ihatepeacocks
ihatepeacocks:

The base Gulfstream G5 starts at roughly $45,000,000.00 million dollars. School lunch costs roughly $1.95. That’s 23,076,923 lunches. And yet there are children that go without because their parents can’t afford $1.95 a day. Across the country politicians try to pass laws, often on behalf of Lobbyists for Corporations, that cut programs at schools, like Free & Reduced Lunches. I challenge ANY CEO to sell their jet and use the money to pay for school lunches for EVERY child in any state for one year.

ihatepeacocks:

The base Gulfstream G5 starts at roughly $45,000,000.00 million dollars. School lunch costs roughly $1.95. That’s 23,076,923 lunches. And yet there are children that go without because their parents can’t afford $1.95 a day. Across the country politicians try to pass laws, often on behalf of Lobbyists for Corporations, that cut programs at schools, like Free & Reduced Lunches.

I challenge ANY CEO to sell their jet and use the money to pay for school lunches for EVERY child in any state for one year.

This sums up in two sentences the root of the disconnect with many people, namely conservatives. I have some theories on that, but I’ll save that for another day. Unlike this person, I am unable to be concise. 

This sums up in two sentences the root of the disconnect with many people, namely conservatives. I have some theories on that, but I’ll save that for another day. Unlike this person, I am unable to be concise. 

What ‘Percent’ Are You? The Numbers Behind the Tax Divide Debate

When it comes to dividing up our class structure, the middle is a good place to start — namely, the 60% of households wedged between the poorest 20% and the richest 20%. These families make between $20,001 and $100,065 a year, and were the group hardest hit by the recession: In 2008, their average income fell by 3.6%, thebiggest single-year dropin history. At the same time, they were also devastated by rising unemployment, mass foreclosures, soaring tuitions and frozen wages. By comparison, households below the 20% line often qualify for social welfare programs, were far less likely to own real estate, and were less affected by massive layoffs. In other words, they had less to lose, and ended up losing less.


On the other end of the spectrum, many of those above the 80% line were shielded from the harsher effects of economic downturns. And over the last 30 years, the top 20% have done quite well: Their share of all wages paid in the U.S. has gone from 50% to 60%. Everyone else has lost ground.

The 53% vs. the 47%

The dividing line between the 99% and the 1% is stark, but some argue there’s a better one: The boundary between those who pay income taxes and those who don’t. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 53% of households pay federal income tax; the rest either break even or get back more in refunds than they pay.

In fact, thesecond-to-lowest20% of the country — households making between $20,001 and $38,043 — get back about 0.4% more income tax than they pay; for families who make less than $20,000, it’s about 6.8%.

Some conservatives — notably on the Tumblr blogWe are the 53%— have taken these numbers to heart, arguing that this means the bottom 47% is getting a free ride. But the 53%/47% division is a bit misleading.

To begin with, almost all households pay state taxes, Medicare tax, Social Security tax, excise taxes, sales taxes, and a raft of other government fees. When this broader, and more accurate, assessment of taxation is used, the 47% doesn’t look to be getting off so easy: Thesecond poorest quintile— the ones that got 0.4% of their income tax back — still paid more 10% of their incomes in various federal taxes.

In fact, when everything is factored in, 86% of the country pays more than it gets back in federal taxes.As for the rest, it’s not the split you might expect: More than half (8% of Americans) are senior citizens receiving Social Security.

And that last 6% — the ones who really pay nothing to the federal government? They are unemployed, disabled, in school, or making very low incomes. But even this small group pays state and local taxes, sales taxes, and other government fees.

Where the Poor Pay More


When it comes to percentage of income, the line is even clearer: For some taxes, the bottom 20% of the Americans pay more than the top 20%. For example, a household on the bottom pays almost 54% more of its income into Social Security than a household on the top. The same goes for excise taxes — fees attached to certain commodities like gasoline and alcohol: As a percentage of income, the poorest 20% pays more than four times as much as the richest 20%.

A Movement for a Moral Economy

The war against the poor at the federal level was soon matched in state capitols where organizations like the American Federation for Children, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Institute for Liberty, and the State Policy Network went to work. Their lobbying agenda was ambitious, including the large-scale privatization of public services, business tax cuts, the rollback of environmental regulations and consumer protections, crippling public sector unions, and measures (like requiring photo identification) that would restrict the access students and the poor had to the ballot. But the poor were their main public target and again, there were real life consequences - welfare cutbacks, particularly in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, and a law-and-order campaign that resulted in the massive incarceration of black men.

The Great Recession sharply worsened these trends. The Economic Policy Institute reports that the typical working-age household, which had already seen a decline of roughly $2,300 in income between 2000 and 2006, lost another $2,700 between 2007 and 2009. And when “recovery” arrived, however uncertainly, it was mainly in low-wage industries, which accounted for nearly half of what growth there was. Manufacturing continued to contract, while the labor market lost 6.1% of payroll employment. New investment, when it occurred at all, was more likely to be in machinery than in new workers, so unemployment levels remain alarmingly high. In other words, the recession accelerated ongoing market trends toward lower-wage and ever more insecure employment.

The recession also prompted further cutbacks in welfare programs. Because cash assistance has become so hard to get, thanks to so-called welfare reform, and fallback state-assistance programs have been crippled, the federal food stamp program has come to carry much of the weight in providing assistance to the poor. Renamed the “Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program,” it was boosted by funds provided in the Recovery Act, and benefits temporarily rose, as did participation. But Congress has repeatedly attempted to slash the program’s funds, and even to divert some of them into farm subsidies, while efforts, not yet successful, have been made to deny food stamps to any family that includes a worker on strike.

The organized right justifies its draconian policies toward the poor with moral arguments. Right-wing think tanks and blogs, for instance, ponder the damaging effect on disabled poor children of becoming “dependent” on government assistance, or they scrutinize government nutritional assistance for poor pregnant women and children in an effort to explain away positive outcomes for infants.

The willful ignorance and cruelty of it all can leave you gasping - and gasp was all we did for decades. This is why we so desperately needed a movement for a new kind of moral economy. Occupy Wall Street, which has already changed the national conversation, may well be its beginning. (This is only a segment; click through for the full article.)

Economists have long criticized the official poverty rate as inadequate, although they differ widely on the best ways to calculate it. Based on a half-century-old government formula, the official rate continues to assume the average family spends one-third of its income on food. Those costs have actually shrunk to a much smaller share, more like one-seventh.

The official formula fails to account for other expenses such as out-of-pocket medical care, child care and commuting, and it does not consider non-cash government aid when calculating income, such as food stamps and tax credits, which have increased in the last few years.

In reaction to some of the criticism, the federal government last year tasked the Census Bureau with developing a new measure, based partly on recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences. The new measure’s goal is to help lawmakers to better gauge the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. It does not replace the Census Bureau’s official poverty formula, which continues to determine eligibility and distribution of billions of dollars in federal aid for the poor.

The numbers released Monday are part of a first-ever supplemental poverty measure aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. Although considered experimental, they promise to stir fresh debate over Social Security, Medicare and programs to help the poor as a congressional supercommittee nears a Nov. 23 deadline to make more than $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget.

Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people exceeds the record 46.2 million, or 15.1 percent, that was officially reported in September.

Broken down by group, Americans 65 or older sustained the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula — nearly doubling to 15.9 percent, or 1 in 6 — because of medical expenses that are not accounted for in the official rate. Those include rising Medicare premiums, deductibles and expenses for prescription drugs.

"As seniors choose between food and medicine, some lawmakers are threatening lifeline programs that provide a boost to those in poverty or a safety net to those grasping at the middle class," said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of AARP Foundation, which represents the needs of older Americans. "With nearly 16 percent of seniors already living in poverty, our country cannot afford to slide further backward."

Working-age adults ages 18-64 saw increases in poverty — from 13.7 percent to 15.2 percent — due mostly to commuting and child care costs.

And for the first time, the share of Hispanics living in poverty surpassed that of African-Americans, 28.2 percent to 25.4 percent. That is due to a jump in the poverty rate for Hispanics under the new measure because of lower participation among immigrants and non-English speakers in government aid programs such as housing and food stamps.

