Politics,Economics and The Struggle To Survive In America



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The Fed's monetary juice has tied directly to the rise in stocks: ?Here we go again?

Posted by Jerrald J President on November 8, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)



  If this does'nt prove to you that the financial system is rigged, i don't know what will. They've pumped in close a TRILLION DOLLARS into this PONZI SCHEME. For the benefit of the WHO? Not you or me, it's for the WHITE SHOE BOYS AND GIRLS ON wall street. The rest of can America eat cake. This is why the RICH stay RICH! By JJP

  The Fed’s monetary juice has tied directly to the rise in stocks: ‘Here we go again’

  The Federal Reserve has been pumping billions into the financial system after the mid-September tumult in very short-term lending markets known as repo.

As the central bank’s balance sheet has expanded, the S&P 500 has grown at almost the exact pace.

Some on Wall Street worry that the market is back to depending on the Fed’s monetary juice, rather than fundamentals, as the path to gains.

Financial markets have seen this story before: The Federal Reserve rides in with piles of freshly minted digitized money that helps send the prices of stocks and other assets lurching forward.

But this isn’t 2009.

Instead, it’s 2019, and once again the central bank, whether by intention or coincidence, has seen its efforts to keep the financial system running smoothly end up as a bonanza for Wall Street, where the decadelong bull market has taken another leg higher in step with a Fed liquidity effort.


It’s time to own uncertainty, strategist says

Since a mid-September flare-up in the repo market, where banks go for overnight financing, the Fed has been injecting billions into the markets, buying up mostly short-term Treasury bills in an effort, ostensibly, to keep its benchmark funds interest rate within its targeted range, currently at 1.5% to 1.75%.


The results: a $175 billion expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.07 trillion, representing growth of 4.5% since the operations began. During that time, the S&P 500 has risen just shy of 4%.


Coincidence? Maybe. After all, the Fed has stressed repeatedly that the recent bond-buying operations are not akin to the three rounds of quantitative easing that happened during and after the financial crisis and accompanying Great Recession.


Under QE, the Fed credited primary dealers with funds in exchange for high-quality assets like Treasury debt, in an effort to loosen financial conditions, lower borrowing rates, and direct money to stocks and corporate bonds. The operations this year, as stated by the Fed, are specifically to stabilize short-term rates, though the process is identical.


Market participants see stark similarities not just in the operation — but also in its effects.

Financial imbalances

QE and the latest round of stimulus are “absolutely” similar, said Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Asset Management. “Financial conditions are extraordinarily loose and accommodative. One of the things that the Fed balance sheet liquidity has done has also been to allow the U.S. dollar to weaken for really the first time in about two years. These are things that are definitely contributing to this move in the market.”


Indeed, the Goldman Sachs Financial Conditions Index, which Fed officials follow closely, is around its lows of the year, due in large part to rising stock prices and falling bond yields and credit spreads.


Shalett said the Fed’s moves have also caused financial imbalances elsewhere, a key concern for central bank officials who have pushed back against the recent interest rate cuts and looser policy. She cited the since-abandoned WeWork initial public offering as one example of money looking for financial assets rather than being put back into the real economy.


“This really speaks to the idea that once again we’re on the brink of potentially being in this bubble, where valuations are about the story and the narrative and not about the cash flow and profits,” she said. “You would think we would have learned this lesson before. But here we go again.”


Wall Street took notice earlier this week when hedge fund king Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates penned his latest missive for LinkedIn, this one titled “The World Has Gone Mad and the System Is Broken.”

In the essay, the head of the largest hedge fund in the world noted that investors are having money “pushed on them by central banks that are buying financial assets in their futile attempts to push economic activity and inflation up. The reason that this money that is being pushed on investors isn’t pushing growth and inflation much higher is that the investors who are getting it want to invest it rather than spend it.”


Dalio said the active role that central banks are playing in the financial system is creating wealth disparity because the money earned by those at the top is not flowing into those further down the ladder.


“Because the ‘trickle-down’ process of having money at the top trickle down to workers and others by improving their earnings and creditworthiness is not working, the system of making capitalism work well for most people is broken,” he wrote. “This set of circumstances is unsustainable and certainly can no longer be pushed as it has been pushed since 2008. That is why I believe that the world is approaching a big paradigm shift.”


Another buyback boom

The Fed’s machinations, however, are working for financial markets.

The S&P 500 has gained about 4% in the fourth quarter and more than 7% over the past three months, thanks in good part to a strong push in stock buybacks, which also have historically risen in tandem with the Fed’s liquidity efforts Share repurchases are tracking 14.9% higher in the third quarter from Q2, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

That market gain has come even amid a more pronounced slowdown in manufacturing as well as corporate profits that appear headed for the fourth consecutive decline on a year-over-year basis. S&P 500 company earnings are tracking at a 2.7% drop in Q3 and are expected to fall 0.4% in the fourth quarter, according to FactSet estimates.

“The surge in equity markets has come on the back of the Fed hosing liquidity into the banking system via repos and T-Bill purchases,” Albert Edwards, market analyst at Societe Generale, said in a note for clients. “Remember this is not QE4, as the Fed has repeatedly assured us. Tell that to the equity market, which is certainly reacting as if it was as it forges to new all-time highs.”

For investors looking over the long haul, the developments should be “massively concerning,” said Morgan Stanley’s Shalett.

“The market is diverging from the fundamentals quite a bit,” she said. “This entire cycle has been proof in the pudding that liquidity is going into the financial markets. It’s not going into the real economy.”

Income inequality grew again: The highest level in more than 50 years, Census Bureau says

Posted by Jerrald J President on October 28, 2019 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)



  Turn on your television and you will hear "The Economy Is Doing Great". The stock market is at an all time high, yet your checking/savings account doesnt reflect that. There are 3 individuals who have more wealth than halh of Americas popuation, which in excess of 150 million people. Gangster Economics at its best. By JJP

  Income inequality grew again: The highest level in more than 50 years, Census Bureau says

ORLANDO, Fla. – The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to Census Bureau figures.


Income inequality in the United States expanded from 2017 to 2018, with several heartland states among the leaders of the increase, even though several wealthy coastal states still had the most inequality overall, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.


The nation’s Gini Index, which measures income inequality, has been rising steadily over the past five decades.


The Gini Index grew from 0.482 in 2017 to 0.485 last year, according to the bureau’s 1-year American Community Survey data. The Gini Index is on a scale of 0 to 1; a score of “0″ indicates perfect equality, while a score of “1″ indicates perfect inequality, where one household has all the income.


Social Security not enough for some: Either for passion or for money, more seniors keep working




The increase in income inequality comes as two Democratic presidential candidates, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are pitching a “wealth tax” on the nation’s richest citizens as a way to reduce wealth disparities.


The inequality expansion last year took place at the same time median household income nationwide increased to almost $62,000 last year, the highest ever measured by the American Community Survey. But the 0.8% income increase from 2017 to 2018 was much smaller compared to increases in the previous three years, according to the bureau.



Even though household income increased, it was distributed unevenly, with the wealthiest helped out possibly by a tax cut passed by Congress in 2017, said Hector Sandoval, an economist at the University of Florida.


“In 2018 the unemployment rate was already low, and the labor market was getting tight, resulting in higher wages. This can explain the increase in the median household income,” Sandoval said. “However, the increase in the Gini index shows that the distribution became more unequal. That is, top income earners got even larger increases in their income, and one of the reasons for that might well be the tax cut.”


A big factor in the increase in inequality has to do with two large population groups on either end of the economic spectrum, according to Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida.


On one side, at the peak of their earnings, are baby boomers who are nearing retirement, if they haven’t already retired. On the other side are millennials and Gen Z-ers, who are in the early stages of their work life and have lower salaries, Snaith said.


“I would say probably the biggest factor is demographics,” he said. “A wealth tax isn’t going to fix demographics.”


The areas with the most income inequality last year were coastal places with large amounts of wealth – the District of Columbia, New York and Connecticut, as well as areas with great poverty – Puerto Rico and Louisiana.



Three of the states with biggest gains in inequality from 2017 to 2018 were places with large pockets of wealth – California, Texas and Virginia. But the other six states were primarily in the heartland – Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire and New Mexico.


A variety of factors were at play, from a slowdown in agricultural trade and manufacturing to wages that haven’t caught up with other forms of income, economists say.


The best-liked personal computer brand?: Apple, according to this customer satisfaction index


While some states have raised the minimum wage, other states like Kansas haven’t. At the same time, the sustained economic growth from the recession a decade ago has enriched people who own stocks, property and other assets, and have sources of income other than wages, said Donna Ginther, an economist at the University of Kansas.


“We’ve had a period of sustained economic growth, and there are winners and losers. The winners tend to be at the top,” Ginther said. “Even though we are at full employment, wages really haven’t gone up much in the recovery.”

Tax Increment Financing: A Bad Bargain for Taxpayers

Posted by Jerrald J President on September 2, 2019 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)



  You ever wonder why your city is ran down and dilapidated, google Municipal Disinvestment? Then pay close attention to your local politician say " AFFORDABLE HOUSING or REDEVELOPMENT". BY JJP


Tax Increment Financing: A Bad Bargain for Taxpayers

By Daniel McGraw

First published by Reason Magazine, January, 2006

The decision was made easier by the financing plan that Fort Worth will use to accommodate Cabela’s. The site of the Fort Worth Cabela’s has been designated a tax increment financing (TIF) district, which means taxes on the property will be frozen for 20 to 30 years.If you’re imagining an attraction that will draw 4.5 million out-of-town visitors a year, the first thing that jumps to mind probably isn’t a store that sells guns and fishing rods and those brown jackets President Bush wears to clear brush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Yet last year Cabela’s, a Nebraska-based hunting and fishing mega-store chain with annual sales of $1.7 billion, persuaded the politicians of Fort Worth that bringing the chain to an affluent and growing area north of the city was worth $30 million to $40 million in tax breaks. They were told that the store, the centerpiece of a new retail area, would draw more tourists than the Alamo in San Antonio or the annual State Fair of Texas in Dallas, both of which attract 2.5 million visitors a year.

Largely because it promises something for nothing—an economic stimulus in exchange for tax revenue that otherwise would not materialize—this tool is becoming increasingly popular across the country. Originally used to help revive blighted or depressed areas, TIFs now appear in affluent neighborhoods, subsidizing high-end housing developments, big-box retailers, and shopping malls. And since most cities are using TIFs, businesses such as Cabela’s can play them off against each other to boost the handouts they receive simply to operate profit-making enterprises.

A Crummy Way to Treat Taxpaying Citizens

TIFs have been around for more than 50 years, but only recently have they assumed such importance. At a time when local governments’ efforts to foster development, from direct subsidies to the use of eminent domain to seize property for private development, are already out of control, TIFs only add to the problem: Although politicians portray TIFs as a great way to boost the local economy, there are hidden costs they don’t want taxpayers to know about. Cities generally assume they are not really giving anything up because the forgone tax revenue would not have been available in the absence of the development generated by the TIF. That assumption is often wrong.

“There is always this expectation with TIFs that the economic growth is a way to create jobs and grow the economy, but then push the costs across the public spectrum,” says Greg LeRoy, author of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation. “But what is missing here is that the cost of developing private business has some public costs. Road and sewers and schools are public costs that come from growth.” Unless spending is cut—and if a TIF really does generate economic growth, spending is likely to rise, as the local population grows—the burden of paying for these services will be shifted to other taxpayers. Adding insult to injury, those taxpayers may include small businesses facing competition from well-connected chains that enjoy TIF-related tax breaks. In effect, a TIF subsidizes big businesses at the expense of less politically influential competitors and ordinary citizens.

“The original concept of TIFs was to help blighted areas come out of the doldrums and get some economic development they wouldn’t [otherwise] have a chance of getting,” says former Fort Worth City Councilman Clyde Picht, who voted against the Cabela’s TIF. “Everyone probably gets a big laugh out of their claim that they will draw more tourists than the Alamo. But what is worse, and not talked about too much, is the shift of taxes being paid from wealthy corporations to small businesses and regular people.

“If you own a mom-and-pop store that sells fishing rods and hunting gear in Fort Worth, you’re still paying all your taxes, and the city is giving tax breaks to Cabela’s that could put you out of business,” Picht explains. “The rest of us pay taxes for normal services like public safety, building inspections, and street maintenance, and those services come out of the general fund. And as the cost of services goes up, and the money from the general fund is given to these businesses through a TIF, the tax burden gets shifted to the regular slobs who don’t have the same political clout. It’s a crummy way to treat your taxpaying, law-abiding citizens.”

Almost every state has a TIF law, and the details vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But most TIFs share the same general characteristics. After a local government has designated a TIF district, property taxes (and sometimes sales taxes) from the area are divided into two streams. The first tax stream is based on the original assessed value of the property before any redevelopment; the city, county, school district, or other taxing body still gets that money. The second stream is the additional tax money generated after development takes place and the property values are higher. Typically that revenue is used to pay off municipal bonds that raise money for infrastructure improvements in the TIF district, for land acquisition through eminent domain, or for direct payments to a private developer for site preparation and construction. The length of time the taxes are diverted to pay for the bonds can be anywhere from seven to 30 years.

Local governments sell the TIF concept to the public by claiming they are using funds that would not have been generated without the TIF district. If the land was valued at $10 million before TIF-associated development and is worth $50 million afterward, the argument goes, the $40 million increase in tax value can be used to retire the bonds. Local governments also like to point out that the TIF district may increase nearby economic activity, which will be taxed at full value.

So, in the case of Cabela’s in Fort Worth, the TIF district was created to build roads and sewers and water systems, to move streams and a lake to make the property habitable, and to help defray construction costs for the company. Cabela’s likes this deal because the money comes upfront, without any interest. Their taxes are frozen, and the bonds are paid off by what would have gone into city coffers. In effect, the city is trading future tax income for a present benefit.

But even if the dedicated tax money from a TIF district suffices to pay off the bonds, that doesn’t mean the arrangement is cost-free. “TIFs are being pushed out there right now based upon the ‘but for’ test,” says Greg LeRoy. “What cities are saying is that no development would take place but for the TIF.…The average public official says this is free money, because it wouldn’t happen otherwise. But when you see how it plays out, the whole premise of TIFs begins to crumble.” Rather than spurring development, LeRoy argues, TIFs “move some economic development from one part of a city to another.”


Development Would Have Occurred Anyway

Local officials usually do not consider how much growth might occur without a TIF. In 2002 the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group (NCBG), a coalition of 200 Chicago organizations that studies local public investment, looked at 36 of the city’s TIF districts and found that property values were rising in all of them during the five years before they were designated as TIFs. The NCBG projected that the city of Chicago would capture $1.6 billion in second-stream property tax revenue—used to pay off the bonds that subsidized private businesses—over the 23-year life spans of these TIF districts. But it also found that $1.3 billion of that revenue would have been raised anyway, assuming the areas continued growing at their pre-TIF rates.

The experience in Chicago is important. The city invested $1.6 billion in TIFs, even though $1.3 billion in economic development would have occurred anyway. So the bottom line is that the city invested $1.6 billion for $300 million in revenue growth.

The upshot is that TIFs are diverting tax money that otherwise would have been used for government services. The NCBG study found, for instance, that the 36 TIF districts would cost Chicago public schools $632 million (based on development that would have occurred anyway) in property tax revenue, because the property tax rates are frozen for schools as well. This doesn’t merely mean that the schools get more money. If the economic growth occurs with TIFs, that attracts people to the area and thereby raises enrollments. In that case, the cost of teaching the new students will be borne by property owners outside the TIF districts.

Such concerns have had little impact so far, in part because almost no one has examined how TIFs succeed or fail over the long term. Local politicians are touting TIFs as a way to promote development, promising no new taxes, and then setting them up without looking at potential side effects. It’s hard to discern exactly how many TIFs operate in this country, since not every state requires their registration. But the number has expanded exponentially, especially over the past decade. Illinois, which had one TIF district in 1970, now has 874 (including one in the town of Wilmington, population 129). A moderate-sized city like Janesville, Wisconsin—a town of 60,000 about an hour from Madison—has accumulated 26 TIFs. Delaware and Arizona are the only states without TIF laws, and most observers expect they will get on board soon.

First used in California in the 1950s, TIFs were supposed to be another tool, like tax abatement and enterprise zones, that could be used to promote urban renewal. But cities found they were not very effective at drawing development into depressed areas. “They had this tool, but didn’t know what the tool was good for,” says Art Lyons, an analyst for the Chicago-based Center for Economic Policy Analysis, an economic think tank that works with community groups. The cities realized, Lyons theorizes, that if they wanted to use TIFs more, they had to get out of depressed neighborhoods and into areas with higher property values, which generate more tax revenue to pay off development bonds.

Why Blacks and Hispanics Have Such Expensive Mortgages

Posted by Jerrald J President on September 2, 2019 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)



  Wake Up the, it's not a coincidence we have no wealth! Please stop allowing the so-called establihed individuals to make you feel guilty. By saying you just have to work harder and get more education. It's fools gold and they know it.By JJP


Why Blacks and Hispanics Have Such Expensive Mortgages

High-cost lenders are targeting these communities, preventing them from building wealth to pass on to their children.


Despite the housing bust and its lasting implications, owning a home nevertheless remains one of the most common ways for American families to build wealth—white families, predominantly. The homeownership rates of black and Hispanic Americans lag dramatically behind that of white Americans. These minority groups are much less likely to purchase a home, and if they do, they are less likely to have homes that appreciate in value. They’re also more likely to lose their homes through foreclosure. These gaps help explain, in part, the staggering disparity in wealth between whites and people of color.

The reasons for this are not solely practices of the recent past, such as redlining. Today, home loans are consistently more expensive for black and Hispanic buyers than they are for white buyers. Why? Because banks and other lenders direct these groups toward high-risk, high-priced products. The result is, in part, that blacks and Hispanics are less likely to own homes in general, and additionally that when they do obtain home loans, those loans are often a more expensive and risky proposition—think of the subprime loans that tanked the housing market—which can increase the chance of financial ruin and default.

Why is this? Why are blacks and Hispanics targeted with these risk financial products? Perhaps these differences stem not from the borrowers’ race but from their worse financial circumstances, a reason some would say justifies the higher rates. Not the case, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which finds that race and ethnicity matter substantially on their own.


According to the study’s authors, the economists Patrick Bayer, Fernando Ferreira, and Stephen L. Ross, race and ethnicity were among two of the key factors that determined whether or not a borrower would end up with a high-cost loan, when all other variables were held equal. According to them, even after controlling for general risk considerations, such as credit score, loan-to-value ratio, subordinate liens, and debt-to-income ratios, Hispanic Americans are 78 percent more likely to be given a high-cost mortgage, and black Americans are 105 percent more likely.

“The results of our analysis imply that the substantial market-wide racial and ethnic differences in the incidence of high-cost mortgages arise because African American and Hispanic borrowers tend to be more concentrated at high-risk lenders,” the authors write. “High-risk lenders are not only more likely to provide high-cost loans overall, but are especially likely to do so for African American and Hispanic borrowers.”

What explains this? Why are African American and Hispanic borrowers ending up at the lenders who will charge them the most? High-cost lenders are much more aggressive in minority markets, the researchers say, which increases such borrowers’ exposure to these pricier loans. Prior research has found that members of these minority groups are less likely to comparison shop for mortgage products, which in turn increases the chances that they’ll wind up with the first offer they receive, and those offers tend to be expensive ones. The greater exposure of minorities to the high-cost loan marketplace accounted for about 60 to 65 percent of the differential in loans, the researchers found. And once committed to these lenders, minorities were likely to receive worse terms, such as higher or fluctuating interest rates, than whites, even if they had similar financial profiles.

By looking at the different variables that factor into mortgage type and mortgage rates, the researchers find that race alone accounted for nearly all of the disparity in high-cost mortgage lending between whites and minorities. They additionally find that while the discrepancies between whites and minorities varied in size around the country, they were present everywhere.

Among their recommendations for decreasing the racial inequities in the mortgage lending market, the researchers suggest focusing on the way lenders do business, specifically ending the division of major lenders’ subsidiaries into “prime” and “subprime” entities, which can unfairly channel minorities into riskier, more expensive loans for no good reason.

Black Home Buyers Denied Mortgages More Than Twice As Often As Whites, Report Finds

Posted by Jerrald J President on September 2, 2019 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)



  From "Redlining" to "De Jure Segregation" white supremacy/racism continues to harm Descendants of Slaves" in America! By JJp

  Black Home Buyers Denied Mortgages More Than Twice As Often As Whites, Report Finds

Black and Hispanic homebuyers are significantly more likely to get turned down for a conventional mortgage loan, according to new data.

A recent analysis from Zillow shows that in 2016, nearly 21% of black applicants were denied a conventional loan, while 15.5% of Hispanics were. Those rates are down from 2007, when black applicants were turned down 34.3% of the time and Hispanics faced denials on 30% of applications. The national denial rate is down, too, dropping from 18% in 2007 to 9.8% in 2016.

Still, even with the reduction over the past decade, a major gap exists between loan denials for white and Asian applicants and those of black and Hispanic applicants. In 2016, Asian applicants were denied a conventional loan in 10.4% of cases — slightly more than the national average — and whites in only 8.1%. The gap widens even further in certain geographic locations — particularly in the North and on the Atlantic Coast.

Where Denials Are Highest

Conventional loan denials for black applicants are the highest in Miami, where 25% of applications are turned down. Black denial rates are also above 20% in St. Louis; Tampa and Orlando, Florida; New York City; Philadelphia; and Detroit.

For Hispanic borrowers, denials are highest in Columbus, Ohio, with 22.2% of applications denied. Hispanic denial rates were above 15% in Orlando, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City.

Though Asian borrowers have a statistically lower denial rate nationally, there are several metros bucking that trend. In Miami, for example, Asian buyers get turned down 18% of the time, while those in nearby Orlando face a denial rate of 16.3%.

The Homeownership Divide

The gap in denial rates isn’t the only problem facing minority homebuyers. Black and Hispanic borrowers also have significantly lower buying power than white buyers. In fact, according to Zillow Chief Economist Aaron Terrazas, black buyers had the least purchasing power of all races last year, able to afford just 55% of all homes for sale, while white buyers could afford nearly 80%.

That steep discrepancy in buying power is widening the divide in homeownership among the races. In fact, it’s now worse than a full century ago. In 1900, the disparity between black and white homeownership was 27.6%. Now, it’s 30.3%.

According to recent data from the Urban Institute the racial disparity in homeownership rates is highest in cities in the Northeast and Midwest.


Minneapolis claims the biggest divide, with a 50% difference between black and white homeownership rates. In Albany, New York, the disparity clocks in at 48.8%, and in Buffalo, it’s 45.5%. Salisbury, Maryland, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, also show a big divide between the races.

