Sep 16, 2020
Tuesday Night Owls. Study: Richest 1% has snatched $50 trillion from bottom 90% in past four decades
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At CommonDreams, Brett Wilkins writes—'$2.5 Trillion Theft': Study Shows Richest 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From Bottom 90% in Recent Decades:
New research published Monday found that the top 1% of U.S. income earners have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90% over the past several decades, and that the median worker salary would be around twice as high today as it was in 1945 if pay had kept pace with economic output over that period.
The study's authors, Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, examined income distribution and economic growth in the United States from 1945 to the present. The researchers found stark differences between income distribution from 1945 to 1974 and 1975 to 2018.
According to the study—which was funded by the Seattle-based Fair Work Center—the median salary of a full-time U.S. worker is currently about $50,000. Adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index, workers at or below the current median income now earn less than half of what they would have if incomes had kept pace with economic growth. This means that if salaries had kept pace with economic output, the median worker pay would be between $92,000 and $102,000 today, depending on how inflation is calculated.
Had the more equitable distribution of the roughly 30-year postwar period continued apace, the total annual income of the bottom 90% of American workers would have been $2.5 trillion higher in 2018, or an amount equal to about 12% of GDP. In other words, the upward redistribution of income has enriched the 1% by some $47 trillion—which would now be more than $50 trillion—at the expense of American workers.
David Rolf, a Seattle labor organizer, president of the Fair Work Center, and founder of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775, is more blunt. He calls this "the $2.5 trillion theft." [...]
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~~Ida B. Wells-Barnett, On Lynchings (1892)
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BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Foreign help not on the horizon:
Four U.S. soldiers have died the past four days -- glorious victories in Bush's "flypaper" War Against Terror.
You see, as Bush, Andrew Sullivan, and other Chickenhawk Neocons remind us—we should celebrate every time U.S. forces are killed in Iraq, because those very same terrorists would otherwise be killing Americans here in the U.S.
Dead Americans in the U.S.—bad. Dead Americans in Iraq—good. Thank the heavens we can enjoy the benefits of good, sound Chickenhawk Neocon thinking.
Yet given our great successes in getting our US troops killed in Iraq, not the U.S., it's difficult to understand why we can't garner any international help.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Orange Hitler is now Orange Mengele. Speaking of war crimes, US risks in Yemen rise while Trump attacks the ICC. Joan McCarter is at a loss over how Feinstein has memory holed the blue slip fights. Meanwhile, the Mother of all Shutdowns looms.x Embedded Content
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Pelosi: Hard to see Dems supporting less than $2.2T in COVID aid
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPowell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that she's hopeful the parties will reach an agreement on the next round of coronavirus relief but suggested Democrats aren't prepared to accept anything less than her last offer — $2.2 trillion — on a deal.
"When we go into a negotiation it's about the allocation of the resources," she told reporters in the Capitol. "But it's hard to see how we can go any lower when you only have greater needs."
The comments come as both sides are voicing some optimism that, after weeks of stalled negotiations, a bipartisan deal on an emergency coronavirus bill is possible before the November elections.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power 'is invested in the attorney general' Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy MORE on Wednesday urged congressional Republicans to accept more emergency funding — the very thing Democrats have been demanding. And Pelosi spoke by phone later in the day with the administration's chief negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise American Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid Trump undercuts GOP, calls for bigger COVID-19 relief package MORE, in search of a path forward. Yet the sides still appear to be far apart on the top-line spending number.
House Democrats had passed the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act in May, but have since dropped their request to $2.2 trillion. Republicans have called for much less spending, initially proposing a $1.1 trillion package, then trimming that request down to $650 billion — a proposal that was soundly rejected by Senate Democrats last week.
Pelosi pointed out the odd dynamics of the negotiation: Democrats came down $1.2 trillion and, in response, the Republicans went down, too.
"We asked them to go up $1 trillion, instead they went down, not recognizing the need," she said.
Pelosi noted that, because four months have passed since the Heroes Act was written, the nation's public health and economic conditions have changed. She's asked her committee heads to update the legislation to meet current needs, which in some cases are more severe than they were in May. She singled out the airlines, restaurants and other small businesses as particular targets for more emergency help.
"The needs have only grown since May 15. ... So we're going to have to reallocate some of that money so that we can meet the needs as we see them," she said. "The fact is, we shouldn't be going down because we have these needs, so that we can open up the economy."
The Speaker noted that the federal government has already propped up Wall Street to the tune of trillions of dollars and accused Republicans of being reluctant to meet the needs of struggling workers.
"We don't object to the stock market doing well, that's for sure," she said. "But why can't we spend what it takes to shore up the middle class in our country?"
Most members of the Democratic Caucus appear to support Pelosi's hardline negotiating demand for at least $2.2 trillion, noting that small businesses are flailing, millions of workers remain jobless and the number of coronavirus deaths is poised to hit 200,000 in the United States.
Yet a number of moderates are also agitating for a vote this month on another emergency aid package — even absent an agreement with Republicans. Such a vote, proponents say, would put pressure on GOP leaders to negotiate further, while protecting vulnerable Democrats from campaign attacks that their party has done nothing since May to address the crisis.
Pelosi on Wednesday downplayed any internal divisions, saying all factions of the party simply want to unleash the funding to help their constituents.
When a reporter noted that some in her caucus are griping to the media about leadership tactics, she didn't hesitate.
"Well, they don't say it to me," Pelosi said. "What they say is we need to have a solution."
She later added: "You hear different things, but the fact is we want to have an agreement, and we will stay until we have an agreement."Tags Steven Mnuchin Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump Coronavirus Stimulus relief bill House Speaker