10 Economic Facts that Power the Sanders Insurgency

Yves here. I’m old enough to regard the idea of Sanders being called an “insurgent” for his political views to be hard to fathom. They are middle of the road circa 1980. And polls consistently show ideas the press has chosen to label as “progressive” like preserving or better yet strengthening Social Security, taxing the rich, more butter and less guns, to have had and continue to have majority support. So Sanders’ continuing to take ground is proof of how cloistered and self-interested our elites have become.

By Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York. His latest book is Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice (Chelsea Green, 2015). Originally published at Alternet

Why are so many drawn to the Sanders message?  It’s not because he’s a political outsider. (He’s a Senator who has spent his entire adult life in politics.) It’s not because he’s a good Jewish boy from Brooklyn. (Jews make up only about 2% of the American population.) And it’s not because he’s a self-declared socialist. (Few of us have any idea what that means in today’s global economy.)

Rather, it’s because so many of us want to stop our entire society from crumbling beneath the destructive power of runaway inequality.

Here are 10 crucial economic facts that provide the glue for the Sanders message. (The charts are taken from Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice.)

1. The Rich are Getting Richer, The Rest of Us are Not.

There always has been a significant gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of America. But that gap was kept under control largely through governmental tax, banking and labor policies.

You could make a lot of money in this country, but after the New Deal, unions made sure you paid a decent wage to your workers, and government made sure the wealthy provided ample tax revenues. This allowed working people also to enjoy a rising standard of living.

But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken. After 1980, the incomes of the top 1% exploded while the wages of the bottom 90% stagnated….and not by accident.


2. Wall Street/CEO Greed

Most of us haven’t had a real raise (after inflation) for more than a decade. Meanwhile we see our CEOs and their Wall Street partners rake in astronomical sums. The data backs up what we see and sense. As this chart shows, the gap between the pay of the top CEOs and the average worker has jumped from 45 to 1 in 1970 to an astounding 829 to one today.

The game is rigged and Sanders is calling them on it.


3. The Biggest Banks are Getting Bigger.

One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks.  We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The top four banks have grown even larger since the Great Recession. No wonder crowds roar when Bernie says “If a bank is too big to fail, I think it’s too big to exist.”


4. Students are Crippled with Debt.

Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education.  And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it’s time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education.


5. We lead the developed world in child poverty

Nothing more clearly reflects the values of a country than how it treats its children. And nothing is more painful and inexcusable than children living in poverty.

The countries of northern Europe – Iceland, Finland, Nether­lands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden – have nearly eradicated childhood poverty. These also are the countries that have the lowest levels of inequality. They have made a conscious choice: less inequality, less child­hood poverty.

But in a country like ours so engulfed by runaway inequal­ity, child poverty becomes the responsibility of the poor. In other words, if your kids are poor it’s your fault. Don’t expect society to feed them.

Bernie does indeed expect society to feed the poor. And so should we.


6. You can’t live on the minimum wage

America is the only country in the developed world in which you can work full time and still live in poverty.  That’s because our federal minimum wage is a disgrace. As the chart below shows, the real buying power of the minimum wage, after taking into account of inflation, has been on the decline since its peak in the 1960s. That’s why one of Sanders’ biggest applause lines is

“A minimum wage of $7 an hour is a starvation wage. I applaud those cities—Seattle, Los Angeles and others—that have raised the minimum wage to $15 an            hour. And that is exactly what we will do at the federal level.”


7. The tax system favors the rich

We all know that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. They hire the best lawyers to help make their incomes vanish on IRS papers. They shift money abroad. They use their influence to create and abuse loopholes. And they sell us the lie that decreasing taxes on the rich make all boats rise.

The chart below shows the result on the state and local levels.  The sad truth is that the poorer you are, the more you pay as a percent of your income.


8. The Rich Buy the Political System

As our economy fractures under the weight of runaway inequality, so does our entire democracy. Money is pouring into politics, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.  As the chart below makes clear, corporations and financial institutions are taking full advantage as they flood the political process through Super PACS.

Sanders wants Super PACS outlawed and Citizens United overturned.


9. “The American Dream” is Fading Away

Many Americans still believe in the American Dream — the idea of genuine upward mobility. We cherish the idea that our children will do as well or better than we have done.

But we’re getting a wake up call.

The chart below shows that the odds of rising above your father’s economic position in the U.S. is about 50/50. In Denmark, you have about a seven to one chance of doing better.

No wonder Bernie wants us to learn a thing or two from the Danes


10. The Largest Police State in the World 

Freedom pays the price for runaway inequality. Because we refuse to use government to provide decent paying work for all those who are willing and able to work, we leave vast tracks of our cities mired in poverty.

We allow institutional racist practices (especially in housing, education and criminal justice) to trap more people of color on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

Instead of using government to create jobs, we use government to fund prisons.

Instead of a War on Poverty we have declared war on the poor.

As a result, we now have more prisoners both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population than any country in the world. And if you compare the chart below with the first chart in this article, you’ll find that the incarceration surge started with the onset of runway inequality.


Taking Them On

Perhaps Bernie’s biggest applause line is the one that sets us on our course. His campaign cannot succeed in one election. We need to connect with our neighbors and colleagues and help organize and mobilize for change.

“This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: Yes, we have the  guts to take you on.”

Let’s hope he’s right.

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  1. AWB

    I don’t know anything about Bernie Sanders besides what I read in the MM, which isn’t a lot, but then, I didn’t know anything about Ron Paul 8 years ago, and voted for him in the 2012 primaries. Given that OWS and the Tea Party have been usurped by the respective national parties, and both movements are anti-status quo, my opinion is they should join forces. Also, considering there is little difference at the end of the day, between the republican and democrat parties, that they play both sides against the middle, if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.

    That’s the only way either one of them will win. I could get behind a Trump/Sanders ticket in 2016, as I’m sure most of you can. How about it? Anyone have any contacts in these camps to get this done?

    1. cwaltz

      I wouldn’t vote for Trump if he offered to loan me a million dollars. There’d be enough difference between President Sanders and President Trump that there’d be snowballs in Hades before I’d elect Trump to the top of any ticket.

    2. Steven Greenberg

      I would be curious how anybody who reads this blog could possibly be for Ron Paul, let alone have voted for him.

