

Nowadays, three people (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates) own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of United States citizens.

The financial game is rigged folks, both major political parties are rotted with corruption to the core. The corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court is rotted with corruption to the core.

The last bastion of financial defense and defense of uncorrupted democracy for the people of the United States is the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, represented by folks like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The progressives get most of their campaign money via small donations. That wing of the Democratic party is the last best hope for uncorrupted democracy and leveling the financial playing field in

America.https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/03/millennials-pay-still-stunted-by-financial-crash-resolution-foundation

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


In 2018, the world’s billionaires saw their wealth grow by $2.5 billion every day while the world’s poorest 3.8 billion people experienced an 11 drop in their wealth, according to a new report by Oxfam, a charity organization that tracks income and wealth inequality throughout the world.

The report noted the wealth of the rich grew by 12 percent last year. Much of that growth was because the billionaires extracted it from the lower 99 percent using their levers of political and judicial power, having corrupted democratic institutions in most nations of the world, most notably in the United States. So yes, the wealth of the rich grew at the expense of the lower 5O percent of the world’s population and most everybody else.

“Since the global economy collapsed, we have learned nothing—the number of billionaires has nearly doubled, with a new billionaire being minted every other day,” said Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s Vice President for Policy and Campaigns. “While corporations and the super-rich enjoy lower tax bills, millions of girls around the world have no access to a decent education and women are dying due to a lack of maternal health care.”

In the United States, 30 people hold as much wealth as the poorest half of the population. The Trump/Republican Party tax cuts favoring the wealthy and their corporations predominantly benefit men, who own 50 percent more wealth than women globally and control over 86 percent of corporations.

“The recent US tax law is a master class on how to favor massive corporations and the richest citizens,” O’Brien said. Corporations, coincidently, much like the corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court, are tools of the rich and are used to tilt the economic, financial and political markets in their favor, and against the interests of the 99 percent.

Globalization is a primary conduit for redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Exporting US jobs via free trade treaties, for example, is a perfect example. Income and wealth are redistributed by these government negotiated treaties as US jobs are exported; the difference between the old higher U.S. wages and benefits and the new poverty wages in third world nations is redistributed to the rich via higher corporate earnings, rising dividends, and surging share prices. The US workers, if they are lucky, might qualify for unemployment insurance for a few months.

Our economy has been broken by the rich using their ill-gotten gains to purchase the favor of politicians and US Supreme Court Justices, either with legalized bribes called campaign contributions, jobs for spouses, and/or their political and judicial actions are guided with a strong belief in class solidarity. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of people live in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. The number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis and their fortunes grow by $2.5 billion a day, yet the super-rich and their corporations are paying lower rates of tax than they have in decades. The human costs, such as children without teachers, clinics without medicines, are huge. Piecemeal private services punish poor people and benefit the so-called global elites, who should be more accurately known as the global parasites.

“According to the report, “Women suffer the most and are left to fill the gaps in public services with many hours of unpaid care. We need to transform our economies to deliver universal health, education and other public services. To make this possible, the richest people and corporations should pay their fair share of tax. This will drive a dramatic reduction in the gap between rich and poor and between women and men.”

https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/bp-public-good-or-private-wealth-210119-en.pdf

Read Full Post »


My camellia plant warned me about global warming a few decades ago. Forty years ago, Camellia’s flowers began blossoming in April. Around the year 2000, I noticed they were blooming in February. They flowered in early January by 2004. Last year, they bloomed in early December.

The first bud of this season was a tad later than normal during this era of global warming. Pictured above, it began to blossom on January 24th, 2019, which, if historical circumstances are correct, suggests our global warming has slowed a bit from last year when Camellia sent several flowers erupting in full pinkish red in early December. That does not mean or is intended to mean that global warming is stagnant or retreating. Quite the contrary, our Earth continues to get warmer due to human activity, mainly business activity.

Well, folks, it is all about profits. For the billionaires and their politicians, constantly rising corporate earnings are more important than people, even if it jeopardizes the long-term existence of humankind. There is something kind of sick about that. Understand this point; the fight against global warming is heavily linked to the fight against income and wealth inequality. The forces arrayed against each other on these issues are largely the same. More or less, there are about 100 or more billionaires who profit at the expense of everybody else behind the legislative actions that have brought about unprecedented income and wealth inequality, and who, coincidentally, are behind the campaign to deny global warming.

Exxon Mobil knew its products caused global warming by the mid-1970s. The management of the oil giant followed a political/advertising/public relations campaign denying global warming that was modeled on the cigarette corporation’s campaign of denying any link between their product and cancer. Unlike the liars and deniers, Camellia does not lie or deny. She merely blooms when the weather is warm enough, and forty years ago, it was too cold in March for her to send her buds gushing into flowerhood.

