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Some Occupy Wall Street Links—General Strike Called In Oakland

University of Oregon professor Gordon Lafer writes in The Nation how Occupy Wall Street is not looking to Washington for solutions. Our p[olitcal system is so corrupt with money that people are begining to see that they will have to take personal responsibility for addressing the problems.

(Above—An Occupy supporter in Egypt.)

Occupy Oakland is preparing for a November 2 general strike in Oakland to respond to police violence against Occupy demonstrators in that city. Oakland is where Marine veteran Scott Olsen was attacked and seriously wounded by police.

In Des Moines last week, Occupy Iowa protestors marched to the Obama Iowa headquarters to protest the President’s policies on the economy and immigration. Anybody who thinks that Occupy is a recruiting station for the Obama 2012 campaign is going to be disappointed.

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes that public opinion is shifting towards the views of Occupy Wall Street on issues such as distribution of wealth and additional taxes for the most wealthy.

England’s The Guardian newspaper has been giving extensive coverage to Occupy efforts across the globe.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

Please take the time to learn about and consider the Occupy movement.

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nation Magazine Addresses Income Inequality In The United States

The excellent magazine The Nation recently ran a series of articles about the rising income inequality in the United States.

Here is the link to these articles.

While I’m not as frustrated with President Obama as are some of my fellow liberals, I do wish he would speak up more on this topic.

Here is some of what former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in his Nation article about the ever increasing gap between the rich and everyone else in the U.S.—

“Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation’s total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America’s total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928—with 23.5 percent of the total….Each of America’s two biggest economic crashes occurred in the year immediately following these twin peaks—in 1929 and 2008. This is no mere coincidence. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don’t have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. America’s median wage, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged for decades. Between 2000 and 2007 it actually dropped. Under these circumstances the only way the middle class can boost its purchasing power is to borrow, as it did with gusto. As housing prices rose, Americans turned their homes into ATMs. But such borrowing has its limits. When the debt bubble finally burst, vast numbers of people couldn’t pay their bills, and banks couldn’t collect.”

People must be able to get fair wages for the work that they do. Liberals must make sure that this issue is part of the political discussion. Average working people must insist that they be treated with respect. Average working people must treat other working people with respect.

Economic fairness for working people is a lot of what being a liberal is about. It’s an issue that must be always be on our agenda because the forces of greed and plunder ever let up for even a moment.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Reich’s Views On The Economy & Income Inequailty

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently wrote an opinion column in the New York Times about the current recession. He said Americans have over the last three decades sent women into the work place, worked longer hours and borrowed against their homes to make up for an ongoing decline in wages and buying power.

Mr. Reich suggests that this has all finally caught up with us and that steps must be taken now to address permanent declines in wages and purchasing power.

Here is Mr. Reich’s home page.

Mr. Reich proposes changes in the tax code to assist moderate and low income Americans, stronger unions, and better education as possible solutions to these problems.

Here as some excerpts from the column. You can click the link at the top for the full piece—      

WE’RE sliding into recession… and Washington is turning to the normal remedies for economic downturns. But the normal remedies are not likely to work this time, because this isn’t a normal downturn.

The problem lies deeper. It is the culmination of three decades during which American consumers have spent beyond their means…. 

The only lasting remedy, other than for Americans to accept a lower standard of living…, is to give middle- and lower-income Americans more buying power…..

Much of the current debate is irrelevant. Even with more tax breaks for business… companies won’t invest in more factories or equipment when demand is dropping ….temporary fixes like a stimulus package that would give households a one-time cash infusion won’t get consumers back to the malls, because consumers know the assistance is temporary. The problems most consumers face are permanent…

The underlying problem has been building for decades. America’s median hourly wage is barely higher than it was 35 years ago, adjusted for inflation. … Most of what’s been earned in America since then has gone to the richest 5 percent.

The problem has been masked for years as middle- and lower-income Americans found ways to live beyond their paychecks. But now they have run out of ways.

The first way was to send more women into paid work. Most women streamed into the work force in the 1970s less because new professional opportunities opened up to them than because they had to prop up family incomes. 

So Americans turned to a second way of spending beyond their hourly wages. They worked more hours…

But there’s.. a limit to how many hours Americans can put into work, so Americans turned to a third way of spending beyond their wages. They began to borrow….they turned their homes into piggy banks by refinancing home mortgages and taking out home-equity loans…. .

The binge seems to be over. We’re finally reaping the whirlwind of widening inequality and ever more concentrated wealth.

The only way to keep the economy going over the long run is to increase the wages of the bottom two-thirds of Americans. The answer is not to protect jobs through trade protection. That would only drive up the prices of everything purchased from abroad. Most routine jobs are being automated anyway.

A larger earned-income tax credit, financed by a higher marginal income tax on top earners, is required. The tax credit functions like a reverse income tax. Enlarging it would mean giving workers at the bottom a bigger wage supplement, as well as phasing it out at a higher wage. 

We also need stronger unions, especially in the local service sector that’s sheltered from global competition. Employees should be able to form a union without the current protracted certification process that gives employers too much opportunity to intimidate or coerce them.

Over the longer term, inequality can be reversed only through better schools for children in lower- and moderate-income communities. This will require, at the least, good preschools, fewer students per classroom and better pay for teachers in such schools, in order to attract the teaching talent these students need.

These measures are necessary to give Americans enough buying power to keep the American economy going. They are also needed to overcome widening inequality, and thereby keep America in one piece.

February 14, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments