THIRD WORLD NATION: ARE WE THERE YET?

There have been an abundance of articles and a few new books published very recently comparing our economic conditions in the U.S. with those in third world nations.  They are very convincing and they consistently warn us that if we are not there yet, we are getting very close.

On recent blogs and posts I have begun to show what has happened to the distribution of wealth/income in this country over the past thirty years.  The trend has been continuous and only interupted somewhat by the economic policies of  President Clinton.  But the reinstitution of trickle-down economics under President Bush after 12 years of Reagan-Bush, which began in 1981, has created a totally unstable situation.  The top 2% of the wealthy class now control about 25% of the wealth and the top 10% control about 50% of the wealth.  As was recently described this situation is worse than Argentina!!  Warren Buffet, the third richest man in America (with wealth above 40 billion) recently stated that he observed his tax rate was less than 16 other people in the room with whom he had gathered.  Something may not be “rotten in Denmark”, but it certainly is in the United States.  And most people in this country don’t even know how rotten it is;  they just know something is very wrong.  In subsequent posts, I will show how we got in this mess.  This first figure shows that there is an enormous difference between Democratic and Republican administrations in their positions on fiscal responsibility.  These have led directly to the differences in income/wealth that we experience today. And the Republican Party wants people to believe they are fiscally responsible??  LOL  It is amazing to me that the Democratic Party does now show these data.  (Click on graph to increase size.)




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PAUL REVERE: THE CORPORATISTS ARE COMING

Having studied some significant economic data in the last several months,  I am becoming convinced that we are not addressing  a major issue in our economic and political plight.  We have a major cancer that is continuing to grow within our system that will ultimately destroy us.  Since my education and training is that of a physicist and not a physician, it is not easy for me to use this metaphor.  But I will ask you to consider the data which others have presented.

It is quite clear that over the past thirty years, the U.S. has emphasized policies and procedures that have supported capitalistic solutions to our societal problems.  It is also quite clear that this has led to an enormous concentration of wealth and income to a very small percentage at the top of our economic class.  When changes are suggested, the wealthy class and the corporations exclaim “class warfare” and the population retreats with expressions of regret and apology.  This behavior must cease and it must be countered with facts and accurate information, if not civil disobedience.  Otherwise, the outcomes will be very bleak.

I have presented below a graphic showing the trends in this concentration of wealth-income.  There are several sources for this and they all show the same result.  There are numerous sources that show that we are not only becoming a third world nation, but that we will become totally unstable.  I ask you to consider that possibility.  I will present much more data and facts to document this in subsequent publications.



BUSH ON JOBS: THE WORST RECORD OF ALL

The article below was first published on January 9, 2009 and shows the job creation of various Presidents since Harry Truman.  But it doesn’t tell the whole story.  President Obama had not even taken office and over 700,000 jobs were lost during the months of January and February, long before any passage of legislation like the Stimulus took effect.  The fact is that this year alone nearly 1,000,000 new jobs have been created despite the anemic recovery from the greatest recession since the great depression. I’m growing very weary of the misinformation and lies being constantly spread by the Republican Party and right wing media.  It’s time to start asking the Republican House of Representatives every day:  “Where the hell are the jobs you promised?”  Their answer will be to just cut taxes on the rich, and we know exactly how well that worked during the Bush administration, don’t we??  It is time the pathological lying  STOP!

President George W. Bush entered office in 2001 just as a recession was starting, and is preparing to leave in the middle of a long one. That’s almost 22 months of recession during his 96 months in office.

His job-creation record won’t look much better. The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under PresidentBill Clinton’s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office.

Here’s a look at job creation under each president since the Labor Department started keeping payroll records in 1939. The counts are based on total payrolls between the start of the month the president took office (using the final payroll count for the end of the prior December) and his final December in office.

Because the size of the economy and labor force varies, we also calculate in percentage terms how much the total payroll count expanded under each president. The current President Bush, once taking account how long he’s been in office, shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records. –Sudeep Reddy

The chart can be sorted by any of the following categories.

President Jobs created Jobs at end of term Jobs at start of term Payroll expansion Jobs created per year in office Population growth Percent change in population
George W. Bush 3.0 million 135.5 million 132.5 million 2.3% 375,000 22.0 million 7.7%
Bill Clinton 23.1 million 132.5 million 109.4 million 21.1% 2,900,000 25.2 million 8.9%
George H.W. Bush 2.5 million 109.4 million 106.9 million 2.3% 625,000 12.5 million 4.8%
Ronald Reagan 16.0 million 106.9 million 90.9 million 17.6% 2,000,000 17.3 million 7%
Jimmy Carter 10.5 million 90.9 million 80.4 million 13.1% 2,600,000 9.8 million 4.3%
Gerald Ford 1.8 million 80.4 million 78.6 million 2.3% 745,000 5.1 million 2.3%
Richard Nixon 9.4 million 78.6 million 69.2 million 13.6% 1,700,000 12.3 million 5.7%
Lyndon Johnson 11.9 million 69.2 million 57.3 million 20.8% 2,300,000 11.3 million 5.6%
John F. Kennedy 3.6 million 57.3 million 53.7 million 6.7% 1,200,000 8.2 million 4.3%
Dwight Eisenhower 3.5 million 53.7 million 50.2 million 7% 438,000 23.3 million 12.8%
Harry Truman 8.4 million 50.2 million 41.8 million 20.1% 1,100,000 N/A N/

BUSH ON JOBS: THE WORST RECORD OF ALL!

