Economic Injustice

Author Corey Robin: Striking Teachers Are “Real Resistance” To “Incoherent” Republicans And “Gutted” Dems

  Democracy Now! (4/12/18) In the continuing teachers’ rebellion sweeping the U.S., dozens of Oklahoma teachers have completed a 7-day, 110-mile march from Tulsa to the state capital Oklahoma City. Public schools across Tulsa and Oklahoma City remain closed as thousands of teachers continue their strike for education funding into a ninth day. The strike comes as the Supreme Court is considering Janus v. AFSCME, a case that could deal a massive blow to public unions nationwide—and as President Trump is successfully appointing right-wing judges to federal courts, reshaping the judiciary for decades to come. We continue our conversation with Corey…

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SURPRISE! New Analysis Of The Paul Ryan / GOP Tax Scam Shows “Corporate Cheapskates” Hoarding The Windfall From Workers

By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (4/10/18) Bolstering poll results and expert analysis indicating that the tax plan Republicans forced through Congress last year is primarily benefiting big businesses and wealthy Americans, a new report finds very few corporations are raising workers’ wages or giving them bonuses, despite receiving billions of dollars in tax cuts. As President Donald Trump signed the tax plan into law just before the New Year, he proclaimed, “Corporations are literally going wild over this, I think even beyond my expectations,” just moments after touting the legislation as “a bill for the middle class.” But while corporations are getting about $60.8 billion in tax cuts,…


French Economist Thomas Piketty Has Counterintuitive Idea For How Democrats Can Retake America

By Martin Cizmar The Raw Story (3/27/18) Would Bernie Sanders have won? French economist Thomas Piketty seems to think so. The author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a New York Times best-seller and the most-bought book in the history of Harvard University Press, has published a paper that uses exit polling data to argue that embracing economic populism would power the left toward huge electoral wins. The paper is called “Brahmin Left vs. Merchant Right: Rising Inequality & the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” and it’s a book-length 174 pages with references and charts. Piketty says that both parties now appeal to elites in…


Welcome To America: UN Special Rapporteur’s Journey Through A Brutal Landscape Of Extreme Poverty

  By Ed Pilkington The Guardian (12/15/17) Los Angeles, California, 5 December “You got a choice to make, man. You could go straight on to heaven. Or you could turn right, into that.” We are in Los Angeles, in the heart of one of America’s wealthiest cities, and General Dogon, dressed in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, grey-haired and sprucely decked out in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is an Australian academic with a formal title: UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. General Dogon, himself a veteran of these Skid…


This American Life: Destiny Is All About What Class You Belong To

  This American Life (3/8/17) There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better. Link to Story, Transcript and 60-Minute Audio ***** Low-Income Students Hit Hardest In Public Schools By Tracy Lee Newsweek (1/11/18) Poverty and segregation drive the gap…


Do You Have The Stomach To Watch This Video? It’s Called ‘Pagpag’. How Meat Is Recycled From The Dump & Sold To The Poor In Manilla

  Editor’s Note Advisory: Some in the west may find this challenging video unsettling and gross, but before problems can be addressed they must first be seen and understood. The kind of grotesque, criminal concentration of capitalist wealth in which eight men own as much wealth as the bottom 3.6 billion people on the planet makes this kind of daily injustice and degradation inevitable. (In the U.S. three men — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the American population.) — Mark L. Taylor By Video journalist: Howard Johnson / Producer: Virma…


‘Such A Fortunate Coincidence’: Trump Ally Carl Icahn Ditched Steel Stocks Before Tariffs Made Public

“Hmmm, is this a coincidence or did Trump confidant Carl Icahn have insider information?” By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (3/2/18) Carl Icahn, a former special adviser to President Donald Trump, is facing allegations of possible insider trading after a federal filing revealed the billionaire investor started selling off millions of dollars in stock for a company that significantly depends on steel just a few days before the Trump administration started publicly considering a steel tariff, which the president officially announced Thursday. As Common Dreams reported Thursday, Trump flouted warnings of a trade war from several members of his cabinet and announced that he will impose…


No Republican Love For Poor & Middle Class This Valentine’s Day

  By Josh Hoxie Other Words (2/7/18) Love is in the air. Or so the marketers want us to believe, as Valentine’s Day ads sweep the nation into a frenzy of buying flowers, greeting cards, and confections to communicate our affection. Washington is less forthcoming with the adoration, especially for working people. You’re probably tired of hearing about the tax plan passed by Congress late last year. If not, just wait for the media barrage coming your way from the Republican donor class, which is guaranteed to make the Super Bowl Tide ads look like child’s play. In case you…


Death By Gig Economy Is A Warning To All American Workers

New York City professional ‘black car’ driver was pushed to suicide by grinding economic pressures of unfair competition from Uber and Lyft services.   “It is too late for me so who is next? Maybe you and yours? Everyone needs to fix this now.” (Editor’s Note: This is the final (2/5) Facebook post by New York City ‘black car’ driver Douglas Schfiter, who within hours of posting the commentary committed suicide in front of New York City Hall. The challenges of corporate abuse and political corruption he describes is not just true for taxi and livery drivers in the age…


How Rich Are The Filthy Rich? If Only You Knew

  By Gil B. Manzon Jr. The Conversation (2/5/18) “If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.” Actor and comedian Chris Rock made this astute statement during a 2014 interview with New York magazine, referring to the yawning gap between rich and poor. In so doing, he stumbled upon a key challenge in the study of inequality. What’s the best way to measure it? Most inequality studies have focused on income – measures of which are widely available. However, being rich is not about a single year of earnings but rather about the accumulation of wealth…


How The Brutal “Junk Values” Of American Neoliberalism Drive The Epidemic Of Depression & Anxiety In The U.S.

  Democracy Now! (2/1/18) The United States is one of the most depressed countries in the world. Could it be because of the country’s adoption of neoliberal economic policies? We speak to Johann Hari, author of a controversial new book, “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions.” He writes, “Junk food has taken over our diets, and it is making millions of people physically sick. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that something similar is happening with our minds—that they have become dominated by junk values, and this is making us mentally sick, triggering soaring…


Newly Defanged, Top Consumer Protection Agency Drops Investigation Of High-Cost Lender

  By Paul Kiel ProPublica (1/23/18) In 2013, ProPublica published an investigation of the subprime lender World Finance. World was charging annual interest rates that could exceed 200 percent, often trapping customers in cycles of debt by enticing them to renew the loans over and over. In states where laws barred such high rates, the installment lender loaded many loans with nearly useless insurance products that bloated the cost. The company boasted over 800,000 customers, part of an installment loan industry that claimed to loan to millions. The following year, World disclosed that it was under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau….


The Paradise Papers Are Proof That Capitalism, Abuse & Racism Fuel The Global Plutocracy

  By Sam Adler-Bell In These Times (11/17/17) The Paradise Papers, a stash of over 13 million documents from 19 tax-haven nations and two offshore law firms leaked this month to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, present an archive of global avarice. Today, the richest one percent own half of the world’s wealth. The Paradise Papers show how this global elite uses offshore tax arrangements, often perfectly legal, to circumvent both the obligations of citizenship as well as the consequences of ownership. The demands which apply to the rest of us—the obligation to pay our taxes, to pay our debts and our civil…


Time To Wrench The Power & Our Money Back From The Billionaires

  By Bernie Sanders The Guardian (1/14/18) Here is where we are as a planet in 2018: after all of the wars, revolutions and international summits of the past 100 years, we live in a world where a tiny handful of incredibly wealthy individuals exercise disproportionate levels of control over the economic and political life of the global community. Difficult as it is to comprehend, the fact is that the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – 3.7 billion people. Further, the top 1% now have more money than the bottom 99%. Meanwhile,…


A Despot In Disguise: One Man’s Successful Mission To Rip Up American Democracy By The Roots

Untold Story: This is where the Koch brothers and the plan to destroy American government began. (Editor’s Note: I am reading this book and cannot recommend it highly enough. It is far more readable than the topic might suggest and ESSENTIAL information to understand the true extent of the threat from the Trump republican party. – Mark L. Taylor) By George Monbiot The Guardian (7/19/17) It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to…


Fat Cat Tuesday: A Commemoration Of CEO Excess

 Less For You. More For Them! (And The Republicans Just Cut Their Taxes To The Bone!)   By Leo W. Gerard, International President United Steelworkers Union The HuffPost (1/11/18) Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a day of revelry, gluttony, intoxication and showers of shiny plastic beads. It is the party to end all parties because it’s followed by Ash Wednesday, when Lenten sacrifices commence. Fat Cat Tuesday is the day – Jan. 2, 2018 – on which the boards of directors of America’s biggest corporations handed their CEOs more money than those same CEOs would deign to pay their workers…


While Millionaires Get Tax Freebies: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Widespread Reports Of Frigid Classrooms

  (Editor’s Note: Problems of old, crumbling and even dangerous school buildings is not unique to Baltimore. In a  nation that just approved massive tax cuts for the already wealthy and corporations racking up record profits and, often, evading their responsibilities to the country and workers that make all that wealth possible, far too many of our children don’t have decent schools to go to. Time to take that money back, people! – Mark L. Taylor) By Mary Rose Madden Morning Edition/NPR (1/3/18) Baltimore’s public schools closed Thursday after parents and educators there complained students were enduring frigid classrooms with…


At A Time Of GOP Tax Cut Giveaways & Cushy Taxpayer Benefits To Corporations Here’s A Call To Action From Thomas Jefferson

  “I hope we shall crush…in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson (1812) ***** As 500 Wealthiest Amass Another $1 Trillion In 2017, Calls For A ‘Strike Back’ Against Oligarchy By Julia Conley Common Dreams (12/27/17) As the gap between the world’s richest and poorest people has widened to an extreme not seen since the Gilded Age, the 500 wealthiest people have gotten $1 trillion richer in 2017, according to Bloomberg‘s Billionaires Index. The richest people in…


SLURS: Three Republican Lies About The Poor Being Used To Support Slashing US Safety Net

  By Michele Gillman The Conversation (12/13/17) Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths [lies] about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety netto pay for them. In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans. Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement…


Republican Hyena Tax Heist: Yes, America, There Is A Class War, And You Just Lost It

  (Editor’s Note: Time to get serious about organizing, folks, so we can grab back our stolen wealth from the rich! Remember: It is our childrens’ futures we are taking about. Grab it or lose it. Stand or crawl. – Mark L. Taylor) By Juan Cole Informed Consent (12/20/17) The Republican Party did not just overhaul the tax code and they did not cut “your” taxes. They engineered a coup against the middle and working classes and they threw enormous amounts of public money to private billionaires and multi-millionaires. Americans do not understand this sort of con game because mostly…


Neoliberalism – The Ideology At The Root Of All Our Economic & Social Crises

  By George Monbiot The Guardian (11/15/16) Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which…


Journalist Explains How Panama Papers Opened Up The World’s Illicit Money Networks

  Fresh Air/NPR (11/20/17) Reporter Jake Bernstein helped break the story of the Panama Papers, the leaked documents that detail the offshore tax havens of the super rich. His new book is Secrecy World. TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Before Donald Trump was elected president, some of his business partners on Trump-branded hotels and condos and the Miss Universe pageant were oligarchs from Russia and former Soviet bloc countries who kept a lot of their money hidden in the secret world of shell companies. Those business partnerships are the subject of the final chapter of my…



We’re Down To Oligarchy Or Democracy: Why It’s Time To Confront The Billionaires’ Paradise

  By Richard Eskow Our Future (11/13/17) The concentrated wealth of the global plutocracy is the dark matter of the world economy: it is rarely glimpsed and difficult to measure, yet it reshapes everything around it. Two recent reports – the UBS/PwC report on the “new Gilded Age” of the international billionaire class, and the “Paradise Papers”  released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal ways corporations and the ultra-wealthy avoid taxes. In doing so, they offer a glimpse into this darkness. Together, these releases tell us a lot about the wealthy few who run the world. We now know that…


