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Posts Tagged ‘wealth inequality’

Income inequality continues to rise, according to a September 2019 study from the United States Census Bureau. However, it is terribly understated. In Oregon, income inequality continues to grow. This reflects what is happening nationally, as well as internationally.

According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP), “Oregonians are facing a scary reality: the income gap separating those Oregonians in the middle of the income ladder and those at the very top has never been wider. In 1980, it took 26 typical (median income) Oregonians to equal the average income of the highest-earning taxpayers — the top one-tenth of 1 percent. By 2017, this had grown to 131 typical Oregonians. That is nearly a five-fold increase.”

“As frightening as income inequality is, inequality by wealth is even scarier. Income refers to how much money you earn in a year, while wealth is the sum total of all of your assets minus all of your debts. No good sources for wealth inequality at the state level exist, but national figures show that wealth is even more concentrated at the top than income. In 2018, the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans together held 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom half of Americans together owned only 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.” In addition, three Americans (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) hold more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and these figures are from two years ago, meaning these figures are most likely understated as of 2020.

With rising inequality, our faith in the “American Dream” is fading, being replaced instead with an American Nightmare. Research from the Center for American Progress found that as income inequality has increased, it has contributed to Americans becoming more pessimistic and less trusting of one another and our political leaders.

Federal policy, and the policy of both major political parties, is to redistribute income and wealth from the 99.5 percent to the 0.5 percent, the multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Quite naturally, the corporate media have now undertaken a campaign of disinformation, questioning what is obvious to the vast majority of Americans, seeking to instill doubt about the extent of income and wealth inequality.

However, both inequalities are far more significant than have been accepted. For example, three economists have examined U.S. income tax returns from the last several decades. These three have determined the top 1 percent receive 22-23 percent of all income produced in the United States nowadays compared to 8 percent in 1979. The Census Bureau’s study shows the top five percent took 23.2 percent of all income in 2018, compared to 22.3 percent in 2017.

On the other hand, there is unreported income, income hidden in Panamanian and Swiss banks, as well as elsewhere. The reality is that the top 1 percent steal closer to 38 percent of all income made in the USA. No doubt their accumulation of wealth mirrors that since you need income to generate wealth.

The results of these growing inequalities have not been kind to the 99 percent. Suicide rates, alcoholism, rates of depression and other maladies have all increased for the 99 percent during this era of inequality and political corruption. The corporate news media has been supportive of the growing inequalities by sowing the seeds of discord, pitting a variety of sectors of the 99 percent against each other in order to divert our eyes from income and wealth inequality. People trust each other less than in decades past because of the media.

In the meantime, the corporate news media, the billionaires who control both major political parties, have waged war against the only two presidential candidates of the people, while supporting the candidates of the billionaires, such as Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg’s recent attacks on Sanders and Warren suggest the billionaires who control him have unleashed him in order to stop veteran billionaire brown-noser Joe Biden from having to do so and alienating Warren and Sanders voters in the process, which might not be a good thing to do with the general election coming up.

Do not fall for this con if you are tired of working more and earning less so that billionaires can have more of what you earned.

US Census Bureau on Income Inequality

See https://www.ocpp.org/2019/10/30/scary-facts-economic-inequality/

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Donald Trump just secured the votes of millions of American citizens by renegotiating NAFTA. However, it has yet to pass congress and may never, just because it is a big-time body blow to the desires of Wall Street and the billionaires in their efforts to redistribute more income from working Americans to the rich by exporting jobs, thereby creating greater income and wealth inequality using U.S. taxpayer dollars in the process.

The millions of U.S. jobs currently occupied by Mexico’s $3 dollar per hour labor will almost certainly see some jobs returning to the United States, or more than likely, they may be exported from Mexico to Pakistan, China or Vietnam.

Regardless, Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO wrote of the renegotiated treaty, “The United States Mexico Canada trade agreement is a huge win for working people. After a quarter-century of suffering under the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and 18 months of hard-fought negotiations, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is now proud to endorse a better deal for working people: the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USCMA)…The USMCA isn’t perfect — no deal ever is. But it’s a far cry from the original NAFTA, and that is a huge win for working people in North America. While it won’t bring back every job lost under NAFTA, it will help stop the bleeding and add important new protections for workers across the continent.”

