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Posts Tagged ‘wealth inequality’


As expected, since the Trump and Republican Party tax cuts were written to benefit the rich and their corporations, only the rich and their corporations are benefiting from them, for the most part. The tax cuts were intended to increase income and wealth inequality in favor of the billionaires and multi-millionaires, and that is precisely what they have done, according to a perusal of a story in the May 11, 2018 issue of the Wall Street Journal (Buybacks Surge, Steadying Market, Wall Street Journal).

The Journal reported “U.S. companies are buying back their shares at a record pace, providing fresh support during a rocky stretch for the stock market when many investors have rushed for the exits. S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings for the first three months of 2018 bought $158 billion of their own stock in the quarter…. About 85% of S&P 500 components (companies which are also known as corporations) have reported so far.”

The Journal reports corporations can do this since the “new tax law” is “freeing up cash.” This is something corporations badly need since total US corporate profits fell during the fourth quarter of 2017. One can be reasonably suspicious that before-tax corporate profits during the first quarter of 2018 might also have fallen, especially since the US and world economies are at the tail end of an economic expansion. Those first quarter statistics are not yet available.

One can be reasonably suspicious that, as I pointed out in a previous story, much of the tax cut money would be used by corporations and the rich to fuel the stock market higher, rather than create jobs building products for which there is no demand.

The S&P 500 peaked at $2853.53 on January 26 of this year. It has been down ever since, influenced to a large degree by the fall in fourth-quarter profits. The Dow also peaked in January and has been down since then. This is likely why investors are fleeing the stock market.

When the Journal reporters write about “investors,” they are not writing about you and me. They are writing about billionaires, multi-millionaires, Wall Street Banks like Goldman Sachs, hedge funds, wealth fund managers, and other financial institutions that invest mostly for rich people.

So corporate managements are buying their own shares and taking them off the market. This is done in order to push share prices higher, which is a simple case of supply and demand. Reduce the supply of shares on the market, and this should jack up prices, so long as no other variables happen to come along. One of which is the decline in corporate profits.

Of course, there is something else CEO’s of corporations are doing to entice investors into the market.

They are taking the savings from tax cuts and offering higher dividends, which are payments made to shareholders. Notice these payments will go mostly to billionaires and millionaires, along with the higher priced shares due to the buybacks.

So the stock market bubble continues thanks to the Trump/Republican tax cuts for the rich and their corporations. Naturally, this only increases income and wealth inequality. Worst yet, with a recession right around the corner, all that money in buybacks and increased dividends is simply throwing good money after bad.

As a final note, I should point out that the Journal reporters (Ben Eisen and Akane Otani) are either stupid, poor reporters, or liars. They write, “The S&P 500 is up only modestly for the year.” Apparently, they do not count the month of January as being part of the year 2018 because that is when the S&P 500 reached its peak value, at least according to Yahoo. On the other hand, they write, “…many analysts believe major indexes would have suffered losses without the support of buybacks.” This is, of course, the purpose of the buybacks.

There is no doubt about the purpose of the tax cuts for the rich; increase income and wealth inequality in their favor and at the expense of the 99 percent. The federal government is now looking at reducing programs for the infirmed, the needy, the elderly, children, and others, in large measure due to the tax cuts. The federal deficit is now growing, thanks to the tax cuts. Fewer taxes collected mean fewer dollars for government programs that benefit anybody except the rich.

The federal government and the United States Federal Reserve Bank will only print up trillions of dollars to save the rich. The rest of us, being cannon fodder for the rich, are expendable.

For more information on this see Breakdown-of-the-26-trillion-the-federal-reserve-handed-out-to-save-rich-incompetent-investors-but-who-purchase-political-power–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

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The rich and Wall Street executives have been quaking in their boots recently. Their Ponzi Schemes and bubbles known as the financial markets are in danger of collapsing. And it’s all because of President Donald Trump.

Trump is threatening to levy taxes on products made in China and exported to the USA. These taxes are called tariffs, and here’s what the corporate news media doesn’t want you to know. By doing this, Trump is also threatening to deflate the recent stock market bubble, which is the same thing as saying Trump is threatening to decrease by significant margins the income and wealth of the billionaires who control both major political parties in the United States.

Tariffs are taxes on goods being imported into the USA from foreign nations. US corporations export into the USA tens of billions of products manufactured in China, Vietnam, Mexico and other third world nations. Increased tariffs mean US corporations will need to raise the prices of their Chinese and other third world products, or lower their profit margins.

The profits of corporations are the primary component determining the prices of shares. When profits drop, especially in the long term, share prices fall. So the share price of say, Home Depot could fall from $176 a share to $14 a share. If you own millions of shares you lose quite a lot of money. This is why the threat of tariffs in steel and aluminum has roiled the US financial markets as of late. A lot of paper wealth is going to evaporate as stock prices drop should the tariffs be enacted. Dividends may decline, as well.

