Category Archives: Equality-Inequality

1/100th of a Second to Buy a Loaf of Bread

99%NeedsRaise

How much do you pay for bread?

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The Year of Massive Wealth Redistribution

The Right-wing warned us that if we elected the great “Socialist” Barack Obama, we would experience a massive redistribution of wealth before his administration was over. And they were right!

2013 set new records in the Government-promoted redistribution of wealth. But not what might be thought. Indeed the year set a new record for the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes TO the 1% elite.

Corporate profits are the largest share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and wages are the smallest share of the GDP of anytime since records started being kept. Who gets the profits? The 1%, And who depends on wages? The rest of us.

Some may protest, maybe so, but how does the Government enter into this? The Government fixes the rules of the game: (1) it taxes wages higher than it taxes dividends and capital gains, (2) it bails out Banks while mortgaged homeowners are foreclosed, and (3) employers can set wages at will while unions are busted.

So what was supposed to be “trickle-down” economics  has become “geyser-up” economics. Instead of some wealth being distributed by the rich to we peons below, the wealth rises in gushers to those above.

Wealth Inequality in America

The Top ONE-PERCENT possess 40% of the national wealth, the Bottom EIGHTY-PERCENT possess 7% !

1426 of the World’s BILLIONAIRES Have Net Worth Greater Than All but 2 of the World’s Nations

Excerpt from http://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/one-percent-wealth/ :

It’s the magic of the market at work. The tricks that make this magic work are multiple levels of exploitation. Worker productivity has increased, while wages are flat or slowly declining, around the world. Countries at the center of the global capitalist system extract wealth from the rest of the world, as their corporations plunder natural resources in one-sided deals and take advantage of low labor costs and non-existent environmental enforcement. James Petras estimates that the corporations of the United States and Europe extracted $ 950 billion from Latin America for the period 1975 to 2005.

Although some crumbs have historically fallen to the working peoples of the North from imperialism, corporate globalization has dialectically begun to hurt those working peoples as more production is moved to developing countries with ever lower wages. The upward flow of money has accelerated, and the one-sidedness of this arrangement is illustrated by the fact that the Credit Suisse report lists Greece as one of the countries in the richest tier, those with per capita wealth of more than US$100,000. That is so despite 27.6 % unemployment and an economy that has shrunk 20 consecutive quarters and by more than 20% during that period.

That means that Greece has hideous inequality. But as skewed as wealth distribution is in Greece, a country in which its most lucrative industry, shipping, pays no taxes, it’s not close to being the most unequal. As measured by the gini coefficient, the standard economic metric of inequality, the U.S. has the worst inequality of any advanced capitalist country, and among the 34 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (the club of the world’s advanced capitalist countries and biggest developing countries), only Turkey, Mexico and Chile are worse.

Those at the very top hold truly enormous amounts of wealth — Forbes magazine, in its 2013  report on the world’s wealthiest people, report that Earth’s 1,426 billionaires collectively have a net worth of US$5.4 trillion. To put that figure in some perspective, there are only two countries in the world, the U.S. and China, that have a gross domestic product that is larger. Another comparison is this: Those 1,426 billionaires possess wealth that is more than double that of the bottom half of humanity — 3.6 billion humans.

When “markets” are allowed to dictate ever more social outcomes, this will be the result. Capitalism has evolved to the point where people exist to serve markets, not the other way around — and capitalist markets are the aggregate interests of the most powerful industrialists and financiers.

Readers are encouraged to

Obama Is Delivering America to the SuperRich

Shocking New Research Reveals Obama’s Legacy Could Be an America of Aristocrats and Peons

Warning: This story is going to make you very angry.
New research from inequality experts Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez has revealed that we now have the biggest gap between the rich and rest of America since economists began tracking data a century ago.

This isn’t supposed to happen following an economic crisis. After the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal programs worked to prevent wealth from piling back up at the top. And over the past two decades, the percentage of income claimed by the wealthy dropped after each recession. But in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent has gobbled up nearly all of the income gains in the first three years of the “recovery” ­ a stupifying 95 percent. Economic inequality is even worse than it was before the crash. In fact, last year the rich took home the largest share of income since 1917 with the exception of only one year: 1928.

Is this an accident?
Let’s take a look at the years from 2009 -2012. While working people were sweating it, the richest Americans have enjoyed a fabulous ride. For example, if you were in the top 1 percent in 2012, lucky you ­ your income soared on average by 20 percent. And if you were in the top 0.01 percent, you probably bought a bigger yacht because your income was up by more than 32 percent on average.

