Call for higher taxes on the rich

Today is tax day in the US, the deadline for filing one’s returns. Reader Norm sent me this short clip by Robert Reich where he explains how it can be that the rich and super-rich pay taxes at a much lower rate than do the middle and classes, thanks to a whole bunch of measures that have been thoughtfully inserted into the tax code by the people they purcahsed, also known as the members of Congress.
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The super-wealthy’s rise

The Occupy movement did us the valuable service of focusing attention of income inequality and giving rise to the meme of the 1% vs. the 99%. While that is catchy, the reality is that it is what is going on with the top 0.1% that is really telling. The class struggle that is intensifying is no longer between the wealthy and the rest of us, but between the super-wealthy and the rest.
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How the stock market is rigged

Michael Lewis talks to Jon Stewart about his latest book where he explains how the stock market is rigged in favor of high-frequency traders and that since wall street banks, financial media, and government regulators are all locked into the current system and benefit from it, they resist any changes that might make it fairer.
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Living hand-to-mouth while being well off

Many people live in a state of economic insecurity from paycheck to paycheck, where any sudden financial hit (illness, loss of job, major car or home repair) can cause serious hardship. Such people are nowhere close to meeting the rule of thumb of having at least eight month’s living expenses available in the form of liquid assets to meet such emergencies.
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The new gilded age

Jon Perr displays ten graphs that chart various economic measures over the last century or so. These include the share of total income by the top income brackets, CEO-to-worker compensation ratios, marginal tax rates for the highest income levels, effective tax rates, average incomes, and more. The graphs are spectacular in their clarity even if depressing in their implications. I reproduce just one because it is illustrative of a point that I wish to make.
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The return of Karl Marx

Karl Marx is one of the major influences in the whole field of political economy. Even those who think he is the embodiment of evil have to acknowledge how much his analyses of capitalism has shaped the way we view things and structure our socieities. But some of his most publicized predictions were spectacularly wrong, chief among them that the communist revolution would first occur in advanced industrial societies like Germany during his time. The fact that it happened in the more backward feudal and agrarian country of Russia, plus the collapse of the Soviet Union and the shift of so many formerly Communist nations such as those in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China to more market-based economies were widely portrayed by his critics as conclusively demonstrating failure of his entire theory of political economy and seemed the occasion to bury Marx’s ideas for good. [Read more...]

Geithner goes to Wall Street

Timothy Geithner has, during his entire time as governor of the New York Fed and then as Treasury Secretary, been a loyal servant of Wall Street and the big banks. Neil Barofksy, in his blistering expose and insider’s view of how the financial bailout played out, showed how Geithner and the other senior executives in Treasury seemed to see their role as serving the interests of the banks rather than the taxpayers who were paying their salaries. [Read more...]