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Originally posted on Rcooley123's Blog:
There seems to be a vast difference of opinion in this country as to who are the makers and who the takers. People like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and other members of the 1%, their apologists or both have for decades portrayed themselves as delivering to American society the wherewithal that has created the greatest economy the world has ever known. Through their superior knowledge, hard work and inner strength, they have risen above the rest of us in terms of economic wealth and political power. The only thing holding them back from even greater accomplishments is the fact that so many of their fellow citizens expect a free ride and a free lunch at their expense.
The fact that we have a degree of economic inequality in this country that allows many to go homeless, hungry and without adequate health care means nothing to many of the wealthy in…
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A Cartoonist’s Depiction Of Wealth Inequality
Whoa, that’s lopsided!
FACT CHECK TIME. Here’s what our fact checkers found:
This graphic is based on research by The Levy Institute, which uses data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Those figures have also appeared in research by the Economic Policy Institute.
I’d be remiss to ignore that the illustration contains a small mistake: That gigantisized money stack on the far left is actually five bundles shorter than it should be. (Sigh…)
Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.
It’s the right thing to do. But what’s more, companies have found that when their employees earn more, they’re more motivated, they work harder, and they stick around longer. You should expect the same of your federal government.
The bottom line is this: We are a nation that believes in rewarding honest work with honest wages. And America deserves a raise.
The order I signed today will help folks across the country. But it’s not enough.
Right now, there’s a bill in Congress that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all Americans. It would lift wages for more than 28 million current workers, and would move millions of Americans out of poverty. That means businesses would have customers with more money to spend.
Raising the minimum wage would grow the economy for everyone.
You don’t need to believe me: Believe the 600 economists — including seven Nobel Prize winners — who wrote both houses of Congress last month to remind them that the bill before them will have little or no negative effect on jobs.
When I stood before both chambers of Congress and said that I intended for 2014 to be a year of action, that wasn’t just a nice line in a speech. It was an acknowledgment that we’ve got to restore opportunity for everyone in America — the idea that no matter who you are, or how you started out, you can get ahead here if you’re responsible and willing to work for it. That’s what this “year of action” is all about.
And since that speech, I have taken actions on my own to make it easier for folks to save for retirement, help working Americans get the skills that good jobs demand, and assist millions of Americans who have been looking for work for several months. I’ve announced a major new commitment toward connecting our schools to 21st-century technology.
That action continues today, and in the months to come.
President Barack Obama
— by Rich Dunn, NV Rural Democratic Caucus, 2nd Vice Chair
On Monday the treasury budget for December was released, and guess what. The federal government ran a surplus of $53.20 billion. Yes, I said surplus. It got little attention because budget surpluses have become relatively routine of late. Here are the treasury budgets for the previous seven months:
You’re seeing that right. The budget was in surplus in three of the last seven months of 2013.
The deficit for Fiscal Year 2013 totaled $680.3 billion, which was down from $1.09 trillion in 2012—the fourth consecutive year when deficits were over a trillion dollars. The Obama administration is now running annual deficits less than half the size of the one he inherited from Bush in 2009, and economists are already speculating that Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016 could well be in surplus.
The government should not be running a fiscal surplus when aggregate demand is still lagging in the macro economy. The country’s infrastructure is falling apart and we should be fixing it right now because the money is there and isn’t being used to expand employment or investment in the private sector. Instead coporate balance sheets are hoarding cash and using it to pay special dividends and stock buybacks for the investor class. That money should be put to work investing in America!
— by Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley; Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.
I keep on debating right-wingers who tell me the economy is working for everyone, that widening inequality isn’t really a problem, that the rich are using their wealth to generate growth and jobs — and that therefore supply-side “trickle-down” economics — starting with Reagan’s giant tax-cuts on the rich and continuing through George W. Bush’s tax cuts on the rich — has been a huge success. Baloney. Yesterday’s Census Bureau report reveals just the opposite.
MIDDLE-CLASS SHARE OF TOTAL INCOME DROPPING: The middle 60 percent of households took home only 45.7 percent of the nation’s income in 2012, the same percent it took home in 2011 and well below the 53.2 percent it used to take home in 1968.
TYPICAL HOUSEHOLDS ARE LOSING GROUND. The average under-65 household in the United States has lost $7,490 in annual income since the year 2000. In 1989, the median American household made $51,681 in current dollars; In 2012, $51,017. That means that 24 years ago, a middle class American family was making more than the a middle class family was making one year ago.
ALMOST ALL THE GAINS HAVE GONE TO THE TOP. Between 1967 and 2012, the average income of the top 5 percent grew by 88.2 percent in real terms, or three times the 26.6 percent growth experienced by the middle 60 percent.
Get it? Supply-side economics has been one of the biggest failures in American history. It’s a cruel hoax – a hoax because nothing has trickled down, cruel because it has imposed extraordinary hardship on millions of Americans.
Time Magazine named Robert Reich one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest, “Beyond Outrage,” is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, “Inequality for All,” will be out September 27. Here’s the trailer for that film: