Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

50% of US Workers Earned < $26,364 in 2010

Last month the Social Security Administration reported findings that fifty percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 in 2010.  Not only this, but the number of millionaires grew by 18 percent!! These findings provide further evidence of the widening income gap in this country.

Money is a limited resource. When just a few Americans become filthy rich at the expense of the majority of Americans, we must reassess our current system of resource allocation – especially as it has changed drastically over the past 30 years.

Read more at Inequality.org

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November 29, 2011

Buddy Roemer 2012

What a refreshing sight to see a republican presidential candidate who is genuine  and  appears to actually care about the people! Not only will Roemer only accept donations under $100 and will decline PAC support, he is also making the influence of special interests a central issue in his campaign. He has experience is government, and is unafraid to stir up trouble. In fact, he wants to stir up so much trouble that the GOP has refused to let him participate in the primary debates. Oh, and he has been spending time with Occupy Wall Street to listen to the protesters’ complaints and goals. He is our republican Elizabeth Warren and we love him!

Watch a great interview with Jon Stewart! 

Watch his campaign ad:

November 27, 2011

Protests in Egypt & Hypocrisy at Home

As federal police agencies coordinate aggressive national responses to Occupy protestors, it is interesting to remember what Obama and Hillary Clinton had to say about the uprisings in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries not too long ago.

We attack regimes for brutally cracking down on protestors, while we do the same here at home.

Watch this VIDEO!

November 4, 2011

The Root of our Problems

A common misconception of the Occupy movement, one that has been repeated within the national media ad nauseam, is that they don’t have any specific demands. Well, anyone with a reasonable amount of knowledge about the movement knows that this assertion is patently false. A central message emerges from amongst the crowds and signs of Zuccotti Park: the elimination of the rampant corporate influence and corruption found within our political sphere. As well it should be.

If you think about it, nearly all of our woes as a country appear to be symptoms of this larger problem. Our massive amount of defense spending? Consider how much we spend on private contractors, like the now-defunct Blackwater. Our faulty health care industry? Consider the millions in political donations made by health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. The financial crisis, of which Main Street has yet to emerge, and the subsequent watered-down attempt at reform known as Dodd-Frank? Consider the millions in political donations made by major financial institutions (of which some of that was our own money that we used to keep them from collapsing). Our increasing prison population and our persistence in maintaining a failed war on drugs? Consider privately-owned penal systems. Income inequality? Well, you get the idea.

And that’s not to mention the apparent revolving-door employment policy between lobbying organizations and public office.

These are just a few of the systemic issues plaguing us as citizens and the list goes on and on. So, what do we do about it?

A great idea, which has been circulating on the internet for some time, would be to pass a constitutional amendment banning corporate campaign contributions. Realistically, this is extremely difficult to do (there’s a reason why we only have 27 amendments) and it is rife with a few pragmatic concerns, although these could be easily addressed.

For example, limiting or banning corporate contributions would have no affect on lobbying practices. Lobbying, itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, there are many lobbying groups that address our concerns. The problem is that they have no where near as much money as corporate special interest groups. A solution to this, aside from eliminating lobbying all together, would be to regulate lobbying practices and spending.

Another concern would be that such an amendment would not prevent the super-rich from donating much more than your average American. We already have a annual caps on individual donations to campaigns ($2,500 for federal, $5,000 for local and state) as well as to parties and committees ($30,800 for federal, $10,000 for local and state), but they are woefully inefficient at democratizing our campaign process. Considering that the average American family makes around $50,000 a year, there is no way they could contribute anywhere near as much as a person that makes over a million a year. Thus a good argument could be made for the public financing of campaigns.

These are but a few possible solutions we should be considering as we move forward. These will be hard battles, considering how entrenched corruption is within our system, but they will be necessary battles. We are the David to their Goliath, and our sling is armed and ready.

November 3, 2011

Demand Financial Transaction Tax Now!

We must show solidarity in demanding a tax on trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other financial transactions so that large banks and investment firms can be held more responsible for their of their leading roles in the Great Recession.

The E.U currently has a financial transaction tax, and we in the United States had a financial transaction tax from 1914 to 1966. The “Robin Hood Tax” is supported by Bill Gates, the National Nurses Union, and many others.

Today over 150 Massachusetts nurses joined hundreds of protesters at the US Treasury Department to demand that Timothy Geithner and President Obama support financial transaction taxes on Wall Street. “The economic decline is literally making our patients sick,” said a U.S. nurse, “We see more and more children with conditions related to poor nutrition and stress.” Nurses around the globe believe that taxing a small percentage of Wall Street transactions could generate enough revenue to address basic human needs that have gone ignored. Protests also took place in Cannes, France, where the G-20 Summit is taking place.

So far, the US is saying “No” to the Transaction Tax, leaving the people no choice but to demand it!

November 2, 2011

Bloomberg Diverts Blame Away from Wall Street

Bloomberg is attempting to deal with Occupy Wall Street by deflecting blame away from financial institutions. He said,

“I hear your complaints, some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not so sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have had them without that. But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves.”

I wonder who is paying or supporting him to say such things. 

While government agencies such as Fannie and Freddie are not blameless, Federal Reserve data indicates that private mortgage brokers had the largest influence on the Great Recession. 84% of the subprime mortgages were issues by private lending institutions and most of these loans were completely unconnected from government home ownership laws.

Read more and watch the video at Thinkprogress.org 

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