Archive for category Equality
I have a new hero. Fantastic speech out of kiwi-land that shows that you can be a good person, in government, and even have a sense of humor.
Wish we could move him to Utah!
Some time back, way back in the bronze age in internet time, as prop 8 was still being hotly debated (pre-vote that is), a few of us posted thoughts to the effect that in the long run it simply wouldn’t matter. Pass or fail, the youth support was for equality, and while it may take time the end result would be support. You know, after the bigots die out.
Two or three of the usual suspects (our own personal party of “no” commenters) yelled and screamed and stamped their little feet, and said that it was clear that it would never happen, and that our youth support was a figment of our collective and diseased imagination.
Since then, our imagination has produced many polls with shocking numbers. Read the rest of this entry »
Is it just me, or does it seem that nobody is watching out for us?
Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are.
Does it seem like this babe is telling the truth?
Wealth Inequality in America
Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.
It’s the Inequality, Stupid
Wealth Inequality in America
How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans
CEO pay is 380 times average worker’s
Religious freedom, like other concepts of freedom, is contested. What it means varies across time and place. In recent years, the US has experienced a massive shift on questions of religions; attendance and membership are down in almost every denomination, the public influence of Christianity has declined as the public face of Christianity has come to be seen as the face of bigotry and intolerance. The result has been a sharp and painful bit of cognitive dissonance for religious conservatives. From HuffPo, Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Us Against Greed
Ten Numbers the Rich would like Fudged
The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.
1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.
According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.
In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.
3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.
Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.
4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.
After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.
U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.
Sunrise this morning at the U.S. Capitol (UPI photo)
I’m enjoying the all-day MSNBC coverage of President Obama’s second inauguration, unlike Mitt Romney who says he won’t be watching today.
So far, it has been a refreshing does of patriotism, from the emotional Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” to the President’s call for equality for “our gay brothers and sisters.” And he promised, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
I think the President’s intentions are good, even though I often disagree with his decisions. I think he wants to do his best for the voters who entrusted him with the office for another four years. From today’s reporting:
Departing the West Front of the U.S. Capitol after delivering his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama wanted to take one last glance of the hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered to celebrate his second term. After all, it would be his last.
“I want to take a look one more time,” Obama said, lingering for a few short moments to savor the view as the crowd shuffled past him. “I’ll never see this again.”
I don’t think he was referring to Justice Scalia’s Renaissance-style hat.
People should start sending – hand written – letters, through the mail to their friends.
There’s no way they can open all of them without being noticed, and it will create many jobs for mail carriers!
I’m a job-creator!
PLUS: It’s a felony to open somebody’s mail.
It only has to say: I love you.
Remember in 2008 when McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm instructed us all that Bush’s Great Recession was just imaginary? “We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said.
Now Kevin Hassett, a top adviser to Willard (“Mitt”) Romney’s presidential campaign writing in The Wall Street Journal, tells America that economic inequality is a myth.
“Today we hear that the gains from economic growth accrue to the highest-income earners while the standard of living of the poor and middle America stagnates and the gap between the richest and the poorest grows ever wider,” Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur argue. “That portrait of the country is wrong.”
Using a very tired right-wing argument, Hassett says that the availability of cheap consumer electronics, such as cell phones and microwave ovens, means that non-rich Americans have nothing to complain about. But this ignores everyday expenses like food, rent, and utilities. Today struggling families are spending at least 15 percent of their household budget to pay their electric bills.
Igor Volsky on Think Progress:
Hassett argues that safety net programs like “unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid” help families afford basic needs, further shrinking the nation’s income gap. But these programs are already failing to keep up with need and Romney and Ryan have proposed massive cuts to the safety net in order to pay down the deficit and finance a tax cut plan that is heavily skewed towards the rich.
Their approach would only exacerbate the differences between the rich and poor — a gap that has grown dramatically since the late 1970s. Indeed, compared to the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States has a Gini coefficient — a number that measures the distribution of income on a scale of 0 (perfectly equal) to 1 (perfectly unequal) — of 0.47 and ranks near the very bottom in inequality. America also suffers from the absolute highest “percentage of national income that went to the top 1 percent” and “has seen income inequality increase at a much faster rate than most other countries.”
This trend is already devastating the American democratic ideals of equal opportunity and upward mobility. Unfortunately, neither Romney nor his advisers can see the problem or offer the kind of tax and economic policies that will help solve it.
Americans are about to choose among candidates who are debating whether to cut benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and whether the richest Americans should pay their fair share of taxes.
…Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators who are not up for reelection is working behind closed doors in Washington to reach a so-called grand bargain that completely bypasses this debate and ignores the views of voters.
What is the grand bargain? It boils down to lower tax rates for rich people — paid for by benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These are precisely the issues that are being debated so vigorously in the campaign, and voters do not want anything to do with such a deal.
…When I hear people say we need to cut Social Security benefits, I wonder whether they know that millions of people lost their retirement savings in the Great Recession and that traditional pensions are increasingly hard to come by. Do the benefit cutters think seniors are sitting around wondering how to spend their lavish retirement benefits — now averaging the princely sum of $14,500 per year? Do they think near-seniors are suddenly realizing that their savings and pensions are much more secure than they had ever imagined possible? Are the people who want to raise the retirement age aware that life expectancy for Americans who lack a high school diploma is actually declining? Do they understand that raising the retirement age is a benefit cut, no matter what age you retire?
…This deal stinks to high heaven, which is precisely why it is being negotiated behind closed doors. We say no to secret deals. Let’s have this debate out in the open. Do you think the American people really want to cut benefits for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare in exchange for lowering the top tax rate for the richest Americans? I don’t think so.
Increasing inequality is more responsible for the long-run funding gap in Social Security than virtually any other event, including the baby boomers retiring. 93% of all compensation gains in the recovery from the Great Recession has accrued to the very top. Practically none of that money flows into the Social Security trust fund. Fix that, and you fix the problem.