This article below was first published on January 9, 2009 in Real Time Economics.  The table of data should show conclusively that Republicans know almost nothing about creating jobs, nor do they care.  Thus, the question everyone should start asking immediately to the Republican House of Representatives, especially John Boehner, is:  “Where the hell are those jobs you promised us?”  Their only plans are always to cut taxes on the rich and we know what that got us, don’t we?  Look at the Bush record!!

President George W. Bush entered office in 2001 just as a recession was starting, and is preparing to leave in the middle of a long one. That’s almost 22 months of recession during his 96 months in office.

His job-creation record won’t look much better. The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under PresidentBill Clinton’s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office.

Here’s a look at job creation under each president since the Labor Department started keeping payroll records in 1939. The counts are based on total payrolls between the start of the month the president took office (using the final payroll count for the end of the prior December) and his final December in office.

Because the size of the economy and labor force varies, we also calculate in percentage terms how much the total payroll count expanded under each president. The current President Bush, once taking account how long he’s been in office, shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records. –Sudeep Reddy

The chart can be sorted by any of the following categories.

President Jobs created Jobs at end of term Jobs at start of term Payroll expansion Jobs created per year in office Population growth Percent change in population
George W. Bush 3.0 million 135.5 million 132.5 million 2.3% 375,000 22.0 million 7.7%
Bill Clinton 23.1 million 132.5 million 109.4 million 21.1% 2,900,000 25.2 million 8.9%
George H.W. Bush 2.5 million 109.4 million 106.9 million 2.3% 625,000 12.5 million 4.8%
Ronald Reagan 16.0 million 106.9 million 90.9 million 17.6% 2,000,000 17.3 million 7%
Jimmy Carter 10.5 million 90.9 million 80.4 million 13.1% 2,600,000 9.8 million 4.3%
Gerald Ford 1.8 million 80.4 million 78.6 million 2.3% 745,000 5.1 million 2.3%
Richard Nixon 9.4 million 78.6 million 69.2 million 13.6% 1,700,000 12.3 million 5.7%
Lyndon Johnson 11.9 million 69.2 million 57.3 million 20.8% 2,300,000 11.3 million 5.6%
John F. Kennedy 3.6 million 57.3 million 53.7 million 6.7% 1,200,000 8.2 million 4.3%
Dwight Eisenhower 3.5 million 53.7 million 50.2 million 7% 438,000 23.3 million 12.8%
Harry Truman 8.4 million 50.2 million 41.8 million 20.1% 1,100,000 N/A N/

TAX LIES AND MYTHS

One of the major issues which faces us today within the U.S. Congress is the “Bush Tax Cuts” and specifically tax cuts for the rich.  It is almost ludicrous that this is an issue but it unfortunately describes how dysfunctional Congress has become.  The reason this is important is not just because it affects the deficit but rather because it illustrates a basic problem that the Republican Party has imposed upon our society.  The fact is that for thirty years, exaggerated with Republican “voodoo economics” begun under Ronald Reagan, an enormous concentration of  wealth and income with  a very narrow class of individuals at the top of our economic spectrum has developed and the data and facts support this conclusion.  The basic question is whether the majority of people–the lower 98% of people–can read the data and graphs and accept this.  I expect to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt in succeeding posts.

Take a look at the graphic below.  It shows the reduction in the top marginal income rates for top income earners since the start of the Reagan administration.  While this does not contain the entire explanation of why the rich have become richer and all the rest have become poorer, it does suggest why the distribution of income and wealth has radically changed.  Reagan’s philosophy was:  “Government was not the solution;  government was the problem!”  Not true, Ronnie, and for many years before this economic problem did not exist. President Clinton made some progress in reversing these trends but his record was not entirely clean either.  Far too much power was devoted to the corporate capitalistic sector in reducing regulation and far too many tax loopholes have been produced by lobbyists.

With a “progressive” income tax structure, the devastation of that system under Republican administrations by Reagan and Bush II will naturally lead to the kind of total inequalities of wealth and income we have experienced.  This maldistribution will also lead to a total breakdown in our social structure and many have shown that we look more like a Third World nation.  These comparisons are valid and can be shown by actual data and facts to be true.  The basic question that we have to ask ourselves is whether we care enough to reverse these trends before they become too late.


EXTREME WEALTH/INCOME INEQUALITIES

This article taken from Slate.com is one of the best I have seen describing the enormous wealth/income inequalities which exist in the U.S. and it is worsening.  I believe this to be the most important issue to address and is the root cause of many of our domestic ills.  If it is not addressed soon, then we are certain to experience great social unrest and potential destruction of our democracy, whatever is left.  The obsession that many have of focusing on the “symptoms”  of deficit reduction, government spending, too much government, tax cuts for the rich, etc. are merely ways to avoid the real problem.  And that is the current focus of most of our major discourse today.  Please spend some time reviewing the data presented here and you will understand!  I will spell out the consequences of not addressing this problem in subsequent posts.

