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Posts Tagged ‘wealth inequality’

What will occur when the Covid-19 vaccine is fully distributed? What will happen if President Biden gets his stimulus? The assumed answer to both questions is that the economy will enter a business expansion, things will return to normal, and everything will be peachy. Maybe and maybe not.

Nearly 100,000 U.S. businesses disappeared from March to December 2020. Gross domestic product has dropped in the last three quarters. Despite the CARES Act and the last stimulus, the number of people applying for first time unemployment benefits has exploded to nearly one million people during each of the last two weeks, compared to less than 360,000 during the height of the Great Recession.

The underlying economy has been gutted by the billionaires, leaving a dying carcass in the place of a once healthy economy. According to a study by Carter Price of the Rand Corporation, the rich have been redistributing $2.5 trillion from the 99 percent to themselves on average for the last twenty-five years using their hired hands in government, which includes Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Wall Street’s favorite U.S. senator, Ron Wyden, who is appropriately the only U.S. senator to be called a “Useful Idiot” by a Nobel Prize winning economist in an op-ed in the New York Times.

A perfect example of this political corruption is the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. Congressional leaders made certain the billionaires were due to receive $4.994 trillion from the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill. You read that right. The $2.2 trillion included $454 billion for large corporations, allegedly in loans. The rich receive 66 percent to 100 percent of their income and wealth from, you guessed it, corporations. The bill was written with a proviso that the Federal Reserve could print up to ten times $454 billion and lend the total of $4.994 trillion with a nod and a wink to large corporations ($4.54 trillion + $454 billion = $4.994 trillion). The real total amount of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act was $6.74 trillion ($4.994 trillion + $2.2 trillion – 454 billion). 

The combined profits of all US corporations in 2018 and 2019 were slightly over $4 trillion before taxes. The rich and their corporations, in other words, were getting more than two years’ worth of profits from the stimulus bill. Naturally, the stock market exploded as massive amounts of money was funneled to them through their corporations. The CARES Act, however, failed to authorize the Fed to loan money to those who truly needed it; to stay in the homes and put food on their tables, which would have also strengthened the underlying economy.

The CARES Act gave the 99 percent, numbering about 314,685,000 citizens, $1.75 trillion (about $5500 each on average) to help keep the economy afloat while the roughly 300,000 wealthiest shared close to $5 trillion, which comes out to a little over $16.6 million each.

Nearly 36 million people were thrown out of work from March to May 2020, and the best congress that money has bought saved the billionaires and threw crumbs at the rest of us.

There are numerous political ways the billionaires have used to redistribute income from us to them. Millions of U.S. jobs have been exported over the last forty years, for example, and the difference between the old high U.S wages and benefits and the new lower wages-only compensation in China, Vietnam, Mexico, Pakistan and elsewhere have gone straight into the pockets of the billionaires, thanks to their might-as-well-be-hired employees in the congress, the white house, and the supreme court.

Thus, there is no guarantee the economy will return to normal when the coronavirus is gone and the next stimulus has run its course. The impacts of every recession has gotten worse for the 99 percent because at least $50 trillion has been redistributed from 99 to the 1 percent over the last twenty-five years, depressing the demand for goods and services in the process. The top one percent are now stealing roughly 22 to 39 percent of all income produced in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1979. This trend has not been and will not be reversed with the political corruption in play. In reality, this trend has been exacerbated by the CARES Act.

So when the dust clears, and the virus is gone, there is no guarantee the economy will bounce out of this recession, which may prove to be another Depression. So maybe it will, but then maybe not.

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The political games of the billionaires and their political representatives are afoot and quite noticeable, if one cares to look. Did anybody notice over the last several months that Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell made it abundantly clear that he was not going to consider a stimulus package of more than $500 billion while House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was looking at a minimum of $2.2 trillion.

President Donald Trump tried to negotiate something in the middle since he had to placate both. Now that Trump is soon to be out of office, McConnell and Pelosi are looking at a $900 billion package. They put Trump in a hard squeeze for months, and both made certain he was not going to get a new stimulus deal that might help him win reelection. McConnell and Pelosi proved they are different sides of the same coin; they’re corporatists and globalists and controlled by billionaires. They put their desire for political power ahead of the welfare of millions of American citizens who are unemployed because of Covid-19. The terms of the March 2020 CARES Act are due to expire the day after Christmas. People will be evicted from their homes by the millions, while millions will lose their unemployment insurance, and all Pelosi and McConnell cared about for the last several months was increasing their political capital at the expense of everybody but the billionaires who control both of them.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that “More and more Americans are going hungry as the pandemic continues to spiral out of control and government aid dries up, with children bearing the brunt of the hardship.

