Economic Injustice


A Commoner Writes: Thirty Pieces Of Silver

Truth reflects fact and reality. Lasting relationships depend on truth. Persons of faith should recognize truth as the cornerstone of their belief system. As children, we learned how important it is to be truthful. To know truth was reassuring, it provided security, and promoted trust. If truth or trust were absent, children suffered insecurity and anxiety. As adults, we live in a world that is not always what it seems. We avoid those with a loose connection to truth. We understand that liars are untrustworthy and dangerous. The statement “buyer beware” reflects this reality. We consciously avoid those who look…


Hope And Crisis On The ‘Tightrope’ Of Working-Class America

  By Meghna Chakrabarti & Stefano Kotsonis On Point / WBUR (1/14/20) One-quarter of Nick Kristof’s high school class died prematurely. The New York Times columnist went back to his hometown to find out why. Guests Sheryl WuDunn, business executive and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. (@WuDunn) Nick Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. (@NickKristof) Their new book is “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.” In 1990, WuDunn and Kristof became the first married couple to receive a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, for their reporting on the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. Diane Reynolds, ordained pastor and founder of the nonprofit Provoking Hope. She…


What Citizen Needs Could Be Met If Billionaires Paid The Taxes They Should? We Do The Math

The richest 1% own nearly 40% of all the wealth, but pay only 20% of all the taxes.   By Michael Linden The Guardian (12/13/19) “Every billionaire is a policy failure.” So says a key adviser to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez herself says that it’s wrong to have a “system that allows billionaires to exist” alongside poverty. And the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo recently called for us to “abolish billionaires”. For most of the last four decades, the gains from economic growth have flowed overwhelmingly to the rich. Much of those gains to the rich weren’t “earned” in any traditional sense, but rather extracted,…


Wealth Of World’s Richest 500 Zoomed 25% In 2019

  By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman Huffington Post (12/27/19) The world’s richest 500 people increased their collective wealth by 25% in 2019 ― a stark reminder of worsening income inequality, particularly in the U.S. The 500 wealthiest people held a net worth of $5.9 trillion dollars ― collectively up $1.2 trillion over this year alone, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Topping the list of richest people were familiar names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, French luxury group head Bernard Arnault, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The 400 richest people in…


Trump’s Sour Holiday Menu: More Handouts For Billionaires, Hunger For The Poor

Ultimately, we must make a choice as a society: will we tolerate the insatiable greed and cruelty of the billionaire class? By Bernie Sanders & Rep. Rashida Tlaib The Guardian (12/24/19) When it comes to billionaires benefiting from the generosity of the American taxpayer, the holiday spirit is alive year-round. Taxpayers paid out $115m to Donald Trump so he could play golf at his own resorts. And Amazon didn’t just pay zero in federal taxes on $11bn in profits – taxpayers gifted the corporation $129,000,000 in rebates. That’s enough to pay for CEO Jeff Bezos’s three apartments in Manhattan, including a penthouse, that cost him $80m. We must demand that the…


Billionaire Nick Hannauer Reveals The Dirty Secret Of Capitalism — And A New Way Forward

`Modern neoliberal economic policy is built on lies and false assumptions. TED Talk (10/18/19) Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that “greed is good” — an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong — and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation. Link To 17-Minute Video


‘Injury Mills’ — Amazon’s Internal Warehouse Injury Records Expose The True Toll Of Its Relentless Drive For Speed

When disaster struck at one Indiana warehouse, Amazon’s economic might may have helped the company evade accountability.  By Will Evans Reveal / Center For Investigative Reporting (11/25/19) When Candice Dixon showed up for her first day of work at an Amazon warehouse in Eastvale, California, she stepped into a wonder of automation, efficiency and speed. Inside the sprawling four-story building in Southern California’s Inland Empire, hundreds of squat orange robots whizzed across the floor, carrying tall yellow racks. As a stower, her job was to stand in a spot on the floor, like hundreds of others in that million-square-foot warehouse,…


For Growing Numbers, America Is Regressing Into A Brutal Developing Nation

The U.S. is no longer one country, but splitting into two separate economic and political worlds. By Lynn Parramore Institute For New Economic Thinking (4/20/17) You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.”  But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place. In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly…


Billionaires Profit Directly Off The Suffering Of Children

  “A tax that took about 1% of that wealth each year would yield about $4tn over the next decade. To put that amount in perspective, $4tn is more than the federal government will spend over the next decade on foster care, school lunch, school breakfast, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, unemployment compensation, supplemental security income for the elderly, blind people and those with disabilities, and all the tax credits for working families combined.” — Michael Linden, What could the US afford if it raised billionaires’ taxes? We do the math.


Strong Employment Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story: 44% Of Fully Employed Make $18,000 A Year … Or Less

  Real News (12/10/19) Beneath the rosy employment report lives a reality of low-paying part-time and temporary work with no benefits or security. Link To 12-Minute Video ***** Working People Podcast: Commercial Diver Gives Front-Row Seat To The Devastation We Are Causing Our Oceans & Coastlines. In These Times Podcast (12/10/19) In this episode—the first released in partnership with In These Times—we chat with new father Clarke, a contract commercial diver who works on different jobs for different companies throughout the year, completing tasks from underwater welding to removing shoreline debris. Clarke is a navy veteran and a member of the…


Trump Is ‘A Problem’ But Impeachment Doesn’t Address ‘The Problem’ That Created Him

Impeaching Trump without addressing America’s deeper structural problems, says Hedges, will only make things worse. By Chauncey Devega Salon (12/9/19) The United States is sick with income and other forms of social inequality. It suffers from cruelty, loneliness, greed, gangster capitalism, white supremacy, violence, sexism and a culture of ignorance and distraction. Our broken political system does not encourage critical thinking or nurture a capacity for responsible, engaged citizenship.President Donald Trump is the human embodiment of almost everything wrong with American society. He is both the symptom and the disease. Trump and the Republican Party’s fascist movement and its news…


Education Sec. Betsy DeVos Overruled Education Dept. Findings On Defrauded Student Borrowers

  [Editor’s Note: Now keep in mind Besty DeVos inherited millions from her family’s Amway fortune. She’s never had to work a day in her life and certainly never had to worry about coming up with tuition for herself or her children. — Mark L. Taylor] By Cory Turner Morning Edition / NPR (12/11/19) Documents obtained by NPR shed new light on a bitter fight between defrauded student borrowers and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. These borrowers — more than 200,000 of them — say some for-profit colleges lied to them about their job prospects and the transferability of credits….


Heist: Where Has All Our Money & Security Gone?

“From the late 1940’s until the late 70’s, income in the US grew at about the same rate for every sector of the population. In fact, the bottom 50 percent gained a bit more than the upper echelons of the economy. “Back in 1980, the share of national income going to the top 1 percent was just a bit over 10 percent and the bottom 50 percent’s share of all income was about 20 percent. By 2015, that situation had reversed, with the top 1 percent getting about 20 percent of the national income pie, and the bottom 50 percent getting…


Broke, Not Poor: The Steep Slide To Downwardly Mobile

50% of Americans born in the 1980s are set to end up worse off than their parents. By Lynn Steger Strong The Guardian (12/3/19) A couple of months ago, I told a friend I’d not been to a doctor in five years. She was aghast, concerned. My friend wanted to talk to me about all the ways I need to take better care of myself, and I mostly let her talk. I vaguely mentioned money, but how broke my husband and I are is something I usually avoid talking about. The truth is, we only have sporadic health insurance. I have…


Democracy Incorporated & Inverted Totalitarianism

“The political role of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system, not excrescences upon it. The system would remain in place even if the Democratic Party attained a majority; and should that circumstance arise, the system will set tight limits to unwelcome changes, as is foreshadowed in the timidity of current Democratic proposals for reform. In the last analysis the much-lauded stability and conservatism of the…


Whiny Boo-Hoo Billionaires: America’s Indulged Super-Wealthy Are Freaking Out About 2020

TURKEY ***** “There is something about the very wealthy, they don’t have enough people telling them that they are full of shit.” By Dominic Rushe The Guardian (11/16/19) The 1996 US election was all about the “soccer mom”; 2004 belonged to the “Nascar dads”; Donald Trump won the White House with a “basket of deplorables”. Every election cycle seems to have a key demographic said to define the race, and 2020 is no different. This is the campaign of the “beleaguered billionaire”. There’s a billionaire in the White House and two of the top Democratic rivals for Trump’s job, senators Bernie…


