Friday, November 23, 2012

Amazing differences between GM and Wal-Mart employment

Title: Why You Shouldn't Shop at Wal-Mart on Friday Source: ROBERT REICH in The American Prospect Date: November 23, 2012 From the article:
    A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits. Today, America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Wal-Mart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits. There are many reasons for the difference—including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail. But one reason, closely related to this seismic shift, is the decline of labor unions in the United States. In the 1950s, over a third of private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today fewer than 7 percent do. As a result, the typical American worker no longer has the bargaining clout to get a sizeable share of corporate profits.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The 1 Percent’s Problem

Title: The 1 Percent’s Problem Source: Vanity Fair Date: May 31, 2012 From the article:
    Let’s start by laying down the baseline premise: inequality in America has been widening for dec­ades. We’re all aware of the fact. Yes, there are some on the right who deny this reality, but serious analysts across the political spectrum take it for granted. I won’t run through all the evidence here, except to say that the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is vast when looked at in terms of annual income, and even vaster when looked at in terms of wealth—that is, in terms of accumulated capital and other assets. Consider the Walton family: the six heirs to the Walmart empire possess a combined wealth of some $90 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society. (Many at the bottom have zero or negative net worth, especially after the housing debacle.) Warren Buffett put the matter correctly when he said, “There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won.”

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The insanity of CEO pay finally causes a reaction

Title: Citigroup’s Chief Rebuffed on Pay by Shareholders Source: NY Times Date: April 17, 2012 From the article:
    In a stinging rebuke, Citigroup shareholders rebuffed on Tuesday the bank’s $15 million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, marking the first time that stock owners have united in opposition to outsized compensation at a financial giant.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Central theme of Occupy Wall Street: income inequality and the concentration of wealth

Title: Some Central Themes of the Occupy Protesters (Video)
Source: Associated Press
Date: October 24, 2011

From the article:
    The Associated Press takes a close look at the numbers behind some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters' central complaints.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Understanding Occupy Wall Street - it is largely about the concentration of wealth and power in American society

This article helps to explain the problem with concentration of wealth that is driving the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as much of the discontent in the middle class of America today:

Understanding Occupy Wall Street -or- Why the American People Are Angry

Monday, September 26, 2011

U.S. Pensions Plundered By Corporate Greed

Title: U.S. Pensions Plundered By Corporate Greed, Author Says

Source: Yahoo Finance

Date: September 26, 2011

From the article:
    Meanwhile, New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman, noted in a piece last week titled "The Social Contract," that while the middle gets squeezed, the rich keep getting richer in both real and relative terms.

    "...the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn't changed —show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That's growth, but it's slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II. Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn't a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million."

    If the average worker didn't have enough to worry about, Ellen Schultz - an award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers -- says that in some instances the fat paychecks of the top paid executives are coming directly out of the pocket of average workers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Drudge Report Trumpets the Concentration of Wealth

This is what the Drudge Report web site looks like today:

The main link in red leads to this article:

Census: US poverty rate swells to nearly 1 in 6

    The ranks of U.S. poor swelled to nearly 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment woes left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in over two decades.

Another link:

U.S. Poverty Climbed to 17-Year High in 2010 as Household Income Fell

    The U.S. poverty rate rose to the highest level in almost two decades and household income fell in 2010, underscoring the lingering impact of the worst economic slump in seven decades.

    Data released by the Census Bureau today showed the proportion of people living in poverty climbed to 15.1 percent last year from 14.3 percent in 2009, and median household income declined 2.3 percent. The number of Americans living in poverty was the highest in the 52 years since the Census Bureau began gathering that statistic. Those figures may have worsened in recent months as the economy weakened.

This is exactly what would be expected when the wealth of the nation is concentrating. Since the Drudge Report is a staunch proponent of policies that help wealth to concentrate, we must assume that this home page for Drudge is good news - a mark of accomplishment. Poverty is the expected and desired result of policies that concentrate wealth.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Land of the Free, Home of the Poor

Title: Land of the Free, Home of the Poor
Source: PBS
Date: August 16, 2011

From the article:
    Financial gains over the last decade in the United States have been mostly made at the "tippy-top" of the economic food chain as more people fall out of the middle class. The top 20 percent of Americans now holds 84 percent of U.S. wealth, as Paul Solman found out as part of a Making Sen$e series on economic inequality.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CEO pay jumps 13 per cent in 2010

Title: Back in the green: CEO pay jumps 13 per cent
Source: Globe and Mail
Date: May. 29, 2011

From the article:
    A Globe and Mail review of executive pay last year shows CEOs at Canada’s 100 largest companies saw their compensation jump 13 per cent last year, led higher by a 20-per-cent increase in annual cash bonuses. Base salaries climbed 4 per cent.

