Judy Davis, an activist from Worcester County, MD, is involved with important issues in our state. She recently participated in the Marylanders Against Gun Violence rally, in Annapolis, MD and is a participant in the Emerge program, which trains women around the country to take more active roles in leadership positions in their communities.
It would be hard to ignore the working poor, while living in a seasonal beach town, as I do. Although many unskilled jobs are filled with visiting foreign-exchange students, “locals” hold about half of those positions. These “locals”, some of who are lifelong residents, live in the area year-round and find that they’re without work when the businesses close for the season. The fortunate ones are able to receive a modest unemployment check, twice a month. Renting in our area is expensive and lodging is only available in the off-season. Those that choose to remain in a year-round room/apartment, pay much higher rent than a comparable living space, elsewhere.
During a recent conversation I had with two local business owners, I heard claims that people are living off “the system”, wanting “hand-outs”, and “those people” are not properly planning for emergencies or their retirement. When I asked how anyone, especially those of advanced years, could pay for living expenses at wages of $7.25 hour, there was no response.
Our society’s perception of the working poor has deteriorated, from one of providing an honest day’s work, to one of expecting entitlements and being shiftless. According to Charlie White (Think Reality: Wealth Inequality in America), 15.1% of the U.S. population (approximately 47 million people) lives below the Poverty Line. An average worker needs to work one month to equal one hour of income that an average CEO earns. That equates to about 160 hours to 1 hour. Some figures have shown that to be as high as 400 hours to 1 hour!
The working poor have no discretionary income. If they are lucky enough to own a vehicle and a tire goes flat, the choice is between buying groceries to feed their family or purchasing another used tire. Trying to save money for deposits on utilities, medical emergencies, gasoline, school supplies, clothes or other basic needs, is impossible, as there isn’t enough money to cover everything. Many parents go without, in order to provide the very minimum subsistence for their children.
The frustration of “just scraping by” impacts a person’s self-worth, causing a cyclical, downward spiral, which is difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. Don’t forget who also suffers, aside from the parents: Approximately 19% of children in my county live below the Poverty Line (One Maryland: The Plight of Maryland Distressed Jurisdictions).
Rather than blaming the working poor for their situation, how about giving a “hand-up” to help people have their basic needs met, especially where they are desperately trying? In my county, over 25% of female-headed households make just $14,900 per year. Most of our lives would look very different if we suddenly became unemployed, developed significant health issues, needed elderly care or had another traumatic event crossing our paths. Instead of criticizing and demeaning people who are dependent on some form of assistance, in order to survive, their critics should be saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I!”
The following is a video that clearly explains wealth distribution in America, including how Americans think it is, how they think it should be, and finally, the reality of the way it really is. It will open your eyes and may, in fact, surprise even the most conservative among you!
Andy Harris begins the New Year by continuing his lies and misrepresentation of the facts! Instead of voting for the “fiscal cliff” legislation, he prefers that taxes on his cronies (i.e., rich doctors, along with the likes of the Koch brothers, Romney and the other wealthiest Americans) stay at one of the lowest rates they’ve been in 80 years! Remember the ’50s & ’60s, when the US was growing into the economic superpower that it became? Top tax rates were at some of the highest…90%…and so-called “job creators” didn’t blink an eye at the chance to start a business! When I was starting my businesses, the tax rate was not as important as whether I felt the business was a good one and I could make a profit.
The truth be told, it was Harris and his cronies that created the “fiscal cliff” during the debt-ceiling debacle last summer; he and his Tea Party cronies refused to raise the debt-ceiling for monies that were ALREADY allocated by Congress, NOT for new spending, which was another lie that he liked to bandy about! So, they forced the plan to raise taxes on the Middle Class and the “sequester”, thinking that the GOP would take the White House and the Senate in the 2012 election. What he failed to realize is that the majority of Americans could see through his and the other GOP candidates’ lies and 19th-century ideas…and they were SOUNDLY rejected!
Instead of standing up and representing the people of the 1st District, Harris continues into 2013, catering to the rich, those who contribute to his campaigns, who are mostly from out-of-state, and ignoring the needs of the people who deserve his attention, including the farmers on the Eastern Shore! Oh, yeah, did I mention that he refused to support the 2012 Farm Bill? If saner minds hadn’t prevailed, we could be paying $6 or $7 for a gallon of milk!! Way to go, Dr. No!!
