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Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country: America’s Invisible Depression

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  • Part 1: America’s Invisible Depression
  • (Why We Don’t Get That) America’s Been Ripped Apart by a New Great Depression.
  • Part 2: From the Archives | Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country
  • Or, How American Collapse is Made of a New Kind of Poverty

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: America’s Invisible Depression

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(Why We Don’t Get That) America’s Been Ripped Apart by a New Great Depression.

‪umair haque‬ <https://eand.co/@umairh>, Eudaimonia and Co.

Jun 11, 2019 | I’ve been writing about some pretty dystopian numbers lately. The most recent ones coming out of America. They’re genuinely astonishing, heartbreaking, and alarming. Let me give you a little recap (feel free to skip it). Almost half of Americans struggle to afford a budget that includes the basics: food, housing, transportation, healthcare, childcare, and bills. 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 70% can’t raise $1000 for an emergency. The majority have nothing saved for retirement. The average American has a negative net worth — he’s never broken even his whole life long.

What do all those numbers say to you? They say three things to me, two of which I’ve already discussed. One, America’s effectively a poor country now. Two, it’s a caste society, composed of a tiny class of super rich who became ultra rich, an old poor, and a new poor, the people formerly known as the middle class. And the one I want to focus on in this essay.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/fit/c/100/100/0*lI5-avJvcBbQDmA2.jpeg / ‪umber haque is the Director of the London-based Havas Media Lab and heads Bubblegeneration, a strategy lab that helps discover strategic innovation.

Full story …



Part 2: From the Archives | Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country


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Or, How American Collapse is Made of a New Kind of Poverty

umair haque‬, Eudaimonia and Co.

May 23, 2018 | Consider the following statistics. The average American can’t scrape together $500 for an emergency. A third of Americans can’t afford food, shelter, and healthcare. Healthcare for a family now costs $28k — about half of median income, which is $60k.

By themselves, of course, statistics say little. But together these facts speak volumes. The story they are beginning to tell is this.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/fit/c/100/100/0*lI5-avJvcBbQDmA2.jpeg/ ‪umber haque‬ is the Director of the London-based Havas Media Lab and heads Bubblegeneration, a strategy lab that helps discover strategic innovation.

Full story …

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George Lakey | The world’s happiest people already have a Green New Deal, and they love it.

https://riseuptimes.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/people-riding-bikes-denmark.jpg?w=640&h=427
/ People riding bikes in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Flickr/Kristoffer Trolle)

  • The Nordics [are] in the top tier of nations for equality because they adopted a radically different economic model.
  • Related: Series | Part 2: The Secret to Funding a Green New Deal

George Lakey, Waging Nonviolence

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April 10, 2019 | According to the latest report from the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Nordics are once again in the top tier of the World’s Happiest People. This year’s report, which came out March 20, pulled together the scores from the last three years to build a composite score, revealing that the four happiest countries from 2016-2018 are Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, with Sweden coming in seventh.

The researchers combine a number of indicators to define “happiness.” One especially interesting for Americans is “freedom to make life choices,” since we like to think of ourselves as leaders in liberty. The index, however, places the United States at 62 (narrowly ahead of the United Kingdom), while the Nordics remain in the top 10 countries in freedom.
 
George Lakey is an activist, sociologist, and writer who added academic underpinning to the concept of nonviolent revolution. He also refined the practice of experiential training for activists which he calls "Direct Education". He has been involved in some of the greatest protests of the 20th century.

Full story …

Related:

Series | Part 2: The Secret to Funding a Green New Deal, Ellen Brown, Truthdig

https://www.truthdig.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/AP_18344670204945-850x567.jpg / Environmental activists occupy the office of then incoming Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

  • A network of public banks, including a central bank operated as a public utility, could similarly fund a U.S. Green New Deal—without raising taxes, driving up the federal debt or inflating prices.
  • Related: Series | Part 1: This Radical Plan to Fund the ‘Green New Deal’ Just Might Work.

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Shrinking the Military-Industrial Complex by Putting It to Work at Home

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/ Ships travel in formation in the Pacific Ocean during the Rim of the Pacific multinational naval exercise, July 25, 2014. (Reuters / US Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon E. Renfroe / Handout)

It’s not a pipe dream.