Due to new adjustments for geographical variations in costs of living, people residing in the suburbs, the Northeast and West were the regions mostly likely to have poor people — nearly 1 in 5 in the West.

stfuconservatives

In economic news, new census data shows nearly one in 15 Americans—more than 20 million people—are now so poor they live at least 50 percent below the official poverty level. The figure is the highest ever recorded. Forty states and the District of Columbia have had increases in the poorest of the poor since 2007. The District of Columbia ranked highest, followed by Mississippi and New Mexico.

bbpratt
But let’s just remember that, as the 53%, I am working SO HARD while those blue collar/poor people work lazy jobs like shoveling, melding, and standing all day at a cash register. But because you got a degree, for which you spent a substantial amount of money on, you get the luxury of a safer, more comfortable office job. 
See the reason some people are upset right now is that they feel they were tricked and coerced into taking on a horrible investment - preyed on like crooks prey on the elderly. We’re not just talking houses, but education as well. It used to be that you could work hard a few years and invest a lump sum of money (if you were lucky enough to have it) into a degree so that after that sentence, you could get a more comfortable job. A job where you could sit, indoors, with a computer or other boredom killers. And it used to be that those jobs paid more to cover the cost of that education. That made it a worthwhile investment. But the system has fallen apart because education prices have sky-rocketed since our parents went to school, yet our salaries have stayed at relatively the same stagnant level. We were bred on the mantra, you must get a degree to get a job these days. So we did. And we were told to go to a good school. We had rankings and schools gave out statistics on their 95% post-graduate employment rate within six months. But who the F**K has $15-50,000 PER YEAR just sitting around? So basically we were told, if you want to succeed in life you will take this loan. It all sounded like a must take deal. 
Oh, no more jobs? Salary hasn’t risen? Too bad, so sad. You should have known better at 18 years old. You shouldn’t have listened to ALL these professional adults, including your parents. So stop being a whiny brat and get a job. WTF? What rock have you been living under? And to all the people complacent in their austerity - your life is unfair. You shouldn’t have to sweat and stress as hard or harder than another person and live in squalor (or if you’re lucky, relative comfort but one accident or sickness away from squalor), whilst they live in luxury of services, medical care, technologies, educations, experiences YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ACCESS TO. This isn’t about complaining or being whiny. This is about justice and fairness. This isn’t even about taxing. This is about the whole system. How much we pay our workers and charge for education. That would be the “trickle down” we should have seen from the bail-outs. Instead that money disappeared into the bonuses of bankers. 
Do people really not see the problem? Without education we won’t see the sorts of progresses we would like to see under capitalism. Because people WILL start to decide against education if, when they look around, they begin to see that education is a bad investment. 
THIS is the problem, on a totally mathematical, economic, logical level - not on a bleeding-heart liberal level. 

But let’s just remember that, as the 53%, I am working SO HARD while those blue collar/poor people work lazy jobs like shoveling, melding, and standing all day at a cash register. But because you got a degree, for which you spent a substantial amount of money on, you get the luxury of a safer, more comfortable office job. 

See the reason some people are upset right now is that they feel they were tricked and coerced into taking on a horrible investment - preyed on like crooks prey on the elderly. We’re not just talking houses, but education as well. It used to be that you could work hard a few years and invest a lump sum of money (if you were lucky enough to have it) into a degree so that after that sentence, you could get a more comfortable job. A job where you could sit, indoors, with a computer or other boredom killers. And it used to be that those jobs paid more to cover the cost of that education. That made it a worthwhile investment. But the system has fallen apart because education prices have sky-rocketed since our parents went to school, yet our salaries have stayed at relatively the same stagnant level. We were bred on the mantra, you must get a degree to get a job these days. So we did. And we were told to go to a good school. We had rankings and schools gave out statistics on their 95% post-graduate employment rate within six months. But who the F**K has $15-50,000 PER YEAR just sitting around? So basically we were told, if you want to succeed in life you will take this loan. It all sounded like a must take deal. 

