Politics,Economics and The Struggle To Survive In America

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Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now. What The?

Posted by Jerrald J President on July 13, 2019 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

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 Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now. What The?

America’s Collapsing Because it’s the World’s First Poor Rich Country

There are days I feel like I read dystopian statistics for a living. And then there are day when the dystopian statistics take even my jaded breath away. Here’s one: 43% of American households can’t afford a budget that includes housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone. Translation: nearly half of Americans can’t afford the basics of life anymore.

 

Does that take your breath away too? It should. And yet it might not come as a surprise. You might know it intimately. The statistics say there’s an even chance you’re…living it. What a grim and bizarre reality. Half of people are effectively poor in the world’s richest country. What the?

 

The folks that did the study above call this new class of people ALICE, for “asset limited, income constrained, employed.” It’s a sharp way to think about American collapse. Let me translate this term, too: the people formerly known as the American middle class.


Let’s take each of those terms one by one. “Asset limited” means that these households don’t have the resources — the hard financial assets — to drawn down on anymore. That tallies with other research which says the majority of Americans now have a negative net worth. In short, “asset limited” is a polite way of saying: indebted for life, with no real way of ever not getting out of the trap. It’s a nice way of saying: broke.


Why not? That brings me to the second idea in the term. “Income constrained.” American incomes haven’t risen for half a century. But the cost of living has exploded..skyrocketed..gone supernova. Healthcare and education didn’t cost as much as a house in the 1970s, or even the 1980s. And houses didn’t cost more than the average person would ever make in their lifetime. If “asset-limited” is a polite way of saying “broke and indebted”, income constrained is a polite way of saying “poor.”


There are two basic kinds of financial poverty, after all. Not having much of an income, and not having any wealth saved up. Americans are poor in both ways now. That’s because their incomes haven’t risen to allow them to save, and their debts keep mounting, which eats up their meagre incomes. Hence (another shocking stat) most Americans now die…in debt. What the?

 

Is this the 1300s? What do we call a population that live and debt “in debt”? We certainly don’t call them free in any real sense. They’re the modern equivalent of serfs or peasants — who are born owing, and who will die owing, a fictional, unplayable amount.

 

Americans are something very much like Neo-serfs because of the last idea in the phrase ALICE, “employed.” You see, it’s not as if the average American is poor now because he or she is sitting around playing video games all day. Quite the contrary. Americans are notoriously hard working people — and that trend continues right down to this day. Americans hold several jobs. The “side hustle” has become an everyday feature of life.


Americans aren’t poor because they don’t work, they don’t work hard enough, or they don’t work long enough. They’re poor even if they do. In that sense, the final idea in the phrase ALICE is underwhelming, inadequate — it fails to really get to the root of the problem here. If the majority of people in a rich society are poor now…even though they’re “employed”…then clearly the problem isn’t the people…it’s the system.

 

Now, you might object. Are Americans really becoming “poor”? What else would you call people that struggle to afford food, housing, childcare, and healthcare? You can’t call them rich, and you can’t call them middle class. They are poor in the sense that they are deprived of the basics of life, and deprivation is what poverty is. Even far poorer countries, I’d wager, don’t have such dire outcomes — bigger percentages can afford the basics — because medicine or rent or childcare in Pakistan or Nigeria doesn’t cost so relatively much. Americans are indeed growing effectively poorer and poorer now — and it shows in their depression, stress, anger, rage, anxiety, falling longevity and health, not to mention classic turn towards authoritarianism.

 

Poverty in America, in other words, has become endemic and ubiquitous because its systemic and structural. It’s baked into the system. It’s a feature, not a bug. And most Americans these days, I’d wager, understand this intuitively. Work hard, play by the rules, become something, someone worthy. Be a teacher, engineer, writer, coach, therapist, nurse etcetera. What do you get? You get your pension “raided” (read: stolen) by hedge funds, you get your income decimated by “investment bankers”, you get charged a fortune for the very things you yourself are involved in producing but never earn a fair share of, you get preyed on in every which way the predatory can dream up.


But it’s a new kind of poverty too — or at least one unseen since the Weimar Republic, really. It’s the poverty of decline, degeneration, decay. It’s the poverty of a middle class becoming a new poor. It’s the reversal of an upwards trajectory — not the failure to launch. It’s people who expected to live better and better lives finding themselves in the grim, unfamiliar predicament of never being able to reach them, no matter what they do. Except maybe sell out and become one of the predators. What happens when that takes place? Something strange, something difficult, something paradoxical and backwards.

 

If I say to the average American — “hey, I know you’re poor. Listen, I’m not trying to insult you. I’m trying to help you. I know it. The statistics tell me so. I can see it in on your stressed out, depressed face. I can see it in everything about you now” — what will the average American say? Well, he or she will respond defensively, probably. “Hey, go to hell buddy! I’m not poor!” That’s understandable. Nobody likes to be called poor — and especially not Americans, because living in a hyper capitalist society, poverty is stigmatized, scorned, mocked, and hated. To call an American poor is something like calling a Soviet a bad communist party member — or maybe even a capitalist. Comrade! To the gulag with you!


I get it. But it’s not helping anyone to pretend Americans are rich now when in fact they’re poor. The difficult truths are these. The majority of Americans — or near enough — are effectively poor now. America is the world’s poor rich country. And no progress whatsoever can be made until enough of them are willing to admit it. Think about it. If Americans go on playing this strange and silly game of pretending to be rich when they’re poor…then what reason is there to address any of the obvious and fatal failures at the heart of American life anymore? If you’re rich and fortunate…why do you need public, healthcare, childcare, retirement? And yet without those things, Americans will only ever get poorer.

 

There’s a place where pride becomes hubris. Where stoicism becomes vanity. Where self-reliance becomes ignorance of the common good. Americans are at that place right now, in this moment.


American poverty — a middle class falling into ruin, the majority of people now effectively poor — is what gave rise to today’s problems: Trumpism, extremism, fascism, theocracy. It’s what drives religious fervour — save me, someone! It’s what ignites the spark of racial hatred all over again.


And until and unless this problem is addressed, my friends, in a tough and gentle and sane way, America is going to stay where it is. People that really understand political economy have a saying: “capitalism implodes into fascism.” That’s because it produces mass poverty, not riches, decline, not upward mobility — and the new poor then turn on everyone, neighbours, friends, allies, values, morals. If that sounds eerily like America today…then you should be able to see America tomorrow, too.


Somebody needs to say it, and it needs to be said with gentle understanding, real empathy, uncompromising truth, and genuine compassion. America is effectively a poor country now. Not a poor country like poor countries, but a poor country of its own kind. A poor rich country, a rich country where the average person lives like a poor person. That single fact is at the heart of American collapse, my friends. And it’s not OK.




Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they're working

Posted by Jerrald J President on July 13, 2019 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

https://boingboing.net/2019/06/10/asset-stripped-working-stiffs.html

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  The chickens are coming home to ROOST. The myth and reality of the American Dream is coming HOME! By JJP

 Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they're working

A new study from the United Way claims that 43% of American households are in a status called "asset limited, income constrained, employed" (ALICE), which denotes employed people who can't afford housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone -- the basics of modern living.


Umair Haque (previously) connects this to the idea of America as the world's first poor rich country, a country that is awash in wealth, yet so unequal that nearly half its residents sink deeper into debt every month -- and most Americans die in debt.


As Haque says, if you work hard all your life and die with no assets, no savings, and debt, that's not employment, it's serfdom. America's former middle class have now hit the limits of their ability to survive with stagnating wages by taking on debt secured by their meager assets -- the family home, pensions and so on. Now, Americans are both kinds of poor: asset-poor and wage-poor. Americans aren't poor because they don't work hard enough: they're poor no matter how hard they work.

 

And unlike poor people in countries like Pakistan or Nigeria, American poor people live in a country where things like childcare, medicine, rent and food are very, very expensive. American poor people are poorer than the poor people in poor countries.


Poverty in America, in other words, has become endemic and ubiquitous because its systemic and structural. It’s baked into the system. It’s a feature, not a bug. And most Americans these days, I’d wager, understand this intuitively. Work hard, play by the rules, become something, someone worthy. Be a teacher, engineer, writer, coach, therapist, nurse etcetera. What do you get? You get your pension “raided” (read: stolen) by hedge funds, you get your income decimated by “investment bankers”, you get charged a fortune for the very things you yourself are involved in producing but never earn a fair share of, you get preyed on in every which way the predatory can dream up.


But it’s a new kind of poverty too — or at least one unseen since the Weimar Republic, really. It’s the poverty of decline, degeneration, decay. It’s the poverty of a middle class becoming a new poor. It’s the reversal of an upwards trajectory — not the failure to launch. It’s people who expected to live better and better lives finding themselves in the grim, unfamiliar predicament of never being able to reach them, no matter what they do. Except maybe sell out and become one of the predators. What happens when that takes place? Something strange, something difficult, something paradoxical and backwards.


If I say to the average American — “hey, I know you’re poor. Listen, I’m not trying to insult you. I’m trying to help you. I know it. The statistics tell me so. I can see it in on your stressed out, depressed face. I can see it in everything about you now” — what will the average American say? Well, he or she will respond defensively, probably. “Hey, go to hell buddy! I’m not poor!” That’s understandable. Nobody likes to be called poor — and especially not Americans, because living in a hyper capitalist society, poverty is stigmatized, scorned, mocked, and hated. To call an American poor is something like calling a Soviet a bad communist party member — or maybe even a capitalist. Comrade! To the gulag with you!


Senate Democrats wish talk on reparations would go away

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 28, 2019 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/450549-senate-democrats-wish-talk-on-reparations-would-go-away

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  If you listen to the mainstream press MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS you won't hear this. The hearings on REPARTIONS was a smoke screen. By JJP

  Senate Democrats wish talk on reparations would go away

Senate Democrats are not fans of legislation on reparations for slavery, which has become a hot topic in the 2020 presidential campaign.


Democratic lawmakers acknowledge that slavery is a terrible stain on the nation’s history and that African Americans were subjected to unjust and racist laws for decades after abolition.


But the question of figuring out who should pay for economic harm accrued over hundreds of years is a political land mine.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she understands why some thought leaders, such as author Ta-Nehisi Coates, are calling for reparations, but warned the issue is divisive.


“I understand why. I also understand the wound that it opens and the trials and tribulations it’s going to bring about. Some things are just better left alone and I think that’s one of those things,” she said.


“This is a major blemish on American democracy that has lasted for over 100 years now,” she said of slavery and discriminatory laws that followed the Civil War. “It’s not going to change and we have to learn from it and I think we have.”


Many Democrats don’t want to talk about whether reparations should be considered.


“No comment,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who punctuated his answer with a slice of his hand.


Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he was too busy to weigh in on the complex topic.


“I can’t deal with a big issue when I’m on the fly,” he said as he hustled to a meeting in the Capitol.


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said “I saw something in the press about it. I haven’t even looked at it.”

“I’ll be happy to look at it,” he added.


Support for reparations has steadily grown since June 2014 when Coates, as a writer for The Atlantic magazine, wrote his landmark essay: “The Case for Reparations.”


The subject gained more prominence last week when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and sponsor of the House reparations measure, held a hearing on reparations at which Coates testified.


On the campaign trail, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has spearheaded the push for reparations. He is the sponsor of the Senate bill that would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and discrimination against African Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals to the descendants of slaves.


Booker’s bill has 14 Senate co-sponsors, including five presidential hopefuls: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).


But many other Democrats are keeping their distance.


“I haven’t seen it and I don’t have any opinion about it,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said of Booker’s legislation.

 

Other Democrats say they need to learn more about it.

 

“Still learning about it but open to the idea, certainly. I find Cory to be one of the more thoughtful people I’ve ever known,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said of Booker’s bill, “I’m looking at the legislation [on setting up a commission] but have not taken a position on it.”


One Democratic senator said reparations is one more issue getting touted on the campaign trail that Republicans will likely use as ammunition against other Democratic candidates in 2020, along with proposals such as “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal and free college education.

 

The lawmaker, who requested anonymity, said Democrats would be better off focusing on topics that unite voters and where they have an advantage over Republicans, like protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions.


“In a presidential campaign where people are eyeing different constituencies based on where they’re trying to run and where they’re trying to do well and break through the pack, that makes a lot of sense. I don’t think that has much of a chance in the Congress we’re in,” said the senator.


“If you’re just talking presidential Democratic primaries, there’s interest in these issues and hearing it explained. When you start getting into specific Senate races, I don’t know how that helps, the contrast of a presidential candidate being for something and a Democratic Senate candidate not taking a position,” the lawmaker said, adding that Republican Senate candidates are going to “have a lot of issues like that” to pull from the presidential race.


The lawmaker expressed concern that with more than 20 candidates running for the Democratic nomination, the party’s message is going to be all over the place.


“Central for us is trying to get one message and be disciplined, because the president is going to be incredibly disciplined,” the senator said. “They’re starting messaging on things they haven’t even accomplished but making it sound like they accomplished things.”


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says his strategy to keep GOP control of the Senate is to tie Democratic candidates to liberal proposals being pushed by Harris, Booker, Warren, Sanders and other White House hopefuls.


McConnell told reporters in April that Republicans need to say to voters, “if you’re uncomfortable with things like the Green New Deal and ‘Medicare for None,’ the best way to avoid that is to have a Republican Senate.”


McConnell last week dismissed reparations as unworkable.

 

“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” he said.


It’s a good issue for Republicans because it unites the GOP and divides Democrats.


Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only African American Republican in the Senate, last week dismissed reparations as a “non-starter.”


In an interview with The Hill this week, President Trump indicated he’s not in favor of reparations.


“I think it’s a very unusual thing,” Trump said of the possibility of reparations. “You have a lot of — it’s been a very interesting debate. I don’t see it happening, no.”


National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Todd Young (Ind.) said reparations is targeted squarely at the most liberal voters.


“I think it will excite the far left of the Democratic Party, which is exactly what it’s designed to do,” he said.


Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), a co-sponsor of Booker’s bill on reparations, said slavery “has left a long and real and lasting impact” that needs to be addressed.

But he also acknowledged “there are real complexities around confronting this issue.”


“Figuring out a viable path forward in terms of who would be compensated and how and from what source of funding is a very thorny question,” he said.


Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 2, 2019 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/DCEmancipationAct.htm

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  "President Lincoln signed the bill into law on April 16, freeing slaves in the district and compensating owners up to $300 for each freeperson".  That's right, slave owners were paid $300 for every slave they owned. I'm sure this was never taught to you in America's public or private (INDOCTRINATING) SCHOOL SYSTEM. By JJP

  Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act


Celebration of the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia by colored people, in Washington, April 19, 1866

On a visit to Washington, D.C., in 1836, the sight of a slave auction held in the shadow of the Capitol convinced future senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts to “give all that I had to the cause of emancipation.” Elected to a Senate seat in 1855, Wilson became a leading voice for the abolition of slavery during the Civil War. Throughout the war years, the Senate operated, according to Senator John Sherman of Ohio, like “a laborious committee where bills are drawn as well as discussed.” In addition to fulfilling legislative responsibilities and accomplishments such as funding the war effort and providing for Union troops during this period, a group of elected officials known as the Radical Republicans demanded the abolition of slavery. Many senators believed that only the president had the power to emancipate slaves in the states, but as Senator Sherman explained, “Little doubt was felt as to the power of Congress to abolish slavery in the District.” On April 3, 1862, the Senate passed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, originally sponsored by Wilson. Harper’s Weekly reported that the “bill passed by a vote of twenty-nine yeas to fourteen nays. The announcement of the result was received with applause from the galleries.” Two days later, Senator Lafayette Foster of Connecticut proudly declared, “You may strike off the bonds of every slave in the District of Columbia today.”


President Lincoln signed the bill into law on April 16, freeing slaves in the district and compensating owners up to $300 for each freeperson. The Hartford Daily Courant celebrated that, “Not a slave exists in the District of Columbia …Their shackles have fallen, never to be restored.” In the months following the enactment of the law, commissioners approved more than 930 petitions, granting freedom to 2,989 former slaves. “DC Emancipation Day” has been celebrated in the District each year since 1862. Just five months later, in September 1862, using his powers as Commander in Chief, Lincoln announced his intention to emancipate slaves located in states “in rebellion.” On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to slaves residing in Confederate states not occupied by Union forces. The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified by the states on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


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Joe Biden wants us to forget his past. We won't

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 2, 2019 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/01/biden-2020-past-better-candidate

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 From the 1994 Crime Bill,1996 Welfare Reform act, can't forget the repeal of Glass Stegall (Bank Dergulation (Derivatives) . To his long history of willingness to cut social security and Medicare in the interest of “bipartisan compromise”. That's just a few of Mr Biden's policies that harmed American citizens. By JJP

 


Joe Biden wants us to forget his past. We won't

 

As times have changed, Biden’s expressed retrospective misgivings about some of his earlier actions and stances. That’s not enough  

After much huffing and puffing, Joe Biden has officially entered the race for 2020. In his announcement, he indicated his intention to hit the ground running immediately in early primary states, especially South Carolina.


We were struck by the emphasis on South Carolina. The state’s Democratic presidential primary has taken on iconic status at least since 2008, when candidate Barack Obama’s victory there, on the heels of a victory in the Iowa caucuses three weeks earlier, propelled him toward the nomination. In 2016, South Carolina stood out among the commentariat as the crucial test of a candidates’ ability to appeal to African American voters, and Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming win fueled the contention that she was a much stronger candidate than Senator Bernie Sanders among African Americans and other voters of color.

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Of course, as the political scientist Cedric Johnson makes clear, black South Carolinians voted as they did in 2016 for a variety of reasons that couldn’t be reduced simply to attraction or loyalty to Clinton. Black voters, he stressed, are as complex and diverse as any others. He points out that some South Carolina black Democrats were primarily motivated by fear of a Trump presidency, which he notes could have been especially strong in that state. Many believed that Clinton may have been the more familiar, safer choice and responded to mobilization by the Clinton firewall in the state party. Others responded to the Clinton campaign’s red-baiting of Sanders. And those reasons were not mutually exclusive. Johnson’s view was borne out by our experience, as we both worked with the Sanders campaign in the state and talked with many African American voters and political leaders.


An unrecognized irony of the South Carolina primary’s current importance as a gauge of African American support is that it and other southern primaries figured prominently in the late 1980s and 1990s strategy of the conservative, pro-business Democratic Leadership Council – of which Biden was a member – to pull the party to the right by appealing to conservative white southern men, in part through stigmatizing and scapegoating poor African Americans.

Clinton-era politics refuses to die. Joe Biden is its zombie that staggers on

 

Biden was one of the lustiest practitioners of that tactic. In fact, that’s what often underlies Biden’s boasts about his talent for “reaching across the aisle”. In 1984, he joined with South Carolina’s arch-racist Strom Thurmond to sponsor the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which eliminated parole for federal prisoners and limited the amount of time sentences could be reduced for good behavior. He and Thurmond joined hands to push 1986 and 1988 drug enforcement legislation that created the nefarious sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as other draconian measures that implicate him as one of the initiators of what became mass incarceration. (Making political hay from racial scapegoating was nothing new for Biden; he’d earned sharp criticism from both the NAACP and ACLU in the 1970s for his aggressive opposition to school bussing as a tool for achieving school desegregation.)


 

Joe Biden was also an enthusiastic supporter of the 1996 welfare “reform” that ended the federal government’s 60-year commitment to direct provision of aid to poor and indigent people. Instead, his tender mercies have been reserved for the banking and credit card industries. He has a record that goes back to 1978 of consistently working to make it more difficult for poor and working people to declare bankruptcy. And he actively supported the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that repealed the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. The result was to give commercial bankers access to depositors’ money and intensify the wild financial speculation that culminated in the Great Recession.

 

Indeed, despite his cultivation of a working-stiff image, Biden has a long history of willingness to cut social security and Medicare in the interest of “bipartisan compromise”. And, notwithstanding his photo-ops on picket lines and with union leaders, it’s more telling that he kicked off his fundraising effort with a $2,800-a-plate event hosted by cable giant Comcast’s executive president and including Steven Cozen of the notorious union-busting law firm, Cozen O’Connor.


Biden’s history regarding women and gender issues is as checkered as his record on race. As clueless and distasteful as his history of smarmy dealings with individual women is, his public record is worse. On reproductive freedom, through the 1970s he was openly anti-abortion and, as Andrew Cockburn reports in a fine Harper’s article, asserted in a 1974 interview that he felt that Roe v Wade “went too far” and that he didn’t think “a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body”. He supported the Hyde amendment, which denied federal funding for abortions and opposed the use of US foreign aid for abortion research.


