Tag Archive: 99 percent

Jan 25 2015

Sharecropping

Who does the world belong to? Are we all just sharecroppers, working for the man in exchange for a share of our birthright?

Sharecropping

Sharecropping is a system where the landlord/planter allows a tenant to use the land in exchange for a share of the crop. This encouraged tenants to work to produce the biggest harvest that they could, and ensured they would remain tied to the land and unlikely to leave for other opportunities. In the South, after the Civil War, many black families rented land from white owners and raised cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, and rice. In many cases, the landlords or nearby merchants would lease equipment to the renters, and offer seed, fertilizer, food, and other items on credit until the harvest season. At that time, the tenant and landlord or merchant would settle up, figuring out who owed whom and how much

High interest rates, unpredictable harvests, and unscrupulous landlords and merchants often kept tenant farm families severely indebted, requiring the debt to be carried over until the next year or the next. Laws favoring landowners made it difficult or even illegal for sharecroppers to sell their crops to others besides their landlord, or prevented sharecroppers from moving if they were indebted to their landlord.

There Are 85 People Who Are As Wealthy As Half The WORLD, Oxfam Reports

Oxfam’s “Working For The Few” report looked at Credit Suisse’s “Global Wealth Report 2013” and Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires from 2013 to conclude that 1 percent of the global population controls half of the world’s wealth.

The report also found that the world’s 85 richest people own the same amount as the bottom half of the entire global population.

The ramifications of such inequality may be dire, the report suggests:

This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems. Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown.

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Rigged Rules Mean Economic Growth Increasingly Winner-Takes-All

Policies successfully imposed by the rich in recent decades include financial deregulation, tax havens and secrecy, anti-competitive business practice, lower tax rates on high incomes and investments and cuts or underinvestment in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 of the 30 countries for which data are available, meaning that in many places the rich not only get more money but also pay less tax on it.

A recent US study presented compelling statistical evidence that the interests of the wealthy are overwhelmingly represented by the US Government compared with those of the middle classes. The preferences of the poorest had no impact on the votes of elected officials.

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Unbalanced: 85 Super-Wealthy own as Much as Half the World’s Population

We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest.”Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam Executive Director, states that a continuation of such policies will contribute to inequality for generations to come.

“In developed and developing countries alike, we are increasingly living in a world where the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given not just to the rich but also to their children,” stated Byanyima.

“Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations. We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest,” Byanyima stated.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled world, already in progress.

Sharecroppers of the World Unite?

May 20 2013

Barack Obama, Occupy Wall Street and Martin Luther King’s Mission and Legacy

Barack Obama is the largest governmental obstacle to the continuation and completion of Martin Luther King’s mission.

Bill Moyers had an excellent conversation with James Cone and Taylor Branch about what could be called, “MLK’s unfinished business;” Moyers called it, “James Cone and Taylor Branch on MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality.”  I recommend checking out the whole conversation, which starts out this way:

You may think you know about Martin Luther King, Jr., but there is much about the man and his message we have conveniently forgotten. He was a prophet, like Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah of old, calling kings and plutocrats to account, speaking truth to power.

Yet, he was only 39 when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968. The March on Washington in ’63 and the March from Selma to Montgomery in ’65 were behind him. So were the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In the last year of his life, as he moved toward Memphis and fate, he announced what he called the Poor People’s Campaign, a “multi-racial army” that would come to Washington, build an encampment and demand from Congress an “Economic Bill of Rights” for all Americans – black, white, or brown. He had long known that the fight for racial equality could not be separated from the need or economic equity – fairness for all, including working people and the poor. That’s why he was in Memphis, marching with sanitation workers on strike for a living wage when he was killed.

Popular notions of Martin Luther King’s work celebrate his mission as one that was fundamentally about racial justice.  Moyers and his guests point out that this conventional wisdom seriously understates the scope and scale of King’s vision and mission. King’s mission was not only to advance the interests of African-Americans but to demand and implement a culture of social and economic justice.

Apr 15 2013

Can Working People Be Saved From Mr. Obama’s Brilliant Plans?

President Obama has done a brilliant job for the 1%.

 

Under Mr. Obama’s leadership, after a tremendous, near utter collapse of the economy brought about by a corrupt finance sector, trillions of public dollars have been poured into the coffers of bankers. One recent study showed that the big banks got an annual government subsidy of $83 billion dollars a year – equal to the amount of their alleged profits.  Hold onto your hats, another recent study, by Chris Whalen and endorsed by noted economist Nouriel Roubini demonstrates that the subsidy is much larger, at least $780 billion dollars a year:

$360 billion in Federal Reserve subsidies, by creating an artificial “spread” in interest rates

$120 billion in federal deposit insurance (through the FDIC, backed by the Treasury)

At least $100 billion in government-guaranteed loans, especially mortgages

At least $100 billion in monopolistic advantages in the secondary market for home mortgages

More than $100 billion in fees in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivative market. (The lack of capital required in these transactions and other special dispensations from the Fed provide the zombie banks with unlimited leverage and almost no public scrutiny.)

The first study indicates that the too big to fail banks are barely breaking even and they are getting fat and demanding on our largesse; the second study indicates that they are indeed not profitable at all.  They are nothing but corporate welfare queens with a large budget to purchase politicians.

Mar 04 2013

Extreme wealth inequality in America illustrated. A must see.

This video/infographic was published on YouTube last November.  I hadn’t seen it before today.  I think it’s incredibly well done and a must watch. I recommend maximizing the size (the bracket/square in the bottom right corner of the video) to get the full effect.  At the end of the video, the creator, politizane,  states that the work is being placed in the public domain.

Wealth Inequality in America

Published on Nov 20, 2012

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

Apr 23 2012

Can You Fool 99% of the People 100% of the Time?

One of President Obama’s political heroes, Abraham Lincoln famously said, “It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”  The question for today’s politicians is, can you fool 99% of the people 100% of the time?  That is, can you create and implement policies that blatantly serve a tiny fraction of the people at the expense of all of the people and get away with it?

As President Obama’s populist rhetoric heats up into campaign mode and important measures of his own and his party’s performance lag, the question arises, will the voters notice amidst all of the rhetoric that the job market is not improving and income inequality is growing?