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The Elites Are Unanimous: Lower Everyone’s Wages and Standard of Living — Except They Don’t Say it Out Loud | Economy | AlterNet
The Elites Are Unanimous: Lower Everyone’s Wages and Standard of Living — Except They Don’t Say it Out Loud
America’s 1% are in harmony on the matter that concerns them most — who gets the biggest slice of the pie.
July 19, 2012
Calls for a bipartisan “Grand Bargain” on taxes and spending for the next decade ring out daily, if not hourly, from the politicians and pundits who dominate our political media. But the national discourse is silent on the tacit agreement both parties have already made on the future that lies ahead for the majority of working Americans: a dramatic drop in their living standards.
The United States can no longer satisfy the three great dreams that have driven most of its domestic politics since the end of World War II: the multinational corporate class’s dream of limitless profits; the military-industrial complex’s dream of global hegemony; and the dream of the people for rising incomes and expanding opportunities. One out of three? Certainly. Two out of three? Maybe. All three? No.
So far, Corporate America gets priority boarding in the economic lifeboat – with the safest seats reserved for Wall Street. Four years after the crash, the financial sector remains heavily subsidized with cheap federal loans that it uses to buy higher yielding bonds, speculate in exotic IOUs and pay outrageous salaries to those at the top. Larger than ever, they are more than ever “too big to fail.” As a result, Wall Street continues to divert the nation’s capital away from investment in sustainable high-quality jobs in America.
Next in line is the Pentagon and its vast network of corporate contractors, members of Congress with military facilities in their districts and media propagandists for the empire. The administration, along with some libertarian Republicans, insists that military spending will not be spared in the coming era of austerity, and has proposed modest cuts over the next decade. At the same time, virtually all of Washington supports the policies that require huge defense budgets, i.e., remaining in the Middle East, expanding in Latin America and containing China in its own neighborhood. The threatened across-the-board cuts in federal spending that become automatic if a long- term budget deal is not made by December will almost certainly be finessed in order to protect the military budget.
All of which leaves the American middle class on a badly listing, although not yet sinking, economic ship. Even before the financial crash, real wages for the typical American worker had been stagnant for 30 years as a result of: 1) trade and investment deregulation that shoved American workers into a brutally competitive global labor market for which they were unprepared; 2) the relentless war on unions that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980; and 3) more recently, the erosion of the social safety net for low wage workers and the unemployed.
Still, workers continued to spend, and thus maintain national economic growth. While hourly wages flattened, overall family income rose because more women went to work. And cheap and accessible credit fueled everyone’s purchasing power
Today, with more women than men now employed, gains to family income from sending the wife to work are about exhausted. And given the huge overhang of non-payable debt on the part of both banks and consumers it will be a generation, if ever, before we see anther credit balloon strong enough to lift up the economy. So, now that these financial props have been knocked away, the trajectory of American incomes and living standards is a downward slope.
This decline will not be reversed by the long-awaited upturn in the currently stalled business cycle. Even with optimistic assumptions – e.g., that there will be no new recession, Europe avoids collapse, big US banks remain solvent — there is little prospect for a sustained boom in the demand for American labor sufficient to overcome the downward pressure on workers’ share of the economic pie. Cost cutting has become the central strategy for most American business, and for most of them the easiest cost to cut is labor.
The squeeze is not limited to workers in export or import-vulnerable industries. Wages and salaries are now falling across the board, in services and manufacturing sectors, among women and men, young and old. Health and pension benefits are being slashed and businesses are getting their work done with part-time and temporary workers, often supplied by labor contractors whose own survival depends on hiring labor at the cheapest rate possible.
Moreover, going to college is no longer the escape route for the vast majority of young people without elite connections or rich parents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2010 and 2020, nine out of 10 of the largest and fastest growing occupational categories will not require a college education. And the tenth, which includes medical professionals and college teachers, are likely to suffer dramatically in the coming age of fiscal austerity. The bright college graduates working as retail clerks at the Apple Store for $12 an hour are beginning to sense that their jobs do not represent a pause on the way up the professional ladder, but rather are a taste of their long-term future.
In the first few month of his term, Barack Obama signaled that he understood that the crisis of the middle class was more than a temporary condition of the business cycle. “We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” he said. “ We must build our house upon a rock… a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.”
The building blocks of a new high-wage foundation are reasonably clear: 1) large government-led investment in infrastructure, education and new technologies that can create demand for jobs in both the short and long run; 2) Strict regulation of Wall Street and new trade policies to re-channel the country’s private capital away from short-term speculation and back to long term investment in producing high value-added goods and services in America; 3) a shift in national security policy away from world dominance and toward a a narrower definition of national defense.
Three and a half years later we are still stuck in the economic sand pile. The prolonged recession has further weakened the economy’s underpinnings and the failure of a “liberal” president to restore growth has discredited government – the institution that must lead any successful transition to a new economic path.
Certainly, most of the blame lies with the reactionary Republicans whose fear of their lunatic fringe trumps loyalty to their country. And there’s been some bad luck, such as the European crisis. But Obama shares some culpability. He took up the Bush plan for no-strings Wall Street bailouts, expanded unregulated trade, cold-shouldered his union base, and has now adopted fiscal austerity as his economic priority. Whether you think the president is a wimp, a willing tool of Wall Street or a political saint mugged by right-wing thugs, the fact remains that he could or would not engage in all-out battle for the economic transformation he so eloquently promised.
The last four years have demonstrated that, taken together as a governing class, the leaders of our two-party system are currently unwilling to do what is necessary to reverse declining standards. As for the next four, given the choice, Obama is clearly the better option. Under Democrats, the slide will be less steep and rough. Whoever the “real” Romney might be, the extinction of Republican moderates among the Party’s pool of potential policymakers means that his administration will be largely staffed by conservative fundamentalists and corporate fixers who can’t wait to return us to the dog-eat-dog labor markets of the pre-New Deal.
But Obama, if re-elected, will certainly not have a greater congressional majority than he had in 2009. Moreover, given the massive campaign contributions he will have had to raise from Wall Street and the rest of Corporate America, the elite investor class will play an even more influential role in his victory. Add in the bipartisan commitment to budget austerity, and chances of a significant progressive shift in Washington’s economic policies over the next presidential term become virtually zero.