Of course, his most conspicuous affront to women was his role as chair of the Senate judiciary committee in condoning committee members’ vile and viciously sexist attacks on Anita Hill when she came forward to testify against the supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas. He then abruptly adjourned the hearing while two other female former employees of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Thomas were waiting to give testimony corroborating Hill’s allegations; Biden thus assured confirmation of one of the worst, most dangerously conservative supreme court appointees of the 20th century.


In addition to Biden’s disturbing record on domestic policy, he has been a consistent warmonger. He has supported every military intervention he’s been able to, including, most disastrously voting for the 2002 resolution authorizing war against Iraq and ushering the country into the endless war against “terror” we remain immersed in.


As times have changed, Biden has expressed retrospective misgivings about some of those earlier actions and stances. For example, he very recently attempted to offer an apology of sorts, more like an unpology, to Anita Hill, which she quite understandably rejected. And he remains a pure, dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal, as much as ever a tool of Wall Street and corporations. We deserve better than a candidate who wants us to look past his record and focus only on the image he wants to project and, when that tack fails, can offer progressives only a “my bad”.


Fortunately, there is such a candidate in this race. Bernie Sanders has consistently and resolutely opposed every one of those racist, sexist, anti-worker and jingoist initiatives Biden has supported. And he offers a clear, unambiguous vision for an America governed by and in the interest of working people and grounded fundamentally on commitments to social, racial and gender justice. And that’s an important contrast to keep in mind as we move forward in South Carolina and all over the country.

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Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.


How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative

Posted by Jerrald J President on June 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-native-american-slaveholders-complicate-trail-tears-narrative-180968339/

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  The truth is not hard to find! You just have to allow yourself the freedom to accept that American educational system is there to manipulate and distort REALITY. By JJP


How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative

The new exhibition ‘Americans’ at the National Museum of the American Indian prompts a deeper dive for historic truths


Choctaw chief Greenwood LeFlore had 15,000 acres of Mississippi land (above, his Mississippi home Malmaison) and 400 enslaved Africans under his dominion. (Library of Congress)

By Ryan P. Smith


 

When you think of the Trail of Tears, you likely imagine a long procession of suffering Cherokee Indians forced westward by a villainous Andrew Jackson. Perhaps you envision unscrupulous white slaveholders, whose interest in growing a plantation economy underlay the decision to expel the Cherokee, flooding in to take their place east of the Mississippi River.


What you probably don’t picture are Cherokee slaveholders, foremost among them Cherokee chief John Ross. What you probably don’t picture are the numerous African-American slaves, Cherokee-owned, who made the brutal march themselves, or else were shipped en masse to what is now Oklahoma aboard cramped boats by their wealthy Indian masters. And what you may not know is that the federal policy of Indian removal, which ranged far beyond the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee, was not simply the vindictive scheme of Andrew Jackson, but rather a popularly endorsed, congressionally sanctioned campaign spanning the administrations of nine separate presidents.


These uncomfortable complications in the narrative were brought to the forefront at a recent event held at the National Museum of the American Indian. Titled “Finding Common Ground,” the symposium offered a deep dive into intersectional African-American and Native American history.


For museum curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), who has overseen the design and opening of the widely lauded “Americans” exhibition now on view on the museum’s third floor, it is imperative to provide the museum-going public with an unflinching history, even when doing so is painful.


John Ross, the Cherokee chief lionized for his efforts to fight forced relocation, was also an advocate and practitioner of slavery. (Library of Congress)





 


Why Amazon paid no 2018 US federal income tax

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 31, 2019 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/03/why-amazon-paid-no-federal-income-tax.html

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  Paid no federal taxes and received $129 million in tax rebates? Gangster Capitalism 101. By JJP

 

Why Amazon paid no 2018 US federal income tax

How Amazon paid $0 federal income tax in 2018

 

In 2018, Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on more than $11 billion in profits before taxes. It also received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal government.

 

Amazon’s low tax bill mainly stemmed from the Republican tax cuts of 2017, carryforward losses from years when the company was not profitable, tax credits for massive investments in R&D and stock-based employee compensation.

 

Jeff Bezos’ company is not the only corporation getting money back from the federal government. For example, General Motors also reported a net federal income tax benefit in 2018. This also isn’t exactly a brand-new trend. Companies as diverse as Southwest Airlines and Goldman Sachs have also reported similar benefits in certain years since 2008.

 

In a statement to CNBC, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years.” The statement also mentioned Amazon’s investment and job creation in the United States.

 

This issue came front and center on a local and state level in New York during the saga of Amazon’s HQ2 hunt – with a groundswell of local opposition scuttling the deal.

 

All this begs the question: Does America have a corporate income tax problem?

 

Watch the video above for more on Amazon and America’s corporate income tax rate.


Broken promises of the past weigh on black voters as they consider the 2020 presidential campaign

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 27, 2019 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/broken-promises-of-the-past-weigh-on-black-voters-as-they-consider-the-2020-presidential-campaign/2019/05/20/97f543f8-7710-11e9-b3f5-5673edf2d127_story.html?utm_term=.ccb52c303ac9

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  Promises? BS... America is doing exactly what the framers of the US Constitution intended h"her" to do. Mistreat BLACK PEOPLE at all times! The Dredd Scott decision was self explanatory. By JJP

  Broken promises of the past weigh on black voters as they consider the 2020 presidential campaign

FLINT, Mich. — Ariana Hawk’s trust in the promises that presidential candidates make to black communities evaporated about the same time the 2016 election ended and the candidates stopped coming to town.


Flint’s crisis with lead-tainted water had put Hawk’s hometown in the national spotlight, prompting Hillary Clinton and her rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump, to make appearances there. Hawk, full of hope, voted for Clinton — but since the election, she has become convinced that all the attention from the politicians was for nothing.


“The day after she lost, we were like, ‘Where have they gone?’” said Hawk, 29, a mother of five, who says she is fighting cynicism about the 2020 Democratic field. Still, she can’t help but think, “This is some other candidate, saying some bull to get us out here to vote or something like that.”


Black Americans will have a big say in the outcome of the Democratic presidential nomination. They make up 20 percent of the party’s primary voters nationwide — including nearly 6 in 10 voters in the pivotal, early South Carolina primary. And as one of the party’s most loyal voting blocs, their turnout level in the general election will be a crucial factor in whether the Democratic nominee can beat President Trump.


Hawk’s trust in the promises that presidential candidates make to black communities has evaporated. (Mark Felix/For The Washington Post)


But interviews with dozens of black voters in three competitive states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina — found deep divisions beneath that party loyalty about the best way to wield the power they bring to the ballot box, and a sense that past political engagement has been met with broken promises and little progress for struggling communities.

 

In addition to regional and generational divides, voters’ perceptions are further muddied by the fact that there are nearly two dozen major candidates, including six women and two black senators — minority candidates who have to contend with the disappointment of some black voters who feel the first black president didn’t do enough for them.

 

Some said the best choice is the most pragmatic one: Support the candidate with the best chance of ousting Trump, even if that means passing on African American candidates or others who might do more to affect the fortunes of black Americans. For many, at the moment, that choice is former vice president Joe Biden, a view that has been affirmed in recent polls that show him drawing broad support from black voters.


Others, particularly those whose political activism was ignited by the #blacklivesmatter and #livingwhileblack movements, say black voters have an obligation to prod candidates to advocate for key issues in return for their support.


Some interviewed for this story said they were open to backing one of the two highest-profile black candidates — Sens. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) — but worried that supporting a candidate based largely on identity could be a waste if neither Harris nor Booker starts to get more traction in polls or fundraising.


Others said they were waiting for the possible entry of a new candidate, Stacey Abrams, whose near-win in the Georgia governor’s race and defiant refusal to concede in what she says was an election decided by systemic voter disenfranchisement have made her one of the country’s most popular Democratic figures.


Some black voters are waiting for the possible entry of Stacey Abrams as a Democratic presidential candidate. Abrams nearly won the Georgia governor’s race in 2018. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)


Abrams, who recently rebuffed party leaders’ attempts to persuade her to run for the Senate, is weighing a presidential bid and another run for governor — and her name came up repeatedly in interviews with voters and activists who described her as a bona fide champion for African Americans far beyond her home state.


“I think people like Stacey Abrams,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, a Philadelphia activist who is running a write-in campaign for city council. “People trust her. People might not necessarily agree with all of her policies, but people at least trust that what she’s saying she believes in, and that’s what I mean.”


[Stacey Abrams remains mum about plans during visit to Washington]

 

Muhammad, 35, said Abrams’s stature as a champion for African Americans, including her work as a voting rights activist, stand in contrast to seemingly contrived efforts by some candidates in the field to relate to blacks.

“I see them as saying the things that they think they need to say to win versus saying the things that they actually embody or believe, even like around reparations or around marijuana,” Muhammad said, referring to issues that have sparked discussions in black America over whether to compensate descendants of slaves and over how to ease penalties for minor drug offenders.


“To hear Kamala Harris say, ‘Yeah, I smoked weed before.’ Or to hear people’s positions on reparations when they’ve never done anything quote-unquote radical in their politics ever. And if you’re going to propose reparations for black people who have been impacted by slavery, that’s a radical act. And I don’t see any of them kind of holding radical politics.”


Some voters said they are taking a more pragmatic view.


Standing in the back of a room at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte on a Friday afternoon, Rosemary Lawrence watched a speech by Booker and agreed with almost everything he said about guns.


Lawrence, 75, found Booker to be eloquent and charismatic, although she’s also a big fan of Harris and has been impressed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and her takes on policy issues.


But Lawrence plans to vote for Biden, the candidate she thinks has the best chance to beat Trump.

 

[African Americans say presidential candidates are missing basic connections

“I am so sick and tired of hearing breaking news every day because of something that the president has said or is planning to do,” she said after Booker’s speech and between asking people if they are registered to vote. “I can’t even watch [cable news] anymore because of [Trump]. That’s why it’s most important to me to get him out.”


Some Democratic African Americans said the best choice for president is the one with the best chance to oust President Trump. For many, that is former vice president Joe Biden, a view affirmed in recent polls. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

 

Ousting Trump is a key issue for large chunks of Democratic voters, and African Americans are no exception. But for some, the desire is so strong it’s worth tabling issues they feel are singularly important for black Americans.


“Because it’s so early, this would almost seem like the time to be ambitious and be ideologues about the perfect candidates, but American history has taught black folks that being ambitious means that when you fail, failing can be spectacular,” said Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law who has studied black voting behavior.


“What we see is black voters going with the safe choice, which seems to be Biden by leaps and bounds. He’s safe not because of his policy positions, but because we’ve seen him in the public eye since he was the vice president to the first black president.”


