tagged w/ wealth inequality
Man gets summons for laughing too loudly-Records reveal CBP drones used in US can intercept electronic communications, identify people-First Nations Group Orders Enbridge Pipeline Off Their Land-Tax Bicyclists For Exhaling CO2 When They Ride, Says Wash. Rep-How Public Libraries Have Become Spare Homeless Shelters (Hard Times USA)-Ten Years After’s Alvin Lee, 68, dies-Occupy Protesters: Innocent-This viral video is right: We need to worry about wealth inequalityMan gets summons for laughing too loudly-Records reveal CBP drones used in US can... more
The problem with our economy isn't just at the top or at the bottom. It's how the whole thing is organized, and the power structure that sustains that.
Millions of Americans are living in the kind of poverty you generally associate with those "you can save a child for the price of a cup of coffee a day" ads. Deep poverty, defined as 50 percent or less of the official poverty level, hit a new high in 2010, with 20.5 million people—6.7 percent of the population—in deep poverty. But sociologist Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, a social work professor, are looking at a level below deep poverty, occupied by nearly 1.4 million households:
In doing so, they relied on a World Bank marker used to study the poor in developing nations: This designation, which they dubbed "extreme" poverty, makes deep poverty look like a cakewalk. It means scraping by on less than $2 per person per day, or $2,920 per year for a family of four.
In a report published earlier this year by the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center, Edin and Shaefer estimated that nearly 1 in 5 low-income American households has been living in extreme povery; since 1996, the number of households in that category had increased by about 130 percent. Among the truly destitute were 2.8 million children. Even if you counted food stamps as cash, half of those kids were still being raised in homes whose weekly take wasn't enough to cover a trip to Applebees.
This is in line with the Agriculture Department's finding that 20 percent of households receiving food stamps had no cash income in 2010.
How does this happen? It happens when there's no work for millions of people, where there are 3.3 job-seekers for every job. It happens when unemployment insurance benefits expire, as they are about to do for two million people. It happens when single mothers don't have child care and don't want to leave their kids alone, making work outside the home impossible—they don't get Ann Romney's choices. It happens when the jobs people do find are just a few hours a week, at or below minimum wage.
It happens as it has for two men Mother Jones' Gabriel Thompson talked to waiting outside a temp agency in Fresno. Both had been laid off, one from a job installing phone boxes, one from a job delivering radiators. Both had had to move in with family. And both were desperately looking for work, showing up at temp agencies before sunrise and taking even the worst jobs:
when the temp office clerk announces that there's a job available, Harper leaps at it even though the gig starts at 2 a.m. and he knows he'll have to arrive at the work site in the early evening, thanks to Fresno's limited bus service. He shrugs off the six hours he'll waste "twiddling his thumbs." What matters, Harper says, is to keep knocking on doors and making the calls, because "you never know when you might get your foot in the door."
In such an environment, other people give up on finding jobs, and fall out of the unemployment statistics. But if those people were at the temp agency before sunrise every day, it wouldn't create anymore jobs, it would just mean that more people were counted as trying to find jobs that aren't there.
Maybe there's someone in America who's so ascetic or so lazy that living on $2 a day, or even $10 a day, is a choice freely made. There are not millions of such people. Rather, there is an economy that has failed millions of people completely, utterly, beyond belief, that has failed these people beyond growing income and wealth inequality and stagnant wages and wages as the lowest-ever share of GDP.The problem with our economy isn't just at the top or at the bottom. It's... more
Schumer, while a Democrat, s really interested in Wall St's bottom line at the expense of Americans in general. This is a BAD bill putting even more wealth in the hands of the rich, and the rich of foreign countries. This would be a form a illegal immigration expansion, if it were not for the fact that it is geared to the rich.
"America is having a fire sale. Why not sell wealthy foreigners the right to live here, too?
That's the notion behind a bill introduced last week by Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York: Stoke demand for American homes by allowing foreign nationals to buy them. In return, give foreigners the right to live here (although not work here).
The price? At least $500,000 cash. It could be one piece of real estate costing $500,000 or more, or several, of one would have to be worth at least $250,000.
Presumably, this would help homeowners by boosting demand. "This is a way to create more demand without costing the federal government a nickel," Schumer told the Wall Street Journal."Schumer, while a Democrat, s really interested in Wall St's bottom line at the... more
1 year ago
Charles and David Koch both agree that President Obama is anti-business."He's the most radical president we’ve ever had as a nation,"… "And has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we’ve ever had.
Those poor little Rich boys.
Influencing our Politicians to further their billion dollar interests isn’t enough for them. Now they are the victims of a Marxist plot. We ordinary,(little) people should be kissing their filthy rich asses and thanking them for polluting the environment, not paying taxes and greatly contributing to making life miserable for the working-class.
Here’s a sample of what they think is so unfair.
Since Obama was inaugurated, the Dow Jones has increased more than 50% -- from 8,000 to more than 12,000; the wealthiest received a massive tax cut; the top marginal tax rate was three times less than during the Eisenhower years and substantially lower than during the Reagan years; income and wealth inequality are so vast and rising that it is easily at Third World levels; meanwhile, "the share of U.S. taxes paid by corporations has fallen from 30 percent of federal revenue in the 1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009." During this same time period, the unemployment rate has increased from 7.7% to 8.9%; millions of Americans have had their homes foreclosed; and the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by many millions, the largest number since the statistic has been recorded. Can you smell Obama's radical egalitarianism and Marxist anti-business hatred yet?
Where would this Country be without super wealthy, delusional cretins whining about how unfair it all is? Oh, the inhumanity of it all!
If all of us little people pitch in our extra spending money maybe together we can afford buy them each a pair of socks for the Holidays this year. I suggest a note to go along with the packages stating, “Stuff these where the sun doesn’t shine”!
Read on… and don’t forget to bring a bucket and some tissues for all the tears you will shed.
http://www.salon.com/news/wall_street/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2011/03/27/kochCharles and David Koch both agree that President Obama is... more
This is rich (so to speak):
Despite the stock market’s positive performance over the past couple of years, the Fidelity survey found that 42 percent of millionaires still do not feel wealthy, compared to 46 percent, who said they didn’t feel wealthy in 2009. In fact, among those who classified themselves as not feeling wealthy, the investable asset level needed to begin to feel wealthy is $7.5 million.
Of the 58 percent of millionaires who say they feel wealthy — up slightly from 54 percent in 2009 — they began to feel so at $1.75 million in investable assets, which is consistent with 2009 and up from $1.5 million in 2008.
“Our survey reinforces that the feeling of wealth is relative, based on factors such as the current market environment, a person’s age, lifestyle, and so on,” said [Michael R.] Durbin [president, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services®]. “Regardless of what the market does, these factors are likely to change and, therefore, millionaires will continue to reassess what it really means to feel wealthy.”
Yeah, that whole $1.5 million just isn’t enough any more.
Just ask the folks in Minnesota for whom having $20 in their pockets is proof of . . . something nefarious. I’m not sure what, but the GOP is sure that it’s something bad. (To borrow from Dave Barry, I’m not making this up, and neither is Teddy.) But if the Millionaires hung out with these disreputable folks in Minnesota, I’m sure they’d feel better about their mere $1.5 million.
The suffering millionaires could also check in with the thousands in Missouri who are about to lose their unemployment benefits because of a grandstanding republican state senator. 11,700 folks will receive their last check in two weeks, with another 6,500 close behind them and about 950 coming each week after that. Running into these people might help improve the morale of the millionaires. To borrow from the proverb, “I cried because I had no mansion until I met a man who had no house.”
Or maybe they could visit with the family members and friends of the unnamed Costa Mesa CA maintenance worker who committed suicide after getting a layoff notice. (Note, please, that the suicide is three-quarters of the way down in the LA Times story about the layoffs. Insert a “burying the lede” joke here, if that’s not too tasteless for you.) Dakine asks a very powerful question: how many suicides will there be?
I wish I had an answer for him — and I wish the answer were quite small. I also wish I had a pony. But I digress . . .
As Eli noted, the GOP model to deal with the suffering in our economy — you know, those folks with a mere $1.5 million — is simple:
. . . tax cuts, tax credits, tort reform, deregulation, subsidies for energy companies, deregulation again, more NAFTAs, pretending that structural unemployment is a real thing, and austerity (except for tax cuts, obviously). Throw in another war and some gay/women/immigrant/Muslim/science-bashing, and you pretty much have… the Republican agenda for the past 30-40 years. And none of these supposed job-creation strategies do squat to create jobs.