Nowadays, here in the Pacific Northwest, the roses and other flowers have begun to bloom in December and January. How much more evidence do we need before we place people ahead of constantly rising profits and share prices for billionaires and multi-millionaires?

Read Full Post »

In an interview with Anderson Cooper a few weeks ago, United States Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed raising the top marginal tax rate on the rich to 70 percent on earnings of $10 million and above. Cooper suggested this was radical for our time. Ocasio-Cortez replied, “If that’s what radical means, then call me a radical.” 45 percent of Republican voters and 71 percent of Democrats are Ocasio-Cortez radicals on the subject.

Ocasio-Cortez did add an important qualifier to explain how marginal tax rates work, “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.” That explanation is important because some fools on the right who have their strings pulled by the rich have deliberately used language to try to confuse voters, giving them the impression that tax increase proposals like this would affect most Americans, which they do not; think Fox News, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Koch Brothers, and the entire corporate news networks.

The poll, conducted by The Hill-HarrisX, found that 59 percent of registered voters support a 70 percent tax rate on every dollar a person makes above 10 million annually. The poll found the idea cuts across partisan divides, garnering support from 71 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 45 percent of Republicans. Along gender lines, 62 percent of women supported the measure, while 55 percent of men agree the top marginal tax rate should be raised to 70 percent.

The proposal would bring the top marginal tax rate back to where it was in the 1970s when income above $200,000 (the equivalent of $1.3 million in today’s money) was taxed at 70 percent. Ronald Reagan then lowered it in the 80s to 50 percent, and later to 28 percent.

Do not expect the Republican and Democratic Party leadership to support such a proposal, even though the federal deficit is running rampant due to the Trump and Republican Party tax cuts for the rich and their corporations. The leaders of both major parties are guided in establishing public policy solely by whatever cash the rich dole out to them. That means these politicians implement public policy with an eye toward enriching their benefactors at the expense of the 99 percent.

Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the news of the poll in a tweet, naturally, by referencing a decades-old meme, saying to Republicans, “All your base (are) belong to us.”

Americans Support Taxing the Rich–Rolling Stone Magazine

Read Full Post »


When Donald Trump became US president, he set about to undo three things former President Obama had succeeded in doing. That is because many billionaire Republican donors were opposed to Trump, most notably Charles and David Koch, who are heavily invested in the energy industry. Trump did not want enemies inside his own party, and he had plenty of them when he was first elected.

Quite naturally, the Paris Climate Agreement had to go since it is an attack on the oil industry, which primarily, though not exclusively, supports Republicans. Ending world oil dependency and thereby reversing course on global warming means terminating the industry or greatly reducing it. as well as ending or significantly reducing corporate oil profits, share prices, and dividends. In effect, the Paris Climate Agreement is an attack on the billionaires of the Republican Party. That is precisely why Trump pulled the US out of the accord, regardless of the false excuses that came out of his mouth.

Trump had to get rid of the Iranian nuclear deal since it allowed Iranian oil back on the world market during Obama’s presidency. This placed downward pressure on the profits, dividends and share prices of the fossil fuel corporations because the increased supply put downward pressure on the prices of all sorts of things we pay for, such as oil and gasoline. The best way for Trump to get oil and gasoline prices moving upward again was simply pulling the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Since the USA pulled out, notice the price we pay for gasoline has risen.

By pulling the US out of the nuclear deal using lies and distortions, Trump knowingly and deliberately was redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher oil and gasoline prices. But, the billionaires behind the Republican Party were happier with Trump because of it.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26.5 billion back in 2010. It was his biggest acquisition ever. The railroad is the largest transporter of crude oil in the United States. If the Keystone pipeline is completed, it will compete directly with Buffett’s railroad. The pipeline will transport oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The Republican Koch brothers are heavily invested with the Tar Sands.

Koch Industries is a major player in the Canadian oil market. The Washington Post identified the company in April 2014 as the largest foreign leaseholder of acres of Canadian oil sands.

According to EcoWatch in 2018, “A leaked memorandum published by The Intercept and Documented Investigations shows that a Koch Industries’ donors network, known as the Seminar Network, has taken credit for Donald Trump approving the permits for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first months of his presidency.” (Click here for the original story.)

Needless to say, Warren Buffett is a big supporter of the Democratic Party and the Koch’s basically control the Republican Party. Buffett’s loss is the Democratic Party’s loss while it is the Koch brothers and Republican Party’s gain.

These political games are being played pitting billionaires against the 99 percent (as well as other billionaires), and the US corporate news media wants to keep you ignorant of these facts.

Read Full Post »

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, riots continued in France against political corruption. 224 people were arrested and 110 injured for what amounts to protesting against secret deals between politicians and the rich that call for the government to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Your US corporate news media does not want you to know this.

