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#wealth gap
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Boss made a dollar
I made a dime,
That was a poem
From a simpler time.
Now boss makes a thousand
And gives us a cent
While he’s got employees 
Who can’t pay the rent.
So when boss makes a million
And the workers make jack
Then that’s when we riot
And take our lives back.
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magicklore · 6 months ago
If your anarchy doesn't include the protection of disabled ppls rights then I don't fucking want it. If it puts poor people struggling to survive on the front lines because they have no other choice then I don't fucking want it. Be aware that without safety nets in place for those most at risk you are telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps just like capitalists. You can't destroy a system without something to fall back on so get into mutual aid! Don't be an armchair anarchist! Create the foundation for a better world before you rip out the broken foundation we have now. Be angry, but put it to good use.
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robertreich · 5 days ago
The Real Reason the Economy Might Collapse
Skyrocketing wealth inequality isn’t just wrong. It’s also weakening our economy. 
70 percent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. So American consumers need to spend enough money to buy most of the goods and services Americans are capable of producing. 
This means that over the long term their incomes need to keep pace with their productivity. 
But their incomes haven’t. Over the past 40 years, most people’s wages have basically stagnated, while worker productivity has soared. 
Where did the economic gains go? Mostly to the top. The wealthy now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s.
Here’s the economic problem: The wealthy spend only a small percentage of their income and wealth. Their spending is not enough to fulfill the consumer demand that keeps the economy churning.
Lower-income people, on the other hand, spend almost everything they have – which is becoming very little. Most workers aren’t earning nearly enough to buy what the economy is capable of producing. 
The result is a gap between potential output and potential consumption.
To fill the gap, the economy depends on people going deeper and deeper into debt so they can buy. Even in 2018, when the economy appeared strong, 40% of Americans had negative net incomes and were borrowing money to pay for basic household needs.
The Fed has had to keep short-term interest rates lower and lower to accommodate this buying. And the government has to spend more and more to fill the remaining gap. 
None of this is sustainable. At some point, widening inequality causes the economy to collapse. 
We’ve seen this before. Years ago, Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1934 to 1948, explained that the Great Depression occurred because the buying power of most Americans fell far short of what the economy was producing. 
He blamed the increasing concentration of wealth at the top: “A giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. As in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.”
While the wealthy of the 1920s didn’t know what to do with all their money, most Americans could maintain their standard of living only by going into debt. When that debt bubble burst, the economy tanked.
Fast forward 100 years and we see the same pattern. While the typical Americans’ wages have barely budged for decades, adjusted for inflation, most economic gains have gone to the top, just as Eccles’s so-called “giant suction pump” drew an increasing portion of the nation’s wealth into a few hands before the Great Depression.
The result has been an economy whose underlying structure is far more fragile than it may seem.
Remember the housing and financial bubbles that burst in 2008? We avoided another Great Depression then only because the government pumped enough money into the economy to maintain demand, and the Fed kept interest rates near zero. Then came the pandemic.
The Fed has had to keep interest rates near zero. And the government has had to pump even more money into the economy. While these programs have been crucial to staving off a pandemic-induced depression, they're only temporary.
Over the long term, the real worry continues to be on the demand side. Widening inequality means not enough demand. 
America’s wealth gap is now more extreme than it’s been in over a century. Until this structural problem is remedied, the American economy will remain perilously fragile.
It will also be vulnerable to the next demagogue wielding anger, racism, and resentment as substitutes for real reform. 
Closing our staggering wealth gap is crucial to the survival of both our economy and our democracy.
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profeminist · 3 months ago
"Saturday will be Juneteenth, the now-national holiday marking the arrival in Texas — two years late — of the news of the Emancipation Proclamation. The nice class traitors at Patriotic Millionaires, who have long called for the government to raise their taxes please, have some thoughts on Juneteenth. They'd like to remind you that the holiday is both an opportunity to celebrate how far this dumb country of ours has come from the Worst Old Days, and to note that there's a hell of a long way to go before we reach real equal opportunity for all Americans.
