Economic Injustice

No Greater Love Hath Trump Than To Lay Down Your Measly, Trashy Little, Unimportant Life For His Re-Election

  Our fearful leader’s latest gambit is to blame everyone else as he desperately tries to squirm his way to November’s election. By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (3/25/20) Donald Trump isn’t much of a doctor or scientist. He isn’t much of a diplomat or general. His leadership skills match his business skills. There’s a reason his companies went bankrupt so many times. But he might just be a pioneer with this idea of letting people die for the sake of the country. Only a once-in-a-century leader has the guts to say out loud what the worst among us are really thinking: everyone…

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Give To The Rich: The Bill Gates Charity Paradox

A ‘Nation’ investigation illustrates the moral hazards surrounding the Gates Foundation’s $50 billion charitable enterprise. By Tim Schwab The Nation (3/30/20) Last fall, Netflix premiered a three-part documentary that promises viewers a rare look at the inner life of one of history’s most controversial businessmen. Over three hours, Inside Bill’s Brain shows us a rare emotional side to Bill Gates as he processes the loss of his mother and the death of his estranged best friend and Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen. Mostly, though, the film reinforces the image many of us already had of the ambitious technologist, insatiable brainiac, and heroic philanthropist. Inside Bill’s Brain falls into a…


Toilet Paper Teaches You All You Need To Know About Economics & The Political Parties

    Capitalism: You have a case of toilet paper. You loan one roll to someone in exchange for regularly receiving more rolls from them. Vulture Capitalism: You buy up the world’s supply of toilet paper, and sell off the individual pieces at a steep markup. Free-market Capitalism: You have a roll of toilet paper, which you are free to use as you wish… or you could sell it, if you want to eat. You have total freedom of choice in the matter. Late Stage Capitalism: You have one roll of toilet paper. Some people have none. I have warehouses…


US Senators Accused Of Coronavirus Insider Trading Embody The Moral Bankruptcy Of The Establishment

[Cartoon Note: Inspiration was drawn from one of many online comments seen throughout the past five days. The idea stuck with me, but I do not recall who wrote the original comment. — Mark L. Taylor] By Nathan Robinson The Guardin (3/21/20) There’s something deeply disturbing about seeing someone profit from a disaster, and we’ve already seen a few examples in the present crisis. First it was the guys who bought up over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in the hopes of selling them at a high markup. (After Amazon put a stop to their sales, the pair of hoarders donated the sanitizer.)…


A Stinking Mess: Toilet Paper Wars And The Shithouse Of Capitalism

Looking out for number one, so you can continue to do your number twos in peace. By Simon Spring Common Dreams (3/15/20) The run on toilet paper has brought the failings of capitalism front and center to the bathroom of every house across Australia, a trend that has now spread to other countries. We are witnessing, in real-time and with stunning consequence, the stone-cold fact that markets are an ineffective mediator of resources, prone to the worst vagaries of herd mentality. Perceived impending shortages of toilet paper owing to the spread of COVID-19 set off widespread panic. We might be…


‘Grotesque Level of Greed’: Owned By World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers To Pay For Colleagues’ Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

“With the amount Jeff Bezos makes in one day, he could shut stores down and pay employees to stay safe.” By Jon Queally Common Dreams (3/ When progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders say “now is the time for solidarity” amid the coronavirus outbreak, they likely do not mean that employees of Whole Foods—owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos—should be asked to give their own accrued paid sick days to their co-workers who have either contracted the deadly virus or been forced to take time out of work because of what is now a global pandemic. But that is exactly…


Target Raised Wages, Then Slashed Workers’ Hours & Doubled Their Workload

By Michael Sainato The Guardian (2/27/20) Adam Ryan, 31, has worked at Target in Christiansburg, Virginia, for three years. He works additional jobs whenever he’s able to, but is regularly scheduled only 20 hours per week at Target, despite having open availability. “I have to live with my family because I can’t afford rent on my own. I don’t have health insurance. I’ve had a rotting tooth in my mouth for years that I haven’t been able to receive treatment. I’ve applied for Medicaid in Virginia and every time I’m told I make too much money, and Target has told me…


Here They Come Again: The Kind Of Neoliberal Democrats Who Actually Prefer Trump Over Sanders

Here’s the question: to what extent is the Establishment’s commitment to democratic institutions greater than their commitment to current forms of capitalist hierarchy? It seems like we are about to find out. By Adolph Reed Jr. Common Dreams (2/11/20) Twenty-four years ago, I published an essay titled “Liberals, I Do Despise” in the Village Voice, which Common Dreams reprinted as an enduring oldie in 2009. The title was a play on an old doggerel, in this case rendering it: Liberals and flies, I do despise The more I see liberals, the more I like flies. I wrote the essay in disgust after Bill Clinton concluded…


America’s Top 10 Corporate Tax Avoiders, Cheats & Freeloaders You Pay For

  Sen. Bernie Sanders Senate Website 1. General Electric From 2008 to 2013, while GE made over $33.9 billion in United States profits, it received a total tax refund of more than $2.9 billion from the Internal Revenue Service. G.E.’s effective U.S. corporate income tax rate over this six year period was -9 percent. In 2012, GE stashed $108 billion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying income taxes. If this practice were outlawed, GE would have paid $37.8 billion in federal income taxes that year. During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided GE with $16 billion in financial assistance, at a time when its CEO…


Want To Attack “Democratic Socialism” – Bring It On Corporate Socialists!

Taxpayers don’t want our commonwealth being owned by tax-dodging, gouging corporations. By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (2/15/20) Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism. Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right-wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs. Bernie knows, of course, how to rebut this distorted interpretation…


Bernie’s Bottom Line On Greedy Billionaires

“Here’s the bottom line. When you have three people that own more wealth than the bottom half of America, when half of the people are living paycheck to paycheck, when 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, yes, the rich have got to pay and the large corporations have got to pay their fair share of taxes. We will raise taxes very substantially on billionaires — no apologies for that.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders fires back at CNN’s Tapper after being confronted with past statements about income inequality (2/9/20)


If Worker Pay Had Kept Pace With Productivity Gains Since 1968, Today’s Minimum Wage Would Be $24 An Hour

In such a world, a full-time minimum wage worker would be earning $48,000 a year in the United States. By Dean Baker Center for Economic & Policy Research (1/21/20) If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would be close to $12 an hour today, more than 65 percent higher than the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. While this would make a huge difference in the lives of many people earning close to the national minimum wage, it is actually a relatively unambitious target. Until 1968, the minimum wage not only kept pace with…



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…