But with such a large and diverse field, some said this primary offers an ideal opportunity to coalesce around a candidate who will be a true fighter for policies that will boost black Americans.

 

One question raised repeatedly by voters interviewed for this story is whether the candidates best positioned to court black voters would be those who are black themselves.

 

For now, many of the black voters who turned out in droves to make Barack Obama the first black president seem more guarded in their support of those who want to be the second.

 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) speaks at a campaign stop on April 26 at Allen University in Columbia, S.C. (Meg Kinnard/AP)

 

In South Carolina, where blacks are the single biggest voter group in the Democratic primary, Harris and Booker are running well behind Biden among black voters in early polls. Those numbers reflect a sentiment that the candidates haven’t proved their viability, experts and activists say, but also reveal concerns that a black candidate won’t be a panacea to the problems of black America.


“Before, black folks were like, ‘We have to cross this bridge. Barack over everything,’ ” said Keneshia N. Grant, a political science professor at Howard University. “But for some portion of the black electorate, Barack Obama did not deliver what he was expected to deliver.”


That disappointment, she said, has black voters “holding the next black candidate to a higher standard — not just ‘are you black,’ but ‘what is that blackness going to get me?’ ”

 

For all of the energy that helped power Obama into the White House, some voters and activists said, many African American communities still struggle with the same lack of economic opportunity and hopelessness that they endured before Obama’s tenure.


“I think a lot of black people say they picked Obama and the gay community benefited. The Latino community benefited, but not really the black community,” said Ryan Boyer, business manager of the Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity, the city’s only majority-black building trades union.


Boyer said he has spoken to fellow union members who expressed regret about throwing union or minority support behind Obama and Clinton too soon in past campaigns. They worried that the early backing gave candidates the ability to court other voting blocs that remained uncommitted.


“Black people, black women particularly, saw what they can do in Alabama,” Boyer said, referring to the 2017 Senate race in which black female voters were credited with helping to ensure victory for Democrat Doug Jones. “They saw what they could do to help Stacey Abrams in Georgia. It’s no longer just ‘We’re here, but we understand you have to court the white working male.’ We want to be courted, too.”


Nevada voters listen to Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) on March 1 in a gymnasium at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)


Some activists said their views about the presidential race are shaped by their experiences watching local politics, particularly in urban areas where some black leaders have been accused of not being able to effect social or economic change for their constituents.

 

Philadelphia still has high black incarceration and poverty rates, despite electing three black mayors since 1984, said Muhammad, the activist-turned-council-candidate.

 

“The city has gotten worse for black people under their mayorship,” he said. “Representation isn’t enough. We’ve seen black leadership kind of do the same thing, the kind of neoliberal thing that white leadership has done. I don’t think people are sold anymore after Obama on the idea of like a black person in office, like a black savior or a black person that is going to help us through this.”


Hawk watches as her children play in the front yard of her home in Flint. (Mark Felix/For The Washington Post)

 

Hawk, the Flint, Mich., mother of five, has similar sentiments about the Democratic Party and her hometown.

 

She remembers conversations around the dinner table in her childhood about the General Motors plant and whether President Bill Clinton was doing enough to help its workers. Years later, the conversation shifted to talk of family members who’d lost their jobs and were moving into her family’s home.

 

“We went from everybody having their own homes to people consolidating under one roof,” she said. “Everybody moved in with my mom.”

 

Those lessons, then the ones she learned as an adult during the water crisis, have left her cynical about politicians who show up without a blueprint for fulfilling their promises.

 

“To me, you’ve got to show how you plan to implement it,” she said. “Because you can tell me anything and then four years later you’ll be like, ‘I thought I was going to be able to do it, you know, but it wasn’t in my power.’

 

“I don’t want to go through that no more. I don’t want nobody to go through that no more.”




America's Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 20, 2019 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.thenation.com/article/tom-dispatch-america-defense-budget-bigger-than-you-think/

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

   "The got money for WAR's, but can't feed the POOR"! 2Pac

America’s Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think

Each year, Congress approves hundreds of billions of dollars for the US defense budget—but the real number exceeds $1 trillion.

By William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger


 

In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities—an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam wars. And keep one thing in mind: That $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national-security state.

 

There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. So the next time a president, a general, a secretary of defense, or a hawkish member of Congress insists that the US military is woefully underfunded, think twice. A careful look at US defense expenditures offers a healthy corrective to such wildly inaccurate claims.


Now, let’s take a brief dollar-by-dollar tour of the US national-security state of 2019, tallying the sums as we go, and see just where we finally land (or perhaps the word should be “soar”;), financially speaking.

 

The Pentagon’s base budget: The Pentagon’s regular, or base, budget is slated to be $544.5 billion in fiscal year 2020—a healthy sum but only a modest down payment on total military spending.

 

As you might imagine, that base budget provides basic operating funds for the Department of Defense, much of which will be squandered on preparations for ongoing wars never authorized by Congress, overpriced weapons systems that aren’t actually needed, or outright waste, an expansive category that includes everything from cost overruns to unnecessary bureaucracy. That $544.5 billion is the amount publicly reported by the Pentagon for its essential expenses and includes $9.6 billion in mandatory spending that goes toward items like military retirement.

 

Among those basic expenses, let’s start with waste, a category even the biggest boosters of Pentagon spending can’t defend. The Pentagon’s own Defense Business Board found that cutting unnecessary overhead, including a bloated bureaucracy and a startlingly large shadow workforce of private contractors, would save $125 billion over five years. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the board’s proposal has done little to quiet calls for more money. Instead, from the highest reaches of the Pentagon (and the president himself) came a proposal to create a Space Force, a sixth military service that’s all but guaranteed to further bloat its bureaucracy and duplicate work being done by the other services. Even Pentagon planners estimate that the future Space Force will cost $13 billion over the next five years (and that’s undoubtedly a low-ball figure).

 

In addition, the Defense Department employs an army of private contractors—more than 600,000 of them—many doing jobs that could be done far more cheaply by civilian government employees. Cutting the private-contractor workforce by 15 percent to a mere half-million people would promptly save more than $20 billion per year. And don’t forget the cost overruns on major weapons programs like the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent—the Pentagon’s unwieldy name for the Air Force’s new intercontinental ballistic missile—and routine overpayments for even minor spare parts (like $8,000 for a helicopter gear worth less than $500—a markup of 1,500 percent).


Then there are the overpriced weapons systems the military can’t even afford to operate, like a $13 billion aircraft carrier, 200 nuclear bombers at $564 million a pop, and the F-35 combat aircraft, the most expensive weapons system in history, at a price tag of at least $1.4 trillion over the lifetime of the program. The Project on Government Oversight has found—and the Government Accountability Office recently substantiated—that, despite years of work and staggering costs, the F-35 may never perform as advertised.

 

And don’t forget the Pentagon’s recent push for long-range strike weapons and new reconnaissance systems designed for future wars with a nuclear-armed Russia or China, the kind of conflicts that could easily escalate into World War III, in which such weaponry would be beside the point. Imagine if any of that money were devoted to figuring out how to prevent such conflicts rather than hatching yet more schemes for how to fight them.

Base-budget total: $554.1 billion


The war budget: As if its regular budget weren’t enough, the Pentagon also maintains its very own slush fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account, or OCO. In theory, the fund is meant to pay for the War on Terror—that is, the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere across the Middle East and Africa. In practice, it does that and so much more.


After a fight over shutting down the government led to the formation of a bipartisan commission on deficit reduction—known as Simpson-Bowles after its co-chairs, former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican senator Alan Simpson—Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011. It put caps on both military and domestic spending that were supposed to save a total of $2 trillion over 10 years. Half that figure was to come from the Pentagon, as well as from nuclear-weapons spending at the Department of Energy. As it happened, though, there was a huge loophole: The war budget was exempt from the caps. The Pentagon promptly began to put tens of billions of dollars into it for pet projects that had nothing whatsoever to do with current wars (and the process has not stopped). The level of abuse of this fund remained largely secret for years, with the Pentagon admitting only in 2016 that just half the money in the OCO went to actual wars, prompting critics and numerous members of Congress—including then-Representative Mick Mulvaney, now President Donald Trump’s latest chief of staff—to dub it a “slush fund.”

 

This year’s budget proposal supersizes the slush in that fund to a figure that would likely be considered absurd if it weren’t part of the Pentagon budget. Of the nearly $174 billion proposed for the war budget and “emergency” funding, only a little more than $25 billion is meant to directly pay for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The rest will be set aside for what’s termed enduring activities that would continue even if those wars ended or for routine Pentagon activities that couldn’t be funded within the constraints of the budget caps. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is expected to work to alter this arrangement. Even if the House leadership has its way, however, most of its reductions in the war budget would be offset by lifting caps on the regular Pentagon budget by corresponding amounts. (It’s worth noting that Trump’s budget calls for someday eliminating the slush fund.)


The 2020 OCO also includes $9.2 billion in “emergency” spending for building Trump’s beloved wall on the US-Mexico border, among other things. Talk about a slush fund! There is no emergency, of course. The executive branch is just seizing taxpayer dollars that Congress refused to provide. Even supporters of the president’s wall should be troubled by this money grab. As 36 former Republican members of Congress recently argued, “What powers are ceded to a president whose policies you support may also be used by presidents whose policies you abhor.” Of all of Trump’s “security”-related proposals, this is undoubtedly the most likely to be eliminated or at least scaled back, given the congressional Democrats against it.

War-budget total: $173.8 billion

 

Running tally: $727.9 billion

 

The Department of Energy/nuclear budget: It may surprise you to know that work on the deadliest weapons in the US arsenal, nuclear warheads, is housed in the Department of Energy, not the Pentagon. The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration runs a nationwide research, development, and production network for nuclear warheads and naval nuclear reactors that stretches from Livermore, California, to Albuquerque and Los Alamos, New Mexico, to Kansas City, Missouri, to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to Savannah River, South Carolina. Its laboratories also have a long history of program mismanagement, with some projects coming in at nearly eight times their initial estimates.

Nuclear-budget total: $24.8 billion

 

Running tally: $752.7 billion

 

Defense-related activities: This category covers the $9 billion that annually goes to agencies other than the Pentagon—the bulk of it to the FBI for homeland-security-related activities.

Defense-related-activities total: $9 billion


Running tally: $761.7 billion

 

The five categories above make up the budget of what’s officially known as national defense. Under the Budget Control Act, this spending should have been capped at $630 billion. The $761.7 billion proposed for the 2020 budget is, however, only the beginning of the story.

