Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land (by rutaloot)
President Obama made the case today for the so-called “Buffet Rule,” which would mandate that the wealthy pay the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle class families.
He described for the audience the actions of one of his predecessors in the Oval Office, a president who “gave a…
Mussolini in the Socialism tag
Stalin in the Socialism tag
Obama in the Socialism tag
I consider Obama to be in the Social Capitalism or Neoliberalism category …
Stiglitz says that “most Americans don’t realize that we are no longer the country of opportunity that we think of ourselves, that America today has less equality of opportunity than any of the other advanced industrial countries.” He points out how many like to say that our economy is doing well because GDP is growing, but that “if you’re going to be judging how well an economy is doing, clearly I think the key metric that one wants to focus on is what is happening to the living standards of most citizens.” He says that most Americans don’t realize how bad we’re doing, including the fact that “the median income of a full-time male worker today is the same as it was in 1968,” and “if you look at median household income it is the same today as it was a decade and a half ago.”
How did our society get to a place where government has taken a back seat and where people are wary of government control? Stiglitz thanks the conservatives who have successfully touted false ideology about markets over the past 40 years. While they like to blame the government for inequality, Stiglitz notes that not even Adam Smith thought markets were anything beyond efficient. “Nobody ever said that they were fair, that they would lead to a distribution of income that was socially acceptable.” Furthermore, he says, “many of the aspects of our inequality are a result of market failure. People who don’t have health insurance when they get sick wind up in extreme poverty and they can’t get health insurance because of a whole set of market failures.” He says it’s “striking that in spite of the fact that there is no intellectual basis for what you might call a ‘Smithian’ view that unfettered markets lead to efficiency,” conservatives have marched ahead with this idea.
So why was there so much economic growth after World War II? Stiglitz says one reason is “the legacy of the Roosevelts, the legacy that government made a difference.” In making the case for government he also points out that “government has played an important catalytic role in a whole variety of other areas. If you think about our modern economy, you think about Internet, you think about biotech, you think about telecommunications and all of these things rest on government-funded basic research.” He recalls a conversation with a Scandinavian finance minister who, when asked how his economy was so successful, answered “high taxes.” Stiglitz took away that “if you’re going to have a well-functioning economy… you have to pay for what you get. You need to have a well-functioning government that provides education, infrastructure, research, technology, all these things, and we have to pay for it.” Given that markets are not predictable nor interested in social problems, our government should stop bailing the financial institutions out and start investing in its people and the institutions that benefit them.
from people on the ‘true left,’ i.e. progressives/socialists/anarcho-syndicalists/etc. is why people who should be considered moderate and in the middle of the political spectrum from a historical and cosmic view of Earth are consistently demonized and ostracized sometimes to an even great extent than rabid white supremacists, conservative christian fundamentalists, and other assorted ‘right-wing’ groups? If we are playing a game of politics in which our opponent is willing to fully engage and include the middle of the game board while we ourselves ignore or actively alienate the middle, who do you think has a better chance of winning? I’m not advocating buying into every idea and example of action made by self-described liberals, and I’m not arguing against the assumption by many on the ‘true left’ that liberals and liberalism currently are not ‘left enough’ and in fact occupy what should be the intellectual and ethical middle ground of an enlightened society. What I am arguing against is the purposeful and systematic exclusion and alienation of liberals and liberalism from radical socialist, leftist, anarchist, etc. groups, not only in membership and solidarity, but also in attempting to understand and communicate with liberals and liberalism on the level of ideas and values, morality and ethics. If we continue to alienate and exclude the ‘true middle’ or ‘liberal middle’ that should make up the majority of an enlightened society, how can we hope to make any long-term progress towards values and ideas that the ‘true left’ has espoused for the past hundred years and more? Don’t compromise your own values and ideas, but also don’t throw out any help you might receive from our friends in the middle: the liberals and liberalism.
The Most Effective Protest Sign Ever
A chart! A government-cited, statistic-based chart.
The veteran broadcaster Tavis Smiley, and the author and Princeton University Professor Cornel West, are in the midst of a 15 city, cross-country trek they have dubbed, “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience.” The tour comes on the heels of last week’s deficit agreement, which has been widely criticized for excluding a tax hike on the wealthy as well as any measures to tackle high unemployment. “Any legislation that doesn’t extend unemployment benefits, doesn’t close a single corporate loophole, doesn’t not raise one cent in terms of new revenue in terms of taxes on the rich or the lucky, allows corporate America to get away scot-free again, the banks and Wall Street getting away again, and all of these cuts ostensibly on the backs of everyday people,” says Smiley.
|—||John Steinbeck (via grindlebone)|
Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.
Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:
* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.
We must remember history, so the future will be better than it is today ….
Poverty, income inequality, unemployment
The CDF report notes the tremendous growth of social inequality in America. Since the late 1970s, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of the population have stagnated or declined, while the incomes of the top one percent in particular—the ultra-rich—have soared.
In 2008, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of US households was at its lowest level in more than a decade. In the face of this growth of poverty, however, income assistance programs have been slashed and are ill-equipped to deal with the serious rise in social need.
One in five children—or 15.5 million—officially lived in poverty in 2009. Almost half of these children, 6.9 million, live in conditions of extreme poverty, described as an annual income of less than half of the poverty level ($11,025 for a family of four).
Benefits provided by the federal block grant program TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) leave many poor families and children destitute. TANF, signed into law under the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton in 1997, replaced the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which was originally created as part of the New Deal in 1935.
Clinton’s pledge at the time that TANF would end “welfare as we know it” has been borne out in the form of increased poverty and suffering. According to the CDF report, in nearly two-thirds of US states, TANF benefits in 2009 were less than half the 1970 AFDC real dollar amount.
A recent Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report detailed the systematic erosion of the TANF program. Due to inflation, a person receiving benefits today can only purchase 58 percent of what he or she could when the program was first adopted.
The same CBPP report noted that since the onset of the 2008 recession the number of cases adopted by the program has been disproportionate to need. Whereas programs such as food stamps have increased caseloads by nearly 45 percent since 2007, TANF caseloads have risen by only about 10 percent in the same time period.
“The State of America’s Children” also shows that with general unemployment rates remaining high at more than 9 percent, youth are unemployed in record numbers. African-American youth ages 16-19 suffered the highest unemployment numbers at roughly 43 percent. Even this number is likely an underestimation, as many jobless young people go uncounted.