This is an article posted to the Easton StarDem last week, by Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for US Senator from Maryland.
Recently, I awoke at 5am to the sound of my six-month old daughter Amelia crying. When I entered her dark room to soothe her, I saw my wife, struggling to stay awake, holding Amelia in one arm as she was attempting to work on her barely lit computer screen with her other arm. My wife Paula is an entrepreneur and a small business owner. She also happens to be a first generation immigrant, who suffered through much chasing her American dream–all of her hard work culminating in her pledging allegiance to our flag as part of her citizenship ceremony. We both remember this as one of the proudest days of our lives.
I am writing of this incident because it succinctly describes a scenario repeating itself all over America today. Small business owners are making incredible sacrifices in their struggles to keep their businesses afloat. This is the reason why the President’s “you didn’t build that” comment has infuriated Americans across the political spectrum. The simple fact is that my wife did build “that.” She built her business, through countless hours of hard work and a commitment to a quality work product. I marvel daily at the countless hours she spends at her home office designing and repairing small business websites. She is the very epitome of the American dream, collectively enhanced but most importantly, self-made and personally driven.
The President’s statements are equally infuriating because he is attempting to create a fissure between Americans where there isn’t one. No Republican I am aware of is running for office on a platform of no taxes, no roads, no teachers and no military. I cite these examples because the President chose to mention the use of roads, the work of good teachers and the development of the backbone of the modern internet, through a military research initiative, as examples of how government should be the primary recipient of accolades for individual success. This is absurd and displays a backward logic which is hard to justify. It is the very success of people, such as my wife, willing to put their names behind a business endeavor, with no guarantee of success, that finance the government projects which the President speaks of. It is my wife’s, along with millions of others struggling for a better tomorrow, sweat, toil and willingness to take a risk that has made America exceptional amongst nations, not its roads.
The economy is clearly struggling. Americans are hurting and they are scared. Scared that for the first time, yesterday may have been the best it was ever going to be. This outlook has never been a component of our national psyche. The President’s statements will haunt him in this election as they echo all over our vast country. As my wife and I struggle through this historically poor economic recovery, I feel the pain of Americans hoping and praying that there is a better tomorrow and I ask the President to stop creating division by asking who built what, and to focus on getting our growing legion of unemployed Americans, just asking for a chance to build anything, back to work.
Dan Bongino, a devoted husband and father, served in the United States Secret Service for more than a decade, in which he was assigned to the elite Presidential Protective Division. He represented the U.S. as a lead government security official in over 25 countries. Holding graduate degrees in Business Administration and Psychology, Dan has gone on to start several successful businesses in Maryland. As an entrepreneur, he understands the role small businesses play in establishing a framework for continued prosperity and economic growth.
Harris’ replies to questions and his statements at the Town Hall Meeting, in Chestertown, last week, are so mind-boggling, that I don’t know where to start! Let me just cover a couple of plainly obvious flaws in his responses:
1) He supports Ryan’s Budget Proposal…this will mean that Medicare and Social Security will be cut and phased out. Ryan’s proposal wants private companies (banks and investment banks) to manage retirement funds…sure, let’s give the fox the rest of the keys to the chicken coop.
2) Harris lied about his and his cohorts’ obstruction of Congressional work. The fact is that this is the least productive Congress…EVER…by at least 40% over the next least productive one. All thanks to him and his TP obstructionist buddies.
3) Harris and his GOP Tea Partiers love to name bills so that they sound good, but are really destructive. For instance, Harris voted for the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011″ – sounds pretty good – what it does is strip all authority and funding from the EPA and gives that authority to the States, who have, for the most part, shown a reluctance to regulate their own polluting industries. 42 years of fighting for a cleaner environment would have gone down the drain if the Senate & WH were held by the GOP. Luckily, the Senate refused to approve this bill.
4) Interesting that all of Harris’ charts and graphs provide no sources for where the figures come from, which I believe are the fantasy graphs made by him and his staff, without support from any reliable source.
