And as far as entitlement programs go, government guarantees and redistribution schemes are only a starting point. As economist Dean Baker has argued, America’s professional class retains monopoly pricing power for their labor through trade restrictions while the working class has been thrown to the wolves. The Federal Reserve has spent upwards of four trillion dollars to entitle the fortunes of the investor class since 2008, returning the already rich to their former wealth. And corporate executives have entitled themselves to robber-baron sized paychecks through the combination of trade policies that have so reduced the fortunes of the working class, tax abatements that have bled the public weal for some forty years, and through the financialization of the economy that has favored, along with Federal Reserve policies, the financial wealth that executives pay themselves with. All of these and more are entitlement programs that have redistributed ever more social wealth from the working class and poor up to the Washington establishment’s beloved plutocrats.
Rob Urie (via theamericanbear)
We’re at the very beginning; we’re just starting to come out of our little eggshell. When the industrial era began, it broke the connection between kinship and trust, and it started treating people as commodities. And then we lost sight of our government, and we allowed the corporations to buy the government. The United States of America no longer represents “We the People,” but you can change that. The reason it’s not working today is that we have a military industrial complex that profits from secrecy and war, and it does NOT profit from efficiency and peace.

Blog that.

The bottom line here is that central banking is an evil cancer. These people are selling us credit they don’t have, so they can take profits they don’t deserve out of our pockets. That’s nuts.

The United States government is constitutionally charted to print money on the good faith and credit of all of us, and not pay interest. Why are we being such fools? Well, unfortunately, if you fight them, you get assassinated. Lincoln and Kennedy were both about to print money and not borrow from the banks. I can’t connect those two dots, but I can tell you they’re side by side. But the reality is that the federal government is broken in every possible way. And it’s going to be localized, bottom-up resilience networks that are going to save us. That’s where you come in….
Robert David Steele, Former CIA Agent’s Message to America (via humanformat)

Romney economics: when a fair wage for American workers is considered ‘greed’


Fox News and Mitt Romney, as representatives for the one percent, rely on the Republican base voters to be not only dumb and uninformed, but self-hating as well. How else do you explain support (by people who aren’t wealthy) for the idea that fair wages and benefits for working Americans is “greed”? This morning, Ed Gillespie, an adviser to Mitt Romney, told Fox News host Chris Wallace that Scott Walker winning in Wisconsin would mean:

“I think the statement to big labor and to big government employee unions, government worker unions is that you can’t be too greedy,” Gillespie explained. “You need to understand that times are tough and a lot of these legacy costs that you imposed are due for some reforms and some restructuring.”

It’s interesting that Romney’s adviser calls it ‘greed’ when unions and workers want to preserve their wages and benefits. Especially when you consider the tactics ofvulture capitalism, practiced by Mitt Romney during his time at Bain Capital, on long-term employees of companies acquired by Bain (fire them, hire some back at lower wages). Support for this kind of thinking will turn us into a third-world economy yet. Here’s proof: the WSJ reported this week that flat wages in the US are helping a manufacturing rebound:

The wage lag is a key factor contributing to the rebounding competitiveness of U.S. industry. A recent uptick in factory employment and the return of some production to U.S. shores from abroad both added jobs that probably otherwise wouldn’t exist. But sluggish wages also are squeezing workers’ incomes and spending. That, in turn, hurts retailers who target middle-income earners and restrains the vigor of the economic recovery. “The U.S. has held manufacturing wages in check while there has been strong wage growth in China and moderate wage growth in Mexico,” says economist Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, referring to two of the U.S.’s biggest lower-wage competitors.

China and Mexico’s wages are growing while U.S. wages are shrinking. Apparently that’s the only way corporations who got rich on American soil are willing to bring jobs back to American soil. Soon everyone will have a job, if they’re not too “greedy” and are willing to work for $1.00 a day.

Oh, and of course this is not greed.

The emails uncovered by KTVU depict the fact that there’s a conspiracy between mayor Kwan and Howard Jordan when it was written, “I don’t know how you want to share this good news of the crime [rate] decreasing by 19 percent since Occupy because it’s in opposition to our message that Occupy is increasing the violence.” These are the types of thing that make me question the ethics of those who have been elected to represent and protect the community, and furthermore, makes me wonder in what ways will the funds be used, especially since there’s no guarantee that there has been any legitimacy to the allocation of the funds thus far.
Bella Eiko, January 17th Oakland City Council Speech (via humanformat)
What emerges is the central importance of how capitalism very particularly organizes production: masses of working people generate corporate profits that others take and use. Tiny boards of directors, selected by and responsible to tiny groups of major shareholders, gather and control corporate profits, thereby shaping and dominating society. That tiny minority (boards and major shareholders) of those associated with and dependent upon corporations make all the basic decisions—how, what, and where to produce and what to do with the profits. The vast majority of workers within and residents surrounding those capitalist corporations must live with the results of corporate decisions. Yet they are systematically excluded from participating in making those decisions. Nothing more glaringly contradicts democracy than how capitalism organizes the corporate enterprises where working people produce the goods and services without which modern life for everyone would be impossible.
Capitalism is Taboo in America (via humanformat)

What Oligarchy Means: Small Groups of Multi-Millionaires Funding Almost All SuperPACs | David Dayen


Forget the five people you meet in heaven, here are the five people running the US election system these days.

We know how the super PACs have come to dominate the presidential campaign, but a closer look at financial-disclosure numbers shows how just a tiny handful of billionaires are dominating those super PACs. An analysis of January’s campaign-disclosure filings reveals that 25 percent of all the money raised for the presidential race that month came from just five donors. That select group gave $19 million to various super PACs, often in support of more than one Republican candidate. Those numbers come from both The Washington Post and USA Today, though neither gives a complete list of those five top donors of 2012.

Ari Berman has us covered. The list includes Harold Simmons, who has given to Perry, Romney and Gingrich this year; Sheldon Adelson and his wife, who are keeping Gingrich on life support; and Santorum pals Foster Freiss and William Dore. Also in the mix is billionaire investor Peter Thiel, a Romney angel.

If you want to extend the circle out to, say, 200 people, a report from Demos shows that about that many have contributed 80% of all SuperPAC money. These are the SuperPACs that have been a major determining factor in the GOP primary, and which swung many Congressional elections in 2010. This equals .000063 of the electorate.

I respect the arguments that Citizens United didn’t cause this all by itself. We had a messed-up election system before that Supreme Court ruling. But there has unquestionably been a cultural shift in recent years, with far more outright purchases of elections, using massive numbers. I would argue that the rise follows the rise in political economy of a select few. As the 1% spends to write the laws, they gain more power and a certain invincibility. So they can use that power on elections with relative impunity. One hand washes the other.

(Source: theamericanbear)

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