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Video: AMLO: How Mexico’s New Leftist President Has Navigated Corruption, Inequality, and Trump

As President Trump continues his threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border to stop the flow of asylum seekers, we look at the response from...
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Video: Inequality for All: Robert Reich Warns Record Income Gap Is Undermining Our Democracy....

http://www.democracynow.org - Five years ago this weekend, the Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers collapsed triggering the worst financial crisis since the Great ... Via Youtube
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Video: 50 Years After LBJ's "War on Poverty," a Call for a New Fight...

http://www.democracynow.org - Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his "war on poverty," which led to many of the federal and...
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Video: Joseph Stiglitz: "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers our Future"

DemocracyNow.org - Several months before Occupy Wall Street, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote, "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,"...
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Video: Obama Admits Bipartisan Capitalist ‘Washington Consensus’ Fueled Far-Right & Multiplied Inequality

Former US President Barack Obama admitted that the neoliberal capitalist policies he and his predecessors supported fostered the rise of the far-right and ... Via...
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Video: Obama Admits Bipartisan Capitalist ‘Washington Consensus’ Fueled Far-Right & Multiplied Inequality

Former US President Barack Obama admitted that the neoliberal capitalist policies he and his predecessors supported fostered the rise of the far-right and ... Via...
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Video: Obama Admits Bipartisan Capitalist ‘Washington Consensus’ Fueled Far-Right & Multiplied Inequality

Former US President Barack Obama admitted that the neoliberal capitalist policies he and his predecessors supported fostered the rise of the far-right and ... Via...

Paul Manafort's light sentence underscores US prison inequality

Legal experts and politicians say the light prison sentence handed to Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump’s former election manager, highlights US prison inequality....

What States Can Do to Reduce Poverty and Inequality Through Tax Policy

States have an opportunity to act to close the loopholes that hide and protect the wealth of the top 1%, remedy the impact of...

Understanding the Soviet Union, Inequality, and Freedom of Expression

In a book which seemingly offers simple, but clever, rules to help people gain control over their lives, psychologist Jordan Peterson curiously pours a...

States Are on the Front Lines of Fighting Inequality

When Democrats regained control of the US House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, almost immediately took aim at America’s growing income inequality by recommending...

What School Lunches Have to Do With Fixing Wealth Inequality

Once a year, Russell Farms in Brackney, Pennsylvania, hosts a harvest celebration, where students from nearby Tioga Central School District in New York state...

The Inequality Gap Is Growing

As we head into 2019, leaving the chaos of this year behind, a major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of...

Deep Inequality and Macron’s Dedication to Elites Fuel Yellow Vest Uprising in France

After more than two weeks of protests over high fuel prices and intensifying inequality across France under centrist President Emmanuel Macron, the French government...
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Video: Greece Emerges from Economic Crisis with Increased Inequality

Greece is "coming out of the crisis with a more polarized society, with an opened gap between the rich and the poor," says economic...
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Video: Ending Inequality!? What Does Real Equality Look Like?

Nation Senior Editor Atossa Araxia Abrahamian wrote a lead article, 'The Inequality Industry,' which takes a deep dive into its history, the present political...

The Washington Post Thinks It Is a New Idea to Tell People to Worry...

Just when you thought economic commentary in the Washington Post couldn’t get any more insipid, Roger Lowenstein proves otherwise. In a business section “perspective”...

Can Trump Turn Back the Clock on Inequality?

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign...
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Video: Wall Street Bankers’ Executive Bonuses Highlight Worsening Inequality

Banks are collecting money from every corner of this economy, becoming "the special winner in the capitalist game of our time," says economist Richard...

Urban Madness: Inequality and the Right to the City

The weekend edition of the Financial Times dated April 7/8 featured a story in the House and Home section under the title ‘Barcelona hits...

Senior Met chief cites social inequality behind rise in crime — RT UK News

A senior Metropolitan police chief has suggested that social inequality is driving the rise in...

Trump Administration Is Intentionally Exacerbating Inequality

A group of top Democrats are demanding the Trump administration present a plan to Congress to address growing poverty in the United States, following...
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Video: Blistering U.N. Report: Trump Administration’s Policies Designed to Worsen Poverty & Inequality

https://democracynow.org - A group of top Democrats are demanding the Trump administration present a plan to Congress to address growing poverty in the ... Via...

Inequality Social Dysfunction and Misery

Year on year the economic divisions and sub-divisions in the world deepen, and the associated social ills increase: The rich, comfortable, and the very...

Fascism Depends Upon a Belief in Human Inequality

A member of an anti-government militia holds an assault rifle as he stands guard at a checkpoint in front of the Malheur National Wildlife...

Economic Update: Capitalism Breeds Inequality

This week's episode discusses how globalization has worsened inequality and injustice, how Quebec's doctors are rejecting pay increases, the significance of the YMCA workers'...

Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line

For decades, big business leaders have warned that redistributing wealth is bad for business. Taxing the rich to pay for infrastructure and education, they...

Sanders to Host Town Hall on Inequality with Elizabeth Warren, Michael Moore

WASHINGTON - Following the success of the Medicare for All Town Hall in January which drew 1.6 million live viewers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)...

Walmart’s Response to Tax Reform Highlights US Wealth Inequality

The GOP is still reveling in victory at finally overhauling the U.S. tax code, while conservative allies work the press to claim that the...

Act to tackle ‘inequality crisis’ as a billionaire is created every two days- Oxfam...

Urgent action must be taken to tackle the widening gap between the world’s super rich...

Iran’s Protests Take Place Against a Backdrop of Inequality

As 2017 came to a close, a groundswell of Iranian protesters captured international attention. The demonstrators' slogans questioned everything from the price of eggs...

Inequality is Feeding America | By Jim Hightower

Inequality doesn't just come out of the blue; it's intentionally created by decisions that elites make — usually behind closed doors, so those knocked...

How Inequality Kills

Photo by haymarketrebel | CC BY 2.0 The Global March of Neoliberalism: The World Inequality Report 2018 Contrary to the assumptions of left-liberal commentators, neoliberalism is...

UN Special Rapporteur Says Tax Bill Will Make the US “World Champion of Extreme...

As Congress prepares to vote on the controversial tax bill, the United Nations has issued a scathing report on poverty in the United States...
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Video: U.N. Special Rapporteur Says Tax Bill Will Make the U.S. “World Champion of...

https://democracynow.org - As Congress prepares to vote on the controversial tax bill, the United Nations has issued a scathing report on poverty in the...

The United States of Inequality

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Video: Liberal Elite Doesn’t Care Much About Inequality – RAI with Thomas Frank (3/6)

Bill Clinton accomplished a Republican agenda and Obama allowed the Tea Party to steal the economic populist moment, says Thomas Frank on Reality ... Via...
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Video: Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump Tax Plan to Worsen Inequality, Expand Loopholes

https://democracynow.org - Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz joins us to critique the Republican tax plan that could face a vote as early as...

Child poverty, inequality and environment missing from Tory budget, renowned economist tells RT —...

The UK government has dodged dealing with the serious issues of child poverty, rising inequality...

Inequality Out of Control: The Average 1% Household Made Over $2.5 Million in the...

Inequality, like a malignant tumor, is growing out of control, and the only response from Congress is to make it even worse. Those at...

Fund Local News to Fight Inequality

The writers at the New York branches of news outlets DNAinfo and Gothamist decided to unionize in late October. Rather than bargain with them,...

How Runaway Inequality Creates Runaway Global Warming

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The bottom half of humans own next to nothing, but they own as much as the world’s richest 80 individuals...

Organizing the Uprising: The Age of Poverty and Inequality

Book Review: Why Don't The Poor Rise Up?: Organizing The Twenty-First Century Resistance. (Editors: Truscello, M., And Nangwaya, A.) When academics and activists, drawn...

To Address Inequality, Let's Take on Monopolies

Most Americans know that our country has become extremely unequal. They may not know that the richest 0.1% of Americans own as much wealth as the...

Racial Inequality Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class

America’s middle class is under assault. Since 1983, national median wealth has declined by 20 percent, falling from $73,000 to $64,000 in 2013. And U.S....

Racial Inequality Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class

America’s middle class is under assault. Since 1983, national median wealth has declined by 20 percent, falling from $73,000 to $64,000 in 2013. And U.S....

‘Prince George’ or ‘George at ASDA’: Britain’s inequality chasm laid bare by school uniforms

As Prince George starts his first day of school decked out in a £370 uniform...

What Would It Really Take to Reverse Inequality?

What are the key drivers of extreme inequality?A more critical explanation for inequality is the ways in which the rules governing the economy have...

Addressing Inequality at the Root:

WASHINGTON - Almost half of all workers earn under $15 an hour and one in every seven Americans – 43 million people – live...

On Fighting Inequality, Which Nations Do More Than Pay Lip Service?

Two years ago, in 2015, just about all the nations in the world came together and agreed to make reducing inequality -- the gap...

NYC: Front Line of Income Inequality

New York City faced a crisis four decades ago with a massive electrical failure and fear of crime. Now, it...

Amazon Acquisition of Whole Foods Would Consolidate Market and Increase Inequality

Janine Jackson: Looking for news on Amazon's proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, you'll find yourself awash in articles like "Is Whole Foods a Healthy...

London Fire Fuels Movement to Tackle Inequality in Britain

Didn't Prime Minister Theresa May initially make some proposals to reduce inequality? When she first became prime minister less than a year ago, she spoke...

How Corporate Family Leave Policies Are Fueling Inequality

Some major U.S. corporations recently made headlines by creating relatively generous paid parental leave policies—but a new report out Wednesday shows that most companies...

Grotesque Inequality and Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are at unprecedented levels worldwide and the numbers are growing. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes it as an epidemic, and...

The Tax Code Perpetuates Inequality: 1 Percent of Taxpayers Receive More Than the Bottom...

Janine Jackson: The group ProPublica has exposed how efforts to make paying your taxes easy and free with a pre-filled filing from the government, as is done in parts...

Saqib Bhatti on Wells Fargo, Jeremie Greer on Taxes and Inequality

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Morbid Inequality: Now Just SIX Men Have as Much Wealth as Half the World's...

Yes, inequality is getting worse every year. In early 2016 Oxfam reported that just 62 individuals had the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity....

Class Society and Inequality: Debunking the Myth

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg is a meticulously documented investigation of the historical roots of class...

#FightInequality: Week of Action Aims to Tackle 'Crisis Reaching New Extremes'

Economic inequality tops the list of global risks, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Wednesday, just ahead of a global week of action that...

Income Inequality Is Off the Charts. Can Local Policies Make a Difference?

Occupy Wall Street protesters sleep on the sidewalk near the New York Stock Exchange, April 16, 2012. (Marcus Yam / The New York Times) The...

Britain in 2030: Brexit & robotics herald inequality, mass unemployment – IPPR

Britain faces a decade of low growth in the wake of Brexit with widening income...

Reducing Inequality in the Trump Era

In a lot of ways, 2016 was a big year for reducing inequality. Five states raised their minimum wage through citizen-led ballot initiatives. A job-killing...

Seventeen Ballot Initiatives to Watch if You Care About Inequality

During the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when levels of inequality were as sky-high as they are today, progressive reformers fought...

Mansions and Slums: the Inequality of Living Space

Photo by Abhisek Sarda | CC BY 2.0   Australians have the biggest homes in the world. New free-standing homes are an average 245.3 sqm –...
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Video: “America Divided”: New TV Series Explores Inequality from Water to Housing to Mass...

http://democracynow.org - With the presidential election less than five weeks away, the explosive new documentary "America Divided" explores inequality in ... Via Youtube

Celebrating the One Percent: Is Inequality Really Good for the Economy?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about inequality, but nobody does anything about it. What they do is to use “inequality” as a takeoff point...

Staggering class inequality ‘contributed to Brexit’ – Oxfam

Britain’s staggering social inequality – where the richest 1 percent possess more than 20 times...

The Need to Rid the World of Inequality

Legalized chattel slavery did not die out because it was an abhorrent system but because the system of wage labour and debt money offered...
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Video: Society Is Failing Our Families: Sister Simone Campbell on Inequality, Donald Trump &...

http://democracynow.org - Last week in Philadelphia, a caravan of Nuns on the Bus pulled up to the Democratic National Convention after visiting 13 states,...

Proportionate Responses to Madness, Inequality, Injustice, Death

The political and elite class have us in a continual experiment of the new Inquisition …the bourgeois order . . . has become a vampire...

NYT Lets $27 Million Man Brag About What He’s Doing for Income Inequality

They must have been high-fiving themselves at JPMorgan Chase’s PR offices this morning. Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, was given prime space on the New York...

NYT Lets $27 Million Man Brag About What He’s Doing for Income Inequality

They must have been high-fiving themselves at JPMorgan Chase’s PR offices this morning. Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, was given prime space on the New York...