As any honest history class should teach the youngs, the legacy of enslavement didn't end with the Civil War, but was built into the social and economic fabric of post-Reconstruction America. And thanks to deliberately discriminatory policies, an economic version of Jim Crow, we still have a terrible racial wealth gap. Oh, look, here is a chart!
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Wealth in the U.S. is disproportionately owned by White families; In 2019, the net worth of a typical White family was $189,100, over 7 times more than the $24,100 average of the median Black family. These extreme inequities are a result of generations of policies enacted solely to protect White wealth. The U.S. government intentionally blocked Black families from wealth-building ventures and opportunities; whether that be through denying FHA loans and GI bill benefits, astronomical student loan debt with little forgiveness, or various other banking or business programs offered only to white Americans."
Read the full piece here
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Saw this comic on Facebook
Panel 1: A big cake on a table on a table has been cut into two slices--a very small one, labelled "pobres" (the poor) and a very large one, labelled "ricos" (the rich). Two people on the poor side look angrily at the man on the rich side.
Panel 2: The rich man has taken a knife to cut the already small "pobres" (poor) slice in half, now marked "izquierda" (the Left) and "derecha" (the Right). The two poor people are now looking angrily at each other while the rich man knowingly smiles.
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aturtleathome · 4 months ago
In my experience, middle- to upper-middle class Americans who DON'T want the minimum wage to be raised seem to be against it for one of two reasons:
1. They have been living in a Privilege Bubble for so long that they don't actually understand how hard it is for most people to live on current low-range wages.
2. They have "worked very hard" (some in reality and some only in their own perceptions) to get where they are and they don't want to see a systemic shift that suddenly provides greater pay and benefits to people who "aren't working as hard."
These are just my own thoughts. Feel free to ask questions and discuss respectfully.
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eelhound · 7 months ago
"Petty theft is always prosecuted. But if someone embezzles $10 million, a company tends to prefer to keep that person employed with them and treat it like a loan. Someone in a position to steal that much money has connections.
One white-collar criminal who comes to mind — I personally had some contact with him — was in a niche industry. He was a deal broker for commodities, and his customers would only deal with him. 10 million dollars is a lot of money, but in relation to his commission, it was not that much. His placement in the industry, his relationship to labor, was what made him wealthy, not merely the dollar amount of his salary and his assets. He himself didn’t work to produce a product, or really provide a service. He maintained a set of relationships with business owners (who also didn’t make anything with their own hands — they had employees for that) and acted as a gatekeeper of information about who needed what.
Within the very specific parameters of his work, he was trusted. Of course his embezzlement wasn’t brought to the police. Focusing on the numbers rather than seeing their movement as descriptive of something, as pointing towards his relationships, is the same kind of mistake a dog makes when you point at the moon and he sniffs your finger.
This gets at what David Graeber was talking about when he outlined the origin of money in his book Debt: The First 5000 Years. Before the wide use of currency for everyday transactions (which only became common in the 1800s), poor workers relied on credit almost exclusively. Credit in this sense meant 'trust.' People did not directly barter (e.g., eight eggs for one shoe), they kept track of what they owed one another over time and paid as they could. These were relationships built on trust. The switch to currency-only transactions had to be imposed by state force.
For example, in the very early days of industrial capitalism in England, shipyards were routinely a year or two behind on wages, so workers took tools and food and other things they could barter to pay their rent and their grocery bills. This wasn’t a sign of economic collapse — this was the economy. In order to force a switch to currency, the government criminalized taking tools and goods from the shipyards (previously it was not just legal, but precisely how compensation worked), and the shipyards instituted whippings for this now-theft. Samuel Bentham, an architect, redesigned shipyards with a new central surveillance tower to curb this new kind of theft, an idea lifted by his brother, the architect Jeremy Bentham, for the now infamous prison panopticon.