As for everybody else? They shared a measly 1 percent rise.

In other words, the rich are getting richer, and the rest of us are frozen in economic purgatory.

For despite all the talk of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” driving soaring stock markets and a post-crisis economic boom, 99 percenters have seen their real incomes going down and their living standards depressed. Ordinary, hard-working people are not getting a slice of the pie, they’re barely getting a sliver. (Cue Obama’s apparent pick for the next Federal Reserve chair, the crony capitalist, bank-loving Larry Summers.)

The bailouts, which handed boatloads of money to bankers, can’t be blamed entirely on President Obama. But ever since then, the policies of his administration have pretty much fixed things so that those who caused the crisis have benefited, while those who didn’t paid for it. He has surrounded himself with Wall Street apologists as economic advisors, despite the existence of extraordinary economic minds like Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz who could offer sound and sensible guidance. Every chance Obama has to correct this mistake, he seems to double down and brings on another 1 percenter.

To be fair, Republicans have been the most ardent promoters of “trickle-down” economics and austerity policies that leave regular people behind. But centrist Democrats have done little to forge a different path. A few courageous progressive voices, like Elizabeth Warren’s, get drowned out by a chorus of “Let’s Make a Deal” politicians eager to screw the bulk of the population and reward the rich while filling their campaign coffers. Policies like cutting our social insurance programs and allowing the rich to evade taxes are hidden behind clever marketing campaigns: For hedge fund billionaire Pete Peterson, for example, who counts deficit committee co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as his errand boys, the name of the game is “fixing the debt.”

What these plutocrats are really doing is fixing your financial future so that more money can be sucked out of your pockets to line theirs. Obama’s decision to focus on deficit reduction rather than job creation is the sure sign his administration sings the tune of the wealthy.

Making the rich richer is a terrible idea.
Making the rich richer is a terrible idea for several reasons. For one thing, it kills jobs. When regular people have money in their pockets to pay for things like food, clothing, or going to the movies, they are actually creating jobs. The taco stand can hire another cashier when people come in to spend their money on tacos.

But there are only so many tacos you can buy. If you have much more money than you can possibly spend, you’ll likely sock it away or invest in financial assets or start doing risky speculation, which doesn’t create any jobs. With banks deleveraging (cutting back on loans) and many companies fearful of borrowing given anemic rates of economic growth, your savings won’t be recycled. Even if you’re a rich person who builds a company, chances are you’re not creating very good jobs, and you’re also destroying plenty of them. High unemployment makes it easy to hold wages down and squeeze more and more work from desperate workers.

The foregoing excerpts are taken from Lynn Stuart Parramore’s article posted at ALTERNET dated September 12, 2013. AlterNet can be found at www.alternet.org

 

Obama’s Right (Thought We’d Never Say That)

After four years of consistent and continuing criticism of Barack Obama as a politician and as President, it may not be expected for the DISSENTING DEMOCRAT to say, “Obama’s right”. But after all, even a broken clock is correct at least two times a day:

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Obama was pressed by the host to respond to a recent study by University of California researchers that shows the rich have gotten richer while the poor continue to languish.

“95 percent of the gains to the top one percent. That is so striking,” declared Stephanopoulos.

Obama responded, “It is. And the folks at—in the middle and at the bottom haven’t seen wage or income growth, not just over the last three, four years, but over the last 15 years.”

So now what?

__________________

SOURCE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/16-5

The Fabulous 400

FORTUNE MAGAZINE recently released its annual tally of the 400 richest of the richest. Now it takes $ 1.3 BILLION to make it into the “Fabulous 400”. Just think, you could have $ 1.299 BILLION and you’d be among the poorest of the richest !

In the last year while the 99% increased their overall wealth by 0.4 %, the Richie Rich’s of the world actually collected an additional 34 %.

The 400 make MORE than the 160 MILLION Americans at the bottom of the economic heap.

The collective wealth of the 400 could finance ALL of the homes purchased in 2013-2014.

The wealth of numero uno, Bill Gates, could fund the budgets of the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota and still have so much left over that he would still be the richest man in the world.

And while the national wealth continues to gather at the top, the paid mouthpieces for the Vast Right-Wing conspiracy continue to lash out at people who don’t have enough income to pay income tax and those who are eligible for food stamp assistance. The Wacko Right condemns those at the bottom of the heap as the “Takers” while ennobling the 400 as the “Makers”. It’s a damnable lie and its about time we identify it as such.