How do we eliminate the paradox of poverty & privation amid plenty & abundance?

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Offline Geolibertarian

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http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-percentage-of-americans-that-consider-themselves-to-be-lower-class-is-at-an-all-time-high.html

The Percentage Of Americans That Consider Themselves To Be “Lower Class” Is At An All-Time High

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
September 17, 2013

Do you consider yourself to be “lower class”?  Most Americans wouldn’t dream of thinking that way.  Even at the toughest times of my own life, I always considered myself to be “middle class”.  Traditionally, the vast majority of Americans have described themselves as either “middle class” or “working class”, but now we are witnessing a huge shift.  According to survey results that were just released, the percentage of Americans that identify themselves as “lower class” is now at an all-time high.  It is still only 8.4 percent of the country, but the fact that this number is rapidly growing shows that something is changing on a very fundamental level.

In America today, less people than ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves, and according to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 20 percent of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  We have 47 million people on food stamps and we have more than 100 million Americans enrolled in at least one welfare program, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  We have gone from a “land of opportunity” to a land where tens of millions of people are being crushed by the system.

When I mentioned above that “less people then ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves”, perhaps you doubted that statement.

And I wish that it was not true.

But according to the Los Angeles Times, that is exactly what one new survey shows…

    Last year, less than 55% of Americans agreed that “people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living,” the lowest level since the General Social Survey first asked the question in 1987.

And even those that are “educated” are becoming more pessimistic…

    From 2002 to 2012, the “lower class” among Americans with one to four years of college more than doubled — from 2.6% to 5.8%.

So what about you?

Would you describe yourself as “lower class”?

Not that there is anything wrong with that.  It can be very hard to be optimistic about your economic situation when you are trapped in poverty and everyone around you is trapped in poverty.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Median Household Income Has Fallen For FIVE YEARS IN A ROW
« Reply #481 on: September 18, 2013, 11:13:32 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/median-household-income-has-fallen-for-five-years-in-a-row.html

Median Household Income Has Fallen For FIVE YEARS IN A ROW

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
September 18, 2013

If the economy is getting better, then why do incomes keep falling?  According to a shocking new report that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income (adjusted for inflation) has declined for five years in a row.  This has happened even though the federal government has been borrowing and spending money at an unprecedented rate and the Federal Reserve has been on the most reckless money printing spree in U.S. history.

Despite all of the “emergency measures” that have been taken to “stimulate the economy”, things just continue to get worse for average American families.  Americans are working harder than ever, but their paychecks are not reflecting that.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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US Census Report Shows Entrenched Poverty and Declining Living Standards
« Reply #482 on: September 19, 2013, 10:11:55 AM »
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

-- Warren Buffet, New York Times, November 26, 2006


http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-census-report-shows-entrenched-poverty-and-declining-living-standards/5350343

US Census Report Shows Entrenched Poverty and Declining Living Standards

By Thomas Gaist
Global Research
September 18, 2013



A US Census Bureau report released Tuesday, entitled “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” makes a mockery of President Barack Obama’s claims to be restoring “security and opportunity for the middle class” in the wake of the 2008 financial breakdown.

The report provides a snapshot of a society in immense crisis. Poverty is at a near-generation high of 15 percent, close to the high point since the 1965 War on Poverty, the 15.2 percent rate reached in 1983. According to Tuesday’s report, 46.5 million Americans, including 9.5 million families, live in poverty.

Some 20.4 million people live on an income less than 50 percent of the official poverty line, 7.1 million of these being children under 18. More than 48 million remain without health insurance.

More than 31 percent of the population experienced some period of impoverishment during the years 2009-2011. Median household income, at $51,017, was slightly lower than in 2011, and down by 8.3 percent from 2007. The number of people 65 and older living in poverty increased from 3.6 million to 3.9 million between 2011 and 2012.

Despite more than four years of so-called “recovery,” American society remains plagued by mass deprivation and entrenched poverty. The “recovery” under Obama is limited to the wealthy and the super-rich, who have recovered all of the losses they suffered in the immediate aftermath of the Wall Street crash of September 2008 and grown richer than they were before the financial crisis. Social inequality has deepened as a result of policies designed to further redistribute wealth from the bottom of society to the top.

On Tuesday, one day before the release of the Census Bureau report, Forbes magazine published its annual list of the 400 richest Americans. The combined wealth of these 400 individuals rose substantially from the previous year—from $1.7 trillion to $2.2 trillion. This staggering figure is equal to 12 percent of the total annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States and two-thirds of the tax revenues collected in the US in 2013.

The personal holdings of this modern-day aristocracy are sufficient to cover the total deficits of the federal, state and local governments of the US, with many billions to spare. Their $2.2 trillion is greater than the wealth of the bottom 50 percent of Americans—150 million people. It is larger than the GDP of such countries as Italy, Canada and Mexico.

Prominent billionaires on the Forbes list include Bill Gates ($72 billion), Warren Buffett ($58.5 billion), Michael Bloomberg ($31 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg ($19 billion).

A study updated last week by economist Emmanuel Saez documented the enormous growth of social inequality that has taken place since 2009, the official start of the Obama “recovery.” According to the Saez report, the top 1 percent has received 95 percent of all income gains since 2009, while the vast majority of Americans have seen their incomes fall. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the percentage of income taken by the top 10 percent of Americans has topped 50 percent.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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20 Americans Talk About The Economic Despair That Is Growing Like A Cancer
« Reply #483 on: September 24, 2013, 06:54:23 PM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/20-ordinary-americans-talk-about-the-economic-despair-that-is-growing-like-a-cancer-all-around-them.html

20 Ordinary Americans Talk About The Economic Despair That Is Growing Like A Cancer All Around Them

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
September 24, 2013

There are hundreds of formerly prosperous communities all over America that are being steadily transformed into rotting, decaying hellholes.  The good paying middle class jobs that once supported those communities are long gone, and they have been replaced with low paying service jobs if they have been replaced at all.  When you visit those communities, it is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of the air.  It can be absolutely heartbreaking to look into the hollow eyes of someone that has totally given in to despair, but unfortunately the number of Americans that are giving up on the economy continues to grow.

Today, the labor participation rate is the lowest that it has been in 35 years, and more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program.  It is easy to say that they should just “get a job”, but as I have written about repeatedly, our economy simply is not producing enough jobs for everyone anymore.  The percentage of working age Americans with a job has remained at the same level that it was at during the worst days of the last recession, and meanwhile the quality of our jobs has continued to steadily decline.  Median household income has fallen for five years in a row, but the cost of living continues to rise rapidly.  The middle class is being systematically shredded, and poverty is growing at an alarming rate.  The U.S. economy has been in decline for a long time, and the really bad news is that it appears that this decline is about to accelerate.

We are a nation that consumes far more wealth than we produce.  We are a nation that buys far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  We are a nation that has a “buy now, pay later” mentality.

As a nation, we have accumulated the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  40 years ago, the total amount of debt in our system (government, business and consumer) was about 2 trillion dollars.  Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars.

The consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions are starting to catch up with us, and it is those at the bottom of the food chain that will suffer the most.

I could spend the rest of this article quoting 30 or 40 more statistics that show how bad things are, but today I wanted to do something different.  Today, I wanted to share some quotes from some of my readers about what they are seeing where they live.  The following are 20 quotes from ordinary Americans about the economic despair that is rapidly growing like a cancer all around us…

#1 David:

“Yes, the American economy is in the pits. I know five languages, have three degrees (including two graduate degrees), and have lived overseas for 16 years and I still can’t find a job in the USA. Everything is broken in America. Maybe I should give up my American citizenship.”

#2 Zach:

“I’ve been struggling since I finished college in the summer of 2010. My dream is to work in the courts, law enforcement but it’s almost impossible to get a call back for an interview. I interviewed with Garland, Texas PD for a position in the city jail and I made the final 30 of 300 applicants that applied for the 3 positions.”

#3 Akitawoman:

“I have two Master’s degrees, am 61 years old and earning $10 per hour. What does that say about the current economy?”

#4 Cincinnati Dave:

“I work for one of the banks mentioned in your article. I was in mortgages. I saw all of this coming, so several months ago I asked to get into another area of the bank and fortunately, for me, they granted by request. A lot of people are losing their jobs and there is really no prospects out there for anything else whereby the same kind of money could be made. I will make nothing near what I had been earning but am at the least grateful to be employed. This is all so sad to watch happen.”

#5 Iceman:

“I used to work for WF processing mortgages. The week that the rates went up, I was out of work, not one extra week of work.”

#6 Tim:

“The U.S. economy is producing mostly part-time, low-wage jobs. These jobs barely pay enough to put food on the table.”

#7 K:

“What I am aware of, is every person I know, who had to switch jobs in the last five years took a pay cut. The smallest cut among my friends was 10%, the average was closer to 18%. No we are heading down a bad road, and we are past the point of no return.”

#8 Makati:

“After spending most of my life in the middle class, I now consider myself lower class due to age and income. Nothing wrong with that. I am still able to provide myself with what I need and some of my ‘wants’. I am like most retirees today.”

#9 Mondobeyondo:

“As many of you already know (but maybe some new members of this blog don’t) – I live in Phoenix, Arizona. Where you live here, determines (to a great extent) your economic well being. Those in the “East Valley” – Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, etc – have the jobs, the opportunities and the transportation. Those in the wealthier areas of the “West Valley” also have these benefits.

The remainder – those who live in the older west side of town, and the south side of town – are mainly forgotten and left to struggle. Many are hard working citizens who just want a chance. Unfortunately, chance costs money, in the view of many people, and as far as the municipal government is concerned, there’s no money for us. It’s cheaper to let them live in a tent in the park, where the cops at least have an excuse to evict them.”

#10 2Gary2:

“We are no longer the land of opportunity where anyone can make it.”

#11 GOM:

“There is no middle class here in the Florida Panhandle. Only folks who have money are the retired and they hate everyone. They own all the antique stores [big business] and most thriving businesses and restuarants. Military is big here, they spend every dime they have on stupid stuff and taxis. Tourist are way down since the spill. Now for the good news. A major food chain here is going out of business [Food World] Another is losing 20k a month to theft. Every other property it seems is up for sale. There are tons of empty real estate [store fronts] There are thrift stores opening everywhere. People are selling goods on the streets, only to be run off by the cops. Crime is getting out of hand. Most don’t go out after dark. Police are beating up the homeless at the beaches. Panhandling now is mainly younger people. Where did all the older ones go?”

#12 Rodster:

“In my area which is SW Florida, it’s been getting tighter for my customers so on a case by case basis I lower my price when they need auto repairs. I still find road signs advertising homes for sale (cash only). Many are advertised as foreclosed.

I’ve started seeing people living out of their cars. It’s not a daily occurrence but I have been noticing it.”

#13 Devery:

I have been looking after the homeless now for 4 years. Last winter I had an encounter where I was told that I could not hand out blankets and sleeping bags in the dead of winter and that I would be arrested for trespassing if “me and my friends” didn’t move along.

So, I adopted the policy that I would pull up next to them, have them get in the car and we would go for a drive. I would find a place to pull over and give them what they needed then I would drop them off in a different place.

#14 Robert:

“Around where I live in the SE, things seem ok but I live in a university town. Go to some of the surrounding small towns and it is desolate. Car dealerships closed. Entire streets with abandoned stores. The only activity is a one clerk post office. I know people in our church who are a paycheck away from going over the edge or going over due to a spouse dying and losing one of their social security checks. I see grim. More homeless. A local church is feeding many more including some folks living out of their cars—lots of children. Mostly minimum wage jobs in the area. If it were not for the university and its 34,000 students, this place would look as bad as the smaller communities.”

#15 TN Gal:

“Here in southeast TN we have jobs, mostly part-time or low wage. Our problem these days are so many people dependent on government programs no one wants to work. They do better on programs than working partying and paying for insurance. Housing still very depressed. Seeing more homeless around and local churches straining to provide food. Crime is up and drugs, which were down, are coming back with a vengeance. Middle class here are senior citizens on SS, younger retirees not the older ones. Older ones seem to be struggling. Sad.”

#16 Deb:

Michael, I live in North Central Illinois. About 60 miles southeast of Chicago. The town we live in has about 8,000 in it. Very “middle class” farm community. Unemployment is high and so is underemployment. We know many people living off 2 part time jobs. That seems to be the norm around here. Or people taking jobs that they would never of considered in the past, just to get by. My son used to work for CAT in Aurora, but was “let go” in order to bring in new workers at a lower pay scale. It took him over a year(which really isn’t bad) to find a part time job with 3M.

#17 Susan:

“Drive around Los Angeles at 3:00 AM any day and you will see the devastating and pervasive homelessness from 8 to 80 year olds.  And the massage parlors and hookers on the streets of used to be ‘high-end’ neighborhoods are exploding. No other way to make a living.”

#18 XSANDIEGOCA:

“A couple of years ago it was reported 9K people a night slept in their cars here in San Diego County. Special car parks are set up in some church parking lots. The cops look the other way. Wonder what the figure is now?”

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Detroit’s Emergency Manager Plans Early Payoff of Top Banks
« Reply #484 on: September 25, 2013, 10:30:30 AM »
As the following article explains, financial terrorists continue to wage economic war on (among many others) the people of Detroit. Yet despite the obvious criminality of the derivatives gamblers and banking parasites waging this war, have you noticed there aren't any U.S. politicians heroically putting their "dead bodies" on the line to put a stop to it? Why do you suppose that is? Because they love "liberty" so much? Or could it be that their concept of "liberty" is something out of a George Orwell novel?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/detroits-emergency-manager-plans-early-payoff-of-top-banks/5351289

Detroit’s Emergency Manager Plans Early Payoff of Top Banks

By James Brewer
Global Research
September 24, 2013



In a move that illuminates the class character of the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings, the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is proposing to pay off two banks before all the rest of the city’s creditors, including retired workers who are owed their pensions.

This week Orr’s legal team is appealing to the bankruptcy court to allow the city to pay at least $250 million to UBS and Bank of America immediately, as part of an agreement to “unwind” a complex interest rate swap agreement. The proposal amounts to a payment of the two banks of between 75 and 82 cents on the dollar, far more than Orr is proposing to pay other obligations.

On Monday, US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes delayed a hearing on the proposal, with city officials requesting more time. Other wealthy bondholders are upset at the deal because it may mean that they get less money on their own claims.

The $250 million payment is for interest incurred and includes a sizable termination fee for a default-swap loan made in 2006 to enable the maintenance of payments to the pension fund. The deal was pushed by the two banks with the claim that interest rates were almost certain to go up. The city agreed to pay a fixed rate of 6.3 percent, while UBS and Bank of America would pay the difference between the actual market rate interest and the agreed upon fixed rate.

The collapse of the economy in 2008-2009 and the response of the government created the opposite situation: interests plummeted, creating a disaster for the city and a boondoggle for UBS and Bank of America. The city has been saddled with the interest debt at well above market rates, exacerbating the financial crisis and making Detroit more vulnerable to the financial predators who now are assailing it.

The Detroit News cites Robert Brooks, a professor of finance at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, who points out that Detroit is among many cities that made “bad bets” on interest rates. “They bought the story line in ’06 that rates were at an all-time low and they should lock this in with a swap. .. making the bet that rates were going to go up.”

Brooks added, “It’s kind of like gamblers ruin —now that I’m underwater, let’s double down.”

Orr’s office says there is no choice but to terminate the swap arrangement because the two banks control access to $15 million a month in casino tax revenue as part of an agreement made in 2009 to avert a much larger payout.

University of Maryland law school financial derivatives expert Michael Greenberger said, “He gave the banks a big, wet sloppy kiss. Why should the banks get 75 to 82 cents on the dollar, but the Detroit workers get 10 cents on the dollar? Whose life is destroyed by this?”

Unwinding the swap with UBS and the Bank of America entails the payment of huge termination fees demanded by the banks. Patrick O’Keefe, CEO of a Detroit-area financial restructuring firm said, “It makes almost no sense to unwind a swap because whatever you pay in a premium has to get factored into what you’re going [sic] pay.” Because the swap arrangements are tied to the duration of the pension bonds which expire in 2029 and 2034, the banks are free to levy large fees in order to end them.

The complex chain of events leading to the forced bankruptcy of the city all involve the operations of financial institutions plundering the assets of Detroit.

The proposal of Orr’s office has nothing to do with freeing funds for “reinvestment in this city to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens,” as Orr testified last week, but rather to cherry-pick the existing revenues to ensure the profits of the largest creditors.

The proposals of the emergency manager to end retiree health care and slash pensions expose the real intentions of the financial dictatorship imposed on the citizens of Detroit.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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U.S. Wealth Is Now the Most Concentrated at the Top Since 1916
« Reply #485 on: September 28, 2013, 04:33:15 AM »
http://www.alternet.org/economy/us-wealth-now-most-concentrated-top-1916

U.S. Wealth Is Now the Most Concentrated at the Top Since 1916

The top ten-thousandth of the U.S. population have done very well under President Obama’s leadership, even if they had predominantly voted and contributed to Mitt Romney.

By Eric Zuesse
AlterNet
September 27, 2013

A new report shows that income in the U.S. in 2012 was more concentrated at the top than at any time since 1916.

A bit more than one twenty-fifth of all income in the U.S. is now being taken in by the top one-ten-thousandth of the U.S. population. That one rich statistical person is bringing in considerably more income than all of the poorest 2,000 people do in that same statistical 10,000 Americans.

We must go back nearly a hundred years to find a time when the top 0.01%, the top 1 in 10,000 people in the U.S., were making more than 4% of the nation’s total income, as they were in the latest calculated year, 2012. This figure of income-concentration among the top 0.01% was the all-time high 4.4% in 1916. In 1915, it was 4.36%. Before that, it was under 3%. And it has never again been anywhere near 4%, until 2012, when it broke through the 4% barrier yet again, for the first time in 97 years, at 4.08%. Other than in 2012, the highest it has been in recent decades was 3.53% in 2007, under Bush, at the peak right before the 2008 crash. This money-concentration is now more extreme than it was even then – even at Bush’s peak.

The details are being reported at the global academic database of income-distribution, which is called  “The World Top Incomes Database,” and which is headed by the world’s four leading researchers on income-distribution: Tony Atkinson, Facundo Alvaredo, Thomas Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez.

Here is how this top-end income-figure has changed or evolved during the past century: After 1916, it gradually declined from 4.4% down to 1.67% in 1920. Then it rose again to 3.23% in 1928, right before the 1929 crash. Then, it gradually declined from there, to .97% in 1943. It then remained consistently between .97% and .50% until it reached back again above .97%, to 1.00% for the first time, in 1986, after which it passed 2% in 1992, and then passed the 3% mark in 2005.

However, after the 2008 crash, some people expected that this rise would stop, as it had stopped after the last crash; but, instead, it just continued rising under Obama, so that the 4% barrier was passed last year, in 2012.

This type of rise had never happened before – continuing to climb even after a Wall Street crash.

Evidently, the trillions of dollars in bailouts to Wall Street banks and to their top investors, which didn’t happen under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s, has been having the result that Wall Street and their friends could be expected to have sought: it has prevented them from sharing in the hardships that the public – who have bailed them out and are still experiencing lost jobs, lost pay, and lost wealth – are suffering through in the aftermath of 2008.

The top ten-thousandth of the U.S. population have done very well under President Obama’s leadership, even if they had predominantly voted for Mitt Romney, who promised them an even better deal. Wall Street donated overwhelmingly to the Republican Romney campaign, against Obama. A (supposedly) democratic election in 2012 offered American voters a choice between a hero for Wall Street, versus only an angel and savior for Wall Street; and voters chose Wall Street’s angel and savior, over Wall Street’s favorite. The result is now clear and undeniable, in the economic data.

It’s not like American democracy used to be. Perhaps the important question now is whether this is a real democracy at all – or is America now ruled by Wall Street, no longer really by Main Street?

Has the difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties degenerated to the difference between subservience to Wall Street, versus hyper-subservience to Wall Street?