More than 27.3 million or 12.7% of Americans — 17.5% among households with children — reported they either sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the last week, according to new data this week from the U.S. Census Bureau that polled people from November 25 to December 7. That’s the highest level dating back to the last week of April when the Census survey began.”

Even before Covid-19 struck, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, “78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet (up from 75 percent a year earlier), and nearly one in ten workers making $100,000+ live paycheck to paycheck. More than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet, while nearly three in four workers say they are in debt today. “A quarter of workers (25 percent) have not been able to make ends meet every month in the last year, and 20 percent have missed payment on some smaller bills. Further, 71 percent of all workers say they’re in debt — up from 68 percent” in 2016. “While 46 percent say their debt is manageable, more than half of those in debt (56 percent) say they feel they will always be in debt. It should be noted that 18 percent of all workers have reduced their 401k contribution and/or personal savings in the last year, more than a third (38 percent) do not participate in a 401k plan, IRA or comparable retirement plan, and 26 percent have not set aside any savings in the last year.” 81 percent of workers “have worked a minimum wage job, and 71 percent of them were not able to make ends meet financially during that time — more than half (54 percent) had to work more than one job.” According to a study by the United States Federal Reserve Bank, 61 percent of adults could pay for an unexpected expense of $400 with cash, savings, or a credit card they could pay off the following month. 27 percent would need to borrow or sell something to pay the expense, and 12 percent could never cover it. This was all before Covid-19.

If you think things were bad for the middle class in 2019, it surely has got to be worse for them nowadays. Below are some other statistics that place things in perspective, and all of these were calculated before Covid-19.

As of 2020, the average working citizen in the USA no longer could afford to raise a family on his or her yearly salary, demonstrating how badly off the middle class has become since 1980. In 1985, a middle class male had to work thirty weeks in order to pay the $13,227 it cost for housing, healthcare, transportation and education. By 2018, the average cost of those four items had risen to $54,441, and it took a male head-of-household fifty-three weeks to pay for them. This stark reality was even worse for female heads of households. Women had to work forty-five weeks to pay for the same things in 1985, but it required sixty-six weeks to earn them in 2018. By 2018, both male and female head-of-households had to work more than a year to pay for a year’s worth of those four items.

There are many reasons why millions of middle class people are in such dire straits; trade agreements, for example, have exported middle class jobs by the millions. Pelosi and McConnell supported every one of these boondoggles. This is why they are different sides of the same coin. Meanwhile, the fifty richest billionaires are worth as much as the poorest 165 million Americans. Both Pelosi and McConnell have worked hand-in-hand to ensure this outcome.

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The electoral college is allowed to exist because the Republicans and the Democrats are indispensable enemies, at least for the billionaires who control both parties. If not for the electoral college, the last Republican United States president would have been George H.W. Bush from 1988 to 1992. The balance of power in Washington D.C. would have been in the hands of the Democrats for most of the time since. Those politicians serve many of the same billionaires who control the Republican Party. The billionaires and their corporate media divide the Republican and Democratic Party grassroots by social issues so as to take our eyes off the prize.

Nowadays, many of the grassroots of both parties are like European soccer fans. They root for their teams regardless of the economic issues that impact them, they engage in fistfights, protests and counter protests, and issue damning insults in person and on social media, much to the delight of the billionaires of both parties who have been pulling their strings as though they are mindless puppets.

George Carlin on education and political corruption

In the meantime, three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans. According to Inequality.org, as of November 17, “the combined wealth of 647 U.S. billionaires increased by almost $960 billion since mid-March, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown—an increase of nearly $1 trillion in less than a year. Since March, there are 33 new billionaires in the U.S. Driving this exploding inequality are 12 companies whose profits are coming at the expense of workers and communities. These “Delinquent Dozen” companies are emblematic of the corporate greed that has grown rampant over the last 40 years. They include retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Dollar Tree and Dollar Store, gig economy companies like Instacart, and food producers like Tyson Foods.”