The smallest divides between black and white homeownership are in the south, according to the Urban Institute’s research. In Killeen, Texas, the disparity is just 14.4%, while Fayetteville, North Carolina, sees a gap of 17.4%. Charleston, South Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Augusta, Georgia, also had some of the smallest gaps in homeownership rates in the nation.

But even in cities with above-average black populations, whites still outnumber black households when it comes to homeownership.

“Not one of the 100 cities with the largest black populations has a black homeownership rate close to the white homeownership rate,” the study reported. “Even in places where black households are the majority, like Albany, Georgia, the gap persists.”

If loan denials stay at current rates, it will continue persisting, too.

“For the large majority of home buyers, getting approved for a loan is the first step on the road to homeownership, and these continued disparities represent an ongoing barrier to housing and social equity in America,” Terrazas said.

Why The Disparity?

When it comes to the widening gap in homeownership, there are dozens of factors at work, but according to Doug Ryan, senior director of affordable homeownership at the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Prosperity Now, both lower income and lower credit are contributing to the problem.

“Because of income disparities, black borrowers have fewer housing choices, especially in expensive markets,” Ryan said. “This will drive up debt ratios that could disqualify them. Also, black and Latinos generally have worse credit — measured in the classic way — than whites. Twenty-five percent of blacks, versus 65% of whites, have prime credit scores.”

In fact, according to Zillow’s data, white households earned about $21,000 more than black households last year in 48 out of the nation’s top 50 markets. In 2017, white households could afford a home 75% more expensive than black households. On average, black households could afford just over half of all U.S. home listings last year, while Hispanic households could afford 64.9%. White and Asian households could afford 77.6% and 85.2%, respectively.

In the long term, Ryan said this disparity in homeownership — and housing affordability — could have a significant impact on wealth-building opportunities for American minorities.

“I think the future is bleak,” Ryan said. “We have lost a generation of new homeowners, and with it, the community efficacy that comes with ownership. We are losing intergenerational wealth, already a challenge for black and Latino families. And we have lost a vast supply of single-family homes to the rental market, which means fewer homes to buy. For minorities, the trend will be devastating.”


CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time

Posted by Jerrald J President on August 29, 2019 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)


This is not a Right or Left creation, this is what Capitalism produced. Until we realize the system was created by the very same people who told you" all men are created equal" yet owned my ancestors and denied their own mothers and daughters the right vote! Gangster-ism 101.... By JJP

  CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time



What this report finds: The increased focus on growing inequality has led to an increased focus on CEO pay. Corporate boards running America’s largest public firms are giving top executives outsize compensation packages. Average pay of CEOs at the top 350 firms in 2018 was $17.2 million—or $14.0 million using a more conservative measure. (Stock options make up a big part of CEO pay packages, and the conservative measure values the options when granted, versus when cashed in, or “realized.”;) CEO compensation is very high relative to typical worker compensation (by a ratio of 278-to-1 or 221-to-1). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio (options realized) was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989. CEOs are even making a lot more—about five times as much—as other earners in the top 0.1%. From 1978 to 2018, CEO compensation grew by 1,007.5% (940.3% under the options-realized measure), far outstripping S&P stock market growth (706.7%) and the wage growth of very high earners (339.2%). In contrast, wages for the typical worker grew by just 11.9%.

Why it matters: Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality that we could safely do away with. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. This escalation of CEO compensation, and of executive compensation more generally, has fueled the growth of top 1.0% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving less of the fruits of economic growth for ordinary workers and widening the gap between very high earners and the bottom 90%. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more).

How we can solve the problem: We need to enact policy solutions that would both reduce incentives for CEOs to extract economic concessions and limit their ability to do so. Such policies could include reinstating higher marginal income tax rates at the very top; setting corporate tax rates higher for firms that have higher ratios of CEO-to-worker compensation; establishing a luxury tax on compensation such that for every dollar in compensation over a set cap, a firm must pay a dollar in taxes; reforming corporate governance to give other stakeholders better tools to exercise countervailing power against CEOs’ pay demands; and allowing greater use of “say on pay,” which allows a firm’s shareholders to vote on top executives’ compensation.

Introduction and key findings

Chief executive officers (CEOs) of the largest firms in the U.S. earn far more today than they did in the mid-1990s and many times what they earned in the 1960s or late 1970s. They also earn far more than the typical worker, and their pay has grown much more rapidly. Importantly, rising CEO pay does not reflect rising value of skills, but rather CEOs’ use of their power to set their own pay. And this growing power at the top has been driving the growth of inequality in our country.

About the CEO pay series and this report

This report is part of an ongoing series of annual reports monitoring trends in CEO compensation. In this report, we examine current trends to determine how CEOs are faring compared with typical workers (through 2018) and compared with workers in the top 0.1% (through 2017). We also look at the relationship between CEO pay and the stock market.

To analyze current trends, we use two measures of compensation. The first measure includes stock options realized (in addition to salary, bonuses, restricted stock awards, and long-term incentive payouts). Because stock-options-realized compensation tends to fluctuate with the stock market (as people tend to cash in their stock options when it is most advantageous to do so), we also look at another measure of CEO compensation, to get a more complete picture of trends in CEO compensation. This measure tracks the value of stock options granted (in addition to salary, bonuses, restricted stock awards, and long-term incentive payouts).1

Trends over the past two years

Using the measure that includes stock options realized, we find that CEO pay fell by 0.5% from 2017 to 2018, to $17.2 million on average in 2018. CEO compensation using another measure, which captures the value of stock options granted (whether exercised or not), grew last year by 9.9% to $14.0 million. Both measures show strong growth in CEO compensation over the last two years, up 7.1 and 9.2%, respectively, for compensation measured with options exercised and options granted. Compensation grew strongly because of increasingly large stock awards given to CEOs; these stock awards averaged $7.5 million in 2018, making up nearly half of CEO compensation.

