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Posts Tagged ‘1%’

The Importance Of Economic And Social Factors

MLK guaranteed incomeNews reports often separate economic and social issues. Yet the term, socio-economic, dating back to the 1880s, indicates a linkage. And a strong political connection exists between economic and social issues.

Recent public opinion polling shows that the economy, followed by job creation, remains the dominant issue for voters. These attitudes are not surprising in a time of chronic job insecurity, stagnant wages, and shredded social safety nets. How do we as a nation make sure people have a decent standard of living regardless of work status or economic conditions?

Polling results reveal that our economy today no longer works for vast numbers of average Americans. The rich and powerful have more wealth and power than ever. Between 2009 and 2011, income fell for ninety-nine percent of the population while it rose eleven percent for the top one percent. The behavior of many one-per centers brought on the financial crisis. Yet they received a government bailout, and now their wealth continues to skyrocket once again. Meanwhile, working people find themselves floundering, trapped in economic misery.

Responses to the economic crisis in the political arena vary. Republicans tend to worship markets and demonize government. For them, economic recovery involves an austerity program, dismantling or scaling back universal social welfare programs, cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and ending collective bargaining.

Democrats strive to advance the common good and human rights for all. For them, restoring material security means shoring up social programs while promoting good jobs and wages, government regulations, and unions.

In his final book, Martin Luther King wrote that the problem of economic inequality can be addressed by creating full employment or creating guaranteed income. He recognized the critical economic role of consumption, which today accounts for nearly three quarters of our economy.

King called for a “revolution of values.” We need the social vision to pay adequate wages to every American worker regardless of their job title. Every American family should have an adequate and livable income.

King saw the guaranteed annual income as the simplest and most effective way to eliminate poverty. In order for the guaranteed income to function as a “consistently progressive measure,” requires “two conditions.” It must be based on “the median income of society, not at the lowest levels of income.” Also it must be indexed for inflation, “automatically increasing as the total social income grows.”

Today’s advocates of a guaranteed basic income see it as a viable policy of economic justice/fairness. People with a basic income can more easily care for their families, stay healthy, and improve their education. The money they spend stimulates the economy by increasing the demand for goods and services, by bringing more workers into the labor force, and by boosting tax revenues. The benefits to society include better educational outcomes, decreased mental illness, and a decline in social ills like domestic abuse and criminal activity.

While news accounts often measure the economy by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the economic measurement that matters for most people remains whether enough Americans hold jobs with decent pay and benefits. A low-work, low-wage economy, with most people struggling to meet their basic needs and a few people living in luxury, threatens our democracy.

Americans want a sustained economic recovery and a government that will work to achieve it. Everyone should have access to employment, health care, food, housing, and a decent standard of living.

The political and cultural struggles waged by liberals have significantly contributed to making American society more humane and less oppressive. The progress made in securing basic human rights for blacks, women, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants, and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people stands as a testament to their courage and commitment.

Ralph Scharnau teaches U. S. history at Northeast Iowa Community College, Peosta.  He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.  His publications include articles on labor history in Iowa and Dubuque.  Scharnau, a peace and justice activist, writes monthly op-ed columns for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

Letter From The 99% To The 1%

From our inbox:  The letter below is a simple, elegant expression of the reason for the Occupy Wall Street movement.  We do not know its origin.  Please share widely.

Letter to the 1%

We are the 99%.

We are the rest of the country. We do the work. We pay the taxes. We went through the school systems in our communities and made ourselves into United States Citizens.

The things that we have, we worked for. We pay for the schools that our children go to. The roads that we drive on are paid for by us. We also pay to have our police, fire, emergency, and military keep us from harm.

All these things we are proud to pay for because that is the cost of living in our country.

You, on the other hand, take.

Wealth has been given to you, inherited by you, or you swindled it from someone else. In many cases that wealth was acquired or taken from us. Because of this wealth and (assumed) power, you make sure that the cards are dealt in your favor.

You buy influence in the government that WE pay for. Through that influence you reduce your tax burden and take away services that we need. You tell us that our fire fighters and police officers are costing too much money. You have portrayed our teachers as villains and public workers as a drain on government resources. You tell us that it is too expensive to protect the air that we breathe and the water that we drink.

By your actions, you imply that our children are not important enough to get an education while you send yours to private schools and universities.

You OWN the mainstream media so only YOUR message gets through on the airwaves. Those same airwaves are used by you to peddle your politicians and further control OUR government.

But you are forgetting something.

We are 99, you are 1.