 

The Veterans Affairs budget: The wars of this century have resulted in a new generation of veterans. In all, over 2.7 million US military personnel have cycled through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Many of them remain in need of substantial support to deal with the physical and mental wounds of war. As a result, the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone through the roof, more than tripling in this century to a proposed $216 billion. And this massive figure may not even be enough to provide the necessary services.

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More than 6,900 US military personnel have died in Washington’s post-9/11 wars, with more than 30,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. These casualties are, however, just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of thousands of returning troops suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, illnesses created by exposure to toxic burn pits, or traumatic brain injuries. The US government is committed to providing care for these veterans for the rest of their lives. An analysis by the Costs of War Project at Brown University determined that obligations to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total more than $1 trillion in the years to come. This cost of war is rarely considered when leaders in Washington decide to send US troops into combat.

Veterans Affairs total: $216 billion

 

Running tally: $977.7 billion

 

The Homeland Security budget: The Department of Homeland Security is a mega-agency created after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, it swallowed 22 existing government organizations, creating a massive department that currently has nearly a quarter of a million employees. Agencies that are now part of the DHS include the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Secret Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

 

While some of the DHS’s activities—such as airport security and defense against the smuggling of a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb into our midst—have a clear security rationale, many others do not. ICE—America’s deportation force—has done far more to cause suffering among innocent people than to thwart criminals or terrorists. Other questionable DHS activities include grants to local law-enforcement agencies to help them buy military-grade equipment.

Homeland Security total: $69.2 billion

 

Running tally: $1.0469 trillion


The international-affairs budget: This includes the budgets of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Diplomacy is one of the most effective ways to make the United States and the world more secure, but it has been under assault in the Trump years. The fiscal year 2020 budget calls for a one-third cut in international-affairs spending, leaving it at about one-fifteenth of the amount allocated for the Pentagon and related agencies grouped under the category of national defense. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that more than 10 percent of the international-affairs budget supports military-aid efforts, most notably the $5.4 billion Foreign Military Financing program. The bulk of FMF goes to Israel and Egypt, but more than a dozen countries receive funding under it, including Jordan, Lebanon, Djibouti, Tunisia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

International-affairs total: $51 billion

 

Running tally: $1.0979 trillion


The intelligence budget: The United States has 17 intelligence agencies. In addition to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the FBI, mentioned above, they are the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of National Security Intelligence, the Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, the Office of Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence, Coast Guard Intelligence, and Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. And then there’s the 17th one, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, set up to coordinate the activities of the other 16.

 

We know remarkably little about the nature of the nation’s intelligence spending, other than its supposed total, released in a report every year. By now, it’s more than $80 billion. The bulk of this funding, including for the CIA and NSA, is believed to be hidden under obscure line items in the Pentagon budget. Since intelligence spending is not a separate funding stream, it’s not counted in our tally below (though, for all we know, some of it should be).

Intelligence-budget total: $80 billion

 

Running tally: $1.0979 trillion

 

Defense share of interest on the national debt: The interest on the national debt is well on its way to becoming one of the most expensive items in the federal budget. Within a decade, it is projected to exceed the Pentagon’s regular budget in size. For now, of the more than $500 billion in interest taxpayers fork over to service the government’s debt each year, about $156 billion can be attributed to Pentagon spending.

Defense share of national debt total: $156.3 billion

 

Final tally: $1.2542 trillion


So our final annual tally for war, preparations for war, and the impact of war comes to more than $1.25 trillion, more than double the Pentagon’s base budget. If the average taxpayer were aware that this amount was being spent in the name of national defense—with much of it wasted, misguided, or simply counterproductive—it might be far harder for the national-security state to consume ever-growing sums with minimal public pushback. For now, however, the gravy train is running full speed ahead, and its main beneficiaries—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and their cohort—are laughing all the way to the bank.


Facts Racial Economic Inequality

Posted by Jerrald J President on May 17, 2019 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

https://inequality.org/facts/racial-inequality/

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  "The median Black family, with just over $3,500, owns just 2 percent of the wealth of the nearly $147,000 the median White family owns. The median Latino family, with just over $6,500, owns just 4 percent of the wealth of the median White family. Put differently, the median White family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family'.

 


Facts

Racial Economic Inequality



 

 Systemic racism has contributed to the persistence of race-based gaps that manifest in many different economic indicators. The starkest divides are in measures of household wealth, reflecting centuries of white privilege that have made it particularly difficult for people of color to achieve economic security. This series of charts begins with a look at the widening of racial wealth gaps in the United States that have coincided with the extreme concentration of U.S. wealth.


By the middle of the 21st century, the United States will be a “majority minority” nation. If we hope to ensure a strong middle class, historically the backbone of the national economy, then the financial health of households of color will become even more urgent than it is today. Closing the persistent “wealth divide” between white households and households of color, already a matter of social justice, must become a priority for broader economic policy.


The median Black family, with just over $3,500, owns just 2 percent of the wealth of the nearly $147,000 the median White family owns. The median Latino family, with just over $6,500, owns just 4 percent of the wealth of the median White family. Put differently, the median White family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family.


Families that have zero or even “negative” wealth (meaning the value of their debts exceeds the value of their assets) live on the edge, just one minor economic setback away from tragedy. Black and Latino families are much more likely to be in this precarious situation. The proportion of Black families with zero or negative wealth rose by 8.5 percent to 37 percent between 1983 and 2016. The proportion of Latino families with zero or negative net worth declined by 19 percent over the past 30 years but is still more than twice as high as the rate for Whites.


As with total wealth, homeownership is heavily skewed towards White families. In 2016, 72 percent of White families owned their home, compared to just 44 percent of Black families. Between 1983 and 2016, Latino homeownership increased by a dramatic nearly 40 percent, but it remains far below the rate for Whites, at just 45 percent.

Racial Income Inequality


In 2017, Fortune 500 CEOs, who earned approximately $13 million on average, included just three Black people and 11 Latinos — less than 3 percent of the total. By contrast, these groups made up 43 percent of the U.S. workers who would benefit from a raise in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Blacks and Latinos comprise 32 percent of the U.S. population.


One indicator of racial disparities at the top of the U.S. earnings scale is the threshold for entry into the top 10 percent. For White families to make it into this tier of earners in their racial group, they need to have annual income of at least $117,986 — nearly twice as much as the threshold for Black families.


Racial discrimination in many forms, including in education, hiring, and pay practices, contributes to persistent earnings gaps. As of the last quarter of 2018, the median White and Asian workers made more than 30 percent as much as the typical Black and Latino worker.


Although the official U.S. unemployment rate has dropped considerably since the Great Recession, the gap between Black and White job-seekers has grown. In December 2018, when many were celebrating “full employment,” the unemployment rate for Blacks was 6.6%, compared to just 3.4% for Whites and 3.3% for Asians. These rates only count those who are actively seeking work, leaving out those who have given up finding a job.

Race and Gender Inequality


Within racial groups, the largest pay gaps between men and women appear among Whites and Asians — not because Latinas and Black women have made faster progress towards equity but because average pay for men in these groups falls far below the compensation of White and Asian men.


Employers Can Buy Retirement Security for $2.64 an Hour

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-04-10/employers-can-buy-retirement-security-for-2-64-an-hour

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 " Workers once had brighter retirement prospects, if not higher wages. What’s changed is that over the last four decades, a growing number of employers replaced their pensions with 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, shifting the responsibility of saving for retirement to employees. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 28 percent of private sector workers who participated in an employment-based retirement plan were enrolled in a traditional pension in 2014, down from 84 percent in 1979".

The writing is on the wall, the myth of CAPITSLISM is coming to a hard reality. The joke has always been on the citizens who really tought CAPITALISM and Tax Cuts helped them. It didnt.. By JJP


 

Employers Can Buy Retirement Security for $2.64 an Hour

Many Americans can’t afford to save for their future and will be doomed to poverty.


 

Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio published a sobering essay last Friday about the state of capitalism in the U.S. He observed, correctly in my view, that “the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is an effective motivator of people and allocator of resources that raises people’s living standards.”


But Dalio then went on to present myriad data showing that many Americans make too little money to live on, let alone save, with harmful consequences. He counts among them diminished health, education and economic mobility, high rates of incarceration, and widening wealth and income disparity that raise the risk of social unrest. In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, he called it “a national emergency.”


The problems Dalio identified can already be observed in much of his data, but another one is coming, and soon. Many Americans can’t afford to save for their future, and with baby boomers leaving the work force in big numbers, millions will spend their retirement in or near poverty.

 

Unlike many of the thorny problems cited by Dalio, however, this one has a simple solution and it doesn’t involve exorbitant expense.


The Government Accountability Office recently updated its sweeping 2015 report on retirement security in America. The new numbers are no more comforting than the old ones, and the most worrisome among them is stubbornly consistent: 29 percent of households aged 55 and older have no retirement savings and no pension.

Without a Net


Nearly a third of households aged 55 and older had no retirement savings and no pension in 2016


Source: Government Accountability Office


Note: Numbers don't add to 100 percent because of rounding.


It’s a bigger number than it seems. The 65-and-older population is projected to be roughly 74 million in 2030, according to the Census Bureau. If nothing changes, more than 21 million of those retirees will have to rely on Social Security, a meager income. The average annual Social Security benefit for 2019 is roughly $17,500, according to the Social Security Administration, barely above the federal poverty level of $12,490 for a single person.


And that’s optimistic. Social Security income is based on wages earned during one’s working years. According to the GAO report, the median annual income of households with no retirement savings and no pension was $18,932 in 2013. That’s a fraction of the median household income of $53,585 that year, according to the Census Bureau, which is likely to mean that those households’ Social Security benefits will be well below average, too.


With that little income, those households are fortunate to save at all. According to the GAO, they had a median net worth of $34,760 and financial assets of just $1,000 in 2013. But even better-paid workers struggle to save because the median household income is well below the cost of living. Roughly three-quarters of households aged 55 to 64 had $150,000 or less in retirement savings in 2013. That isn’t nearly enough, and unless wages rise, younger workers won’t be any better prepared for retirement.

Not Enough


A large number of baby boomers have saved too little for retirement


Source: Government Accountability Office


Workers once had brighter retirement prospects, if not higher wages. What’s changed is that over the last four decades, a growing number of employers replaced their pensions with 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, shifting the responsibility of saving for retirement to employees. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 28 percent of private sector workers who participated in an employment-based retirement plan were enrolled in a traditional pension in 2014, down from 84 percent in 1979.