Long-term trends

CEO compensation has grown 52.6% in the recovery since 2009 using the options-exercised measure and 29.4% using the options-granted measure. In contrast, the typical workers in these large firms saw their annual compensation grow by just 5.3% over the recovery and actually fall by 0.2% between 2017 and 2018.

Average CEO compensation attained its peak in 2000, at the height of the late 1990s tech stock bubble, at $21.5 million (in 2018 dollars) based on either measure—368 or 386 times the pay of the typical worker, depending upon the measure used.2 CEO compensation fell in the early 2000s after the stock market bubble burst, but mostly recovered by 2007, at least for the measure using exercised stock options (the measure using options granted remained substantially below the 2000 level). CEO compensation fell again during the financial crash of 2008–2009 and rose strongly over the recovery since 2009 but still remains below the 2000 peak levels. CEO compensation continues to be dramatically higher than it was in the decades before the turn of the millennium. CEO compensation was 940.3% higher in 2018 than in 1978 using the options-exercised measure and 1,007.5% higher using the options-granted measure. Correspondingly, the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio, using the options-exercised measure, was 121-to-1 in 1995, 58-to-1 in 1989, 30-to-1 in 1978, and 20-to-1 in 1965.

The relationship between CEO pay and the stock market

CEO pay has historically been closely associated with the health of the stock market, although this connection loosened over the last few years when CEO compensation did not correspond to rapid stock price growth. The generally tight link between stock prices and CEO compensation indicates that CEO pay is not being established by a “market for talent,” as pay surged with the overall rise in profits and stocks, not with the better performance of a CEO’s particular firm relative to that firm’s competitors.

The relationship between CEO pay and the pay of other top earners; the rise of inequality

Amid a healthy recovery on Wall Street following the Great Recession, CEOs enjoyed outsized income gains even relative to other very-high-wage earners (those in the top 0.1%); CEOs of large firms earned 5.4 times that of the average top 0.1% earner in 2017, up from 4.4 times in 2007. This is yet another indicator that CEO pay is more likely based on CEOs’ power to set their own pay, not on a market for talent.

To be clear, these other very-high-wage earners aren’t suffering: Their earnings grew 339.2% between 1978 and 2017. CEO pay growth has had spillover effects, pulling up the pay of other executives and managers, who constitute more than 40% of all top 1.0% and 0.1% earners.3 Consequently, the growth of CEO and executive compensation overall was a major factor driving the doubling of the income shares of the top 1% and top 0.1% of U.S. households from 1979 to 2007 (Bakija, Cole, and Heim 2012; Bivens and Mishel 2013). Income growth has remained unbalanced. As profits and stock market prices have reached record highs, the wages of most workers have grown very little, including in the current recovery (Bivens et al. 2014; Gould 2019).

Key findings

The report’s main findings include the following:

CEO compensation in 2018 (stock-options-realized measure). Using the stock-options-realized measure, we find that the average compensation for CEOs of the 350 largest U.S. firms was $17.2 million in 2018. Compensation dipped 0.5% in 2018 following a 7.6% gain in 2017. CEO compensation measured with realized stock options grew 52.6% over the recovery from 2009 to 2018.

CEO compensation in 2018 (stock-options-granted measure). Using the stock-options-granted measure, the average compensation for CEOs of the 350 largest U.S. firms was $14.0 million in 2018, up 9.9% from $12.7 million in 2017 and up 29.4% since the recovery began in 2009.

Growth of CEO compensation (1978–2018). From 1978 to 2018, inflation-adjusted compensation based on realized stock options of the top CEOs increased 940.3%. The increase was more than 25–33% greater than stock market growth (depending on which stock market index is used) and substantially greater than the painfully slow 11.9% growth in a typical worker’s annual compensation over the same period. Measured using the value of stock options granted, CEO compensation rose 1,007.5% from 1978 to 2018.

Changes in the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio (1965–2018). Using the stock-options-realized measure, the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965. It peaked at 368-to-1 in 2000. In 2018 the ratio was 278-to-1, slightly down from 281-to-1 in 2017—but still far higher than at any point in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. Using the stock-options-granted measure, the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio rose to 221-to-1 in 2018 (from 206-to-1 in 2017), significantly lower than its peak of 386-to-1 in 2000 but still many times higher than the 45-to-1 ratio of 1989 or the 16-to-1 ratio of 1965.

Changes in the composition of CEO compensation. The composition of CEO compensation is shifting away from the use of stock options and toward the use of stock awards, which now average $7.5 million for each CEO and make up roughly half of all CEO compensation. Stock-related components of compensation—stock options and stock awards—make up two-thirds to three-fourths of all CEO compensation, depending on the particular measure used. The shift from stock options to stock awards leads to an understatement of CEO compensation levels and growth in our measures as well as in other measures, including the measure prescribed in SEC reporting requirements.

Changes in the CEO-to-top-0.1% compensation ratio (1989–2018). Over the last three decades, compensation for CEOs based on realized stock options grew far faster than that of other very highly paid workers (the top 0.1%, or those earning more than 99.9% of wage earners). CEO compensation in 2017 (the latest year for which data on top wage earners are available) was 5.40 times greater than wages of the top 0.1% of wage earners, a ratio 2.22 points higher than the 3.18 average ratio over the 1947–1979 period. This wage gain alone is equivalent to the wages of more than two very-high-wage earners.

Implications of the CEO-to-top-0.1% compensation ratio. The fact that CEO compensation has grown far faster than the pay of the top 0.1% of wage earners indicates that CEO compensation growth does not simply reflect a competitive race for skills (the “market for talent”;) that also increased the value of highly paid professionals: Rather, the growing differential between CEOs and top 0.1% earners suggests the growth of substantial economic rents in CEO compensation (income not related to a corresponding growth of productivity). CEO compensation appears to reflect not greater productivity of executives but the power of CEOs to extract concessions. Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on the economy’s output or on employment.

Growth of top 0.1% compensation (1978–2017). Even though CEO compensation grew much faster than the earnings of the top 0.1% of wage earners, that doesn’t mean the top 0.1% did not fare well. Quite the contrary. The inflation-adjusted annual earnings of the top 0.1% grew 339.2% from 1978 to 2017. CEO compensation, however, grew three times as fast!

CEO pay growth compared with growth in the college wage premium. Over the last three decades, CEO compensation increased more relative to the pay of other very-high-wage earners than did the wages of college graduates relative to the wages of high school graduates. This finding indicates that the escalation of CEO pay does not simply reflect a more general rise in the returns to education.


This section provides detailed analysis of our findings. We examine several decades of available data to identify recent and historical trends in CEO compensation.

CEOs rake in 940% more than 40 years ago, while average workers earn 12% more

Posted by Jerrald J President on August 29, 2019 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)



  This is not a Right or Left creation, this is what Capitalism produced. Until we realize the system was created by the very same people who told you" all men are created equal" yet owned my anscestors and denied their own mothers and daughters the right vote! Gangsterism 101.... By JJP

  CEOs rake in 940% more than 40 years ago, while average workers earn 12% more

CEO compensation rose 940% from 1978 to 2018, compared with a 12% rise in pay for the average American worker during the same period, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

In 2018, average CEO pay at the 350 biggest U.S. companies was $17.2 million.

Chief executives at large companies make roughly $278 for every $1 a typical worker earns — that's up from a ratio of 20-to-1 back in 1965 and a ratio of 58-to-1 in 1989.

The chasm between what the country's corporate leaders and their workers earn is widening to Grand Canyon-like proportions, according to new research that shows CEO compensation surged 940% between 1978 to 2018 while the average worker saw a meager 12% pay hike over the same 40-year period.

"CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills," economist Lawrence Mishel and research assistant Julia Wolfe said in the report from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

Depending on how it's calculated, the average pay of CEOs at the 350 biggest U.S. companies last year came to $17.2 million, the EPI research found. (Or, alternatively, about $14 million, with the smaller number valuing the stock options that make up a big chunk of CEO pay at the time they were granted rather than when they were cashed in at typically higher prices.)


Last year chief execs got $278 for every $1 a typical worker earned, according to Mishel and Wolfe. Back in 1965, top corporate chiefs earned $20 for every dollar a typical worker earned, with that ratio rising to 58-to-1 by 1989. The gap widened dramatically in the following decades, they noted, due to a shift in the 1990s and 2000s to compensate CEOs mostly with stock options, restricted shares and other incentive-based pay fueled a spike in their earnings.

Other factors that have driven income inequality in recent years: failure to raise the federal minimum wage, eroding union membership and globalization -- all of which reflect shifts in economic policy in ways that favor big corporations and the rich, Mishel said.

Pay for performance?

The EPI findings are in line with an analysis by Equilar for the Associated Press earlier this year that found that CEOs at S&P 500-listed companies made a median of $12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation.

Many CEOs who haul in massive stock awards aren't necessarily demonstrating their worth, EPI's Mishel told CBS MoneyWatch this week. Rather, the jump in executive compensation broadly reflects the runup in stocks in recent years.

"When every industry stock goes up, their stock goes up, and they're rewarded as though they hit a triple, Mishel said. "That's not for performance as they are sitting in the bleachers."

Excessive CEO pay is the result of a rigged system that creates the wrong incentives for top executives and is the same time terrible for company morale, observed Steven Cliffords, CEO of King Broadcasting for five years and National Mobile Television for nine.

"When people talk to me, they'll say, 'Yeah, but look at those baseball stars and all the money they make,' " Cliffords explained. "But there's a key difference: Baseball players make their money in what's essentially an auction market, where teams bid for their services. It's the same with movie stars. You know Mike Trout is going to improve any team he's on, that Meryl Streep is going to improve any movie she's in."

Conversely, a CEO is not going to improve just any company, as the knowledge it takes to perform well in the job is company-specific. That's why three-quarters of all new CEOs among S&P 500 companies involve internal promotions, said Cliffords, who has chaired numerous compensation committees for public and private companies. (He's also the author of "The CEO Pay Machine, How it Trashes America and How to Stop It.")

The pay gap between CEOs and rank-and-file workers had some members of Congress calling out bank CEOs on the pay disparity earlier this year. New York Democrat Nydia Velazquez told the heads of the nation's largest financial institutions appearing on Capitol Hill that the swelling pay gap "doesn't look good."

Disney heiress Abigail Disney has repeatedly criticized the compensation paid to public company CEOs, calling it "a moral issue" and one that leaves some low-wage earnings sleeping in their cars and rationing insulin. She and other activists contend that workers are often laid off without severance, while top executives line their own and investors' pockets through share buybacks and cash dividends.

"In the 1980s, it became all about creating money for shareholders," William Lazonick, an economist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, said of the practice of companies spending billions of dollars to repurchase their own stock and artificially driving the price higher.

In its report, EPI called for policies including reinstating higher marginal income tax rates at the very top and setting higher corporate tax rates on companies with higher ratios of CEO-to-worker compensation.

Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here's why

Posted by Jerrald J President on August 27, 2019 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)



  While we fight over a spicy chicken sandwich from Popeye's. Your water is about to get cut off and your 2 months behind on your rent! By JJP

  Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here's why

The official rate of unemployment in America has plunged to a remarkably low 3.8%. The Federal Reserve forecasts that the unemployment rate will reach 3.5% by the end of the year.


But the official rate hides more troubling realities: legions of college grads overqualified for their jobs, a growing number of contract workers with no job security, and an army of part-time workers desperate for full-time jobs. Almost 80% of Americans say they live from paycheck to paycheck, many not knowing how big their next one will be.

Blanketing all of this are stagnant wages and vanishing job benefits. The typical American worker now earns around $44,500 a year, not much more than what the typical worker earned in 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Although the US economy continues to grow, most of the gains have been going to a relatively few top executives of large companies, financiers, and inventors and owners of digital devices.