Tens of millions of US jobs have been exported from the US to China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Honduras and elsewhere over the last twenty-five years. This has been done in order to jack up corporate profits by significantly reducing US labor and environmental costs. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower wages without benefits has gone straight into the already fat wallets and bank accounts of the superrich. They have used their ill-gotten gains to bid up the prices of corporate shares, gold, housing, commodities futures, and other investments.

President Trump’s threat to use tariffs against China and other nations means fewer dollars will go into the pockets of the rich if the tariffs are enacted. It also means potentially massive losses in the stock and maybe even bond markets.

Some corporations may even be inclined to export their jobs in China back to the United States if the tariffs are enacted. The middle class will benefit with additional jobs should this come about. In other words, the tariffs could redistribute income from the rich back into the pockets of the 99 percent, and this is something the billionaires will not allow their corporate media outlets to tell you. The proposed tariffs are limited, and therefore will not have much of an impact, but they will have some positive benefits to the US 99 percent.

Currently, six men own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the world’s people (See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/six-men-own-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-50-percent-of-human-kind/). In the USA, the 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent for the first time in US history (See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/in-the-united-states-the-1-percent-now-own-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-90-percent-for-the-first-time-in-us-history/). In the United States, the 1 percent steal as much as 35 percent of the income produced in the USA every year, up from 8 percent in 1979.

Trump’s tariffs will likely put tiny brakes on the continuously growing inequality of wealth and income produced by free trade agreements. Those brakes will likely only slow down the growing income and wealth inequality rather than halting or reversing them. But the tariffs would be a beginning to reversing the massive income and wealth inequality which the rich have successfully conspired to produce over the last thirty-seven years.

A few other things are in order. The USA has the fifteen to twenty largest trade deficits in world history. That means the US imports more goods than it exports. Our largest trade deficit is not with China, as the media claims. In reality, the largest US trade deficit is with US corporations that have exported tens of millions of US jobs overseas. The purpose of exporting tens of millions of US jobs has been to redistribute trillions of dollars from US workers to the rich, avoid US pollution controls (thereby increasing profits),  and avoid US health and safety regulations.

What American Presidents Have To Say About Tariffs:

“America’s growth and future depend on trade. But we would insist on trade that is fair and free. We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies”. President John F. Kennedy.

“Protection, which guards and develops our industries, is a cardinal policy of the Republican Party. The measure of protection should always at least equal the difference in the cost of production at home and abroad.” President Theodore Roosevelt

“A wise tariff protects American industries and manufacture. It encourages growth and enterprise among our own people. It opens our mines, it erects our machine shops, our furnaces and factories”.
President William Mckinley

It Was Good Enough For Kennedy, Roosevelt & McKinley. Why Isn’t It For Congress?

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The golden rule is at work; he who has the gold makes the rules that determine income and wealth distribution. That is why income inequality has grown so enormous worldwide. The rich are getting wealthier while the rest of us toil in financial purgatory, even the European and US middle class.

The golden rule is also why the global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report.

The folks at Oxfam define severe poverty as those people living on $1.25 or less a day. and according to Oxfam estimates, about 1/3 of the world’s population lives at or below that level.

The world’s 2043 billionaires saw their wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth (wealth) grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Those people are also the folks without the gold with which to purchase political power in the so-called democracies of the world.

Oxfam had published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrived in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. This is an event in which the rich of the world share plans of how to rip the rest of us off. A spokesperson for Oxfam, however, noted “that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, but most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. That’s because the politicians managing the affairs of those governments are being paid to do nothing to rectify growing poverty throughout the world, and they are being paid to ensure the billionaires gain more and more of the world’s income and wealth. This is called corruption.

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.”

“People are ready for change,” Byanyima said. “They want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few.” In addition, p0eople want to limit the effects of the golden rule which allows the rich to control the distribution of income and wealth and send into their bank accounts the vast majority of income and wealth created.

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Did President Donald Trump get bamboozled by his own Republican Party? Or is he simply a liar and or stupid? One thing is certain. As a so-called billionaire, President Trump received a nice tax cut at my expense as of January 1, 2018.

The Trump tax cuts went into effect on January 1, 2018 and my federal taxes went up. I’m just a middle-class kind of guy with a respectable middle of the road five-figure income.

The federal government took nearly 13 percent of my middle-class income out of every paycheck in 2017. So far in 2018, the federal government, thanks to those lying political miscreants Donald Trump and his Republican Party henchmen, are stealing nearly 18 percent from every one of my paychecks. Now, I am paying 28 percent more in federal taxes while rich folks and their corporations are paying less.

I am earning exactly the same amount of money per week in 2018 as I earned in 2017. So, no, I did not move up to a higher bracket.

That makes it official; I am paying more so the rich and their income generating machines called corporations can pay less. And I’m guessing there are millions of folks like me seeing increases in their federal taxes so that the rich folks can pay less.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. However, I do not like being sold something with a pack of lies in order to give corporations enjoying record profits quarter after quarter cuts in their taxes and to give billionaires and millionaires tax cuts they don’t need. That is precisely what the Republican Party has engineered with bald-faced lies, as usual.

Let’s face reality head-on. Just about every publicly traded limited liability corporation is a tool of rich folks, giving them the power to earn and steal money from the rest of us, as well as enabling them to corrupt our political and judicial institutions, which has allowed them to screw the rest of us over. That’s something the rich have been doing since 1980. (To see how they have corrupted the US Supreme Court, please hit https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/the-editorial-the-rich-dont-want-you-to-read-corruption-of-the-united-states-supreme-court-what-the-rich-and-their-corporate-so-called-news-media-dont-want-you-to-know/)

The rich, corporations, the Republican Party, and President Donald Trump have redistributed my income into the pockets of the superwealthy. No doubt millions of middle-class Americans are paying more so the rich can pay less. I want to hear about. Please take the poll below.

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In exercising control of the political processes in the United States, and thereby determining the distribution of income and wealth, one of the foremost strategies the rich use to suppress US democracy is to divert the attention of the 99 percent from looking after their own economic interests by raising social concerns.

Republican Party leaders, such as the Bush family, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Orrin Hatch are awesome at this. So instead of Republican grassroots voters thinking how grotesque and anti-Jesus income and wealth inequality have become in the USA, they are led to think about war against Christmas, the Muslim peril, terrorism, President Obama is going to take your guns, the war against white males, transgender bathrooms, abortion, undocumented immigrants and much more.

Democratic Party leaders, such as the Clintons’, Nansi Pelosi, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden and others, are also awesome at creating social issues that are shamelessly self-serving at diverting our attention away from their helping the rich redistribute our income into their pockets via trade treaties and other legislation. Think about the war against women, keeping abortion legal, transgender bathrooms, racism, undocumented immigration, and much more.

The corporate news media is also quick to divert our attention away from the income and wealth inequality since they also serve the interests of the rich, being linked by the need for advertising dollars to keep their profits and share prices rolling upward.

Diverting us is determined by a “collectively manufactured elite (meaning parasites) consensus,” according to Branko Milanovic in his book Global Inequality. Given the enormous amount of private money that is used in politics and media, one cannot but think that this is one of the aims of these investments.

A perfect example of this is being played out in the media as you read this. Pornstar Stormy Daniels is suing President Donald Trump over an adulterous affair he allegedly had with her at the same time President Trump is pushing for more deregulation of Wall Street. Most media attention is one the Daniels issue because the corporate media does not want you to know the president, the entire Republican Party, and sixteen Democratic senators support the president’s proposal.

The last time there was deregulation of Wall Street we came face-to-face with the Great Recession. The next recession should be even worse, even without the deregulation.

And so it goes again, around and around. Democratic grassroots are gloating over the Daniels issue, while Republican grassroots are rushing to his defense, all the while oblivious to the fact that legislation is about to be passed making it easier for Wall Street to rip the 99 percent off even more than it is already.

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“With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.”

When Bill Clinton became president he took the party straight into the loving arms of Wall Street executives and investors, and the best way to do that was to get rid of labor unions by exporting tens of millions of labor union jobs to poverty wage nations. It began with Clinton and his Wall Street wife, Hillary, and NAFTA. The difference between the old US wages and benefits and the poverty wage workers in poverty-wage nations have always gone straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices.

President Barack Obama followed the Clinton’s footsteps in redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via this and other legislative paths. Of course, they were assisted in this massive redistribution of income and wealth by such Democrats as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, who was ever so happy to join the Republican party stalwarts in doing this. The result was ominous, for the Democratic Party, the nation, and the 99 percent.

Between 1978 and 2017, the union membership rate in the United States fell by more than half — from 26 to 10.7 percent. Naturally, this decline coincides with the redistribution of income and wealth engineered by the entire Republican Party, as well as the Wall Street controlled Democratic Party with such luminaries as Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The decline in labor union membership due to exported jobs also fuels the massive income and wealth inequality the United States suffers from today, thanks in large part to Bill and Hillary, Barack and Wyden and other Democratic Wall Street loyalists as Earl Blumenauer.

In a new study that will soon be released as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper (NBER), James Feigenbaum of Boston University, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez of Columbia, and Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution examined the long-term political consequences of anti-union legislation by comparing counties straddling a state line where one state is right-to-work and another is not. Their findings should strike terror into the hearts of Democratic Party strategists: Right-to-work laws decreased Democratic presidential vote share by 3.5 percent.