A few things need to be said about the agreement. It will slow the pace of income and wealth inequality that has occurred over the last forty years, but only a little bit. Nowadays, three men own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population and the 1 percent now steal somewhere between 22 to 38 percent of all the income produced each year in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1980; much of this can be attributed to international trade agreements negotiated to export U.S. jobs by the tens of millions.

The difference between the old higher wages and the new third world wages goes directly into the bank accounts of the rich via higher corporate profits, dividends and share prices.

The USCMA passed through the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives last week. However, it now has to pass through the RepubliCon controlled U.S. Senate early in 2020. The RepubliCons and their Wall Street and other corporate masters are dead set against it.

U.S. RepubliCon Senator Pat Toomey, who represents Wall Street and some billionaires, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he will vote against the trade agreement. Here are a few of his objections;

1. Car manufacturers will need to… “pay wages far above prevailing Mexican rates.” In other words, Mexican auto workers do not deserve to earn more than $3 an hour.

2. “First are the laws to facilitate unionization of Mexican factory workers.” Apparently, Toomey thinks that organized billionaires (shareholders in corporations) is something that has God’s blessing, but organized labor is evil. This is class warfare at its worse.

3. “Another flaw is the drastic reduction of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism. U.S. investors don’t always get a fair adjudication of their business disputes in foreign courts, even in Canada and Mexico.”

These were secret tribunals that were highly unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution allows the rules of treaties to override U.S. laws. However, a treaty requires 67 percent of the U.S. Senate to approve of treaties. That was not the case for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was, and notice this, called an “agreement.”

NAFTA only required a majority vote since it was an “agreement.” Consequently, the always secretly held tribunals of the Investor-State clause of NAFTA has always been unconstitutional. Representatives of local government, citizen groups, labor groups, and others, were never allowed into the tribunals. Only lawyers for the governments of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, as well as corporate lawyers, were allowed in. Local and state laws were overturned by this unconstitutional tribunal, but Senator Toomey thinks it unfair the power of the tribunals is no more.

Expect Wall Street and the entire RepubliCon party to reject this agreement in the United States Senate, but expect Donald Trump to benefit politically nonetheless.

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Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren understands economics and political power. She understands democracy, and she understands we no longer have a democracy. We have a plutocracy, which is a government for the rich and by the rich. The rich and their corporations have their power over all three branches of government, and they have used that power to redistribute tens of trillions of dollars from working people to themselves over the last forty years.

This week hedge fund CEO Leon Cooperman sent her a five-page letter complaining that she doesn’t know anything about billionaires, or him in particular. Leon apparently does not know that when you export millions of jobs, the difference between the old higher U.S. compensation and the new low, that is very low, third-world wages with no benefits goes straight into the pockets of the rich while the job losers get unemployment insurance.

This is why three people own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population, This is why the six richest people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of humanity. This is why 38+ percent of all income in the U.S. goes into the pockets of the 1 percent every year compared to roughly 8 percent as late as 1979. The billionaires have created massive amounts of political corruption and the destruction of United States democracy in the process. Warren understands this.

Leon Cooperman is facing a tax hike if Warren becomes president. Apparently, many billionaires are assuming this is the end of life as they know it.

Warren’s tax agenda has become a lightning rod for criticism by the ultrawealthy, including some, like Cooperman, who identify as political moderates. “What is wrong with billionaires?” Cooperman complained to Politico in a story that appeared last week. “You can become a billionaire by developing products and services that people will pay for.” Warren is not against billionaires who do this. She is against those who have rigged the economy and destroyed U.S. democracy in the process.

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Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis by of the United States Federal Reserve Bank showed that the top one percent of Americans have gained, or rather stolen using political and media corruption, $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets.”

Wealth is made up of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and houses. Income is the money that comes to you either via government programs, your jobs, or from your assets, such as dividends.