There are many more of us than you.

We communicate in more ways than you can control and we are organizing.

We are not going to be quiet and let you create more phony wealth on our pension funds, home mortgages, and student loans.

You keep saying that our message is unclear but that is a lie.

Our message is very clear.

We are going to take back our country and put it into the hands of the people who care about it.


The 99%.

The Citizens of the United States of America.

Why Bruce Braley Would Like You To Contact Congress

This was in our inbox from Congressman Braley:

It’s shocking. It seems like leaders in Congress want your taxes to go up this holiday season.

And no, I’m not kidding. Unless Congress acts now, taxes for the average American family will increase by $1,000 at the end of the year.

Talk about a lump of coal in your stocking. That’s $1,000 you won’t have to pay your bills, heat your home, or feed your family.

Sign the petition now — Tell Speaker Boehner & Congress not to raise taxes on the middle class.

If Congress doesn’t act before the end of the year, the payroll tax cut enacted last year will expire. Millions of middle class families across the country depend on this extra money in their paychecks, and taking that away right now when America’s middle class is still struggling to make ends meet is the wrong move.

More money in the paychecks of middle class Americans is one of the best ways to strengthen our sluggish economy.

But Republican leaders in Congress seem to be more interested in tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans than they are in cutting taxes for the rest of us. If we don’t demand it, then Congress will let these tax cuts for middle class Americans expire.

Send a message to Speaker Boehner right now by signing our petition that demands action from Congress on the middle class tax cuts:

Join President Obama and me to tell Congress to act now to stop your taxes from going up on January 1!

And after you sign this petition – spread the word and ask everyone you know to sign it too. This is a tax cut that affects all of us and the only thing that will make a difference is the combined voice of thousands of Americans.

It’s time to put a tax cut for millions of middle class Americans ahead of partisan politics.

Thanks for everything you do.


P.S. I know it’s almost the end of the year, and the holidays are fast approaching – but that’s why this deadline makes all the difference. Please sign the petition and spread the word today:

Who Is Scaring The Bejezus Out Of Republicans?

Who said this?

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”  Thomas Edison in 1931 to his friends Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford.

Talk about terrified

Elizabeth Warren is scaring the bejezus out of Republicans. She has a platform and she is unafraid to tell the truth. Just imagine what a voice like hers could mean for the common person if she were in the senate. But getting there will be hard. The right wing owns the media and expect them to use every dirty trick and more to keep her voice quiet. She could start a real move toward government for the people.

Ghosts of Elections past

Alan Keyes, listen up. Your party needs you to be the voice of sanity and reason and run for President against Barack Obama. You softened him up before, now you can take him!

Gotta do what you gotta do

President Obama has gone on an executive order tear this week. Student loans and mortgage relief got most of the press. It looks like an order making federal contractors list their political contributions may be coming. This would help mute some of the effect of the Citizen’s United ruling. It is also in line with what many states already do. Can’t be having government become an open pit of no-bid contracts based on political contributions:

“On Wednesday it was reported that President Obama was drafting an executive order that would require companies pursuing federal contracts to disclose political contributions that have been secret under the Citizen’s United ruling. A senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Hans A. von Spakovsky, lambasted the proposed executive order saying that, “The draft order tries to interfere with the First Amendment rights of contractors.” Mr. von Spakovsky dutifully made all the right-wing, neo-con arguments including bringing Planned Parenthood and unions into the discussion. The draft order did not exempt any entity from disclosure rules and presents a reasonable requirement on contractors seeking government contracts. Several states have similar “pay to play” laws to prevent businesses from using unlimited donations to buy lucrative state contracts from slimy legislators.”

Is it okay to come out now?

I can’t understand why, if Republicans are so proud of their policies and they believe Americans love them also, that Eric Cantor can’t speak before an open meeting. Last week he skeedaddled from The Wharton School of Business when he heard some riff-raff might get in. Today he spoke at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, but only to a hand-picked crowd.

Real scary

Sometime tomorrow Earth citizen #7,000,000,000 will be born. That is the total living humans. I know many have heard the statistics of how long it once took to raise that first billion and how quickly we do it now.
One recurring theme I hear to combat an ever expanding population is the education of women and their entry into the economic system. That more than anything else seems to greatly tamp down birth rates. Nothing says unrest and revolution more than a young unfed, unemployed population.

How the 1% lives

I found this story yesterday and it really made me mad. At the office of a major foreclosure lawyer, Halloween is for laughing at the down and out.

Happy Halloween (worth the click)