Archive for the ‘Inequality’ Category

Money…Money…Money

Friday, June 12th, 2015

   money5                              The three issues I want to address in this blog are:

  1. Campaign finance reform
  2. Taxes
  3. Income inequality

There is an old saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” While money may not cause evil in all circumstances, it certainly can sway some people toward the path of corruption and bad behavior.

Citizens United is a perfect example. This organization, along with our current campaign finance laws, detours our Legislators away from their constituents, their challenges, and their needs, in order to cater to big donors. The Legislators no longer use their time to legislate nor develop independent ideas. Instead they use their time to raise funds and listen to ideas from big lobbyists representing the oil and gas industry, the NRA, the food industries, and more.

While both Republican and Democrat are responsible for harboring laws that encourage this behavior, the Republican budget and platform contribute more to today’s fiscal problems: millions of kids going hungry, roads crumbling, and a failing educational system.

Billions of dollars are spent each election cycle. These same dollars could feed, educate, and change welfare recipients into taxpayers. If the country would pass a campaign reform amendment to the constitution that provided a reasonable and limited amount to each candidate, then candidates could use their “solicitation” time for actual governing.

Closing tax loopholes would be the next step. When hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than their secretaries, then the system is flawed. If everyone, including corporations, would pay their fair share in taxes, there would be adequate resources for needed government work, social drivers, safety net programs, and innovation. America could fund needed infrastructure, educational needs, and reduce income inequality. The American people must also demand that American companies keep their money in America rather than in foreign tax havens. These changes alone would provide the necessary funds to move this country forward as well as pay down the debt.

Why do Republicans believe that our tax dollars should subsidize large profitable corporations that do not need government assistance, rather than the poor? What I don’t understand is why these billionaires don’t feel a patriotic duty to support the country that has given them so much. Why don’t they see that if you help the less fortunate, everyone wins, not just a few? Why do they resent helping others achieve the American dream?

Currently, the American dream is unattainable for most.  The reason why the dream cannot be reached is explained by the refusal to vote on a minimum wage increase.  If the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 now and $15 in a few years, the economy would grow dramatically. When wages are increased and jobs are created, millions can become productive citizens.

money4Income inequality has turned America from being a democratic republic to a plutocracy. Under this system, the wealthiest of the wealthy control everything from elections to education to the work environment.  The greed of the Wall Street bankers collapsed the economy in 2008. Yet, only one mid-level manager went to prison. Now in 2015, not much has changed. Republicans believe no regulations should be imposed on the free market regardless of the looming risks.

Unfortunately, government regulations are necessary. Prior to, and since the collapse, industries have proven they are incapable of policing themselves. When Republicans talk about green energy, they aren’t talking about the environment, but rather an unregulated banking and corporate system allowed to run amuck. This system is very profitable for a few, but leaves others living paycheck to paycheck.

Currently, the Obama administration has more than five years of job growth, in spite of Republican opposition. Millions more could be put to work fixing our crumbling infrastructure, pursuing renewable energy research, and bringing manufacturing back to America from cheap labor and tax haven countries if there were more support in Congress.

For most Americans, in order for our country to once again thrive, we must get big money out of politics, tax everyone fairly, close the wage gap, and create more good paying jobs.

 

 

The Republican Dictionary

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

elephantAbortion: a∙bor∙tion n. Decision old white men think they should make rather than the pregnant woman, her family and doctor

Budget: budg∙et n. Something nobody in Congress wants to make, but everyone wants to talk about

Constitution: Con∙sti∙tu∙tion n. The most important document our country has because it contains the Second Amendment allowing militia groups and anyone else the right to have arsenals of weapons including assault rifles and large magazine clips anywhere they want

Compromise: com∙pro∙mise n. Accepting things you want, but not accepting anything else; getting 100% of what you want
Cooperation: co∙op∙er∙a∙tion n. Working solely with members of the Republican Party, especially Tea Partiers, to pass bills that only advance the Republican philosophy and agenda

