What We Can Do Now to Turn Things Around
Having poor people in the richest country in the world is a choice. We have the money to solve this. But do we have the will?
Inequality and poverty are suddenly hot topics, not only in the United States but also across the globe. Since the early 1980s, there has been a growing underclass in America. At the same time a much smaller class, now called the superrich, built its wealth to levels of opulence not seen since France’s Louis XVI. Despite this, the resulting inequality went mostly unnoticed. When the Great Recession of 2008 hit, and the division between the very wealthy and the rest of us came starkly into focus, various people and groups, including the Occupy movement, began insisting more publicly that we tax wealth. But still, helping the poor has been mostly a discussion on the fringes. At last, the terms of public debate have changed, because inequality and poverty now are debated regularly in the mainstream media and across the political spectrum, not solely by labor, by the left, and by others imagining a new economy.
Inserting such a controversial topic into mainstream discourse is French economist Thomas Piketty. His 700-page tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, shocked everyone this year when it made The New York Timesbestseller list and bookstores found themselves backordering an economicsbook for legions of eager readers. Piketty did exhaustive searches of tax records from Great Britain, France, and the United States, going as far back as the late 18th century in France. Using sophisticated computer modeling and analyses, the professor from the Paris School of Economics debunks a long-held assumption—that income from wages will tend to grow at roughly the same rate as wealth—and instead makes a compelling case that, over time, the apparatus of capitalism grows wealth faster than wages. Result: Inequality between the wealthy and everyone else will widen faster and faster; and, without progressive taxation, his data show we’ll return to levels of inequality not seen since America’s Gilded Age.
Piketty, no Marxist, says a solution lies in a “confiscatory” tax on wealth: Tax salaries over $500,000 at 80 percent worldwide, and tax wealth at 15 percent worldwide. Every year.
Unless we can reverse the inequality trends of the past 35 years, Piketty says, the ensuing social chaos will eventually destroy democracy. Unfortunately, not even Piketty sees much chance of all nations on Earth simultaneously enacting his tax plans.
But at least he sparked a widespread discussion. And fortunately, others have been digging deeply, thoughtfully into the same questions, and they have some practical as well as achievable ideas for reversing poverty and inequality trends.
Pulitizer Prize-winner Hedrick Smith authored a pageturner called Who Stole the American Dream? Despite his whodunnit title, Smith reveals the perps long before you finish the book. The former New York Times reporter uses data and real-life stories to build a case against American CEOs and the politicians who do their bidding.
Between 1945 and 1973, Smith notes, U.S. workers’ productivity grew by 96 percent, and they were rewarded with a 94 percent increase in their wages. Between 1973 and 2011, years that parallel a collapse of the middle class, U.S. workers’ productivity grew by 80 percent, yet those evermore-productive employees saw only a 10 percent increase in their wages. Millions who created that wealth were thus pushed into poverty or to its precipice, while those who fancy a neomedieval economic system transferred billions in profits, generated by that labor, upward to themselves.
Gar Alperovitz is a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland. Like Smith, Alperovitz asks a question with his book’s title: What Then Must We Do? To be more accurate, he might have called it “Here’s What We’re Already Doing”—to create fresh models that can inspire a new economy.
What makes Alperovitz’s ideas valuable is that he not only lays out an array of alternatives already keeping people from poverty, but solutions we also can build upon to create strategies that, over time, might replace corporate capitalism.
Read it all at Yes Magazine.
Obama Attacks Republicans While Leaving Welcome Mat Out For ISIS
The U.S. Border with Mexico is wide open; ISIS is beheading people with reckless abandon in Iraq and Syria. One of its victims was American journalist James Foley. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said that ISIS poses an “immediate threat” to the U.S. thanks to growing immigration issues. The Obama administration is not only refusing to enforce immigration laws; it is facilitating lawlessness.
U.S. President Barack Obama compared ISIS to a “jayvee” team and then proceeded to tell the American people that he doesn’t “have a strategy” for dealing with the terrorist group in Syria. His strategy relative to the U.S. border with Mexico is apparently to make it easier for ISIS to enter the U.S. which, again serves his anti-Republican agenda.
When it comes to Republicans, there is no equivocation or ambivalence; Obama seeks all out defeat:
President Barack Obama used his Labor Day speech on Monday to slam Republicans for opposing an increase in the minimum wage, equal pay for women, affordable health care and more.
“Republicans in Congress love to say ‘no.’ Those are just facts, they’re facts of life. They say ‘no’ to everything,” Obama said to the crowd gathered at Milwaukee’s Laborfest.
The president began to outline his goals for working-class families, saying that he has “put [his] money down” on the middle class.
“I want an economy where your hard work pays off with higher wages, and higher income and fair pay for women, and workplace flexibility for parents, and affordable health insurance and decent retirement benefits,” Obama said. “I’m not asking for the moon, I just want a good deal for Americans.”
He continued, “Most of the policies I’m talking about have two things in common: They’re going to help more working families get ahead, and the Republicans who run our Congress oppose almost all of them.”
Even with the premise that people actually believe all that, should they not admit that at a minimum, Obama has an extreme case of misplaced priorities?
The enemies of the United States don’t need to divide and conquer. Obama is leaving the gate open for ISIS to enter through the southern border while dividing Americans at home.
More found HERE.
Russia and the West face off. The EU is proposing new, tougher sanctions on Russian companies, and Barack Obama is headed to Estonia, one of the NATO countries that borders Russia, to give the US’s allies a pep talk. Some EU leaders at a summit over the weekend were talking of war after the Russian president reportedly said his forces could take Kyiv in two weeks.
On Monday, officials from the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk met with representatives from Ukraine and Russia, airing demands for special recognition that fall short of full independence, but not by much. Kyiv’s forces lost control of Luhansk’s airport,reportedly to a column of tanks. Some 700 government troopshave been taken prisoner by separatists during the latest surge of violence. Ukraine’s defense minister said a “full-scale invasion” was underway, and provocatively warned that Russia could deploy tactical nukes.
Boko Haram extends its caliphate. Nigeria’s Islamist insurgents have reportedly seized the northeastern town of Bama, killing “scores” of residents and driving out thousands. Last month it captured another town, Gwoza, and declared itpart of the Islamic caliphate. The capture of Bama, if confirmed, brings the group closer to the regional capital, Maiduguri.
Go ahead…dumbasses. There’s a reason you’re not able to do better on your own merits, I guess. Oh well…enjoy getting NO hourly wage.
Barack Obama porn again….