      You could get behind Trump/Sanders. Surely this must be satire.

      Do you have any requirement that the candidates you back actually know anything about what they claim to be experts in? I suppose Trump actually knows a thing or two about making money by squeezing it out of the people who are smaller financially than he is. However, Ron Paul knows nothing about the Fed and Economics for which he claims to be an expert.

      1. Northeaster

        Some of us prefer personal liberty over everything else, that’s why.

        As wrong as Austrian Economic modeling may be, which Ron & Rand are believers in, their take on liberty is why I also wrote in Paul. The alternatives were simply too terrible to vote for, but now I am relegated to writing in my dog for 2016. Democrats and Republicans are both filled with authoritarians than want to take, and empower their cronies that now actually write the laws of our land, while politicians no longer even read them.

        An equal rule of law is dead in this country, and The People are going to further suffer tremendously for it.

        I’m trying to develop a taste for cake, because that’s all that’s going to be served.

        The People are simply too apathetic, fat & diabetic, and content with whatever comatose program the media is projecting upon them while swiping that trail of drool form the corner of their mouths with their sleeve. Torches & pitchforks and showing up at politicians homes by the tens-of-thousand simply isn’t going to happen, even though that is what’s needed. Politicians simply no longer fear the People, so they just continue steamroll right over them.

        1. Darthbobber

          The Ron Paul take on personal liberty was also a bit strange, once you got to the details. His view of the constitution was removed from that of John C.Calhoun by only about the width of a razor blade, and he believed or affected to believe that the 14th amendment did NOT make the Bill of Rights applicable to state governments. So in the Paul theory, its only the federal government that cannot suppress the press, freedom of assembly, etc. The states CAN do this, in his view, and its unwarranted interference by the federal government to interfere with their sacred state’s right to repress their own people. So we’re at least halfway back to the confederate theory of the nature of citizenship.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Well I walked right through the front door and into the voting booth wielding a mighty half pencil. ‘Twas primary season in a state with an open primary. Ron Paul was the least corrupt/financially beholden of either major parties candidates. Least militant (certainly less militant than Sanders today) and least eager to continue mass incarceration among other things. He would have definitely either pulled the last standing Dems (O’Clinton) to the left or further exposed in simple terms the big lie of who those Dems really were. And done much the same to the rest of the Republican establishment.

        It was the only time I ever cast a Republican vote. I could act strategically for one primary day and still vote for Dr. Jill Stein in November.

        I may, just may, do the same with Sanders in the primary and Stein in Nov. this time around. Although I have extreme difficulty endorsing Sanders even just a little with his MIC nuttiness.

        1. cwaltz

          Less militant? Let me guess, you’re a heterosexual white male.

          Ron Paul was a huckster of the first order. He was completely libertarian as long as the person had the same ideology and biology as him. Gay? Sorry guys and gals you don’t deserve the same protections as Ron Paul and his family. Female? Sorry ladies, you don’t get to decide whether or not to risk your life to bring someone into the world.

          Don’t even get me started on his position on civil rights, as far as he’s concerned it should be a ok for someone to say I don’t want an AA living in this housing development. The “market” fairies will punish discrimination, nevermind that essentially a lack of regulation just means those at the bottom are out of luck because those at the top of the economic food chain are the ones who get to make all the choices and they don’t even have to pretend to be fair in how they make them.

          1. Eureka Springs

            Yes he was the least militant of the primary candidates in either of the two parties. And he would be today.

            As for his stance on gays or housing… I think I was correct then and certainly proven beyond all doubt by now that none of the candidates from any major party gave a rats arse about those issues beyond their use in identity, divide, conquer then ignore politics. So your civil points are moot at best. Which is why I cast a Stein vote in the end.. and Stein is where my money and time went all along the way.

            1. tegnost

              Ashamed to say I was cajoled into lesser evilism for the last time ever.I would be less ashamed had I voted for ron, but wouldn’t be ashamed at all had I voted for jill

            2. cwaltz

              Again, less militant for whom?

              White heterosexual males ? Sure. Anyone else? Not so much.

              It’s really noble that you think blacks, gays, and women should all fall on a sword for white heterosexual males. I think I’ll pass. There’s a difference between apathy and outright antagonism and I’d argue Paul fell well into the category of antagonism co sponsoring such goodies as Marriage Protection Act which just so happens to coincide with his position that marriage is between one man and one woman or We the People Act which would have made it impossible for a female rape victim to have access to a medical procedure that Dr. Paul doesn’t personally agree with.

              So no, I don’t think my civil rights points are moot at all. Actions matter. Records matter. Ron Paul’s was less than stellar if you aren’t a heterosexual white male.

              1. Eureka Springs

                You have a listening problem. In the primary there was no decent choice on those (gay or housing) issues among both major parties. Only the local/state initiatives and the Supremes have since moved the gay issues into a far better place. In fact thru multiple evasive subject changing responses you have not even tried to argue otherwise. Ron Paul would have been a much better Republican nominee than Romney or any other. Paul was far less militant when it comes to foreign intervention/wars abroad and the drug war at home. Dramatically less militant than any other, including Obamacrats.

                Obama wasn’t even challenged from within the D party. That would have been an entirely wasted primary vote even if I was willing to make it. Not that I ever cast a vote for him, I’ve been Green since Bill’s run for a second term.

                In fact the only decent choice at all came in the November election when Dr. Jill Stein was actually on the ballot. I would never have cast a vote for Paul with a candidate like Stein on the ballot.

                I think your listening/thinking problem signifies much of what’s wrong with the Dem/Prog constituent thinking of our time. Narrow to a fault. And why a much larger coalitions will not be formed as long as it perseveres. And I think this is why/where Sanders, particularly his supporters also put off many.

                1. fresno dan

                  Eureka Springs
                  November 13, 2015 at 11:48 am
                  I agree with your points.


                  The thing of it is, as the vast majority of the candidates do not even come close to actually acting on their professed policy stances, as well as the fact that on critical issues of war and finance, the dems and the republs are the same:
                  A – Your democratic secretary of the treasury can be from Goldman Sachs (Rubin) and in the current democratic administration, Bank B team member Geithner and Lew….
                  B – Your republican secretary of the treasury can be from Goldman Sachs (Paulson)

                  Paul took the only truly unique stand in the last election in standing up to the “internationalist” school of governing – we have to be droning someone, somewhere, at sometime – oops!!! – I mean, all the time.