For Your Service


A growing number of employers have abandoned traditional pensions over the last four decades


Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute


It’s hard to blame employers. Pensions are difficult and costly to manage, as any number of underfunded corporate and government plans can attest. Workers also move jobs more often than they used to, so employers may not feel as responsible for their futures.But employers have no doubt saved a fortune by abandoning pensions, and given that real wages have hardly moved over the last four decades, there’s little indication they passed those savings on to workers.


It wouldn’t cost employers much, however, to give workers some retirement security again. By my calculation, it amounts to $2.64 an hour.

 

Here’s how I get there: According to the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a single person in, say, the Chicago metro area, is $38,600 a year. Assuming an average Social Security benefit of $17,500, the shortfall is $21,100.

 

Assuming also that typical retirees will withdraw roughly 4 percent a year from their retirement savings, that shortfall can be generated with savings of $527,500. And if savings grow at a real rate of 4 percent over 40 years of employment — a more conservative long-term growth rate than the historical real return of 6 percent a year from a traditional 60/40 portfolio, given historically low interest rates and high U.S. stock valuations — employers can provide workers with the savings they need by contributing $5,500 a year to a retirement account on their behalf, or $2.64 an hour based on a 2,080-hour work year.


Many employers already contribute to 401(k)s by matching some portion of workers’ savings, but the workers who can’t afford to save are the ones who most need those contributions. The government can also do its part by excluding employers’ contributions from tax, as well as the growth and eventual withdrawal of those retirement savings.


The flaws of 401(k) and other defined contribution plans are well understood, and more needs to be done to make them cheaper and simpler. But retirement plans are worthless if they can’t be funded. After all, workers can’t save what they don’t make.




D.C. emancipation tallied the price of freedom

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-emancipation-tallied-the-price-of-freedom/2012/04/11/gIQAHvWfBT_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fdb5d9bbc1ed

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

"The new law stipulated that the government would pay masters as much as $300 for each freed slave, although, in the end, the owners were often paid much more". Self explanatory... By JJP


   D.C. emancipation tallied the price of freedom


One of Bladen Forrest’s eight slaves was a Susan Mason, who was listed by the appraiser as “old & infirm,” and whose value was placed at zero.


Union Gen. Lorenzo Thomas claimed $800 for his slave laundress, Lucy Berry, and $100 each for her children, George and Lorenzo. But the general was allowed only $219 for Lucy and $43.80 for little Lorenzo. George had “no value.”


So it went in Washington in the spring of 1862. It was a cold accounting, the search for the price of a person.


As the question of slavery in America was being tried on the battlefield, its future in the District was resolved in April 1862 through strange and pioneering legislation that freed 3,100 slaves but paid the masters for their “property.” The slaves received no money unless they agreed to leave the country.


The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act became law on April 16 — 150 years ago Monday. It was the cause of jubilation among those whose chains it broke, and today it is celebrated in Washington on “Emancipation Day," a city holiday.


On Wednesday, the National Archives displayed some records that detailed how many slaves were freed, how many owners applied for compensation and how much each slave was deemed to be worth.


“It was the first time the government had officially liberated any group of slaves,” said David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, and it anticipated the more famous Emancipation Proclamation by six months.

 

The documents offer a window into the bookkeeping of slavery and a rare glimpse into the lives of local slaves and their owners.

 

Assigning value was hard for the commission set up to administer the law, according to its final report. For years, slavery in Washington had been a matter of “trifling importance,” the report said, and an expert was needed.


So the commissioners brought in from Baltimore “an experienced dealer in slaves,” B.M. Campbell, to provide expert and independent opinion.

 

Campbell and his brother, Walter, appear to have had a prewar business trading slaves between Baltimore and New Orleans, Archives experts said, and were considered impartial judges of the value of slaves.

 

The new law stipulated that the government would pay masters as much as $300 for each freed slave, although, in the end, the owners were often paid much more.

 

The owners posted a claim and had to present their slaves for examination, Kenneth J. Winkle, a history professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, wrote on the university’s “Civil War Washington” Web site.

 

The Campbells — like Civil War insurance adjusters — issued their valuations. And the commission decreed what the government would pay.


Official ledger sheets detailed the accounting.

 

William Pressy, for example, claimed a value of $100 for James Thomas, one of his five slaves, but he was awarded $21.90. Thomas might well have been a child because $21.90 seems to be a valuation given for some slave youngsters.

 

Some slaves were deemed to be worth nothing. The records are dotted with notations that such and such a slave, often an infant or child, had “no val.”


The commission records present an array of Washington slave holders.

 

On June 2, 1862, the “Sisters of the Visitation, Georgetown,” listed a dozen slaves — including a couple and their seven children in their petition. They were allowed $3,774 in compensation.

 

Francis P. Blair, whose family was strongly allied with President Abraham Lincoln, and whose son, Montgomery, was Lincoln’s postmaster general, filed for compensation for two slaves.


Clark Mills, the sculptor who created the equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square and who worked on the statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome, sought compensation for 11 slaves, for whom he was allowed $1,916.25.

 

And Henry Hatton, one of several petitioners described in the ledgers as “colored,” sought compensation for three slaves, Martha, Henry and George Hatton, who could have been members of his family, according to Archives expert Damani Davis.

 

Davis said the District emancipation records are remarkable for the personal detail they provide.

 

Many records from other sources don’t even provide an enslaved person’s last name. Slaves are treated “as just another form of property,” he said. In contrast, the District records provide last names, physical descriptions, personal qualities and work skills.

 

Mills, the sculptor, for example, spoke well of his slave Philip Reid, whom he valued at $1,500. Reid was a skilled plasterer and had figured out a way to complete the problematic construction of the Freedom statue, Davis said.

 

Reid was “aged 42 years, mullatto color, short in stature, in good health, not prepossessing in appearance, but smart in mind, a good workman in a foundry,” Mills wrote of him.


Another owner stated that his slave had “no infirmities or defects either morally, mentally or bodily.”

 

The legislation was introduced by Henry Wilson, an anti-slavery senator from Massachusetts, said Clarence Davis, of the D.C. Office of Public Records.

 

Because of Congress’s jurisdiction over the District, northern legislators were able to pass a D.C. emancipation bill in the absence of their departed Southern brethren.

 

The Senate appoved the legislation on April 3 and the House on April 12. Lincoln signed the bill into law four days after the House acted.

 

“I am gratified that the two principles of compensation and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the act,” Lincoln wrote Congress.

 

In addition to compensating owners, the bill provided for payments of as much as $100 to slaves who agreed to move to Haiti or Liberia.

This voluntary “colonization,” supported by Lincoln and others, was rejected by most blacks, and only “a handful” from Washington accepted the offer, Winkle said.

Once the legislation was enacted, most of the District’s freed slaves “immediately left their homes and sought employment from others,” the commission’s report stated. “Many of them left the District of Columbia to join the service of officers of the army, or to go north.”





Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act

Posted by Jerrald J President on April 11, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/DCEmancipationAct.htm

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 Yet , my anscestors being direct " Descendent Of A Slaves In America" received Absolutely Nothing! By JJP

     Landmark Legislation: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act


On a visit to Washington, D.C., in 1836, the sight of a slave auction held in the shadow of the Capitol convinced future senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts to “give all that I had to the cause of emancipation.” Elected to a Senate seat in 1855, Wilson became a leading voice for the abolition of slavery during the Civil War. Throughout the war years, the Senate operated, according to Senator John Sherman of Ohio, like “a laborious committee where bills are drawn as well as discussed.” In addition to fulfilling legislative responsibilities and accomplishments such as funding the war effort and providing for Union troops during this period, a group of elected officials known as the Radical Republicans demanded the abolition of slavery. Many senators believed that only the president had the power to emancipate slaves in the states, but as Senator Sherman explained, “Little doubt was felt as to the power of Congress to abolish slavery in the District.” On April 3, 1862, the Senate passed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, originally sponsored by Wilson. Harper’s Weekly reported that the “bill passed by a vote of twenty-nine yeas to fourteen nays. The announcement of the result was received with applause from the galleries.” Two days later, Senator Lafayette Foster of Connecticut proudly declared, “You may strike off the bonds of every slave in the District of Columbia today.”

 

President Lincoln signed the bill into law on April 16, freeing slaves in the district and compensating owners up to $300 for each freeperson. The Hartford Daily Courant celebrated that, “Not a slave exists in the District of Columbia …Their shackles have fallen, never to be restored.” In the months following the enactment of the law, commissioners approved more than 930 petitions, granting freedom to 2,989 former slaves. “DC Emancipation Day” has been celebrated in the District each year since 1862. Just five months later, in September 1862, using his powers as Commander in Chief, Lincoln announced his intention to emancipate slaves located in states “in rebellion.” On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to slaves residing in Confederate states not occupied by Union forces. The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified by the states on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”





$68 trillion is about to change hands in the US

Posted by Jerrald J President on March 11, 2019 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/20/great-wealth-transfer-is-passing-from-baby-boomers-to-gen-x-millennials.html

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  This is what the Trump presidentcy will be remembered for. Do you really think this will trickle down to you? By JJP

  $68 trillion is about to change hands in the US


 

Baby boomers are the wealthiest generation in American history — and they’re about to pass down those riches over the next few decades. It’s the so-called Great Wealth Transfer.

Yet that exchange might not be as large as you had hoped if you don’t take the right estate-planning steps.

 

The biggest wealth transfer in history is about to happen — and it’s now expected to be more than double what many thought it was. It’s estimated that 45 million U.S. households will transfer $68 trillion in wealth over the next 25 years, according to Asher Cheses, a research analyst and lead author of a new report from financial services research firm Cerulli Associates.

 

Baby boomers, who hold the lion’s share of that amount, are the wealthiest generation in American history — thanks in no small part to a 10-year bull market. That generation will pass down those assets over the next few decades. Here’s what you should know to make sure that transfer is as smooth as possible.

Ensure there’s still some wealth to pass down


Make sure the inheritance you’re poised to bequeath remains intact. Health-care expenses can add up fast. The cost of long-term care can wipe out an entire potential estate in just a few years. While the premiums can be hefty, some financial advisors say long-term care insurance is worth it.

Death & taxes


Most estates are not actually subject to federal estate tax now because the exemption is pretty high. But check the rules in your state. Some have much lower estate-tax thresholds.

Set up a trust


If you want to put some conditions on how your bequest is spent, consider a trust. Trusts can dictate exactly when assets pass to beneficiaries, or how it should be spent. For example, you can stipulate expenses be tied to education, or health care. Another plus: Trusts can minimize estate taxes and keep your estate out of probate court.

