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adirondacker

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Some Numbers for the 'Entitlement' Bashers

by
Paul Buchheit

"Americans constantly hear about the threat of "entitlements," which in the case of Social Security and Medicare are more properly defined as "earned benefits." The real threat is the array of entitlements demanded by the very rich. The following annual numbers may help to put our country's expenses and benefits in perspective.

$220 Billion: Teacher Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are just over four million preschool, primary, secondary, and special education school teachers in the U.S., earning an average of $54,740.


$246 Billion: State and Local Pensions

Census data shows a total annual (2012) payout of about $246 billion. Only about $100 billion of this came from state and local governments, with the remainder funded by employee contributions and investment earnings. A recent Pew study showed a little over $100 billion in annual state contributions to pensions, health care, and non-pension benefits.


$398 Billion: Safety Net

The 2013 safety net (non-medical) included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Child Nutrition, Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Education & Training, and Housing.


$863 Billion: Social Security

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly, and it is an earned benefit. As of 2010, according to the Urban Institute, the average two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in.


$2,200 Billion: Tax Avoidance

That's $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment. It is estimated that two-thirds of tax breaks accrue to the top quintile of taxpayers.


$5,000 Billion: Investment Wealth

That's $5 trillion dollars a year, the annual amount gained in U.S. wealth from the end of 2008 to the middle of 2013. Even though the whole country continued to grow in productivity, most of the new wealth went to the very richest people. According to Oxfam, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.



Another View: Annual Per Capita Numbers

The following are averages, which are skewed in the case of tax breaks and investment income, as a result of the excessive takings of the .1% and the .01%. Details of the calculations can be found here.

$8,600 for each of the Safety Net recipients

$14,600 for each of the Social Security recipients

$27,333 for each of the Pension recipients

$54,740 for each of the Teachers

$200,000 for each of the Tax Break recipients among the richest 1%

$500,000 for each of the Investment Income recipients among the richest 1%

The super-rich feel they deserve all the tax breaks and the accumulation of wealth from the productivity of others.

This is the true threat of entitlement.
"

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/25/some-numbers-entitlement-bashers

I typically don't copy whole articles, but this one only makes sense when you get the BIG Picture.

Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

"Even those of you who talk about the 1%, you don't really get what's going on. You're living in the past.'
- Jon Queally, staff writer

In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world "on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth."

The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the "1% versus the 99%" do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing.

Says Krugman:

Actually, a lot of what we know about inequality actually comes from him, because he's been an invisible presence behind a lot. So when you talk about the 1 percent, you're actually to a larger extent reflecting his prior work. But what he's really done now is he said, "Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don't really get what's going on. You're living in the past. You're living in the '80s. You think that Gordon Gekko is the future."

And Gordon Gekko is a bad guy, he's a predator. But he's a self-made predator. And right now, what we're really talking about is we're talking about Gordon Gekko's son or daughter. We're talking about inherited wealth playing an ever-growing role. So he's telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth, “patrimonial capitalism.” And he does it with an enormous amount of documentation and it's a revelation. I mean, even for someone like me, it's a revelation."

<snip>
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/04/18-8

MUST SEE Video of Moyers interview with Krugman...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024839929#post1

Moyers: Fighting for the Four Freedoms

"If you believe America desperately needs a great surge of democracy in the face of fierce opposition from reactionary and corporate forces, then remembering and reviving the spirit of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died 69 years ago this week, is in order.

In January 1941, FDR’s State of the Union address made it clear that a fight was inevitable, a fight to preserve, protect and defend four essential freedoms: freedom from fear and want and freedom of speech and religion.

This week, Bill speaks with historian Harvey J. Kaye, author of the new book, The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, about how FDR’s speech was a rallying cry to build the kind of progressive society that Roosevelt hoped for but did not live to see at war’s end.

Kaye says the president was able to mobilize Americans who created “the strongest and most prosperous country in human history.” How did they do it? By working toward the Four Freedoms and making America “freer, more equal and more democratic.”

<snip>
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2014/04/12



<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/91731674" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Fighting for the Four Freedoms</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user9013478">BillMoyers.com</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Finding Populism Today by Jim Hightower

"Mass movements don't just appear out of the fog, fully grown, structured and mobilized. They emerge in fits and starts over many years, just as the American Revolution did, and as did the Populists' original idea of a "cooperative commonwealth." A successful people's movement has to take the long view, to learn about itself as it builds, nurture the culture of its people, take chances, create fun for all involved, adapt to failures and successes, stay steadfast to its principles, have a stoic tenacity — and organize, organize, organize. A little serendipity helps, too, so grab it when you can.

In 2011 a serendipitous moment for the populist cause rumbled across our land, though later it was widely (and wrongly) dismissed as a failure. That September, hundreds of young people, loosely aligned with an upstart group called Occupy Wall Street, took over Zuccotti Park in New York City and audaciously camped out on the front stoop of the elite banksters who'd crashed our economy. Occupy's depiction of the 1-percent vs. the 99-percent struck a chord with the unemployed, underemployed, and the knocked-down middle class. Occupy encampments quickly sprang up in some 200 cities and towns from coast to coast.

The uprising was ridiculed (even by many progressive groups) as naive, undisciplined and "not serious." Who's in charge? Where's their strategic plan? Why don't they have position papers? All this carping about Occupy failing to produce the usual trappings of a Washington-focused interest group missed two essential points the young people were making: (1) such trappings are not producing any change, and (2) we're not an interest group, we're a rebellion.

Rebellion has to come first. As it builds, structure and process will follow in due time. The great strength of Occupy is that it was a genuine, non-institutional, social, non-wonkish, morally compelling, and spontaneous stand against the culture of inequality that the moneyed powers are imposing. It touched people in deeper ways than issue politics will ever do. And the great achievement of Occupy is that it prompted a cultural shift that turned Wall Street's barons into social pariahs and put the issue of inequality directly at the center of our nation's political debate."

<snip>
More at Link...
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/03/19-1
Enjoy!
I Love Jim Hightower!
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