Campaign ads for people who should listen to them (but won’t)

Obama super PAC launches Bain offensive — “Whether the companies they came in and worked with made money or not, was irrelevant. Bain Capital always made money,” Wells says in the ad. “If we lost, they made money. If we survived, they made money. It’s as simple as that.” Wells warns: “He promised us the same things he’s promising the United States. And he’ll give you the same thing he gave us: nothing. He’ll take it all.” [...] The key message point in the Priorities ad is the argument that Romney and Bain were making money through a rigged game, in which they’d be sure to turn a profit regardless of how their acquisitions fared.


And here’s a reminder on what kind of people would never be swayed by such “information” or “reality” when it comes to voting for anyone but the Republican (even Romney) on any presidential ticket:


INTERVIEWER: So, something’s not working here.
TOOTHLESS GUY ON FOOD STAMPS: That’s right.
INTV: Voting Republican hasn’t worked for you.
TGOFS: But it could.
INTV: But it hasn’t.
TGOFS: It hasn’t but it could.

Take that Obama! Let the eagle soar! 

Why Apple chooses China over the U.S. to manufacture its iPhones (it’s not wages)

THIS IS WHAT MODERN CAPITALISM HAS COME TO: want to manufacture for Apple? We’ll all need to sleep in our corporate dormitories during the work week — in case we need to be “roused” in the middle of the night and given tea and a biscuit before being “guided” onto the factory floor to work the first of several 12-hour shifts — all because of potential “retail emergencies,” like Apple changing something in their design and deciding they need 10,000 iPhones to be built daily for a week.

No more middle-class manufacturing jobs for Americans, because that kind of manufacturing “flexibility” doesn’t happen in the U.S.

This is real:

 “Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”    

Read the whole, sad thing…

No, there isn’t an American plant that can match that “flexibility” — nor should there be. And should Apple have a Chinese plant that requires this kind of nutty scheduling / conditions from its employees? Enjoy your iPhones, kids.

Remember this?

‘Mass suicide’ protest at Apple manufacturer Foxconn factory | January 11, 2012:

Foxconn, which manufactures gadgets for the likes of Apple, Sony, Nintendo and HP, among many others, has had a grim history of suicides at its factories. A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 18 workers throw themselves from the tops of the company’s buildings, with 14 deaths.

In the aftermath of the suicides, Foxconn installed safety nets in some of its factories and hired counsellors to help its workers.

The latest protest began on January 2 after managers decided to move around 600 workers to a new production line, making computer cases for Acer, a Taiwanese computer company.

“We were put to work without any training, and paid piecemeal,” said one of the protesting workers, who asked not to be named. “The assembly line ran very fast and after just one morning we all had blisters and the skin on our hand was black. The factory was also really choked with dust and no one could bear it,” he said.

There’s your modern capitalism — eat the workers and order more. And I’m sure the GOP looks forward to helping corporations increase their profits with much more overseas manufacturing opportunities and federal tax breaks at home.

A tale of two Americas: does our current situation seem sustainable to you?

Click for larger image:

image: pieceinthepuzzlehumanity

Seems pretty unsustainable to me. Income inequality illustrated.

It’s a tale of two Americas: the pre-Reagan Democratic America and the post-Reagan Republican Plutocracy / United States of Corporate Power. Who broke it?

What does the 1 percent actually cost the U.S. government and the #99percent?

TAX CUTS FOR WEALTHY AMERICANS COST TREASURY $11.6 MILLION EVERY HOUR

“Tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour, according to the National Priorities Project. America’s top earners will get an average tax cut of $66,384 in 2011, while the bottom 20 percent will get an average cut of $107. The report comes as party leaders wrangle over the best way to curb the nation’s budget deficit, protesters around the world demonstrate against income inequality and corporate greed and Republican presidential candidates offer their economic plans to voters.” (HuffPo via: gonzodave)

THE 1 PERCENT COST OUR GOVERNMENT $11.6 million every hour of every day.