                  The thing of it is, there is also 8 other choices in the last presidential election

                  ANY OF THEM would have been better than what we got…
                  But we’ll never get anywhere if people believe there is a difference between the repubs and the dems…

                2. cwaltz

                  I don’t have a listening problem at all. You think his record was better than the other candidates. I disagree. His record on civil rights HERE IN THIS COUNTRY is horrible. Horrible enough that I would write someone in before I ever cast a vote for him.

                  For the record, Paul’s little We the People Act would have prohibited the Supreme Court from moving gay issues into a far better place. It would have meant that half the country could get rid of reproductive health care as they are attempting to do.

                  I suspect you either don’t know or don’t care about that though. Personally THAT is what I consider the problem. You expect others to adjust to your particular view because everyone else must be narrow minded to consider the feelings of gays, women, or AAs.

                  Personally I’d rather not belong to a coalition that jettisons values such as fairness and I really don’t care if people are put off by that. What I value is a reflection of who I am and I’m not going to concede things that are important to me for the sake of political expediency. If If I were going to go that route I might as well just vote Democrat because after all they are less evil then the Republicans.

          2. tim s

            Let me guess, you’d probable think it’s not OK to start a post with “Let me guess, you’re a homosexual black woman.”

            Correct me if I’m wrong.

            Tell me, what’s our African-American president’s stance on militancy? How about our female Democratic candidate’s stance? How about their stances on the market? Regulation?

            1. cwaltz

              I’d look at the context of a statement and correct where necessary. For example, I’m not gay but I know gay people. I’m not black but two of my nephews are. I am female although Ron Paul’s fetus fetish hardly affects me since I never actually had an abortion nor will I likely need one. I’ve had 5 kids, which by the way is 5 more than Dr. Paul. All that being said, I certainly would tell someone if they nailed it and certainly wouldn’t think being called a homosexual, black woman was offensive.

              I stand by my position on Ron Paul. He was horrible candidate if you weren’t a white heterosexual male.

              I didn’t vote for Obama. I don’t intend on voting for Hillary.

              I’ll even double down on Paul and say he was ridiculous in his “market” positions. I’m sorry glibertarians there is no free market fairy. Without regulatory controls we go farther down the rabbit hole. The solution for our country isn’t regulating marriage so gays can’t marry while letting Monsanto do whatever the Hades it wants because- markets must be free. The BP disaster doesn’t get prevented by dismantling regulation. It gets prevented by hiring enough people to actually spend the time they need to ensure that businesses put the safeguards in place they are supposed to. If that means you have to pay those awful, terrible horrible taxes upfront then oh well because I’d rather pay it on the front end then have an ocean full of mess. The idea that BP would have cleaned up that mess without the government forcing them to is laughable. So no, I’m not on board with anyone who would suggest that the problem with the country is too much regulation for poor, wittle businesses.

              1. tim s

                There are many issues that could be embraced by any number of types of people. There are so many, in fact, and many of which are shaded a very medium grey, that anyone with blinders on can focus only on those most odorous to themselves and ignore the rest. You can ask yourself if this is the case with yourself, especially since you seem to be taking it upon yourself to be the spokesperson for whatever percentage of the population is not white, male & hetero.

                If I were a female, I might support his position on pulling ourselves back from our imperialist ambitions. What mother wants their sons blown up in a foreign land for no apparent reason. I also might approve of his opposition to the idea of federally mandated testing being used to measure student performance against federally determined national education standards.

                If I were black, I might support his stance on the drug war and capital punishment, both of which he opposes. Hell, I might even support some of the things one might think only a WHM would support, like the 2nd amendment.

                If I were anyone, I might get behind him for opposing many free trade agreements like NAFTA, stating that “free-trade agreements are really managed trade and serve special interests and big business, not citizens”

                The list could go on, and those are only my projections.

                1. cwaltz

                  I’m speaking for myself. I noticed that you put if I were, I guess I can assume that you aren’t any of the above female, black or homosexual then.

                  Let me know when you find people in the actual groups to make your case on how much more important it is for women to protect their sons at the expense of their daughters(did I mention that I had 5 kid.)or how a black person is going to get all excited about being allowed to do drugs but not worry about their employment options so they can actually afford them(since Ron Paul has essentially said that he opposes laws that prevent discrimination in hiring) or maybe how the guy who opposes NAFTA would be perfectly fine if Americans were to make 50 cents a day will appeal to “anyone.” Until then I stand by my position that Ron Paul was a horrible candidate if you aren’t white, male or heterosexual and heck he wasn’t that great for that last group when you look at the fact that he’s abolish minimum wage laws that protect workers and calls labor unions “unconstitutional.”

          3. jrs

            Did you vote for Obama? Let me guess your not middle eastern Muslim. How can anyone vote for our middle east policy? I hope you didn’t vote for Obama because anyone did has nothing to say about voting for Ron Paul.

            If you voted Green in the last two elections then that’s alright, but nothing else passes the purity test.

            1. cwaltz

              I luuuuurve me the ol’ purity card.

              Ahhhhhh yes pragmatism has yielded such great results for BOTH parties. Thank heavens for the people out there that go, “who cares what the candidate stands for or what his record is what really matters is that they can win.”

              Those pragmatic union voters who keep voting Democrat are real winners. Sure am glad their purity test doesn’t include things like actually expecting the candidate they support to demonstrate actual commitment to union members. It’s served them soooooo well so far. Heaven save us from the awful, horrible, terrible people who demand that candidates have some of the values that they believe in. (tongue firmly in cheek)

          4. Oregoncharles

            He’s talking about the PRIMARY of a party he doesn’t support. Arguably, voting for Paul was an attempt at sabotage.

            And when it counted, he voted for a radical feminist and leftist (at least for the US). I don’t ordinarily support strategic voting; it violates the basic concept of democracy. But it’s relatively harmless in the primaries, especially open primaries.

      3. tim s

        There is much more to a candidates platform than simply economics, which readers of NC know to be as much pseudo-science as anything, and the Fed, which fails to live up to ideals for the common good, and actually preserves the status quo which is such a problem these days.