Oh, no more jobs? Salary hasn’t risen? Too bad, so sad. You should have known better at 18 years old. You shouldn’t have listened to ALL these professional adults, including your parents. So stop being a whiny brat and get a job. WTF? What rock have you been living under? And to all the people complacent in their austerity - your life is unfair. You shouldn’t have to sweat and stress as hard or harder than another person and live in squalor (or if you’re lucky, relative comfort but one accident or sickness away from squalor), whilst they live in luxury of services, medical care, technologies, educations, experiences YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ACCESS TO. This isn’t about complaining or being whiny. This is about justice and fairness. This isn’t even about taxing. This is about the whole system. How much we pay our workers and charge for education. That would be the “trickle down” we should have seen from the bail-outs. Instead that money disappeared into the bonuses of bankers. 

Do people really not see the problem? Without education we won’t see the sorts of progresses we would like to see under capitalism. Because people WILL start to decide against education if, when they look around, they begin to see that education is a bad investment. 

THIS is the problem, on a totally mathematical, economic, logical level - not on a bleeding-heart liberal level. 

Statistics indicate that the growing disparity is genuinely overwhelming. In fact, the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more than the “lower” 150 million Americans put together.

Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.

A New ‘Gilded Age’

In a book published in 2010, American political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson discuss how this “hyperconcentration of economic gains at the top” also existed in the United States in the early 20th century, when industrial magnates — such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan — dominated the upper stratum of society and held the country firmly in their grip for years.

Writer Mark Twain coined the phrase “the Gilded Age” to describe that period of rapid growth, a time when the dazzling exterior of American life actually concealed mass unemployment, poverty and a society ripped in two.

Economists and political scientists believe the US has entered a new Gilded Age, a period of systematic inequality dominated by a new class of super-rich. The only difference is that, this time around, the super-rich are hedge fund managers and financial magnates instead of oil and rail barons.

A Threat to the World Economy

The academics fear this change could have serious consequences for the country’s economic future. As they see it, this extreme inequality threatens to dramatically slow growth in the world’s largest economy. This is part of a development, they argue, that has been under way for years but remained largely hidden in the years of cheap credit, rising real estate prices and excessive consumption — when it seemed everyone was on the way up. And the problems only came to light with the arrival of the financial crisis.

Read more at the link.

minitruthful-deactivated2012021

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, 1883


Oh, America, why do you worship the alter of “storied pomp?”
Why do you look with derision at “your huddled masses?”
How can you turn your face from the “wretched refuse on your teeming shore?”
Tell me why you have closed your door to “the homeless, tempest-tost?”
And why have you snuffed out “my lamp besides the golden door?”

 (via minitruthful)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips.” Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus, 1883, engraved on our Statue of Liberty

[Mitt Romney] said in the debate, the last debate, that he wanted everyone to be rich. That seems to be the line from the Republican Party, which, of course, is just a complete fantasy. Herman Cain, of course, famously said recently that “If you`re not rich, blame yourself.” This is what really bothers me, this idea that somehow we can all be rich…that is one of the stupidest things I`ve ever heard any politician say. I want everybody to be rich. First of all, if everybody was rich, who would do the things that rich people hire people to do for them? Rich people need poor people to work for them.

And this idea that Herman Cain said “If you`re not rich, blame yourself” — this is what bothers me about rich people. They don`t, first of all, as Elizabeth Warren said, they don`t cotton to the idea they wouldn`t be rich if they didn`t have this great country that provides the roads and the schools and all the other things that allow them to be rich. But also this idea, they never understand - it`s a FLUKE mostly, that what you do is something that made you rich. Yes, if you throw a baseball 100 miles an hour or even what I do — I mean, I`m not humble about some things. But I`m very humble about the fact that telling jokes is something that gets you a lot of money. That is a complete fluke — and so is owning pizza parlors.

Yes, Herman Cain was good at business. Great. He became very rich from it. But what about teachers and cops and firemen? You know those people we always say are our “heroes”. They`re such heroes that we pay them like crap. Well, they do what they do very well. It just doesn`t happen to be something that is ever going to make you rich. So, this idea that if you`re not rich, blame yourself — oh, it really bugs me.

Bill Maher on The Rachel Maddow Show - The Interview on MSNBC (10-11-2011)