People’s March descends on downtown Pittsburgh to protest inequality & hate

Published time: 8 Jul, 2016 20:31 Thousands are marching in downtown Pittsburgh over civil rights, inequality, and...
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Video: Tariq Ali: Global revolt against corporate capitalism & inequality – ‘On Contact’ with...

In the first episode of 'On Contact', host Chris Hedges discusses the global revolt against corporate capitalism with radical intellectual and author Tariq Ali. Via...

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Shift Away From Traditional Pensions Contributes to Inequality,...

In today's On the News segment: A report from the US Government Accountability Office shows the shift away from traditional pensions to...

Reports document growing income inequality, declining manufacturing pay

America in the 21st century Kate Randall A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that more than four-fifths of US metropolitan areas have seen...

Inequality Will Get Worse Until There’s a Revolution

Imagine, after a deep sleep, you suffered the fate of Rip Van Winkle and woke in the spring of 2040. What might you find? Among...

Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War.

Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the...

UK ‘behind’ developed world on child inequality – UNICEF

Britain is failing to address “concerning gaps” in children’s “health, education and income,” leaving the...

Ontario report: Inequality at levels “not seen since the Great Depression”

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Dylan Lubao A report published by the union-backed Ontario Common Front paints...

Inequality in the United States’ Political Class

In the lead-up to his New Hampshire primary victory, Senator Bernie Sanders boosted his public support by blasting Hillary Clinton's lucrative ties to Wall Street. This...

How Corporate Bamboozlers Intend to Widen Inequality in America

The basic problem facing the corporate and political powers that want you and me to swallow their Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is that they can't...

Inequality Against Democracy: 10 Facts About the 1 Percent

Economic inequality inspired Occupy Wall Street, a movement that in a few short months transformed our political discourse with the concept of the “1...

Sanders condemns US mass incarceration, income inequality

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has once again blasted the mass incarceration and vast income inequality in the country, two common themes in...
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Video: Part 2: Oxfam Says Privatization, Tax Havens Drive Global Inequality to Staggering Levels

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KPPK6c6jZk&w=580&h=385] http://democracynow.org - Extended web-only interview with Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. The group just issued the report, "An Economy ... Via Youtube

Here’s What the Millionaires at Davos Can Do About Global Inequality

(Image: Mike Licht / Flickr) Every winter the world’s political and business elite retreat to the Swiss mountain resort of Davos to think deep thoughts...

The World’s Inequality Countdown

Welcome to the world's inequality countdown. In 2010, some 388 people owned as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population. Jump...

AlterNet Cites FAIR on Media and Inequality

AlterNet associate editor (and frequent FAIR contributor) Adam Johnson cited FAIR’s research on media and poverty: Bringing up the issue of poverty to the debates’...

Income Inequality Is a Health Hazard – Even for the Rich

In the United States, the most affluent die at a greater rate in counties with higher income inequality than the poorest in counties with...

Inequality in America, the Fish that Rots from the Head

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Inequality of wealth is inequality of power. A study just released finds that "America’s 20 wealthiest people – a group that...
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Video: Climate Change and Inequality Are Driving War and Catastrophic Conflicts from Syria to...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u09mB-NgwM&w=580&h=385] As Democracy Now! broadcasts from the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris, France, we examine the connection between a warming planet and increasing conflicts...
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Video: The Global Poor vs. the 10%: How Climate Inequality Hurts the Most Vulnerable...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PImK8Q_YfP4&w=580&h=385] A new report by Oxfam has found the richest 10 percent of the world's population produce half of the Earth's climate-harming fossil fuel...

Have We Hit Peak Inequality?

When should we be alarmed about so much wealth in so few hands? The Great Recession and its anemic recovery only deepened the economic inequality...

Mind-Blowing Inequality as America’s 20 Richest Own More Than Bottom Half

Study of Forbes 400 finds nation's wealthiest own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country, or 194 million people by Lauren McCauley The divide...

Study: Pay inequality widening in UK

A new research says the pay packets of the UK’s top 350 company boardrooms shows 52 executives were paid at least 100 percent more...

Pay inequality between bosses & workers ‘widening’ every year, study shows

Research by the Labour Research Department into the pay packets of the top 350 company boardrooms shows 52 executives were paid at least 100...
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Video: Social inequality keeping the poor in ghetto & the rich healthy: World Medical...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQD0r55rslc&w=580&h=385] WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c36ByD7ziwk Advances in medicine and improved living conditions have led to better ... Via Youtube
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Video: Keiser Report: Radical Ideas to fix Inequality (E838) (ft Varoufakis)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8w0LOFw1-Q&w=580&h=385] Check Keiser Report website for more: http://www.maxkeiser.com/ In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert briefly discuss the former...
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Video: Our Economy Is Not Working: Joseph Stiglitz on Widening Income Inequality & the...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xx6hoOl2lQ&w=580&h=385] The fight over income inequality gained national attention when fast-food workers walked off the job in hundreds of cities across the country on...
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Video: New Research Says Income Inequality Worsened Under Fed’s Quantitative Easing Policy

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A-opvsTA0Q&w=580&h=385] PERI's Gerald Epstein also says there's no evidence that raising already-low interest rates will narrow the gap. Via Youtube

Eighty Percent of Us Owe Money to Institutions; Can We Leverage It to Reduce...

Among the most fascinating aspects of debt today is the fact that just about everybody has some. While we may not agree on which...
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Video: Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo Praises Pope for Linking Climate Fight to Inequality & Poverty

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLhXXP2jo78&w=580&h=385] Climate change has been a key focus of Pope Francis' visit to the United States. During his address to Congress on Thursday, the...

UK psychologists campaign against cuts and social inequality

By Ross Mitchell In August, British psychologists organised a five-day “Walk the Talk” march, to protest against budget cuts and social inequality and the effects they...
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Video: New Orleans After Katrina: Inequality Soars as Poor Continue to Be Left Behind...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7lfizGb8WY&w=580&h=385] Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a different city. The population of New Orleans is now approximately 385000–about 80 percent...

Yes, Racism Is Rooted in Economic Inequality

Hillary Clinton is an astute campaigner. In a Facebook Q&A the other day, she was asked about the Black Lives Matter protesters who interrupted...
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Video: Yellen Signals Interest Rate Hike, But Will It Decrease Inequality?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcuXu8TOy2I&w=580&h=385] PERI's Gerald Epstein says the Fed needs to expand its toolbox to get finance to Main Street because raising interest rates will hurt...

Inequality in Australia rising at one of world’s fastest rates

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Cheryl McDermid An Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) report has revealed...

US income inequality continued to soar in 2014

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Andre Damon Income inequality in the United States continued to grow in...

Message to Congress on Trade and Inequality: Wake Up, ‘Trickle-Down’ is Dead!

(Common Dreams) - The debate over trade is red-hot these days. Proponents in Congress are revving up this week to push through their ‘Plan B’...

Our "Stealth Politics" of Inequality

Average Americans today have essentially zilch influence on public policy. You don't need to trust your gut on that. Political scientist Benjamin Page has...

The Money Junkies And The Cause of Social Inequality

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Last week the New York Times released the results of an...
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Video: John Smith: Inequality a “worrying trend in British politics” General Election 12Jun1987

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9EGSP-DZAg&w=580&h=385] John Smith attended the Bilderberg conference in 1991 and kicked off about it all saying he wanted to bring some real economists to...

Inequality in US highest among developed countries

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published a new study that explores income inequality in its 34 states. The study, released on...

Growing Global Inequality Gap ‘Has Reached a Tipping Point’

'When such a large group in the population gains so little from economic growth, the social fabric frays and trust in institutions is weakened.' (Common...

Most voters think the government should prioritise fighting inequality over economic growth

A survey by pollsters YouGov found that of the main parties only Conservative supporters were significantly more likely to care about economic growth than...

The big lie: Obama, Hillary/Bill, Bush, “income inequality and violence”

by Jon Rappoport (NoMoreFakeNews) - “There are lots of ways to destroy communities. One of the most successful is: take jobs away. Cancel jobs. Then, cover this...

Inequality root cause of uprising

Racial and economic inequality is the root cause of the current protest movement that is spreading across the United States, says an American political commentator...

8 Ways to Reduce Global Inequality

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. The path to a more equal world is steep, but the signposts are clearly...

‘Eye popping’ City bonuses highlight scale of UK inequality — tax justice group

Bonuses paid by financial firms since the onslaught of the financial crisis will surpass £100 billion in 2015. Campaigners warn that Britain’s finance sector...

Rising Global Inequality and the Reign of Corporate Empire

Steven MacMillan Today’s world is increasingly becoming dominated by private special interests and multinational corporations who usurp political systems around the world, creating vast wealth...

Ebola: A Symptom of Economic Inequality

While the Ebola virus is spreading globally, its impact will mostly felt in the world’s poorer regions, especially Africa and the Asian subcontinent. Rob Prince Of...

Global Inequality Keeps Getting Worse

You need to know this. Global inequality just keeps getting worse. According to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development —...

Report says inequality is elitist ‘social engineering’

Inequality in Britain is so structured that it could be called “social engineering”, according to a new report. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission...

Peak Inequality: The .01% And The Impoverishment Of Society

An extensive analysis of economic conditions and government policy reveals that the need for significant systemic change is now a mathematical fact. Corruption, greed and economic inequality...

Report: US Income Inequality Dampening Economic Growth

Standard & Poor's says U.S. is approaching threshold of extreme levels inequality. Deirdre Fulton Increasing income inequality is hindering U.S. economic growth and weakening the country's...

Workers speak out against social inequality and rising costs of living

Todd Mason A new report put out jointly in June by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Maryland...

THE POLITICS AND ECONOMICS OF INEQUALITY: A LECTURE TO THE TOP…

Thursday, July 3, 2014

THE POLITICS AND ECONOMICS OF INEQUALITY: A LECTURE TO THE TOP ONE-TENTH OF 1 PERCENT

Here’s the Aspen Lecture I gave recently at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival. The irony of talking about inequality with an audience composed almost entirely of the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans was not lost on me. When I suggested that we return to the 70 percent income-tax rate on top incomes that prevailed before 1981, many looked as if I had punched them in the gut.

But I stressed it’s not a zero-sum game, and they’d do better with a smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy — growing because the vast middle class and the poor had the purchasing power to get the economy back on track — than they’re doing with a large share of an economy that’s barely growing at all.

It’s crucial that America’s most powerful and privileged understand what’s happening, and why they must support fundamental reform.

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Financial Bubble Implosions. Asset Price Inflation and Social Inequality

It is now common knowledge that the U.S. economy has in recent years been experiencing extremely uneven developments. While the financial sector has been...

Inequality doubles in the US between 2003-2013

Gabriel Black A report released Wednesday by researchers at the University of Michigan provides further confirmation of the enormous increase in wealth inequality in the United States...

‘Little Evidence’ Wealth Inequality Is Going to Change Anytime Soon

New study finds wealth gap doubled over past decade Andrea Germanos The wealth gap roughly doubled over the past decade–a sign of a trend of growing...

Hillary Clinton Talks Income Inequality, Critics Don’t Buy It

Every presidential election cycle heats up quicker than the last, with the dismaying inevitability of Christmas marketing in May. With that in mind, it...

Growing social inequality in Germany

Denis Krasnin The Central Equality Association, an alliance of social welfare organisations, has published its annual report for 2014 under the title “Society: In crisis?”...

Why Even Business Leaders Now Realize Widening Inequality is a Terrible Problem

A few weeks ago I was visited in my office by the chairman of one of the country’s biggest high-tech firms who wanted to...

Global Inequality: The Hard facts

On a global level, instead of international tax and monetary policies shrinking global inequality, they have helped do the opposite at a great expense...

How to Shrink Inequality

Some inequality of income and wealth is inevitable, if not necessary. If an economy is to function well, people need incentives to work hard and innovate.

The pertinent question is not whether income and wealth inequality is good or bad. It is at what point do these inequalities become so great as to pose a serious threat to our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.

We are near or have already reached that tipping point. As French economist Thomas Piketty shows beyond doubt in his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” we are heading back to levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. The dysfunctions of our economy and politics are not self-correcting when it comes to inequality.

But a return to the Gilded Age is not inevitable. It is incumbent on us to dedicate ourselves to reversing this diabolical trend. But in order to reform the system, we need a political movement for shared prosperity.

Herewith a short summary of what has happened, how it threatens the foundations of our society, why it has happened, and what we must do to reverse it.

What has Happened

The data on widening inequality are remarkably and disturbingly clear. The Congressional Budget Office has found that between 1979 and 2007, the onset of the Great Recession, the gap in income—after federal taxes and transfer payments—more than tripled between the top 1 percent of the population and everyone else. The after-tax, after-transfer income of the top 1 percent increased by 275 percent, while it increased less than 40 percent for the middle three quintiles of the population and only 18 percent for the bottom quintile.