        RP is a mixed bag for certain, but you get a sense that he is at least honest, which is a radical change in itself, and there is much for readers of this blog to latch onto. For instance:

        -Paul broke with his party by voting against the PATRIOT Act in 2001
        -Paul has spoken against the domestic surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency on American citizens
        -cut the Department of Defense budget by total 15%; eliminate all foreign war funding
        -Paul contends that prohibition of drugs is ineffective and advocates ending the War on Drugs

        To be sure, many of his positions are headscratchers, for sure, such as his belief in privatization and “free markets”. These are very idealistic, and as you probably focus on, the readers of NC will call BS on very quickly.

        Still, when having to choose between the internally conflicted and the pathological liar, it is no surprise that many will choose the internally conflicted.

        1. fresno dan

          I agree.
          And one other point: Paul, and every one else elected, so far at least, is not a Napoleon or Caesar, so most platforms are 99.9% baloney. (well, more accurately, most platforms are the same as it ever was – the candidates just say a lot of words to make it appear they are going to do something different – yesterday’s LINKS about how Obama didn’t REALLY oppose Bush’s policies, just that they didn’t go through a process to make them legal)

          At least with Paul, there was some evidence that he would TRY to dial back all the war mongering….

          1. jrs

            I think it’s possible for war and peace to be the main issue in voting for some people at some times. It has been mine at times. But why? Does it affect their employment or other economic options, will it improve schools or solve the homeless problem?

            Usually not, and it’s not really about that. It’s knowing that the wars may be half a world away in places one may never see, but it’s just the sheer horror of the whole enterprise of human war making and modern warfare as well and it being very real, even more real than all the “1st world” (as if) problems in the U.S..

            Civil liberties might also be an issue some draw the line on.

            1. jrs

              I think civil liberties is a good place to draw the line …. until that point in time one concludes they may have never really existed in the U.S. anyway.

              So those who still believe in them, they are good, but:

              They never woke up from the American dream …

            2. tim s

              Empires tend to deplete their resources fighting wars of imperialism in the long run. Times are a bit different now with unlimited credit expansion, but I’d imagine that the fundamentals are the same.

              It will affect your economy, etc. if the wars go horribly wrong and blow up in your face. Think Germany last century. It just takes time.

              Think of the estimation of the US in the eyes of the world 30 years ago compared to now. Reflect that we have pushed the envelope to the point that we have got the Russians begin to coordinate with China and India at the same time that we are on the opposite sides of the table in the wars in the ME, and that the Russians are now in active military action.

              Half a world away is no distance at all anymore.

        1. jrs

          That’s what they’ll be saying about Sanders in 4 years. I don’t mind Sanders as the best choice there is perhaps. But come on folks, none of this stuff has any hope really. A revolution? Well I don’t hope for one either, but at least movement building might work. Other than that it’s 5 minutes in the voting booth and get on with your life.

      4. Jagger

        I would be curious how anybody who reads this blog could possibly be for Ron Paul, let alone have voted for him.

        Ron Paul is anti-war. Who else is anti-war amonst the Repub/Dem tickets? Maybe Sanders. He did vote against the Iraqi invasion but wouldn’t condemn Israel over the last air war on Gaza. Jury is still out on him.

          1. washunate

            We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In virtually every instance its so-called “peacekeeping missions” have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace.

            Uh, that sounds like pretty classic Ron Paul. Are you saying that acting as the world’s police force bombing civilian infrastructure in Serbia was a good idea and that things are hunky dory in Somalia today? Do you support the current effort to wage war on the Assad government in Syria?

            You didn’t answer Jagger’s question.

      5. washunate

        Maybe we don’t need experts. Maybe the God of Authority is a False God. Maybe instead of trying to fight war better, we should stop trying.

        That’s the thing about the three biggest things Paul stood for (end the Fed, end the drug war, end the Iraq war): they were ends. Not new programs that require advanced degrees and subject matter expertise, but rather, stopping horrible programs run by horrible people for horrible purposes.

        Now maybe you disagree that they’re horrible, and that’s fine. Personally, I vehemently oppose the drug war and the US empire, but I’m not opposed to the Fed. To me, it just does what politicians tell it to do. But the point is, that’s a matter of personal opinion, not expertise.

        I wonder only half-jokingly if your comment is satire, too. I assume it was unintentional, but it sounds exactly like the whiny Democratic pundit enforcers complaining about Alan Grayson and FDL working with evil Republicans like Grover Norquist on Audit the Fed legislation. The era in which people can be intimidated via guilt by association is over. There are far more independents than Democrats today.

        If you don’t understand how a 2008 Ron Paul supporter could be interested in fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics, and power, then all I can surmise is that you don’t want to understand. If you are genuinely curious, this link might be a particularly useful refresher on the tone of the day to day politics of the time:


        1. cwaltz

          The Fed doesn’t really do what politicians tell it to do, it does what the market tells it to do.

          The problem is this particular market doesn’t benefit most of us, it benefits those at the top. That’s why it’s been propping up Wall Street. It shouldn’t be a shocker though. How many of the Fed were Goldman Sachs employees previously?

          1. washunate

            Yeah, I wouldn’t really quibble that much with that perspective. I guess just that ‘the market’ is too passive, too lacking in agency, for me. Specific people make specific decisions. Their decisions wouldn’t mean much without the power of the government.

            1. cwaltz

              In my opinion Paul had/has it backwards. The problem with things isn’t the government being too influential in business. The problem is business is too influential in government.

              That’s why Monsanto could ghost write legislation that allows it immunity for any health problems its product causes or telcomms could write legislation that allowed it to be above the law.

              That’s why 600 companies had access to trade negotiations that were too secret for the rest of us. That’s why while Congressional kabuki was going on Obama was meeting with health care executives behind closed doors and negotiating our health care policy. That’s why the Bush administration met behind closed doors with oil execs to hash out energy policy, etc,etc.

              The part that amused me most about the health care debacle is how much blame Obama took for the fact that health insurance industries decided to get rid of old policies in favor of policies that would give them more profit. Mind you, Obama was a dolt for believing that when he was negotiating with the health care companies that they were negotiating in good faith. However, it seems to me that people are duped into putting all the blame on Obama when the health insurance companies deserved at least half the blame. The law doesn’t specify that health insurance companies had to crapify insurance, it’s just more profitable that way.

