Concentrations of Wealth and Poverty

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Greg Russak‘s insight:

Amazingly clear and detailed “view” of where wealth is concentrated. Drilling into zip codes shows remarkable details without being overwhelming. This is simultaneously revealing and mesmerizing. As I looked at it, I couldn’t help wondering how and why it is that the people living in the vast “dark” regions of the South and the Great Plains insist on voting against their own economic self-interests by voting for representatives who insist on the lie of trickle-down economics and persistent austerity as the strategy for prosperity.

See on www.washingtonpost.com

Republican Voters: You’re Shutting Down Yourselves and Your Neighbors

UncleSamWantsYou

Whether shutting it down temporarily or shrinking the government permanently, the facts are that doing so tends to hurt the people in Republican states more than other states and to greater degrees than Republican voters seem to realize or are willing to admit.

On Friday, September 27th, The New York Times published Off the Charts: Big Government States. The charts don’t lie, and the opening statement sums it up:

States with a larger government presence — as measured by either employment or economic impact — tended to vote Republican in the 2012 election, while states with a smaller government presence tended to vote Democratic.

It begs a couple of questions.

Do Republican voters understand that they are more often the greater beneficiaries of direct government employment? They and their neighbors are more likely to actually work for the government. When the government shuts down or shrinks, that hurts their neighbors and the economy in the same way that a layoff or business shutdown in their community does.

That’s the direct employment part. How about government spending?

Do our Republican family and friends not understand that the only true “trickle down economics” comes *FROM* government spending? Government agencies not only employ our fellow Americans, the government also spends money through private businesses. That spending creates private sector jobs and prosperity for themselves, their communities, their families, and their neighbors.

The state G.D.P. figures may well understate the importance of — and the decline in — government activity. That is because they are computed differently from the national G.D.P. number. The national number is based on spending, while the state numbers are based on profits and income of workers. As a result, if a government pays for the construction of something, whether a school or a fighter jet, that will show up as government activity in the national figure.

But for the state figures, it will show up as private-sector activity because the work was done by employees of construction or aerospace companies.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/business/the-most-republican-states-tend-to-rely-more-on-government-jobs.html)

Doesn’t that mean the government is a legitimate job creator? After all, who else is going to place orders with private companies for fighter jets, roads, bridges, and schools, not to mention the $517billion spent on outsourcing?

All of this adds up to a mystery.

Why do some middle class Americans insist on voting against their own economic self-interests? It makes absolutely no sense. For that kind of voting to be even more common in states where the economy is even more dependent on government makes even less sense.

Let’s not shy away from this fact, either. It is only Republican legislators who want to shrink government to the point that they can drown it in the bath. Middle class Americans who vote for them are voting to commit economic suicide.

FDR had this to say in his famous “I welcome their hatred” speech in 1936. It’s just as true today as it was back then.

The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. (http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/od2ndst.html)

Let’s hope that our Republican friends, family members, neighbors, and strangers will come to their senses soon and stop allowing themselves to be deluded by the tyrants of their party.

Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream | Documentary about Income Inequality | Independent Lens | PBS

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Filmmaker Alex Gibney depicts an uneasy coexistence of wealth and poverty along one New York City thoroughfare.

Greg Russak‘s insight:

The greatest problem we face in American society? The corrupting influence of far too much money being poured into politics by such an infinitesimally small group of incredibly wealthy and powerful people.

 

The second greatest threat? There’s no easy or other way to say it. It’s average Americans buying into their lies.

 

We can’t deny that there are competing political ideologies at work. It should be understood – and as this documentary points out – that it’s not just Republicans and it’s not just Democrats. Each vie for and enjoy their own share of the wealthy’s attention and largess.

 

This video really is well worth the time. (The entire documentary is on Netflix or YouTube.)

 

I hope that after you watch it you’ll be moved to do your part to get money out of politics by becoming a citizen co-sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

See on www.pbs.org

“Bankers Are Balking at a Proposed Rule on Capital” Gretchen Morgenson – The New York Times

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

“Over the next two months, the regulators proposing this rule will no doubt encounter a lobbying buzz saw. Mr. Hoenig (vice chairman of the F.D.I.C.) said he and his colleagues were bracing for that. Bankers, after all, prefer things just the way they are. They can load up on leverage to take risks and reap the rewards. But when losses abound? Well, they’re the taxpayers’ problem.” – Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at the New York Times.

Greg Russak‘s insight:

Letting banks regulate themselves with what is called ‘risk-weighting’ didn’t work out so well in the past.

“This so-called risk-weighting approach was an abject failure. For example, the assumptions characterized the sovereign debt of Greece as risk-free, requiring that banks set aside no capital against those holdings for possible losses. The risk-weight system also determined, incorrectly, that highly rated mortgage securities fell low on the risk scale.”

Why shouldn’t banks be regulated up to their eye-balls? How can we think bankers can be trusted now?

Either they are horrible at analyzing risk and need lots and lots of oversight or, more likely, they know that in an under-regulated environment they can privatize any gains and socialize all their losses back to us through future federal bailouts.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/business/bankers-are-balking-at-a-proposed-rule-on-capital.html?ref=gretchenmorgenson&_r=0

How Big Money Created the Most Polarized Congress in a Century: 5 Charts

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

The incredible growth of PACs, the death of vote splitting, and the demise of America’s cushiest retirement home

Greg Russak‘s insight:

An article with charts worth keeping at the ready, especially when the discussion turns to union versus corporate and trade group money.

See on www.theatlantic.com