Naked Capitalism: Yes, Virginia, the Rich Continue to Get Richer: the Top 1% Got 121% of Income Gains Since 2009
-by Yves Smith
February 13, 2013- Yes, sports fans, you read that headline correctly. The top 1% has captured all of the income gains since 2009 and then some, roaring ahead while the rest of the population slipped behind. A new paper by Emmanuel Saez (along with his frequent co-author Thomas Piketty, a long-standing cataloguer of income inequality) estimates that the income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%.
-By Les Leopold
February 7, 2013-
• In 2010, the top hedge fund manager earned as much in one HOUR as the average (median) family earned in 47 YEARS.
• The top 25 hedge fund managers in 2010 earned as much as 658,000 entry level teachers.
• In 1970 the top 100 CEOs made $40 for every dollar earned by the average worker. By 2006, the CEOs received $1,723 for every worker dollar.
As the administration and Congress argue over cuts in social programs, inequality in America grows more extreme each day. Even the great financial crash didn't derail this trend. The richest 400 Americans, for example, increased their wealth by 54 percent between 2005 and 2010, while the median middle-class family saw its wealth decline by 35 percent.
SECRET AUDIO: Missouri Lawmakers, In Meeting AT THE MISSOURI CAPITOL, Threatened With Loss of Donors if They Don’t Push “Right-to-Work”
British filmmaker Temujin Doran has released a new movie that is based on the book "The Death of the Liberal Class" by Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. The film, titled "Obey," explores the rise of the corporate state and the future of obedience in a world filled with unfettered capitalism, worsening inequality and environmental changes.
Warning: Viewers may find some of the clips in the film disturbing.
The Contributor: Ending Corporate Tax Dodging Would Cut Deficit By Twice As Much As Hiking Medicare Age
-By Zaid Jilani
January 23, 2013- Some right-wing politicians want to raise the Medicare age to 67. This would reduce the deficit by $5.7 billion each year but pass on costs to seniors of $11.4 billion every year.
Rather than making health care more expensive for seniors, here’s a progressive deficit reduction idea. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office said we could raise $114 billion over ten years — twice as much as raising the Medicare age — by limiting corporate tax deferrals.
The way to do this would be to subject all income earned by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations to U.S. tax laws by limiting or eliminating deferrals for overseas profits. Right now, large corporations like Microsoft will shift their profits to overseas locations — such as remote islands in the Caribbean or Switzerland — to avoid paying taxes on them.
AlterNet: 4 Bogus Right-Wing Theories About Poverty, and the Real Reason Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet (Hard Times USA)
We have an economic crisis that is kept out of sight and out of mind.
-By Joshua Holland
January 22, 2013- When is a secret not at all secret? Consider the fact that one in three Americans are poor, if we define it as struggling to cover the basic necessities of life. That's according to a Census Bureau analysis, and it was reported in the New York Times, but I have yet to hear a politician or pundit make reference to this eye-opening reality of our vaunted “new economy.”
In 2011, the Census Bureau took a new look at the “near-poor” – Americans with incomes between 100 and 150 percent of the poverty line. They found that this group, most of whom earn paychecks and pay taxes, represented a whopping one in six U.S. households – a figure that was almost twice as high as had previously been thought.
-By Emma Thomasson
January 21, 2013- (Reuters) - In February 2008, Thomas Minder, a Swiss businessman whose family-owned company is best known for its old-fashioned herbal toothpaste, attacked his banker, UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel, as if he were a form of stubborn plaque. At a shareholders' meeting in Basel, he stormed the podium as Ospel addressed the crowd. Ospel's bodyguards grappled with Minder and wrestled him away before he could land his symbolic blow — he was trying to hand the embattled head of Switzerland's largest bank a bound copy of Swiss company law, which codifies corporate temperance.
"Gentlemen, you are responsible for the biggest write-downs in Swiss corporate history," Minder had railed just a few minutes before, referring to UBS's loss of $50 billion during the subprime meltdown that prompted it to seek a government bailout. "Put an end to the Americanization of UBS corporate philosophy!"
-By Elizabeth Bast
January 17, 2013- The Canadian tar sands have been called the “most environmentally destructive project on earth”, with good reason. Extracting tar sands bitumen from under the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada requires huge amounts of energy and water. It has cleared vast tracts of forest, left scars on the land that are visible from space and threatened the health and livelihoods of indigenous First Nations communities across the region.
It is a well established fact that full exploitation of the tar sands is a grave threat to the climate. Emissions from tar sands extraction and upgrading are between 3.2 and 4.5 times higher than the equivalent emissions from conventional oil produced in North America.On a lifecycle basis, the average gallon of tar sands bitumen derived fuel has between 14 and 37 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the average gallon of fuel from conventional oil.
But as bad as these impacts already are, existing analyses of the impacts of tar sands fail to account for a byproduct of the process that is a major source of climate change causing carbon emissions: petroleum coke – known as petcoke. Petcoke is the coal hiding in North America’s tar sands oil boom.
Environmentalists urge Kerry to divest stocks in Sunco, Cenovus Energy
January 17, 2013- John Kerry's expected cakewalk to the U.S. State Department has delighted American environmentalists due to his stance on climate change, but the longtime senator owns stock in two Canadian oil companies that have pushed for approval of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
Federal financial disclosure records show Kerry has investments of as much as US$750,000 in Suncor, a Calgary-based energy company whose CEO has urged the U.S. to greenlight TransCanada's controversial project.
The longtime Massachusetts senator, one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill with an estimated net worth of $193 million, also has as much as $31,000 invested in Cenovus Energy, another Calgary firm.
The lawmaker will likely have to divest of those holdings, or put them in blind trust if they aren't already, following an ongoing federal ethics review that is standard procedure for would-be U.S. cabinet secretaries.
But one environmentalist expressed disappointment on Thursday.