The mantra of both candidates is, “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” What they leave out is that, because they are unwilling to confront the power of Wall Street and the Pentagon, job growth in America now depends on driving labor costs lower loser and lower to attract business investment. This is the heart of the leveraged-buy out system that Romney offers to bring to the White House. And when Barack Obama cites an expanded GE plant in Kentucky as an example of the rebound of private sector jobs, the press release does not mention that workers who used to make $22 an hour are now making $14.
None of this is a secret to most of our governing class. Certainly, the CEOs and their major shareholders know it. Their economists know it. So do all but the most hopelessly ideological of policymakers. But acknowledging where future living standards are heading would require our political leaders to offer remedies that are unacceptable to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Safer not to look into the economic abyss and trust in good old American optimism.
Neither does the public want to stare too hard into the future. Majorities think that the next generation is going to be worse off, but they expect that they, personally, and their kids will be okay. So, while they might agree with the points made by the Wall Street Occupiers, it’s not worth the effort to join the protest. A PEW poll last fall reported that by a margin of 63-21 Americans believed that, “although there may be bad times every now and then, America will always continue to be prosperous and make economic progress.”
The American writer James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Until Americans face that they and their kids will not be okay, and that their own personal future depends on their ability to find leaders to willing to act on that reality, the implicit Washington grand bargain will remain in force. And we will continue on the road toward lower wages, falling living standards and blasted hopes.
- The Elites Are Unanimous: Lower Everyone’s Wages and Standard of Living — Except They Don’t Say it Out Loud (alternet.org)
- Minimum wage plus in-work benefits are still not necessarily enough for a minimum standard of living (blogs.lse.ac.uk)
- Are We Headed Toward A Servant Economy? (talkingunion.wordpress.com)
- Falling cost of living ‘won’t cure crisis in living standards’ (itv.com)
- ZFE should not be confrontational over minimum wage hike (times.co.zm)
- Groups call for higher minimum wage (kansascity.com)
- Soaring childcare and transport costs hit families hard (guardian.co.uk)
- Limited Government Works; Socialism Kills (economicnoise.com)
- Fifty shades of capitalism (salon.com)
- Socialist Canadians Wealthier Than Capitalist Americans? (outsidethebeltway.com)
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It is clear to me that a small cabal of politically connected ultra-wealthy psychopaths has purposefully and arrogantly stripped the middle class of their wealth and openly flaunted their complete disregard for the laws and financial regulations meant to enforce a fair playing field. Why did they gut the middle class in their rapacious appetite for riches? Why did the scorpion sting the frog while crossing the river, dooming them both? It was his nature. The same is true for the hubristic modern robber barons latched on the backs of the middle class. Their appetite for ever greater riches will never be mollified. They will always want more. They promise not to destroy the middle class, as that will surely extinguish the last hope for a true economic recovery built upon savings, investment and jobs, but it is their nature to destroy. A card carrying member of the plutocracy and renowned dog lover, Mitt Romney, revealed a truth not normally discussed by those running the show:
The data from the Fed report confirms Romney’s assertion. The poorest 20% were the only household segment that saw an increase in their real median income between 2007 and 2010, while the richest 10% saw only a modest 5% decrease in their $200,000 plus, annual incomes. Meanwhile the middle class households experienced a brutal 8% to 9% decline in real income. Table 2 in of this article reveals why the poorest 20% were able to increase their income. Transfer payments (unemployment, welfare, food stamps, SSDI) increased from 8.6% of their income in 2007 to 11.1% in 2010. Government transfer payments rose from $1.7 trillion in 2007 to $2.3 trillion today, a 35% increase in five years. I’m sure the bottom 20% are living high on the hog raking in that $13,400 per year. Think about these facts for just a moment. There are 23 million households in this country with a median annual household income of $13,400. That means half make less than that. There are 58 million households that have a median household income of $45,800, with half making less than that.
The reason Mitt Romney isn’t concerned about the very poor is because his only interaction with them is when they cut the lawn at one of his six homes. The truth is the bottom 20% are mostly penned up in our urban ghettos located in Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC, LA, Atlanta, Miami, and the hundreds of other decaying metropolitan meccas. They generally kill each other and only get the attention of the top 10% if they dare venture into a white upper class neighborhood. They are the revenue generators for our corporate prison industrial complex – one of our few growth industries. They provide much of the cannon fodder for our military industrial complex. They are kept ignorant and incapable of critical thought by our Department of Education controlled public school system. The welfare state is built upon the foundation of this 20%. It is certainly true that the bottom 30 million households in this country, from an income standpoint, do receive hundreds of billions in entitlement transfers, but Table 2 clearly shows that 80% of their income comes from working. The annual $72 billion cost for the 46 million people on food stamps pales in comparison to the hundreds of billions being dispensed to the Wall Street banks by Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner, and the $1 trillion per year funneled to the corporate arm dealers in the military industrial complex. The Wall Street maggots (i.e. J.P. Morgan) crawl around the decaying welfare corpse, extracting hundreds of millions in fees from the EBT system and the SNAP program as they encourage higher levels of spending.
This is all part of the diversion. Forty five years after the War on Poverty began, there are 49 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a solid good return on the $16 trillion spent so far. It’s on par with the 16 year zero percent real return in the stock market. We have produced a vast underclass of ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, dependent people who have become a huge voting block for the Democratic Party. Politicians, on the left, promise more entitlements to these people in order to get elected. Politicians on the right will not cut the entitlements for fear of being branded as uncaring. The Republicans agree to keep the welfare state growing and the Democrats agree to keep the warfare state growing -bipartisanship in all its glory. And the middle class has been caught in a pincer movement between the free shit entitlement army and the free shit corporate army. The oligarchs have been incredibly effective at using their control of the media, academia and ideological think tanks to keep the middle class ire focused upon the lower classes. While the middle class is fixated on people making $13,400 per year, the ultra-wealthy are bribing politicians to pass laws and create tax loopholes, netting them billions of ill-gotten loot. These specialists at Edward Bernays propaganda techniques were actually able to gain overwhelming support from the middle class for the repeal of estate taxes by rebranding them “death taxes”, even though the estate tax only impacts 15,000 households out of 117 million households in the U.S. The .01% won again.