The gap has continued to widen in the recovery. According to the Census Bureau, median family and median household incomes have been falling, adjusted for inflation; while according to the data gathered by my colleague Emmanuel Saez, the income of the wealthiest 1 percent has soared by 31 percent. In fact, Saez has calculated that 95 percent of all economic gains since the recovery began have gone to the top 1 percent.

Wealth has become even more concentrated than income. An April 2013 Pew Research Center report found that from 2009 to 2011, “the mean net worth of households in the upper 7 percent of wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28 percent, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93 percent dropped by 4 percent.”

Why It Threatens Our Society

This trend is now threatening the three foundation stones of our society: our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.

The economy. In the United States, consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of economic activity. If consumers don’t have adequate purchasing power, businesses have no incentive to expand or hire additional workers. Because the rich spend a smaller proportion of their incomes than the middle class and the poor, it stands to reason that as a larger and larger share of the nation’s total income goes to the top, consumer demand is dampened. If the middle class is forced to borrow in order to maintain its standard of living, that dampening may come suddenly—when debt bubbles burst.

Consider that the two peak years of inequality over the past century—when the top 1 percent garnered more than 23 percent of total income—were 1928 and 2007. Each of these periods was preceded by substantial increases in borrowing, which ended notoriously in the Great Crash of 1929 and the near-meltdown of 2008.

The anemic recovery we are now experiencing is directly related to the decline in median household incomes after 2009, coupled with the inability or unwillingness of consumers to take on additional debt and of banks to finance that debt—wisely, given the damage wrought by the bursting debt bubble. We cannot have a growing economy without a growing and buoyant middle class. We cannot have a growing middle class if almost all of the economic gains go to the top 1 percent.

Equal opportunity. Widening inequality also challenges the nation’s core ideal of equal opportunity, because it hampers upward mobility. High inequality correlates with low upward mobility. Studies are not conclusive because the speed of upward mobility is difficult to measure.

But even under the unrealistic assumption that its velocity is no different today than it was thirty years ago—that someone born into a poor or lower-middle-class family today can move upward at the same rate as three decades ago—widening inequality still hampers upward mobility. That’s simply because the ladder is far longer now. The distance between its bottom and top rungs, and between every rung along the way, is far greater. Anyone ascending it at the same speed as before will necessarily make less progress upward.

In addition, when the middle class is in decline and median household incomes are dropping, there are fewer possibilities for upward mobility. A stressed middle class is also less willing to share the ladder of opportunity with those below it. For this reason, the issue of widening inequality cannot be separated from the problems of poverty and diminishing opportunities for those near the bottom. They are one and the same.

Democracy. The connection between widening inequality and the undermining of democracy has long been understood. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is famously alleged to have said in the early years of the last century, an era when robber barons dumped sacks of money on legislators’ desks, “We may have a democracy, or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

As income and wealth flow upward, political power follows. Money flowing to political campaigns, lobbyists, think tanks, “expert” witnesses and media campaigns buys disproportionate influence. With all that money, no legislative bulwark can be high enough or strong enough to protect the democratic process.

The threat to our democracy also comes from the polarization that accompanies high levels of inequality. Partisanship—measured by some political scientists as the distance between median Republican and Democratic roll-call votes on key economic issues—almost directly tracks with the level of inequality. It reached high levels in the first decades of the twentieth century when inequality soared, and has reached similar levels in recent years.

When large numbers of Americans are working harder than ever but getting nowhere, and see most of the economic gains going to a small group at the top, they suspect the game is rigged. Some of these people can be persuaded that the culprit is big government; others, that the blame falls on the wealthy and big corporations. The result is fierce partisanship, fueled by anti-establishment populism on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.

Why It Has Happened

Between the end of World War II and the early 1970s, the median wage grew in tandem with productivity. Both roughly doubled in those years, adjusted for inflation. But after the 1970s, productivity continued to rise at roughly the same pace as before, while wages began to flatten. In part, this was due to the twin forces of globalization and labor-replacing technologies that began to hit the American workforce like strong winds—accelerating into massive storms in the 1980s and ’90s, and hurricanes since then.

Containers, satellite communication technologies, and cargo ships and planes radically reduced the cost of producing goods anywhere around the globe, thereby eliminating many manufacturing jobs or putting downward pressure on other wages. Automation, followed by computers, software, robotics, computer-controlled machine tools and widespread digitization, further eroded jobs and wages. These forces simultaneously undermined organized labor. Unionized companies faced increasing competitive pressures to outsource, automate or move to nonunion states.

These forces didn’t erode all incomes, however. In fact, they added to the value of complex work done by those who were well educated, well connected and fortunate enough to have chosen the right professions. Those lucky few who were perceived to be the most valuable saw their pay skyrocket.

But that’s only part of the story. Instead of responding to these gale-force winds with policies designed to upgrade the skills of Americans, modernize our infrastructure, strengthen our safety net and adapt the workforce—and pay for much of this with higher taxes on the wealthy—we did the reverse. We began disinvesting in education, job training and infrastructure. We began shredding our safety net. We made it harder for many Americans to join unions. (The decline in unionization directly correlates with the decline of the portion of income going to the middle class.) And we reduced taxes on the wealthy.

We also deregulated. Financial deregulation in particular made finance the most lucrative industry in America, as it had been in the 1920s. Here again, the parallels between the 1920s and recent years are striking, reflecting the same pattern of inequality.

Other advanced economies have faced the same gale-force winds but have not suffered the same inequalities as we have because they have helped their workforces adapt to the new economic realities—leaving the United States the most unequal of all advanced nations by far.

What We Must Do

There is no single solution for reversing widening inequality. Thomas Piketty’s monumental book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” paints a troubling picture of societies dominated by a comparative few, whose cumulative wealth and unearned income overshadow the majority who rely on jobs and earned income. But our future is not set in stone, and Piketty’s description of past and current trends need not determine our path in the future. Here are ten initiatives that could reverse the trends described above:

1) Make work pay. The fastest-growing categories of work are retail, restaurant (including fast food), hospital (especially orderlies and staff), hotel, childcare and eldercare. But these jobs tend to pay very little. A first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation; abolish the tipped minimum wage; and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. No American who works full time should be in poverty.

2) Unionize low-wage workers. The rise and fall of the American middle class correlates almost exactly with the rise and fall of private-sector unions, because unions gave the middle class the bargaining power it needed to secure a fair share of the gains from economic growth. We need to reinvigorate unions, beginning with low-wage service occupations that are sheltered from global competition and from labor-replacing technologies. Lower-wage Americans deserve more bargaining power.

3) Invest in education. This investment should extend from early childhood through world-class primary and secondary schools, affordable public higher education, good technical education and lifelong learning. Education should not be thought of as a private investment; it is a public good that helps both individuals and the economy. Yet for too many Americans, high-quality education is unaffordable and unattainable. Every American should have an equal opportunity to make the most of herself or himself. High-quality education should be freely available to all, starting at the age of 3 and extending through four years of university or technical education.

4) Invest in infrastructure. Many working Americans—especially those on the lower rungs of the income ladder—are hobbled by an obsolete infrastructure that generates long commutes to work, excessively high home and rental prices, inadequate Internet access, insufficient power and water sources, and unnecessary environmental degradation. Every American should have access to an infrastructure suitable to the richest nation in the world.

5) Pay for these investments with higher taxes on the wealthy. Between the end of World War II and 1981 (when the wealthiest were getting paid a far lower share of total national income), the highest marginal federal income tax rate never fell below 70 percent, and the effective rate (including tax deductions and credits) hovered around 50 percent. But with Ronald Reagan’s tax cut of 1981, followed by George W. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the taxes on top incomes were slashed, and tax loopholes favoring the wealthy were widened. The implicit promise—sometimes made explicit—was that the benefits from such cuts would trickle down to the broad middle class and even to the poor. As I’ve shown, however, nothing trickled down. At a time in American history when the after-tax incomes of the wealthy continue to soar, while median household incomes are falling, and when we must invest far more in education and infrastructure, it seems appropriate to raise the top marginal tax rate and close tax loopholes that disproportionately favor the wealthy.

6) Make the payroll tax progressive. Payroll taxes account for 40 percent of government revenues, yet they are not nearly as progressive as income taxes. One way to make the payroll tax more progressive would be to exempt the first $15,000 of wages and make up the difference by removing the cap on the portion of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

7) Raise the estate tax and eliminate the “stepped-up basis” for determining capital gains at death. As Piketty warns, the United States, like other rich nations, could be moving toward an oligarchy of inherited wealth and away from a meritocracy based on labor income. The most direct way to reduce the dominance of inherited wealth is to raise the estate tax by triggering it at $1 million of wealth per person rather than its current $5.34 million (and thereafter peg those levels to inflation). We should also eliminate the “stepped-up basis” rule that lets heirs avoid capital gains taxes on the appreciation of assets that occurred before the death of their benefactors.

8) Constrain Wall Street. The financial sector has added to the burdens of the middle class and the poor through excesses that were the proximate cause of an economic crisis in 2008, similar to the crisis of 1929. Even though capital requirements have been tightened and oversight strengthened, the biggest banks are still too big to fail, jail or curtail—and therefore capable of generating another crisis. The Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial- and investment-banking functions, should be resurrected in full, and the size of the nation’s biggest banks should be capped.

9) Give all Americans a share in future economic gains. The richest 10 percent of Americans own roughly 80 percent of the value of the nation’s capital stock; the richest 1 percent own about 35 percent. As the returns to capital continue to outpace the returns to labor, this allocation of ownership further aggravates inequality. Ownership should be broadened through a plan that would give every newborn American an “opportunity share” worth, say, $5,000 in a diversified index of stocks and bonds—which, compounded over time, would be worth considerably more. The share could be cashed in gradually starting at the age of 18.

10) Get big money out of politics. Last, but certainly not least, we must limit the political influence of the great accumulations of wealth that are threatening our democracy and drowning out the voices of average Americans. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be reversed—either by the Court itself, or by constitutional amendment. In the meantime, we must move toward the public financing of elections—for example, with the federal government giving presidential candidates, as well as House and Senate candidates in general elections, $2 for every $1 raised from small donors.

Building a Movement

It’s doubtful that these and other measures designed to reverse widening inequality will be enacted anytime soon. Having served in Washington, I know how difficult it is to get anything done unless the broad public understands what’s at stake and actively pushes for reform.

That’s why we need a movement for shared prosperity—a movement on a scale similar to the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century, which fueled the first progressive income tax and antitrust laws; the suffrage movement, which won women the vote; the labor movement, which helped animate the New Deal and fueled the great prosperity of the first three decades after World War II; the civil rights movement, which achieved the landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts; and the environmental movement, which spawned the National Environmental Policy Act and other critical legislation.

Time and again, when the situation demands it, America has saved capitalism from its own excesses. We put ideology aside and do what’s necessary. No other nation is as fundamentally pragmatic. We will reverse the trend toward widening inequality eventually. We have no choice. But we must organize and mobilize in order that it be done.

[This essay appears in the current edition of “The Nation.”]

The Four Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Inequality

Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an air-tight case that we’re heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the nineteenth-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven’t stopped lying about what’s happening and what to do about it.

Herewith, the four biggest right-wing lies about inequality, followed by the truth.

Lie number one: The rich and CEOs are America’s job creators. So we dare not tax them.

The truth is the middle class and poor are the job-creators through their purchases of goods and services. If they don’t have enough purchasing power because they’re not paid enough, companies won’t create more jobs and economy won’t grow.

We’ve endured the most anemic recovery on record because most Americans don’t have enough money to get the economy out of first gear. The economy is barely growing and real wages continue to drop.

We keep having false dawns. An average of 200,000 jobs were created in the United States over the last three months, but huge numbers of Americans continue to drop out of the labor force.

Lie number two: People are paid what they’re worth in the market. So we shouldn’t tamper with pay.

The facts contradict this. CEOs who got 30 times the pay of typical workers forty years ago now get 300 times their pay not because they’ve done such a great job but because they control their compensation committees and their stock options have ballooned.

Meanwhile, most American workers earn less today than they did forty years ago, adjusted for inflation, not because they’re working less hard now but because they don’t have strong unions bargaining for them.

More than a third of all workers in the private sector were unionized forty years ago; now, fewer than 7 percent belong to a union. 

Lie number three: Anyone can make it in America with enough guts, gumption, and intelligence. So we don’t need to do anything for poor and lower-middle class kids.

The truth is we do less than nothing for poor and lower-middle class  kids. Their schools don’t have enough teachers or staff, their textbooks are outdated, they lack science labs, their school buildings are falling apart.

We’re the only rich nation to spend less educating poor kids than we do educating kids from wealthy families. 

All told, 42 percent of children born to poor families will still be in poverty as adults – a higher percent than in any other advanced nation. 

Lie number four: Increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs. So we shouldn’t raise it.

In fact, studies show that increases in the minimum wage put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it – resulting in more jobs, and counteracting any negative employment effects of an increase in the minimum. 