Before that, in medieval Europe, the legal penalties for defaulting on a debt were harsh and involved mutilation or death. However, they were almost never used. Debt was considered a private matter between two individuals, worked out between them in whatever units of barter and timeframes suited them. As Graeber put it, capitalism is 'the story of how an economy of credit was converted into an economy of interest; of the gradual transformation of moral networks by the intrusion of the impersonal — and often vindictive — power of the state.' Relationships have always been the fundamental underpinning of money: the thing money reflects for the wealthy and destroys for the poor. In a way, the wealthy fraudster I met is a throwback to an older, kinder, more personal concept of money — one most of us will never experience.
Today, prosecution rates for white collar crime are the lowest they’ve ever been and trending downwards. Theft itself becomes a conversation, rather than just a crime, when a wealthy person does it. When one capitalist robs another, my experience is that they tend to discuss among themselves how to restore the thief to good standing without destroying anyone’s life, livelihood, or privacy. There are of course exceptions. Bernie Madoff and his $50 billion investment Ponzi scheme springs to mind. But Madoff’s position was dependent on resources and connections that turned out to be fictional. He had no realistic means to ever repay the investors he scammed (or even to return their initial investment), and so he went to prison. But for those that genuinely are well connected and do have the means to repay the people they rip off, the wealthy already have the restorative justice prison abolitionists fight for.
Petty theft, on the other hand, is prosecuted mercilessly. I find this especially strange given how much more of a problem fraud is than theft. The FBI estimates that burglary and petty theft cost Americans about $3.4 billion in property losses. White collar crime costs between $426 billion and $1.7 trillion annually. This kleptocratic culture isn’t harmless. Enron was a natural gas company whose entire business was propped up by fraud. When they were no longer able to continue to hide the extent of their debt, they both crashed that industry and spurred massive reforms in accounting practices and fraud controls. Perhaps those reforms worked, but I doubt fraud has dropped at the rate fraud prosecution has."
- M.K. Anderson, from "The Nature of Money"
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thevortexbloguk · 8 months ago
Mental Health and Los Angeles' Homelessness Crisis: Why "Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel" Is One of the Most Important Documentaries on Netflix
The series observes the devastating impact of mental illness and the stigma surrounding it and teaches us that the dire problem of homelessness in the city of Los Angeles is only getting worse
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SPOILER ALERT: It may be best to only read on if you have already watched the documentary series.
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"Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel" is not about a cursed hotel. This documentary series is so much more than that and I personally believe that it is one of the most important documentaries to air on Netflix. So many current issues are covered that are generally brushed under the carpet and left to rot and this is one of the reasons why it must be watched.
Elisa Lam believed that experiencing Los Angeles would change her life for the better. She wanted to discover "La La Land". Instead, what she discovered was not the glamorous city she had in mind - staying only a few streets away from Skid Row in a hotel infamous for its tragic history, riddled with stories of death, drug abuse and serial killer lodgings, Elisa was faced with a gruesome reality - that reality is Los Angeles's gaping wealth divide which is only widening as time goes on.
Elisa's dreamy expectations of LA being heavily dampened by the poverty she found herself in would have no doubt contributed to her worsening mental state during her stay at the Cecil Hotel. Los Angeles is often depicted as the city where people go to find themselves - after all, it's Hollywood's home - but the reality is that the city has many more dimensions that are not represented on holiday websites or tourist leaflets.
I have seen for myself only a fraction of the poverty which adorns the streets of LA when I visited in 2019 and what I saw was shocking enough. People are living in tents only streets away from where millionaires sleep comfortably in their high-rise apartments and mansions. A taxi driver told me "The council are building more apartments in downtown LA but it's only for the wealthy. They won't do anything about the problem of homelessness."
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This is brought to light in the documentary also and it is clearly highlighted how much the homeless have been forgotten about in the city - for 100 years they have been shoved aside to make space for rich newcomers. Last year it was estimated that there are about 66,433 people living on the streets in Los Angeles and this increased by 12.7% between 2019 and 2020. The main cause of homelessness in the city is too many underpaid jobs and lack of affordable housing.