It is easy to understand how the hard working middle class is so easily manipulated by the corporate fascists into believing their decades of descent to a lower and lower standard of living is the result of the lazy good for nothings at the bottom of the food chain sucking on the teat of state with their welfare entitlements. I drive through the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia every day, inhabited by the households with a net worth of $8,500 and annual income of $13,400. They inhabit crumbling hovels worth less than $25,000, along pothole dotted streets strewn with waste, debris and rubbish. More than half the people in this war zone are high school dropouts, over 30% are unemployed, and drug dealing is the primary industry. When a drug dealer becomes too successful and begins to cut into the profits of the “legitimate” oligarch sanctioned drug industry, he is thrown into one of our thriving prisons. Marriage is an unknown concept. The life expectancy of males is far less than 79 years old. But something doesn’t quite make sense. Every hovel has a Direct TV satellite dish. The people shuffling around the streets all have expensive cell phones. There are newer model cars parked on the streets, including a fair number of BMWs, Mercedes, Cadillac Escalades and Volvos. How can this be when their annual income is $13,400 and they have $8,500 to their names?
This is where our friendly neighborhood Wall Street oligarchs enter the picture. These downtrodden people are not bright. They are easily manipulated and scammed. They believe driving an expensive car and appearing successful is the same as being successful. Therefore, they are easily susceptible to being lured into debt. Millions of these people represented the “subprime” mortgage borrowers during the housing bubble. The tremendous auto “sales” being reported by the mainstream media in an effort to boost consumer confidence about an economic recovery, are being driven by subprime auto loans from Ally Financial (85% owned by the U.S. Treasury/you the taxpayer) and the other government back stopped Wall Street banks. This is the beauty of credit. The mega-lenders reap tremendous profits up front, the illusion of economic progress is created, poor people feel rich for a while, and when it all blows up at a future date the middle class taxpayer foots the bill. Real wages for the 99% have been falling for three decades. You make poor people feel wealthy by providing them easy access to vast quantities of cheap debt. I’m a big fan of personal responsibility, but who is the real malignant organism in this relationship? The parasite banker class, like a tick on an old sleepy hound dog, has been blood sucking the poor and middle class for decades. They have peddled the debt, kept the poor enslaved, and have used their useful idiots in the media to convince millions of victims to blame each other through their skillful use of propaganda. They maintain their control by purposely creating crisis, promoting hysteria, and engineering “solutions” that leave them with more power and wealth, while stripping the average citizen of their rights, liberty, freedom and net worth (i.e. Housing Bubble to replace Internet Bubble, Glass-Steagall repeal, Patriot Act, TARP, NDAA, SOPA). cuts to the heart of the matter, revealing the darker side of our human nature:
- Who Destroyed the Middle Class – Part 1 (sgtreport.com)
- How Can You Measure Income Inequality? Count The Trees (colorlines.com)
- Who Destroyed the Middle Class – Part 1 (theburningplatform.com)
- Guest Post: Who Destroyed The Middle Class? (Part 1) (zerohedge.com)
- Liberal Class Warfare Rhetoric…And Then There’s The Truth (whitehouse12.com)
- Guest Post: Who Destroyed The Middle Class – Part 3 (zerohedge.com)
- Who Destroyed the Middle Class – Part 2 (theburningplatform.com)
- Why Is The American Government So Afraid of the people who live there? (afteramerica.wordpress.com)
- Who Destroyed the Middle Class – Part 2 (washingtonsblog.com)
- Priced Out of the Middle Class (businessinsider.com)
Greece Election Results Too Close To Call, Exit Polls Show
ELENA BECATOROS 06/17/12 12:49 PM ET
ATHENS, Greece — In an election crucial for Greece, Europe and the world, exit polls on Sunday showed the two top contenders in Greece to be neck-and-neck.
The outcome of Sunday’s vote could determine whether Greece remains in the euro or is forced to leave the joint currency, a move that could drag down other European countries and have potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy.
The exit polls showed that the conservative New Democracy party is projected to win between 27.5 and 30.5 percent of the vote while the anti-bailout radical left Syriza party may get 27 to 30 percent.
Syriza head Alexis Tsipras has vowed to cancel the terms of Greece’s international bailout deal and repeal its austerity measures – a move many think will force Greece to leave the 17-nation eurozone. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras says his top priority is to stay in the euro but renegotiate some terms of the bailout.
Whichever party comes first in Sunday’s vote gets a bonus of 50 seats in the 300-member Parliament.
As central banks stood ready to intervene in case of financial turmoil, Greece held its second national election in just six weeks to try to select a new government after an inconclusive ballot on May 6.
The two parties vying to win have starkly different views about what to do about the (EURO)240 billion ($300 billion) in bailout loans that Greece has been given by international lenders. One wants to tear up the deals and void the harsh austerity measures demanded by lenders that have caused Greek living standards to plummet. The other backs the bailout deal but wants to amend it.
The choice – the most critical in decades – could determine whether Greece abandons the joint euro currency and returns to its old currency, the drachma. But there are no rules governing a country’s exit from the eurozone, and a Greek exit could spark a panic that other debt-strapped European nations – Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy_ might also have to leave.
That domino scenario – known in economic terms as contagion – could engulf the euro, causing a global financial panic not unlike the one that gripped the world in 2008 after the investment firm Lehman Brothers failed in the U.S.
The vote Sunday was also coming after a difficult week for Spain and Italy, which saw their borrowing costs soar. Tens of thousands of Italian workers rallied Saturday in Rome to protest pension cuts, tax hikes and labor reforms.
The big question Sunday was how far deep Greek anger at the bailout terms would propel the radical left, anti-bailout Syriza party led by 37-year-old Alexis Tsipras. But no party is likely to win enough votes to form a government on its own, meaning a coalition will have to be formed to avoid yet another election.
“I’d like to see something change for the country in general, including regarding the bailout,” said Vassilis Stergiou, a voter in Athens. “But at least for us to get organized and at the very least do something.”