As Eli accurately described, while they don’t create jobs, they do create corporate profits — which is clearly the point. It’s not a bug; it’s a feature. Gotta take care of those folks who only have $1.5 million, you know, because life is rough if you’re not feeling wealthy.
Meanwhile, there are the folks Paul Krugman calls the forgotten millions — the folks without jobs, in whom Washington has lost interest. As Krugman notes,
There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.
In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care? . . .
In early 2009, John Boehner, now the speaker of the House, was widely and rightly mocked for declaring that since families were suffering, the government should tighten its own belt. That’s Herbert Hoover economics, and it’s as wrong now as it was in the 1930s. But, in the 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama adopted exactly the same metaphor and began using it incessantly.
With bipartisanship like this, who needs partisan fighting?
As Brad Delong put it,
If there was one thing that I would have said in 2007 was certain to be true, it would have been that in a country with as weak a social safety net as the United States that 9% [unemployment] would be a three-alarm political emergency.
Yet it isn’t.
Between Krugman and Delong, I am reminded of a rich man who came to Jesus with a question. The 42% of the millionaires in the Fidelity survey could clearly resonate with him — and like that rich man, they probably don’t like the answer Jesus gave.
Poor babies. Poor, sad, miserable, suffering, pitiable babies.
Maybe if they had bigger silver spoons in their mouths, they wouldn’t feel so bad.
via:FireDogLake(Hat tip)This is rich (so to speak):
Despite the stock market’s positive performance... more
Funny stuff, but sometimes getting the truth out there via the humor is the only way people can wrap their collective heads around a glaring problem!
Just click on the link and play the Video, you'll laugh your ass off and just maybe after it has played you'll grab your baseball and go out looking for some CANDY!Funny stuff, but sometimes getting the truth out there via the humor is the only way... more
examines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and corporations, analyzing the possible consequences of the concentration of media ownership. Making references to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film argues that reality has met and in some ways exceeded Orwell's expectations about a society dominated by thought control, which is made possible by the media. According to the film, the mass media no longer report news, but manage it, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored, thus ultimately defining the framework upon which most other issues are discussed by the society. As an example, it is claimed that since the late 1980s there's been an agenda pursued by the major media corporations regarding the deregulation of the media market, by which news reports sell all its benefits while neglecting its disastrous results.
This documentary is a critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, director Robert Kane Pappas explores what the media doesn't like to talk about: itself. Meticulously tracing the process by which media has distorted and often dismissed actual news events, Pappas presents a riveting and eloquent mix of media professionals and leading intellectual voices on the media. From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn't, 'Orwell Rolls in His Grave' moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream mediaexamines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and... more
We always hear how the rich are being overburdened with taxes and how a progressive tax system is unfair to the rich. It's such a common talking point in the media that it is almost never questioned. Here's why it's completely false.
First, a few facts: 400 households have 50% of the wealth in the US. These top 400 billionaires own half of everything - money, property, ...Everything.
The rest of us get to share the remaining 50% of the wealth. That means that just 400 get one half, and 310 million share the other half.
But the rich pay a lot of taxes, right? ...Right?
The total amount of the income taxes collected from the billionaires who own half of everything in the US is less than 2%.
So who makes up for the rest? You guessed it ... we do.
The total income taxes paid by the poorest Americans who share the other half of the wealth is 98.2%!
In short, the richest people who own half of everything in America pay 1.8% of the income taxes, while the poorest who share the other half pay over 98% of the income taxes. That's so hard to imagine I made a picture.
The 'common wisdom' talking point that the rich are getting a bad deal is just plain wrong.
How come 40% of people don't pay any income taxes?
The short answer is: because they don't have anything. The poorest 40% of Americans have to share 0.02% of the wealth. That's not two percent, that's point zero 2 percent - or 0.0002.
To put this in perspective, if all the wealth in the US was $100, then the poorest 40%, or 124 million Americans, would split 2 cents between them. That's why they don't pay taxes. You can't get blood from a stone.
So the next time someone whines that it's not fair that 40% of people don't have to pay income tax, remember this picture, and tell him that he's looking the wrong way. Instead of looking down the income scale, he should be looking up the income ladder. Trying to tax those who don't have anything is stupid.
So who else doesn't pay taxes?
Those who have too little income to pay taxes are in good company. It turns out that some that have a lot of income - many in the Billions of dollars - don't pay taxes either.
Amazon(.com) and Boeing aircraft company have income tax rates less than 5%. That seems very low, except when compared to other corporations, they are suckers.
According to the Government Accountability Office, two out of three U. S. corporations paid no federal income tax from 1998 to 2005.
These include many huge corporations. ExxonMobil is the most profitable company in the history of the world. They pay no tax. Nothing. Zilch.
General Electric also pays no tax. But what makes this fact even more unbelievable is that they even get billions in "tax credits" back from the government. That's correct, they actually get money BACK!
So when you hear in the media about the rich being overtaxed, or how tough it is for the rich right now, you now know this 'common wisdom' is completely wrong.
It's always a good time to be rich!
http://practicaldemocrat.blogspot.com/2011/02/are-rich-paying-more-than-their-share.htmlWe always hear how the rich are being overburdened with taxes and how a progressive... more
The massive redistribution of income from the middle classes to the rich over the last 30 years is like a malignant tumor that doesn’t appear on the surface but eventually destroys the whole body.The massive redistribution of income from the middle classes to the rich over the last... more
In 2007, when the world was on the brink of financial crisis, U.S. income inequality hit its highest mark since 1928, just before the Great Depression.
Coincidence? Maybe not.
Economists are only beginning to study the parallels between the 1920s and the most recent decade to try to understand why both periods ended in financial disaster. Their early findings suggest inequality may not directly cause crises, but it can be a contributing factor.
This raises a host of social, economic and political questions. Should public policy aim to reduce inequality, and if so by what means? Does concentrated wealth at the top of the income spectrum generate asset bubbles, or vice versa? Could raising taxes or interest rates ward off financial meltdowns?
Americans are generally not bothered by inequality because they believe with hard work, they, too, can strike it rich. Government policies aimed at spreading the wealth rarely get much support. (Remember 2008, when then-candidate Barack Obama's campaign-trail comment about redistributing the wealth catapulted "Joe the Plumber" into media stardom?)
"It is usually only left-leaning rich people that care about inequality in the U.S.," said Carol Graham, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank who studies the economics of happiness.
Those attitudes may be subtly shifting, although it is unclear that this is anything more than just a temporary knee-jerk reaction to the latest bout of turmoil.
Public opinion polls show voters mixed on whether to back higher taxes on the wealthiest households, as President Obama has proposed. The issue is so contentious that Congress put off its decision until after the November 2 midterm elections.
Reuters special report on the widening gap between rich and poor in the US.
A long read but worth it...In 2007, when the world was on the brink of financial crisis, U.S. income inequality... more
While democrats and republicans are concerned with the preservation of the status quo at all costs, forces on the left and the right continue to talk in boring generalities.
The USA agenda is the only concrete solution for restoring our nations health.
http://hubpages.com/hub/Tax-WEALTH-not-INCOMEWhile democrats and republicans are concerned with the preservation of the status quo... more
Politifact rates this statement as mostly true, depending on which formula is used.
In his new movie Capitalism: A Love Story, liberal provocateur Michael Moore tries to build a case that the rich keep getting richer while everyone else is left behind. One statistic he cites in the film, which he repeated at a Sept. 29, 2009, news conference in Washington, is that "the richest 1 percent have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined."
On his Web site, Moore provides a list of sources to back up his claims. For this one, the filmmaker cites a memo written by Citigroup's research staff -- a memo that plays a key role in the film as a symbol of Wall Street excess.
The Citigroup document, which was provided to PolitiFact by Moore's staff, cites a table using statistics assembled by New York University and Bard College economist Edward N. Wolff. Wolff uses Federal Reserve Board findings on family wealth drawn from the Survey of Consumer Finances, a once-every-three-years study. The Citigroup document uses numbers from the 2001 survey.
more at link...Politifact rates this statement as mostly true, depending on which formula is used.... more
Today sees the publication of Ralph Nader's utopian future/alternate history, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us! The 736-page epic ends with third parties winning elections, corporations being neutered, and America being saved. Oh, and Yoko Ono creates a mind-expanding logo.
According to the New Yorker, Nader includes several real people in the novel, including Warren Buffett, Barry Diller, and Ted Turner, and he telephoned them up to let them know that they were in the book. Nader felt sensitized to this issue, because he's been featured as a character in other people's novels, including Greg Bear's Eon, which the New Yorker says
portrays Nader as "a saintly figure, a hero in a wasteland," whose followers win landslide elections in North America and Western Europe (in 2011) and bring down the Soviet Union (in 2012). "You see, that's science-fiction utopia," Nader said. "Nobody can give that any credibility."
Some people, including one famous billionaire, were a bit "snippy" about being included in Nader's book. But Yoko Ono and Warren Beatty were thrilled
It's just as fantastical as the idea of somebody like Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne becoming a selfless hero.
Nothing would thrill me more than to have the power of the wealthy elite on our side. But i think i have a better chance of pulling myself inside-out first.-omgwtflolbbqbye
It's the anti-"Atlas Shrugged." I bet that prude Nader didn't even put in any sex scenes. Evil Tortie's Mom: R.O.A.C.H. promoted this comment --Franklin Harris
I was just reading the Chronicle's description of the novel and thinking "Ralph Nader is like a bizzaro Ayn Rand."
Maybe all the characters munch on baby carrots instead of constantly lighting up cigarettes.--WindowlickinDaywalkerToday sees the publication of Ralph Nader's utopian future/alternate history,... more
Does anyone really think the voice of someone who makes 20,000 a year is heard equally heard next to someone who makes 20 million?
The Wealth Distribution
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2004, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.3% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.3%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.2%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2007).
Table 1: Distribution of net worth and financial wealth in the United States, 1983-2004
Total Net Worth
Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 33.8% 47.5% 18.7%
1989 37.4% 46.2% 16.5%
1992 37.2% 46.6% 16.2%
1995 38.5% 45.4% 16.1%
1998 38.1% 45.3% 16.6%
2001 33.4% 51.0% 15.6%
2004 34.3% 50.3% 15.3%Does anyone really think the voice of someone who makes 20,000 a year is heard equally... more
"There is a strongly felt need... for a reform of the United Nations Organisation, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth... there is urgent need of a true world political authority," the Pope wrote.
The strengthened international body should work "to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace, to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration," Benedict said.
The letter, addressed to all Catholics "and people of goodwill", reminds them of their moral duties in financial dealings.
"Profit is useful if it serves as a means toward an end," he wrote.
"Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty."
He warned that globalisation, properly managed, could "open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale".
But badly directed, it could "lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis"."There is a strongly felt need... for a reform of the United Nations... more
US researchers have proposed a new strategy to tackle the global climate dilemma: target the biggest polluters in a country, who also tend to be the wealthiest individuals.
Under the framework, a universal cap — rather than different caps for different countries — would be placed on carbon emissions and countries would then be tasked with getting individuals living beyond that cap to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Most of the world’s emissions come disproportionately from the wealthy citizens of the world, irrespective of their nationality,” said lead author Shoibal Chakravarty, a research scholar at the Princeton Environmental Institute.
“We estimate that in 2008, half of the world’s emissions came from just 700 million people,” he added, noting that many emissions owe to lifestyles that involve airplane flights, car use and the heating and cooling of large homes.US researchers have proposed a new strategy to tackle the global climate dilemma:... more
The world's wealthiest countries are failing to deliver on their promises to give money to the world's poorest nations, a UN report says.
The UN report on progress towards the millennium development goals says this is threatening targets for drastically reducing world poverty by 2015. The UN report says there has been some improvement but not enough.
World leaders signed up to ambitious goals eight years ago aimed at reducing poverty, hunger and disease by 2015. Now the UN report says wealthy countries are not living up to the commitments they made at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 - and aid needs to be increased by $18bn a year.
A UN official urged the US, Japan and the European Union to give the money they had already pledged.
The world's wealthiest countries are failing to deliver on their promises to give... more
This video is a simply stated plan to save the world. If implemented, it would take 10 world leaders 2 minutes to implement this. It would put an end to poverty, homelessness, disease, and war. It would also help the environment in the process. We all know that money is usually scarce and getting by can be hard, no matter what income bracket we're in. Except for about 2% of the population. This video is based on facts from many sources.This video is a simply stated plan to save the world. If implemented, it would take... more