              1. washunate

                For better or for worse, that’s pretty much been Paul’s point, which is why I just don’t follow Greenberg’s comment about expertise. It is too similar a smear to all the Dem Paul-bashing of the past decade or so for my comfort.

                A key reason Paul has made established liberals and conservatives alike so uncomfortable is that he forces assessment (at least, among those who are intellectually honest) of why government management has failed so spectacularly in so many areas. There are many great policy ideas out there, but they are meaningless (or even dangerous) without solving the fundamental problem of management failure. Paul’s answer is basically that government is inherently too complex and too powerful at this point to manage effectively. That answer may be incorrect, but it at least compels a competing response, and what is amazing is that no voice in either major party really even bothers offering an answer. What is the Democratic answer to the problems of the drug war, for example? It’s basically a nonsensical stream of totalitarian jibberish – and that’s when they’re not openly laughing at people asking about drug policy.

                You talk about Monsanto. The reason Monsanto is a major issue is intellectual property law. If they couldn’t use government courts to go after independent, small farmers, it would be largely irrelevant as a policy concern. The reason NAFTA and TPP and all the corporate trade pacts are issues is because they aren’t pacts to promote trade; they are pacts to use the power of government to restrict trade to those ways which serve connected insiders. Etc.

                1. cwaltz

                  I stand by my position. Ron Paul was horrible on domestic policy. He wanted to abolish minimum wage laws, he called unions unconstitutional. He disagreed with anti discrimination laws. He would have gone out of his way to make getting a medical procedure that could save a woman’s life extinct and he opposed same sex marriage. He doesn’t make me uncomfortable. He repulses me.

                  His position that an entity without morals or one conscience needs less regulation than one that actually does is the antithesis of what actual policy should be. I actually could have gotten around Gary Johnson because at least he was consistent. Ron Paul was not.

                  Opposing the war in the ME is pretty thin gruel for me to vote for especially when you consider that I have to live here, not in the ME.

    3. TarheelDem

      The rhetoric Occupy Wall Street was not usurped by the Democratic Party until it was crushed completed in an orchestrated multi-city police state take-down by Democratic and Republican mayors. I see no candidates talking about the right of free speech and assembly to petition government for the redress of grievances. I did not see that sort of repression happen with the Tea Party, which was receiving massive financing from the start. The two movements are not equivalent in how they have been received by the two parties.

    4. TedWa

      “if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.”

      Nonsense. You know they have to play the game that gets them the most air time. Leaving the party would officially klil their chances and we’d be left with only HRC and Carson or one of the other clowns – whoever the media decides to tout. The best a 3rd party candidate could do in our controlled media, that says they can only handle 2 parties and 2 candidates at a time, is be a spoiler. It’s rigged, we all know that. And it’s not rigged for “we the people”. Just stop wrapping your head around Sanders being a Democrat and realize, in todays politics, he’s actually a 3rd party candidate without the “stigma”. Smart on his part – if he wants to win. Above a more than a few matters as elucidated in the article, Trump is no Sanders. Not even close

    5. wbgonne

      Given that OWS and the Tea Party have been usurped by the respective national parties, and both movements are anti-status quo, my opinion is they should join forces. Also, considering there is little difference at the end of the day, between the republican and democrat parties, that they play both sides against the middle, if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.

      A couple of quibbles. First, OWS was not usurped by the Democrats: it was opposed, undermined and ultimately crushed by the Democratic Establishment, starting at the top with the Obama Administration all the way down to the mayors, many of whom were Democrats too. The Tea Party began as a populist movement but was largely hijacked by the GOP corporatists. That said, there is clearly a lot of populist energy on both the Right and the Left. Sanders carries the ball forward almost without misstep. Trump, however, is a decidedly mixed bag: while he is anti-TPP — a huge plus — he also opposes wage increases and probably holds many other anti-populist views that just haven’t surfaced yet.

      But the biggest problem with the merger you propose, however, is the one that has bedeviled populism since the 70s: identity politics issues. While I generally try not to over-emphasize such issues, they should not be discounted either. They should certainly not be disparaged. Let me put it this way: no self-respecting progressive could collaborate with someone who wishes Operation Wetback were our national immigration policy. Overt racism, sexism and homophobia cannot be accepted but political correctness should be rejected too as the antagonizing and divisive factor it is. In order for the merger you posit to occur — which would be a wonderful development — both the Left and the Right must downplay identity politics issues because those are the wedges that keep the two ends of economic populism from joining.

      1. Jagger

        Identity politics is in the DNA of the Democratic party. Abandoning identity politics is simply not going to happen for a few generations at best.

          1. TedWa

            Agree, it should be the Republican party fading away but they democrats seem to have sunk to their level and below- to save the Republican party? Just weird.

      2. WindyCity

        There is discontent on the left and the right. That’s what feeding the candidacies of Tea Party darlings like Trump and Carson and the Democratic Socialist Sanders. Working- and middle-class folks across the political spectrum have been hit hard with unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt-slavery, and on and on. Those on the right blame immigration, Obama, and big government; those on the left blame corporate tyranny and capitalist greed. It’s probably naive of me, but I do see an opening for a Sanders to draw support from the right. His message ought to resonate with the disaffected, disenfranchised, and disillusioned in all quarters. I’ve already heard reports of some Tea Baggers throwing in with him. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a significant movement.

      3. cwaltz

        I see the word identity politics being bandied about. In reality voters SHOULD be encouraged to vote based on their own interests. It’s absurd to tell Hispanic voters that their rights matter less than overthrowing the duopoly- so vote for Trump.

        I also think its funny because in the case of Ron Paul I suspect it’s a mad case of projection. I’d love to see, for example, how many of the people saying Ron Paul was a great candidate are female, black or gay? I’m curious to know how many people that thought he was such a great candidate actually stood to lose their right to marry or their right to a medical procedure that could save their life? How many people that are of color think we have TOO MANY anti discrimination laws like Dr. Paul? There is a huge difference between being an informed voter looking at self interest and engaging in identity politics, which in my opinion is voting for the guy who you most identify with because you share similarities.

    6. participant-observer-observed

      Yes, we have to bridge and create a left-right alliance to undermine the perpetual “divide and conquer” dynamic. Given that GOP has the House and Senate majorities, it makes sense, at least for those with the stomach to do so, to do some coalition building around shared interests at the local level.

      1. jrs

        On some issues (money in politics) some bridging may be possible.

        But on the other hand maybe no left-right bridging is really needed, but just to get the working class to identify as the leftists they have often been (not liberals! leftists).

    7. Jerry Denim

      Trump/Sanders ??? Wow. I gotta hand it to you, you’re not afraid to mix things up and think outside of the box. That’s like one of those Krispy Kreme doughnut, bacon, chili-chesse burgers deep-fried with an egg and maple syrup on top right? Sure, a lot of people would probably go for it just because it seems so wrong, and I’m not saying the ticket couldn’t win in 2016 as pissed and as confused as most Americans are these days, but I’m not quite sure how you would square such strange bed-fellows. They’re at opposite ends of the political spectrum on nearly everything. Trump is an ego-maniac, a self-promoting, gasbag plutocrat long on braggadocio but very short on policy specifics. Other than expressing a willingness to consider raising taxes on the very wealthy what exactly is he offering beyond more of the same boiler plate trickle-down economic policy prescriptions that wrecked the country and the economy? Being a loud-mouth outsider with no experience in government isn’t the same thing as being a reformer with a coherent counter-ideology and a plan to fix things. Trump can’t even figure out why America’s broken, how is he supposed to” make it great again”? Sanders is the only candidate from either major party with ideas and policies that are different from the neo-liberal status quo. Trump is all bluster and bombast with no plans to right the ship, he just wants the lights to stay on while we watch his crazy Evel Knevil act. I’m not sure even Trump has figured out how to profit fabulously from being President yet, but I have no doubts he will. I’m guessing it will involve throwing the rest of us under the bus to benefit himself, an art form perfected by our current President. If you want a genuine change in tack for the country and not a circus act look more carefully at Sander’s policies. He has the ideas and the policies to truly make America great again.

  2. Eric Patton

    But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken.

    I don’t like the passive voice here. Who broke the bond? And why?

    I recommend Noam Chomsky. Pay attention to Chomsky’s comments about the dismantling of the Bretton Woods system in the early 70s. Also pay attention when Chomsky talks about the “crisis of democracy” and the very conscious destruction of the US educational system.

  3. James Levy

    The fact is, these same facts are driving the Trump campaign and the Tea Party. To interpret them the way the author does (and I do) you have to believe that the answer to these facts is collective action and redistribution. Most Americans don’t believe in, or even like the ideas of, collective action and redistribution. They want a shot at the brass ring. They don’t want to help their neighbor, they want to join the ranks of the “winners”; in a society that presents competition and its attendant winners and losers as the only good and sane model for personal and national success, what else would you want?

    Too many people see these stats and interpret them as blacks, immigrants, and women stole my opportunities. They take it for granted that the rich will gobble up everything they can for themselves, because they would do the same thing in their place. If I’m wrong, then millions of working class voters (primarily white) will go out there and cast their votes for Sanders. If I’m wrong, they’ll vote for a Republican who promises continued war on the poor and the workers because those “losers” deserve whatever they get.

    1. MikeNY

      I think you mean, “If I’m right, they’ll vote for a Republican who promises etc. etc.”

      I fear you are right, which means things will probably have to get worse before they get better. But I hope you are wrong, and phenomena like Sander’s ascent and the $15 / hr wage movement give me some food for that hope.

      I am fairly sure that the polarization of politics in the US and its increasing nastiest is a symptom of the dissolution of established political order. The pendulum right now is swinging both ways at once.

    2. cwaltz

      I have to laugh at anyone who argues they don’t like redistribution because it’s the equivalent of saying I don’t like an economy. The reality is in capitalism you have redistribution. Businesses don’t keep the money you give it for goods and services, they redistribute it. The problem is they redistribute it poorly. They put an inordinately large emphasis on rewarding the guy on the top of the totem pole regardless of his contributions(that’s why you have CEOs walking away with multimillion dollar parachutes) while paying peanuts to what is often the face of their organization.

      The Tea Party has a real critical thinking issue if it thinks any of this has anything to do with winners and losers. You can be a hard worker spending 17 years busting your backside only to find a CEO like Trump has decided that the business isn’t profitable enough. Guess what? When he files for bankruptcy he’ll get to keep his house, and be insulated from economic consequences that led to the bankruptcy. Meanwhile the same couldn’t be said for that worker whose major “bad decision” was placing his lot in with the wrong company at the wrong time under the wrong leadership.

      1. Charles Como

        It’s the word “redistribution” that has people scared. It sounds to them like taking the money from the rich and handing it to the poor.

        Scholars and economists who actually know what is going on need to pick new words to describe everything because the rich have so successfully demonized the current words: redistribution of wealth, socialism, gov’t debt/deficits, entitlements, and so on and so on.

      2. Vatch

        The reality is in capitalism you have redistribution. Businesses don’t keep the money you give it for goods and services, they redistribute it. The problem is they redistribute it poorly.

        I like that! (Not the unfair distribution, but your succinct description.)

        1. Will

          I think businesses paying for goods/services doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue. Pointing out that businesses choose how to distribute the income from their work between executives, non-executives, investment/other costs, and shareholders gets more to the point – every decision is distributionist; let’s just make better decisions.

    3. sleepy

      I agree with most of what you say, but I get the feeling that Trump’s latest–that wages in the US are too high–doesn’t sit well with his base at all.

      1. jrs

        Every single Republican asked in the debate came out against minimum wage increases. Only minimum wage increases have widespread popularity …

  4. crittermom

    Excellent article!
    The govt needs to wake up & hear the people.
    I received a catalog in the mail recently which, among it’s many T-shirts offered, has one that says, “We the People are Pissed”.
    When a msg such as that is now offered in common catalogs throughout the nation, the govt needs to realize that it means there’s literally millions of us saying enough is enough!

    1. Gio Bruno

      yeah, buying a T-shirt with a message is a great communication tool. Um, don’t think so. Just another method of separating you from your wallet?