Worse yet, this massive increase in wealth inequality is driven by a huge rise in income inequality. The top 1 percent now take roughly anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the total income produced every year in the United States, depending on whose stats you use. This is up from 8 percent in 1980. Extreme poverty has risen over the last thirty years from 36 percent of the world’s people to roughly 50 percent as massive amounts of income and wealth have been redistributed from the poorest to the most wealthy. The world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population, according to a recent study by Oxfam. See https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/worlds-billionaires-have-more-wealth-46-billion-people

During these decades our democracy has been turned into a plutocracy (government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich), our utterly corrupt Supreme Court has given massive power to the rich via their corporations while weakening our labor unions, which was once the primary counter balance to corporate power in the United States.

Sure, there are important issues the billionaires and their corporate news media have directed our attention to, such as transgender bathrooms, voter fraud, racism, gay rights, wars against Christmas, wars against women, global warming, abortion, wars for and against dirty diapers, etc…. While most of these are important issues for which many of us are passionate about, they are also issues intended to take our eyes off the prize.

Take racism, for example. Most of the people impacted by extreme poverty (defined in 1990 as living on $1.90 a day) throughout the world are our brown and black brothers and sisters from lesser developed nations. And yet, the policies which have pushed more and more of these people into extreme poverty, such as international trade agreements involving the United States, and lending actions by the U.S. dominated World Bank, are pushed by billionaire controlled politicians of both major political parties. Racism is never talked about in this context because the billionaires have directed our attention away from racist economic policies and how these policies have been directed by Republican and Democratic Party leaders over the last four decades and have pretty much kept our eyes off the big pictures of income and wealth inequality and how these two policies impact all working people, but in particular, black and brown people.

If the electoral college was eliminated, the Republican Party would be a largely permanent minority party unable to stop the Democratic Party leaders from enacting the demands of the Democratic Party grassroots for reforms, some of which would reverse income and wealth inequality, such as raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which would cut into corporate profits, as well as ever rising share prices and dividends, which is the primary conduit by which the rich receive their income and wealth. Immigration reform would succeed, but the current policies are very profitable for a handful of publicly traded corporations, and which benefit billionaires.

The indispensable enemies must continue to coexist so as to provide the illusion of democracy. Eliminating the electoral college would go a long way toward destroying the illusion, which is something the billionaires do not want.

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The combined wealth of U.S. billionaires increased by $850 billion since March 18th, 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, an increase of over 28 percent. The billionaires like that.


The billionaires who control the Republicon Party want as small of fiscal stimulus as possible since it will be directed at the needs of the 99 percent. The billionaires who control the Democratic Party support a large stimulus directed at the 99 percent, perhaps because our severe recession is only beginning. Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives and have pared down a $3.4 trillion stimulus to $2.2 trillion in negotiations with Senate Republicons.

Republicon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated no stimulus will occur before the election of November 3rd. What if, as expected, the Republicons lose the senate and President Trump loses his reelection bid? Will the Senate Republicons pass a stimulus bill before President Biden enters office on January 20, 2021?

And the answer is; not a chance.

In 2008, McConnell made it a crusade to ensure that newly elected President Barack Obama was going to be a one-term president even as the nation was burning during the Republican created Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. Expect McConnell’s job will be to ensure Biden becomes a one-term president if he wins the election, which means letting the raging coronavirus financial conflagration lay waste the United States as much as possible before Biden takes office on January 20th. For the billionaires who control the Republicon Party, no pain and no suffering is enough to achieve this end so long as the 99 percent get all the pain and suffering.

Expect McConnell to oppose any stimulus after Biden takes office, except perhaps a tiny one. This means the economy will burn, and Republcons will try to blame the Democrats in order to retake the House and Senate in 2020. This tactic will not work since once the election is over changing demographics will ensure the Republicon Party becomes a permanent minority party whose influence at the national level will consistently decrease until it can no longer stop legislation in the senate with a filibuster, and that moment is no more than ten to fifteen years away.