Dr. Thomas Baldwin
Biloxi, MS

THE GREAT DIVERGENCE

WHAT’S CAUSING AMERICA’S GROWING INCOME INEQUALITY?

The United States of Inequality

Introducing the Great Divergence

By Timothy Noah
Posted Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, at 3:06 PM ET

Timothy Noah kicked off this series by looking at whether race, gender, or the breakdown of the nuclear family affected income inequality, and then he examined immigrationthe technology boomfederal government policy, the decline of labor unionsinternational tradewhether the ultra wealthy are to blame, and what role the decline of K-12 education has played. In conclusion, Noah explained why we can’t ignore income inequality. Want to print this? The series is also available as a PDF.

Slide Show: The Great Divergence In Pictures. Click image to launch.

In 1915, a statistician at the University of Wisconsin named Willford I. King published The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. The United States was displacing Great Britain as the world’s wealthiest nation, but detailed information about its economy was not yet readily available; the federal government wouldn’t start collecting such data in any systematic way until the 1930s. One of King’s purposes was to reassure the public that all Americans were sharing in the country’s newfound wealth.

King was somewhat troubled to find that the richest 1 percent possessed about 15 percent of the nation’s income. (A more authoritative subsequent calculation puts the figure slightly higher, at about 18 percent.) 

This was the era in which the accumulated wealth of America’s richest families—the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, the Carnegies—helped prompt creation of the modern income tax, lest disparities in wealth turn the United States into a European-style aristocracy. The socialist movement was at its historic peak, a wave of anarchist bombings was terrorizing the nation’s industrialists, and President Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, Alexander Palmer, would soon stage brutal raids on radicals of every stripe. In American history, there has never been a time when class warfare seemed more imminent.

That was when the richest 1 percent accounted for 18 percent of the nation’s income. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income. What caused this to happen? Over the next two weeks, I’ll try to answer that question by looking at all potential explanations—race, gender, the computer revolution, immigration, trade, government policies, the decline of labor, compensation policies on Wall Street and in executive suites, and education. Then I’ll explain why people who say we don’t need to worry about income inequality (there aren’t many of them) are wrong.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker. Click image to expand.Income inequality in the United States has not worsened steadily since 1915. It dropped a bit in the late teens, then started climbing again in the 1920s, reaching its peak just before the 1929 crash. The trend then reversed itself. Incomes started to become more equal in the 1930s and then became dramatically more equal in the 1940s.  Income distributionremained roughly stable through the postwar economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo have termed this midcentury era the “Great Compression.” The deep nostalgia for that period felt by the World War II generation—the era of Life magazine and the bowling league—reflects something more than mere sentimentality. Assuming you were white, not of draft age, and Christian, there probably was no better time to belong to America’s middle class.

The Great Compression ended in the 1970s. Wages stagnated, inflation raged, and by the decade’s end, income inequality had started to rise. Income inequality grew through the 1980s, slackened briefly at the end of the 1990s, and then resumed with a vengeance in the aughts. In his 2007 book The Conscience of a Liberal, the Nobel laureate, Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman labeled the post-1979 epoch the “Great Divergence.”

It’s generally understood that we live in a time of growing income inequality, but “the ordinary person is not really aware of how big it is,” Krugman told me. During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth—the “seven fat years” and the ” long boom.” Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts, but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 percent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads.

Here is a snapshot of income distribution during the past 100 years:

Chart of the Top Ten Percent Income Share, 1917 - 2008.

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Why don’t Americans pay more attention to growing income disparity? One reason may be our enduring belief in social mobility. Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president. In a survey of 27 nations conducted from 1998 to 2001, the country where the highest proportion agreed with the statement “people are rewarded for intelligence and skill” was, of course, the United States. (69 percent). But when it comes toreal as opposed to imagined social mobility, surveys find less in the United States than in much of (what we consider) the class-bound Old World. France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Spain—not to mention some newer nations like Canada and Australia—are all places where your chances of rising from the bottom are better than they are in the land of Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick.

Wealth-Income Inequalities

Wealth-Income Inequalities–All Groups
by Thomas Baldwin on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 8:57pm
THE BIG, LONG TERM CON GRAPH: From Mother Jones, “Are the Tea Partiers Being Taken for a Ride”, Nov.-Dec. 2010.

If you are in the bottom 80 percent of American households, you’ve gained essentially no economic ground in the past three decades. Those of you lucky enough to be in the top 20 percent ($100,000+) might be heartened by the trajectory of the red line on the chart shown here—but sorry: The vast majority of those gains have actually gone to the top 1 percent (PDF) (average income: $1.9 million). And though the chart doesn’t show this because the line would run off the page, if you’re in the tippy-top 0.1 percent, your gains make the merely filthy rich look like chumps.