Russ Feingold: US Campaign Finance Laws Enable Legalized Bribery. We Must Reform Them

  By Russ Feingold The Guardian (11/8/17) Russ Feingold: hen powerful lobbyists work hard over the coming weeks to convince Republican lawmakers to change their tax package to please them, it would probably be of interest to know exactly how much campaign cash these so-called stakeholders and their industries have given or spent in recent years for the members of Congress who are writing tax laws. But because federal disclosure laws need to be updated, it’s probably too difficult to ever really know the complete answer. An opaque system of legalized bribery and legalized extortion is not an outrageous way…


Time For Revolt! Three Richest Americans Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom Half Of US Combined: Report

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/8/17) In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth. Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U.S. is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” “Over recent decades, an incredibly disproportionate…


American Capitalism: One-Third Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Housing Or Health Care

By Alexandra Jacobo Nation of Change (10/12/17) Almost half of Americans struggle to pay there bills, and an astounding one-third of them are at risk of running out of food, not being able to afford a place to live, or not having enough money for health care or medical treatment. In a new survey of financial well-being released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, numbers reflect the diminishing median net worth of an American family, as well as the daily struggles families have with being able to pay for basic living expenses. According to the report: “There is a wide variation in how…


Top 10% Now Own 77% Of American Wealth

  By Jake Johnson Moyers & Company (9/29/17) As President Donald Trump and the Republican Party unveiled their “cruel joke” of a tax plan that would provide an enormous boon for the rich disguised as a “middle class miracle,” an analysis by the People’s Policy Project (3P) published Wednesday found that the top 10 percent of the income distribution now owns a “stunning” 77 percent of America’s wealth while those in the bottom 10 percent are “net debtors,” owning -0.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. In response to the analysis, conducted by 3P president Matt Bruenig, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote on Twitter: “Meanwhile,…


Collecting His Pay! After Failing To Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall $400k Street Speeches

    By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/18/17) Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the “well trod and well paid” Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party’s credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry’s control over the American healthcare system. According to a Bloomberg report published Monday, Obama has in the last month delivered two speeches to massive financial firms—Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group—for around $400,000 a pop, and…


VIDEO Interview With Author Thomas Frank: Liberal Elite Doesn’t Care Much About Inequality

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/11/17) Political observer and author Thomas Frank (What’s The Matter With Kansas? and Listen Liberal) was interviewed recently by Real News anchor Paul Jay for a fascinating look at just what the hell is wrong with the bumbling Democratic party. In his most recent book Listen Liberal Frank documented the party’s long, slippery slide from being the champion of labor and the middle and lower classes to a protector and promoter of Wall Street greed and Silicon Valley entitlement. Frank argues that the slide from relevance of the party to average Americans…


Misinforming & Manipulating The Majority: A Deliberate Strategy Of Right-Wing Libertarians

  By Mark Karlin Truthout (7/9/17) When and how were the seeds sown for the modern far-right’s takeover of American politics? Nancy MacLean reveals the deep and troubling roots of this secretive political establishment — and its decades-long plan to change the rules of democratic governance — in her new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Get your copy by making a donation to Truthout now! Many individuals who follow politics and journalists think that the right-wing playbook began with the Koch brothers. However, in her groundbreaking book, Nancy MacLean traces their political strategy…


‘Democracy In Chains’ – How One Man’s Mission To Rip Up Democracy Has Become The Republican Party

By George Monbiot The Guardian (7/19/17) It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible. The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan….


Duopoly: The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told – America Is Now A Corrupt Oligarchy

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (7/13/17) Enough.  It’s time to quit being “balanced” or “non-partisan” or whatever other euphemism the elite establishment media uses to justify ignoring the two biggest elephants in our national living room. After Trump was elected there was a lot of concern about allowing his idiocy to become the “new normal.” But in truth, we’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now. Elephant Number One—and it’s a huge honking beast squatting squarely on our ottoman—is the fact that the Republican Party has come unhinged and it’s dragging…


Can You Say ‘Oligarchy’? 75 Percent Of Americans Are Wise To The Con & Know The Govt. Only Serves The Wealthy

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (7/13/17) Giving new credence to a provocative 2014 study showing the United States is controlled by powerful elite interests, as opposed to the desire of its citizens, a new poll released Thursday shows that three-quarters of Americans feel voiceless and largely powerless in the nation that heralds itself as the world’s preeminent democracy. [Actually, the term ‘elite’ should not be used. Elite is something special, something good. We need to begin using more accurate terms, like ‘parasite class’. – Commoner Call Ed.] The results of the new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals that 75…


Budget-Cutting Austerity Is Not Frugality, It Is Brutality. It Is Violence. It Is Domestic Terrorism By The Ruling Class

Detail from a poster for ‘Russell Brand: Messiah Complex,’ a live recording. By Russell Brand Russell Brand’s Facebook Page (6/16/17) Sometimes there is a news story that has a power that reaches beyond the material facts, even if those facts are in themselves potent. Hillsborough was one. The drowned Syrian toddler another. The discernible reality alludes to a deeper truth and invites us to consider the real meaning. Glenfell is such a story. The image of a burning tower is loaded with significance both modern and ancient. The facts, the deaths, the suffering are in themselves appalling yet the meaning…


Local Volunteer Finds Out What Life Is Like Flirting With Poverty

By Kate Crofton The Commoner Call (6/22/17) (The ideas expressed here are mine alone and do not represent City Year or AmeriCorps.) What do you get when you make $4.61 an hour working fifty hours a week? One biweekly AmeriCorps stipend post-taxes An income at the Federal poverty line Enough money to live frugally but comfortably *most* of the time An inside view of the broken systems meant to serve the poor All of the above ***** Case Study Number 1: Food Stamps I pace back and forth along the perimeter of the Rosa Parks K-8 parking lot listening to…


Attempt To Get Walmart To Offset Their Taxpayer Funded Corporate Welfare

By Zaid Jilan The Intercept (6/13/17) When Walmart and other low-wage employers fail to pay their employees enough to live decent lives, taxpayers often end up picking the tab for public assistance. Freshman California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna and nine House co-sponsors are introducing legislation to put an end to the free ride. The Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act would levy a fee equivalent to the public assistance that a company’s employees are eligible to receive, with the intent to incentivize businesses to pay their employees enough so they don’t need public assistance. In 2013, Walmart alone cost taxpayers $6.2…


Our Rights On The Edge: A Billionaire-Bankrolled ‘Movement’ Close To Calling A Constitutional Convention

By Simon Davis-Cohen   AlterNet (6/14/17) A billionaire-backed “movement” is dangerously close to calling a constitutional convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. If realized, it would be the first constitutional convention since the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution. After an active start to 2017, proponents are now allegedly seven states away from reaching the needed 34 states (two-thirds) to convene a convention. According to Article V, which lays out all the ways the constitution can be amended, any amendments proposed by the convention would then need to be ratified by 38…


The Politics Of Race, Division & The Real Reason Working-Class Whites Support For Trump Doesn’t Waver

TheCommonerCall.org By Jonathan Capehart The Washington Post (6/6/17) Unlike anyone I’ve read or talked to since the November election, Justin Gest has helped me to really understand why President Trump won white working-class voters and hasn’t thus far lost their support. In the latest episode of “Cape Up,” we discuss the George Mason University professor’s new book, “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality” “So much of Donald Trump’s politics is symbolic,” Gest explained. “They’re symbolic in the sense that this is what people want to hear and if it doesn’t get done, it’s…


A May Day Call: When Corporations Don’t Take Precautions To Avert Workplace Deaths Executives Must Go To Prison

  By Leo Gerard, President of United Steel Workers AlterNet (4/24/17) Every 12 days, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), or one of their non-union co-workers, is killed on the job. Every 12 days. And it’s been that way for years. These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later. Of course, it’s not just members of the USW. Nationally, at all workplaces, one employee…