The growth of wealth inequality over the past 30 years, Bruenig found, is “eye-popping.” This income and wealth inequality has been brought about by the political corruption of all three branches of the United States government by the 1 percent using their control of both major political parties.

“Between 1989 and 2018, the top one percent increased its total net worth by $21 trillion,” Bruenig wrote. “The bottom 50 percent actually saw its net worth decrease by $900 billion over the same period.”

Much of the increase in inequality is due to international trade agreements, which have allowed U.S. corporations to export millions of American jobs to third world nations. The difference between the old higher US pay and other compensation goes straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, dividends and share prices.

This suggests you ought to vote for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for presidents.

Wall Street executives already have Joe Biden and Donald Trump, along with the corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court, and such US Senators as Ron Wyden and Mitch McConnell tucked away in their back pockets. These folks do not represent you.

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The gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it’s been in the past 50 years according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. income inequality was “significantly higher” in 2018 than in 2017, the Census Bureau says in its latest American Community Survey report. Since the rich in the United States possess earnings and investments abroad, it is likely the income and wealth gaps are much larger than the Census Bureau measures.

The gap grew despite a surging national economy that has seen low unemployment and more than 10 years of consecutive GDP growth.

The most troubling thing about the new report, says William M. Rodgers III, a professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center at Rutgers University, is that it “clearly illustrates the inability of the current economic expansion, the longest on record, to lessen inequality.”

That is because the rich are using their political power to create income inequality in their favor.

When asked why the rising economic tide has raised some boats more than others, Rodgers lists several factors, including the decline of organized labor and competition for jobs from abroad. He also cites tax policies that favor businesses and higher-income families.

To understand even a little of how labor unions have been weakened you only need to look at a few of the legal decisions made by the corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court when it sided with the billionaires and their corporations in the Janus vs. AFSCME case. The corrupt wing of the court, lead by Cheif Justice John Roberts, decided to put an end to decades of legal precedent in which labor union members who did not want to pay union dues were required to pay a lesser fee to their unions to cover the cost of negotiating new contracts with management. Now labor unions are the only organizations in the United States that must provide free services to members who do not wish to pay. The corrupt wing of the court’s intention in making this decision was to weaken the power of labor unions, and working people in general, vis-a-vis the billionaires and their corporations.

Everybody knew the corrupt corporate wing of the court was going to vote in favor of Janus and end four decades of legal precedent in the process. Everybody knew the billionaires had the corporate wing in their hip pocket.

Income inequality is measured through the Gini index, which measures how far apart incomes are from each other. To do that, the index assigns a hypothetical score of 0.0 to a population in which incomes are distributed perfectly evenly and a score of 1.0 to a population where only one household gets all of the income.

The United States has been one of the most unequal of nations in the world using the Gini coefficient. The U.S. is ranked 103 in the world by the World Bank for income inequality, behind every major industrialized country, and up there with such nations as Haiti and Uganda. The U.S. was ranked at 73 ten years ago, so inequality continues to worsen here.

The billionaires’ control the corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court, the entire Republican Party, and most Democratic politicians at the national level. Therefore, you can expect income and wealth inequality will continue to get worse in the United States.

In other words, vote for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for president.

US Census Bureau Report

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren cited recent Pew Research Center polling that found only 18% of Americans say they can trust the U.S. government to do the right thing to unveil her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act on Tuesday.

It is well known that the rich, their corporations, and their lobbyists have bought almost every member of the United States House of Representatives and almost every member of the Senate since 1981, which include such corrupt blowhards as RepubliCons Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell and Democrat Ron Wyden. Since 1981, every United States president has bent to the desires of the well-to-do on all matters having to do with redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell have voted to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to the rich and powerful time and time again when they voted to export millions of jobs held by United States citizens via trade agreements.

The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new three dollars a day jobs in foreign nations goes straight into the pockets of the super-rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends. The newly unemployed in the U.S. might get unemployment insurance for a few months if they are lucky.

Political corruption is precisely why income inequality has grown from the 1 percent receiving 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980 to 37 percent today, and why three people own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the U.S. population, and why the 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

Warren’s plan provides a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, Presidents, and agency heads and banning foreign lobbying and lobbyists donations to candidates and members of Congress.

Warren’s bill seeks to eliminate both the appearance and the potential for financial conflicts of interest by banning members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, federal judges, and other senior government officials from owning and trading individual stock, including requiring the Supreme Court follow the ethics rules applicable to all other federal judges. One study has found that members of the U.S. Supreme Court rule in favor of companies they invest in.

Warren advocates “locking the government-to-lobbying revolving door” and eliminating the “golden parachutes” that companies pay some executives when they enter public service, citing the instance of Goldman Sachs paying Gary Cohn more than $250 million when he left the firm to lead President Trump’s National Economic Council.

Warren’s legislation also aims to end what she characterizes as the corporate capture of public interest rulemaking by requiring disclosure of funding or editorial conflicts of interest when corporations and special interest groups pay for comments and studies that support rulemaking, as well as requiring elected officials and candidates for federal office to disclose more financial and tax information and making federal contractors – including private prisons and immigration detention centers – comply with federal open records laws.

A lot more can be done to end corruption in the U.S. government. Banning the paid speeches made by former presidents and high officials is a starter. Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get $250,000 a pop for half-hour paid speeches. Who is to say the lure and promise of future profits do not influence the choices made by people in high office? In addition, the government could limit the amount of funding of political campaigns provided by political action committees, corporations, and individuals. However, the corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court has been so corrupted by the inflow of cash and favors and class warfare mentality in favor of their social and economic class, that they eliminated one hundred years of legal precedent in the Citizens United case of 2010 that limited contributions as outlined in the sentence above. Reversing that, and successfully impeaching the corrupt corporate wing of the Supreme Court would go a long way toward ending the massive wave of political corruption that has swamped the United States governments at all levels like rising tides of overflowing cesspools.

For the complete story, see Elizabeth Warren Proposes Ways to Fight Political Corruption–MarketWatch.

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The Communist Party of the United States never amounted to more than a few thousand people. The Socialist Party of the United States, quite different from the Communist Party, peaked in 1912 when presidential candidate Eugene Debs received 6.0 percent of the popular vote. The socialist party went downhill from there, and never really was a political threat to the two major corporate political parties. The political left of the United States has been effectively dead for decades in terms of communists and socialist. So who makes up the political left nowadays? And who is on the political right?

The political left is the 99 percent, while the political right is made up of the billionaires, their corporations, their corporate media, the two major political parties they own, their allies in political office, their anti-U.S. Constitution corrupt corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court (John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brent Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas).

In the days of yore, during the Great Depression, the left came up with socialist legislation, such as the 40-hour work week, social security, the minimum wage, labor union organizing rights, unemployment insurance, and so on. The right tried to prevent these things, and as President Franklin Roosevelt noted in 1936, the millionaires previously in control of the government and both major political parties wanted everything as it had been before the Great Depression. The millionaires wanted nothing for the 99 percent. They wanted to be in charge so to use government as an appendage of their own corporations, and let political corruption run rampant, just like the billionaires today in the United States.

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, when all those socialist programs were put in place, the United States middle class thrived. The middle and lower economic classes even won political battles, such as ending racial segregation, terminating the profitable war in Vietnam, winning the battle of the environment which industry lost, winning women’s rights, etc….

The 1 percent felt threatened enough to organize among themselves, using their corporations, and creating propaganda think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, and by 1975, the rich began a massive propaganda campaign, along with corrupting both major political parties and the United States Supreme Court into giving them more rights and a vast array of political victories over the 99 percent, especially when it comes to redistributing income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves.

The rich use social issues to divide us, and keep our attention from the redistribution of income and wealth from us to them, led by such politicians as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, and Wall Street Senator Mitch McConnell. The billionaires who own the Democratic Party and the billionaires who own the RepubliCon Party often work together to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves, such as pushing legislation to export millions of jobs, while simultaneously using their corporate news media to divide the 99 percent via social issues, such as abortion, racism, the war against Christmas, the war against women, and the war against dirty diapers.

There you have it: the political right is made up of the billionaires and millionaires, and the political left is made up of the rest of us.

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