  5. Paul Tioxon

    A Million Student March yesterday was the national day of protest across the nation by university students marching for the cancellation of student debt and $15/hr wages for student jobs. Locally, in Philly, they tied up traffic marching from North to South down Broad St and from West To East across Market St converging at City Hall for a rally against debt, for the $15/hr wage and in solidarity with Mizzou and Yale against racism on campus. Helicopter coverage and on site reporters interviewed the students, allowing them to get their message across in their own words. A Google news search shows similar coverage from Pittsburgh, Reno, Oakland, Vanderbilt etc etc. The report linked below references Bernie Sanders remarks as an inspiration. One student in front of City Hall demanding student debt cancellation presented the case that since a college degree is a necessity, why are they forced into debt for something that society requires of them to live any kind of life worth living? Necessities of life should not require you to borrow money and go into debt. That is similar to buying you supplies from the mining company so you can go down to the mines and work. Candles and picks are required to mine, so why does your paycheck have to cover that cost? The students are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!


  6. Vatch

    This is an excellent list of problems in the U.S. economy (some of them affect other parts of the world, too). Whether or not a person currently supports Senator Bernie Sanders, one should ask which candidates for public office are most likely to sincerely try to solve these problems. There are other non-economic issues, but the average person won’t have a say in solving other problems unless most of the 10 problems in the list are, at the very least, partly solved.

  7. Linda J

    I have a friend who jumped on the Sanders bandwagon. He was duly warned by my partner and me about the corruption he was associating himself with by supporting a Democrat (even though some Feel the Bern people swear up and down that Bernie isn’t running as a Democrat in the face of all evidence to the contrary–he’s a socialist dontcha know).

    Today my friend sent me this story from Salon outlining the truth about Sanders and indicating his jump off the bandwagon.

    Are you Feeling the Burn yet?

    1. participant-observer-observed

      At least the burn comes before the ballot-who will fall for any hope and change….indeed, is HRC even pretending to offer them? No point in adding insult to injury.

      Interesting that no candidate in any party other than Sanders hardly even mentions any of the 10 economic facts! The vast majority of the public is not being represented and they know it. It is hard to see them converting their Sanders votes to HRC, especially among the independents.

    2. 3.14e-9

      This article won’t convince anyone with half a brain of anything. It’s a bunch of opinion, with weasel words such as “My strong impression is.” That he cites Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank is all anyone needs to know. They’ve been hammering on the same opinion over and over with pretty much the same set of “facts,” including inaccuracies such as Sanders’s alleged support for the bombing of Gaza last summer. Sanders was one of a small minority of senators who actually didn’t sign on to that resolution (S. Res. 498) and he didn’t vote for it, because there is no vote on resolutions. They are approved by an arcane Senate rule called “unanimous consent,” which is not what it sounds like, but it makes a great story for Chris Hedges and others who are just pissed off that Sanders chose to run as a Democrat.

      Ultimately, this article is just more of the same ol’ — which is ironic, given that that’s what most of this crowd says about Sanders.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Why should they? An accurate article doesn’t get any more clicks than an inaccurate one and sometimes the incorrect one gets even more. “Journalistic integrity” has become an oxymoron and if it exists at all, it’s certainly not on sites such as Salon.

      2. cwaltz

        That would cut into profitability. It’s easier just to make crap up and sell it like you believe it.

    3. Benedict@Large

      So why must Sanders pass a purity test that no other candidate is asked to pass? Because he’s taking your revolution away from you? Get over it.

    4. WindyCity

      Chris Hedges takes the same view. I am fully sympathetic with the harsh criticisms leveled at Sanders regarding his support for empire and his relative indifference to foreign policy. Also, he’s clearly not a socialist (nor could he be, considering his support for US militaristic hegemony). He is a liberal social democratic in the FDR tradition, and what he advocates is the restitution and strengthening of New Deal restraints on capitalism aimed at reducing inequality. He does support worker self-directed enterprises (cooperative businesses owned and run by workers) and has introduced legislation to provide federal support for such endeavors. This does suggest he’s mindful of what genuine socialism is about, though he hasn’t highlighted these ideas in the campaign.

      My own view is that Sanders could provide an impetus for more movement-led change, provided that the energy and hope that he has generated, especially among young people, be channeled into organizing efforts and civil disobedience after the election process has concluded. I have little doubt that Clinton will win the nomination, but if, instead of succumbing to depression and disillusionment after Sanders has been defeated, his enthusiastic supporters take their anger and commitment into movement-building, his campaign will have made an important contribution.

      A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it’s not him. I don’t see how he could really get behind the cynical, opportunistic neocon, neoliberal Clinton, but we’ll see. It does look like he’ll push the less worse argument on his supporters, and that would be unfortunate.

      1. Stephen Rhodes

        Just this and it’s a straw: we have HRC’s apparent support of Blumenthal’s acid comments on neocons (over the years?).

        [In email “treasure trove” uncovered in her State Dept tenure]

      2. Higgs Boson

        “A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it’s not him.”

        That’s the price of admission to run as a Democrat. What else is he supposed to say, “If I don’t get the party nomination I’m gonna take my ball and youse can go pound sand”?

        A large segment of Sanders’ supporters are independents and disaffected Republicans who would NEVER vote for HRC, so Sanders’ promise to support “the candidate” (HRC) doesn’t amount to the sell-out some people seem to think it is.

        Also when you read some of the vitriol PBO/HRC supporters post about “Jesus Sanders” in the comments section in some of these articles, you have to wonder why ANY Sanders supporters who are Democrats would ever hold their nose and vote for HRC.

        1. WindyCity

          So, yeah, by running as a Democrat he’s basically playing for a prime-time speech at the convention and whatever post-election bennies the Dems give him in the Senate, should Hillary win the presidency. We know that Clinton won’t follow through on her progressive campaign rhetoric—just like Obama, she’ll promise whatever it takes to co-opt the left-wing of her party but swing sharply back to the right once she’s in the driver’s seat. My hope is that Sanders’s supporters take their enthusiasm into movement politics—civil disobedience, mass organizing, local politics—and catalyze a genuine bottoms-up push for social/political/economic change.

    5. different clue

      Isn’t Salon a Clintonite propaganda mill? Shouldn’t anything written there be studied and analysed as a Clintonite I O ?