5) Amazingly, Harris’ idea of important legislation was HB 4367, regarding ATM signage. Forget jobs, forget health care, forget education…we need to get those ATM signs fixed!! I think Andy has finally gone over the deep end!
6) Finally, his analysis of why he refuses to “compromise” is not only mind-boggling, but it shows his very limited understanding of the legislative process and how to work with others. Compromise is not a black/white issue…to use his example, instead of limiting yourself to a “I want North, you want South, therefore, no compromise”, he could say, “How about we go North for a while, then go South for a while?…or, let’s go North, then South, together!” This approach would demand an attempt at leadership, something Harris lacks…as well as compassion, which he seems to have left in the operating room.
It’s time for Andy to give up his government salary and go back to putting people to sleep…it seems that he’s very good at that!
Here is the link to the StarDem article: http://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/article_a51d3a20-d476-11e1-bbef-0019bb2963f4.html
By Roger Burt, PhD
My name is Steven Cenname, Salisbury University’s #1 political commentator, and I have endorsed businesswoman, Wendy Rosen, for Maryland’s 1st Congressional District seat in the US House of Representatives. In fact, I have founded “Students for Wendy Rosen for Congress” to help organize students and faculty to support her election efforts.
Courtesy of http://www.wendyrosen.com
Wendy Rosen is a Democrat, running against freshman Republican extremist Andy Harris. Harris has done absolutely nothing to help Maryland’s Eastern Shore during his tenure in the US Congress. Defeating Harris will be an uphill battle, considering that Maryland’s new redistricting map has made the 1st district even more of a Republican leaning district, by adding conservative areas of Harford County and Baltimore County to it’s boundaries. The State Legislature did this to weaken Maryland’s other Republican representative, Roscoe Bartlett, by making his district more Democratic-friendly.
But if anyone can unseat Harris, it is Wendy!
Unlike Harris, Rosen will pay attention to the concerns of all her constituents, the ones who vote for her and the ones who don’t. Unlike Andy, Wendy will not delete people with opposing views from her Facebook page. Instead, she will listen to their concerns and do her best to make sure their needs are met, too.
Unlike Harris, Rosen will fight for small businesses, not multi-billion dollar corporations. She knows that strengthening small businesses will create many jobs and get the economy back on track.
“For 30 years, I’ve helped new businesses grow. It’s been proven throughout our history that 78% of all new jobs come from… start-ups! This next election must be about Main Street before Wall Street, People before Profit. The middle class and small businesses are the source of our renewal,” Rosen says.
According to her Facebook page, Wendy Rosen is the leading advocate for the “Made in America” movement. Through her books, writings and workshops, Rosen has mentored thousands of small business start-ups for nearly 30 years. As founder of the American Made Alliance, Rosen advocates for more than 125,000 small business artist studios and 20,000 retail stores specializing in American-made products.
As you can see, Rosen has an extensive record of fighting for American jobs and small businesses, and she will do the same, and more, on a national level, if elected to Congress. What is Harris’s record? Tax breaks for the wealthy and tax increases on the middle class. Harris is helping wealthy CEOs become richer while you are struggling. Harris is advocating for the same policies that got the country into this financial mess in the first place, but Rosen will be fighting for the policies that will bring us out of it.
Where are the jobs Mr. Harris? You asked the same question to the President in 2010. I am asking you the same question in 2012, but I know you do not have a good answer for me.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Steven Cenname is a 19-year old Salisbury University student, majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. He is also a musician and has a Minor in Music. He describes himself as a “Social Progressive” and believes that Rep. Andy Harris has failed to provide any benefit to the Eastern Shore constituency he is supposed to represent.
I’m tired of those who belittle the unemployed or people needing help from so-called ‘entitlement’ programs. These stalwarts of American individualism claim that there are enough jobs for everyone who REALLY want to work – interpreted as not blacks, immigrants or Hispanics, who are too lazy to get off of their butts. What is it about compassion, understanding and reality that these ‘stalwarts’ fail to grasp?
In the same breath, they praise those “rugged individuals” who “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” Those who start with nothing and scratch out a niche in their marketplace, working 18-hour days, 6/7-day weeks; entrepreneurs of the late ’80s and ’90s, who created the “tech bubble!” (Remember that one? Anyone lose money in the market in the late ’90s?) These ‘job creators’ are the backbone of America and without them, we’d have fallen into the great abyss…blah, blah, blah!