The fact that Elisa ended up losing her life in a place where she was looking to escape from her troubles is truly heartbreaking. She was incredibly bright, but severely mentally ill, and I believe that parallels can be drawn between Elisa's condition and the way in which the impoverished are treated in LA. Elisa was the victim of bipolar disorder, a mental illness which is heavily stigmatised like many other mental health conditions. Some people might speculate that Elisa should have been more responsible and taken her medication as it had been prescribed to her - and whilst I agree that we all have a responsibility for our own self care, there can be many reasons why people don't take their medication. These can include the stigma behind being prescribed medication for a mental illness and not wanting to become dependent on medication. In Elisa's case, the fact she strongly believed going to Los Angeles would help her find herself may have made her feel as if she wouldn't need her medication once she got to the City of Angels - she'd be okay without it.
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But as the documentary demonstrated, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can become so severe that they cause people to do things that are completely out of character and even lead to a person's death. This is why mental illness needs to be better understood and why Elisa could have had more help - her sister mentioned she had had severe psychotic episodes at home previously, so why didn't her family make sure she was 100% safe and well before she travelled alone? It would be wrong lay the blame on her family though - Elisa was an adult after all and they had to let her travel if she wanted to.
The problem of homelessness in LA suffers the same stigma as Elisa's illness in a society where the elite are catered to and the poor are simply pushed aside. A Los Angeles Times analysis conducted in 2019 discovered that 67% of people living on the streets suffer from a mental illness or substance abuse disorder - a direct result of the city's lack of social care for its poorer residents. Just like those living on Skid Row, Elisa felt rejected by society, misunderstood. Her worsening mental health was a product of the same system which has left millions of Americans deprived - a system which belongs to the billionaire class, a system which wants to maintain a spectacular image at all costs, a system which doesn't want to talk about mental health issues.
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The Cecil Hotel, too, is a product of its environment. It is not a cursed place in the paranormal sense - it is cursed in the fact that lives have been needlessly lost there through the lack of resources and funding that are contributed to Skid Row. Although the Cecil Hotel has provided many with shelter, tragedies are bound to happen when people are not given the help they need to battle drug addiction, mental illness and crime involvement. The lack of security at the hotel was also shocking to begin with.
These are the reasons why "Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel" is so desperately relevant in today's society. With the pandemic taking hold of the world, more people than ever before are grappling with mental health issues and the wealth gap continues to increase worldwide. There will be more deaths like Elisa's if we don't start to talk about mental health and more people will resort to living on the streets if we continue to value wealth over human lives.
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mirandathemoon · 8 months ago
This whole GameStop Reddit Robinhood stock thing just proves without any shadow of a doubt that the wealth gap is intentional and that the American dream of getting rich is nothing more than a carrot for you to focus on while you get beaten by the stick of poverty.
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republicansacrossamerica · 6 months ago
What Are These People Thinking?!
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jjstone · 3 months ago
There’s so much about being poor that upper middle class and wealthy people will never understand. Simple things like: 
On a hot night, if your air conditioner is either shit or nonexistent, it can be difficult to fall asleep, even with minimal/no blankets and very little to none clothes on. Which means that we don’t get enough sleep, which affects our work performance and various other things in our lives. 
It’s down to little shit like that for us. 
Or how about, when you’re on Foodstamps you have to budget very carefully, and even if you do that, if you’re supporting more than one person on what little income you have, plus your foodstamps, you are probably still running out of food a week and a half before the month ends. Emergency rooms have actually shown that they see a spike in fainting incidents near the end of and beginning of the the next month, because poor people just. Don’t have any money for food, and end up suffering the effects of low blood sugar and inadequate nutrition, which leads to fainting spells. 
They don’t think about these things, because they don’t affect them They tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and just work harder, while ignoring the things that actively make it harder for us TO work and get ahead. 
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eelhound · a year ago
"For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man. The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt.
There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor."
- G.K. Chesterton, from Orthodoxy (1908)
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