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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The U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate Is At A 35 Year Low
« Reply #486 on: October 23, 2013, 11:00:47 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-u-s-labor-force-participation-rate-is-at-a-35-year-low.html

The U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate Is At A 35 Year Low

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse Blog
October 22, 2013

The percentage of Americans that are participating in the labor force is the lowest that it has been in 35 years.  During the 70s, 80s and 90s, the labor force participation rate consistently rose as large numbers of women entered the workforce.  It peaked at 67.3 percent in early 2000, and just before the last recession it was sitting at about 66 percent.  Since the start of the last recession, the labor force participation rate has not stopped falling and it is now at a 35 year low.  In September, 11,255,000 Americans were considered to be “unemployed”, and an astounding 90,609,000 Americans were considered to be “not in the labor force”.  The number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by more than 10 million since Barack Obama entered the White House.  When you add the number of unemployed Americans to the number of Americans “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job.

The Obama administration and the mainstream media continue to insist that we are in the midst of an “economic recovery”, but that is a total joke.  Does the chart posted below look like a recovery to you?…



Americans are leaving the labor force in droves.  If the labor force participation rate was at the same level that it was when Obama first became president, the official unemployment rate would be up around 10 percent and everyone would be wondering when the “economic depression” would finally end.

It is funny how our perceptions of reality are so greatly shaped by what our televisions tell us to think.

Below I have posted a chart of the “inactivity rate” of U.S. men in the 25 to 54-year-old age group.  As you can see, the percentage of men in their prime working years that are not employed and not considered to be unemployed either has been rising steadily…



We have millions upon millions of men just sitting around and doing essentially nothing.  Not that women are doing so much better.  In fact, the labor force participation rate for women is at a 24 year low.

Some people may be tempted to think that all of this is happening because more Americans are choosing to stay home and raise children.  But that is not the case at all.  In fact, in a previous article I showed that the marriage rate in the U.S. is at an all-time low and the birth rate for young women in this country is also at an all-time low.

People are not staying home because of family obligations.  Rather, people are staying home because there aren’t enough jobs available.

[Continued...]

--------------------------------

"No!" exclaim hyperventilating right-wing reactionaries, "It's because they either don't want to work, or do want to, but have become so 'domesticated' by the social safety net, no longer know how to work! That's why the solution to this is to increase 'liberty' by significantly decreasing [in the midst of a banker-engineered depression] such things as food stamps and unemployment benefits!"

Not to be outdone, hyperventilating left-right reactionaries exclaim...

"No, no! It's because of both man-made global warming and overpopulation! That's why we must (a) impose a carbon tax and thereby destroy what little remains of our C02-spewing industrial base, and (b) legalize infanticide!"

I am so sick to death of brainwashed ideologues arrogantly insisting or implying that it's impossible to oppose either of those two groups of reactionaries without allying oneself with the other group.

Both groups make me want to throw up (just for different reasons).
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Direct Rule by Wall Street Begins with Detroit
« Reply #487 on: October 24, 2013, 02:28:57 PM »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/direct-rule-by-wall-street-begins-with-detroit/5355292

Direct Rule by Wall Street Begins with Detroit

By Glen Ford
Global Research, October 23, 2013
Black Agenda Report 22 October 2013



The United States has never been much of a democracy. Money has always wielded decisive power, despite the formal trappings of the electoral franchise. However, finance capital can no longer tolerate even the U.S.’s weak version of democracy – certainly, not when exercised by Black people. Detroit is the model for direct rule by the Lords of Capital.

Two items in the news this week put in graphic relief the overarching reality of our times: Wall Street is every day tightening its dictatorial grip on the political and economic life of the United States. The American state and economy are being relentlessly restructured in order to further consolidate the rule of finance capital. In the largely Black urban centers of the nation, the oligarchy intends to rule directly, without the inconvenience of meaningful elections and the other trappings of democracy.

Detroit proves the point. This week, a judge begins a bankruptcy court trial that will decide if local corporate dictator Kevyn Orr, the emergency financial manager imposed by the state to protect the interests of Wall Street, will essentially be allowed to sell Detroit’s assets to a British bank in order to pay off the city’s debts to American banks. The pensions of city workers may also be gutted in the process.

The city council of Detroit this week voted unanimously against the deal, but that is probably irrelevant, since the emergency manager law has stripped all power from Detroit’s elected officials. Democracy is dead in Detroit, as it is in all of Michigan’s largely Black cities, every single one of which is now run by a corporate dictator. The majority of Michigan’s African American citizens have no more electoral rights than did Blacks in South Africa under apartheid.

This new political regime has been carefully crafted to the specifications of Wall Street. City revenues from Detroit’s casino and income taxes will go directly through accounts of Barclays Bank. And if, for some reason, the emergency manager loses legal control of the city, then Barclays would be allowed to declare Detroit in default and begin seizing its assets, for liquidation – that is, the bankers would be empowered to exercise outright ownership of the city. Detroit will then serve as a model for the rest of urban America.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty In America Is Absolutely Exploding
« Reply #488 on: October 28, 2013, 10:43:18 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/29-incredible-facts-which-prove-that-poverty-in-america-is-absolutely-exploding.html

29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty In America Is Absolutely Exploding

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
October 28, 2013

Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs?  Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless?  Anyone that uses the term “economic recovery” to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point.

Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse.  The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a “Robin Hood mentality” that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead.  Anger at the “haves” in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the “have nots” are becoming increasingly desperate.  At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won’t want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens.  Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding…

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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21 Hard To Believe Facts About “Wealthy America” And “Poor America”
« Reply #489 on: November 07, 2013, 10:39:53 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/which-america-do-you-live-in-21-hard-to-believe-facts-about-wealthy-america-and-poor-america.html

Which America Do You Live In? – 21 Hard To Believe Facts About “Wealthy America” And “Poor America”

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
November 7, 2013



Did you know that 40 percent of all American workers make less than $20,000 a year before taxes?  And 65 percent of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes.

If you work on Wall Street, or have a cushy job with the federal government, or work for a big tech firm out on the west coast, life is probably pretty good for you right now.  But the truth is that most Americans are not living the high life.  In fact, most Americans are just trying to figure out how to survive from month to month.  For many Americans, making a choice between buying food for your family and paying the light bill is a common occurrence.  But if you don’t live in that America, hearing that people actually live like that may sound very strange to you.  After all, if everyone around you has expensive cars, the latest electronic gadgets and million dollar homes, the notion that America is in the midst of a very serious “economic decline” may seem very bizarre to you.

On Wednesday, the Dow hit a brand new record high, and Wall Street celebrated.  Since the financial crisis of 2008, stocks have been on an unprecedented run.  The top performers in the market have not just made millions of dollars – they have made billions of dollars.  Luxury apartments in Manhattan and beachfront homes in the Hamptons are selling for absolutely astronomical prices, and it seems like life in the good parts of New York City is one gigantic endless party these days.

Meanwhile, life is quite good down in Washington D.C. as well.  The wealth is spread more evenly, but on average the D.C. region actually has the highest standard of living of any major U.S. city.  The reason for this is the obscene growth of the federal government.  Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. government has ballooned in size and so have government salaries.  During one recent year, the average federal employee living in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.

Out in the San Francisco area, Internet money is flowing like wine right now.  As I wrote about yesterday, top employees of companies such as Facebook and Twitter can make millions of dollars a year.  And if you were lucky to get a piece of the ownership of one of those companies at a very early stage, you are essentially set for life.

And with the Twitter IPO coming up, Internet euphoria is once again reaching a fever pitch.  For example, just check out what a 56-year-old administrative assistant said this week about why she is going to buy Twitter stock

    “I’m just buying because everybody’s talking about Twitter,” she said. “I’m just gonna take a chance.”

Is that how we should make our investment decisions from now on?

Just buy a stock because everybody’s talking about it?

That is the kind of insanity that is going on in “wealthy America” right now.

Unfortunately, the gap between “wealthy America” and “poor America” is greater than ever before.

If you live in “wealthy America”, what you are about to hear next will probably sound very strange.

CNN recently profiled a 44-year-old overnight prison guard named Delores Gilmore.  She works really hard, but a lot of times she simply does not have enough money to pay all of her bills…

    “The first of the month, I pay the rent,” she said. “The next check, I pay my light bills. Sometimes I won’t pay my rent and I pay the light bill from last month — if they cut if it off. Then I pay the rent the end of the month.”

Her life consists of going to work, taking care of her children, going to sleep, and then getting back up and repeating that same cycle once again…

    “I’m not fooling anybody,” she told me. “I don’t have any friends. And that’s sad. … I go to work, come home, take them where they gotta go, if they gotta go somewhere, come back home, lay down, go to work.

    “That’s what I do. All day, that’s what I do.”

Sadly, the truth is that tens of millions of Americans can identify with what she is going through on a daily basis.  In millions of families, both the husband and the wife work multiple jobs and it is still not enough.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: 21 Hard To Believe Facts About “Wealthy America” And “Poor America”
« Reply #490 on: November 07, 2013, 10:56:54 AM »
Did you know that 40 percent of all American workers make less than $20,000 a year before taxes?  And 65 percent of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes.

     mid·dle  adjective \ˈmi-dəl\

        : equally distant from the ends or sides : halfway between two points

        : in a state or place between two things or people


In light of the above definition, I can't resist asking: If 2/3 of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes, then how can someone who makes more than twice that amount be considered "middle" class?

Isn't that what the term "upper-middle" was invented for -- to identify the group of income-earners who occupy the grey area between middle class and upper class?

(It's amazing how irritated and, in some cases, outright hostile some people become when this question is even raised.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM (Wealth Inequality in America)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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10 Facts About The Growing Unemployment Crisis That Will Blow Your Mind
« Reply #491 on: November 11, 2013, 08:39:11 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/10-facts-about-the-growing-unemployment-crisis-in-america-that-will-blow-your-mind.html

10 Facts About The Growing Unemployment Crisis In America That Will Blow Your Mind

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
November 11, 2013



Did you know that there are more than 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job?  Yes, I know that number sounds absolutely crazy, but it is true.  Right now, there are more than 11 million Americans that are considered to be “officially unemployed”, and there are more than 91 million Americans that are not employed and that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.

When you add those two numbers together, the total is more than 102 million.  Overall, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job has increased by about 27 million since the year 2000.  But aren’t things getting better?  After all, the mainstream media is full of headlines about how “good” the jobs numbers for October were.  Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media is not being straight with the American people.  As you will see below, we are in the midst of a long-term unemployment crisis in America, and things got even worse last month.

In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that people start thinking for themselves.  Just because the media tells you that something is true does not mean that it actually is.  If unemployment was actually going down, the percentage of the working age population that has a job should actually be going up.  As you are about to see, that is simply not the case.  The following are 10 facts about the growing unemployment crisis in America that will blow your mind…

[Continued...]

-----------------------------------

^^ Of those tens of millions, how many do you think have had to listen to self-righteous, food stamp-bashing reactionaries arrogantly accuse them either of not "wanting" to work or of having been so "domesticated" by the social safety net that they no longer know "how" to work?

More than a few, perhaps?
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/11/demand-for-armored-vehicles-booms-among-uber-wealthy
Demand For Armored Vehicles Booms Among Uber-Wealthy
...
"If you’re rich and need protection, you are going to come to us to armor your vehicle," Kimbell says. The part about being rich makes sense. Including the vehicle, the low-end cost is $80,000, the high-end is $500,000. Protection itself ranges from being fortified against handguns all the way up to repelling an AK-47 and M-16.
...
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

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How the Super-Rich Are Abandoning America
« Reply #493 on: November 14, 2013, 06:18:00 PM »
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/04-1

How the Super-Rich Are Abandoning America

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
November 4, 2013

As they accumulate more and more wealth, the very rich have less need for society. At the same time, they've convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that contributing to societal needs is unfair to them. There is ample evidence that this small group of takers is giving up on the country that made it possible for them to build huge fortunes.

1. They've Taken $25 Trillion of New Wealth While Paying Less Taxes

The 2013 Global Wealth Databook shows that U.S. wealth has increased from $47 trillion in 2008 to $72 trillion in mid-2013. But according to U.S. Government Revenue figures, federal income taxes have gone DOWN from 2008 to 2012. Even worse, corporations cut their tax rate in half.

American society has gained nothing from its massive wealth expansion. There's no wealth tax, no financial transaction tax, no way to ensure that infrastructure and public education are supported.

Just how much have the super-rich taken over the past five years? Each of the elite 5% -- the richest 12 million Americans -- gained, on average, nearly a million dollars in financial wealth between 2008 and 2013.

2. For the First Time in History, They Believe They Don't Need the Rest of Us

The rich have always needed the middle class to work in their factories and buy their products. With globalization this is no longer true. Their factories can be in China, producing goods for people in India or Europe or anywhere else in the world.

They don't need our infrastructure for their yachts and helicopters and submarines. They pay for private schools for their kids, private security for their homes. They have private emergency rooms to avoid the health care hassle. All they need is an assortment of servants, who might be guest workers coming to America on H2B visas, willing to work for less than a middle-class American can afford.

The sentiment is spreading from the super-rich to the merely rich. In 2005 Sandy Springs, a wealthy suburb of Atlanta, stopped paying for most public services, deciding instead to avoid subsidizing poorer residents of Fulton County by hiring a "city outsourcer" called CH2M to manage everything except the police and fire departments. That includes paving the roads, running the courts, issuing tickets, handling waste, and various other public services. Several other towns followed suit.

Results have been mixed, with some of CH2M's clients backing out or renegotiating. But privatization keeps coming at us. Selective decisions about public services threaten to worsen already destitute conditions for many communities. Detroit, of course, is at the forefront. According to an Urban Land Institute report, "more municipalities may follow Detroit's example and abandon services in certain districts."

3. They Soaked the Middle Class, and Now Demand Cuts in the Middle-Class Retirement Fund

The richest Americans take the greatest share of over $2 trillion in Tax Expenditures, Tax Underpayments, Tax Haven holdings, and unpaid Corporate Taxes.

The Social Security budget is less than half of that. Yet much of Congress and many other wealthy Americans think it should be cut. These are the same people who deprive the American public of $300 billion a year by not paying their full share of the payroll tax.

4. They Continue to Insist that They "Made It on Their Own"

They didn't. Their fortunes derived in varying degrees - usually big degrees - from public funding, which provided almost half of basic research funds into the 1980s, and even today supports about 60 percent of the research performed at universities.

Businesses rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, communications towers and satellites to conduct online business, the Department of Commerce to promote and safeguard global markets, the U.S. Navy to monitor shipping lanes, and FEMA to clean up after them.

Apple, the tax haven specialist, still does most of its product and research development in the United States, with US-educated engineers and computer scientists. Google's business is based on the Internet, which started as ARPANET, the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency computer network from the 1960s. The National Science Foundation funded the Digital Library Initiative research at Stanford University that was adopted as the Google model. Microsoft was started by our richest American, Bill Gates, whose success derived at least in part by taking the work of competitors and adapting it as his own. Same with Steve Jobs, who admitted: "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Unparalleled Levels of Inequality Is Killing Our Economy and Society
« Reply #494 on: January 07, 2014, 04:45:10 PM »
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/09/conservatives-worry-that-runaway-inequality-will-destroy-economy-and-society.html

http://www.globalresearch.ca/corporate-taxes-in-america/5364125

Corporate Taxes in America

By Stephen Lendman
Global Research
January 07, 2014



Raising them should be a national imperative. Corporations should pay their fair share. Not according to Laurence Kotlikoff.

He’s a right-wing economist. He’s a corporatist writ large. He claims  abolishing corporate taxes will create jobs.

Doing so requires dropping money on Main Street. Get it in people’s pockets directly. Do it by cutting their taxes.

Guarantee a living wage. Support worker-friendly legislation. Restore their bargaining power with management.

Return money creation power to public hands where it belongs. Initiate government jobs creation programs.

New Deal ones put millions back to work. Doing so reinvigorated the national spirit.

Unemployment was measurably cut. It dropped from 25% in 1933 to 11% in 1937. Doing the right things work.

In 1961, corporate tax cuts were linked to job creation. Business had to prove they added jobs to qualify.

No longer. Corporate tax cuts and credits are handed out freely. They’re not linked to job creation. They’re standard practice. More are planned this year.

Under Bush and Obama, corporations get tax cuts for overseas investments. Domestic job reductions accompany them. Offshoring is rewarded.

Multiple Bush tax cuts handed corporations around $3.4 trillion. Doing so was hailed as a way to create jobs.

Post-recession jobs creation during the early 2000s was the weakest on record. It took 46 months to recover those lost.

It’ll take over a decade now. The so-called 2007 – 2009 Great Recession continues to take an enormous toll on ordinary Americans. Main Street Great Depression conditions persist unabated.

Low pay/poor or no benefit part-time jobs replaced higher paying, good benefit full-time ones. It’s been ongoing for decades. America is in economic decline.

Offshoring millions of jobs exacerbates hard times. According to Paul Craig Roberts, only fools believe doing so is good for America.

Likeminded so-called experts can’t see the forest through the trees. US corporations are hoarding cash. Bush and Obama tax cuts added $10 trillion or more to their balance sheets.

Much was shifted to offshore subsidiaries. Doing so avoids US taxes altogether. It’s unknown how much corporate wealth sits in tax havens. Perhaps trillions from generous business handouts.

During the height of 2008 crisis conditions, $168 billion stimulus legislation was enacted. About $90 billion went to business and rich elites.

Jobs were lost, not created. From July through December 2008, nearly a million a month disappeared. Doing so matched the 1929-1930 rate.

Obama’s February 2009 $787 billion stimulus bill handed corporations nearly $400 billion in tax cuts. Over $225 billion went for business/investor cuts.

Through December 2010, zero jobs were created. Part-time ones replaced higher paying full-time jobs.

Hundreds of thousands of federal, state and local public workers were laid off. Current unemployment tops 23%.

Official numbers are fake. They mask the greatest jobs crisis since the Great Depression. Before this one ends, it may be greater.

Bush and Obama benefitted corporations and rich elites hugely. They never had it better. Unprecedented wealth amounts shifted from ordinary people to them.

The great wealth transfer heist continues. America is being thirdworldized in the process. Employment opportunities are dreadful.

It bears repeating. Tax cuts don’t create jobs. They could if linked to jobs creation. They haven’t been since Kennedy’s mandate.

Democrats and Republicans today are polar opposite. Reverse Robin Hoodism is policy. It created the greatest wealth disparity in US history.

Half or more of US households are impoverished or bordering it. Good jobs are disappearing in plain sight. Nearly 50 million Americans need food stamps to eat.

Hard times are getting harder. Needy households are increasing exponentially. At the same time, corporate profits are higher than ever.

Business taxes are way too low. The top nominal rate is 35%. Obama, Republicans and many Democrats plan cutting it to 28 or 25%.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D. MT) is retiring this year. He favors lower corporate rates. He helped spearhead Obamacare’s enactment.

Doing so wrecked America’s healthcare system. It did so to benefit business. The full fallout remains to unfold.

One of many propagated myths is that US corporations pay too much in taxes. “Abolish the Corporate Income Tax,” says Kotlikoff. He wants people to believe what’s untrue.

“Just ask” Seattle-based Boeing machinist workers, he said. They accepted major contract concessions. They did so for greater “long-term success,” Kotlikoff claimed.

False! Contract terms substitute largely worker funded 401ks for company-paid pensions, higher healthcare costs, reduced wage increases, and no strikes.

Heavy pressure was applied. Union bosses claimed 51% of International Association of Machinists approved what no workers want. Others claimed vote rigging.

Kotlikoff said Boeing workers acted in their own best interest. How does cutting their standard of living do so?

“In recent decades, American workers have suffered one body blow after another,” he admitted.

“What can (they) do to mitigate their plight,” he asked? Eliminate corporate taxes, what else.

“It’s not…a giveaway to the rich,” he maintains. Corporate taxes are “economically self-defeating.” They hurt “workers, not capitalists…”

He claims America “may well have the highest effective marginal corporate income tax rate of any developed country.”

As explained above, nominally it’s 35%. Bipartisan complicity agreed to cut it to 28 or 25%. Most large corporations pay less than half that amount.

Many pay much less. Some pay nothing. Others get rebates in profitable years. Corporate taxes have been in free fall for decades.

As a percent of GDP and national income, they’re half what they were two decades ago. They’re going lower. Obama demands it. He’s doing so while waging war on ordinary Americans.

He’s one-sidedly pro-business. He’s anti-labor, anti-populist, anti-fairness. He wants greater austerity than already. He wants America’s social contract eliminated.

He wants corporate giants handed trillions more than already. So does Kotlikoff. He supports the great tax giveaway.

He wants corporate ones entirely eliminated. He claims maintaining them gets business to shift operations abroad.

They do so largely for lower labor costs. They’re in countries with no worker protections. They’re free to exploit their workforce for greater profits.

Kotlikoff claims eliminating corporate taxes assures a “stunningly large” economic windfall. He’s for raising personal income tax rates at the same time.

He wants ordinary people to bear the burden. They do so more than ever now. He claims hitting them when they can least afford it “leads to a short-run inflow of capital.”

It’ll “rais(e) (America’s) capital stock (machines and buildings) by 23 percent, output by 8 percent, and the real wages of unskilled and skilled workers by 12 percent,” he maintains.

It bears repeating. Corporate tax cuts don’t create jobs. Clear evidence proves it. Throughout the new millennium, profits shifted abroad tax free.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world
« Reply #495 on: January 20, 2014, 12:14:16 PM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/oxfam-85-richest-people-as-wealthy-as-poorest-half-of-the-world.html

Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world

Graeme Wearden
London Guardian
January 20, 2014

The world’s wealthiest people aren’t known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker.

The extent to which so much global wealth has become corralled by a virtual handful of the so-called ‘global elite’ is exposed in a new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.



The wealth of the 1% richest people in the world amounts to $110tn (£60.88tn), or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world, added the development charity, which fears this concentration of economic resources is threatening political stability and driving up social tensions.

Full article here

---------------------------------

^^  Yet to hear most Austrian School ideologues talk, the reason why those 85 people are as wealthy as the poorest half of the world is that they (you guessed it) "produced" as much as the poorest half of the world. And if you dare disagree, you're immediately accused of "class envy" and of being a liberty-hating "collectivist." ::)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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How Junk Economists Help The Rich Impoverish The Working Class
« Reply #496 on: January 29, 2014, 04:56:04 AM »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-junk-economists-help-the-rich-impoverish-the-working-class/5366558

How Junk Economists Help The Rich Impoverish The Working Class

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research
January 29, 2014



Last week, I explained how economists and policymakers destroyed our economy for the sake of short-term corporate profits from jobs offshoring and financial deregulation.

That same week Business Week published an article, “Factory Jobs Are Gone. Get Over It,” by Charles Kenny.

Kenny expresses the view of establishment economists, such as Brookings Institute economist Justin Wolfers who wants to know “What’s with the political fetish for manufacturing?  Are factories really so awesome?”

“Not really,” Kenny says.  Citing Eric Fisher of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, Kenny reports that wages rise most rapidly in those states that most quickly abandon manufacturing.  Kenny cites Gary Hufbauer, once an academic colleague of mine now at the Peterson Institute, who claims that the 2009 tariffs applied to Chinese tire imports cost US consumers $1 billion in higher prices and 3,731 lost retail jobs. Note the precision of the jobs loss, right down to the last 31.

In support of the argument that Americans are better off without manufacturing jobs, Kenny cites MIT and Harvard academic economists to the effect that there is no evidence that manufacturing tends to cluster, thus disputing the view that there are economies from manufacturers tending to congregate in the same areas where they benefit from an experienced work force and established supply chains.

Perhaps the MIT and Harvard economists did their study after US manufacturing centers became shells of their former selves and Detroit lost 25% of its population, Gary Indiana lost 22% of its population, Flint Michigan lost 18% of its population, Cleveland lost 17% of its population, and St Louis lost 20% of its population.  If the economists’ studies were done after manufacturing had departed, they would not find manufacturing concentrated in locations where it formerly flourished.  MIT and Harvard economists might find this an idea too large to comprehend.

Kenny’s answer to the displaced manufacturing workers is–you guessed it–jobs training. He cites MIT economist David Autor who thinks the problem is the federal government only spends $1 on retraining for every $400 that it spends on supporting displaced workers.

These arguments are so absurd as to be mindless.  Let’s examine them.  What jobs are the displaced manufacturing workers to be trained for?  Why, service jobs, of course. Kenny actually thinks that “service industries–hotels, hospitals, media, and accounting–have taken up the slack.”  (I don’t know where he gets media and accounting from; scant sign of such jobs are found in the payroll jobs reports.)  Moreover, service jobs have certainly not taken up the slack as the rising rate of long-term unemployment and declining labor force participation rate prove.

Nontradable service sector jobs such as hotel maids, hospital orderlies, retail clerks, waitresses and bartenders are low productivity, low value-added jobs that cannot pay incomes comparable to manufacturing jobs.  The long term decline in real median family income relates to the movement offshore of manufacturing jobs and tradable professional service jobs, such as software engineering, IT, research and design.

Moreover, domestic service jobs do not produce exportable goods and services.  A country without manufactures has little with which to earn foreign exchange in order to pay for its imports of its shoes, clothing, manufactured goods, high-technology products, Apple computers, and increasingly food.  Therefore, that country’s trade deficit widens as each year it owes more and more to foreigners.

A country whose best known products are fraudulent and toxic financial instruments and GMO foods that no one wants cannot pay for its imports except by signing over its existing assets. The foreigners buy up US assets with their trade surpluses.  Consequently, income from rents, interest, dividends, capital gains, and profits leave US pockets for foreign pockets.  It is a safe bet that Hufbauer did not include any of these costs or maybe even the loss of US tire workers’ wages and tire manufacturers’ profits when he concluded that trying to save US tire manufacturing jobs cost more than it was worth.

Eric Fisher’s argument that the highest wage growth is found in areas where higher productivity manufacturing jobs are most rapidly replaced with lower productivity domestic service jobs is beyond absurd. (Possibly Fisher did not say this; I’m taking Kenny’s word for it.) It has always been a foundation of labor economics that workers are paid the value of their contribution to output.  Manufacturing employees working with technology embodied in plant and equipment produce more value per man hour than maids changing sheets and bartenders mixing drinks.

In my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism And Economic Dissolution Of The West (2013), I point out the obvious mistakes in “studies” by Matthew Slaughter, a former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and Harvard professor  Michael Porter.  These academic economists conclude on the basis of extraordinary errors and ignorance of empirical facts, that jobs offshoring is good for Americans.  They were able to reach this conclusion despite the absence of any visibility of this good, and they hold to this absurd conclusion despite the inability of a “recovery” (or lack of one) that is 4.5 years old to get off the ground and get employment back up to where it was six years ago.  They hold to their “education is the answer” solution despite the growing percentage of university graduates who cannot find employment.

Michael Hudson is certainly correct to call economists purveyors of  “junk economics.”  Indeed, I wonder if economists even have junk value.  But they are well paid by Wall Street and the offshoring corporations.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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10 States Where Income Inequality Has Soared
« Reply #497 on: March 02, 2014, 10:30:10 AM »
http://business.time.com/2014/02/28/10-states-where-income-inequality-has-soared/

10 States Where Income Inequality Has Soared

A surprising number one

By Alexander E.M. Hess and Vince Calio
TIME
Feb. 28, 2014

Although average real income in the United States increased by more than a third between 1979 and 2007, not all workers benefited equally. In each of the 50 states, income growth among the top 1% of earners rapidly outpaced that of the bottom 99%, according to a recent study.

In four states — Alaska, Michigan, Nevada and Wyoming — average income increased exclusively for the top 1% and declined for the bottom 99%. In another six states, the top 1% accounted for more than two-thirds of all income growth between 1979 and 2007, while the income of the bottom 99% grew at a much slower pace. Based on a report published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the most lopsided income growth.

In many of the states with the most lopsided income growth, real average income rose little, if at all, between 1979 and 2007. While the average income of the bottom 99% rose 19% nationwide, it rose less than 5% in eight of these states.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Mark Price, coauthor of the study and a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, said that to many observers the issue of income inequality is a story about Wall Street’s growth. But “It’s not just a story of the financial markets in New York City,” Price said. “Over time, that [top] group in each state is accruing an increasingly larger share of the growth in income.”

In fact, as of 2012, the financial sector comprised a larger share of the economy than in the United States overall only in three of the 10 states with the most imbalanced income growth. Additionally, the financial sector contributed among the least in four of these states. The financial industry accounted for just 2.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in Wyoming in 2012, the lowest share of any state.

Another factor that does not appear related to uneven gains in income is economic growth. Price told 24/7 Wall St., “Looking at growth and GDP over time is a pretty blunt instrument,” and the relationship between unbalanced income gains and economic growth is weak.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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I think the first speaker on this video has some good answers to the OP question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWbw7YGGYIE&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs

And I think we can all learn a little something from everyone on here.

What I have learned in working with the local homeless is that women alone are particularly vulnerable.  Most 'hook up' with a man for safety's sake.

Didn't actually know which thread to post this in.

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I think the first speaker on this video has some good answers to the OP question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWbw7YGGYIE&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs

I've only watched the first few minutes thus far, but thanks for posting this.

That homelessness even exists in the first place is particularly outrageous and inexcusable in light of the following...

    "According to the U.N. Population Database, the world's population in 2010 will be 6,908,688,000. The landmass of Texas is 268,820 sq mi (7,494,271,488,000 sq ft).

    "So, divide 7,494,271,488,000 sq ft by 6,908,688,000 people, and you get 1084.76 sq ft/person. That's approximately a 33' x 33' plot of land for every person on the planet, enough space for a town house."

Yet, in today's Orwellian society, there are literally millions of people who are so brainwashed by Rockefeller-financed propaganda that they actually believe this problem can be "solved" both by...

*  shutting off the so-called "printing press," and thereby increasing the parasitic-wealth-transfer-to-the-top-10%-inducing gap between (a) the overall indebtedness (principal-plus-interest) of the economy and (b) the amount of "money" (loan principal) there is in circulation to pay it off; and

*  making publicly-generated land values even more privatized than they already are, even though this will not only make the rent-wage gap even wider than it already is -- and thereby make the society-destroying wealth-and-income gap even wider than it already is -- but force governments to rely even more on job- and small business-destroying taxes on labor and capital than they do already!

And the "solution" to war is more war, and the "solution" to slavery is more slavery.  ::)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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One Million People Dropped Out Of Labor Force In April
« Reply #500 on: May 02, 2014, 11:37:23 AM »
"And just remember: these one million people did so because they're lazy deadbeats, NOT because there are several times more people in need of work than there are job openings. If you disagree, then you're a liberty-hating socialist!" -- The Republican Party

http://www.prisonplanet.com/one-million-people-dropped-out-of-labor-force-in-april-participation-rate-plummets-to-lowest-since-1978.html

One Million People Dropped Out Of Labor Force In April

Participation Rate Plummets To Lowest Since 1978

Zero Hedge
May 2, 2014

And so the BLS is back to its old data fudging, because while the Establishment Survey job number was a whopper, and the biggest monthly addition since January 2012, the Household Survey showed an actual decline of 73K jobs. What is much worse, is that the reason the unemployment rate tumbled is well-known: it was entirely due to the number of Americans dropping out of the labor force. To wit, the labor force participation rate crashed from 63.2% to 62.8%, trying for lowest since January 1978! And why did it crash so much – because the number of people not in the labor force soared to 92 million, the second highest monthly increase ever, or 988K, only ‘better’ than January 2012 which curiously was the one month when the establishment survey reported a 360K “increase” in jobs.

End result: the number out of the labor force is now an all time high 92 million, and the labor force tumbled by 800K to 155.4 million from 156.2 million as the delayed effect of the extended jobless benefits ending finally hits.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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More Phantom Jobs Created – All In The Wrong Places
« Reply #501 on: June 07, 2014, 11:27:38 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/more-phantom-jobs-created-all-in-the-wrong-places.html

More Phantom Jobs Created – All In The Wrong Places

Paul Craig Roberts
Prison Planet.com
June 7, 2014



Last April I saw a report that 83% of May’s college graduates did not have a job. I remarked that in my day most of us had 2 or 3 job or graduate school offers before we graduated. The latest payroll jobs report issued on June 6 proves that the April report was true.

My opinion, schooled in part by John Williams’ very precise reports on Shadowstats.com, is that on average about half of the new jobs each month are phantom jobs created by the birth-death model and inappropriate seasonal adjustments. So, I figured that the 217,000 jobs claimed for May are more like 108,000. Then I read John Williams’ report on the May jobs number: “Monthly payroll gains overstated by 200,000 plus jobs”

In other words, there were zero new jobs in May.

Just as the US government can turn an inconsequential Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria into dangerous threats against “the world’s only superpower,” the US government can turn zero jobs growth into 217,000 jobs. It is easy when you have a prostitute media and a gullible public, both of which Washington most certainly has.

But let’s take the government data at face value.

First, consider the news report that finally as of May 2014 as many Americans had jobs as had jobs in January 2008. That might seem like good news until you take into account that since January 2008 the US has experienced 6.5 years of population growth. Economists seem to have settled on population growth adding 129,000 people to the work force each month. That comes to 10,000,000 people. Where are their jobs? The “jobs recovery” doesn’t provide for the 10 millions who have come of working age since January 2008.

We can conclude from this that the official 6.3 percent unemployment rate is nonsense. The unemployment rate is in the neighborhood of 23 percent as John Williams has established.

Just as the US government claims, falsely, that Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that Assad used chemical weapons on Syrians, and so forth and so on, the 6.3 percent unemployment rate is just another government lie.

Second, consider where the claimed 217,000 May jobs are. Hardly any of these claimed jobs are jobs in which university graduates begin their careers. The jobs are in wholesale trade, retail clerks, transportation and warehousing, employment services and temporary help, waitresses and bartenders, and health care and social assistance. In the later category, ambulatory health care services and social assistance account for the majority of jobs.

If college graduates have jobs, they are not the jobs for which they studied. On March 31, CNN Money reported that 260,000 college graduates were employed at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

For the many years that I have been reporting on the jobs statistics, there has been scant sign of any jobs for college graduates. Considering that there are at least 3,100 colleges and universities in the US, the May graduating class must number in the hundreds of thousands. Looking at the May jobs statistics, those graduating from law school face a dismal situation as employment of lawyers dropped by 700. There were jobs for only 4,100 accountants and bookkeepers. There were 4,500 jobs for architects and engineers, a number that includes secretaries and office managers. There were 1,800 management jobs. State government education jobs declined by 5,300 and local government education jobs declined by 6,600 jobs. So where did the education majors find employment?

How is the second quarter going to come roaring back, as the financial media assures us it will, when the jobs report is so discouraging? How much longer will Washington be able to hide the fact that the US economy is sinking?

If you read all the bullshit that the American media and educational establishment puts out, “education is the answer.” Apparently not. Education is the way to become deeply in debt and work for $7.25 per hour, if you are lucky to escape unemployment.

America is a Great Big Lie. There is no truth in what we are told. The entire country, along with that part of the world under Washington’s thumb, is run for about six private interest groups. The rest of us are being fleeced.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Poverty Report Contradicts GDP Claims
« Reply #502 on: October 05, 2014, 03:44:39 AM »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/poverty-report-contradicts-gdp-claims.html

Poverty Report Contradicts GDP Claims

Paul Craig Roberts
Prison planet.com
October 3, 2014

It is amazing how the government manages to continue selling Brooklyn Bridges to a gullible public. Americans buy wars they don’t need and economic recoveries that do not exist.

The best investment in America is a highly leveraged fund that invests only in large cap companies that are buying back their own stocks. Many of the firms repurchasing their stocks are borrowing in order to push up their stock prices, executive “performance bonuses,” and shareholders’ capital gains. The debt incurred will have to be serviced by future earnings. This is not a picture of capitalism that is driving the economy by investment.

Neither is consumer spending driving the economy. The US Census Bureau’s 2013 Income and Poverty Report concludes that in 2013 real median household income was 8 percent below the amount in 2007, the year prior to the 2008 recession and has declined to the level in 1994, two decades ago! http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf

Even though real household income has not regained the pre-recession level and has declined to the level 20 years ago, the government and financial press claim that the economy has been in recovery since June 2009.

Neither is an increase in consumer debt driving the economy. The only growth in personal debt is in student loans.

Real retail sales (corrected with a non-rigged measure of inflation) remain at the level of the bottom of the recession in 2009. Macy’s , J.C. Penny’s, and Sears store closings are further evidence of the lack of retail sales growth, as is the fact that two of the three dollar store chains are in trouble. Walmart’s sales are declining.

The basis of auto sales hype is subprime loans and leases taken by those who cannot qualify for a loan to purchase.

Housing starts remain far below the pre-recession level, which is not surprising when available jobs are part-time with no benefits. Such jobs cannot support the formation of households and purchase of homes.

Where does the government’s second quarter 2014 real GDP growth rate of 4.6 percent come from? It comes from an understated inflation measure and jiggled numbers. It is not a correct figure. Nothing has occurred in the economy to turn it from a first quarter decline of more than 2 percent into a second quarter growth of 4.6 percent.

The 4.6 percent number is pulled out of a hat to set the stage for the November election.

It is extraordinary that economists and the financial media permit the government to get away with its false economic reporting. Of course Wall Street likes good news . . . but fake news that misleads investors and covers up economic policy mistakes?

Clearly, something is wrong with the government’s economic reporting. It is not possible to have real GDP growth when real median family incomes are declining and business investment consists of corporations buying back their own shares. Either the government’s GDP estimate is incorrect or the Census Bureau’s Income and Poverty report is incorrect. Apparently Washington doesn’t understand that if it is going to rig the numbers, it must rig all the numbers.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Detroit Bankruptcy Exit Plan Excludes African American Majority
« Reply #503 on: November 18, 2014, 09:42:34 AM »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/detroit-bankruptcy-exit-plan-excludes-african-american-majority/5414663

Detroit Bankruptcy Exit Plan Excludes African American Majority

Banks, corporations behind financial ruin cannot ensure recovery

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Global Research
November 18, 2014



As the corporate-controlled media in the city of Detroit continues to champion the massive theft of healthcare programs, pension funds and public assets, totaling over $6 billion, the majority African American population is being completely disenfranchised by the bank-led so-called “plan of adjustment.”

Despite these claims of a “rebirth” of the municipality through a forced and illegal bankruptcy proceeding, the overall conditions within Detroit have declined over the last twenty months since the appointment of Kevyn Orr as emergency manager. Deliveries of public transportation, lighting, water resources, education and emergency medical services have worsened.

There are two select areas within the city which the ruling class interests have lauded as prime centers for investment. In downtown, billionaires Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans and Mike Illitch, the owner of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and other corporations, are attempting to reshape the development agenda for the entire municipality.

Also in the Midtown district encompassing Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center, the Institute of Arts, etc., efforts have been underway to encourage people to move into these areas for both residential and business purposes. Nonetheless, the working class, poor and senior residents of Midtown are being targeted for removal through the astronomical raising of rents and law-enforcement sweeps that target street people and the economically disadvantaged.

There is an increasing demand for rental units in Detroit but this has more to do with the impact of the foreclosure crisis which has plagued the city for nearly a decade. Whole neighborhoods throughout the east, west and southwest districts of the city have been devastated due to the predatory actions of banks, insurance firms, the monopoly utility company DTE Energy and the deeply distressed Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD).

The state and local governments failed to place a moratorium on bank foreclosures which could have saved tens of thousands of households from the bank seizures of their properties and therefore stem the precipitous decline in tax revenues and public school enrolments. Massive electrical, heating and water services shut-offs also serve to drive people from neighborhoods since it is almost impossible to live in homes without these essential necessities of modern life.

Federal Bankruptcy Court Endorses Draconian Policies of the Banks

Two major efforts were made through the legal and political actions of the Moratorium NOW!

Coalition and other organizations to bring in the questions of predatory bank lending and water shut-offs into the considerations for how the plan of adjustment would be structured. During the bankruptcy trial, there were hundreds of rank-and-file workers, retirees and homeowners who filed legal objections to both the eligibility for municipal bankruptcy as well as the series of eight drafts of the plan of adjustment.

Jones Day law firm, which misrepresented the interests of the city through the emergency manager and Gov. Rick Snyder, rejected any mention of the role of foreclosures and evictions in relationship to the financial ruin of Detroit. To ignore such an obvious fact of history and its causative effect on the decline of the population, the destructions of housing stock and municipal services is a clear recipe for disaster in formulating a plan for the revitalization of the city.

The class action lawsuit filed by victims of the massive water shut-offs impacting over 30,000 households since Jan. 2014 sought to bring recognition of the broken DWSD system which has been strangled by usurious bond issues and loans that have drained at least $537 million from the city over the last two years. Nonetheless, Federal Judge Steven Rhodes refused to impose a moratorium on the termination of water services despite the fact that the effects of these policies negatively impacted people throughout the city.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Jeb Bush Accidentally Revealed What Conservatives Think of American Workers
« Reply #504 on: July 22, 2015, 03:08:34 PM »
http://mic.com/articles/122033/jeb-bush-thinks-americans-need-to-work-longer-hours

Jeb Bush Accidentally Revealed What Conservatives Really Think of American Workers

By Gregory Krieg
MIC.com
July 09, 2015

Early Wednesday evening, the Democratic National Committee delivered a breathless email to the country's political reporters. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, now the Republican presidential frontrunner, had told the editorial board of the New Hampshire Union Leader on Wednesday that American workers "need to work longer hours" if they wanted to help deliver the extraordinary economic growth he is promising voters.

"Through their productivity," Bush explained, workers would "gain more income for their families" and use this newfound spending power to jumpstart the stagnant market.

Democrats were predictably overjoyed. Here was Bush saying his plans for 4% annual growth — dismissed as a nearly impossible goal by most economists — could be achieved on the backs of already underpaid and overburdened wage earners. "It is easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we've heard so far this cycle," DNC spokeswoman Holly Shulman said in a statement. Later Wednesday, Hillary Clinton jumped on the pile. "Anyone who believes Americans aren't working hard enough hasn't met enough American workers," her campaign said in a tweet.

Muddled message: Smelling blood in the water, a wave of Democratic operatives, along with a few quick-to-draw news outlets, pounced before Bush could clarify his point. As he would make clear later, after the initial round of blowback, those "longer hours" were meant for underemployed workers, like the millions of part-time employees looking for full-time jobs.

"You can take it out of context all you want, but high-sustained growth means that people work 40 hours rather than 30 hours and that by our success, they have money, disposable income for their families to decide how they want to spend it rather than getting in line and being dependent on government," Bush said at a town hall meeting, according to a Washington Post report.

In his reconsidered explanation, Bush sounds more like a wonky liberal economist than a bloodless industrial taskmaster. No one in mainstream politics would deny that adding full-time jobs would help spring a sluggish economy. But untangling his rhetoric from this uncontroversial suggestion presents a different, if less politically scandalous, range of questions.

Bush is also confusing the issue: The first is a matter of simple economics. In his talk with the Union Leader, Bush said "we have to be a lot more productive," then tied longer work hours to increased worker "productivity" and subsequent gains in personal income. This is both a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economic definitions and a worrying dismissal of recent labor trends.

To start, he conflates "productivity" with growth. More people logging longer hours on the job does not translate to a more productive economy. Productivity is calculated to measure what the average worker yields in a given hour. It is not the simple aggregation of total output. In fact, many economists believe longer workdays eventually give way to diminishing returns. In any event, American workers are already among the most productive on the planet.

Which leads us to the bigger problem, both for Bush and the working class voters he is working to convince. According to data crunched by the Economic Policy Institute, the gap between worker productivity, which has grown at a dizzying clip for more than six decades, and hourly compensation is large and growing. If Bush's argument is that greater productivity will help workers "gain more income," he is either misinformed or disingenuous.

[Continued...]

----------------------------------------------

The gap between worker productivity and "discretionary" income is even wider.

Why?

For the very reason Henry George devoted an entire book to explaining -- the tax policy-induced gap between rents and wages.

"I am using the word wages not in the sense of a quantity, but in the sense of proportion. When I say that wages fall as rent rises, I do not mean that the quantity of wealth obtained by laborers as wages is necessarily less, but that the proportion which it bears to the whole produce is necessarily less. The proportion may diminish while the quantity remains the same or even increases."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, p. 216


"Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them.

"In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine--his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

"Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end--the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others. Take a country in which the soil is divided among a number of proprietors, instead of being in the hands of one, and in which, as in modern production, the capitalist has been specialized from the laborer, and manufacturers and exchange, in all their many branches, have been separated from agriculture. Though less direct and obvious, the relations between the owners of the soil and the laborers will, with the increase of population and the improvement of the arts, tend to the same absolute master on the one hand and the same abject helplessness on the other, as in the case of the island we have supposed. Rent will advance, while wages will fall."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, pp. 347-8


"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."



The only solution worthy of the name is the Single Tax.

But Hell will freeze over before you'll hear either of the two corporate-owned major parties even mention, let alone promote, that urgently-needed reform.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Our Political Economy Is Designed to Create Poverty and Inequality
« Reply #505 on: March 20, 2017, 11:41:37 AM »
https://www.opednews.com/articles/Our-Political-Economy-Is-D-by-Dennis-Kucinich-Economy_Inequality_Political-Insanity_Poverty-In-America-170306-607.html

Our Political Economy Is Designed to Create Poverty and Inequality

By Dennis Kucinich
OpEdNews.com
March 6, 2017

This keynote speech was given by Dennis J. Kucinich at the Conference on Poverty and Inequality at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government on February 25, 2017.

Let me begin by sharing with you the story of an inner-city Cleveland family of seven, two adults and five children all under the age of 11.

The family did not own a home. They were renters. As the family grew, it became ever more difficult to find rent. At one point the old car in which they roamed the city in search of rent became their living quarters. Evenings, the father and mother and a newborn slept in the car's front seat, and the four other children, in the back.

They found rent by understating the number of children, which, when discovered, led to eviction and the same cycle of wandering as urban nomads. The father, a truck driver, had a war-related injury that occasionally required medical treatment, taking him out of work. Bills piled up, which led to garnishments. The mother suffered from post-partum depression, compounded by noisy, rambunctious children.

The children were sometimes out of school, as the family did not know where its next shelter or its next meal would come from. This inner-city family lived in 21 different places in 17 years, including a couple of cars.

When we gather today to speak of poverty and inequality, I understand, because I was the oldest child in that inner-city family, which grew to nine persons, a family that was riveted to a day-to-day struggle to survive.

Ours was an intense experience of poverty and inequality that led to social disorganization, chronic instability that made daunting every encounter with every institution in a society, instability that created severe emotional difficulties in four of the seven children. Poverty and its partner chaos can play on people's minds.

One of my most powerful memories was of listening to the sound of my parents' counting pennies to pay utility bills. "Click, click, click," I could hear the pennies drop, one by one, as they hit the metal top table.

Today I can hear those pennies dropping all over America for families not able to scrape together the cash to pay their bills, families who lack adequate housing, families who do not have adequate health care, families trying to raise children in a chaotic urban environment, families who truly do not know where their next meal will come.

In America today there are tens of millions of people with a hard-luck story. Tens of millions out of work, in ill health, in search of affordable rent, having neither a place nor a home to call their own; millions of people for whom, as Langston Hughes put it, life "ain't been no crystal stair."

No one who escapes such an environment physically or economically does it alone. There are teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers, aunts, uncles, neighbors who appear as angels in our lives, who catch us when we are about to fall, who lift us up at the right moment, who show us a different path, who guide us in a new direction, who transport us to new possibilities, new futures.

But for every person upon whom fortune smiles, opportunity calls, and destiny stirs, there are many others for whom the future is obscured, for whom society is harsh, punitive, and unwelcoming.

I call these people my brothers and sisters, my cousins, my kinfolk who are ill-fed, ill-clothed, lacking in basic health care, working (if able) for low wages, hostages to debt, owning little, credit starved, renting if they can, and estranged from even rudimentary knowledge of wealth creation.

Poverty is not an abstraction. People wear it on their faces, carry it on their backs as a constant companion, and it is heavy.Those of us acquainted with that condition often lack understanding of the nature of the material world, and, since access to material wealth seems random, are prey to the notion about wealth preached ironically by the Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales, "Radix malorum est cupiditas," 'The love of money is the root of all evil.'"

One does not need to have taken a vow of poverty to be poor, one needs only the unconscious or conscious acceptance of the underlying precepts of a class-based society, the meek acceptance of a doctrine of predestination, the assumption of one's status as merited and the acceptance of a political economy that equates one's personal wealth with one's innate value as a human being, while the so-called invisible hand of the marketplace quietly dips into the public till, and "moral hazard" is a polite term for theft.

All are created equal, indeed, but all do not have the same access to privilege, nor the same friends inside the government or financial centers of power, nor the same accountants.

Our reality is socially constructed and culturally affirmed. We have come to accept a system of things as inevitable without challenging the assumptions upon which a system is based.

Where does money come from? How is it made?

Before answering that question, let me state the obvious: Our political economy is structured to create poverty and inequality.

Nineteen of every 20 dollars of new wealth created goes to the top 1 percent. The top 1 percent has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.This cataclysm for our democracy was accelerated with the subprime meltdown of a decade ago.

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, as many as 10 million families lost their homes to foreclosure during the housing crisis, and as a result had to move, in some cases resulting in a re-segregation of city neighborhoods.

During this period, the Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars and gave them to banks, while Congress authorized $700 billion to bail out banks, without passing a program to make sure that the masses of people underwater in their mortgages or those caught up in no-doc, low-doc schemes would have a chance to hold onto their homes.

Meanwhile, one of the few investments held by the middle class, home equity, plummeted as housing values sank in many city neighborhoods. Much of America has not recovered from the carnival of financial corruption of a decade ago -- except for the finance economy, of course.

For those barely holding on to middle-class status, the median income for a four-person family is just over $54,000. Yet the average US household owes more than $16,000 to credit card companies, $172,806 on its mortgage, $28,535 on its car and $49,042 in student loans. Health-care consumes about 17.8 percent of America's GDP, or three trillion two hundred billion dollars. The Kaiser Foundation reports that the average month premiums for family coverage in 2016 is $1,511 a month, or $18,132 a year.

The country is held hostage by insurance companies, while politicians wrangle over what is the best system of predatory for-profit health care, as pharmaceutical companies receive near-unlimited patent extension and public funding for 84 percent of new drug research, yet price their products out of the reach of millions of Americans, while their stocks perform at twice the Standard and Poors stock index.

The health-care industry is not the only institution casting Americans into poverty. The average family of four sees some $13,200 a year of its collective wealth deposited into America's largest piggy bank, the Pentagon, which, according to noted economist Chalmers Johnson, now siphons off about a trillion dollars annually from all sources to prosecute several wars simultaneously, while managing nearly 800 military bases in 130 countries, this while never successfully completing an audit and having trillions in accounts that cannot be reconciled.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

The cost of the war against Iraq, alone, adds $3 trillion to the national debt while bolstering the bi-party line that there simply is not enough money to meet domestic needs. Families have no reserves. More and more people are tethered to low-paying jobs, with few, if any benefits. Jobs are not there for young people coming out of school. The burden of debt, its extractive nature, forces survivors to borrow and borrow and borrow, to go deeper in debt.

In biblical times there was debt jubilee. Today we have not a jubilee but debt peonage for many, with a national debt compounded by environmental disasters, military misadventures, and Wall Street bailouts, and seldom suffered by those who helped to create it.

The bailout of Wall Street, the utter neglect of Main Street, the collapse of the housing market, the obscene escalation of the cost of private health care, the metastatic cancerous military leviathan point to a massive ethical failure in a society where egalitarian principles have been discarded in favor of a warped, Darwinian, meritocratic society built by gamblers insured by the government, insurance companies subsidized by the government, defense contractors made extravagantly rich by the government, banks that forced people out of their homes and were then bailed out by the government.

Growing poverty and inequality in America and other countries can be tied to a dismantling of the public sphere through the privatization of public services, which imposes the rentier's premium on parking meters, toll booths, waste and sanitation services, water and sewer fees, and health care, to name a few.

In urban areas privatization looms as a major economic issue. People, through taxes, fees and utility rates, pay once for public services to be created. Once services are privatized, the public is forced to pay again and again, at higher rates, for less service. The public is told that money is saved. Whose? Wages are cut, services are reduced, increased rates and fees follow. The loss of public accountability and political control shifts onto the public as increased economic burdens and the social and economic costs borne by displaced public workers.

In such a climate, unions are under attack, since they exist to promote economic justice. The right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, the right to decent wages and benefits, the right to a secure retirement, the right to sue an employer for maintaining an unsafe work place, all these rights and more are at risk. Labor unions helped to build economic equality. Their demise means less bargaining power for all American workers.

The ability to bargain collectively is essential in a democratic society, for upholding opportunities for advancement. A recent article in The Atlantic estimates that "$1 trillion of America's $6 trillion in annual federal, state and local government spending goes to private companies."

A few examples are instructive. In Chicago an investigation showed that the city received $974 million less than the parking-meter franchise was worth. Forty years ago, I was elected mayor of Cleveland, a city of 700,000, on a commitment to block the privatization of an electrical system which was worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars and was to be sold for $88.1 million, a scheme promoted by the state's largest bank, a business partner of the private utility seeking to acquire the city's division of light and power.

When I refused to sell the system, the bank forced the city into default over $5 million in debt, taken out by my predecessor. Subsequently, its municipal electric system intact, the people of Cleveland saved as much as a half-billion in combined charges for taxes and electricity bills.

Tom Johnson, mayor of the City of Cleveland at the turn of the 20th century, disciple of social reformer and progressive economist Henry George, brought to Cleveland the cheapest streetcar fares and the lowest-cost electricity through public ownership. He once said, "I believe in municipal ownership of waterworks, of parks, of schools. I believe in the municipal ownership of these monopolies because if you do not own them, they in turn, will own you. They will rule your politics, corrupt your institutions and finally destroy your liberties."

The ultimate privatization that reframed the entire of our economic and social system and set the stage for a permanent debt mentality occurred in 1913, when the money supply of the United States was privatized through the creation of the Federal Reserve.

Prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, placed the power to coin or create money with the United States Congress. That changed under the Federal Reserve. Central banks took over control of the money supply. From that point on, money equaled debt. The Federal Reserve usurped the power of the government to spend money into circulation and assumed for central banks the power to create money out of nothing, a device called quantitative easing, and give it to their member banks.

In Cleveland, the banks focused a profit-taking scheme on lower-income black and white neighborhoods, touting low-documentation and no-documentation loans, which were bundled into securities and became the collateralized-debt obligations that collapsed and pulled the entire economy down 10 years ago.

It was all fraud, and it was underwritten by the never-audited Federal Reserve, the erstwhile cop who walked off the beat when the pinstripe-wearing robbers were casing the neighborhoods of our cities, bankers cum croupiers, trolling for unsuspecting dreamers in search of that elusive first home, or an upgraded second home, not really knowing about adjustable rates, balloon mortgages, and penalties attached to late payments, but trusting the assurances of their friendly banker, who suddenly reversed years of redlining policies and made loans available without proof of ability to repay.

When you are desperate for a home, you sign on the dotted line. I think back to my parents, who never owned a home, and I can tell you that, if given the offer extended to thousand in Cleveland's neighborhoods, they would have signed on the dotted line, taken the keys, celebrated, and months later been devastated by foreclosure.

The privatization of the money supply is one of five major factors in poverty and inequality today, the other four being the emergence of the military-industrial-intelligence-congressional complex, the maintenance of the for-profit health-care system, and the erosion of public education through the creation of charter schools and the tremendous lifelong debt burden placed on those seeking higher education.

Today we face a renewed threat of privatization that could dramatically thrust the American people deeper into poverty. The privatization of Medicare will make health services inaccessible to millions of elderly. The privatization of Social Security would cause the jackpot lights to flash and spin at Wall Street's casino as retirees check stock advances, declines, and unchanged to discern what the value of the monthly check will be when it arrives at the mailbox.

The planned privatization of the Post Office will mean the end of universal service, less rural delivery, higher costs pricing people out of basic mail service, and cuts to three-days-a-week delivery. The prison-industrial complex is set for growth with privatization schemes that raise serious constitutional questions.

More and more military services are being privatized, which of course makes for an additional incentive for businesses to support wars and to support the politicians who vote for wars.

As the national debt rises toward $20 trillion, the debate intensifies over privatization of Medicare, Social Security, the Post Office, and government service at all levels, a practice that steals the commonwealth and institutionalizes poverty and inequality as wealth accelerates upwards, furthering economic divisions and erasing the cultural memory of public service, devouring the civic soul, once the animating principle of community, the spirit breath of participatory democracy.

As wealth accelerates upwards, the mass of people are told we cannot afford a living wage, cannot afford a full-employment economy, cannot afford universal pre-K, cannot afford school breakfast and lunch programs, cannot afford supplementary-nutrition programs, cannot afford women's and infant-care assistance, cannot afford more adult education, cannot afford free public college and universities, cannot afford guaranteed retirement security, cannot afford Medicare for all, cannot afford a guaranteed annual income. We are constantly told that the country cannot do these things because it would add to the debt, or destroy individual initiative.

Let me tell you that we can reverse this entire system. Thanks to my wife, Elizabeth, who came to the United States to study monetary policy with Stephen Zarlenga of the American Monetary Institute, I began to explore the equation of money with debt, and the ways of the Central bank that create money out of nothing for the benefit of private banking through quantitative easing and another device known to the industry as fractional reserve banking and recognized by the rest of society as great moral hazard.

As a result of studying the structure of the system, as a member of Congress, I drafted the National Emergency Employment Defense act, which reclaims the power appropriated by the Federal Reserve through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and enables the government to issue money debt-free to meet the job creation, infrastructure repair, health care, education, and retirement-security needs of Americans.

Some believe that such a system would be inflationary. Then let me ask: Why has the Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars and placed us in a deflationary period? The middle class does not have enough money to buy goods.

The consumer economy is stalled. The Fed-created money did not get into the right hands. How is it that 19 of 20 new dollars of increased income have gone to the top 1 percent? Really? It is because the system is engineered to transfer wealth upwards, a perpetual inequality machine.

Through reclaiming our constitutional heritage, we can lower taxes and have a full-employment economy, universal pre-kindergarten, school breakfast and lunch programs, full funding for public education K-12, free college and university, guaranteed retirement security, Medicare for All, and a guaranteed annual income, eliminating poverty.

This is not magic. It requires a shift in federal policy, away from private banks' running the economy, solely in the interest of private banks, to the government's reclaiming its ability to be able to spend money into existence to meet the needs of the country, without going into debt. Private banking would continue through dollar-for-dollar reserves, and have to survive without its government-granted license to speculate.

The government could reduce taxes, increase productivity, enable America to reach new heights of wealth shared by all, or we can stumble along our present course, with the children of the 99 percent being indentured servants to the 1 percent, with more than 50 million in poverty while political parties tinker with a totally corrupt system en route to death on the installment plan institutionalized by a government in thrall to banks, insurance companies, and the military-industrial complex.

Imagine an America whose government was not prepossessed with military force projection around the world, a government that set aside failed doctrines of interventionism, unilateralism, and first strike to concentrate on the practical needs of its citizens for jobs, for health care, for housing, for education, for retirement security, for safe neighborhoods, for clean air and clean water; a government that derived its support not from the power of its armaments but from the power of its commitment to the humanity of its citizens.

Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg of a nation, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." The inner equality of our political heritage must be matched by our constant striving for economic justice.

[Continued...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0