Inequality for All!

This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog:

Don’t be distracted by January’s fiscal cliff or looming budget deficits. The central problem of our economy is widening inequality.

It’s reducing the purchasing power of the vast middle class on which job growth depends, and turning the economy into a speculative casino for multimillionaires and billionaires.

It’s also undermining our ability to turn the economy around, as those millionaires and billionaires subsidize politicians who refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy and seek to cut spending critical to the middle class and the poor.

We can reverse this trend.

The first step is to make sure Americans understand what’s occurred, why it’s occurred, and what must be done.

And one of the best means of doing so is through film.

That’s why I’ve joined a team of talented filmmakers to produce a new documentary called “Inequality for All.”

We need your help. Please watch the following short video, and do whatever you can:

Check out their Kickstarter project here, and follow professor, economist, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s blog.

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  • alizardx

    Whether or not the trend is reversible is an open question.

    “Don’t be distracted by January’s fiscal cliff or looming budget deficits. The central problem of our economy is widening inequality.”

    Widening inequality by repurposing the Federal government into a pure wealth capture and upward transfer machine and shedding its vestigial functionality in areas that don’t serve this purpose is precisely what this is all about.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

      It hasn’t been ‘turned’ into this recently. It’s been this way all along. The only reason we’re seeing this function being unearthed recently is because economic growth is done. They’re just cooking the books and slowly stripping wealth away from everyone else. Capital has always been designed to go upwards. Usury does that by default.

      • alizardx

        Growth based on cheap fossil fuel is done. Slower growth based on renewable energy very possible. Elite exclusive focus on short-term greed endangers both us and them / their descendants. Agreed on your other basic assumptions.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

          I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say ‘slower’ growth… Could it get much slower than the dismally low rate at which it’s moving right now? >1%? Anyways, why should ‘growth’ be a measure of prosperity anyways? The de-growth movement has a lot of interesting points… not the least of which is that if something is growing perpetually in nature, it’s just not good–think cancer, red algae blooms. Me thinks usury and the bank fraud system have a lot to do with inculcating this ‘grow or die’ ideology in society.

          • alizardx

            Slower because conversion to renewables capital-intensive and energy costs will temporarily increase (and drop as systems are amortized and operating costs drop to maintenance levels). To end world poverty requires economic growth. Unless you are willing to accept the idea of starving people forever, and the Third World isn’t buying into that notion,

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Oh, OK. I see we’re talking different languages now. Your points make sense in the old ‘economic-growth-leads-to-equality-eventually’ paradigm-based argument. I just don’t see things that way. I think poverty persists because of, not despite economic growth; since, the ‘economy’ (the formalized, captured economy of the workplace, anyways) functions to shift wealth upwards and away from the real productive sectors of society. Capital functions to perpetuate poverty through peripheral dependence on the core for all life-supporting needs. This is why you cite ‘starving people’ as the inevitable outcome of the end of economic growth. Again, it’s the ‘grow or die’ mentality imputed aross borders (in places other than our society). Food security is something easily achievable if people in the Third World were to own their own land to work, without fear of eviction for not turning a profit.

            So ‘amortized’ limits to implement renewable energy systems is precisely the problem I am talking about. If we continue to look at capital as a restrictive element in all facets of our productive activity, then we are acknowledging a social reality that was designed to be self-defeating. Capital restrictions to productive activity (sorry for being so vague here) is not a _real_ problem. It’s only a relationship between people that is open to negotiation. David Graeber offers some really important insight into the nature of debt (which is analogous to capital).

  • BuzzCoastin

    > It’s reducing the purchasing power of the vast middle class on which job growth depends

    somebody should have thought of that before they sent all the jobs to China

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pete-Wagner/530841039 Pete Wagner

    What if all the money stolen during “financial crisis” were to suddenly resurface?

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Most of that money never really existed to begin with.

      Private banks have always printed their own money, in a manner of speaking, by creating debt instruments which promise some additional return to a purchaser beyond his initial investment. This is called “commercial money”–as contrasted with currency issued by a sovereign government
      .
      But our government let it get out of hand by taking a lax attitude towards bank regulation. Banksters may be stupid, vile bags of sh*t unable to see beyond the ends of their noses, but they do have a type of vicious animal cunning. They understood that it IS possible to polish a turd. Maybe the sheen won’t last too long, but from the banker’s point of view it doesn’t have to. It only has to last just long enough.

      Without good standards for auditing or underwriting, the banks were able to con millions of gullible rubes into taking out loans for far more than they could ever hope to repay–and then slice and dice these receivables into all sorts of bizarre, opaque securities.

      By letting banks sell this crap on the open market to other gullible rubes’ IRA’s, pensions and whatnot, the government essentially allowed banksters to steal good old reliable government currency from you and me.

      To add further to the injury, millions of gullible bastards have been conned into giving away their assets and revenue streams denominated in reliable sovereign currency in exchange for this exact type of make believe financial market bullshit. No more government or employer sponsored health and pension plans–now you are forced to invest in private vehicles holding flakey, unreliable commercial money.

      Of course this couldn’t last forever. Eventually the debt contracts those securities were based upon would come due. Only when that happened did we all realize how little capital was actually left in the real economy. The banksters and their wealthy clients had all the good sovereign currency locked up in their accounts, and the rest of us were left with worthless paper and mortgages we could never hope to repay.

      Supply side economics can’t help us now. There’s too little good capital flowing through the real economy to incentivize strong levels of production. Bailouts and QE have masked the pain to some extent by propping up–for now–financial markets.

      What we need now is Demand Side Economics. But that would require radically more progressive taxation, to force the rich to cough it up, as well as renewed governmental vigilance over the integrity of the money supply.

      In short, you and I will be long dead before the lightbulb of apprehension ever goes on in the American imagination.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

        I doubt that last statement.

        Also, you treat the banks like they are somehow independent of government. They’re all aligned with the Fed (in the US, anyways). The Fed controls the money supply, the Fed issues the currency–there hasn’t been a sovereign currency in the US since before 1913. When the Fed took over and started the government on a program of borrowing from them at interest, it set the whole system up to fail. The dollar’s lifespan was drawn out then–probably in Jekyll Island. The dollar is gonna go soon, and when it does the people are gonna have to start different ways of doing things. If there’s one thing an infinitely-fungible currency does, it’s quash imagination. We’re about to get a whole hell of a lot more creative as a society–some people call it ‘collapse’, I call it the ‘Big Mixer’!

        • Liam_McGonagle

          I’m sure you do doubt my statement. But clearly the information you based your opinions on is pretty faulty. Who controls appointments to the Fed?

          Your confusion is obvious. You demonstrate a very poor understanding of the definition of money and monetary aggregates. And even the fundamental aggregate category, M1 (i.e., bills and coins) are printed and coined under the U.S. Department of Treasury–a completely separate department directly within the executive branch of the U.S. government. You’re zero for two so far.

          And that’s as far as I’m willing to coach you through this. If you can’t even get past this basic stuff, Adam, you need to give up opining on economics. Or at least make some more serious effort at understanding them than repeating the half mad ramblings of an untrained gynecologist.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            I think your yeast infection is affecting your higher cognitive functions, Liam.

            Here’s a little Web site to explain where the US dollar comes from.

            http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/where-does-money-come-from-the-giant-federal-reserve-scam-that-most-americans-do-not-understand

            The bills are called “Federal Reserve Notes”. Look at any bill to confirm this. They are _not_ US Treasury notes. While these bills (and coins) are printed and minted physically by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, this occurs under the auspices of the Federal Reserve System. The Fed, however, is neither federal (it’s a private entity) and there are no reserves (money is created from thin air based on US treasury bonds). The only accurate word is ‘system’, so, since the other two are lies, it’s better just to capitalize the third word and call this fraudulent scheme the ‘System’.

            Money is created at the same time that debt is created. They are treated as the same thing. If this wasn’t the case, the US government would not find itself $15 trillion+ in over its head. Further to this, some absurd fraction (95% or higher) of all currency circulating is electronic. There isn’t enough trees to print all of the money (remember that it’s debt) in current $1, $5, $10, $20, $100 denominations.

            So what is money? Is it electrons? Is it paper and coins? Anyway you look at it, the System has commodified a public good (money) and made it into their toilet paper currency so that they could continue pumping wealth from the masses. The banks are having their cake and eating it too. This all happens through government fiat. You can’t pay your taxes, fines, bonds etc. in the US in anything but Federal Reserve Notes or their electronic equivalent.

            If you want to read more about this, I’ll be happy to send a reading list your way. Start with Ann Pettifor’s book The Coming First World Debt Crisis (2006). Oh, and remember to douche regularly after all of the horse-fucking, m’K?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            What brand of floor polish are you drinking these days? Chateau La Feet? Because your “knowledge” stinks.

            Quote: “The Department of the Treasury operates and maintains systems that are critical to the nation’s financial infrastructure, such as the production of coin and currency, the disbursement of payments to the American public, revenue collection, and the borrowing of funds necessary to run the federal government.”

            http://www.treasury.gov/about/role-of-treasury/Pages/default.aspx

            The Federal reserve is a bank (hence the title ‘Federal Reserve BANK’, Brainiac)whose primary shareholder is the United States government, who controls the appointment of its governors.

            Quote: “Today, the Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas:

            #1. conducting the nation’s monetary policy by inf luencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates

            #2. supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers

            #3. maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets

            #4. providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system ”
            http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pdf/pf_1.pdf#page=4

            If you are still confused it’s because you have decades of misinformation to clear from your mind. The ‘sources’ you cite could at best be consisdered secondary, whereas my own citations are from primary, straight from the institutions themselves. Even the most casual glance at their laughable misunderstanding of the situation will indicate that your sources have been drinking as much turpentine as you apparently have. What, were they written in a cave in Montana?