CLICK this image:

HERE’S WHAT THE 1 PERCENT COST EACH OF US INDIVIDUALLY:

THE US NOW RANKS 93rd in the world in “income equality” behind China, India, and Iran. (crookedindifference via: lycanpedia)

WHO ARE THE 1 PERCENT?

Taken literally, the top 1 percent of American households had a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010 — a figure that includes wages, government transfers and money from capital gains, dividends and other investment income.

That number is down from peak of $646,195 in 2007, before the economic crisis…By contrast, the bottom 60 percent earned a maximum of $59,154 in 2010, the bottom 40 percent earned a max of $33,870, while the bottom 20 percent earned just $16,961 at maximum. As Annie Lowrey points out, that gap has grown wider over time: “The top 1 percent of households took a bigger share of overall income in 2007 than they did at any time since 1928.”

HOW COULD THE WEALTH GAP BE FIXED?

[...] There is no quick fix right now… Rebuilding the infrastructure, strengthening the scientific base, having an energy system that moves to a sustainable renewables, low-carbon economy, improving educational outcome so that more kids make it all the way through – those are 10-year projects, more or less. [...] I’ve been pretty impressed by the core trilogy of what opinion surveys say America wants: tax the top, end the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan], and protect social spending. We ought to be going after the corporations that have, basically, a deal with the IRS that keep abroad what they earn abroad and they don’t pay any taxes on it. We should be taxing worldwide income, not just U.S.-based income.

Related:

Income inequality severely hampers economic growth, and the USA has severe income inequality

HERE’S SOME AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM FOR YOU: did you know that income inequality in the United States is currently MORE UNEQUAL than countries like the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, and Pakistan? Ethiopia, people! WTF!

Income inequality in the U.S. is higher than at any other time since the Great Depression, and the U.S. is currently more unequal than countries like the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. Though Republicans dismiss concerns over the gap as “class warfare,” the ever-increasing level of disparity has tangible consequences, leading to poor work performance and a greater gap in life expectancy. And now, according to a new Finance & Development study, income inequality also “kills economic growth.”  Study Shows Income Inequality Severely Hampers Economic Growth

REMEMBER AFTER 9-11 WHEN BUSH TOLD US TO GO SHOPPING, to “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed“. Who do you suppose that benefited, exactly? He and his rich friends knew exactly what they were doing:

Median wages grew too little over the past 30 years to drive the kind of spending necessary to sustain the consumer economy. Instead, increasingly exotic forms of credit filled the gap, as the wealthy offered the middle class alluring credit card deals and variable-interest subprime loans. This allowed rich investors to keep making money and everyone else to feel like they were keeping up—until the whole system imploded. -Study: Income Inequality Kills Economic Growth

And this:

Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top one percent have five percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt. The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

WHY SHOULD THE WEALTHY PAY (SLIGHTLY) HIGHER TAXES? One reason is the economy, which will never bounce back until there’s some kind of a reversal in the inequality of our country’s economic system. Since 1980, the wealthy have profited enormously from the increased productivity of its workforce, while its workforce have made no gains in either wages or take home income in the same period.

(Click for larger image)

WHO DROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY HIGHER AND HIGHER in the chart above? It was the workers, middle class and working class Americans. We’ve all worked very hard in the past 30 years, so why aren’t we all rich — or, at the very least, why didn’t our wages and income gains keep pace with the richest of the rich as it did from 1947 – 1979?

Related:

FLASHBACK: Watch Presidents Reagan and Obama argue for the SAME THING — closing tax loopholes for the wealthy

WATCH this side-by-side video showing Presidents Reagan and Obama arguing for the exact same thing: Closing tax loopholes for the very wealthy. (via: Think Progress)

In the 1950s & 1960s when the top tax rate was 70-92% … #OccupyWallStreet

image: questionall

The Capitalists and Plutocrats will continue to eat our country until there’s nothing left.