On the other hand, a President Biden is unlikely to ask his other billionaire controlled Democratic senators to eliminate the filibuster for one time even to pass a much needed stimulus because to do so will mean the grassroots will demand they do the same for other issues, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, creating a public option for health care, raising the taxes on the billionaires who back Biden and other Democrats, immigration reform, and many other issues.

If President Trump wins but the Republicons lose the senate, McConnell is still likely to oppose a major stimulus package for the reason stated above. So don’t expect a major stimulus package to help fight off this economic disaster. We may get one, but it is unlikely or will be too small to be of much help. Keep your fingers crossed.

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Truer colors have never been more clear. As the economy continues to place more than 800,000 citizens on the unemployment rolls for many weeks in row, as the stock markets have tanked over the entire month of September 2020, as the number of people applying for welfare increase week after week, the Republicans have decided to divert all of their attention toward pushing through a Supreme Court nominee and the Democrat leadership have decided to say they intend do all they can to oppose that nominee.

Sure, there is talk of another stimulus package which lifted the stock market on Friday, but the two sides are so far apart that we can rest assure all discussion about a stimulus package is simply a joke perpetrated on us since the two sides are far apart and have been for months on this issue.

In the meantime, both Dems and Republicon Party leaders are using the Supreme Court issue to divert our attention from all of the above. There is not a whole lot the Dems can do to stop Trump’s choice. They insist if the Republicons go through with the nominee before the election, making 17 Republican senators liars and hypocrites in the process, the Dems will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court by pushing its number from 9 to 13 justices, if Biden wins and the Dems take the Senate.

Well, if Biden wins and the Dems take the senate the very last thing they will want to do is end the filibuster. Ending the filibuster means a simple majority vote is all that will be needed for the Dems to push through the agenda the grassroots of the party demand.

However, the billionaires who control the party do not want what the grassroots are demanding, such as a higher federal minimum wage like $15 an hour, greater healthcare coverage (such as Medicare for all or a public option), more legislatively enacted labor rights, a packed court, immigration reform, more paid time off for new parents, higher taxes on the rich and their corporations, enacting other legislation and federal action that would reduce income and wealth inequality, and a host of other things.

These things would drive corporate profits, share prices, and dividend payments down, and neither the billionaires who control the Republican Party and the billionaires who control the Democratic Party want that since this is where all their financial and political power, income and wealth emanate from. So all of the so-called Democratic resistance against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will never be enacted.

There will not be an end to the filibuster because it allows both parties to not govern on behalf of their grassroots while allowing the billionaires who control both major political parties and the Supreme Court to get everything they want.

Questions about corporate power will not be asked of Trump’s nominee during the soon-to-be senate confirmation hearings. This is because Trump will choose a candidate who supports the billionaires and their corporations, somebody who will not want to say in public, “Yes, I believe that Amazon.com is a person deserving of Constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and religious choice, and yes when Amazon.com and Microsoft and any corporations spend money on politics this is Constitutionally protected free speech and the founding father’s believed it to be true.”

All Republican nominees to the court have pretended to believe this even though corporations are creations of state charters and have no ability to speak or spend money. Some rich person has to do all of this for corporations, and corporations are the center of billionaire financial power. Thus, Trump’s nominee will want to give the billionaires greater Constitutional rights than you and I have via their corporations. The Dem leadership also wants this.

If the nominee was to say in the confirmation hearings corporations (ie General Motors and TESLA) are people she will sound very stupid, and hideously biased in favor of the billionaires and their corporations, and therefore undeserving of the position since you cannot find any founding father who ever said or wrote anything so stupid.

The game is rigged folks, and not for you. It’s a rigged game for the billionaire club only. Divide and conquer the masses using social issues while ensuring the billionaires and their corporations can financially rape the 99 percent via their corporations and their corrupted Supreme Court is the name of the game. The leaders of both major political parties are playing the same game.

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U.S. Senate Republicans cannot figure out the math. As a political party of consequence, they are on the verge of historical irrelevance after the November elections. There are several red (Republican) states turning purple and or on their way to becoming blue (Democratic). Virginia is turning bluer by the moment, and so is North Carolina. Red states such as Texas and Arizona have a blue tinge and are getting bluer.

Now let’s count how many blue states are turning red. Oh, yes! That’s easy. The answer is zero.