When Republicans delivered their $1.5tn tax cut last December they predicted a big wage boost for American workers. Forget it. Wages actually dropped in the second quarter of this year.


Not even the current low rate of unemployment is forcing employers to raise wages. Contrast this with the late 1990s, the last time unemployment dipped close to where it is today, when the portion of national income going into wages was 3% points higher than it is today.

What’s going on? Simply put, the vast majority of American workers have lost just about all their bargaining power. The erosion of that bargaining power is one of the biggest economic stories of the past four decades, yet it’s less about supply and demand than about institutions and politics.


Starting in the 1980s and with increasing ferocity since then, private-sector employers have fought against unions

Two fundamental forces have changed the structure of the US economy, directly altering the balance of power between business and labor. The first is the increasing difficulty for workers of joining together in trade unions. The second is the growing ease by which corporations can join together in oligopolies or to form monopolies.

By the mid-1950s more than a third of all private-sector workers in the United States were unionized. In subsequent decades public employees became organized, too. Employers were required by law not just to permit unions but to negotiate in good faith with them. This gave workers significant power to demand better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. (Agreements in unionized industries set the benchmarks for the non-unionized).


Yet starting in the 1980s and with increasing ferocity since then, private-sector employers have fought against unions. Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire the nation’s air-traffic controllers, who went on an illegal strike, signaled to private-sector employers that fighting unions was legitimate. A wave of hostile takeovers pushed employers to do whatever was necessary to maximize shareholder returns. Together, they ushered in an era of union-busting.

Employers have been firing workers who attempt to organize, threatening to relocate to more “business friendly” states if companies unionize, mounting campaigns against union votes, and summoning replacement workers when unionized workers strike. Employer groups have lobbied states to enact more so-called “right-to-work” laws that bar unions from requiring dues from workers they represent. A recent supreme court opinion delivered by the court’s five Republican appointees has extended the principle of “right-to-work” to public employees.


Today, fewer than 7% of private-sector workers are unionized, and public-employee unions are in grave jeopardy, not least because of the supreme court ruling. The declining share of total US income going to the middle since the late 1960s – defined as 50% above and 50% below the median – correlates directly with that decline in unionization. (See chart below).


Perhaps even more significantly, the share of total income going to the richest 10 percent of Americans over the last century is almost exactly inversely related to the share of the nation’s workers who are unionized. (See chart below). When it comes to dividing up the pie, most American workers today have little or no say. The pie is growing but they’re getting only the crumbs.

Over the same period time, antitrust enforcement has gone into remission. The US government has essentially given a green light to companies seeking to gain monopoly power over digital platforms and networks (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook); wanting to merge into giant oligopolies (pharmaceuticals, health insurers, airlines, seed producers, food processors, military contractors, Wall Street banks, internet service providers); or intent on creating local monopolies (food distributors, waste disposal companies, hospitals).

This means workers are spending more on such goods and services than they would were these markets more competitive. It’s exactly as if their paychecks were cut. Concentrated economic power has also given corporations more ability to hold down wages, because workers have less choice of whom to work for. And it has let companies impose on workers provisions that further weaken their bargaining power, such as anti-poaching and mandatory arbitration agreements.

This great shift in bargaining power, from workers to corporations, has pushed a larger portion of national income into profits and a lower portion into wages than at any time since the second world war. In recent years, most of those profits have gone into higher executive pay and higher share prices rather than into new investment or worker pay. Add to this the fact that the richest 10% of Americans own about 80% of all shares of stock (the top 1% owns about 40%), and you get a broader picture of how and why inequality has widened so dramatically.

Another consequence: corporations and wealthy individuals have had more money to pour into political campaigns and lobbying, while labor unions have had far less. In 1978, for example, congressional campaign contributions by labor Political Action Committees were on par with corporate PAC contributions. But since 1980, corporate PAC giving has grown at a much faster clip, and today the gulf is huge.


It is no coincidence that all three branches of the federal government, as well as most state governments, have become more “business-friendly” and less “worker-friendly” than at any time since the 1920s. As I’ve noted, Congress recently slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Meanwhile, John Roberts’ supreme court has more often sided with business interests in cases involving labor, the environment, or consumers than has any supreme court since the mid-1930s. Over the past year it not only ruled against public employee unions but also decided that workers cannot join together in class action suits when their employment contract calls for mandatory arbitration. The federal minimum wage has not been increased since 2009, and is now about where it was in 1950 when adjusted for inflation. Trump’s labor department is busily repealing many rules and regulations designed to protect workers.


The combination of high corporate profits and growing corporate political power has created a vicious cycle: higher profits have generated more political influence, which has altered the rules of the game through legislative, congressional, and judicial action – enabling corporations to extract even more profit. The biggest losers, from whom most profits have been extracted, have been average workers.


America’s shift from farm to factory was accompanied by decades of bloody labor conflict.

The shift from factory to office and other sedentary jobs created other social upheaval. The more recent shift in bargaining power from workers to large corporations – and consequentially, the dramatic widening of inequalities of income, wealth, and political power – has had a more unfortunate and, I fear, more lasting consequence: an angry working class vulnerable to demagogues peddling authoritarianism, racism, and xenophobia.

Robert Reich is chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and was secretary of labour in the Clinton administration. His latest book, The Common Good, was published earlier this year

A civil conversation…

… has never been more important in American public life. Guardian journalism, driven by fact-based reporting, offers an independent voice of reason at a time when the national conversation is divisive and embittered. At a time of acrimony, America is in need of public civility. For 200 years Guardian journalism has been committed to giving expression to hope, not hate, and choosing fairness over fear.

More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.

The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.

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.

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)



 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)



  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)



  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)



  "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)



 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.

At this critical time…


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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)



  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)



  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)



  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)



   "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)



  "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'.



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)



 " 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)



"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.”