from “The Market and Inequality: Progressives Lose When They Accept the Right’s Framing” by Dean Baker, TPMCafé, January 11, 2011, 7:48AM
…It is ridiculous to argue that the inequality in the U.S. is simply the result of free markets. Markets are structured by governments, and the rich have used their control of the government to structure the market in ways to make themselves richer.
The mechanisms for upward redistribution can be seen everywhere. Most recently the government bailouts of too big to fail banks meant that the top executives of Citigroup, Goldman, and the rest could continue to draw paychecks in the tens of millions of dollars. The implicit government guarantee enjoyed by these institutions amounts to a subsidy of tens of billions each year that is divided among their higher paid employees and their shareholders.
Patent and copyright monopolies are another way in which the government redistributes income upward. The income from these government granted monopolies flows overwhelmingly to people in the top 10 percent of the income distribution. These interventions in the market serve a purpose, but there are other ways to support research and creative activity that are more efficient and lead to less inequality.
The pattern of trade pursued by the United States over the last three decades, in which less educated workers are placed in competition with low-paid workers in the developing world, while the most highly educated workers are largely protected, also increases inequality. This effect is increased as a result of the over-valued dollar.
Federal Reserve Board policy that explicitly sacrifices employment in order to insure against inflation also has the effect of redistributing income upward….
read the full article at TPMCafé
By MAUREEN MURPHY, Countercurrents.org, January 25, 2011
I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.
I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made. And when it raided several prominent organizers’ homes and offices on Sept. 24, the FBI acknowledged that there is no immediate threat to the American public. So what is this investigation really about?
The activists who have been ensnared in this fishing net with different groups to end the US wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end US military aid for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and US military aid to Colombia, which has a shocking record of repression and human rights abuses. All of us have publicly and peacefully dedicated our lives to social justice and advocating for more just and less deadly US foreign policy. Continue reading
“So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years.” Thus spoke the President last night. “Domestic” spending means non-war and non-military spending. Over half of our public spending goes to wars and the military. Even the President’s own catfood (deficit) commission recommended cutting $100 billion. Why leave it out of the freeze? This may be why:
“And we’ve sent a message … to all parts of the globe: We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.” That’s going to be expensive, and President Obama promised lower taxes on corporations in the same speech. He’s already signed off on tax cuts for billionaires. Spending cuts will have to come somewhere else.
It’s time to resist.
“Already, we’ve frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.” But those little cuts out of the $1 trillion we spend on the military each year are planned for future years, not this one. The President is expected to propose a larger military budget for the third year in a row next month. And he has thus far consistently used off-the-books supplemental bills to add more funding to his wars.
If you oppose this agenda, add your name now to a growing movement to push back.
And check out the videos and links to further action that we’re adding at the bottom of that page.