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will likely be the next senate minority leader come November, fifteen to twenty  Republican senators will not vote yes to a 5th coronavirus aid package even as the unemployment rate soars during the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

This crisis was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic to be sure, but forty years of Republican and Democratic Party legislation redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent have caused the crisis to be deeper and getting deeper than it otherwise would be. The 1 percent were getting about 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980 while nowadays that number hovers around 38+ percent not counting money the rich have offshore to avoid their fair share of taxes. Three people (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett) had more wealth than the 90 percent of Americans as of a few years ago. Now it is possible that three people have more wealth than the bottom 95 percent of the population since Buffett has gotten richer since then but has fallen to number eight this year.

The rich receive 2/3rds to 100 percent of their income and wealth from corporations. This is why the CARES ACT legislation was easily passed back in March by both Democrats and Republicans. The two parties voted to give the rich $4.75 trillion in a $2.2 trillion package while giving the rest of us crumbs. Click here for that story. The two parties were voting to protect the financial engine of the rich.

One of the sticking points in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans this week is the $600 a week the unemployed were receiving and that officially ended on July 31th. Republicans argue that this paid more money to some unemployed people than they were actually earning on their jobs. Trump’s brain-dead, incompetent and hypocritical Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this morning during an Interview with ABC’s “This Week” than nobody should be given more money than they earn but the Republicans did not mind giving away $4.75 trillion to the 300,000 richest of Americans for sitting on their asses and not doing anything.

Senate Republicans and House Democrats are negotiating this weekend to prevent the economic disaster from spreading.

McConnell and the Republicans could only offer a $1 trillion relief package in the current negotiations that will fall far short of saving the nation from this disaster. U.S. House Democrats, under Majority leader Nancy Pelosi, proposed and passed through the House the HEROES Act, a $3.4 trillion stimulus package two months ago, which is also likely to fall short of our nation’s needs.

The failure of the Republicans to take this economic crisis seriously means more states are going to continue to turn blue for generations to come, making the Republican Party a permanent super minority party for decades to come on its way to becoming the political party of irrelevance.

 

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U.S. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must be as stupid as U.S. Senator’s Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Paul and Cruz oppose the U.S. House of Representatives Heroes bill sponsored by the Democratic Party that will continue to provide $600 a week to the unemployed until January, as well as tens of billions of dollars to cities and states that are experiencing reduced tax dollars and will likely need to lay off tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or more, of public employees without further Federal aid.

Many Republican senators are opposed to the HEROES Act because it will not reward their billionaire owners to the same degree the CARES Act did, and which gave the superrich and their corporations $4.75 trillion in a $2.2 trillion bill. (Click here for that story.)

McConnell, appearing to be a dimwit, does not understand the issue that will decide the election in November. “It’s the economy stupid,” James Carville used to say. Carville was Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign manager in 1992. They won the election in 1992.

“We swears to serve the master of the precious.”

The U.S. economy is tanking big time. The only thing stopping the economy from further falling and moving into a Great Depression is the CARES Act, one of whose most important provisions for the 99 percent is about to expire. That provision is the $600 a week extra in unemployment benefits.

McConnell does not understand the economy needs people to spend money to keep it afloat. He opposes the $600 extra a week because some people are receiving more money than they were earning at their jobs, giving them an incentive to not look for work. Who cares? That $600 dollars is helping to keep the economy afloat, and there are not a whole bunch of available jobs out there right now anyway.

When cities, counties and states begin to lay off employees by the tens of thousands, along with those folks on unemployment who will stop receiving that $600 at the end of this month, the economy will likely move into a Great Depression, if we have not already done so.

The result will be a Democratic Party wave in November. Then it is likely the Republican Party will begin its fade into the history books as more and younger voters have become Bernie style Democratic Socialists, which is to say New Deal Democrats. McConnell and the rest of the Republican senators are about to send their political party into historical oblivion after voting to reward their billionaire backers $4.75 trillion while providing the vast majority of U.S. citizens crumbs with the CARES Act last March.

Meanwhile, U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi decided to placate her Party’s base by sponsoring the Heroes Act, but not that saving the base and the economy from ruin was something she actually wanted to do. The Heroes Act is the fourth stimulus package since March and her attempts to save the billionaires who control her Party and neglect the financial needs of the 99 percent is most obvious by this fact alone. Something must have clicked in her brain to come up with the HEROES Act.