  8. Vatch

    The article misrepresents some things. For example, these statements are false, or at the very least, exaggerations:

    1) support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including President Obama’s recent decision to maintain a troop presence; 2) blank-check support of Israel, including its savage bombing campaign in Gaza last year;

    1 ) Sanders voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act. See this for links and this for the Iraq vote in the House.
    2 ) Sanders has been very critical of Israel’s behavior in Gaza. See this for more information and links.

    Meant as a reply to Linda J.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Thanks for that. I was typing my comment and didn’t see yours until after I posted. Glad to know that someone else is fact-checking this tiresome meme.

    2. Benedict@Large

      That article is standard Marxist swill. Same stuff that’s been attacking Sanders from the outset. Sanders isn’t pure enough for their revolution.

      1. different clue

        I wonder if the article is really “sincerely intended” Marxist swill. I wonder if the article is carefully crafted cherrypicked Marxist swill designed to turn borderline purity-jerks and purity-assholes away from Sanders in order to attrit Sanders’ numbers to Clinton’s benefit. That is what I would expect from an Information Operation from a Clintonite propaganda mill like Salon.

  9. Tom Stone

    Since reform is not going to happen we need to provide local police departments with more armored vehicles and finish doing away with the 2nd amendment.
    The 1st and 4th are gone, it’s time for sensible people to get with the program.
    Wesley Clarke is calling for FEMA camps to be opened to hold “Extremists”.
    And he’s considered a moderate…
    The system is broken, get in line or get hurt.

  10. Wayne Harris

    Paul: Good on foreign policy, horrible on civil rights (especially for gays and young women), horrible on economics (except regarding the Fed)

    Sanders: Horrible on foreign policy, good on civil rights, good on economics but a bit narrow in focus (it’s about more than the “billionaire class”)

    Stein: Good on everything. Voted for her last time, after “hope and change” proved to be the greatest bait-and-switch in history, and never looked back. Only vote for president in my adult life I have never regretted.

  11. Keith

    Most classical economists differentiated between earned and unearned wealth.

    Adam Smith:

    “The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”

    Bankers and landlords should be taxed for Government spending, earned wealth should be kept or at least used to supplement the rentier taxes.

    Income tax only started one hundred years ago on a permanent basis, before that the landlords and rentiers were taxed.

    Tax has constantly been shifted off the rentier sector and onto the productive side of the economy, industry and labour.

    All rentier activity is detrimental to the productive parts of the economy, siphoning off prospective purchasing power to those that like to sit on their behinds.

    If we were still able to recognise the difference between earned and unearned wealth we might realise that encouraging rising prices of stuff that exists already is not very productive, e.g housing booms.

    Same houses, higher prices, higher mortgages and rents, less purchasing power.

    As the rentier economy booms, rents and interest repayments on debt escalate and purchasing power goes down leading to the current debt, deflation.

    We need to re-learn the distinction between earned wealth and unearned wealth.

    The productive side of the economy and the unproductive, rentier side.

    The UK’s aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

    Feudalism – exploit the masses through land ownership
    Capitalism – exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

    Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

    a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
    b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

    The system itself provides for the idle rich and always has done from the first civilisations right up to the 21st Century.

    There is always a Leisure Class at the top.

    The rich taking from the poor is always built into the system.

    Inheritance is the key to the easy ride, as it always has been.

    To ensure the wealthy don’t have to earn a living before the inheritance comes in, they came up with the trust fund.

    They know how it works:

    “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.

  12. Keith

    (UK based)

    Today we see privatisation programs to remove everything that was once free, like healthcare.

    Reductions in welfare and benefits to push people into exploitative jobs.

    The idea that “you are free to spend your money as you choose”
    No money, no freedom.
    Money is freedom.

    The people of this country are being exploited again as they have been so many times in the past and the rich have found a way to usurp democracy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

    Labour – Milder austerity that will go on longer, no raising of taxes for the wealthy
    Conservative – Harsher austerity that will fix the problems sooner, no raising taxes for the wealthy

    We have had higher equality in the past (1960s/1970s) and it needed much higher taxes on the wealthy to tackle the underlying trickle up of Capitalism:

    a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
    b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

    Raising taxes on the wealthy is not an option democracy is offering to fund frees services.

    Privatising the NHS is part of the plan to exploit the people.

  13. Keith

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Buffett

    This has rolled out globally with the Neo-liberal ideology.

    The 1% have gone to war against the 99% (aka the global consumer base)

    This is what the 1% winning looks like – global recession.

    How is the global consumer base these days?

    1) The once wealthy Western consumer has had all their high paying jobs off-shored. As a stop gap solution they were allowed to carry on consuming through debt. They are now maxed out on debt.

    2) Japanese consumers have been living in a stagnant economy for decades.

    3) Chinese and Eastern consumers were always poorly paid and with nonexistent welfare states are always saving for a rainy day. Western demand slumped in 2008 and the debt fuelled stop gap has now come to an end.

    4) The Middle Eastern consumers are now too busy fighting each other to think about consuming anything and are just concerned with saying alive.

    5) South American and African consumers are busy struggling with economies that are disintegrating fast.

    The 1% have nearly won.

  14. Keith

    Capitalism is like Siamese twins at war with each other.

    The 1% and 99% always fighting each other to get more, but if either side win they destroy each other.

    The 1% were in the ascendency in the 1920s and blew it up with a Wall Street Crash in 1929.

    The 99% were in the ascendency in the 1970s and blew it up with constant strikes making individual nations uncompetitive.

    The 1% are in the ascendency again and have already caused another Wall Street Crash (2008) plunging the world into a global recession that seems without end.

    The 1% haven’t worked out that they have gone to war against the consumers that buy their products and services.

    Obviously this was all spotted by Marx a long time ago, but he had never seen the results of the 99% in power (Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, etc …). He came from a wealthy family and was only too aware of the greed, self-interest and hypocrisy in his own class.

    Capitalism is an endless fight between the two sides, but neither side can win, to do so destroys themselves.

    A more balanced approach is needed but the very thing that makes Capitalism work, self-interest and greed, ensures neither side is ever happy with their lot and always wants more.

  15. Keith

    What Marx didn’t appreciate.

    You can have your idealistic socialist or communist society, but it just takes one person like Stalin and its over.

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