#OccupyWallStreet: American Capitalism and the Plutocracy: Four Lost Decades (for the 99%)


image: goodleftund0ne

IT TURNS OUT THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN’S WAGES have not increased in 40 years. From John Cassidy via The New Yorker (via: theamericanbear):

To me, what is really, really alarming is this: a typical American male who works full time and still has a job is earning almost exactly the same now as his counterpart was back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, O. J. Simpson rushed a thousand yards for the Buffalo Bills, and Don McLean topped the charts with “American Pie.”

The figures, which appear in Table A-5 at the back of the Census Bureau’s report (pdf), are these. Median earnings for full-time, year-round male workers: 2010—$47,715; 1972—$47,550. That’s not a typo. In thirty-eight years, the annual earnings of the typical male worker, adjusted to 2010 dollars, have risen by $165, or $3.17 a week.

If you do the comparison with 1973 it is even worse. The figure for median earnings of full-time male workers in that year (when O. J. rushed two thousand yards and Tony Orlando had a chart-topper with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”) was $49,065. Between now and then, Archie Bunker and Willie Loman have suffered a pay cut of more than twenty-five dollars a week.

Is it any wonder Americans are not as optimistic as they used to be?

NOT ONLY HAVE THE WAGES OF AVERAGE AMERICANS BEEN STUCK IN THE 1970S, but our take-home income, after taxes, is ENTIRELY UNEQUAL when compared to the richest one-percent. Why? Because tax laws have unequally benefited the wealthy. We’re taxed on income from our labor (higher percentage) and they’re taxed on income from their capital gains (lower percentage). But we’re supposed to believe the wealthy make so much more than us because they work ‘harder’.

How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:

AND WE’RE ALSO SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE that while our national treasury has gone without new revenue — after Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich and increased the disparity between the 1% and the 99% — we should ONLY cut programs and services that the 99% rely on, to balance a deficit begun during the Bush Administration.

BOTTOMLINE: The GOP believes it’s patriotic to fight for more wealth for the wealthy, but it’s evil socialism to ask government to help with jobs for the vast numbers of unemployed. That’s how twisted they’ve become.

When employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers

Here are descriptions of working in Amazon’s shipping warehouses AND, perhaps, a peek into the bleak future of employment for your children and grandchildren in the Corporatist Hellscape that the GOP / Teaparty is pushing us to accept. Read below and you’ll see that when employees are disposable, high unemployment benefits the employers.

Keep in mind that in a Teaparty / GOP Perfect World, these ‘job growth’ ideas in the graphic below would be federally mandated:

From Inside Amazon’s Warehouse by Spencer Soper:

Temporary employees interviewed said few people in their working groups actually made it to a permanent Amazon position. Instead, they said they were pushed harder and harder to work faster and faster until they were terminated, they quit or they got injured. Those interviewed say turnover at the warehouse is high and many hires don’t last more than a few months.

The supply of temporary workers keeps Amazon’s warehouse fully staffed without the expense of a permanent workforce that expects raises and good benefits. Using temporary employees in general also helps reduce the prospect that employees will organize a union that pushes for better treatment because the employees are in constant flux, labor experts say. And Amazon limits its liability for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance because most of the workers don’t work for Amazon, they work for the temp agency.

[...] One former temporary warehouse employee said he worked seven months before he was terminated for not working fast enough. In his 50s, he worked 10 hours a day, four days a week as a picker, plucking items from bins and delivering them to packers who put them in boxes for shipment. He would walk 13 to 15 miles daily, he estimated, and was among the oldest pickers.

“At the beginning, I thought I was doing really well,” he said. “I never missed a day, was never sick, never came in late. I was the model employee. But after a while, I could only achieve a certain rate and I couldn’t go any faster. It was just brutal.”

He said he was expected to pick 1,200 items in a 10-hour shift, or one item every 30 seconds.