Peter-Christian Aigner and Michael Brenes, the Nation

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February 26, 2019 If you needed further proof of Bernie Sanders’s argument that most Americans stand with him on the issues, consider the reaction to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Despite attacks from the leadership in, or around, both parties, over 80 percent of voters support the litany of proposals advocated by the House resolution: job and income guarantees, universal health care, a cleaner environment, and lower socioeconomic inequality. Americans turn out, yet again, to be far less conservative than elites have maintained over the last half-century.

Nowhere has the gap between majority will and elite consensus been more conspicuous or longstanding than on US foreign policy. Trump’s election is perhaps the best demonstration of that fact. But there is strong evidence that most Americans were never “liberal internationalists” either. While it is notable that support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has waned in recent years, in polls Americans have consistently preferred diplomacy to military “solutions” before (and not long after) 9/11. Nonetheless, US soldiers and mercenaries are now prosecuting the latter in 80 countries, nearly half the planet.

Peter-Christian Aigner is the deputy director of the Gotham Center at the City University of New York.

Michael Brenes, a historian and the senior archivist for American diplomacy at Yale University, is currently finishing two books: one on the role of the military-industrial complex in American politics, the other on Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.

Full story …

Related:

The Military-Media Complex, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Part 1: Militarism in the Media, World Beyond War
  • Discussing the role of the media in promoting violence and warfare.
  • Part 2: Highlights of #NoWar2018
  • This video reduces a day and a half to 1 hour.
  • Related: From the Archives | Special Report: The Media and War: Week of June 29, 2014
  • Related: Your Complete Guidetothe N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin America

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Help enlighten others. Be sure to pass this on to friends and kin. We must break the system's  ability to lie with impunity.


 

The Whole Economic System is Rigged for the Rich.

  • Part 1: Of Course College Admissions Rigged for the Rich. The Whole Economic System Is.
  • The college admissions scandal is just the tip of the inequality iceberg.
  • Part 2: School Daze: Use That Bribe Scandal to Fight for Debt-Free College.
  • Since 2006, student loan debt has grown 170 percent.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


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Part 1: Of Course College Admissions Rigged for the Rich. The Whole Economic System Is.

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/ A commencement ceremony at Yalu University. "It's no shock college admissions are rigged for the rich," writes Gerard. "The whole economic system is rigged by the rich." (Photo: via Yales News)

The college admissions scandal is just the tip of the inequality iceberg.

Leo Gerard, Common Dreams

Thursday, March 14, 2019 | The children of working stiffs learned a brutal lesson this week as federal prosecutors criminally charged rich people with buying admission to elite universities for their less-than-stellar children.

The lesson is that no matter how hard you work, no matter how smart or talented you are, a dumb, lazy rich kid is going to beat you.

https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/leo_gerard.jpg?itok=exv71rYR / Leo Gerard is the International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) union and is the second Canadian to head the union. He is also a vice president of the AFL-CIO. Gerard is co-chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance and on the boards of Campaign for America’s Future and the Economic Policy Institute.

Full story …



Part 2: School Daze: Use That Bribe Scandal to Fight for Debt-Free College.


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 / Last week’s revelation of a big college bribery scandal among the rich and famous is further proof of the vast inequality between rich and poor and the plutocracy’s willingness to game the schools for themselves while ignoring the educational plight of everyone else. (Photo: Getty)

Since 2006, student loan debt has grown 170 percent.

Michael Winship, Common Dreams

Monday, March 18, 2019 | This will come as no surprise to most sentient human beings but we have an education crisis in this country that begins with the Cheeto Benito in the White House and trickles down all the way to households in which a child has never had a storybook read to them.

That my generation, as a wise man once said, is the first to teach the next generation less than we know goes beyond a sad commentary on our growing collective ignorance to reflect a society in which the best education is too often reserved for the scions of the high and mighty, the children of the very wealthy.

https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/authors/michael-winship-150x150.jpg?itok=OQKVZfvI / Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer for Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos, and former president of the Writers Guild of America East.

Full story …

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A US Tax on Wealth Is Long Overdue

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/ Carefully calculated by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), now running for president, sets a rate of 2 percent on fortunes valued between $50 million and $1 billion, and 3 percent above $1 billion, Getty Images

Between 1930 and 1980, the rate applied on the highest incomes was on average 81 percent, and the rate applied to the highest inherited estates was 74 percent. Clearly this did not destroy American capitalism.