Call me crazy, but aren’t we deep in the abyss? Millions have lost their jobs, homes, cars, savings, and investments? Those ‘job creators’, ‘dot com’ bubble-makers, Wall Street hi-yield investment gurus, Bernie Madoff knock-offs, bankers who created the mortgage bubble and made billions when it burst, corporate execs that sent millions of jobs overseas, who sucked the life out of every working family!
They point fingers at the unemployed, elderly, disabled, hungry children or mentally ill and say, “It’s their fault! Big Government! Entitlement fever caused this.” FACT: Big Government didn’t cause the meltdown. Greedy, sleight-of-hand financial games, devious, unconscionable rape of workers’ savings and investments, including homes that were manipulated into low/no-interest mortgages, creation of CDOs questionably rated by credit agencies, Wall Street banks that put billions into mortgage debentures, but then ‘shorted’ them, betting that they would continue to collapse, and in the process, make billions more, without regard for the victim…the middle-class!
I’m tired of hacks like Andy Harris, blaming high taxes on the wealthy and corporations – his supporters, the so-called “job creators” – for this economic mess!” Based upon mean personal tax rates, there are only 7 countries lower than the US (28%): Mexico (18%), Korea (16%), Australia (27%), Iceland (27%), Ireland (25%), New Zealand (21%) and Japan (27%). (OECD, 2007) The rest run up to 55%! In 2008, the GAO reported that 55% of US businesses paid no federal income taxes during at least 1 year in the last 7 it studied.
Based on these findings and the widening gap between wealthy and middle-class incomes, is there anyone who really thinks the rich or businesses are worse off now than they were 30 years ago?
We have heard a lot of banter coming from those who feel threatened by the Occupy Movement – mostly the wealthy and big corporations, including the financial sector – that those who are protesting have no agenda, no solutions, no fixes, to the problems they perceive. This morning, I received a piece that was prepared by the Occupy Washington DC group, presenting a focused plan for dealing with the deficit, jobs creation, health care and more.
It was only a matter of time before the Movement matured and proposals/fixes were presented. This is a positive step, in my opinion, and will only help bring more credibility to the Movement and shed light on the issues that truly affect our country. This is an important read for anyone who stands with the 99% and is involved in educating themselves about the real facts and figures!
Prepared by Occupy Washington DC
Freedom Plaza, November 2011
The disconnect between Congress and the people is vast. For decades, Congress has been passing laws that benefit the 1%, their campaign donors and big business interests, rather than creating a fair economy that serves all U.S. citizens. With this report Occupy Washington, DC shows that Congress is out of touch with evidence-based solutions, supported by the majority of Americans that can revive the economy, reduce the deficit and wealth divide while create millions of jobs.
OccupyWashingtonDC.org seeks a major transformation to a participatory democracy in the economy as well as in government. For forty years, concentrated corporate interests have acted with intent to take over government and other institutions. We seek an end to the rule of concentrated wealth and corporate power by shifting control, wealth and ownership to the people.
This report puts forward evidence-based solutions that will re-start the economy and avoid placing financial burdens on future generations. For the most part these ideas are not new. They are well accepted by economists and are consistent with the views of super majorities of Americans on key issues. Further, more than three-quarters of U.S. citizens say the country’seconomic structure is out of balance and “favors a very small proportion of the rich over the rest of the country.” They are right. The solutions to our economic crisis are evident but they are blocked by those who profit from the status quo and control elected officials through the corrupt U.S. political system and its money-based elections.
The elites in Washington, DC seek to erase deficits that were caused by increases in war and military spending, tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, the increased cost of health care, as well as bank bailouts, and increased costs and lost revenue from the economic collapse. The bi-partisan elites seek to cut $1.2 trillion in deficits even though there is no outcry for such cuts or evidence in the economy that they are urgently needed. They are proposing cuts in services to seniors, students, the poor and middle-working class households who did not cause the crash but already suffer from its consequences. This report shows that we can get the economy moving, reduce the wealth divide and control government spending while helping the 99%.