Three of my colleagues here at the University of California at Berkeley — Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, and Michael Reich – have compared adjacent counties and communities across the United States, some with higher minimum wages than others but similar in every other way.

They found no loss of jobs in those with the higher minimums.

The truth is, America’s lurch toward widening inequality can be reversed. But doing so will require bold political steps.

At the least, the rich must pay higher taxes in order to pay for better-quality education for kids from poor and middle-class families. Labor unions must be strengthened, especially in lower-wage occupations, in order to give workers the bargaining power they need to get better pay. And the minimum wage must be raised. 

Don’t listen to the right-wing lies about inequality. Know the truth, and act on it. 

The Pope Is Completely Wrong About Capitalism And Inequality

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Inequality, Productivity, and WhatsApp

If you ever wonder what’s fueling America’s staggering inequality, ponder Facebook’s acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp .

According to news reports today, Facebook has agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion.

That’s the highest price paid for a startup in history. It’s $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more than twice what Microsoft paid for Skype.

(To be precise, $12 billion of the $19 billion will be in the form of shares in Facebook, $4 billion will be in cash, and $3 billion in restricted stock to WhatsApp staff, which will vest in four years.)

Given that gargantuan amount, you might think Whatsapp is a big company. You’d be wrong. It has 55 employees, including its two young founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton.

Whatsapp’s value doesn’t come from making anything. It doesn’t need a large organization to distribute its services or implement its strategy.

It value comes instead from two other things that require only a handful of people. First is its technology — a simple but powerful app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio and video messages through the Internet.

The second is its network effect: The more people use it, the more other people want and need to use it in order to be connected. To that extent, it’s like Facebook — driven by connectivity.  

Whatsapp’s worldwide usage has more than doubled in the past nine months, to 450 million people — and it’s growing by around a million users every day. On December 31, 2013, it handled 54 billion messages (making its service more popular than Twitter, now valued at about $30 billion.)

How does it make money? The first year of usage is free. After that, customers pay a small fee. At the scale it’s already achieved, even a small fee generates big bucks. And if it gets into advertising it could reach more eyeballs than any other medium in history. It already has a database that could be mined in ways that reveal huge amounts of information about a significant percentage of the world’s population.

The winners here are truly big winners. WhatsApp’s fifty-five employees are now enormously rich. Its two founders are now billionaires. And the partners of the venture capital firm that financed it have also reaped a fortune.

And the rest of us? We’re winners in the sense that we have an even more efficient way to connect with each other.

But we’re not getting more jobs.

In the emerging economy, there’s no longer any correlation between the size of a customer base and the number of employees necessary to serve them. In fact, the combination of digital technologies with huge network effects is pushing the ratio of employees to customers to new lows (WhatsApp’s 55 employees are all its 450 million customers need).

Meanwhile, the ranks of postal workers, call-center operators, telephone installers, the people who lay and service miles of cable, and the millions of other communication workers, are dwindling — just as retail workers are succumbing to Amazon, office clerks and secretaries to Microsoft, and librarians and encyclopedia editors to Google.   

Productivity keeps growing, as do corporate profits. But jobs and wages are not growing. Unless we figure out how to bring all of them back into line – or spread the gains more widely – our economy cannot generate enough demand to sustain itself, and our society cannot maintain enough cohesion to keep us together.

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The tenacity of the Yankees... is a result of their theoretical backwardness and their Anglo-Saxon contempt for all theory. They are punished for this by a superstitious belief in every philosophical and economic absurdity, by religious sectarianism, and by idiotic economic experiments, out of which, however, certain bourgeois cliques profit.” Frederich Engels, letter to Sorge, London, January 6, 1892. Translation by Leonard E. Mins (1938)
One hundred and twenty-two years later, the Yankees remain bereft of theory while clinging to every outlandish scheme promising to curtail the appetite of an insatiable capitalist system. Churning on without interruption, capitalism generates greater and greater wealth for its masters while devouring everyone else in its wake. From regulatory reform to alternative life styles, from tax policies to cooperative endeavors, self-proclaimed opponents of this rapacious economic behemoth have announced newly contrived exits from its destructive path. While “...people [in the US] must become conscious of their own social interests by making blunder upon blunder...” as Engels put it in another letter to his US friend Frederich Sorge, the contented capitalists merrily continue profiting.
Engels' brutal indictment of the North American allergy to theory and the affinity for unfocussed activism was tempered by an optimism based more upon hope than reality: “The movement itself will go through many and disagreeable phases, disagreeable particularly for those who live in the country and have to suffer them. But I am firmly convinced that things are now going ahead over there... notwithstanding the fact that the Americans will learn almost exclusively in practice for the time being, and not so much from theory.”
That conviction may well seem misplaced today as many of those who claim opposition to capitalism continue to decry theory and invest instead in utopian schemes and isolate burning issues from a general critique of capitalism and its social policies.
Nothing illustrates the Engels' diagnosis more than the current public discussion of inequality and poverty. It is tempting to call the new-found interest a fad or fashion, since it seems to spring from nothing more than a sitting President's alarm. But the present-day rage to address economic inequality is far more cynical. With interim national elections on the horizon and a competitive Presidential race on its heels, Democratic Party leaders served notice on the lame-duck President that it is time again to rouse the Party base, the labor unions, the progressive single-issue organizations, internet lefties, and the deep-pockets social liberals. Hence, despite the fact that inequality and poverty are neither newly discovered nor newly arrived, the alarm goes up: inequality is with us! Poverty is on the rise!
It is true, of course. Only a few outliers would deny that income and wealth growth for most people in the US have been stagnant or declining since some time in the 1970s (Even right-wing ideologue, Representative Paul Ryan, concedes that there are 47 million US citizens living in poverty). Health care has been in crisis, with millions left without any significant health options and untold numbers dying prematurely. The education system, like the physical infrastructure, is underfunded and crumbling. Employment continues to decline as discouraged workers exit the labor market. In short, poverty, disease, declining living standards, crime-- all the attendant problems of social and political neglect-- continue unabated, increasing dramatically over the last forty years.
At the same time, a privileged minority has enjoyed increasing income and wealth, a sharp rise in that group's share of the economic pie. As the economy marched forward, the “fortunate few” marched forward as well, but at an ever accelerating pace.
Without Theory
Data, not stultifying political or ideological rhetoric, must drive our agenda.” So says rising Democratic Party superstar, Senator Cory Booker, in a newsprint debate with Republican policy icon, Representative Paul Ryan. Sponsored by The Wall Street Journal(A Half Century of the War on Poverty, 1-25/26-14) to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Lyndon Johnson-era “War on Poverty,” the two contestants demonstrate the futility of addressing poverty without a broad and deep understanding of its sources and its history-- the “how” and “why” of social theory. Representing the “respectable” Left in the US two-party political pantomime, Booker rehearses a host of liberal think tank palliatives based on education, job training, apprenticeships, de-criminalized drug use, and a bare-bones safety-net designed to shrink the number of those unlucky enough to fall below official government floors.
Solutions, for Booker, come through the tools of business and commerce: investments, cost-benefit analysis, returns on investment, cost savings etc. Rather than improving peoples' lives, the task of reducing poverty resembles an MBA project of this new generation of Democratic Party politician. He draws on suspect, often out-of-date correlations once found between education levels and future economic outcomes to sell education as a magic elixir. These long unexamined verities are now shaken by the absence of good paying jobs, the declining worth of higher degrees, and the enormous growth of student debt. Booker's feeble defense of the leaky safety-net that remains as a tarnished legacy of the New Deal and Johnson's anti-poverty legislation centers on food stamps and Medicaid, a formula to barely sustain life, but to not escape poverty. Add a dash of Moynihan-like sermon against single-motherhood and you have the anti-poverty program of the new generation of Democratic Party leaders-- truly a patchwork of “economic absurdity” worthy of Engels' contempt.
As for the Republicans, they argue for nothing, only against Democratic Party plans. Theirs is a simple contention: Forty-seven million US citizens remain in poverty. While the “War on Poverty” may have shifted the victims of poverty demographically, the poor are still with us and in great, stubborn numbers. For Representative Ryan, charity and moral suasion-- the remedies of two centuries ago-- are the only alternative to liberal interventionism and its failure.
Now liberals will recoil from these harsh conclusions. They can and will point to significant pockets of improvement, temporary declines in the poverty rate, or promising social experiments. But what they can neither explain nor address is the persistent reproduction of poverty by our economic system. For nearly forty years, measures of income and wealth inequality have grown, signally an inevitable increase in poverty. Even those ill-disposed to theory can surely see a relationship between growing inequality and increasing poverty.
Glaringly absent from Booker's program is any significant plan to redistribute income and wealth. We can attribute that absence to the near complete ownership of elected officials of both parties by the corporations and the wealthy. But on the periphery of mainstream politics, voices can be heard advocating measures both to grow the economy beyond mass impoverishment and/or to redistribute wealth through taxation.
The Krugmans, Reichs, and Stiglitzs and the like enjoy a measure of independence afforded by their academic tenure and widely celebrated intellectual stature, allowing them to somewhat sidestep fealty to corporate masters. As esteemed economists, they understand that the continued growth of inequality will ultimately bring harsh economic or social consequences. But their nostrums, like those of the political establishment, only treat the symptoms of a persistent malady that continually generates inequality, unemployment, and crises. A study of economic history demonstrates that bursts of economic growth and progressive taxation have indeed tempered, even slightly reversed inequality and the growth of poverty, but over time both return to their former trajectory.
A Dose of Theory
A new study by a French economist, Thomas Piketty, brings forward the view that the long-term tendency of capitalism is to produce and reproduce inequality. Though his book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is not scheduled for release in the English language until March, it has already generated serious discussion across the spectrum of the US commentariat. New York Times columnist, Thomas B. Edsell, asserts that the book “suggests that traditional liberal government policies on spending, taxation and regulation will fail to diminish inequality.” (Capitalism vs. Democracy, 1-28-2014)
How can that be? The liberal and social democratic consensus cries out for government spending, progressive taxation, and corporate regulation as the answer to growing inequality. A gaggle of Nobel laureates embrace these tools, attesting that they are effective means to combat inequality. What does Piketty see that they do not? 
History.
Piketty is not afraid to study the history of inequality, a necessary condition for any proper socioeconomic theory. What he finds, according to Edsell, is that:
...the six-decade period of growing equality in western nations – starting roughly with the onset of World War I and extending into the early 1970s – was unique and highly unlikely to be repeated. That period, Piketty suggests, represented an exception to the more deeply rooted pattern of growing inequality.
According to Piketty, those halcyon six decades were the result of two world wars and the Great Depression.
In other words, growing inequality is the normal for capitalism and its shrinkage the aberration. Apologists would have us believe otherwise, that capitalism does not carry a gene for inequality. Unlike his Yankee counterparts, Piketty is willing to study the economy as a system-- capitalism-- and explore its historicaltrajectory. Both methodological dispositions give rise to a theory of inequality, an incomplete theory, but a theory no less.
Now Piketty and his frequent collaborator Emmanuel Saez are widely acknowledged to be among the leading experts documenting inequality world wide as well as in the US. Undoubtedly this gives a high plausibility to his core claim to identify a strong correlation between capitalism's typical course and the growth of inequality.
Of course students of Marxist theory or followers of this blog should not be surprised by Piketty's findings. For over a hundred and fifty years Marxists have maintained that inequality and impoverishment are necessary products of the capitalist system. That is, the logic of capitalism necessitates growing inequality. By locating profit at the heart of the capitalist organism, Marxists understand that wealth will invariably flow to the tiny minority of the owners of capital and away from the producers. It is this process of profit generation that overwhelms all barriers, all “reforms,” to channel society's resources to the capitalist class.
Piketty's argument is a welcome antidote to the paucity of explanatory theory presented by the liberal and social democratic punditry. The controversy stirred by Piketty's argument well before its English-language availability is a sure sign that he offers something beyond the conventional.
However, his interpretation of the long-term trajectory of capitalism, especially its departure from the norm, may be incomplete. He reportedly sees the time between 1914 and 1973-- a time when he claims that the growth of inequality was uncharacteristically retarded-- as a period when the after-tax rate of return on capital lagged behind economic growth. One could quibble that this is perhaps too simple and mechanical, the era was certainly one in which many factors worked to change the “normal” course of capitalism and often buffered the growth of inequality, together constituting a tendency.
But it would be a simplification to locate these factors entirely in economic or political events while overlooking policy. For example, throughout most of the twentieth century capitalism paid an anti-Soviet levy or rent to the working class as an inoculation against the threat of socialist or Communist ideology. That factor played no small part in moderating inequality, creating the mirage of working class equality, and ensuring labor peace.
Closer examination of Piketty's interesting thesis must await publication of the book.
For a Robust Theory of Inequality
We needn't wait for Piketty, however, to find an adequate theory of inequality. Elements of Karl Marx's theory of socioeconomic development offer the key to understanding the production and reproduction of inequality in our time as well as earlier times.
There are, of course, many possible causes for the concentration of wealth. Theft, good fortune, guile, dishonesty are only a few of the ways that humans have redistributed wealth since antiquity. Such causes occur often in history, but only haphazardly. The only systemiccause of inequality is the expropriation of the labor of one by another under the protection of social norms. Marx called this process exploitation. He was the first to identify its forms and its trajectory. He was the first to explain adequately the mechanisms of expropriation. Armed with Marx's theory of exploitation, the inequalities of slavery, feudalism, and, of course, capitalism are revealed with all their specific features. Thus, the concentration of wealth produced by expropriation of the labor of slaves, serfs, and employed workers is connected to unique socially protected forms of exploitation.
Exploitation explains how inequality arises and continues. Without recognition of this mechanism embedded in capitalist economic activity, liberals and social democrats cannot explain the persistence of inequality. They will apply inadequate reformist measures to stem the tide of wealth and income concentration springing from capitalist exploitation, but the tide will not be forestalled by reforms.
It cannot be overemphasized that inequality springs from a process, a process definitive of capitalist economic relations. Outside of the Marxist orbit, commentators view inequality as a state-of-affairs, a state-of-affairs existing between various social groupings. While they authentically decry the misery generated by inequality, they are at a lost to find the proper quantitative relationship between different groups constitutive of society. Sure, some have more than others, but what is the socially just distribution of society's goods? Granted that inequalities exist, what is the optimal way to assign shares of wealth? How much and for whom? Should everyone get an equal share? Should those on the bottom get a 10% larger share? 20%? These are the questions that perplex the non-Marxists.
The best answer from the best minds of Anglo-American social philosophy is a pretty nasty and unsatisfactory principle called Pareto efficiency. Rather than solving the inequality puzzle, Pareto efficiency justifies an unequal state-of-affairs provided that it does not diminish the well-being of others, including the least advantaged. Because of the theoretical intractability of settling on exactly what constitutes a just distribution of goods and services, modern bourgeois academic philosophers attempt to establish what would be the least objectionable, but unequal state-of-affairs. Nothing demonstrates the theoretical barrenness of Anglo-American social thought than this misguided, impossible task of determining distributive justice once and for all and for all times and places. There is no idealized state-of-affairs that could answer this question. The question itself is misguided.
Rather, in our time, the task of reducing inequality, of advancing distributive justice, is to eliminate exploitation. There can be no ideal, perfect solution to the inequality issue, but there is a way of eliminating the primary cause of indefensible inequality in a capitalist society: end labor exploitation.
Liberals and social democrats have no answer to the rightist challenge that workers today are immeasurably better off under capitalism than they were two hundred years ago. It is certainly true that most workers now live longer, are healthier, and have more free time than did their counterparts two centuries earlier. Marxist theory does not challenge that point. Instead, it asserts that the logic of the capitalist system tends to impoverish working people at all times. Whether capitalism succeeds in suppressing living standards is entirely a different matter. Other factors-- labor fight back, labor shortages, the cheapening of the means of subsistence, etc.-- may buffer, even overwhelm this tendency for a time, but the tendency never disappears.
The tendency towards impoverishment flows logically from the Marxist understanding that labor under capitalism is a commodity like any other commodity. Capitalists buy and sell the labor power of workers just as they do any other factor of production or distribution. And as with any other cost, they seek to pay the lowest possible price for it. Accordingly, the capitalist system, through the cost-cutting actions of individual capitalists (or corporations), is constantly pressuring the compensation of workers downward to levels of mere maintenance-- that is, poverty. The only systemic constraint upon that pressure is the necessity of securing labor in the future.
Therefore, we find in Marxism a basis for understanding (and addressing) inequality and poverty. Thanks to a theory that identifies the two closely related afflictions with specific historically evolved mechanisms and that connects their production and reproduction to economic systems, we can avoid the muddiness and ineffectiveness of the liberal and social democratic approaches. Both mystify the causes, offer a balm instead of a cure, and fail to halt the continuing reproduction of inequality and poverty. Like quacks and faith healers, liberals and social democrats may make the patient more comfortable, but only excising the cancer of capitalism will finally end the suffering.