Thomas Piketty, the Boston Globe / Common Dreams / Portside


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February 12, 2019 | What if the final blow for French President Emmanuel Macron came not from the yellow vests but from US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts? Warren, who announced her candidacy for president on Saturday, has proposed what will doubtless be one of the key points of her campaign — the creation of a genuine federal progressive wealth tax.


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Carefully calculated by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the Warren proposal sets a rate of 2 percent on fortunes valued between $50 million and $1 billion, and 3 percent above $1 billion. The proposal also provides for an exit tax equal to 40 percent of total wealth for those who relinquish their American citizenship. The tax would apply to all assets, with no exemptions, with dissuasive sanctions for people and governments that do not transmit appropriate information on assets held abroad.

Thomas Piketty is a French economist and the author of the best-selling book, Capital in the 21st Century, which emphasises the themes of his work on wealth concentrations and distribution over the past 250 years.
 
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Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?

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/ Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

  • The lack of historical consciousness lies at the heart of American exceptionalism. It hobbles our capacity to think and act. This denial of history is the masters’ mythology, not ours. Corporate power is not eternal but historical. It too shall pass — but only if we make it so.
  • Related: Chris Hedges: Fascism, Neoliberalism and Third Parties in the US, Chris Hedges, Dandelion Salad / Rise Up Times
  • Related: From the Archives | It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump.

Richard Moser, Counterpunch

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January 11, 2019 | I’ve been hearing about neoliberalism for a long time now and never could make much sense of it. It turns out the story we tell about neoliberalism is as contradictory as neoliberalism itself. Two currents within the critique of neoliberalism offer different analyses of the current economy and suggest different strategies for dealing with the gross exploitation, wealth inequality, climate destruction and dictatorial governance of the modern corporate order.

These opposing currents are not just different schools of thought represented by divergent thinkers. Rather they appear as contradictions within the critiques of neoliberalism leveled by some of the most influential writers on the subject. These different interpretations are often the result of focus. Look at neoliberal doctrine and intellectuals and the free market comes to the fore. Look at the history and practice of the largest corporations and the most powerful political actors and corporate power takes center stage.

Richard Moser writes at befreedom.co where this article first appeared.

Full story …

Related:

Chris Hedges: Fascism, Neoliberalism and Third Parties in the US, Chris Hedges, Dandelion Salad / Rise Up Times

Related: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Related:

From the Archives | It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump. Naomi Klein, the Guardian
 


https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/01bcd0b96ebb18ec1941818855eff832074f390f/...‘Elite neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.’ Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

People have lost their sense of security, status and even identity. This result is the scream of an America desperate for radical change.
Related: Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?

 

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Wed 9 Nov 2016 | They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.
___________
Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain.
___________
But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?

http://www.naomiklein.org/files/images/Naomi-Klein-credit-Kourosh-Keshir... Naomi Klein <https://www.theguardian.com/profile/naomiklein> is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and international bestsellers, No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (2017), This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000).

Full story … https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/rise-of-the-davos-...

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The Trump Tax Cut: Even Worse Than You’ve Heard

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 / President Trump in a meeting with governors and members of Congress about tax cuts in April 2018. Credit Doug Mills/the New York Times

Skeptical reporting has still been too favorable.

Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

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Jan. 1, 2019 | The 2017 tax cut has received pretty bad press, and rightly so. Its proponents made big promises about soaring investment and wages, and also assured everyone that it would pay for itself; none of that has happened.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Geo%20Washington%20on%20%241%20Bill%20with%20Black%20Eye.jpgYet coverage actually hasn’t been negative enough. The story you mostly read runs something like this: The tax cut has caused corporations to bring some money home, but they’ve used it for stock buybacks rather than to raise wages, and the boost to growth has been modest. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s still better than the reality: No money has, in fact, been brought home, and the tax cut has probably reduced national income. Indeed, at least 90 percent of Americans will end up poorer thanks to that cut.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/04/02/opinion/paul-krugman/paul-krugman-thumbLarge.png / Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist for the New York (NY) Times, is distinguished professor in the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D. program and distinguished scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York. In addition, he is professor emeritus of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

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