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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

The Weekly Tendown October 2-8 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dear Internet:


The fundamental problem is you don't make enough money.

You work hard enough.  But the dollars which you generate excessively stay in the hands of your employer.

That's always been true in the United States.  But for the heart of the 20th century, through a combination of unions and social policy, the impact of that was minimized enough that the number of Americans in real economic pain was marginal.  That's cold comfort for those on the margins.

As I've been writing in this space for two years, that level of systemic American inequality has been shot into hyper-drive.  And now, no matter how hard you run, you lose ground.  You lose ground while the people for whom you work get audaciously wealthy.  You are asked to work harder and harder in order to earn less and less.

And the response of the political class is what?

Let's give your boss more tax breaks.  Let's talk about raising your taxes.  Let's cut even more social services.  Let's consider cutting Medicare and Social Security.

The way to make your life better is to make your life even harder.  That's the response of the political class.  Your life should be harder.

You voted for Obama because you wanted it to happen at the ballot box.  This exhaustion, anxiety, and anger  
was what drove that vote in 2008.  "Change" meant "why are we spending billions of dollars on these two wars when we can't afford to go to the doctor?"

It didn't happen at the ballot box.  So maybe it happens in the streets.

Here's Tendown 97.

1. We Are the 99%
If you have not gone to the Tumblr page, that's your click.  I'm that.  That is me.  Before you go to the next thing, click that link, spend some time.  Compare what you see there to the dismissive way Occupy Wall St. was covered this week.  Forget Fox, you know that Fox isn't a news organization, it's plutocratic propaganda.  Of course Fox said the Americans marching this week were Nazi terrorists.  That's what they do. But here's CNN's Alison Kosik.:


Go to that Tumblr page.  See if Kosik's analysis rings true.


2. It's Not An Accident
From The Institute For America's Future:


What Washington can’t seem to understand is the scope of the crisis that Americans face. It isn’t just the 25 million people in need of full time work. We have fewer payroll jobs now than we had in 2000 but 30 million more people. Wages and household incomes are falling. Barely half of employees get health insurance at work, and those that do pay ever more out of pocket before the insurance kicks in. One in eight homes is in foreclosure or in arrears; one in four is under water. A staggering $12 trillion in wealth that people thought they had – much of it in their homes – has been lost. Only half of employees have any kind of retirement plan at work, and now Social Security and Medicare are under attack.
The middle class is getting crushed. And this isn’t an accident; it is a defeat. It is the result of conservative ideas and corporate interests that have dominated our politics for over thirty years. They launched an attack on labor, lowered the floor under the poorest Americans, and raised the roof for the rich. The money that was supposed to trickle down instead congealed at the top. The richest 1% captured all of the growth of the last decade, while the bottom 90% lost ground. They had a wilding, inflated a bubble that eventually burst, and the economy went over a cliff.


3. Corporations Do Not Need More Tax Breaks
They're sitting on 2 trillion right now.

American corporations are holding more cash on their balance sheets than at any time in nearly a half century, as they continue to save instead of investing or hiring workers, according to a Federal Reserve report released Friday. At the same time, Republican presidential candidates and corporate leaders continue to lobby for lower corporate tax rates and huge corporate tax giveaways under the guise that they will lead to higher rates of job creation.

4. 88%
From Northeastern University.


“Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, real national income in the U.S. increased by $528 billion. Pre-tax corporate profits by themselves had increased by $464 billion while aggregate real wages and salaries rose by only $7 billion or only .1%. Over this six quarter period, corporate profits captured 88% of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1% of the growth in real national income. …The absence of any positive share of national income growth due to wages and salaries received by American workers during the current economic recovery is historically unprecedented.”

5. Here, In Florida
3 million people below the poverty line.

The poverty line is about 10 grand for a single person, about 14 grand for two people, about 17 for 3 people, and 21 grand of income a year for a family of four.

About half of those 3 million are at less than half of the income to even reach the poverty line.

Herman Cain wants to raise their taxes, by the way.  You're a family of four making 10 grand a year, Herman Cain's grand economic plan is to cut the taxes of millionaires and billionaires by 75% and raise your taxes.

That's an actual proposal by someone running for President, running fairly successfully at present, in 2011.

Just in Palm Beach County:



6. From the 8th Floor of the Chicago Board of Trade
Don't jump.  Please.  Stop.  Don't.  Jump.

7. How Much Wealth Does That 1% Have?
Forty Percent.

8. Remember When You First Heard "Tax Millionaires."
This week,  Tendown economics was picked up by Democrats in the Senate.

9. Taxes Are How We Pay For Stuff

Like what?

Like prosecuting people for domestic violence.


 Last month, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office, facing a 10% budget cut, announced that the county would no longer be prosecuting misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases, at the county level. Finding those cases suddenly dumped on the city and lacking resources of their own, the Topeka City Council is now considering repealing the part of the city code that bans domestic battery. [...]
Since the county stopped prosecuting the crimes on September 8th, it has turned back 30 domestic violence cases. Sixteen people have been arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery and then released from the county jail after charges weren’t filed. “Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions,” said Becky Dickinson of the YWCA. “The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control.

10. How Many Times Would You Guess Newt Gingrich Has Seen the Hangover?
Seven.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim


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