Inconclusive elections on May 6 resulted in no party winning enough votes to form a government, and coalition talks collapsed after 10 days. The vote, which also sent the formerly governing socialist PASOK party plunging to historic lows, sent a very clear message that Greeks have lost patience with the deep austerity imposed in return for the bailouts.
Tsipras, a former student activist, has vowed to rip up Greece’s bailout agreements and repeal the austerity measures, which have included deep spending cuts on everything from health care to education and infrastructure, as well as tax hikes and reductions of salaries and pensions.
But his pledges, which include canceling planned privatizations, nationalizing banks and rolling back cuts to minimum wages and pensions, have horrified European leaders, as well as many Greeks. Tsipras’ opponents argue that the inexperienced young politician is out of touch with reality, and that his policies will force the country out of the euro and lead to poverty for years to come.
Virtually unknown outside of Greece four months ago, Tsipras and his party shot to prominence in the May 6 vote, where he came a surprise second and quadrupled his support since the 2009 election.
Journalists and television news crews from across the world jostled for space to see Tsipras vote Sunday in Athens.
“We have beaten fear. Today we open a road to hope,” Tspiras said, adding that he was confident of victory. “Today we open a road to a better tomorrow, with our people united, dignified and proud. In a Greece of social justice and prosperity, an equal member of a Europe that is changing.”
The young left-wing leader has accused his rivals of attempting to terrorize the population by casting him as the man who will ruin the country. He insists he will keep Greece within the euro – something that opinion polls have shown about 80 percent of Greeks want – but European leaders have made it clear there is no room for Greece to reject the bailout and stay in the eurozone.
Greece has been dependent on the rescue loans since May 2010, after sky-high borrowing rates left it locked out of the international markets following years of profligate spending and falsifying financial data. The spending cuts made in return have left the country mired in a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 percent and tens of thousands of businesses shutting down.
Samaras, meanwhile, has cast Sunday’s choice as one between the euro and returning to the drachma. He has vowed to renegotiate some of the bailout’s harsher terms but insists the top priority is for the country to remain in Europe’s joint currency.
“Today the Greek people speak. Tomorrow a new era for Greece begins,” Samaras said after voting in southern Greece.
Separately, Greek police were investigating the discovery Sunday of two unexploded hand grenades outside private Skai television station on the outskirts of Athens. Greek government spokesman Demetris Tsiodras denounced the action as an attempt to spoil the smooth running of the elections.
Police also said they have notified Twitter about a forged message purportedly sent out by Greece’s Communist Party urging voters to cast their ballots for Syriza.
Strong winds in the Greek archipelago also forced the cancellation of some ferry routes Sunday, raising doubts about whether some voters would be able to get to island polling stations.
- Greeks head to polls in crucial vote (cbc.ca)
- Greek vote ‘too close to call’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Greeks Vote In Election Critical to Euro Zone Future (blogs.barrons.com)
- Greek elections: Greece returns to the polls – live coverage (guardian.co.uk)
- Greeks go to polls in vote that could shake world (worldnews.msnbc.msn.com)
- Breaking: First Round of Greek Polls Shows Incredibly Tiny Lead for New Democracy (businessinsider.com)
- Greeks vote in critical election (boston.com)
- Greeks vote in critical election (news.yahoo.com)
- A Critical Vote in Greece on Its Standing in the Euro Zone (nytimes.com)
- Greeks Begin Voting In Election That May Determine Fate Of Europe (ibtimes.com)
Campaign cash is the gift that keeps on giving
With super-PACs the pol can shrug and say: “Not my doing. It’s the Super Pac that’s slinging the mud.”
If you’re visiting a candidate this summer and looking for a thoughtful house gift, might we suggest a nice Super PAC? Thanks to the Supreme Court and , they’re all the rage among the mega-wealthy. All it takes is a little paperwork and a wad of cash and presto, you can have, as describes it, a “highly customized, highly personalized” political action committee.
It’s easy — Super PACs come in all amounts and party affiliations. You don’t have to spend millions, although a gift that size certainly won’t be turned aside. Cable TV tycoon Marc Nathanson got a Super PAC for his friend, longtime Democratic Congressman Howard Berman from California, and all it cost was $100,000. Down in North Carolina, Republican congressional candidate George Holding received a handsome Super PAC that includes $100,000 each from an aunt and uncle and a quarter of a million from a bunch of his cousins. Yes, nothing says family like a great big, homemade batch of campaign contributions.
You can start a Super PAC on your own or contribute to one that already exists. Super PACs are available for every kind of race – presidential, congressional or statewide. But there are other ways you can help buy an election. Look at the Wisconsin recall campaign of Republican Governor Scott Walker. At least fourteen billionaires rushed to the support of the corporate right’s favorite union basher. He outraised his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by nearly eight to one. Most of his money came from out of state. More than sixty million dollars were spent, $45 million of it for Walker alone.
Here are just a few of the satisfied buyers:
Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks contributed more than half a million dollars on Scott Walker’s behalf. Her late husband built ABC Supply, America’s largest wholesale distributor of roofing, windows and siding. Fearful the United States might become “a socialistic ideological nation,” she’s an ardent foe of unions and, in her words, “taxing job creators.” True to her aversion to taxes, she paid none in 2010, despite being worth, according to magazine, about $2.8 billion dollars.
Before he launched his crusade against the collective bargaining rights of working people, Governor Walker had a conversation with Diane Hendricks, in which she asked, “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions… and become a right to work [state]? What can we do to help you?”
Walker replied, “We`re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we`re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”
And so he did.
Walker also hauled in checks for nearly half a million from the Texas oligarch Bob Perry. He made his fortune in the home building business and is best known nationally for contributing four and a half million to the Swift Boat campaign that smeared the Vietnam War record of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry back in 2004.
In Texas, Bob Perry is known for his cozy relationship with the state’s Supreme Court. He once gave money to every one of its nine elected judges. And guess what? Those same nine judges later overturned an $800,000 judgment against his building company for faulty construction. Bob the Builder, who’s naturally eager for help in the cause of tort reform — that is, making it hard for everyday people to sue corporations like his for malfeasance — has so far given four million to the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, and millions to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC.