Democracy: de∙moc∙ra∙cy n. Something America used to have, but that politicians are causing us to lose; increasing the power of the Republican Party to serve the job creators, not the takers, so they can restore our Republic

Democrat: Dem∙o∙crat n. A person whose political views don’t make sense and who shouldn’t be allowed to vote

Ebola: E∙bo∙la n. A deadly disease that politicians and the media are using to fear monger

Entitlements: en∙ti∙tle∙ments n. Programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security that waste money, provide a safety net and cause dependency on welfare and government; creates laziness and focuses on veterans, the disabled and the elderly, rather than job creators

Equality: e∙qual∙i∙ty n. Giving rights and fair treatment to everyone who deserves it and believes as you do; Republicans know giving everyone equal rights is not a good idea

Facts: fact n. Statements the GOP often prefers to deny than believe

Fantasy: fan∙ta∙sy n. Imagining things that don’t exist, such as not having a black president

Forgetfulness: for∙get∙ful∙ness adj. Convenient lapses of memory such as when you forget who won the White House in the last two elections

Gender gap: gen∙der gap n.; Statistical differences in the votes of men and women that illustrate why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote

Government: gov∙ern∙ment n. A group of people elected to make laws and govern, but once in office, believe that less is better when it involves the environment, taxes, safety net programs, and job creation, but more is necessary when it involves women in the bedroom

Idea: i∙de∙a n. A thought; Republicans don’t need any new ones, they can keep using those of the past

IDs: IDs n. A legal way to claim fraud in a voting system that doesn’t have any; a way to suppress the vote of those who don’t agree with your message or views

Inequality: in∙e∙qual∙i∙ty n. Equality is socialism, so disparity is good for democracy

Infrastructure: in∙fra∙struc∙ture n. The large-scale public transportation system that just exists, therefore no one needs to finance projects to repair roads and bridges or create new ones

Law: law n. The principles set out in the Bible that should also be binding for our country

Liberal: A belief by the media and Democrats who think Ted Cruz, Stephen King or Louie Gohmert are wrong in their views

Logic: log∙ic n. Getting what I want, when I want it, regardless of the needs and wishes of others, is just commonsense

ringsMarriage: mar∙riage n. A union between one man and one woman…period

Math: math n. A creative budgeting system that can add two plus two, but not necessarily get four

Minorities: mi∙nor∙i∙ties n. Second class citizens who should be blocked from voting

Non-politician: non∙pol∙ti∙cian n. People, who are not elected, but who are big supporters of Republicans like Donald Trump, Ted Nugent and the Koch Brothers

NRA: NRA n. An organization that grades House members on their views on gun rights and gives most Republicans an A+

Obstructionist: ob∙struc∙tion∙ist n. Deliberately causing delays and impeding progress by Republicans like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Ted Cruz so Obama can’t accomplish his agenda

Oligarchy: ol∙i∙gar∙chy n. When a small group of people control the government because they know what is best for everyone

Personhood: per∙son∙hood n. Acknowledging that more rights should be bestowed on a miniscule, second-old egg that may or may not become a human embryo than to an adult woman

Perspective: per∙spec∙tive n. Seeing things from only your own viewpoint because you know opinions of others who might disagree are wrong

Privatization: pri∙va∙ti∙za∙tion n. Transferring ownership from government run facilities to successful businessmen because they know better than the government how to run a business so it will make a profit for them and shareholders

Pro-Life: pro∙life adj. Mandating that women who are pregnant, regardless of the circumstances, give birth and get married so that there is a traditional family unit for the child
Republican: Re∙pub∙li∙can adj Republican Party; n. Someone who thinks they should rule America even if they have to rig the election to win; winning is what matters, not how you play the game

Scientist: sci∙en∙tist n. People who aren’t Republicans who know about climate change

Stupidity: stu∙pid∙i∙ty n. Whatever a Democrat or liberal media person thinks, not what someone like Joni Ernst, Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman would say

Supreme Court: Su∙preme Court n. Highest court; ruling with purist ideology and proud of their conservative, versus constitutional, positions

Tantrum: tan∙trum n. What children do when they don’t get their way; filibuster is what Congress does

Taxes: tax∙es n. Amount of money a job creator has to pay to the government rather than being able to keep it and create more jobs

Theology the∙ol∙o∙gy n. Ruling America by religious principles and Christian ideals

Truth: truth n.; Statements conveying the way the GOP would like things to be; anything that will rally the base

Veterans: vet∙er∙ans n. People who are proud to fight wars for America’s democracy and who we take care of when they return by finally allocating more money to the VA

Voters: vot∙ers n. Anyone who is 18 can register and cast a ballot even if they aren’t qualified; voters should only be white men, married women, and those who believe in conservative values

Wage: wage n. Compensation for work that depends on the type of job you have–that is why CEOs should make more than 350 times what a worker makes

War: war n. Invading others for oil, to spread democracy, or to wipe out terrorists is okay

Welfare wel∙fare n. Money given to lazy people that gives them no incentive to work, while incentivizing corporations for their work is good business

NOTE: This dictionary contains mostly nouns and a few adjectives, but no verbs as the Republican Party takes no action.

Inequality for All: The Republican Goal

Monday, September 8th, 2014

people1As inequalities increase in America over the next couple of decades, life for some will become bleak. Income inequality is just one aspect of the fight for inequality for all. It extends into inequality in education, healthcare, voting, wages, women’s rights and sexual orientation. If the Republicans have their way, the top 1% would control everything and everyone. The Koch Brothers would literally own much of the country, deciding on your kids’ education, your families’ healthcare and your future.

If these inequalities become the normal way of life in America, these actions will create an austere country in which the American Dream will be dead. It would be replaced by long work hours for little pay. No chance of advancement. Owning a home or sending your child to college would no longer be an option for most.

Free elections encouraging everyone to vote would be a memory, instead reverting to the days when only white, male landowners could vote. Originally, the U.S. Constitution did not define who was eligible to vote, allowing each state to make that determination. In the early history of U.S., most states allowed only Caucasian males—who either owned property or, had taxable incomes—to vote.[1]

With fewer well care programs and healthcare services available, people’s lifespan would decrease. More diseases would infect the previously healthy society, and slum conditions would spread contaminated conditions resembling third world countries.

How did we get to this point?

Elected officials and corporate CEOS need to realize that massive inequalities have consequences. By lowering taxes on the wealthy, not closing corporate loopholes, and allowing corporations to avoid paying taxes, government revenues will be depleted and government services will no longer be available.

Do we want to live in a country where there are inadequately staffed police and fire departments that aren’t able to control crime or destructive fires? Where libraries vanish, national and state parks become extinct and schools decline…a place where former middle-class neighborhoods, as well as shantytowns, become dilapidated.

The loss of the tax base will partially be caused by tax inversion schemes allowing companies to locate their headquarters in foreign countries to avoid taxes while enjoying the benefits of America. Today, one in four companies pays no taxes. Additionally, many large profitable corporations, such as GE, not only don’t pay taxes, but they actually get subsidies paid to them…with your tax dollars.

Business taxes now make up less than 10 percent of federal revenue, and in some years as little as 6.6 percent. That is sharply down from the years after World War II, when about 30 percent of federal revenue came from corporate taxes… Only 6 percent of businesses are traditional corporations subject to the corporate income tax, according to the Congressional Research Service. That is down from 17 percent in 1980. The result is that less than half of the government’s business income comes from corporations, down from about 80 percent in 1980.[2]

Between 1979 and 2010, real median income of 99 percent of Americans increased by a lowly 36 percent. During the same period, real earnings of the top 1 percent grew by an astonishing 280 percent. One-quarter of income growth in the United States from 1979 to 2010 flowed to the top 1 percent.