    Niko Resources Ltd.’s Edward Sampson was the top paid CEO with total 2010 compensation of $16.5-million. More than $15-million of that total came from the value of new stock options granted last year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Poll: Tax hikes on rich the first step toward balancing budget

Title: Poll: Tax hikes on rich the first step toward balancing budget

Source: The Hill

Date: January 3, 2011

From the article:
    Increased taxes on high earners should be the first step toward balancing the federal budget, a new poll suggested Monday.

    Raising taxes on the rich beats out cuts to defense spending, Medicare and Social Security as U.S. adults' top preference on how to close the deficit, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.

    Sixty-one percent of Americans said that increasing taxes to the wealthy should be the first step toward balancing the budget.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Academics critical of skyrocketing pay for CEOs

Title: Academics critical of skyrocketing pay for CEOs
Date: January 3, 2011

From the article:
    “It’s just breathtaking,” Hugh Mackenzie, economist for the Ottawa-based non-profit research group, said in an interview. “The skyrocketing level of executive pay in Canada and the U.S. is the primary factor that lies behind growing income inequality.”

    The typical explanation — that companies need to offer their chief executive millions in order to attract, keep and motivate a suitable leader — doesn’t hold water, Mackenzie said.

    “You could ask how motivating is it for the average employee, who is actually the person who generates the income for the corporation, to see that their CEO is making 300 times what they are. I would think that would be kind of demotivating.”

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Income Gaps Between Very Rich and Everyone Else More Than Tripled In Last Three Decades

Title: Income Gaps Between Very Rich and Everyone Else More Than Tripled In Last Three Decades, New Data Show

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Date: June 25, 2010

From the article:
    The gaps in after-tax income between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007 (the period for which these data are available), according to data the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued last week. Taken together with prior research, the new data suggest greater income concentration at the top of the income scale than at any time since 1928.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Mother of All Jobless Recoveries

Title: The Mother of All Jobless Recoveries
Source: The Atlantic
Date: March 25, 2010

From the article:
    This Cleveland Fed report "Are Jobless Recoveries the New Norm?" is a fascinating, lucid and distressing look at why unemployment is still at 9.7% and why it's not going down any time soon. Read the whole thing, if you have time. But here are three keys facts I want to pull out...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Huge bonuses at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Title: U.S. promises unlimited financial assistance to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
Source: Washington Post
Date: December 25, 2009

From the article:
    The Obama administration pledged Thursday to provide unlimited financial assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an eleventh-hour move that allows the government to exceed the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid without seeking permission from a bailout-weary Congress.

    The Christmas Eve announcement by the Treasury Department means that it can continue to run the companies, which were seized last year, as arms of the government for the rest of President Obama's current term.

    But even as the administration was making this open-ended financial commitment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disclosed that they had received approval from their federal regulator to pay $42 million in Wall Street-style compensation packages to 12 top executives for 2009.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class?

Title: America Without a Middle Class
Source: Huffington Post
Date: December 3, 2009

From the article:
    Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class? If you can, would it still be America as we know it?

    Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

Editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoon:

Recession's over

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Health insurance reform ad

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Title: Why People Are Going Hungry in the Land of Plenty - A look at living wages
Source: Alternet
Date: July 4, 2009

From the article:
    The U.S. government’s official poverty line in 2008 was $10,590 for a single person, $13,540 for a couple, $16,530 for a family of three, and $21,203 for a family of four. And the Census Bureau estimated that over 37 million Americans (including noncitizen residents) were living at or below these income levels. But that only hinted at the growing scale of American poverty. Economists such as Bob Pollin, codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, believed many tens of million Americans more were living on incomes that, while they might meet a denuded government “minimum-wage” threshold, in reality couldn’t be expected to meet a family’s basic needs.

    Pollin’s team calculated that a single person needed to earn ten dollars an hour to achieve even a semblance of economic security; and, as with the poverty line, so with this measure, which he called a “living wage,” the dollar amount would go up as the number of people in the family increased.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Golden parachutes of bankers

Title: Golden Parachutes: How the Bankers Went Down
Source: Mint
Date: 2/24/2009

From the article:
    When high-ranking executives are fired from a company, for whatever reason, they don’t go to the back of the unemployment line. Instead, they typically receive compensation in the form of the “golden parachute.” Golden parachutes can include severance pay, cash bonuses, stock options or other benefits. In the case of the financial crisis and the ensuing bank failures, if it seems like these executives are being rewarded for poor performance, you may be right. Here’s a look at what some bankers made on their way down.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Corporate criminality

Title: The Case for Giving Eli Lilly the Corporate Death Penalty
Source: Alternet
Date: March 3, 2009

From the article:
    If Americans are ever going to revoke the publicly granted charters of reckless, giant corporations -- well within our rights -- we might want to get the ball rolling with Lilly, whose recent actions appalled even the mainstream media. And with Lilly's chums, the Bush family, out of power, now might be the right time.

    On January 15, 2009, Lilly pled guilty to charges that it had illegally marketed its blockbuster drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses to children and the elderly, two populations especially vulnerable to its dangerous side effect [cardiac arrest].