Revenge Of The Billionaires: How An Oligarchy Of The Morbidly Rich Can Take Down Democracy

This is a crisis point for our nation as real and critical as those we hit in 1776, 1861, and 1932. In each of those three cases—roughly four generations apart—the oligarchs lost the battle. This time they could win. By Thom Hartmann Independent Media Institute (11/22/19) The current issue of the Atlantic magazine founded itself in the years just before the Civil War, is ominously titled, “How to Stop a Civil War.” If we are, indeed, on the brink of a second Civil War, it’s already being waged as a “cold war,” with the occasional armed skirmish being provoked by the so-called…


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Chris Hedges: How To (Maybe) Save The Planet & Ourselves

“The corrupt system is going to kill us all unless we rise up.” By Chris Hedges TruthDig (11/18/19) If you read only one book this year, it should be Roger Hallam’s “Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse.” Hallam’s lucid and concise book, which echoes Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” says what many of us now know to be true but do not say: If we do not replace the ruling elites soon we are finished as a species. It is a cogent, well-argued case for global rebellion—the only form of resistance…


Senate Dems Join GOP To Back ‘Automatic Austerity’ Bill That Will Lead To Gutting Social Programs, Hamstring Needed Reform & Investment

By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/14/19) A handful of Senate Democrats joined forces with Republicans last week to advance sweeping budget legislation that would establish an “automatic deficit-reduction process” that could trigger trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs—and potentially hobble the agenda of the next president. The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act (S.2765), authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), passed out of the Senate Budget Committee on November 6. The legislation is co-sponsored by five members of the Senate Democratic caucus: Whitehouse, Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Coons (Del.),…


INJUSTICE: When Justice Depends Solely On The Size Of Your Pocketbook

The ‘Justice’ mosaic on the inside of the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol. “It’s a beautiful system for sucking money out of the people who can least afford it.”   Southern Poverty Law Center (10/5/19) Tella Barnett fears she’ll end up behind bars again if she gets behind on her payments. She’s one of thousands of people in Alabama who pay to stay out of prison. One day last March, she paid a $30 monitoring fee as well as a $40 supervision fee. She paid $40 in drug testing fees and $30 in “rescheduling fees.” “Oh, my goodness, I can barely…


Inside ‘The Corporate Coup D’Etat’ That’s Created A New, Brutally Unjust Gilded Age

“They are just looting and stealing as fast as they can as everything collapses.” — Author Chris Hedges, interviewed in The Corporate Coup D’Etat.   [Editor’s Note: Film producer Jeff Cohen has pointed advice for democrats in 2020 regarding the party’s timid, go-slow, incremental ever corporate-friendly posture. Advice, that if ignored could well assure Trump victory in 2020. — Mark L. Taylor] Status Coup (7/20/19) Status Coup’s Jordan Chariton speaks with Jeff Cohen, the founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) and executive producer of the film “The Corporate Coup D’Etat’.” Link to 19-Minute Video (Commoner Call art by Mark…


Cornered Billionaires Are Freaking Out!

Bill Gates is thinking about voting for Donald Trump, while Mike Bloomberg intends to vote for himself. By Zach Carter HuffPost (11/8/19) Since early summer, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been drawing huge crowds to their rallies, dominating the televised debates, and setting fundraising records with support exclusively from small donors. Most importantly, their surging popularity stems from their plans to dramatically expand the federal government, paid for in large part through a wealth tax. This populist turn has the rest of the Democratic presidential field scrimmaging for what’s left — namely, the support of the party’s super-rich….


After Trump Tax Giveaways The Richest 1% Close To Topping Wealth Of Entire Middle Class

  By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (11/9/19) As the wealth gap in the U.S. continues to widen, the top 1% of Americans are close to amassing more wealth than the entire middle class, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports. Part of that growing divide is fueled by President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and his relentless drive for lower interest rates. The top richest Americans had assets of about $35.4 trillion in the second quarter. That’s just short of the $36.9 trillion held by the tens of millions of Americans who make up the middle and upper-middle classes…


McDonald’s Fired CEO Is Getting Cushy $42 Million Pay Out While Many Of His Workers Depend Upon Welfare To Survive

