Blog Archives

A Quote for the Day – Taxing the Rich…

Obama says Republican Leaders Must Bend on Taxes – especially in restoring tax cuts for the rich.

Speaking at his Press Conference today:

“If you are a wealthy C.E.O. or hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They are lower than they have been since the 1950s. And they can afford it… You can still ride on your corporate jet. You’re just going to have to pay a little more.”

– Barack Obama

As the Middle Class disappears, we turn into Poverty Nation at the Middle Class level.

“You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both.”
Louis Brandeis

So how poor is the Middle Class when looked at in comparison with the top 1% (who don’t seem to be affected by the results of the Great Recession)?  Here are a couple of charts from Stanford University which will give you an idea:

CEO pay as related to Average Worker pay
The ratio of the average pay of the 100 highest-paid CEOs in the United States to the average wage of workers increased from 39:1 in 1970 to 191:1 in 1988 to 1,039:1 in 2000. Put more colloquially, top CEOs in 1970 made 39 times more than the average worker, whereas now they make 1,039 times more than the average worker.
U.S. CEO pay in relation to the average worker’s wage:

Source: Thomas Piketty, and Emanuel Saez. 2007. “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-2002.” In Anthony B. Atkinson, and Thomas Piketty, Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Children In Poverty
In the United States, 21.9 percent of all children are in poverty, a poverty rate second only to that of Mexico’s (among rich nations).
Relative Poverty Rates in Twenty-One Rich Nations at the Turn of the Century for Children:

Source: Timothy M. Smeeding, 2008. “Poorer by Comparison.” Pathways 3-5.

Got it? The rich aren’t complaining because they earn around a thousand to one compared to the average middle class guy. And they don’t seem to be concerned that, aside from Mexico, we are leaders in Child Poverty among developed nations (we even come in 3 times worse than Slovenia!)

So now the Tea Party folks are pushing a budget where they have already eliminated, in concept, NPR, PBS, the EPA and just about every other federally funded advantage that the Middle Class has. This was all passed by the House yesterday… now it goes to the Senate.

I  signed a petition yesterday to save public broadcasting. If you want to join me, go to this link: http://pol.moveon.org/nprpbs/?r_by=-5593088-7WiE7Qx&rc=mailto. This will get the word out to the Senate before they vote on it. Let’s let them know what WE want.

The Republicans are working very hard to eliminate the Middle Class, and it is a losing battle, it seems, negotiating with them. John Boehner seems to have no real control over his House colleagues and the Tea Partyers don’t have any idea what negotiation means.

As we head for a potential government shutdown, we’re in for lots of rhetorical crap and not much real action.

I just joined The Other 98%… you should, too

Here are their stats:

We are…

Hard-working Americans who are tired of seeing CEOs and lobbyists hijack our democracy to serve themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Middle class Americans who for decades have dutifully paid our taxes while watching the biggest corporations and very wealthiest Americans pay a smaller and smaller share (50% less since 1950).

Citizens tired of borrowing trillions from China, mortgaging our children’s futures in order to give handouts to the wealthiest 2%.

Citizens tired of being ignored amidst the media fascination with the antics and misinformation of the Tea Party, a fringe 2% which distracts us from solving the very real problems facing America.

Disenfranchised Tea Partiers outraged about Wall Street bailouts and the unfairness of a system that gives massive tax breaks to global corporations and the very rich while leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab.

We are all of us…

No matter what creed, color, religion or trade, we’re all in this together. Everyone — from the single mom just scraping by to the richest man on the hill — share a common interest in keeping America the best country on Earth.

We are often too busy to be heard, but we are everywhere. And we are hopeful.

Join us.

I found them when I saw this comparison of George Soros with the Koch Brothers at The Political Carnival:

From Al Franken: The Most Important Free Speech Issue of our Time

This was in the HuffPo today… I reproduce it in full here:

This Tuesday is an important day in the fight to save the Internet.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it’s a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate.

This principle is called “net neutrality” — and it’s under attack. Internet service giants like Comcast and Verizon want to offer premium and privileged access to the Internet for corporations who can afford to pay for it.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don’t do that at all. They’re worse than nothing.

That’s why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable.

Although Chairman Genachowski’s draft Order has not been made public, early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.

For many Americans — particularly those who live in rural areas — the future of the Internet lies in mobile services. But the draft Order would effectively permit Internet providers to block lawful content, applications, and devices on mobile Internet connections.

Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).

It gets worse. The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.

It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.

What’s more, even the protections that are established in the draft Order would be weak because it defines “broadband Internet access service” too narrowly, making it easy for powerful corporations to get around the rules.

Here’s what’s most troubling of all. Chairman Genachowski and President Obama — who nominated him — have argued convincingly that they support net neutrality.

But grassroots supporters of net neutrality are beginning to wonder if we’ve been had. Instead of proposing regulations that would truly protect net neutrality, reports indicate that Chairman Genachowski has been calling the CEOs of major Internet corporations seeking their public endorsement of this draft proposal, which would destroy it.

No chairman should be soliciting sign-off from the corporations that his agency is supposed to regulate — and no true advocate of a free and open Internet should be seeking the permission of large media conglomerates before issuing new rules.

After all, just look at Comcast — this Internet monolith has reportedly imposed a new, recurring fee on Level 3 Communications, the company slated to be the primary online delivery provider for Netflix. That’s the same Netflix that represents Comcast’s biggest competition in video services.

Imagine if Comcast customers couldn’t watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast’s Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

That’s why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time. And that’s why, this Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I’ll be watching. If they approve it as is, I’ll be outraged. And you should be, too.

What do you think?