This could have been a golden age for American liberalism. The Democratic Party — and the progressive forces within it — have so much going for them. The GOP’s economic vision has never been less popular with ordinary Americans, or more irrelevant to their material needs. The U.S. electorate is becoming less white, less racist, and less conservative with each passing year. Social conservatism has never had less appeal for American voters than it does today. The garish spectacle of the Trump-era Republican Party is turning the American suburbs — once a core part of the GOP coalition — purple and blue.

If the Democratic Party wasn’t bleeding support from white working-class voters in its old labor strongholds, it would dominate our national politics. Understandably, Democratic partisans often blame their powerlessness on such voters — and the regressive racial views that led them out of Team Blue’s tent. But as unions have declined across the Midwest, Democrats haven’t just been losing white, working-class voters to Republicans — they’ve also been losing them to quiet evenings at home. The NBER study cited by McElwee found that right-to-work laws reduce voter turnout in presidential elections by 2 to 3 percent.

The Democratic leadership had a choice; side with the 99 percent or side against them and with the 1 percent. Obama, the Clintons, Wyden and other Wall Street Democrats chose to side with Wall Street and corporate parasites against their own grassroots. Now many of the grassroots have abandoned the Party that no longer represents them. Who can blame them? Oh, that’s right! The Democratic Leadership and their corporate news media blames the grassroots and calls them “deplorables,” but only after the leadership has exported tens of millions of working-class jobs.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/democrats-paid-a-huge-price-for-letting-unions-die.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s3&utm_campaign=sharebutton-b

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Adam Smith, the founder of modern capitalist economics, argued in his 1776 masterpiece The Wealth of Nations that labor created all wealth. This has been hideously distorted by the political golden rule; he who has the power makes the rules. The idle rich are now wallowing in unprecedented wealth according to a new report from the charity Oxfam. The report found that the world’s richest 1 percent raked in 82 percent of the wealth created last year while the poorest half of the world’s population received none.

In addition, the study found “the wealth of billionaires has grown six times faster than that of ordinary workers since 2010, with another billionaire minted every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.”

Oxfam used its findings to paint a picture of a global economy in which the wealthy few amass ever-greater fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are “struggling to survive on poverty pay”.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement.

Oxfam also emphasized the plight of women workers, who “consistently earn less than men” and often have the lowest paid, least secure jobs. Nine out of 10 billionaires are men, the authors added.

The report, titled “Reward Work, not Wealth”, used data from Credit Suisse to compare the returns of top executives and shareholders to that of ordinary workers.

It found that chief executives of the top five global fashion brands made in just four days what garment workers in Bangladesh earn over a lifetime.

“The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors,” Byanyima said.

To fight rising inequality, Oxfam called on governments to limit the returns of shareholders and top executives, close the gender pay gap, crack down on tax avoidance and increase spending on healthcare and education.

The study was released on the eve of top political and business figures meeting at a luxury Swiss ski resort for the annual World Economic Forum, which this year says it will focus on how to create “a shared future in a fractured world”. However, nothing will come of this.

“It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality,” said Byanyima.

“It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it. Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights.”

The top 1 percent are able to do these things and increase their wealth and income because of their control over the political processes in most nations. This is particularly true in the United States where corruption on an unprecedented scale in the post-World War II era permeates every sector of government and both major political parties.

Wall Street’s US Senator Ron Wyden is a perfect example of this. Supposedly a liberal Democrat representing the state of Oregon, Wyden has voted nearly every time to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent except when the billionaires who control the Democratic party want to appear as though they oppose the billionaires who control the Republican Party and the Republican scams to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, such as Donald Trump’s recent tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

Wyden has voted to export tens of millions US jobs, on the one hand, while voicing support for liberal social issues. The corporate press and Wyden always emphasize what a great liberal he is without never mentioning that Wyden is one of the legislative architects of today’s unprecedented income and wealth inequality in the United States.

When US jobs are exported the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new poverty wage benefits goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. Wyden knows this, and shows his support for doing this by having a 100 percent record on voting to export tens of millions of US jobs.

The result of Wyden’s actions have been an economic system powered by a variety of bubbles, rather than actual real growth.

The latest stock market bubble will soon pop and with devastating consequences for the nation and the world. Just remember Wyden’s corruption has been a key factor in all of this and is a shining example of most Democrats in power and nearly all Republicans.

The last thing to be said about this issue is why the rich need to get richer. We have an international economic system powered by the link between corporations and high finance. Corporations, as I show in The Rigged Game, need fairly consistent ever-increasing profits in order to keep their stock prices rising. Failure to do this results in declining stock prices, if not an outright collapse in stock prices. In other words, the corporate economic system is something of a Ponzi scheme.

https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/bp-reward-work-not-wealth-220118-en.pdf

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