More than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs like food stamps. By Alina Selyukh NPR (11/6/19) Former McDonald’s CEO Stephen Easterbrook is getting an exit package of almost $42 million after his relationship with an employee was found to violate company policy. The size of his compensation puts a new focus on the widening gap between the pay at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder. According to an analysis by executive-compensation experts at Equilar, Easterbrook’s exit package totals $41.8 million, which includes six months of severance pay, shares he can cash out in the future and…


Not To Worry, We’ll Just Put It On Your Tab: Trump Treasury Moves To Eliminate Rules Against Corporate Tax Cheating

Companies will avoid taxes on $235 billion in profits each year going forward. By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/1/19) President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department on Thursday took the first step toward eliminating remaining regulations designed to prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by storing profits overseas, a move critics decried as yet another harmful giveaway to big business. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said in a statement that the 2017 GOP tax law—which disproportionately benefited the rich—rendered Obama-era rules against offshore tax avoidance “obsolete” by significantly reducing the corporate tax rate. “The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift…


America’s Rich Just Scored A Triple Jackpot (And You Get To Pay For It!)

By Sam Pizzigati Our Future (10/22019) At racetracks all across America, lucky bettors every so often rake in small fortunes when the horses they pick to finish one, two, three — a trifecta — just happen to finish in that order. Last spring at the Kentucky Derby, for instance, a $1 trifecta bet returned a tidy little $11,475.30. But America’s awesomely affluent don’t have to place any bets to rake in windfalls. They’re essentially hitting jackpots on a daily basis, as a “trifecta” of timely just-released research reminds us. The first of these three newly released blasts came in late September from the…


In A Nation Where Amazon* Paid No Taxes This Year: New Jersey Students With $75 Debt Barred From Dances & Trips

  By Luke O’Neil The Guardian (10/23/19) A school district in New Jersey has become the latest to punish its students for being unable to afford to pay for lunch. The Cherry Hill school board, which oversees 19 schools and about 11,000 students, agreed last week to prohibit students whose lunch debt is more than $75 from participating in extra-curricular activities such as school dances or trips. They will also be barred from purchasing a yearbook. Previously, the board had attempted to serve only tuna sandwiches to students with debt – something that prompted an outcry and was condemned as lunch-shaming. The school board says…


Precious Slackers: Hunter Biden Is A Reminder Of The Deep Moral Rot Of BOTH Political Parties

When you are the son of a famous and powerful politician, you are showered with opportunity, whether you deserve it or not. This is nepotism, but it is also, if we are being direct, a form of corruption. Moral corruption.  By Hamilton Nolan The Guardian (10/11/10) One of the peculiar stupidities of the American political mind is its resolute refusal to hold two separate ideas at once. Our dominant political narrative is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for morons, offering only a conservative red storyline or a liberal blue storyline, with nothing in between or outside those primary color bounds. Politicians themselves, out…


The “Joker” Is A Film About The America That Inflicted Us With Trump

  Go see this film. Take your teens. Take your resolve. By Michael Moore Michael Moore’s Facebook Page (10/6/19) On Wednesday night I attended the New York Film Festival and witnessed a cinematic masterpiece, the film that last month won the top prize as the Best Film of the Venice International Film Festival. It’s called “Joker” — and all we Americans have heard about this movie is that we should fear it and stay away from it. We’ve been told it’s violent and sick and morally corrupt — an incitement and celebration of murder. We’ve been told that police will…


This Animated Graphic Tells The Tale Of Why America Is Falling Apart

“The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (10/7/19) For the first time in U.S. history, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes last year than people in any other income group, thanks to decades of tax cuts and loopholes benefiting the rich. A year after the Republican tax plan—often called the #GOPTaxScam by critics—was passed into law, the richest people in the country were subject to a 23 percent rate in local, state, and federal taxes….


How Our Government Came To Be So Crippled By Corruption

    “As America’s political dysfunction has grown worse, the economic stagnation of the middle class has deepened. this is not a result of blind economic forces, Adam Smith’s invisible hand, globalization,or some nebulous cause. Specific committees of congress, inevitably assisted by specific K Street lobbyists, wrote legislation that achieved this result.” — Mike Lofgren, “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went CRAZY, Democrats Became USELESS, And the Middle Class Got SHAFTED”, 2012 (p.1)


The Plutocratic War On We The People: Centrists & Conservatives Ignore The Greedy Elephant In Our National Living Room

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (9/14/19) The best analogy I can think of to characterize what passes for political “debate” in America these days, is a bunch of people stuck in a rubber life raft with a big leak hissing away, drifting in the midst of a vast ocean surrounded for as far as they can see by starving sharks, while a few “leaders” insist on arguing about 1) whether there’s a leak; 2) whether to patch it; and 3) what to patch it with. The people in the raft—who can’t hear their leaders—are fed information back from a…


YES! — “I Don’t Think Billionaires Should Exist”: Sanders Proposes Wealth Tax To Slash Unearned Fortunes Of Ultra-Rich

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/24/19) To tackle “outrageous and grotesque and immoral” levels of inequality in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday proposed a new wealth tax on the richest Americans that economists say would slash the fortunes of billionaires in half over 15 years and raise an estimated $4.35 trillion in revenue during the first decade. “I don’t think that billionaires should exist,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told the New York Times in an interview. “This proposal does not eliminate billionaires, but it eliminates a lot of the wealth that billionaires have, and I think that’s exactly what we…


Holdouts Vow To Challenge Purdue Pharma Settlement That Protects Multi-Billionaire Sackler Family Fortune

  “Purdue has had all of its money sucked from it by the Sacklers, so the money is with the Sacklers. This proposal is … not going to require the Sacklers to pay back any profits they took out from Purdue from the sales of OxyContin over the last 10 years.” — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D). By Nathaniel Weixel The Hill (9/17/19) Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, the centerpiece of a settlement intended to shield the company and its owners from more than 2,500 lawsuits by cities and states over its role in the opioid crisis, is already facing…


In ‘Disgusting’ Move, Amazon’s Hypocritical Billionaire Jeff Bezos Abruptly Cuts Health Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

    [Editor’s Note: Now, keep in mind, Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and, in fact, received a $129 federal tax rebate. All of that despite the company nearly doubling its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018, up from $5.6 billion the previous year. Bezos and two others now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country. Time for huge changes and run-of-the-mill neoliberal, pro-corporate dems like Joe Biden are not the answer for these deeply corrupted times. — Mark L. Taylor] By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (9/13/19) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday cut benefits for part-time…


Chris Hedges ‘On Contact’ — Tyranny Of The Corporate Workplace

By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (9/14/19) Host Chris Hedges talks to Elizabeth Anderson, professor of philosophy at University of Michigan, about the tyranny of the corporate workplace from non-disclosure agreements to punitive, restrictive work conditions and censorship. Their discussion comes as California lawmakers passed landmark legislation challenging the business model of “gig-economy” companies forcing companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees. Anderson’s new book ‘Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)’, was published by Princeton Press. Link to 28-Minute Video


The Deep State Government Hiding In Plain Sight

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to watch all the way through to the end to catch Bill Moyer’s commentary. — Mark L. Taylor] Moyers & Company (4/15/16) Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, joins Bill Moyers to talk about what he calls Washington’s “Deep State,” in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Moyers. Link to 27-Minute Video ***** Essay: Anatomy Of The Deep State In terms…


How To Become A Greedy Corporate CEO Scam Artist In Five Easy Steps

And how to stop it in five more. By Robert Reich RobertReich.org (8/21/19) Average CEO pay at big corporations topped 14.5 million dollars in 2018. That’s after an increase of 5.2 million dollars per CEO over the past decade, while the average worker’s pay has increased just 7,858 dollars over the decade.  Just to catch up to what their CEO made in 2018 alone, it would take the typical worker 158 years. This explosion in CEO pay relative to the pay of average workers isn’t because CEOs have become so much more valuable than before. It’s not due to the so-called “free market.”…


Koch Brothers EXPOSED • FULL DOCUMENTARY

The Koch Brothers Grab $16.4 Million Every Day. [Editor’s Note: Given the impact of the surreptitious Koch brothers’ machinations in Wisconsin a review of their role in American politics is in order. There pernicious influence on universities is especially dangerous. This is a good, concise review. Be sure to watch all the way through the credits at the end. — Mark L. Taylor]  Brave New Films (1/21/15) The last time we exposed the Koch Brothers’ dealings to the world we here at Brave New Films wound up in their crosshairs. They produced online ad campaigns attacking us, but, it takes more…