The French government under President Emmanuel Macron reduced taxes on the rich and their corporations while raising taxes on the 99 percent. Macron claimed taxes were raised on petrol, diesel, and other items needed by the 99 percent in order to combat carbon emissions that cause global warming. That, of course, is a complete load of bullshit, but this part of the deal is being reported by the US corporate propaganda machines, known as the corporate news media, but not the other part about taxes being reduced on the rich.

Notice President Macron did not raise tax rates on beef production or offer to end subsidies to this industry to combat carbon emissions. There are more than 200,000 cattle farmers in France, producing 1.5 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent (CWE) a year, making it Europe’s leading beef producer and the seventh largest in the world. Studies show the beef is among the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the world.

According to a report in the Guardian, “Agriculture is a significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock…Remove the artificial support given to the livestock industry and rising prices will…” curb red meat production. “In that way you are having less government intervention in people’s diet and not more.”  (Click here for the Guardian story.)

However, reducing subsidies to French corporate beef manufacturers would be the same as raising taxes on rich shareholders, bondholders, and CEOs, as well as the 99 percent. However, reducing subsidies to the rich was never in the political equation and was likely crafted behind closed doors.

Working people cannot buy secret deals with corrupt politicians. This is simply a fact of life. To get politicians to alter the views created by secret deals to say, redistribute income from the working class to the rich, such as Macron has done, working folks need to take to the streets to voice their displeasure with corrupted politicians and political systems.

Macron has devised a nice scam to enrich his buddies, except the working class of Paris is not buying the lies as readily as US citizens permanently inhale the lies of their politicians and corporate news media, while treating the lies as gospel.

The French president’s corruption seems to have united many on the grassroots right and left in France. BFM TV reported that France’s intelligence services had identified 80 to 120 extreme-right sympathizers at the heart of the violence, while other media claimed tags and logos at the scene suggested extreme leftwing and anarchist organizations were involved.

Macron has done the impossible. He has united more and more citizens on both sides of the political equation with his corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

On November 26, 2018, General Motors announced it was laying off 14,000 employees and shutting four factories in the US, one in Canada, one in South Korea, and two in undisclosed areas. Quite naturally, the US corporate news media announced GM was doing this to reduce sedan production because they were not all that profitable. Actually, GM cut 14,000 workers because of its falling share price.

GM had earned tens of billions of dollars the last few years. In 2016, after taxes, the automaker earned a global net income of $9.43 billion, a 2.6% decline from the $9.68 billion it earned in 2015. As recently as October 31 of 2018, barely two months ago, GM announced “third-quarter 2018 earnings results reflecting profitability in all core operating segments. Strong results in North America were driven by all-new full-size trucks, and crossovers. GM China equity income and GM Financial EBT were third-quarter records.” Click here for the source of information.

What the corporate news media is not reporting is that GM is opening new factories in Mexico, where it will produce the Blazer. GM also continues to invest heavily in China. So, US jobs are being exported once again. (Click here for more information.)

In the US, this means most of, if not all, 3,600 factory workers will be out of a job, though some workers could be transferred to other plants. At its operations in Oshawa, Canada, GM employs currently about 2,500 hourly workers and 300 salaried workers; and they’ll be gone. The US and Canada’s losses will be Mexico’s and the wealthy’s gain.

Shutting the eight factories will cost three-plus billion dollars. General Motors has to borrow the money because it has spent $13.9 billion in cash on share buybacks over the past four years while earning record profits now and then. Despite the buybacks, the price of GM shares has fallen quite a bit.

GM’s share price was over $47 in October 2017. Then the share price began to fall in spite of the billions of dollars of share buybacks with the Trump tax cuts, which should have jacked up its share price since buying $13.9 billion worth of GM shares took quite a bit of them off the market. Yet the price continued to plummet until barely above $30 in October 2018.

Notice GM did not use the billions of dollars it saved with the Trump tax cuts to purchase new plant and equipment or to upgrade its US facilities, although it is creating new jobs in Mexico and China with the tax cuts. Instead, the tax money went to prop up its share price, but to no avail. In the end, in order to attract rich investors into buying GM shares, the automaker had to lay off thousands of employees and export jobs to Mexico. The Trump tax cuts, which were focused on corporations and the rich, quite naturally, as expected, were middle-class job killers.

Since GM announced its reductions of employees, its share price has gone up to 37.95 as of November 30th, 2018. The rich are getting richer by producing nothing since the old wages and benefits earned by those GM employees who worked for a living and are now out of jobs are going straight into the pockets of the affluent via higher share prices, rising dividends, and surging corporate earnings.

That is not what the corporate news media wants you to know.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: