Archive for category Equality

Allan Lichtenstein: ‘The rich get richer, the rest get poorer’

Wealth and Income Share of the Top 1%, 1913-2012

Wealth and income share of the top 1 percent

Via Truthout:

At one of the many high-dollar fundraisers Hillary Clinton held during the month of August, a personal-check donation of $100,000 would get an attendee a photo with Hillary, according to a recent New York Times article. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paul McCartney at a waterfront Hampton’s estate fund-raiser, Hillary “joined in a sing-a-long finale to ‘Hey Jude’.”

…Since the late-1970s, the top one percent of families have been steadily accumulating a larger share of the nation’s wealth (total assets people own net of their debts), recessions notwithstanding. In 2012 (the most recent available data), the top one percent of families (1.6 million families, each with at least $4 million in assets in 2012) held about 42 percent of all the wealth. Although still below the 1928 peak of 51 percent, the growth has been spectacular, almost doubling in close to 40 years.

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
Louis Brandeis

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Mike Weinholtz Takes On Governor Herbert In First Debate

weinholtz-ad

I took the liberty of modifying the only known recording of this important event by cropping a citizens cell phone recording and amplifying the sound. This one-on-one debate nearly didn’t happen. Herbert only agreed to debate Weinholtz once on September 26th, but changed his mind at the last minute. I guess you could call this a flash debate.

I wanted people to see what a great leader Weinholtz would be for Utah. He really did a great job!

Original debate video can be found at Mike Weinholtz’s webpage.

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Income Inequality is the Highest in American History


‘America Is NOT Broke’: Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI — March 5, 2011

“Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.”
— Michael Moore

According to economists Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson, the Gini coefficient in this country is now the highest it has ever been. “We went from one of the most egalitarian places in the world to one of the least,” Williamson told the Washington Post. “What happened?”

In his chronicle of the young United States in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville famously said that “nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition among the people.”

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality in which 0 is perfect equality and 100 would mean perfect inequality, or one person owning all the wealth. A recent study by the financial services corporation Allianz found that the U.S. had the most extreme wealth inequality in the world, with a score of 80.56 – the highest concentration of overall wealth in the hands of the proportionately fewest people.

Related:
Exclusive: Charles Koch and his company launch ‘end the divide’ ad campaign
The Kochs’ Biggest Joke—Billionaires Pretend to Care About Inequality in Latest Ad Blitz

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A Day Late And A Dollar Short

My favorite song turned 45 yesterday:

Darn Muslims!

Look here.

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VIDEO: Watch Three Former U.S. Treasury Secretaries Laugh About Income Inequality

Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner yuck it about income inequality…
Thanks to Sam Seder and AlterNet.

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‘Bernie Sanders Can Become President’ Has Replaced ‘I Like Him, But He Can’t Win’

Bernie Sanders

I stole the title above from H.A. Goodman because I couldn’t come up with a better one. There is an enthusiasm gap among Democratic primary voters, and Senator Bernie Sanders is way ahead. Polls now confirm this.

From Goodman’s latest post on HuffPo:

Polls once extolling Hillary Clinton’s enormous lead over Sanders are now dwindling for the same reason Sanders beats Republicans in various other polls: Americans have had enough of dynasties, scandals, wars, and Wall Street corruption.

…[M]ore and more Americans have had enough with a two-party system that doesn’t give people a choice.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with practical ideas about what he would do to reverse the trend of increasing inequality in America.

Bernie Sanders knew in 2002 that invading Iraq would be a terrible mistake with horrible consequences. He voted not to authorize the use of military force, unlike then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Biden.

Also too, voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE:
Looks like the campaign dirty tricks are starting now…
Black Lives Matter Seattle Protestor Is A Former Tea Party Palin Supporter
Bernie Sanders rally crasher Marissa “Johnson” Jenae is a Republican

How could two people take over the stage and preempt Bernie’s speech in Seattle? Now he’ll have to get some security and his events won’t be as friendly.

After the event was canceled the Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement, “I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”

The so-called protest doesn’t even make sense. Why attack the one candidate who’s most committed to civil rights?

UPDATE:
Sanders talks at University of Washington rally after activists disrupt earlier speech at park

Audience of 12,000. No fake protesters.

UPDATE:
The Real Black Lives Matter Wants Activists To Publicly Apologize to Bernie Sanders

#BlackLivesMatter activists believe that this type of behavior is inappropriate and counterproductive, and we will not support it.

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John Ellis (‘Jeb’) Bush: Blame the Victims For Bad Economy

What’s wrong with the American economy? If you ask presidential candidate John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush, it has nothing to do with the Great Recession of 2008 during the most recent Bush administration — which put 8.7 million of us out of work. Nothing to do with Tea-GOP economic sabotage during the long, slow recovery that replaced many middle-class jobs with low-wage and part-time employment.

Our friend “Jeb! 2016” says all that’s needed to fix the economy is for more people to work longer hours. Apparently he is not aware that productivity and worker compensation have been decoupled for about 40 years now. Working harder gets us nowhere, and makes CEOs and the 1 Percent richer.

The relationship between American workers’ industriousness and their economic security has eroded so severely in recent decades that the two concepts aren’t even on speaking terms these days.

Workers were a staggering 25 percent more productive in 2012 than they were in 2000. But over the same period that bosses started getting a full quarter more work out of their employees, the median wage grew exactly zero percent. Even those with college degrees saw their pay stagnate over the past decade. Over the five-year stretch encompassing the Great Recession and the first few years of the slow recovery Bush is criticizing, workers gave their bosses an 8 percent jump in productivity – and got back an outright decline in earnings.

Tea-GOP prescriptions like “work harder for less pay” don’t deserve to win any votes. Americans who work for a living are not at fault. We’re the victims of a financialized, de-unionized, 1 Percent economy that’s reaching Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality.

UPDATE:
Newsweek: Does Jeb Bush understand economics?

Bush’s full statement was: “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4% growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families.”

This word salad mixes together different economic terms as if they mean the same thing and reaches for statistics that are, quite simply, ridiculous. Perhaps Bush was just sloppy in his language, but whatever aide is prepping him on economics needs to do a better job–maybe by working longer hours.

…When it comes to productivity, American workers have been doing a great job. Productivity, which is the economic output per worker, has grown relentlessly since 1947 in almost a straight upward line. Implying that Americans aren’t being productive enough is about the same as saying McDonald’s doesn’t sell enough hamburgers. How much is enough to Bush? If record productivity–with a cumulative growth of almost 300% since 1947–doesn’t cut it, what does?

There is no context where “we have to be more productive” means anything other than “push yourselves past record levels, workers!” That is, unless Bush doesn’t know what the word means.

But with this full statement, he has also demonstrated that he has no idea of the real problem facing American workers. No doubt, he is blaming them for their stagnant wages–all that’s needed is more hours of work, and wages will improve significantly.

As history proves, that’s hokum. America went through nearly a century where the profits generated by growth in worker productivity was shared–the more they produced, the more money everyone made. What Bush and far too many Republicans refuse to acknowledge is that wages and productivity became uncoupled around 1973: Productivity goes up, corporate profits go up, the rich get wealthier, but the financial benefits don’t trickle down to workers.

…American history’s most productive workers are not responsible for the fact that they aren’t paid enough. Do Bush and his GOP cohorts really believe that the wealthy are sitting in their offices, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for workers to demand more money that will then be handed over gladly? Wages are growing at their lowest level since World War II. In fact, income inequality is worse today than it was in 1774, even when slavery is included in the numbers, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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The Supreme Court Is On A Big Roll For The People!

It's just not right!

It’s just not right!

Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.

First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.

Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.

This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.

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Big News From Ben & Jerry’s

I Dough I Dough ice cream
Where is Glenden these days? Anyway, Ben & Jerry’s celebrated today’s history-making Supreme Court decision on marriage equality with ‘I Dough, I Dough’ ice cream.

The Court majority held that the Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.

We’re reminded today that freedom isn’t free. Basic constitutional rights are hard-won after years of struggle. Plus, the Tea-GOP made a big mistake in 2004 by putting same-sex marriage bans on state ballots (it was a GOTV strategy by Karl Rove to boost George W. Bush’s re-election chances).

Utah was one of 11 states that enacted a redundant constitutional amendment (same-sex marriage was already illegal in Utah), thus running afoul of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Battles are often won by taking full advantage of an enemy blunder.

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An Argument For The History Books

Wile E Coyote off cliff

In my opinion, you shouldn’t make shit up!

Am I being too judgmental? Am I blowing things out of proportion?

You decide.

From The Washington Post:

Conservative scholars are saying that legalizing same-sex marriage will cause 900,000 abortions.

I hate getting news about Utah from national publications. I probably missed the coverage here, but I’m so tired of being made into a laughing stock when this stuff gets out. Would I be wrong to say that contortions of reality might be encouraged by trying to get the bible to say what you want it to say.

This guy is a lawyer. Maybe he’s tried to get one too many contracts to say what he wanted them to say for the sake of winning a case. My guess is that he used to work for supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, who can make any ruling conform to his political objectives. Even Scalia wouldn’t have come up with anything THIS stupid, but “Bush vs Gore” definitely made the history books as a landmark American slump in logic.

Who are these “100 scholars of marriage”? They can’t all be from Utah.

A video rebuke:

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The Middle Class Has Gotten Smaller In Every State Since 2000

Middle class shrinking

Via HuffPo:

A new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline blog, shows that the percentage of middle-class households — defined as those earning between 67 and 200 percent of a state’s median income — dropped in every U.S. state between 2000 and 2013. Median income also fell in most states during that period.

UPDATE:
14 Reasons Why House and Senate Republicans Have Declared Economic War On Average Americans

The GOP-controlled House and Senate budgets not only drastically cut spending on education, retirement, environment, road and bridges, climate change, immigration, job creation, Obamacare, food stamps, and other social welfare programs; but it gives the Pentagon a blank check, and includes tax cuts for the rich and corporations while raising taxes for lower-income Americans.

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Absurd and Hilarious


“We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only — making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character…” — President Andrew Shepherd, “The American President” (1995)

See if you can guess whose website the following statement is taken from.

“Millions of our fellow citizens across the broad middle class feel as if the American Dream is now out of their reach; that our politics are petty and broken; that opportunities are elusive; and that the playing field is no longer fair or level. Too many of the poor have lost hope that a path to a better life is within their grasp. While the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America. We are not leading – at home or abroad.”

1. Elizabeth Warren
2. Robert Reich
3. John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush

If you guessed #3, you’re right. Tea-GOPers considering a 2016 presidential run — including, incredibly, Willard (“Mitt”) Romney — are now claiming to care about fairness and equality for the struggling American middle class. Nothing could be funnier than right-wing politicians when they emerge from their country clubs and corporate boardrooms every four years, and try to pretend they’re on the side of the 99 Percent. What’s next, Guy Fawkes masks?

More info:
Steven Rosenfeld: The GOP’s Absurd, Hilarious Ploy to Pretend They Care About Poor People

UPDATE:
Matt Yglesias: Why Republicans are starting to sound like Elizabeth Warren

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