Zoltan Zigedy




Inequality Kills the Golden Goose

Adam Smith  RINF Alternative News "This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable...

How Obama and his corporate masters are creating more inequality

Michael Payne  RINF Alternative News It's time President Obama clarifies the massive conflict that exists with his initiative dealing with the inequality of wealth and income...

Why Widening Inequality is Hobbling Equal Opportunity

Is it to be inequality or equal opportunity? 

Under a headline “Obama Moves to the Right in a Partisan War of Words,” The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes notes Democratic operatives have been hitting back hard against the President or any other Democratic politician talking about income inequality, preferring that the Democrats talk about equality of opportunity instead.

"However salient reducing inequality may be," writes Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, “it is demonstrably less important to voters than any other number of priorities, incudlng reducing poverty.”

The President may be listening. Wags noticed that in his State of the Union, Obama spoke ten times of increasing “opportunity” and only twice of income inequality, while in a December speech he spoke of income inequality two dozen times. 

But the President and other Democrats — and even Republicans, for that matter — should focus on the facts, not the polls, and not try to dress up what’s been happening with more soothing words and phrases. 

In fact, America’s savage inequality is the main reason equal opportunity is fading and poverty is growing. Since the “recovery” began, 95% of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, and median incomes have dropped. This is a continuation of the trend we’ve seen for decades. As a result:

(1) The sinking middle class no longer has enough purchasing power to keep the economy growing and creating sufficient jobs. The share of working-age Americans still in the labor force is the lowest in more than thirty years. 

(2) The shrinking middle isn’t generating enough tax revenue for adequate education, training, safety nets, and family services. And when they’re barely holding on, they can’t afford to — and don’t want to — pay more.

(3) Meanwhile, America’s rich are accumulating not just more of the country’s total income and wealth, but also the political power that accompanies money. And they’re using that power to reduce their own taxes, and get corporate welfare (subsidies, bailouts, tax cuts) for their businesses.

All this means less equality of opportunity in America. 

Obama was correct in December when he called widening inequality “the defining challenge of our time.” He mustn’t back down now even if Democratic pollsters tell him to. If we’re ever to reverse this noxious trend, Americans have to hear the truth. 

Unprecedented Inequality Under Obama

Unprecedented Inequality under Obama

by Stephen Lendman

It's unprecedented in modern memory. Obama declared war on social America. He's gone all out to destroy it altogether. More on this below.

On Tuesday, he'll deliver his annual State of the Union address. Expect empty promises. Expect duplicitous rhetoric. 

Expect beginning-to-end demagogic boilerplate. Expect a litany of lies. Expect pledges without follow-through.

Expect business as usual to continue. Expect deepening poverty, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, human suffering and deprivation. 

Expect continued force-fed austerity. Expect popular needs more than ever going begging. Expect social inequality increasing. Expect a widening wealth gap.

Obama aids lied. They said he's got a "year of action" in mind. He'll address inequality, they claim. 

The same way he benefitted Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites and super-rich elites throughout five years in office.

The same way he plans more of the same ahead. The same way he treats ordinary people callously. The same way he's mindless of human suffering.

The same way he force-feeds austerity. The same way he wants Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid handed to Wall Street crooks for exploitation and profit.

The same way he's waging war on humanity. The same way he broke every major promise made. 

Clinton administration speechwriter Jeff Shesol said:

"This presidency is not going to be defined from here forward by big legislative initiatives." He's a lame duck. Republicans control the House. Perhaps the Senate after November 2014 elections.

Obama has three years left in office, said Shesol. "I think people will want to get the sense that he knows how to operate in this environment and that there is a strategy."

It''s same old, same old. It's benefitting corporate giants and super-rich elites. It's doing it at the expense of all others. It's saying one thing. It's doing other.

It's continuing what he began on day one in office. Never perhaps in US history has a president more betrayed his faithful. 

Never have so few benefitted at the expense of so many. Presidential advisor Dan Pfeiffer lied saying his State of the Union address will offer "opportunity, action and optimism."

He'll promise "a set of real, concrete, practical proposals." He'll pledge policies for strengthening economic growth and jobs, Pfeiffer claims.

He's done it throughout his tenure. His economic stimulus plan is  corporate tax cuts. More of them. They're planned. They're coming. 

It's benefitting super-rich elites at the expense of all others. Obama's legacy is written in stone. It's unequivocal. It's not kind.

He'll be remembered as a president who said one thing, did another, and claimed otherwise. Inequality became unprecedented on his watch.

He let it fester. He let it grow. He did nothing to address it. His policies made things worse. He plans more of the same going forward.

On Tuesday night he'll lie claiming otherwise. He's a serial liar. Nothing he say has credibility. Nothing can believed. He's a con man writ large.

Monied interests own him. He serves at their pleasure. He enriched them more than ever. He's got lots of explaining to do. Expect no credible answers.

ObamaSpeak will substitute. His presidency is an unmitigated disaster. Rhetoric can't erase enormous harm done.

His anti-inequality campaign rings hollow. It's duplicitous. It's fake. Straightaway in office, he prioritized cutting vitally needed healthcare benefits. 

He targeted Medicare. He called doing it restoring fiscal discipline. He lied claiming it's going broke. He said the same thing about Social Security.

When properly administered, both programs are sustainable longterm. Modest adjustments only are needed. 

Universal healthcare (Medicare for all) would assure sustainability in perpetuity. Social Security was designed to be self-sustaining.

Its revenues are misused. They subsidize corporate handouts. They benefit Wall Street crooks. They finance warmaking. They enrich wealthy elites more than already.

Obama's war on social America plans eliminating vital benefits altogether. Doing so assures greater inequality.

He lies claiming otherwise. He's in lockstep with Republicans and most Democrats. He mandates austerity when stimulus is needed.

His agenda is anti-progressive. He's a reliable corporate tool. He serves powerful monied interests. He ignores popular ones. He harms America's most disadvantaged.

He's done so throughout his tenure. He's thirdworldizing America. Poverty, unemployment, inequality and deprivation are growth industries.

Growing millions struggle to get by. Help when it's most needed is denied. Social inequality is deplorable. It defines today's America. 

It's institutionalized. It's unprecedented. It's worsening. America’s 1% has more wealth than the bottom 95%. 

Income inequality is greater than in all other developed countries. Over three-fourths of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.

Neoliberal harshness is policy. Bipartisan complicity force-feeds it. It's institutionalized when vital aid is needed. Doing so wages financial war on millions. 

Obama exceeds the worst of George Bush. He's harming people most in need. According to Economics Professor J. Bradford Delong:

"(T)here is nothing on the horizon that would return the US economy (even near) its growth path before the 2008 financial crisis erupted."

Underperformance is the new normal. Ordinary people suffer most. 

"(I)f we combine the costs of idle workers and capital during the downturn and the harm done to the US economy's future growth path, the losses reach 3.5 - 10 years of total output."

"That is a higher share of America's productive capabilities than the Great Depression subtracted - and the US economy is 16 times larger than (in) 1928 (5.5 times larger in per capital terms)."

Nothing in prospect suggests change. Future historians won't treat Obama kindly. They won't "regard the Great Depression as the worst business-cycle disaster of the industrial age," said Delong.

"It is we who are living in" the worst of times. And given America's direction, expect hard times ahead getting harder. Expect catastrophic disaster for growing millions.

Expect America looking like Guatemala. Expect police state harshness targeting resisters.

Obama's phony campaign to change things is duplicitous. Expect more promises Tuesday night. Expect business as usual to follow.

America's race to the bottom continues. Expect nothing substantive done to change things.

In December, Obama called income inequality the "defining challenge of our time." 

"(T)he combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe."

He'll lie Tuesday night pledging change. In December, he said "over the course of the next year and for the rest of my presidency, (he'll) focus all our efforts" on fighting inequality.

Hypocrisy substitutes for policy. He spent five years waging war on fairness. Expect nothing different going forward. 

Expect business as usual to continue. Anti-populism remains official administration policy. It has bipartisan support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

The Global Elite: Rigging the Rules That Fuel Inequality

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David Brooks’ Utter Ignorance About Inequality

Occasionally David Brooks, who personifies the oxymoron “conservative thinker” better than anyone I know, displays such profound ignorance that a rejoinder is necessary lest his illogic permanently pollute public debate. Such is the case with his New York Times column last Friday, arguing that we should be focusing on the “interrelated social problems of the poor” rather than on inequality, and that the two are fundamentally distinct.

Baloney.

First, when almost all the gains from growth go to the top, as they have for the last thirty years, the middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power necessary for buoyant growth.

Once the middle class has exhausted all its coping mechanisms – wives and mothers surging into paid work (as they did in the 1970s and 1980s), longer working hours (which characterized the 1990s), and deep indebtedness (2002 to 2008) – the inevitable result is fewer jobs and slow growth, as we continue to experience.

Few jobs and slow growth hit the poor especially hard because they’re the first to be fired, last to be hired, and most likely to bear the brunt of declining wages and benefits.

Second, when the middle class is stressed, it has a harder time being generous to those in need. The “interrelated social problems” of the poor presumably will require some money, but the fiscal cupboard is bare. And because the middle class is so financially insecure, it doesn’t want to, nor does it feel it can afford to, pay more in taxes.

Third, America’s shrinking middle class also hobbles upward mobility. Not only is there less money for good schools, job training, and social services, but the poor face a more difficult challenge moving upward because the income ladder is far longer than it used to be, and its middle rungs have disappeared.

Brooks also argues that we should not be talking about unequal political power, because such utterances cause divisiveness and make it harder to reach political consensus over what to do for the poor.

Hogwash. The concentration of power at the top — which flows largely from the concentration of income and wealth there — has prevented  Washington from dealing with the problems of the poor and the middle class.

To the contrary, as wealth has accumulated at the top, Washington has reduced taxes on the wealthy, expanded tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit the rich, deregulated Wall Street, and provided ever larger subsidies, bailouts, and tax breaks for large corporations. The only things that have trickled down to the middle and poor besides fewer jobs and smaller paychecks are public services that are increasingly inadequate because they’re starved for money.

Unequal political power is the endgame of widening inequality — its most noxious and nefarious consequence, and the most fundamental threat to our democracy. Big money has now all but engulfed Washington and many state capitals — drowning out the voices of average Americans, filling the campaign chests of candidates who will do their bidding, financing attacks on organized labor, and bankrolling a vast empire of right-wing think-tanks and publicists that fill the airwaves with half-truths and distortions.

That David Brooks, among the most thoughtful of all conservative pundits, doesn’t see or acknowledge any of this is a sign of how far the right has moved away from the reality most Americans live in every day. 

On Income Inequality and Economic Growth

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US war on inequality: Just rhetoric?

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Today’s Lousy Jobs Report and the Scourge of Inequality

The U.S. economy created a measly 74,000 new jobs in December, and a smaller percentage of working-age Americans is now employed than at any time in the last three decades (before women surged into the workforce).

What does this have to do with the fact that median household incomes continue to drop (adjusted for inflation) and that 95 percent of all the economic gains since the recovery started have gone to the top 1 percent? 

Plenty. Businesses won’t create new jobs without enough customers. But most Americans no longer have enough purchasing power to fuel that job growth. 

That’s why it’s so important to (1) raise the minimum wage at least to its inflation-adjusted value 40 years ago — which would be well over $10 an hour, (2) extend unemployment benefits to the jobless, (3) launch a major jobs program to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, (4) expand Medicaid to the near-poor, (5) enable low-wage workers to unionize, (6) rehire all the teachers, social workers, police, and other public service employees who were laid off in the recession, (7) exempt the first $20,000 of income from Social Security payroll taxes and make up the difference by removing the cap on income subject to the tax.

And because the rich spend a far smaller proportion of their earnings than the middle class and poor, pay for much of this by (8) closing tax loopholes that benefit the rich such as the “carried interest” tax benefit for hedge-fund and private-equity managers, (9) raise the highest marginal tax rate, and (10) impose a small tax on all financial transactions. 

One of the major political parties adamantly refuses to do any of this, and the other doesn’t have the strength or backbone to make them.

Make a ruckus. 

Obama’s phony campaign against inequality

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Pragmatists, Ideologues, and Inequality in America

How will the 2016 election be framed? What will be America’s choice?

If the coverage of last week’s two big winners offers a guide, the choice will be between “pragmatism” and “ideology.”

The Washington Post called Chris Christie’s huge gubernatorial victory a “clear signal in favor of pragmatic, as opposed to ideological, governance.” 

But the mainstream media used a different adjective to describe Bill de Blasio, last week’s other landslide victor. The New York Times, for example, wrote of “the rise of the left-leaning Mr. de Blasio.”

Again and again, Christie is described as the pragmatist; De Blasio, the lefty. 

But these appellations ignore what’s happening to an America in which almost all the economic gains are going to the richest 1 percent, median household incomes continues to drop, and the number of Americans in poverty continues to rise.

Given America’s surging inequality, the pragmatist is De Blasio, who proposes to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to fund pre-school and after-school programs for the children of the poor and hard-pressed middle class.

The cost of child care is taking a huge bite out of the paychecks of many working parents, some of whom have been forced to leave their kids alone at home or rely on overburdened neighbors and relatives. A small surcharge on the incomes of the super-rich to pay for well-supervised child care is a practical and long-overdue response.

Meanwhile, the real ideologue is Christie, who vetoed an increase in the minimum wage in New Jersey. The current minimum of $7.25 is far lower than it was three decades ago in terms of purchasing power, and the typical minimum-wage worker is no longer a teenager but a major breadwinner for his or her family. 

Apparently Christie isn’t aware that many employers – including Walmart, the largest employer in America – don’t pay their employees enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Which means the rest of us end up subsidizing these employers indirectly by devoting our tax dollars to Medicaid, food stamps, housing, and other assistance needed to make up for the lousy wages.

In fact, New Jersey voters found a way to circumvent Christie’s ideological opposition to a raise in the minimum wage. They approved an amendment to the state constitution that raises the minimum to $8.25 (still too low) and subsequently indexes it to inflation. 

The so-called “pragmatic” Christie also frowns on gay marriage and abortion rights, which puts him in the company of many Tea Partiers. But because Christie himself isn’t a Tea Partier, and had the temerity to be seen in the friendly company of President Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, he appears pragmatic in comparison to them.

The media is casting Christie as the pragmatist and De Blasio as the ideologue because of what’s happened to their respective parties. 

The civil war that’s engulfed the Republican Party – pitting the Tea Party against the establishment GOP – is an admitted headache for Republicans focused on the 2016 presidential contest. For them, the size of Christie’s win is a huge relief.

The Democratic Party, by contrast, has been the very model of civility. Establishment Democrats, mostly funded by big business and Wall Street, have dominated ever since Bill Clinton “triangulated” and moved the Party rightward.

Progressive Democrats and organized labor – those who the late Paul Wellstone described as the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” — have been remarkably tractable. Although they forced Obama to pull the nomination of Larry Summers, they’ve been all but ignored on the big stuff having to do with widening inequality. 

When progressives wanted Wall Street banks to reduce the mortgages of underwater homeowners as a condition for getting bailed out, the White House and most congressional Democrats turned a deaf ear. 

Progressives also pushed to go over the fiscal cliff and end the Bush tax cuts, sought a “public option” for health insurance, wanted an Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier to form unions, tried to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act as part of financial regulation, objected to the President’s proposed “chain-weighted CPI” for Social Security and cuts in Social Security.

On all these they got nowhere. Yet progressives in the Democratic Party took their lumps without declaring civil war.

Had the President and congressional Democrats reflected the Party’s historic roots and risen to the challenge of widening inequality, De Blasio’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to finance better schools wouldn’t appear conspicuous or even ideological. It would be another pragmatic attempt to deal with the nation’s challenge of reversing the scourge of inequality.

In other words, Christie appears pragmatic and De Blasio ideological only in comparison with their own parties.

But in terms of where America is and what it needs, now and in the foreseeable future, these two labels should be reversed.

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Bye, Bye American Dream! U.S. Economic Inequality Is Permanent, Study Finds

Analysis of two decades of income tax trends also find the rich consume more.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

March 22, 2013  |  

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A new study by a team of economists in academia and the government has concluded that economic inequality is a permanent—not temporary—feature in the United States, based on an analysis of 350,000 federal income tax returns between 1987 and 2009.

“For household income, both before and after taxes, the increase in inequality over this period was predominantly, although not entirely, permanent,” the highly technical report concluded. “We also find evidence that the U.S. federal tax system helped reduce the increase in household income inequality; but this attenuating effect was insufficient to significantly alter the broad trend toward rising inequality.”

The study by economists at two state universities, the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department, also found, not surprisingly, that the wealthiest Americans consume more than less well-off people, and that disparity causes poorer Americans to suffer as a result.

“Our findings, along with economic theory, suggest that the increase in income inequality observed in roughly the last two decades should translate into increases in consumption inequality, and is therefore likely to be welfare-reducing, at least according to most social welfare functions,” the report said. “Although measurement problems with household consumption data in the U.S. have made it difficult to convincingly measure the degree of the increase in consumption inequality, some recent studies… suggest that the increase in consumption inequality was indeed substantial.”

Simply put, the study confirms what Vermont's U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders has been saying for years, “The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.”

“The takeaway here is rough,” the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote in his Wonkblog column. “The reason the permanent/transitory distinction matters is that lifetime earnings are much more important than a single year’s earnings. It’s lifetime earnings that decide how you live in general, what sort of house you can afford, whether you can send a kid to college, whether you can retire comfortably.”

Better-off Americans often opine that those below them on the economic ladder should just work a little harder. But this study suggests that there are irreconcilable gaps in income, lifetime wealth, consumption and the resulting health between the haves and have-nots in America. It also suggests progressive taxation can buffer those inequalities a bit, but not make up for the gaps.

It will be curious to see if this study will be cited in Washington’s ongoing debate about 'reforming' entitlement programs—namely Medicare and Social Security. It suggests, if anything, that growing slices of American society are heading to less financially secure futures, especially in old age. That means federal safety nets are more needed than ever—despite the GOP’s ideological crusade to cut spending on them.

Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

Inequality Is Hurting Us All

Inequality hurts us all.

Imagine if you could go back 45 years to 1968. That year, after three decades of creative policy from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, the United States was one of the world’s most equal nations.Picturing Economic Growth (OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

Now imagine that instead of falling into the extreme inequality of today, the United States had stayed at the levels of greater equality of that era. What would be the benefits?

There would be a lot of them. This is the finding of a new study, “Closing the Inequality Divide,” that my organization, the Institute for Policy Studies, recently released with the Center for Sustainable Economy.

Our report looks at the world from the vantage point of the poorest fifth of people in my relatively affluent state of Maryland. Today, on average, the poorest fifth of the state earns about $15,000 a year. Maryland ranks among the country’s top-five states in terms of per-capita income. Yet many Marylanders work hard to earn the minimum wage, which remains painfully low at $7.25/hour, barely enough for them and their families to scrape by.

Consider this: If the levels of greater income equality of 1968 still prevailed today, that same poorest fifth of Marylanders would be earning twice what they take home now. Imagine the differences. They’d be able to purchase more goods and services, which would generate more jobs and income throughout the state.

We’d also be a lot healthier. We’d suffer less crime. Fewer of us would be injured and killed in car crashes. We’d suffer fewer divorces. We’d get the benefits of more education. Since a higher percentage of African-Americans and Latinos are poorer than whites, greater income equality would also reduce race inequality.

How do my colleagues and I who wrote this report know all of this? Well, thanks to a bold move by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2009, that state now collects information on 26 measures of social, environmental, and economic well-being known as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). In addition to measuring inequality, each year employees of the Maryland government are charting critical things such as the costs of pollution and crime, as well as the value of volunteer work and higher education.

In other words, measure what you treasure.

The idea is that these broader measures of well-being offer a better sense of how a state and its people are doing than the traditional economic measure of gross domestic product (GDP). That traditional measure only counts the increase in production of goods and services and doesn’t distinguish between the growth of “bad” things — like cancer or polluting industries — versus “good” things — like wind energy and sustainable farming.

Are there steps we can take to move in the direction of the greater equality we enjoyed a couple of generations ago?

Yes. Our research points to the good work of a wide range of Maryland organizations that have practical ideas on how to reduce inequality. A broad coalition has come together to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.00 an hour by 2015, with an increase for restaurant workers and others who make tips as well. This state-level momentum is strengthening the efforts to pass a national bill introduced by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 across the country.

President Barack Obama backed an increase in his February State of the Union address, and polls show strong public support. In early March, a Gallup poll showed 71 percent of Americans supporting an increase in the minimum wage to $9 an hour, the level Obama recommended.

We know how to make both Maryland and this country more equal, in part because we’ve done it before, from the 1930s to the 1960s. And we would all benefit from this shift.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

John Cavanagh

John Cavanagh is the director of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank celebrating its 50th year.

Inequality soaring in Britain: report

The gap between the very rich and the less fortunate in Britain has risen sharply since the 1990s, a study has found.

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation think tank shows that the top earners in Britain now take home 10 percent of every pound earned in the country that is a three percent growth in 15 years while the bottom half of earners’ have seen their share fall from 19 percent to 18 percent over the period.

"The growing gap in incomes is pronounced when you look at the top 10th of households, and overwhelming when you consider the position of the top 1%. The rest of society hasn't kept up. It's the squeezed majority, not just the squeezed middle,” Mathew Whittaker, a senior economist at the thinktank, said.

This comes as dealing with the gap between the rich and poor has turned into a deteriorating political issue.

Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for a policy of "pre-distribution" to try to narrow the gap between the best and worst paid, while others from across the political spectrum, including the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, have praised the idea of employers promising to pay the Living Wage, which is currently £8.55 an hour in London, and £7.45 elsewhere.

The Resolution Foundation’s report, dubbed Squeezed Britain 2013, also highlights the misery of middle-earners as many of them have seen their incomes decline, due to high inflation and weak bargaining power in the workplace.

BGH/AMR/HE

UK inequality rises sharply in 15 years – report

AFP Photo / Bertrand Guay

AFP Photo / Bertrand Guay

The UK’s super-rich, the top 1% of earners, now pocket 10 pence in every pound, while the bottom half have seen their share of the nation’s wealth drop in the last 15 years. Middle earners have also seen their earning power stagnate.

Inequality in the UK has increased sharply in the last decade and a half, according to a study by the think tank, the Resolution Foundation, ‘Squeezed Britain 2013’, which is to be published next week.

According to Resolution’s analysis the top 1% on earners have seen their share of the nation’s wealth jump from 7% in the mid-1990s to 10% today, meaning that the top 1% of earners now pocket 10p in every pound of income paid in Britain. The bottom 50% have seen their share of the pie drop from 19% to 18%, it was reported in the Observer.

Although there was a slight reduction in top earning between 2009 and 2011, the research concludes this is most likely because the highest paid employees have brought their earnings forward to benefit from reduced income tax rates, which come into force this April. The Chancellor, George Osborne, is lowering the top tax rate for all earnings over £150,000 from 50p to 45p.

Resolution’s analysis shows the polarization of the UK labor market, between the top earners vast salaries and stagnant wages for many at the bottom and in the middle of the pile. However, the study did not take into account the impacts of benefits, like housing benefit, or tax credits, which top up incomes of the very poor.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a statement last Wednesday warning of the dangers of increasing inequality in its annual health check of the UK economy.

“Labor market conditions are widening the income gap between fulltime employees and an increasing share of the workforce on part-time, insecure and low-wage jobs. This comes in a context where income inequality was already high and rising before the recession,” the statement said.

The gap between rich and poor is becoming a major political issue in Britain. Labour leader, Ed Miliband, wants to introduce a policy of ‘pre-distribution’ to try and narrow the gap between the best and worst paid.

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, as well as various politicians from across the political spectrum, have praised the idea of the Living Wage, £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 elsewhere. The Living Wage is not legally enforceable unlike the National Minimum Wage, which is significantly less, at £6.19 an hour. Ed Miliband has said he is in favor of making the Living Wage a legal requirement in his party’s manifesto for the next election.

While, Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, is pushing for a ‘mansion tax’ on all homes worth over £2 million.

‘Squeezed Britain’ focuses on the fortunes of the UK’s hard pressed middle earners, many of whom have seen their incomes stagnate over the past decade as a result of inflation and their reduced bargaining power in the work place, due partly to the shrinking in power of trade unions.

“The growing gap in incomes is pronounced when you look at the top 10th of households, and overwhelming when you consider the position of the top 1%. The rest of society hasn’t kept up. It’s the squeezed majority not just the squeezed middle,” Matthew Whittaker, senior economist at Resolution, told the Observer.

Inequality Rages as Dwindling Wages Lock Millions in Poverty

The official unemployment rate in the US may be slowly ticking down, but the rank of those who classify as 'the working poor' has continued to skyrocket, according to a new report.

A server waits on customers. Hit hardest by the trend of stagnant wages are those in service industries, like retail jobs, food preparation, clerical work and customer assistance. (Jeff Adkins/For the Chicago Tribune) Along with overall income inequality growth in the US, a new report by Working Poor Families Project says that over 200,000 families fell into poverty in 2011 even with both parents working. 

National job growth saw a recovery from the worst days following the 2008 housing crash and subsequent financial crisis, but even as the recession ebbed in some areas or for some groups, many middle class or lower-middle class workers who returned to employment did so with much reduced wages.

As lead author of the report, Brandon Roberts, points out in an op-ed at Reuters on Tuesday:

These are not just the unemployed. Rather they are families that, despite having a working adult in the home, earn less than twice the federal poverty income threshold – a widely recognized measure of family self-sufficiency. They are working, but making too little to build economically secure lives. And their number has grown steadily over the past five years.

They are cashiers and clerks, nursing assistants and lab technicians, truck drivers and waiters. Either they are unable to find good, full-time jobs, or their incomes are inadequate and their prospects for advancement are poor.

The report, which analyzed figures from the US Census in 2011, determined that nearly 10.4 million such families - or 47.5 million Americans - now live near poverty, defined as earning less than $45,622 for a family of four.

Data showed that the top 20 percent of Americans received 48 percent of all income while those in the bottom 20 percent got less than 5 percent.

Statistics also showed that roughly 23.5 million, or 37 percent, of U.S. children lived in working poor families compared with about 21 million, or 33 percent, in 2007, the report said.

"Although many people are returning to work, they are often taking jobs with lower wages and less job security, compared with the middle-class jobs they held before the economic downturn," the report said. "This means that nearly a third of all working families ... may not have enough money to meet basic needs."

“We’re not on a good trajectory,” Brandon Roberts, who manages the privately-funded Working Poor Families Project, told The Washington Post. “The overall number of low-income working families is increasing despite the recovery.”

And Reuters reports:

The group's analysis adds to the body of data focused on the slipping U.S. middle class even as there are signs of the nation's economy slowly coming back to life with improvements in the housing sector and lower unemployment rate.

For some Americans, the comeback has yet to begin.

Data showed that the top 20 percent of Americans received 48 percent of all income while those in the bottom 20 percent got less than 5 percent, the report said.

The analysis also found regional differences.

States in the South, such as Georgia and South Carolina, and those in the West, such as Arizona and Nevada, had the greatest increase in the number of working poor. The increase was slower in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

"It's important to draw attention to the fact that there are real families behind those statistics," said Alan Essig, who heads the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, adding that his state is still struggling with housing and unemployment.

And the Washington Post adds:

The growth in the ranks of the working poor coincides with continued growth in income inequality. Many of the occupations experiencing the fastest job growth during the recovery also pay poorly. Among them are retail jobs, food preparation, clerical work and customer assistance.

___________________________

Black widows of Yemen: Inequality sparks spate of husband killings

Most of the 50 Yemeni women accused of murder in 2012 were arrested for killing their husbands, the country’s ministry of interior has announced. The killings are deemed by many a desperate reaction to rampant gender inequality in the country.

The women were between the ages of 25-50 and had mostly carried out the crime with the aid of male relatives, a report released by the Yemeni Interior Ministry’s Information Security Center revealed.

Domestic violence, marriage inequality, jealousy, a sense of inferiority and economic pressures were cited as the primary motives. Most of the men were shot, poisoned, or beaten to death.

The most infamous crime of this nature occurred in August in a village in the province of Marib, where a 40-year-old woman killed her husband and two sons following a domestic dispute, Dr. Mujib Abdul Bari, a specialist in psychiatric and neurological disorders, told AlArabiya.net.

Bari said statistics relating to such crimes should be published to help facilitate public service campaigns which would help empower women in the country.

“In case women have taken a wrong decision in marriage, they should resort to legal solutions, such as divorce or going back to their families [who can] help them on a psychological level,” he continued.

Despite the recent spike in violence committed by wives in 2012, nearly two times as many women were victims of attempted murder during the same period.

Following the 1994 Yemeni Civil War, gender inequality has drastically increased in the country.

In 1999, the minimum marriage age of 15 was scrapped.  Subsequent attempts  a decade later to introduce legislation requiring women to be 17-years or older, were halted by conservative parliamentarians, Rebecca Murray from IPS news agency reports.

United Nations figures compiled in 2004 show 17.2% of girls aged 15-19 were either married, divorced or widowed.

While sexual intercourse with girls who have not reached puberty is illegal under article 15 of the country’s Personal Status Law, Human Rights Watch has documented cases where pre-pubescent girls have been subjected to marital rape.

In Yemen, there are currently no laws on the books against  marital rape. For those women trapped in abusive marriages, divorce laws reflect the extent of gender inequality in the country. While a husband can divorce his wife by simply repudiating her three times, a woman can only ask for a divorce under certain conditions- for example, if her husband fails to provide for the family financially even if he is capable of doing so. If a woman hopes to divorce for other reasons, she must file for a no-fault divorce which requires that she pay back her dowry.

Custody of children is highly biased towards husbands, as men are considered the natural guardians of children, while women are viewed as physical custodians but have no legal rights.

Rebecca Murray says domestic violence, health complications, a lack of education and career opportunities are often directly connected to early or forced marriages.

She also cites Yemen’s penal code as being heavily biased in favor of men who commit “honor killings,” with husbands who murder allegedly adulterous wives receiving a one-year maximum prison sentence, or even a fine.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index in 2012, ranked Yemen’s gender disparities last in economic, political, education and health criteria.

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The Faux Political System by the Numbers

Image by Nathaniel St. Clair It’s sort of funny in a diabolical way: Trump a Russian agent. That’s the line that readers might expect from...

Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries

If you want to find out what’s happening in a poor country, be sure to add tourists to your Google News search. “Canadian and Italian tourists...

There Are More Important Things Than The Truth

All that I want Is to wake up fine Tell me that I’m alright That I ain’t gonna die All that I want Is a hole in the ground You...

Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair I’ve been hearing about neoliberalism for a long time now and never could make much sense of it. It turns...

‘The Idea Is to Have a Conversation About What Happened to Us’ – The...

The Best of CounterSpin for 2018 aired as our December 28, 2018, episode. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

‘I’m not a person of color!’ DNA test haunts Warren as she kicks off...

It seems like Sen. Elizabeth Warren will never be able to catch a break from being...

Upcoming Opportunities for the Movement

There will be important opportunities in the next few years to advance the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace....

What Could the French “Yellow Vests” Teach Us about Ourselves?

Most coverage of the Yellow Vest movement in France—lasting seven weeks and drawing hundreds of thousands onto the streets—misses a key question, and one...

FTSE 100 bosses earn more in 3 days than average worker’s annual salary —...

Chief executives of the UK’s top companies are being paid 133 times more than the...

“If Bernie Runs?” Wrong Question

Drawing By Nathaniel St. Clair Remembering Bernie Sanders at Prairie Lights In late 2014 Bernie Sanders came out to Iowa City to speak before a large...

Wall Street, Banks and Angry Citizens – Consortiumnews

The post-Great Recession economic “recovery” was largely reserved for participants in financial markets, not the majority working longer hours and...

Good for Powell – LewRockwell

Relying on fakery and addictive stimulus is the acme of fragility and vulnerability. Let’s start with a chart of the S&P 500: Having become addicted to...

Edward S. Herman on Ideological Hegemony in Contemporary Societies

Before his passing in November 2017, Edward Herman graciously gave a final interview to various media scholars in the preceding month of October. Herman...

Could a Maximum Wage Gain Traction in the United States?

For Republican members of Congress and cable news pundits, a cap on the earnings of the super rich might sound like a dystopian nightmare....

Postal Privatization Could Increase Delivery Costs for Half of All US Zip Codes

I’ve been a postal clerk for 23 years, serving my customers in a public post office in Gresham, Oregon. As you might imagine, with...

Burma Debates Women’s Rights Amid Pervasive Sexual and Domestic Violence

For years, feminists in Burma have been fighting to gain even the most basic legal rights for women. Spousal abuse is still legal in the...

Research Shows Affluent Americans Barely Recognize US Income Gap

A new report from the Federal Reserve highlights the bleak economic prospects for young Americans, concluding that millennials are in much worse financial shape...

US’ poorest suffer from blood-sucking parasite because they can’t afford septic tank (VIDEO) —...

Hookworm, a blood-sucking parasite thought eradicated in the US in the last century, is now seeing...

Britain’s Homeless Crisis | Dissident Voice

Under the suffocating shadow of economic austerity, homelessness in Britain is increasing, poverty and inequality deepening. Since the Conservative party came to power via...

Corporate Media Doing its Job

Photo Source Dmitry Dzhus | CC BY 2.0 The deletion of events that don’t fit with the reigning ideology is part of how ruling class-owned...

The Yellow Vests – LewRockwell

As Yellow Vests Persist in France, Macron Bends With Minimum Wage Hike and Pension...

Following four weeks of "Yellow Vest" protests which have erupted into violence at times, French President Emmanuel Macron indicated Monday that his government can...

Joe Kennedy and the Precarious Promise of “Moral Capitalism”

We are a nation that was founded in opposition to hereditary rule. The founders rejected the notion of a king and embraced the principle...

Joe Kennedy and the Precarious Promise of “Moral Capitalism”

We are a nation that was founded in opposition to hereditary rule. The founders rejected the notion of a king and embraced the principle...

How the West – LewRockwell

Mobilize the working class against Macron!

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For the West to Live

Billionaire Heiress Lashes Out at Unions Because Her Fortune Didn’t Buy Election

Betsy DeVos is furious! She and her family spent boatloads of money this election cycle and few of their candidates won. Instead, lawmakers were largely selected...

Sanders-Varoufakis Issue Open Call for New Global Movement

BURLINGTON, VT - With fascist movements on the rise and controlling the levers of power in the United States and across the world, the...

‘Ballot Initiatives Show What You Can Do to Bring Working People to the Polls’...

Janine Jackson interviewed Negin Owliaei about 2018 ballot initiatives for the November 9, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as...

Photo Source Lord Jim | CC BY 2.0 The right would like us to believe that the inequality we see in the United States, and...

France shaken by mass protests

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What Can the US Learn From Mexico?

The distinct features of our current moment in politics have left many grasping for analogies. Are we living in the second iteration of the...

Negin Owliaei on Ballot Initiatives, Liz OuYang on 2020 Census

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‘Charleston and Tree of Life Are Connected Struggles’ – CounterSpin interview with Audrey Sasson...

Janine Jackson interviewed Audrey Sasson about antisemitism, racism and resistance for the November 2, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

The Election Is Only Half the Battle: Challenges of Progressive Governance

Primary wins by New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum have generated much excitement among progressives and socialists as...

What is to be Done? Looking Past Trump’s Tyranny

Photo Source Bruce Berrien | CC BY 2.0 We live in dangerous times. Capitalism’s globalization has ended the post-WW-II “American Dream.” The U.S. economy is...

What is to be done about the plutocrats?

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Has America Become a Dictatorship

Conservative Christians Unwelcome – LewRockwell

By David Deming American Thinker October 13, 2018 ...

From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture

Food and environment campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just produced the report ‘Shockingly high levels of weedkiller found in popular breakfast cereals marketed for...

Amazon’s $15 an Hour Minimum Wage and the Federal Reserve Board

Last week Amazon announced that it would impose a $15 an hour minimum wage for its workforce, including those hired through staffing agencies. This...

Presidential Election Is a Fight for Democracy in Brazil

The world is watching Brazil’s elections, probably as never before. “Latin America’s latest menace: Bolsonaro Presidente,” screams the headline on the cover of The...

Fare-less Transit Is Not Free

Free public transit could combat both economic inequality and climate disturbances. And, if paid for by fees on automotive junkies, fare-less transit could be...

Recent Disasters Reveal Racial Discrimination in FEMA Aid Process

With Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters receding and people returning home to deal with the damage left behind, the disaster recovery process is getting underway in...

After Centuries of Housing Racism, a Southern City Gets Innovative

Denise Fitzgerald’s property abuts the string of quiet, empty lots that line Ewing Street in Jackson, Mississippi. Recently she was leaf-blowing detritus shed by...

Washington Post Shows How Not to Talk About Free Speech

The Washington Post has published a raft of commentary recently lamenting what its authors see as the decline of free speech, largely in response...

Democratic Socialism and Political Power

Photo Source davitydave | CC BY 2.0 Occasionally a phrase supports a wide range of political posturing while bearing little determinable relationship to actionable politics....

‘We Would Have Had the Most Dramatic Financial Reform You’d Ever Seen’

Janine Jackson interviewed Dean Baker about the 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis for the September 21, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a...

The Richest Sociopath in the World

  Obviously the above pie chart is a put-on. It is well-documented that working conditions for most employees of Amazon are abysmal, dehumanizing, bordering on...

Mainstream media gangs up on Sanders over ‘Stop BEZOS’ bill — RT US News

Senator Bernie Sanders’ anti-corporate welfare bill aims to hammer the companies that pay their workers so...

NHS dubbed ‘subconsciously racist’ by first non-white leader of British Medical Association — RT...

The NHS is “subconsciously racist,” regularly overlooking ethnic minority doctors for senior posts, where a...

The Elite World Order in Jitters

According to a brand new book by Peter Phillips, the world is now controlled by a handful (actually several handfuls) of powerful/rich elites via...

Army vet launches t-shirts with ‘patriotic’ message for Kaepernick & Nike — RT US...

A clothing company founded by US veterans has responded to Nike’s collaboration with former NFL quarterback...

Police force resorts to asking an algorithm if they should investigate crimes — RT...

The Norfolk Police Force is resorting to using an algorithm to determine whether officers should...

Police force resorts to asking an algorithm if they should investigate crimes — RT...

The Norfolk Police Force is resorting to using an algorithm to determine whether officers should...
video

Video: How to Understand Globalization: Not Nations, But Class

We must adopt a class-based analysis of globalization in order to attack the multilateral system that is producing inequality, advises South Centre Chief ... Via...
video

Video: Cuba’s New President Faces Many Serious Challenges

The challenges Cuba faces involve economic inequality, increasing citizen inclusion the political process, and the still-ongoing US economic blockade. Prof. Via Youtube

Distorting Past and Present: Reuters on Nicaragua’s Armed Uprising

From April 18 until late July 2018, an armed insurrection in Nicaragua left hundreds of people dead. The uprising, backed enthusiastically by private media...

How a Free Market Inevitably Produces Dictatorship

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Who rules the land? A deeper and truer version of this question is: What rules the land? Is it...

A ‘Regime’ Is a Government at Odds With the US Empire

(Washington Post, 5/19/18) In the aftermath of the assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, an article in the Miami Herald (8/5/18) reported that “a...

The Market Made Them Do It

Back in 1999, near the dizzying height of the dot.com boom, no executive in Corporate America personified the soaring pay packages of America’s CEOs...

It’s Time to Reclaim ‘Socialism’ From the Dirty-Word Category

A Gallup poll this month found that Democrats are warming up to the idea of socialism — or at least to the word. While...

Democratic Socialism Derangement Syndrome? Why Hysteria about the Rise of the Progressive Left Misses...

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory in New York earlier this summer, pundits warned of a socialist takeover. The front page of the New York...

Trump to Netanyahu: Palestinians Must Be Completely Conquered

Eric Zuesse The Washington correspondent of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Amir Tibon, headlined on the night of Tuesday, August 14, "Trump Administration Wants to See a...

‘There is a Strong Reason for All Americans to Feel more Economically Insecure than...

Janine Jackson interviewed Dedrick Asante-Muhammad about the racial wealth divide for the August 10 episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 

Despite appearances, it is a mistake to conceptualize the workings of capitalism by placing world-changing agency in the hands of the capitalist class. Sure,...

RT doco follows African-American activists — RT US News

With racial tensions in USA back in spotlight over the last few years, a gripping new...

Missourians See ‘Right-to-Work’ for What It Is: An Assault on Workers

By a two-to-one margin, Missouri voters voted down a so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) law on Tuesday. This is great news for working Missourians and the...

Why Trump Cancelled the Iran Deal

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters...

Media Econ 101

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India and the State of Independence: British Colonialism Replaced by a New Hegemony

India celebrates its independence from Britain on 15 August. However, the system of British colonial dominance has been replaced by a new hegemony based...

If the Economy is So Good, Why are Wages Flat?

We are supposedly seven years into a “recovery” from the global economic collapse that commenced in 2008. The latest evidence offered to promote this...

Maha Hilal on Islamophobia, Brett Hartl on Endangered Species

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The Utility of the RussiaGate Conspiracy

The election of Donald Trump came as a shock to many (Independent, 11/5/16). To the shock of many, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential elections,...

America’s Allies Against Russia & Iran

Main U.S. allies are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Israel, & Nazis Eric Zuesse The public have been so brainwashed by Big Brother’s lies, so...

The Sanctification of NATO

To the Guardian (7/10/18), NATO “ushered in a democratic, liberal world order.” Claims that US President Donald Trump is undermining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization...

Jeff Bezos’ Paper Tells You Not to Worry About Those Billionaires

Washington Post Just when you thought economic commentary in the Washington Post couldn’t get any more insipid, Roger Lowenstein proves otherwise. In a business section...

Going Home Again to Trump’s America

This is the first of four essays that describe the writer’s Northeast travels between New York, Washington, and New England during spring 2018. For the...

Key Fact Obscured in Immigration Coverage: MS-13 Was Made in USA

David Frum (Atlantic, 6/20/18) rejects the “extremism” of holding the US responsible for creating the conditions that force mass migration. In a piece for the...

Action Alert: Tell NYT Not to Present Center-Right as ‘Left’

The New York Times (7/17/18) brings you the views of the whole political spectrum–as defined by the New York Times. The New York Times, despite...

Is It Time for a Post-Growth Economy?

The crowds of protesters that confronted US President Donald Trump during his visit to London last week have channelled the world's outrage at all that he...

Why Scotland Stands Against Trump

The following are the remarks, as prepared for delivery, of the speech Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard gave in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday, July...

In Wake of AMLO Victory, US Media Fear Chavismo and Hope for ‘Business-Friendly’ Change

For the New York Times (7/1/18), the election of Lopez Obrador brings “a sense of economic nationalism that some fear could reverse important gains...

NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance

In China, the New York Times (7/8/18) sees facial recognition as a sign of dystopia; in the West, the Times (7/9/18) reports on Amazon‘s...

US needs nothing from Russia, says McFaul. But who else will be your boogeyman?...

Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, says there is nothing Russia can offer that...

Autonomous Self-Organization Against the Electoral Spectacle in Mexico

Photo by Israel.rosas83 | CC BY 2.0 After the preliminary results were announced showing a clear and dominant victory, and both major challengers Ricardo Anaya...

The Most Politically Savvy Thing Democrats Can Do

If one were to ask Hillary Clinton why she spent so much of her campaign sequestered in fundraisers with the ultra-rich, she would no...

The Balkanization of South America and the Role of Fifth Columns Throughout the World

During the recent meeting in Caracas of the Venezuelan Presidential Economic Advisory Commission, in mid-June 2018, President Maduro said something extremely interesting, but also...

The Anti-Fraud Movement Behind Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Historic Win

Among the dusty side streets and alleys of Ecatepec, Mexico, in a polling station at a nondescript elementary school, Karla Montes came prepared. “I brought...

Theresa May announces new LGBT+ plan — RT UK News

Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to ban “cruel and inhumane” gay conversion therapy as...

‘Rulers need myth that US is a democracy to give Americans illusion of control’...

Jeff Bezos has $141 billion, and 63 percent of Americans say they can’t afford a $500...

The Dictatorship Over America: How It Functions

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Democrats have won the national vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, which, with the retirement of...

Straight couple win the right to marry like gay couples — RT UK News

A heterosexual couple, who want to show their everlasting commitment to each other without entering...

In defense of the Red Hen

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New American Civil War? Some people think it’s already begun — RT US News

From celebrities calling on citizens to take to the streets, to members of Congress calling for...

Harrow schoolboy’s ‘inappropriate behavior’ provoked fatal punch, attacker spared jail — RT UK News

An 18-year-old Harrow schoolboy provoked a fatal punch he received from his killer by telling...

Nikki Haley slams UN report on US poverty under Trump as ‘misleading & politically...

Washington's envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has blasted a report on poverty in the US,...

Mass Protests Sweep Vietnam for the First Time in Decades

“An Arab spring has started to emerge in Vietnam,” said Pham Chi Dung, a former member of the ruling Communist Party, following the largest and most...

Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media

Elon Musk gazes into the future. (cc photo: Michelle Andonian/OnInnovation) Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket...

Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media

Elon Musk gazes into the future. (cc photo: Michelle Andonian/OnInnovation) Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket...

Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media

Elon Musk gazes into the future. (cc photo: Michelle Andonian/OnInnovation) Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket...

Elon Musk’s Latest Brainstorm Takes Aim at Meddlesome Media

Elon Musk gazes into the future. (cc photo: Michelle Andonian/OnInnovation) Elon Musk, the eccentric South African billionaire head of electric vehicle/battery maker Tesla and rocket...

‘The Black Athlete Has Been Involved in the Political Struggle From the Beginning’

Janine Jackson interviewed Howard Bryant about African-American athletes and activism for the June 15, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

When Health Care is a Privilege and Physician Shadowing is a Right

As it is presently constructed, the American health care system is predicated on the pernicious idea that good health care is a privilege. Meanwhile,...

Harrow schoolboy’s ‘inappropriate behavior’ provoked fatal punch, attacker spared jail — RT UK News

An 18-year-old Harrow schoolboy provoked a fatal punch he received from his killer by telling...

The War on Children Under Neoliberal Fascism

Central American asylum seekers wait as US Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. The families were...

Drill rappers handed 3-year restrictions on making ‘violent’ music in landmark case — RT...

A group of drill rappers have seen their ability to release music with violent lyrics...

Pundits Worry Threat of Nuclear War Is Being Reduced

Media outlets don’t want America to negotiate with North Korea; they want the US to hold  North Korea for ransom. MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow (6/12/18) appears...

Just How Rich are the Ultra Rich?

Nearly seven years ago — I know, wow — the Occupy Wall Street movement began highlighting the divide between the top 1 percent and...