The warehouse is organized like a library. Bins labeled “A” were on the floor. Dim lighting in the warehouse in which he worked made it difficult for him to find items stored in the low bins, especially novels with script titles or CDs with small writing, he said. Often, he got on his hands and knees to find things in the low bin, and would crawl to other bins rather than continuously stoop and stand, he said.

From Amazon workers rediscover The Grapes of Wrath by Ezra Klein:

One day, the index “exceeded 110 degrees on the third floor.” A local emergency room doctor treated so many warehouse employees for heat exhaustion this summer that he called federal regulators to report an unsafe work environment. A security guard called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after seeing two pregnant women taken to nurses.

[...] There were occasions in June and July, Soper reported, when “Amazon paid Cetronia Ambulance Corps to have ambulances and paramedics stationed at its two adjacent warehouses.” The company refused to cool the warehouse by opening the garage doors because managers feared it would lead to theft.

[...] In a more robust economy, Amazon would have to treat its employees better or they would simply leave to pursue other opportunities. [...] Right now, there are about five unemployed Americans for every open job. In many regions and industries, that ratio is much higher, especially among unskilled workers. It might not be 100-to-1, but it’s close enough to ensure that the one who does get the job has little power. Orange handbills might have been replaced by e-mails and Monster.com, but the Joads would surely recognize the men and women competing to work in that hundred- degree heat, climbing over one another for the chance to support their kids.

From A visit to the Warehouse of Soul-Crushing Sadness by Mac McClelland:

[McClelland observed employees at an unnamed shipping facililty] Susie told me it’s pretty dispiriting to act as though her workers are as disposable as the products they’re shipping. But that’s just the way it is, she said. The logistics clients aren’t interested in spending money on a better or more sustainable work culture. Nor do they need to. There are 100 people employed in the warehouse I visited, and Susie could fire every one of them today without costing her bosses a dime of lost profits. She has applications from hundreds of people ready to take the job.

(Links above via The Grapes of Wrath is not a business model)

You can see why corporations and their Republican politicians don’t like labor unions. With a union, there is NO WAY any of this would be happening. The bottom line is that the American consumer (really, worldwide consumers) need to decide what saving a few dollars actually entails along the way for the average worker. For my part, I’m not sure I’ll ever order anything from Amazon again.

Related:

American opportunity 2011

someecards via: laughingsquid

The Guardian on #OccupyWallStreet: young people have come to reclaim the future

WHY ARE PEOPLE occupying Wall Street? From The Guardian:

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down.

But the ultimate failure here is of imagination. What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008. There was a moment, after the near-collapse of the world’s financial architecture, when anything seemed possible.

Everything we’d been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses; and debts did not really need to be repaid – in fact, money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required it. Even the Economist was running headlines like “Capitalism: Was it a Good Idea?”

It seemed the time had come to rethink everything: the very nature of markets, money, debt; to ask what an “economy” is actually for. This lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one of the most colossal failures of nerve in history, we all collectively clapped our hands over our ears and tried to put things back as close as possible to the way they’d been before.

Perhaps, it’s not surprising. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant. As a result, we’re all sitting around dumbfounded as the whole apparatus falls apart.

What we’ve learned now is that the economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the “third world debt crisis”…

Read the rest…

image: Tracy Knauss

If you live on Main Street, you should support the occupation of Wall Street.

The United States of Indecency… with Liberty and Justice for ME

This article is both remarkable and infuriating. It’s remarkable because the facts about the working conditions in an Amazon warehouse really are a reflection of how many modern Corporatists / plutocrats treat their workers — as disposable and easily replaced. Oh, you won’t crawl through aisles to get 1 item every 30 seconds? I’ll bet someone else will…

It’s infuriating because it takes mainstream media’s usual ‘both sides do it’ tone. And, yes, both sides are uncivil to each other and undermine the Other. But for Christ’s sake, the struggle, insults, or incivility is not equal (or equally felt) when the Power is held by the Few, and those who support the Few are practically lobotomized by their twisted idea of a Republican Jesus and by a steady stream of Roger Ailes’ and AM hate radio’s successful brand of propaganda. There is no equivalent propaganda stream for the other side. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are like the 21st century Tokyo Rose for America’s working- and middle-class — that is, IF Tokyo Rose had been able to broadcast on multiple TV and radio stations 24/7. (article via: azspot)

Anand Giridharadas | The Fraying of a Nation’s Decency

[...] Thanks to a methodical and haunting piece of journalism in The Morning Call, a newspaper published in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I now know why the boxes reach me so fast and the prices are so low. And what the story revealed about Amazon could be said of the country, too: that on the road to high and glorious things, it somehow let go of decency.

The newspaper interviewed 20 people who worked in an Amazon warehouse in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. They described, and the newspaper verified, temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius, in the warehouse, causing several employees to faint and fall ill and the company to maintain ambulances outside. Employees were hounded to “make rate,” meaning to pick or pack 120, 125, 150 pieces an hour, the rates rising with tenure. Tenure, though, wasn’t long, because the work force was largely temps from an agency. Permanent jobs were a mirage that seldom came. And so workers toiled even when injured to avoid being fired. A woman who left to have breast cancer surgery returned a week later to find that her job had been “terminated.”

The image of one man stuck with me. He was a temp in his 50s, one of the older “pickers” in his group, charged with fishing items out of storage bins and delivering them to the packers who box shipments. He walked at least 13 miles, or 20 kilometers, a day across the warehouse floor, by his estimate.

His assigned rate was 120 items an hour, or one item every 30 seconds. But it was hard to move fast enough between one row and the next, and hard for him to read the titles on certain items in the lowest bins. The man would get on his hands and knees to rummage through the lowest bins, and sometimes found it easier to crawl across the warehouse to the next bin rather than stand and dip again. He estimated plunging onto his hands and knees 250 to 300 times a day. After seven months, he, too, was terminated.

~~~*~~~

[...] Far beyond official Washington, we would seem to be witnessing a fraying of the bonds of empathy, decency, common purpose. It is becoming a country in which people more than disagree. They fail to see each other. They think in types about others, and assume the worst of types not their own.

It takes some effort these days to remember that the United States is still one nation.

It doesn’t feel like one nation when a company like Amazon, with such resources to its name, treats vulnerable people so badly just because it can. Or when members of a presidential debate audience cheer for a hypothetical 30-year-old man to die because he lacks health insurance. Or when schoolteachers in Chicago cling to their union perks and resist an effort to lengthen the hours of instruction for children that the system is failing. Or when an activist publicly labels the U.S. military, recently made safe for open homosexuals, a “San Francisco military.” Or when most of the television pundits go on with prefabricated scripts to eviscerate their rivals, instead of doing us the honor of actually thinking.

The more I travel, the more I observe that Americans are becoming foreigners to each other. People in Texas speak of people in New York the way certain Sunnis speak of Shiites, and vice versa in New York. Many liberals I know take for granted that anyone conservative is either racist or under-informed. People who run companies like Amazon operate as though it never occurred to them that it could have been them crawling through the aisles. And the people who run labor unions possess little empathy for how difficult and risky and remarkable it is to build something like Amazon.

What is creeping into the culture is simple dehumanization, a failure to imagine the lives others lead. Fellow citizens become caricatures. People retreat into their own safe realms. And decency, that great American virtue, falls away.

Read it all…

This Fox “News” screenshot speaks for itself:

How’d you like to work in an Amazon warehouse if you couldn’t retire until you’re 67?

(Cartoon) What the Teaparty GOP and Non-Voters want for America

Source: Jonik Cartoons via azspot

Viva the United States of Koch! Viva the Corporatist Plutocracy!

America’s middle-class is being systematically wiped out

This is probably my favorite theme here, the subject I will constantly return to whenever possible — the warning that plutocrats and corporatists are wiping out the middle class in the U.S. (with the help of the Republican party and their base):

22 Statistics That Prove That The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America:

#1) According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

#2) The number of Americans with incomes below the official poverty line rose by about 15% between 2000 and 2006, and by 2008 over 30 million U.S. workers were earning less than $10 per hour.

#3) According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

#4) According to that same poll, 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.

#5) A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

#6) According to one new survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.

#7) Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.

#8) Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#9) For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

#10) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1.  Since the year 2000, that ratiohas exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

#11) One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

#12) The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

#13) Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

#14) In the United States, the average federal worker now earns about twice as much as the average worker in the private sector.

#15) An analysis of income tax data by the Congressional Budget Office found that the top 1% of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

#16) In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

#17) More than 40% of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.

#18) For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

#19) This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.

#20) Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

#21) According to one new study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.

#22) According to Professor Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, the gap between what the top 10 percent of Americans earn per year and what the rest of us earn has been widening sharply for the last 30 years.  His measurements show that the top 10% percent of Americans now take in approximately 50% of the income.


via: seefarther

Related:

Labor Day weekend: some corporations pay their CEOs more than they pay in taxes

“These individual CEOs are being rewarded for presiding over companies that dodge taxes.” — Chuck Collins, study co-author and a senior scholar at the Institute of Policy Studies.

The Washington Post examines the laughable, Republican argument that taxes must be lowered on U.S. corporations:

Of last year’s 100 highest-paid corporate executives in the United States, 25 earned more in pay than their company recorded as a tax expense in 2010.

Those 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Among the 25 were Verizon, Bank of New York Mellon, General Electric, Boeing and eBay.

[...] Eighteen of the 25 firms last year operated subsidiaries in countries that the U.S. Government Accountability Office and other groups have identified as tax havens, one of the report’s authors said.

For example, Bank of New York Mellon paid its chief executive Robert Kelly $19.4 million last year, while the company got $670 million in what amounted to a tax refund, according to the report. The company has 10 subsidiaries in foreign countries, the report said.

[...] Verizon, for instance, saw the equivalent of a $705 million refund in 2010 because it deferred paying taxes on the bulk of its income to future years. The company’s total tax bill from 2010 was about $2.5 billion. The delay in tax payments allowed the firm to make investments in the nation’s technology infrastructure, a company official said.

[...] Among its other findings, the institute found that the gap between chief executive compensation and average U.S. worker pay rose from a ratio of 263-to-1 in 2009 to 325-to-1 last year.

Read that last sentence again. Does anyone really believe that CEOs worked an average of 325 times harder than the rank-and-file employees of ANY company?

This year, Verizon wanted to cut healthcare benefits and freeze pensions for its employees — causing the union workers to strike — even with tax refunds and deferments and, undoubtedly, huge executive bonuses to Verizon’s CEOs. Essentially the workers will be funding CEO bonuses with cuts to their own benefits. And ultimately, non-wealthy American taxpayers also contribute to these huge bonuses handed out to CEOs, because the corporations they work for are getting such huge and varied tax breaks while we plod along, paying our federal income tax, year after year.

When are corporations going to invest in the nation’s employment and middle-class? Or in the nation’s treasury? It’s not like they haven’t benefited greatly from the U.S. tax structure via loopholes, deregulation and subsidies over the past 30 years. And it’s not like these companies haven’t benefited from the hard work of U.S. labor.

IN FACT, a 2011 report by the Economic Policy Institute reveals that benefits and wages haven’t kept up with the increasing productivity of American workers, both in private and public sectors. (see article or see PDF report)

Thanks to the right-wing ideology of the GOP-Teaparty, here’s where we’re headed: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — unknown

Happy Labor Day weekend!
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/store/images/unions_promo_rgb.jpg

Related: