Saturday, January 25, 2014

Income Inequality Is Easy to Fix: Just Stop the Wealthy Moochers

Yeah, all that bullshit about the deficit and the country can't afford it and shared sacrifice is just misdirection to keep you from noticing that the motherfucking parasitic rich are stealing everything the middle class has built.

Pierce Nahigyan at Nation of Change:

The wealth and income inequalities in America do not require socialist reforms to fix, and capitalism is not the problem. The problem is that we have let inequality advance in this country so gradually that its obviousness is masked by its familiarity. 


1) 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. To put that into context, as of 2013 there are an estimated 316,128,839 people living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just 400 Americans have more money than over 158 million of their fellow citizens. Their net worth is over $2 trillion, which is approximate to the Gross Domestic Product of Russia. This ratio has been verified by Politifact and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. One explanation for the vast discrepancy in wealth is the definition of “worth,” which includes everything a person or household owns. This means savings and property but also mortgages, bills and debt. Poorer households can owe so much in debt that they possess a negative net worth. 


4) Non-union wages are also affected by the decline of unions. The Economic Policy Institute claims that 20% of the growth in the wage gap between high-school educated and college educated men can be attributed to deunionization. Between 1978 and 2011, union representation for blue-collar and high-school educated workers declined by more than half. This has also diminished the “union wage effect,” whereby the existence of unions (more than 40% of blue-collar workers were union members in ’78) was enough to boost wages in non-union jobs - in high school graduates by as much as 8.2%. Not only did unions protect lower- and middle-class workers from unfair wages, they also established norms and practices that were then adopted by non-union employers. Two prime examples are employee pensions and healthcare. Today about 13% of workers belong to unions, which has reduced their bargaining power and influence.


6) Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or created more jobs. Krueger also revealed that the tax cuts of the 2000s for top earners did not improve the economy any better than they did in the 1990s (meanwhile, income growth was stronger for lower- and middle-class families in the 1990s than in the last forty years). Tax rates for the top income earners in America peaked in 1945 at 66.4 percent. Following decades of gradual reductions, they have since been cut in half. During the same time, the payroll tax has increased since the 1950s and individual income tax has bounced between 40-50% through the present day. Conversely, corporate tax declined from above 30% in the 1950s to under 10% in 2011. All of these tax cuts are made ostensibly to improve the economy and create jobs. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that it is young companies, “regardless of their size,” that are the real job creators in America. Tax cuts to the wealthiest do not create jobs

7) Incomes for the top 1% have increased (but the top 0.01% make even more). Between 1979 and 2007, the average incomes of the 1% increased 241%. Compare that to 19% growth for the middle fifth of America and 11% for the bottom fifth. Put another way, in 1980 the average American CEO earned forty-two times as much as his average worker. In 2001, he earned 531 times as much
Average income across the 1% is actually stratified into widely disparate echelons. Compare the $29,840 average income for the bottom 90% to the $161,139 of the top 10%. Compare the $1 million average income of the top 1% to the $2.8 million of the top 0.1%. Yet both still pale beside the $23 million average income of the top 0.01%. 

If those numbers seem a bit overwhelming, Politizane has created a video that illustrates this staggering inequality:

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