            And remember, Einstein–I’m the one who first mentioned the distinction between commercial money produced by banks (including but by a long shot not primarily the Fed) and sovereign currency and federally insured deposits. You’re more than a little late to the party here.

            You wouldn’t be qualified to lecture anyone on how to find their *ss with both hands.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Awww.. dat’s sweet. Someone still actuawly twusts da guvenment and da rich peepol. Cuz when we want truth, we always go to primawy sowsezs, wight, Liam?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Wow. What an erudite and on-topic reponse. You’re really embarrassed, aren’t you?

            Well, good. You should be.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            So what was this argument about, anyways? You claiming the US actually makes its own money? That there is actually a ‘sovereign currency’?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Oh hey, Liam. I found this video this morning about what Bernanke had to say in testimony regarding a proposed audit of the Fed. Notice how he says that GAO auditing would result in an effective take-over of monetary policy by Congress and the repudiation of ‘independence’ of the Fed. Also notice how he cites the ‘consequences’ of an audit? Doesn’t that strike you as a bit sinister?
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AidBugvVqpw&feature=related

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Oh and one more thing, Liam. The Fed, itself, declares it to be ‘independent within government’ whatever-the-fuck that means… http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_14986.htm

            So, while the president may appoint the governors on the board, the Fed has sole discretion to pump out as much money as it wants. Congress is supposed to have oversight, but there has not been an audit of the Fed done until last year. And look what that revealed
            http://beforeitsnews.com/economy/2012/09/first-audit-in-the-federal-reserves-nearly-100-year-history-were-posted-today-the-results-are-startling-2449770.html

            So, take your ridiculous economic view of supply and demand and free market mantra line and shove up your yeasty-beasty twat, Liam. :)

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Quote: “whatever-the-fuck that means”

            At last, an admission that you have no idea what the Hell you’re talking about.

          • Calypso_1

            I’ve been trying to run down the origins and veracity of the claims made about the Fed by its opponents. I really haven’t found anything that doesn’t source directly to the ideas of Eustace Mullins. The more I look into the lives and other works by authors of anti-fed books the more skeptical I become of their insight or access to knowledge they claim.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pete-Wagner/530841039 Pete Wagner

        They want us to believe the lost trillions didn’t exist, and yet Obama/Congress/Fed implemented a trillion dollar bailout. So where did the bailout money go? As for me, my retirement fund was reduced by half during this time. So it goes like this: Insiders shorted the bad debt markets, and subsequently collapsed them, to include our retirement funds. Obama/Congress/Fed created the trillions to pay off those same insiders holding big IOUs (i.e., the house won again). My question again, where did the trillions go, in whose pockets, and what is the plan to put it back into the markets? Of course this is a rhetorical question, only those same insiders know their plan.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          You know where it went: to the trust fund brats. The top 10% own 94% of all financial securities*.

          When Bernanke authorizes a buyout of U.S. bonds under a Quantitative Easing programme, what he’s really doing is giving to people who already have too much money good, reliable federally insured bank deposit money (i.e., “M1″ category of monetary aggregation) in exchange for their less reliable bonds (i.e., “M2″ or “M3″ category)–which they promptly use to rig the rest of the financial markets.

          That’s why the Dow is back over 12,000, and getting pretty damned close to 13,000–despite lagging employment and standard of living statistics for the real economy.

          That’s also why overall inflation is so ‘meh’. If all that fiat money QE programmes created actually sent money into the real economy, we’d have inflation around 3.5% again.

          If all those rich people were forced to sell off their bloated securities holdings in order to pay a progressive income tax or a wealth tax, you’d soon seen all the phony-balony inflated “market value” shrink down to a realistic proportion again.

          * Table 2, http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

  • 1plakat

    Day traders and investors can make more wealth out of old money with barely any labor. Also banks can place any fee on your account and invest your money to make more money out of nothing. When I try to study economics, it just seems like a big scam and it all comes down to the main law, the law of Power.

    • alizardx

      actually, day trading only works for average person when the economy is growing fast enough that day trader amateur mistakes swamped in rising trends. Retail investors have already bailed out of the markets for the most part. Casino capitalism rigged against small investors.

      • 1plakat

        I am not talking about the average person, so i don’t know what you are talking about. Day trading can make you money if you have enough capital and have done the research. I am talking about wall street day traders. The market has a pattern and one can track it. A lot of wealthy people I know supplement their wealth with investments and some just work with investments.

        • alizardx

          Wall Street “day trading”? Can you tell me what HFT is without googling and what its effects are on the larger economy?

          • 1plakat

            hight freguency trading, day trading all the same, just because certain terminology is used by a group does not mean others do not understand the concepts. Go act like a know it all somewhere else. Your sesquipedalian posts are annoying and really explain nothing most of the time, they just serveto confuse, bore and make you look like a DB (can you tell me what that means without googling it?). Also Can you eat your own fist and tell me how much I care? Not impressing anyone buddy.