She likely came to understand saving the economy and the billionaires from ruin means having to save the rest of us. McConnell, Rand Paul and “tiny hands” Ted Cruz have not figured out this basic economic issue yet even as Texas, the state Cruz represents, is rapidly turning blue along with Virginia, North Carolina, and several other states the Republican Party reliably once controlled.

When these states turn blue, this will eliminate the Republican Party as a factor in national politics. This has already occurred on several state levels. The Republican Party used to control California. Now it is the super minority party in both of California’s legislative houses. McConnell, Cruz and Paul are hastening the Party’s decline by their economic stupidity. It’s the economy stupid!

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In the 1920s, Argentina was a nation with one of the great middle classes in the world, equal with most Europe nations. Then corruption sunk in and now Argentina is a nation filled with desperate people. We may be at such a tipping point in the United States.

The rich learned a valuable lesson from the Great Depression. Never let the stock market drop in value for too long. Otherwise, their economic and political clout will falter and open up the door for allowing democracy for the vast majority of citizens. Political corruption is so massive in the United States that members of both major political parties enacted the CARES Act in March 28, 2020. This was a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package that was actually a rescue package of over $6 trillion, most of which is making the top 0.01 percent of the U.S. population richer, while keeping political and judicial corruption at elevated levels.

The rich are receiving $4.95 trillion from the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill. You read that right. The $2.2 trillion includes more than $450 billion for large corporations, allegedly in loans. The bill includes a proviso that the Federal Reserve can print up to ten times that amount and lend that $4.5 trillion with a nod and a wink to large corporations. The combined profits of all US corporations in 2018 and 2019 were slightly over $4 trillion before taxes. The rich and their corporations, in other words, are getting more than two years’ worth of profits from the stimulus bill. This money will mainly go to the the 100 to 150 largest corporations, which will then funnel the money to the billionaires and multi-millionaires.

The Fed has been buying corporate bonds by the truckload every day. This money has been used in a large degree to providing dividend payments and keeping share prices up, which enriches the billionaires.

The primary purpose of this program has been to stifle democracy for the vast majority of citizens. If the stock markets had been allowed to continue falling in March 2000, the political, judicial and economic power of the rich would have evaporated and opened the door for democracy for the rest of us.

With the coming of the Great Depression and the New Deal programs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), Kim Phillips-Fein writes in her book Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal, “Many of these programs were measures that American’s business class had resisted for a generation, and the government enacted them at a moment when the power and prestige of business was at its nadir. The employer’s paradise had been lost.” The rich wanted it back in a big way. So they organized over a few generations and brought us to the economic disaster that has been unleashed upon us now.

The 1 percent derive 2/3rds to 100 percent of their income and wealth from owning shares of corporations. During the Depression, they had lost their power and prestige because corporate profits and the stock market had dropped 90+ percent from 1929 to 1933. This opened the door for FDR’s innovative socialist programs, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, controlling Wall Street’s depravity with the Securities and Exchange Commission, raising tax rates on the rich so they had less money with which to corrupt all three branches of the federal government and which also functioned to set maximum take-home wages, etc…. The rich appear to have learned a lesson the rest of us have plainly not learned.

The stock market must not be allowed to fall in value for the billionaires to continue their dictatorship of the United States. Both major political parties, the Federal Reserve, the United States Supreme Court, they’re all corrupted to the bone and the only thing allowing the 1 percent to continue corrupting government at all levels is the stock market, the fortunes of which have been disconnected from the real economy for at least a dozen years, and probably more. So long at the rich can use the Fed and the federal government to keep the value of the stock market disconnected from real world economic fundamentals, the door is open to enter that Argentine moment for the vast majority of United States citizens. We will become a nation of desperate people, if we have not already become so.

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I wonder how bad this economic downturn is going to be. This recession just began in February 2020. The economy is opening up for the first time since the coronavirus struck the United States and people are saying the economy is going to pop right out of its slump. I doubt that.

This week, I saw all kinds of people standing in the soup line three blocks long, which was three blocks longer than two weeks ago. Facebook just laid off my friend across the street a couple weeks ago. Just a week ago, a long-time friend was furloughed from her job for the summer. My domestic partner has seen her hours reduced at work. Middle class families are rummaging through my garbage and recycle bins. The rich are getting richer. Maybe that was the big boys plan.

