A Must Read Article About Capitalism

This article, written by Paul Buchheit, is a re-print from Alternet.org and is too important to miss. It reads:

How Capitalism Is Dismembering America

If there’s any way capitalism can work, it has to be regulated. Otherwise greed takes over.

Too many Americans are unaware of the extreme disparities that have been caused by the unregulated profit incentive of capitalism. Our winner-take-all system is flailing away at once-healthy parts of society, leaving them like withered limbs on a trembling body, even as the relative few who benefit promote the illusion of opportunity and prosperity for all. Concerned citizens armed with facts are not fooled. Instead, the more they learn the angrier they get. And as in revolutions of the past, discontent leads to change.

Hacking Off the Poor Half of Society

Some wealthy and uninformed individuals have referred to the lowest-income 47% of Americans as the “takers,” who enjoy government benefits at the expense of the high-earning one percent. But their claim is meaningless. The total amount paid out in ‘welfare’ (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is less than the investment income of just three men in a single year.

The monthly Temporary Assistance for Needy Families income for a family of four is less than what the average member of the Forbes Top 20 made in one second at the office.

The 47% don’t own stocks. They don’t own anything. The so-called ‘takers’ have ZERO wealth. The value of any assets owned by nearly half of the country is surpassed by their debt.

Slashing the Security of the Elderly

Recipients of ‘entitlements’ are accused by the uninformed of getting something for nothing. The opposite is true. According to the Urban Institute, the typical two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes will receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in. Same for single males. Almost the same for single females.

Getting something for nothing? Yes, the rich are. Tax expenditures, which are deductions and exemptions that primarily benefit the highest-earning individuals, cost about 8% of the GDP, the same percentage that goes to Social Security and Medicare.

If just one of the tax breaks for the rich, the $113,700 cap on Payroll Tax, were eliminated, Social Security would be almost entirely funded for the next 75 years.

Slicing Up Justice

In the last few months American citizens, some of them children, have been arrested for:

·   Looking for Indian arrowheads on federal land.

·   Throwing peanuts on the school bus.

·   Lying about a home address to get the kids into a better school.

·   Sitting on a milk crate.

Meanwhile, not a single banker was arrested for these actions:

·   HSBC Bank laundered money for Mexican drug cartels.

·   Goldman Sachs designed and sold mortgage packages that were meant to fail.

·   Bank of America and Lehman Brothers hid billions of dollars of bonuses and loans from investors.

Severing the Head from the Global Body

If you could gather together the world’s 200 richest individuals, ask each one his or her net worth, get the actual numbers from Forbes, and then add it all up, the total would be more than the total wealth of half the population of the world, 3.5 billion people.

The U.S. is one of the greatest contributors to this shameful disparity. It’s no coincidence that we’re both the third least taxed developed country and the fourth highest in wealth inequality among all nations. It’s also no surprise, with so little revenue going to the general public, that our country is the fourth worst in the overall well-being of its children.

Castrating the Taxman

Corporations have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years. The burden of taxes, which Oliver Wendell Holmes called the price of a “civilized society,” has been shifted to workers. For every dollar of employee payroll tax paid in the 1950’s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

Globalization has allowed U.S. corporations to stop paying for national defense and infrastructure and all the benefits of the U.S. legal and educational systems. All of the following companies had sizable U.S. revenues, but they claimed losses here while declaring billions of dollars of profits overseas.

·   Bank of America, with 82% of its revenue in the U.S., declared $7 billion in U.S. losses and $10 billion in foreign profits.

·   Citigroup, with 42% of its revenue in North America (almost all U.S.), declared a $5 billion U.S. loss and a $28 billion foreign profit.

·   Pfizer, with 40% of its revenues in the U.S., declared almost $7 billion in U.S. losses to go along with $31 billion in foreign profits.

·   Abbott Labs, with 42% of its sales in the U.S., declared a $256 million U.S. loss and $12 billion in foreign profits.

·   Dow Chemical, with 32% of its sales in the U.S., declared a $15 million U.S. loss against foreign profits of over $5 billion.

Conclusions

If there’s any way capitalism can work, it has to be regulated. Otherwise greed takes over. Blind greed. The sneering head at the top of the body watches limbs being chopped off, but it doesn’t seem to recognize that we’re all bleeding to death.

 

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, a writer for progressive publications, and the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.orgPayUpNow.org,RappingHistory.org).

This Is Why Predatory Capitalism Must Be Stopped

This video is just one of many that try to explain the current economic landscape in the United States. In only six minutes, it does a great job of visualizing the complex economic web that is spun to death in our completely inadequate commercial media.

If you can watch this and still not understand why the Republican/predatory Capitalist model is a hazardous failure then you deserve the shitty life you’ll soon be leading if we don’t stop the insanity soon.

No Matter What Happens: Don’t Tax The Rich

Originally aired on Films for Action and narrated by Ed Asner, “Tax the Rich” is an 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality.

Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don’t want to pay taxes anymore.

They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren’t so sure.

This land bears a startling resemblance to our land.

For more info, www.cft.org.

Animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers.

The Simple Truth About Economics

Nick Hanauer explains supply and demand about as clearly as anyone ever has. He rightly attributes the most powerful force in the business cycle as consumer demand, not lowered taxes.

For real-life examples you’ll only need to look at Europe during the 2011-2012 austerity crisis to see this truth. As a result of austerity measures, average Europeans have seen their wages drop and the buying power it represents disappear along with it.

Not surprisingly, businesses are finding fewer and fewer customers capable of making a purchase. The result: more business failures, which leads to fewer jobs, less circulating buying power, more business failures, etc.

Clearly, money in the pockets of ordinary citizens is what is needed.

I’d say that is a good argument to rename the concept of “Supply & Demand” to the more appropriate “Demand & Supply” since the “demand” portion of the equation is the more necessary element.

It’s time to stop this “no taxes on job creators” nonsense and time to shift power back to the commons where it should have been in the first place.