This report should not be considered the demand of the Occupy Movement. It was prepared by one Occupation, Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC and it does not reflect even that Occupation’s full demands. Most of this report provides solutions to the deficit questions the Congressional Super Committee is attempting to address while also re-starting the economy. The difference between the Occupied Super Committee report and the Congressional Super Committee report will be stark and further demonstrate the corruption and dysfunction of government. While this report’s recommendations would benefit the 99%, the report that will come out of the congressional Super Committee will benefit the 1%.
Creating a Fair Tax System That Shrinks the Wealth Divide
The United States does not have a lack of financial resources; it has an intentionally unfair distribution of resources. The federal income tax has become less progressive and the rate paid by the wealthiest has been cut dramatically in recent decades. From 1944 through 1951, the highest marginal tax rate for individuals was 91%, increasing to 92% for 1952 and 1953, and reverting to 91% for tax years 1954 through 1963. In 1964, the top marginal tax rate for individuals was 77%. From 1965 through 1981 the top rate was 70%. The top marginal tax rate was lowered to 50% for tax years 1982 through 1986 and today it is just 35%.
The tax on investment income, capital gains, has also been dramatically reduced. The maximum statutory rate on long-term capital gains was 28% in 1991, 20% in 1997 and has been merely 15% since 2003.
The wealth divide has become extreme over the past three decades and tax policies have exacerbated this trend; much of the tax code exemplifies policies for the 1% at the expense of the 99%. The wealth divide is one of the foundational reasons why the economy no longer works and is in steady decline for most people in the United States. The tax code inadequately funds government, but that is the result of unfair tax cuts, not because America is broke (it isn’t). As Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute testified “Income per capita has jumped 66% over the past 30 years, and is projected to grow another 60% over the next 30 years.” The country needs to put in place policies that reduce the wealth divide and share wealth fairly so that when the economy grows it benefits all citizens, not just the 1%.
The recommendations below begin to correct the unfair policies of the last three decades, but these are only first steps to the transformational changes that are needed.
The taxes described above would generate at least $600 billion annually. The goal of the Joint Deficit Committee of $1.2 trillion over ten years could be met in two years. The United States has more than enough wealth to meet the needs of its people.
Cutting Spending for Economic Security
Creating Jobs and Restarting the Economy
One in six people who would like a full-time job are unable to find one. The unemployment rate of 9% greatly underestimates unemployment. If the pre-1994 measures were used, e.g. including discouraged workers who want jobs, as well as part-time workers who want full-time jobs, the underemployment and unemployment rate would be 23%. The measures listed below would effectively create jobs and restart the economy. Job loss means less tax revenue and more expenditure by the government. A critical ingredient to reducing the deficit is job creation.
These recommendations would create millions of jobs and get the economy moving again. As the economy develops and expands, programs need to be put in place so that new wealth is shared more fairly; workers have greater control over their work through employee ownership and protections for collective bargaining; and so some of the profits created by public investment (i.e. by tax dollars) are shared among all U.S. taxpayers. See below Democratizing the Economy, Shifting Economic Power, Wealth and Ownership to all U.S. Citizens.
Protecting and Improving Social Security
Saving Social Security is not a traditional left-right battle. Polls consistently show that people across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Social Security and do not want to see it cut. Even the vast majority of Tea Party Republicans support these programs. Cutting Social Security is a Wall Street agenda of the 1% that opposes the interests of the rest of us. As Dean Baker writes “There is a bipartisan consensus among the elites that these programs should be cut. The guiding philosophy of this drive is that public money that goes to programs for middle-income and poor people is money that could be in the pockets of the wealthy.”
Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. Social Security is financed by a designated Social Security tax and there is more than $2.5 trillion in the Social Security trust fund. The efforts to cut Social Security to fix the deficit are a fraud designed to enrich Wall Street financiers by forcing people into the private retirement market.
The temporary payroll tax cut will create some jobs, but not enough to get the economy moving and is not the most effective tax cut stimulus. Further, it unnecessarily puts Social Security in jeopardy by reducing taxes designated for Social Security. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cut will reduce federal revenues by $112 billion over the next two years. The government will have to borrow to fill that hole in the Social Security trust fund, giving opponents of Social Security another argument against the program.
Social Security faces no immediate threat of insolvency. The Congressional Budget Office just released new projections showing that the Social Security trust fund is fully solvent through the year 2038. Even after that date, the program would have enough money to pay 81% of scheduled benefits for the rest of the century. Below are recommendations that would strengthen social security.
Improving Medicare and Expanding it to Provide Health Care to All in the United States
Democratizing the Economy, Shifting Economic Power, Wealth and Ownership to all Citizens in the United States
Big finance corporate capitalism is failing. It is concentrating ownership and wealth as well as domination of the economy in the wealthiest Americans. New approaches are needed to share wealth, ownership and economic power more fairly. The grass-roots protests, whether from the Occupy Movement or the anger from the conservative Tea Party, are based on the same realities: economic insecurity and economic unfairness. A full discussion of these issues is beyond the scope of this report but it is time for the people of the United States to be asking critical questions:
The answers to these questions lie in the conflict of our era – participatory democracy vs. concentrated wealth. There is growing evidence and experience that shows a democratized economy is the fairest, most sustainable and effective approach which results in a shared prosperity.
Democratizing the economy would move the United States away from concentrated corporate capitalism and create an economy in which wealth is more equitably shared. This change is already happening under the radar of U.S. media coverage. A democratized economy already has a foothold in the United States. There is a lot of experimentation going on regarding worker ownership, democracy in the work place and sharing in the profits of corporations; with communities working together to control development through non-profit land trusts; with public banking, democratizing money and community banks; with public utilities and democratizing energy; and with participatory budgeting. These are a few examples of the democratization of the economy that is building a new economic model of more widespread ownership of assets and participation and wealth. As one of the witnesses of the Occupied Super Committee, Gar Alperovitz writes:
“Over the last three decades, for instance, more workers have become owners of their own companies than are members of unions in the private sector; indeed, 5 million more. Simultaneously, there has been increasing experimentation with unions within such firms, and with new ways to increase participation and control. There are also more than 4,500 nonprofit community development corporations that operate affordable housing and other neighborhood programs. Approximately 130 million Americans are members of co-ops. In Cleveland, an innovative group of linked cooperatives has set new standards for community-building economic change. ‘Social enterprises’ are developing in communities throughout the nation that transform the ownership of capital into businesses, the sole purpose of which is to provide community services.
One form of new ownership is cooperatives. There are 130 million Americans who are members of some types of co-ops, most commonly credit unions. Another widely shared experience is joint-ownership is Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) which give employees ownership of companies through stocks, while these do not usually include management by employees they do provide a share of the profit. There are more than 13 million people who are part of ESOPs – meaning there are more employee stock owners than there are members of private unions. Worker-owned co-ops go further and give workers a say in the management of the company. Worker owned co-ops are at the cutting edge of democratizing the economy and provide some of what we need to transform the economy.”
At a national level, despite comments of some in the corporate media and some elected officials who speak for big business interests, the truth is that national programs like Social Security and Medicare have worked well. As described in previous sections of this report, these programs can be improved and expanded but they are also models on which to create programs that respond to national needs. Further, the bail out of the automobile industry, which included some public ownership, has succeeded in saving that industry and returning it to profit. However, more could have been done to serve the public good, by continuing public representation on the boards of automobile companies, requiring taxpayers share in the profit as investors and directing those industries to build mass transit and create jobs.
The Occupy Movement seeks a radical transformation to a new economy and political system. A close examination of what is happening in the United States shows that this transformation is already underway.
The Lessons of the Super Committee: Corruption Rules Dysfunctional Government
The proposals in this report show that it would not be difficult for the so-called “Super Committee” to achieve the requirement of at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. And, that it can be done in a way that corrects wealth disparity and re-starts the economy. But, in many ways, the super committee is “occupied” by corporate interests and cannot act for the people. The make-up of the committee and the tens of millions of dollars members have received from entrenched corporate interests ensure that the committee will exemplify the corruption in Congress – which is why people are occupying public spaces across the country.
The Occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza expects the commission’s recommendations, if they are able to make recommendations, to reflect the interests of their donors. We urge the public and the media to review their recommendations with these political donations in mind.
The twelve Members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have received $41 million from the financial sector during their time in Congress, according to a report by Public Campaign and National People’s Action, “Wall Street and the Supercommittee: The $41 Million Question.” At least 27 current or former aides for the “super committee” members have lobbied on behalf of financial firms.
The ten biggest contributors to the Super Committee members include:
Club for Growth $990,066
Microsoft Corp. $810,100
University of California $629,495
Goldman Sachs $592,684
EMILY’s List $586,835
Citigroup Inc. $561,081
JPMorgan Chase & Co. $494,316
Bank of America $349,566
Skadden, Arps, et al. $347,356
General Electric $340,935
The largest donor, the Club for Growth, opposes any new taxes on the wealthiest in the United States. As a result, despite the abhorrent wealth divide, the committee is unlikely to recommend the obvious, fair taxes on the wealthiest people who fund their campaigns.
The members of the committee received more than $3 million total during the past five years in donations from political committees with ties to weapons contractors, health care providers and labor unions. They received more than $1 million overall in contributions from the health care industry and at least $700,000 from weapons companies. This presents a problem for the super committee because if they fail to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade it will result to mandatory cuts that will impact health care and weapons makers. This means the committee is likely to make a bad deal for the United States, in order to avoid cuts to their major donors.
Throughout the time when the committee has been meeting, they have been holding fundraisers across the country. This open money-taking while making decisions that affect those who are giving money is the kind of open corruption that has led to a loss of faith in government.
It is not only donations that will impact the committee, but a major lobbying onslaught by 400 groups who report lobbying the Super Committee. About 30% of these organizations — 118 groups in total – were from the health sector. The finance insurance and real estate sector ranked third, with 40 companies within that sector reporting lobbying activity during the third quarter that targeted the Super Committee. And 39 groups in the energy sector reported lobbying the Super Committee. Both the communications and electronics sector and the general business sector saw 26 companies and organizations explicitly mention the Super Committee in their third-quarter lobbying reports. These are many of the same concentrated corporate interests that have funded the campaigns of Super Committee members.
Conclusion: Revolt against Economics for the 1%
Once again, the people of the United States will see corruption reign supreme. Despite evident solutions to the deficit and the economic collapse, the Congress will show its corruption and dysfunction and be unable to put forward real solutions.
We issue this report to alert everyone – the political system is broken. It is corrupted by the power of concentrated wealth, campaign donations and corporate power. The job of the occupations across the country is to build an independent nonviolent movement that replaces this corrupt system with one in which the people rule. The battle between concentrated wealth and participatory democracy will be heightened by the evident corruption of the Super Committee which will not challenge the unfair policies of the 1% while requiring austerity for the 99%.
The economic and political elite should expect protests to grow. We are at the beginning of what will be seen as a historic revolt against status quo elites that will transform this economy as well as how the United States is governed.
 The evidence-based solutions in this report come from people who are experts in the fields addressed as well as the views of people affected by the policies. We relied on a range of sources and have provided links to those sources in the on-line version of this report. In addition, Occupy Washington, DC held a public hearing on Wednesday, November 9th. You can see the public hearing at: CSPAN Coverage of Occupied Super Committee Hearings. Participants included: Kevin Zeese an organizer of Occupy Washington, DC and co-director of It’s Our Economy and co-chair of Come Home America; Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute; Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives; Kenneth Peres is an economist with the Communications Workers of America; Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; Margaret Flowers, an organizer of Occupy Washington DC and congressional fellow for Physicians for National Health Program; Gar Alperovitz is a founding principal of the Democracy Collaborative and with the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives.
 This is commonly known as corporate welfare. All corporate welfare should be stopped until the Congress passes laws transforming corporate welfare into taxpayer investment. There are reasons for government to invest in building the economy, for example there is a need to invest in a new energy economy, but the profits from these investments should not only go to the 1% who own energy companies, they should be treated as taxpayer investment and all taxpayers should share in the profit from the investment. Such a system could be modeled after the Alaska Permanent Trust which has existed for oil exploration on state lands in Alaska since 1980. Such a system could develop into a guaranteed national income that would lift people out of poverty and provide a safety net to all. This is a critical part of a democratized economy. See: Agenda for a Democratized Economy, http://itsoureconomy.us/issues/.