No, I just do not see an economic recovery around the corner. I see a deep recession. One of my local bicycle stores is closed, along with two bakeries, the coffee shop, the chocolate shop, my chiropractor and others. Four blocks away two Vietnamese restaurants have closed permanently along with a pizza parlor. Seven blocks away the Roseway Theater is shuttered. Next to it the wedding store is closed forever, and next door to that the appliance repair store is gone. All have closed permanently since March 2020. All have been open since at least the 1980s. The Roseway Theater had been open since 1924.

The coronavirus pandemic ignited this recession, but its depth and misery for Americans have been caused by 40 years of relentless class warfare by the rich. The opening shots of the war began in 1971 when a little known Republican tobacco attorney named Lewis Powell wrote what is known as the Powell manifesto urging the rich to combine their resources, establish a variety of organizations to turn back the clock to the era of the robber barons, take over the courts, and generally fight back against the Constitutional and democratic rights of the vast majority of people. The rich took his advice. They organized. Out popped the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Federalist Society, and a lot more. Two months after he wrote his manifesto, Powell was sitting on the Supreme Court bench serving the rich as a legalized guerilla fighter in their war against the rest of us.

The Roseway Theater is closed and that financially helps streaming corporations like Amazon and Apple and their rich shareholders become richer. The local restaurants are gone but that financially helps Walmart, Domino’s Pizza and other major corporations and billionaire owned private equity companies by eliminating the local competition, and their rich shareholders are prospering at the expense of local business people, the real entrepreneurs, people who are our neighbors. The local coffee shops are gone, and that helps the affluent shareholders of Starbucks and other major coffee corporations get richer.

A recent poll shows 62 percent of Americans think the United States is in the toilet. Political corruption on a massive scale has done that, with the billionaires in control of both major political parties, as well as the Supreme Court. (Click here for that story)

The CARES Act of March 2020 was supposed to help the economy with loans to small businesses, but apparently, the authorized money is not enough and perhaps deliberately so. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. The CARES Act authorized $4.75 trillion to save the 1 percent who derive the vast majority of their income and wealth from major corporations.

Bloomberg reports the Federal Reserve is printing and giving billions of dollars to major corporations, such as Walmart, AT&T, and United Health. Technically, those are loans but will likely be forgiven. Meanwhile, those billions find their way into the hands of the rich via higher dividends and capital gains. Click here for that story.

If you count capital gains, the rich have gone from stealing 7 percent of all income produced in the United States in 1971 when Lewis Powell wrote the Powell Manifesto to at least 37 percent by 2016. It is likely closer to 40 percent in 2020. You can thank the corporate wing of the Supreme Court for much of that gain.

Don’t you think it’s time to forget about our petty differences on the social issues the rich have used their news organizations to get us to focus on, and unite to save ourselves against the depredations of the rich? If not for yourselves, why don’t you do it for future generations?

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Divide and conquer; nobody has done it better than the billionaires who have controlled the United States via their two major political parties and their Supreme Court for the last forty years. But first a few comments.

I wonder if the downturn of the stock market on June 9-11, 2020 was just a correction, although I am suspicious it marks an increase in market volatility on its way toward the intersection where the real downtrodden economy meets the robust Wall Street market. In which case, we could be looking at a rapid or slow and long-term decline in share prices.

I do not think a lot of people understand that we are at the beginning of a recession and not at the end. I suspect that many people were buying the stocks of corporations for the last two weeks that are going bankrupt (think Hertz) because of desperation of their financial situations since 40 percent of US adults do not have $400 to cover an emergency, not in savings, not in credit cards or other assets, if I remember correctly.

I have read and listened to many experts on the rise of the stock market since March while the economy has tanked, but I have not heard how income and wealth inequality has driven the stock markets to record highs by redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over the last forty years, nor do I hear how financially desperate many people are; not even those who are buying bankrupt Hertz and J.C. Penny shares. Those subjects are not allowed by the billionaires who own all the major news sources.

I have a good neighbor and he just got laid off from his job and fears losing his house. I see desperation written all over his face and in the tone of his voice when I speak with him. I see the middle class families in nice cars and wearing nice clothes rummaging through the recycle bins the night before the trucks pick that stuff up. Most, but not all of these folks, did not begin their rummaging pilgrimages until March. I watched videos a few days ago of the first food lines for the middle class since the Great Depression of 1929-40, a line of 600+ cars deep, people in their new Toyota Lexus’s, and other high end newer cars, who needed to gather free food in order to feed themselves. 20 to 40 million people are unemployed and all the congress would do was save the billionaires. See The CARES Act; the Rich get $4.75 Trillion and We Get the Crumbs.

We are at the beginning of a recession that will be severe because 40 years of the greed of sociopathic rich folks who control both major political parties and the Supreme Court, and who can never get enough money, and far more than they could ever spend, and who derive almost, and in many cases, all, of their income and wealth from the ownership of corporate shares, either through capital gains, dividends or corporate bonds.

Then you have the gullible grassroots on the political right who have been led to think the communists are controlling things; and then you have the gullible on the left who think the Democratic Party leaders actually give a rat’s ass about them; for the grassroots of both the left and right, the reality is unhidden and staring straight into their eyes.

All you need to do is look at Nancy Pelosi’s Heroes Act, the fifth stimulus since coronavirus shut down the U.S.; this legislation extends the government’s extra $600 unemployment insurance per week through the end of the year, and provides other income to the 99 percent too, although much of the money in the proposed legislation will still go to the rich. Pelosi waited to push the Heroes Act through the Democratic controlled House after both Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump said they were not interested in a fifth stimulus. Pelosi knew the Heroes Act was grand theatre for the blind faithful even though she could have easily negotiated more money for the 99 percent with McConnell and Trump during the first, second, and third bailouts, when McConnell and Trump were desperate to save the billionaires who pull their strings, which happen to be the same strings they use to pull Nancy Pelosi with. She did not negotiate for us little folks. Did she?

The billionaires pulled the strings of Pelosi, McConnell and Trump to come up with the notorious CARES Act, which bailed out the rich and their corporations to the tune of $4.75 trillion while throwing crumbs at the masses, which made for good theatrical effect. The billionaire’s corporate news media did their duty and only reported on the crumbs and how great they were.

As for the grassroots on the right, the CARES ACT alone should tell them how insanely wrong they are to assume Democratic Party politicians are controlled by communists, and the CARES Act should tell them that Republican politicians would not give a snail’s fart to help them out during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And you would think the blind followers of the Democrats could figure out that the Democratic Party politicians have not cared about them since Jimmy Carter was president.

The voters of both sides, you would think, would by now figure out that both Democratic and Republican Party politicians threw them overboard forty years ago. It only takes one thing: using your brains to put two and two together.

Billionaires own this nation, both political parties, they have at least five United States Supreme Court judges in their back pockets, along with a lot of other judges; they own the media and only tell you what they want you to believe, and most of you believe the propaganda and the lies used to turn the grassroots of the right and the left against each other.

No, this economic crisis will not be over soon. This is going to be a long economic nightmare. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have been drained financially dryer during the last few months alone.

We have to figure out how, as a people and as a nation, we want to come out of this crisis. Lurching forward into another economic wasteland like Argentina is for the vast majority of its people; or with a strong political change that reins in the obvious corruption at all levels of the U.S. government, and ensuring a government of, by and for the people, rather than just continuing to impoverish ourselves under the dictatorship of the billionaires.

We have a collective choice to make and the time has come to cast aside our petty differences and organize. The 1 percent were taking at least 37 percent of the income produced in this nation in 2019, up from 8 percent in 1980. They are probably raking in over 40 percent so far this year. Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates owned more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and that was before the crisis began. They are richer now.

If our situation continues on this path, the rich will steal even more income and wealth than is currently the case. Then we will be a nation like Argentina, once boasting a prosperous middle class on a level with the best European nations, and now with a population of mostly desperate people.

In the USA, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue and become stronger unless the grassroots of both sides come together and realize they have economic issues that bind them. Until that day, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue to impoverish us all even more so than today.

The billionaires will continue to use their corporate media to divide us and make permanent their conquest and subversion of our democracy, our Constitution, and our governments at all levels, local, state and federal.

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