As the Republicans continue their war on labor, negotiating for better wages and conditions is eluding most workers. Higher salaries and benefits are flooding to executives, while workers, who are losing their unions and bargaining strength, are barely able to pay their mortgages.

As corporate executives bask in their wealth, they are failing to realize that without the multitude able to buy their products, their companies will falter. The stock market will eventually realize that sales are dropping, which will trigger a downward spiral to oblivion.

With nothing being spent on crumbling infrastructure, it becomes difficult to get from home to work to entertainment venues. Without roads and money, not enough people are buying automobiles, tires, batteries and gas. The automotive industry will collapse, and with it many other industries.

Inequality in income, education and personal freedoms will destroy America if it continues at its current pace. Republicans are fostering inequality in wages for women when they don’t support equal pay for equal work legislation. They are bankrupting the country when they don’t raise minimum wages so laborers can earn a living. As more and more Republican governors take funds from school budgets, schools are closing and textbooks are limited resulting in only the elite getting a world-class education.

Yet the so-called fiscally responsible Republicans have no problem spending money to send Americans to war, but they don’t want to take care of them or help them find work when they return. Showing no biases, they continue their stand on inequalities for all, including our wounded warriors.

Climate change is a scientific fact, but not to the far right. Legislation to help protect our planet and preserve it for our children is overridden by those who support big oil, drilling and fracking everywhere. Not concerned with tainting the water that nourishes crops and cattle, or annihilating a rural communities’ water supply, their only concern is feeding the big oil industry with more drilling. Inequality for many, oil profits for a few.

By continuing to cater to the rich who don’t want to impose reasonable regulations on Wall Street, Republicans continue to propel the injustices of the past. The corruption and the fraud that made the rich richer and collapsed our economy continues to be unrestrained. The lack of proper financial and labor regulations are two major reasons inequality is growing in America, not by small steps, but by leaps and bounds. Those people who were able to invest in the stock market the last five years, saw unprecedented profits; those who couldn’t, continue to struggle.

As the president works to level some of these inequities, the Republican Party threatens another costly government shutdown or wasting time and precious resources suing or impeaching Obama. Americans need to vote in 2014 to make sure these disastrous scenarios don’t come to pass.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_rights_in_the_United_States

[2]http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/businesses-find-ways-to-avoid-corporate-taxes-but-a-fix-seems-unlikely/

Sidebar

Top 10 Corporations with Inequality Income Disparities

McDonald’s average hourly worker wage: $7.73
McDonald’s CEO hourly compensation: $9,247 (1,196 times the average worker wage)

Starbuck’s average hourly worker wage: $8.79
Starbucks CEO hourly compensation: $9,637 (1,096 times the average worker wage)

Dollar General average hourly worker wage: $7.67
Dollar General CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,720 (1,007 times the average worker wage)

Gap Inc. average hourly worker wage: $8.67
Gap Inc. CEO’s hourly compensation: $8,209 (947 times the average worker wage)

T. J. Maxx average hourly worker wage: $7.85
T. J. Maxx CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,256 (924 times the average worker wage)

Target average hourly worker wage: $8.35
Target CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,882 (824 times the average worker wage)

Walmart average hourly worker wage: $8.86
Walmart CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,898 (779 times the average worker wage)

CVS Caremark average hourly worker wage: $8.81
CVS Caremark CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,777 (769 times the average worker wage)

Best Buy average hourly worker wage: $9.78
Best Buy CEO’s hourly compensation: $6,517 (666 times the average worker wage)

AT&T average hourly worker wage: $13.28
AT&T CEO’s hourly compensation: $7,412 (558 times the wage of an average worker)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2013/1212/CEO-vs.-worker-pay-Walmart-McDonald-s-and-eight-other-firms-with-biggest-gaps/Best-Buy

Study by NerdWallet