Consider a living trust

 

Keep in mind, the probate court process can be time-consuming and expensive, which ultimately just chips away at your estate. Another way to avoid it is to supplement the will with something called a “living trust.” It holds the majority of your assets while you’re still alive (so you can maintain control) and then transfers it to your beneficiaries after you die.


Avoiding probate also keeps your wishes private. Probate is public, which means everyone knows your business.


So take care with that legacy planning now, and your heirs will be well in the black later on.


Haitian, Jamaican or American ... If you're black in Miami, odds are you're struggling

Posted by Jerrald J President on March 2, 2019 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

https://amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article226732184.html?fbclid=IwAR39PjFWhWln1tAox63ejMEGhA0jPJl44a-PeyIgH-kZT5n5EvGmA2k1oDM

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  It's all in the numbers. By JJP

▪ For white households, the median net worth was an estimated $107,000.

▪ For Black-American households, the median net worth was $3,700.

▪ For Black-Caribbean households, the median net worth was $12,000.

Meanwhile, households identifying as Cuban had a median net worth of $22,000.


   Haitian, Jamaican or American ... If you’re black in Miami, odds are you’re struggling

 

A new study sheds light on the yawning gap in wealth in the Miami area between white households and households of color.


Among non-white groups, it is Miami-area households identifying as black that continue to suffer most, according to the authors of the study, “The Color of Wealth in Miami.”


The wealth gap exists across racial background: African-American, Haitian-American, and all other types of black households, the study says.

 

“If skin complexion is a marker of social treatment, as I believe it to be, then we still have lots of structural barriers related to someone’s phenotype,” said study co-author Darrick Hamilton, a professor of economics and social policy at Ohio State University.


Or as the study’s authors state ominously: Despite Miami’s rise as a cosmopolitan city in the past decade or so, “The concentration of wealth that characterizes modern global cities does not necessarily trickle down to all its residents.”


The study is part of a series chronicling the racial wealth gap in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Previous studies have looked at the gap in Boston, Los Angeles, and the Washington, D.C., area, among other cities. Hamilton said that the black-white wealth gap is most severe in Boston.

 

So what’s unique about Miami?


Thanks to its particular mix of ethnicities identifying as black, the authors are able to show how skin complexion is most correlated with economic insecurity.

 

Using new survey data, as well as U.S. Census Bureau data, covering a period between 2013 and 2015, the study’s authors calculated the median net worth for households of various ethnicities in the Miami metropolitan area, comprising Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.


▪ For white households, the median net worth was an estimated $107,000.

 

▪ For Black-American households, the median net worth was $3,700.


▪ For Black-Caribbean households, the median net worth was $12,000.

 

Meanwhile, households identifying as Cuban had a median net worth of $22,000.

 

“U.S. black descendants and black Caribbean descendants, primarily Haitians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Tobagonians, and blacks with Latin or Hispanic heritage, are more economically similar than Latins of various ancestral origin who self-identify as white as opposed to black,” the authors write.


For Hamilton, the data show that the experience of being black in Miami is a uniquely difficult one, even accounting for different ethnic or ancestral origins.


“The key takeaway is that when it comes to things like business ownership, home ownership, and household income, the variation based on color is more pronounced than the variation based on ancestral background,” he said.


The authors findings suggest Hispanics seem to grasp the inherent advantage of identifying as white.


“In terms of identification, overwhelmingly, Latin Census respondents self-classify as either racially white or ‘other,’ while a small fraction chose a racially black identity,” the authors write. “Self-reported white Latin individuals attain higher economic outcomes, despite having only slightly higher educational attainment than their racially self-reported black counterparts.”


Indeed, education appeared to do little to close the wealth gap among Miami households of different ethnicities.

 

▪ For white households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $301,000.

 

▪ For Hispanic households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $87,500.


▪ For black households with a bachelor’s degree or higher, median net worth was $32,000.

 

Hamilton says the study offers evidence that what he referred to as “multicultural neoliberalism,” which he said puts forward the belief that different groups’ obstacles or sufferings are equal, but that education can be sufficient to overcome those barriers, needs to be questioned.


“This offers strong context to dispel the myth .. .that we all face the same circumstances, and that if we just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we can get ahead.”

 

In reality, Hamilton and his co-authors find, the gaps are the result of policies, or the lack thereof, that have discriminated against black individuals.


“We must understand the scope of racial differences in resource transfers across generations, with an eye on both historical and present-day policies and practices that enable some groups to gain a relative position advantage over others,” the authors write.


They continue: “Policies are needed that provide opportunities for asset development; fair access to housing, credit, and financial services; opportunity for good-paying jobs; strengthening retirement incomes; promoting access to education without overburdening individuals with debt; and providing access to health care while helping minimize medical debt.”


The report is a joint publication of The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University, Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. The lead author was Alan A. Aja, an associate professor in the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College.


World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 27, 2019 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/21/world-26-richest-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-50-per-cent-oxfam-report

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 Every year the numbers of billionaires increases, while the politicians they control/finance tell US everything is fine. By JJP

 

World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

Charity calls for 1% wealth tax, saying it would raise enough to educate every child not in school

 

 

The growing concentration of the world’s wealth has been highlighted by a report showing that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population

In an annual wealth check released to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the development charity Oxfam said 2018 had been a year in which the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer.


It said the widening gap was hindering the fight against poverty, adding that a wealth tax on the 1% would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.

 

 

Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.


As a result, the report concluded, the number of billionaires owning as much wealth as half the world’s population fell from 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. In 2016 the number was 61.

 

Among the findings of the report were:


In the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled.


Between 2017 and 2018 a new billionaire was created every two days.


The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn. Just 1% of his fortune is equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.

 

The poorest 10% of Britons are paying a higher effective tax rate than the richest 10% (49% compared with 34%) once taxes on consumption such as VAT are taken into account.


Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Matthew Spencer, said: “The massive fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty is one of the greatest achievements of the past quarter of a century but rising inequality is jeopardising further progress.


“The way our economies are organised means wealth is increasingly and unfairly concentrated among a privileged few while millions of people are barely subsisting. Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty. No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy simply because they were born poor.


“It doesn’t have to be this way – there is enough wealth in the world to provide everyone with a fair chance in life. Governments should act to ensure that taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, good-quality public services that can save and transform people’s lives.”


The report said many governments were making inequality worse by failing to invest enough in public services. It noted that about 10,000 people per day die for lack of healthcare and there were 262 million children not in school, often because their parents were unable to afford the fees, uniforms or textbooks.


Oxfam said governments needed to do more to fund high-quality, universal public services through tackling tax dodging and ensuring fairer taxation, including on corporations and the richest individuals’ wealth, which it said were often undertaxed.

A global wealth tax has been called for by the French economist Thomas Piketty, who has said action is needed to arrest the trend in inequality.


The World Inequality Report 2018 – co-authored by Piketty – showed that between 1980 and 2016 the poorest 50% of humanity only captured 12 cents in every dollar of global income growth. By contrast, the top 1% captured 27 cents of every dollar.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

 

Oxfam said that in addition to tackling inequality at home, developed nations currently failing to meet their overseas aid commitments could raise the missing billions needed to tackle extreme poverty in the poorest countries by increasing taxes on extreme wealth.


China’s rapid growth over the past four decades has been responsible for much of the decline in extreme poverty but Oxfam said World Bank data showed the rate of poverty reduction had halved since 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty was on the increase.


Oxfam said its methodology for assessing the gap between rich and poor was based on global wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse global wealth data book, covering the period from June 2017 to June 2018. The wealth of billionaires was calculated using the annual Forbes billionaires list published in March 2018.

 

• This article was amended on 21 January 2019 to clarify that the figure of 10,000 people dying for lack of healthcare is per day.



As 2019 begins…


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Members Of The Forbes 400 Hold More Wealth Than All U.S. Black Families Combined, Study Finds

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 19, 2019 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/noahkirsch/2019/01/14/members-of-forbes-400-hold-more-wealth-than-all-us-black-families-combined-study-finds/#6657bd626771

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  Separately, the study noted, “Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33% increase for the median White household.” At present, the median Black family has assets of $3,600, roughly 1/4oth that of the median White household, the institute reports.

 We have to be honest with our plight, and be honest with our reality. By JJP

  Members Of The Forbes 400 Hold More Wealth Than All U.S. Black Families Combined, Study Finds

Wealth concentration in the United States—which is intensifying across the board—has impacted minority groups the hardest.

 

That is the thesis of a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C.


Utilizing data from the Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Forbes rich lists, among other sources, the institute found that the 400 richest Americans hold more wealth than “all Black households, plus a quarter of Latino households [combined].”


Separately, the study noted, “Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33% increase for the median White household.” At present, the median Black family has assets of $3,600, roughly 1/4oth that of the median White household, the institute reports.


Institute for Policy Studies

 

Among the study’s other striking conclusions:

 

Black families are about 20 times more likely to have zero or negative assets (indebted) than they are to be worth $1 million or more. Latino households are 14 times more likely to have zero or negative assets than they are to be millionaires. Meanwhile, white households are equally likely to fall into either category.

The wealth of the median Latino family rose 54% between 1983 and 2016, to $6,600. Still, the wealth of typical Latino household is 1/22nd that of the median white household.


The Bottom Line Of Orientation And Acculturation In Successful Organizations: How Do You Get There?

 

“Wealth is where the past shows up in the present. From slavery to Jim Crow, to redlining, to mass incarceration, the division of assets on the basis of race has been explicit public policy for centuries,” says Josh Hoxie, one of the study’s co-authors.

 

International disparities resemble those in the United States. Of the 2,043 individuals who made Forbes’ 2018 list of the World’s Billionaires, just 11 were black. Additionally, a 2018 Oxfam analysis found that the world’s 42 richest people hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.7 billion people combined.

 

The Institute for Policy Studies’ latest report emphasizes that wealth concentration in the U.S. is increasing across demographics. For instance, the three richest Americans—Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country combined, the institute says. That statistic mirrors the barrier to entry for The Forbes 400. In 1982, the list’s inaugural year, the minimum net worth was $100 million. This year the cutoff hit an all-time high of $2.1 billion.

 

Inversely, a 2017 Federal Reserve report found that 40% of adults would not have the cash to cover an unexpected expense of $400. The same report found than one in five adults cannot pay all of their monthly bills, while more than a quarter skip necessary medical care because they can’t afford it.

 

Some billionaires, including Bill Gates, have acknowledged the significance of wealth and income inequality. “High levels of inequality are a problem—messing up economic incentives, tilting democracies in favor of powerful interests, and undercutting the ideal that all people are created equal,” Gates wrote in a 2014 blog post. His wife, Melinda, echoed the sentiment in their foundation's 2018 annual letter: "It's not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little. And it's not fair that our wealth opens doors that are closed to most people."


For his part, Warren Buffett cites “an advanced market-based economy” for the gap between the rich and the poor. Still, he wrote in a 2015 op-ed, “The poor are most definitely not poor because the rich are rich. Nor are the rich undeserving.”

 

Reversing current trends is proving difficult. Proposals range from establishing bonds for young children, to guaranteeing a basic income, to raising the estate tax, to expanding access to affordable medical care and housing—any of which is guaranteed to be politically explosive. Identifying a problem is often easier than fixing it.


Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide

Posted by Jerrald J President on January 19, 2019 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

https://inequality.org/great-divide/dreams-deferred-racial-wealth-divide/

http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

 "Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White household. Over that same period, the number of households with $10 million or more skyrocketed by 856 percent." Gangster Capitalism 101


Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide

A new report released by the Institute for Policy Studies highlights how a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color over the past three decades.


January 14, 2019


by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie Sabrina Terry


January 15, 2019, the release date of this report, would have been the 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King envisioned a future in which deep racial inequalities were eradicated and he worked tirelessly towards that mission. His tragic assassination occurred while he was organizing the Poor Peoples Campaign, his last great effort to ensure economic justice as a cornerstone of civil rights.

 

In light of Dr. King’s pursuit of economic justice, this report highlights how historic racial wealth disparities have been perpetuated and increased by the trend towards extreme inequality in the United States. It also puts the racial wealth divide in the context of overall wealth inequality trends.

 

Download the Full Report

Enriching the 1 Percent Widens the Racial Wealth Divide


Key Findings

 

This report looks at the trends in household wealth among Black, Latino and White households over the past three decades. It relies on data from the Federal Reserve Board’s most recent triannual Survey of Consumer Finances. The Racial Wealth Divide Over the past three decades, a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among Black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, White household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation.


The Racial Wealth Divide


Over the past three decades, a polarizing racial wealth divide has grown between White households and households of color. Since the early 1980s, median wealth among Black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. Meanwhile, White household median wealth grew from $105,300 to $140,500, adjusting for inflation.

 

Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White household. Over that same period, the number of households with $10 million or more skyrocketed by 856 percent.

The median Black family today owns $3,600— just 2 percent of the $147,000 of wealth the median White family owns. The median Latino family has assets worth $6,600 — just 4 percent as much as the median White family. In other words, the median White family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family.

If the trajectory of the past three decades continues, by 2050 the median White family will have $174,000 of wealth, while Latino median wealth will be $8,600 and Black median wealth will be $600. The median Black family is on track to reach zero wealth by 2082.

If current trends continue, it would take the typical Black family over 52 million years to reach the wealth of the Walton family today and Latino families 24 million years.

The proportion of all U.S. households with zero or “negative” wealth, meaning their debts exceed the value of their assets, has grown from 1 in 6 in 1983 to 1 in 5 households today. Families of color are much likelier to be in this precarious financial situation. Thirty-seven percent of Black families and 33 percent of Latino families have zero or negative wealth, compared to just 15.5 percent of White families. One piece of good news: the proportion of Latino families with zero or negative net worth dropped 19 percent between 1983 and 2016, from 40 percent to 33 percent.

Black families are about 20 times more likely to have zero or negative wealth (37 percent) than they are to have $1 million or more in assets (1.9 percent). Latino families are 14 times more likely to have zero or negative wealth (32.8 percent) than they are to reach the millionaire threshold (2.3 percent). White families are equally likely to have zero or negative wealth (about 15 percent) as they are to be a millionaire (15 percent).

Low levels of Black and Latino wealth, combined with their growing proportion of the population, is a key factor in the overall decline in American median household wealth from $84,111 in 1983 to $81,704 in 2016.


In a Deeply Unequal Economy


The widening of the racial wealth divide has coincided with the extreme concentration of U.S. wealth. The wealthiest 0.1 percent of households have grown richer while millions of families face poverty and deep-seated economic insecurity.

 

The median American family saw their wealth drop 3 percent between 1983 and 2016, while the richest 0.1 percent have seen their wealth jump 133 percent.

During this same period, the annual increase for White median family wealth was about $1,000. Latino median family wealth went up by $66 annually and Black median family wealth dropped $83 annually. Meanwhile, the average household in the top 1 percent saw their wealth jump by half a million dollars annually.

The richest dynastic families in the United States have seen their wealth expand at a dizzying pace. The three wealthiest families — the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars — have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000 percent since 1983.

The Forbes 400 richest Americans own more wealth than all Black households plus a quarter of Latino households.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, owns $160 billion in total wealth. That is 44 million times more wealth than the median Black family and 24 million times more wealth than the median Latino family.


Moving Forward


The racial wealth divide and growing economic inequality is often analyzed as two separate and concurrent trends, when in fact, they are mutually reinforcing outcomes of larger economic issues. Both the racial wealth divide and the unequal economy were created and perpetuated by public policies that favored Whites and continue to favor the very wealthy. Public policies aimed at reducing both trends will be critical to creating a more equitable economic system and a more just society overall. Such policies could include, but are not limited to:

 

A baby bond program to help low-wealth households build wealth

A tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent to reduce distortions caused by concentrated wealth and generate revenue marked for expanding opportunity for low-wealth households

An audit of federal government policies to evaluate their impact on the racial wealth divide

Targeted reparations to address the legacy of racism in wealth building

 

Dreams Deferred expands on and updates two previous reports from the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, in collaboration with Prosperity Now: “The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come,” in 2016, and “The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class” in 2017. This report also builds on extensive research on the growing concentration of wealth in the United States catalogued in the “Billionaire Bonanza” report series released in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The most recent edition focused on the growing power and influence of intergenerational wealth dynasties.

 

Too often Dr. King’s “Dream” of making justice a reality for people of color is conflated with the “fantasy of self-deception” that there is “steady growth toward a middle-class utopia.” Examining the concentration of wealth and ongoing deep racial wealth inequality in light of Dr. King’s 90th birthday reminds us of the reality King spoke of in his famous “I Have A Dream Speech”: “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”


Dr. King also stated in this speech that “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.” Over 50 years since this famous dream was shared with the nation, we have seen wealth concentrate among the wealthiest Americans and a polarizing racial wealth divide grow between Whites and Blacks and Latinos.


Despite aspirant rhetoric and sensationalized media stories, the racial wealth divide has not improved over the past three decades. In fact, the divide has grown considerably as wealth continues to concentrate at the top leaving the rest of the country an increasingly smaller share. A targeted set of policies is imperative to begin to bridge this deep divide for generations to come. Inaction or, worse, repeating the same mistakes that led to this situation will simply widen further the divide and create greater economic instability for the country at large.

 

Read the full report.


Please direct all media inquiries to Jessicah Pierre at jessicah@ips-dc.org.


Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he also co-edits Inequality.org. His most recent book is Is Inequality in America Irreversible? from Polity Press and in 2016 he published Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good.


Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is the director of the Bridging the Divide project at the Institute for Policy Studies where he is an Associate Fellow. He is also principal at Race, Wealth And Opportunity, LLC. He was previously the Senior Fellow the Racial Wealth Divide Project at Prosperity Now and hosts the Race and Wealth Podcast.


Fed Says Millennials Are Just Like Their Parents. Only Poorer

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-29/fed-says-millennials-are-just-like-their-parents-only-poorer

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

  All around America same song!!! By JJP

Fed Says Millennials Are Just Like Their Parents. Only Poorer

Millennials, long presumed to have less interest in the nonstop consumption of goods that underpins the American economy, might not be that different after all, a new study from the Federal Reserve says.

 

Their spending habits are a lot like the generations that came before them, they just have less money at this point in their lives, the Fed study found. The group born between 1981 and 1997 has fallen behind because many of them came of age during the financial crisis.


“We find little evidence that millennial households have tastes and preference for consumption that are lower than those of earlier generations, once the effects of age, income, and a wide range of demographic characteristics are taken into account,” wrote authors Christopher Kurz, Geng Li and Daniel J. Vine.


Their findings are grounded in an analysis of spending, income, debt, net worth, and demographic factors among different generations. The conclusion that millennials aren’t all that different also holds for the researchers’ more granular examination of expenditures on cars, food, and housing.

 

“It primarily is the differences in average age and then differences in average income that explain a large and important portion of the consumption wedge between millennials and other cohorts,” they conclude.


So much for the young folks favoring "experiences" over tangible goods.

 

Millennials aren’t unique when it comes to what they spend their money on, either. The report finds that shifts in expenditure shares between different goods and services have been broadly consistent regardless of age. Housing and food are two areas where millennials have spent less than previous generations, with the younger cohort paying more for education. As a caveat, spending on avocado toast wasn’t specifically tracked for this analysis.


What’s old is new again. The paper observes that some of the millennials’ parents were subject to similar baseless grumbles of "kids these days" from their elders.


“A similar question was posed 20 years ago when Baby Boomer profligacy was being compared to the Silent Generation’s penchant for saving,” they wrote. “Speaking to that debate, Sabelhaus and Manchester (1995) were able to separate fact from popular myth at the time and provided evidence that consumption had not increased as much as income, and that Baby Boomer asset accumulation had in fact outpaced that of the previous generation.”


Wage Statistics for 2017

Posted by Jerrald J President on December 5, 2018 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2017

Http://www.jerraldpresident.info//

"50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $31,561.49 for 2017". By JJP

Wage Statistics for 2017


The national average wage index (AWI) is based on compensation (wages, tips, and the like) subject to Federal income taxes, as reported by employers on Forms W-2. Beginning with the AWI for 1991, compensation includes contributions to deferred compensation plans, but excludes certain distributions from plans where the distributions are included in the reported compensation subject to income taxes. We call the result of including contributions, and excluding certain distributions, net compensation. The table below summarizes the components of net compensation for 2017.


Net compensation components for 2017 Compensation subject to Federal income taxes $7,688,538,291,676.52

Net compensation 7,982,655,109,292.13

a Wages on which contributions were paid by 59,178,407 workers.

b Distributions, to the extent included in reported wages (see text above), paid to 59,539 workers.


The "raw" average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $7,982,655,109,292.13 divided by 165,438,239, or $48,251.57. Based on data in the table below, about 67.4 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $48,251.57 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $31,561.49 for 2017.




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