Then there’s casino king Sheldon Adelson, who gave Scott Walker’s cause $250,000. That’s a drop in the old champagne bucket compared to the $21 million Adelson’s family gave to the Super PAC that kept Newt Gingrich in the race long after the formaldehyde had been ordered. According to , Adelson did not long mourn Gingrich’s passing, and has now given at least $10 million to the Restore Our Future Super PAC supporting Romney. By all accounts, what he expects in return is that his candidate hold unions at bay and swear that Israel can do no wrong.
Next up on Scott Walker’s list of beneficent plutocrats: Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team and co-founder of the home products giant Amway, which, thanks to Republican leaders in Congress, once shared in a $19 million tax break after a million-dollar DeVos contribution to the Republican Party. He’s a long-time member of the secretive Council for National Policy, a who’s who of right-wing luminaries.
Let’s not forget cowboy billionaire and born again Christian, Foster Friess, Rick Santorum’s moneyman, who told us about the good ol’ days when women would “use Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” And Louis Moore Bacon, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Moore Capital – which in 2010 was fined $25 million for attempted commodities manipulation. A big backer of Romney, he, too came to Walker’s aid in Wisconsin.
So did Dallas oil and gas wildcatter Trevor Rees-Jones, who’s given millions to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, in anticipation of another administration as friendly to taxpayer subsidies for big oil as the Rove-Bush White House. Last year, Rees-Jones’ company, Chief Oil, and a partner sold to Chevron nearly a quarter million acres in northeast America’s Marcellus Shale – the epicenter of the raging controversy over fracking. Estimated price: one billion dollars.
We could go on and name more, but you get the picture. These are the people who are helping to fund what the journalist Joe Hagan describes as a “tsunami of slime.” Even as they and their chosen candidates are afforded respectability in the value-free world of plutocracy, they can hide the fingerprints they leave on the bleeding corpse of democracy in part because each Super PAC comes with that extra special something every politician craves: plausible deniability. When one of their ads says something nasty and deceitful about an opponent – when it and lies – the pol can shrug and say: “Not my doing. It’s the Super Pac that’s slinging the mud, not me.”
And that’s how the wealthy one percent does its dirty business. They are, by the way, as we were reminded by CNN’s Charles Riley in his report, “Can 46 Rich Dudes Buy an Election?” almost all men, mostly white, “and so far, the vast majority of their contributions have been made to conservative groups.” They want to own this election. So if there are any of you left out there with millions to burn, better buy your candidate now, while supplies last.
- Sheldon Adelson Sets New Standard as Campaign Aid Surges Into 8 Figures (nytimes.com)
- Adelson Gives $10 Million to Romney Super PAC (politicalwire.com)
- Confirmed: Adelson giving $10 million to pro-Romney super PAC (politico.com)
- Sheldon Adelson donates $10 million to super PAC backing Mitt Romney (boston.com)
- Report: Ex-Gingrich backer gives $10M to Romney super-PAC (thehill.com)
- From Gingrich To Romney: Sheldon Adelson Gives $10 Million To Pro-Romney Super PAC (ibtimes.com)
- Sheldon Adelson shakes up race with $10 million pro-Romney donation – Boston Herald (bostonherald.com)
- The Caucus: Gingrich Gone, Billionaire Now Showers Romney With Money (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- 7 Plutocrats That Bankrolled the GOP Primary — and What They Want in Return (alternet.org)
- Major GOP donor ready to give big donation to pro-Romney super PAC (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
Exclusive: U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders
NEW YORK |
(Reuters) – China can now bypass Wall Street when buying U.S. government debt and go straight to the U.S. Treasury, in what is the Treasury’s first-ever direct relationship with a foreign government, according to documents viewed by Reuters.
The relationship means the People’s Bank of China buys U.S. debt using a different method than any other central bank in the world.
The other central banks, including the Bank of Japan, which has a large appetite for Treasuries, place orders for U.S. debt with major Wall Street banks designated by the government as primary dealers. Those dealers then bid on their behalf at Treasury auctions.
China, which holds $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, still buys some Treasuries through primary dealers, but since June 2011, that route hasn’t been necessary.
The documents viewed by Reuters show the U.S. Treasury Department has given the People’s Bank of China a direct computer link to its auction system, which the Chinese first used to buy two-year notes in late June 2011.
China can now participate in auctions without placing bids through primary dealers. If it wants to sell, however, it still has to go through the market.
The change was not announced publicly or in any message to primary dealers.
“Direct bidding is open to a wide range of investors, but as a matter of general policy we do not comment on individual bidders,” said Matt Anderson, a Treasury Department spokesman.
While there is been no prohibition on foreign government entities bidding directly, the Treasury’s accommodation of China is unique.
The Treasury’s sales of U.S. debt to China have become part of a politically charged public debate about China’s role as the largest exporter to the United States and also the country’s largest creditor.
The privilege may help China obtain U.S. debt for a better price by keeping Wall Street’s knowledge of its orders to a minimum.
Primary dealers are not allowed to charge customers money to bid on their behalf at Treasury auctions, so China isn’t saving money by cutting out commission fees.
Instead, China is preserving the value of specific information about its bidding habits. By bidding directly, China prevents Wall Street banks from trying to exploit its huge presence in a given auction by driving up the price.
It is one of several courtesies provided to a buyer in a class by itself in terms of purchasing power. Although the Japanese, for example, own about $1.1 trillion of Treasuries, their purchasing has been less centralized. Buying by Japan is scattered among institutions, including pension funds, large Japanese banks and the Bank of Japan, without a single entity dominating.
Granting China a direct bidding link is not the first time Treasury has gone to great lengths to keep its largest client happy.
In 2009, when Treasury officials found China was using special deals with primary dealers to conceal its U.S. debt purchases, the Treasury changed a rule to outlaw those deals, Reuters reported last June. But at the same time it relaxed a reporting requirement to make the Chinese more comfortable with the amended rule.
Another feature of the U.S.-China business relationship is discretion: The Treasury tried to keep its motivation for the 2009 rule change under wraps, Reuters reported.
Documents dealing with China’s new status as a direct bidder again demonstrate the Treasury’s desire for secrecy — in terms of Wall Street and its new direct bidding customer.
To safeguard against hackers, Treasury officials upgraded the system that allows China to access the bidding process.
Then they discussed ways to deflect questions from Wall Street traders that would arise once the auction results began revealing the undeniable presence of a foreign direct bidder.
“Most hold the view that foreign accounts only submit ‘indirect bids’ through primary dealers. This will likely cause significant chatter on the street and many questions will likely come our way,” wrote one government official in an email viewed by Reuters.
In the email, the official suggested providing basic, general answers to questions about who can bid in Treasury actions.
“For questions more extensive or probing in nature, I think it prudent to direct them to the or Treasury public relations area,” the official wrote.
The granting to China of direct bidder status may be controversial because some government officials are concerned that China has gained too much leverage over the United States through its large Treasury holdings.
For example, economist Brad Setser, who is a member of the National Economic Council and has also served on the National Security Council, has argued China’s large Treasury holdings pose a national security threat.
Writing for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2009, Setser posited that China’s massive U.S. debt holdings gave it power over U.S. policy via the threat of a swift, large sale of U.S. debt that could send the market into turmoil and drive up interest rates.
But Treasury officials have long maintained that U.S. debt sales to China are kept separate from politics in a business relationship that benefits both countries. The Chinese use Treasuries to house the dollars they receive from selling goods to the United States, while the U.S. government is happy to see such strong demand for its debt because it keeps interest rates low.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
The United States has, however, displayed increasing anxiety about China as a cybersecurity threat. The change Treasury officials made to their direct bidding system before allowing access to China was to limit access to the system to a specially designed private network connection controlled by the Treasury.
China is among the most sensitive topics for bankers and government officials who court the country as a financial client because of its size and importance, and none would agree to comment on the record for this story.
A former debt management official at the Treasury who did not want to be identified said that as China’s experience in the U.S. Treasury market has deepened over time, Chinese officials may have felt more comfortable taking the reins in the management of their holdings.
Their request to bid directly, in his view, came from a confidence that their money managers could buy U.S. debt more efficiently on their own than through Wall Street banks, which can often drive up the price of Treasuries at an auction if they know how much large clients are willing to pay. Such a practice that is not specifically illegal, though most traders would deem it unethical.
Evidence of China’s growing sophistication as a money manager in the U.S. markets is clear in its expansion of operations in New York. Its money management arm, the State Administration for Foreign Exchange (commonly called SAFE), has an office in Midtown Manhattan and a seasoned chief investment officer — former Pacific Investment Management Co derivatives head Changhong Zhu — in Beijing.
A woman who answered the phone at SAFE’s New York office said no one in the office was authorized to talk to the media.
- U.S. Lets China Bypass Wall Street Primary Dealers for Treasury Orders (cryptogon.com)
- China’s Exclusive Relationship with the U.S. Treasury Revealed (wallstreetpit.com)
- U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (blacklistednews.com)
- U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (waronyou.com)
- You: U.S. Said to Let China Buy Direct From Treasury (nytimes.com)
- U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (chinadailymail.com)
- Exclusive: U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (givemeliberty01.wordpress.com)
- U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)
- US lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders (todayonline.com)
- Does China Own America? (ampoch.wordpress.com)
Schumer: Facebook founder Saverin wants to ‘de-friend’ USA
By Brendan Sasso and Alicia M. Cohn
Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) announced legislation on Thursday designed to punish people who renounce their citizenship in order to dodge taxes.
Their bill, the Ex-Patriot Act, is a direct response to Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, who renounced his U.S. citizenship last year. The news became public last week.
“Eduardo Saverin wants to de-friend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes. We aren’t going to let him get away with it,” Schumer said at a press conference Thursday where he announced the new legislation.
The citizenship move will save Saverin, who was born in Brazil and now lives in Singapore, an estimated $67 million to $100 million in taxes. That amount could increase if Facebook’s stock price rises.
Schumer called Saverin’s actions “outrageous.”
“Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire,” Schumer said.
Casey called Saverin’s plan an “insult to the American people” that “cries out for some basic justice.”
Under the bill, anyone who renounces their citizenship and has a net worth of $2 million or an average income tax liability of $148,000 over the last five years will be presumed to be trying to dodge taxes. The person can appeal that designation to the Internal Revenue Service.
But if the IRS determines a person gave up their passport for primarily tax reasons, all of the person’s U.S. assets will be taxed at 30 percent, double the usual rate of 15 percent.
The person will also be barred from ever entering the United States again.
To re-enter the United States, people would have to pay back all of the taxes they would have owed.
Saverin denies that he is giving up his citizenship to avoid taxes.
In an interview with , Saverin said the move “had nothing to do with taxes.”
“I was born in Brazil; I was an American citizen for about 10 years. I thought of myself as a global citizen,” he said.
He currently lives in Singapore, which has no capital gains taxes.
Schumer said if anyone believes Saverin’s explanation, “I have a bridge I want to sell you.”
The Constitution bars Congress from passing a law to punish a particular individual.
But Schumer argued that the bill is “clearly not unconstitutional” and would apply to anyone who is in a situation similar to Saverin.
He acknowledged that Saverin would be able to keep the profits from any stocks he sells before the bill becomes a law.
But he noted that the Facebook co-founder would be barred from ever returning to the United States, and he argued it would be difficult for someone as rich as Saverin to not own some investments in the country.
Schumer said the legislation has nothing to do with efforts to raise taxes on the richest one percent of the country.
When asked whether he thinks Republicans will support the bill, Schumer asked, “Why wouldn’t they?”
Casey said he would like to hear the reason why anyone would oppose the measure.
In a tweet on Thursday, the National Taxpayers Union, which advocates for lower taxes, said the Ex-Patriot Act is “not serious policy.”
“Why not build a tax system people want to inhabit, rather than use force to trap them?” the group wrote.
- Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Renounces US Citizenship (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: John Tamny: For De-Friending The U.S., Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin Is An A… (pjmedia.com)
- Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Renounces US Citizenship Before IPO (prweb.com)
- Right-Wing Lauds Facebook Co-Founder’s Decision To Renounce US Citizenship: He’s ‘An American Hero’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Billionaire Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin ‘de-friends’ United States to keep more of his fortune (independent.co.uk)
- Renouncing citizenship: Did Eduardo Saverin do anything wrong? (economist.com)
- Facebook co-founder Saverin may avoid $67 million in U.S. taxes (cbsnews.com)
- Facebook’s Saverin dumps U.S. for Singapore (staradvertiser.com)
- Saverin dumps US citizenship ahead of Facebook IPO (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin quits US ahead of flotation (bbc.co.uk)
May 16, 2012
Goldman, Other Investors Pile Out of Facebook
The smart money is flying out of Facebook as the dumb money piles in.
A week ago, Facebook was targeting a valuation of $77 billion to $96 billion in its IPO and early investors were already looking to book plenty of profits by selling their own shares to the public. Venture capitalists Peter Thiel and Accel Partners were planning to sell up to 20% and 22% of their stakes respectively in the offering.
Fast forward to this week. Facebook hasraised its target price range to as much as $104 billion. Now, some early investors want to sell a lot more.
· Accel Partners plans to sell up to 28% of its shares.
· Peter Thiel plans to sell as much as 50% of his stake.
· Goldman Sachs will also sell as much as 50%, up from 23% previously.
· DST Global and Mail.ru will dump up to 40% of their shares, up from 23% previously.
· Tiger Global will sell up to 50% of its stake. Previously it planned to sell 7%.
Company insiders aren’t increasing planned share sales. CEO Mark Zuckerberg still plans to sell 6% of his stake. Other Facebook executives like COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman aren’t selling any shares at all.
And there are other early investors that aren’t increasing their share sales. T. Rowe Price for instance is holding on to what it has.
Another interesting wrinkle is the comparison with previous tech IPOs. At Groupon, insiders and early investors didn’t sell any of their stake in its IPO. LinkedIn’s IPO similarly saw very little selling. At Zynga, insiders and early investors sold just 7% of their stakes on average.
Early investors know Facebook as intimately as anyone. That they are selling so much of their stakes should discourage public investors from chasing the stock when it opens.
- Facebook insiders add shares to boost IPO – MarketWatch (marketwatch.com)
- Facebook IPO: Shareholders Looking to Cash Out More (blogs.wsj.com)
- Facebook increases size of IPO, pushing proceeds toward record (mercurynews.com)
- Facebook Investors to Cash Out More Shares (kstp.com)
- Facebook investors to cash out more shares (newsok.com)
- Facebook Shareholders Hope to Sell More Shares (jdjournal.com)
- Facebook IPO Size Increases by 25 Percent, Could Hit $16 Billion (blippitt.com)
- Facebook IPO size increases by 25%, may reach $16B (venturebeat.com)
- Facebook investors to cash out more shares (seattlepi.com)
- Facebook Investors to Cash Out More Shares (usnews.com)
FRIDAY, MAY 4
Who’s really to blame for high gas prices? Greedy finance speculators
Gasoline prices have been falling in recent weeks, but they’re still close to their five-year high after climbing steeply for three years. For every penny increase at the pump, $1.4 billion per year leaves our collective pockets, creating a drag on the sluggish “recovery.” Where does it go and what caused the price explosion at the pump?
It’s a common belief that oil prices are set on the world market by supply and demand. Less supply and/or more demand causes prices to rise. Oil is getting harder to find; OPEC is holding back supply; China and India are guzzling it up; Iran is threatening to blow it up. And regulations are getting in the way of drill, baby, drill — end of story.
But this fixation on blind market forces ignores the fact that Wall Street is financializing the commodities markets – especially oil – as it seeks new ways to pick our pockets. The same greedy swindlers who puffed up the housing bubble and then milked it dry are now hard at work doing the same with gasoline.
What is financialization and why is it coming to the oil industry?
Here’s a chilling definition provided by economist Thomas I. Palley (PDF):
Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes…..Its principal impacts are to (1) elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real sector, (2) transfer income from the real sector to the financial sector, and (3) increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation.
In short, we’re talking about the spread and growing supremacy of financial gambling – the ability to bet on the prices of goods produced in the real economy without actually owning those goods.
The vital activities of manufacturing, resource extraction and agriculture are turned into financial instruments that can be rapidly bought and sold. More to the point, financialization allows financial gamblers to extract profits from the real economy to enrich themselves without producing any real economic value for our economy.
When markets are financialized, they offer a myriad of ways for Wall Street firms to bend or break laws to manipulate markets and haul in enormous profits. In effect, financialization extracts a hidden tax from the real economy which is then passed onto us in the form of higher prices, economic hardship and then government bailouts when it all comes crashing down.
The oil markets have become just another profitable Wall Street casino. Why? Because, as the infamous outlaw Willie Sutton said, “That’s where the money is.” Oil markets as well as other commodity markets require a certain number of speculators. Oil producers and end users go to these markets in order to lock in prices for the products they use or sell. From refiners to shippers to airlines, oil markets provide a way to obtain price certainty for a specified period of time. To make these markets function, speculators are needed to take the other side of those trades. For more than a century about 30 percent of these commodity markets involved speculators and 70 percent of the participants in terms of volume were real producers, distributors and users. That’s what a healthy commodities market looks like.
But once financialization metastasized, the proportions flipped. Now70 percent of the action comes from speculators, while only 30 percent comes from those who really produce, distribute and use the actual commodities. The casino has taken over.
This speculative invasion is why gasoline prices are climbing rapidly. The only question remaining is how much of the price rise is due to excess speculation. Here’s what the experts say:
· The St. Louis Federal Reserve (not exactly a Marxist institution) claims that 15 percent of the rise in gasoline prices is due to Wall Street speculation (PDF).
· A report from the House Committee on Government Oversight claims that up to 30 percent of the rise may be due to speculators.
· Even experts at Goldman Sachs, of all places, say that “excessive speculation is causing oil prices to spike by up to 40 percent.”
· And Saudi Arabia, ”the largest exporter of oil in the world, told the Bush administration back in 2008, during the last major spike in oil prices, that speculation was responsible for about $40 of a barrel of oil.”
This flip in the balance of real economic activity and speculation is precisely what John Maynard Keynes warned us about more than 75 years ago:
“Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. The measure of success attained by Wall Street, regarded as an institution of which the proper social purpose is to direct new investment into the most profitable channels in terms of future yield, cannot be claimed as one of the outstanding triumphs of laissez-faire capitalism….”
Who are the speculators?
Sen. Bernie Sanders released classified documents revealing the names of the largest speculators in the oil markets as of 2008.
A look at the top 20 speculators reveals that only five are actually involved in producing, shipping, refining and consuming oil (Vitol, CMA, ENA, Semgroup and Emirates Oil). The other 15 are banks and investment houses – a virtual who’s who of Wall Street firms that puffed up the housing bubble and took down the economy. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup — they all make the list.
A tale of two casinos
It’s stunning to compare the similarities between the housing bubble and the rise in oil prices. Just take a look at the two charts below. The first shows the price of a barrel of oil after eliminating the impact of inflation. You can see the price spike in the 1970s during the Iranian oil boycott, and then in the 1990s during the Persian Gulf War. Clearly, those significant geopolitical events disrupted supplies and had a real impact on the price of oil.
But look what happened when the Wall Street big boys jumped into the oil speculative business right around 2002-’03. The price of oil went bonkers. The gyrations were far more extreme than any of the previous geopolitical events. There is no rational supply-and-demand explanation that accounts for that dramatic rise. Sure, after the economy crashed in 2008 prices declined. That makes sense. But up again goes the price of oil even though we’re facing nothing like the supply and demand shifts caused by oil boycotts and wars. Then again, maybe it does indicate a new war – Wall Street versus the rest of us.
Now take a look at the housing bubble graph – similar shape, similar timing. And that’s no coincidence. When Wall Street turns a market into an enormous casino, prices skyrocket and the economy is threatened. Wall Street did it to housing and now they’re doing it again to commodities — especially oil.
Wall Street oil speculators kill jobs
When Wall Street jacks up gasoline prices through its speculative activities, it has two job-killing impacts. First, it sucks money out of our pockets to pay for gasoline, which in turn means we have less money to spend on other goods and services in the real economy. It’s the equivalent of an anti-stimulus tax. As gasoline prices go up, economic demand falters and workers in the real economy are laid off.
The second impact is more complex but just as real to unemployed oil workers on the East Coast where several refineries in the Philadelphia area are being shut down even though the price of refined gasoline is rising.
Here’s where it gets tricky. The East Coast gets its oil primarily from the North Sea. That’s called Brent oil. The rest of the country gets most of its oil from the Gulf Coast. That’s called West Texas. The two kinds of oil are very similar in content and traditionally were similarly priced. Not any more.
As the chart below illustrates, a gap has emerged so that Brent oil is now significantly more expensive. This means that the oil coming into East Coast refineries is more costly to refine. But the increased cost can’t be passed on at the pump because the national prices are mostly set by the lower cost West Texas oil (and from European refineries that are dumping gasoline in the U.S. as Europe switches more and more to diesel). As a result, East Coast refinery profits are squeezed, which in turn leads to the shutdowns.
But what accounts for the split between the two prices of oil? Some experts say Brent oil is becoming more expensive because other oil supplies coming into Europe from the Middle East are more vulnerable and uncertain due to the Iranian situation and the Arab Spring. Maybe so. But speculation also is at work. Because oil speculation regulations are more lax in London, it is likely that Brent oil is the raw material for a more profitable casino. As Wall Street money pours in, up go the prices…and down go the refineries and thousands of refinery workers.
But wait, isn’t Wall Street helping the environment by driving up gasoline prices?
Without question the rise in gasoline prices moves the nation toward more fuel-efficient cars, which in turn will reduce greenhouse gas pollution. But relying on Wall Street to cause this dynamic is ridiculous, foolish and grossly unfair. First, because Wall Street speculators not only drive up prices they create price instability – rising prices followed by rapid crashes. If a recession follows, gas prices will crash and the incentive to purchase fuel-efficient cars will disappear. Second, rising gas prices without offsetting credits for low-income people are very regressive – meaning lower-income people pay a higher share of their income on fuel costs.
But more galling is the fact that Wall Street speculators are pocketing what amounts to a gas tax as if they were the duly-elected government of the United States (maybe they are the government, butnot duly-elected).
If we want to tax carbon for the sake of the environment (and we should), then the government should do so and collect the revenues, not Wall Street. And if we think that Wall Street’s nefarious way is better than nothing at all, than heaven help us.
How do we rein in the speculation?
President Obama recently called for $58 million in order to put “more cops on the beat” at the regulatory agencies that police the commodities markets. Supposedly these extra cops would be able to prosecute more cases of price manipulation and other blatant violations of the rules and regulations that govern commodity trading.
This effort, while laudable, doesn’t go nearly far enough. The best way to check speculation may be through a financial transaction tax that makes it less profitable to speculate in commodity markets. A relatively small tax on all financial transactions would likely reduce the number of bogus speculators. That’s the only message they understand. Enforcement of weak rules matters little to those who spend all their waking hours playing and dreaming up new financial casino games. The only way forward is to take away their chips.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration opposes any and all financial taxes for fear they will upset financial markets. Well, this market is already upset by financial greed and corruption. Hopefully, the administration will learn before it’s too late that the American people are sick and tired of being fleeced by Wall Street.
In the meantime, next time you fill up your tank, remind yourself that something like $10 to $25 is going right from your pocket to Wall Street. Maybe that will get us to join the fight for a financial transaction tax. It’s long overdue.
- Crossroads News – Events in our changing world and our place in it – Friday May 4th, 2012 (familysurvivalprotocol.wordpress.com)
- Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State Massacre? (12160.info)
- Noam Chomsky on America’s Declining Empire, Occupy and the Arab Spring (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Your inbox: occupied – May Day in the media (occupycentral.wordpress.com)
- 4 Reasons GOP Presidential Hopefuls Said Mitt Romney Would Be a Disaster | | AlterNet (mittismean.org)
- Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State Massacre? (kavvathas.com)
- California’s college mess (news.salon.com)
- Digg controversy buries journalistic objectivity (news.cnet.com)
- Noam Chomsky on America’s Declining Empire, Occupy and the Arab Spring (alternet.org)