Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Archive for the ‘Economy & Deficit’ Category

Andy, You Don’t Represent ME!

Andy, contrary to your rhetoric and misleading representations…you DO NOT represent the people of the 1st District and you do not represent me! You continue to mislead and misrepresent the facts about every issue that is important to the people. As an example, raising the debt ceiling has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with spending, except that it allows the Treasury to pay the ALREADY existing obligations of the United States. Included in that is the $4billion a year you have given to big oil companies…the same oil companies that continue to report BILLIONS of dollars in profit, EACH AND EVERY QUARTER!

Harris votes "NO" on bill to end the GOP shutdown of government.

Harris votes “NO” on bill to end the GOP shutdown of government.

This shutdown, contrary to your continuing rhetoric, occurred because you and your Tea Party cohorts, put ideology above the security of our country and the welfare of our people.

The thinking voters in our District see through your political double-talk and the nonsense you espouse. They will remember how you treated them, and the full faith and credit of the US. You are no better than a seditionist, putting ideology first, no matter what harm it causes. Here is your latest error in judgment:

Oct. 16, 2013 H.R. 2775: Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 – Bill Passes (285 – 144) HARRIS VOTED: NAY

 In true fashion, Andy “Dr No” Harris voted NAY to ending the Federal government shutdown. He voted, along with 143 of his fellow Tea Party seditionists, who wished to see the continuance of the shutdown, along with the loss of $24 billion to the American economy.

Even though it was clear to the majority of Republicans and all Democrats, that the stalemate was hurting Americans, from children and seniors who were cut off from food programs, to the millions of new home buyers, trying to get their FHA/VA-backed mortgages through the gridlock, not to mention the 800,000 Federal workers, kept from their jobs, Harris stood his ground and refused to vote for the best interests of his District and the country.

This is perhaps, the best example yet, of Harris’ inability to separate ideology from what is best for the country and the American people. Whenever he approaches a question that involves his political philosophy, he will always choose that philosophy over the needs of the people and the best interests of the country.

"Get over it" - Andy's attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him and his Club for Growth puppet masters!

“Get over it” – Andy’s attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him and his Club for Growth puppet masters!

He has shown this over and over, from his refusal to support Sandy relief, to his votes against the Violence Against Women Act, the 2013 Farm Bill, the SNAP program, the ACA, care for our Seniors and the Disabled, and his support to shut down the government and to keep it shut down…the list just keeps growing, on and on. He has done nothing to create jobs or fix infrastructure in our District, and continues to be a hypocrite about the security of our country and the welfare of our people!

Thankfully, our President has finally stood up to Harris and his Tea Party’s terrorist threats (remember, the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists), instead, listening to the majority of voters who elected him…TWICE!  The President has tried, in the past, to negotiate with the GOP in good faith, only to see threats of a default, a shutdown and the sequester turn into a real shutdown and the 11th-hour rescue, by moderate Republicans and all Democrats, of the full faith and credit of the United States.

And what did this $24 billion hit to the American economy (not to mention the loss of international prestige) gain Andy and his fellow seditionists?  NOTHING! ZILCH! NADA! ZERO!  Correct; every single unreasonable, extortionist demand, made by the Tea Party GOP, was denied!  Many reasonable GOP members and voters are now abandoning their hopelessly sinking ship, realizing that there must be an end to “ideology over people and country.”  In so many ways, and on so many levels, this act of sedition, over the past 2 weeks, has brought the GOP closer to irrelevancy than even the candidacy and losing run, of Mitt Romney.  As the old saying goes, “You made your bed…now lie in it!”

 

The Working Poor…Not Looking For Hand-Outs!

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!

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A New Year…The Same Old Lying Harris!

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.

"What's that, Mr. Koch? Vote AGAINST the 'Fiscal Cliff' legislation? You can count on me!"

“What’s that, Mr. Koch? Vote AGAINST the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ legislation? Sure…you can count on me!”

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!!

Ayn Rand = Paul Ryan = “I Got Mine, Screw You!”

The TRUTH about Paul “Ayn Rand” Ryan. Don’t keep this secret…share it with everyone you know.  Unfortunately, there is something here for everyone to hate!

Ryan: “I can’t believe there are people who are really buying my crap!”

1. His economic plan would cost America 1 million jobs in the first year. Ryan’s proposed budget would cripple the economy. He’d slash spending deeply, which would not only slow job growth, but shock the economy and cost 1 million of us our jobs in 2013 alone and kill more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2014.

2. He’d kill Medicare. He’d replace Medicare with vouchers for retirees to purchase insurance, eliminating the guarantee of health care for seniors and putting them at the mercy of the private insurance industry. That could amount to a cost increase of more than $5,900 by 2050, leaving many seniors broke or without the health care they need. He’d also raise the age of eligibility to 67.

3. He’d pickpocket the middle class to line the pockets of the rich. His tax plan is Robin Hood in reverse. He wants to cut taxes by $4.6 trillion over the next decade, but only for corporations and the rich, like giving families earning more than $1 million a year a $300,000 tax cut. And to pay for them, he’d raise taxes on middle- and lower-income households and butcher social service programs that help middle- and working-class Americans.

4. He’s an anti-choice extremist. Ryan co-sponsored an extremist anti-choice bill, nicknamed the ‘Let Women Die Act,’ that would have allowed hospitals to deny women emergency abortion care even if their lives were at risk. And he co-sponsored another bill that would criminalize some forms of birth control, all abortions, and in vitro fertilization.

5. He’d dismantle Social Security. Ironically, Ryan used the Social Security Survivors benefit to help pay for college, but he wants to take that possibility away from future generations. He agrees with Rick Perry’s view that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and he supported George W. Bush’s disastrous proposal to privatize Social Security.

6. He’d eliminate Pell grants for more than 1 million low-income students. His budget plan cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could mean a loss of educational funding for 1 million low-income students.

7. He’d give $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. His budget includes oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.”

8. He’s another Koch-head politician. Not surprisingly, the billionaire oil-baron Koch brothers are some of Ryan’s biggest political contributors. And their company, Koch industries, is Ryan’s biggest energy-related donor. The company’s PAC and affiliated individuals have given him $65,500 in donations.

9. He opposes gay rights. Ryan has an abysmal voting record on gay rights. He’s voted to ban adoption by gay couples, against same-sex marriage, and against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.

10. He thinks an “I got mine, who cares if you’re okay” philosophy is admirable. For many years, Paul Ryan devoted himself to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness as a virtue. It has shaped his entire ethic about whom he serves in public office. He even went as far as making his interns read her work.

If there was ever any doubt that Mitt Romney’s got a disastrous plan for America—he made himself 100% clear when he picked right-wing extremist Paul Ryan as his running mate. Paul Ryan is bad for America, but we can’t beat him if Americans don’t know everything he stands for. 

“Who Built That?” – Another Spasmodic Approval of Romney Fraud!

This is an article posted to the Easton StarDem last week, by Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for US Senator from Maryland.

Dan Bongino – Another Republican candidate buying into Romney’s fraudulent TV ad

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.

Andy’s Chestertown Farce

“Dr. No..no..no…no…no!” Not a leader…a puppet of Koch, Rove and the Tea Party extremists!

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 obstructionist buddies.

3) Harris loves 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

The “New” (But Not Improved) Andy Harris

By Roger Burt, PhD

 
I had the great joy of attending another Andy Harris “Town Hall”, in Chestertown, the other day (dripping sarcasm here). He has changed his tactics from the previous one I attended in Easton. In a sense, he is now a kinder, gentler Andy because he says even less than he did before.
 
This program was dominated by him presenting charts about debt and deficit. In a low key fashion, the intent, obviously, to make the audience uncomfortable about their future.
 
His slides and accompanying graphs suggested considerable reason for concern, given his focus on debt. The graphs even displayed projections out to 2070. Oh, my! It is clear we are in trouble! (More dripping sarcasm).
 
But, there was just a teensy problem about the graphs and slides: Nowhere was the data attributed to anyone or any organization. The data could clearly have been made up and, I suspected, much of it probably was. If nothing else, there should be a question raised about the validity of projecting out to 2070.
 
At no time did he present any programs or solutions. We simply were supposed to be concerned and then, I guess, vote for him. Why I would want to do that was not apparent. There was no program or plan, no light at the end of the tunnel.
 
At one point, he proclaimed that we needed to have a serious discussion about the issues. It had a bizarre Rodney “Can’t-We-All-Just-Get-Along” King quality about it. Of course, since his Tea Party brethren do nothing but block legislative progress, it had a rather hollow ring to it. There is no discussion with these radicals. (ED. NOTE: According to studies by independent organizations, this is the least productive Congress….EVER! They beat, by 40%, the previously least-productive Congress.)
 
In short, it was a presentation that was terribly short on conclusions, forward-looking plans or programs, solutions or anything useful or illuminating. Fundamentally, it left us with his usual stance – “NO”. Only this time, he was not even edging into confrontation.
 
When it came time for questions, it was apparent that the environmentalists were at the ready. They have learned, and they had preambles ready, so they got to say something, rather than asking a question and yielding the floor to Harris, for his typical obfuscation and evasion. It was at this point that there was some heat generated from the interchange. In response to one question about the Clean Water Act, he challenged, “And how will YOU pay for it.” Nice touch. Once again, no program, no solution, just negativity and it is our problem, without guidance or leadership.
 
From this program, it seems likely that he is going to run a campaign that is mostly evasive, as if being an incumbent is enough to get him re-elected. He doesn’t have an impressive record to run on, especially since he has voted “no” on key jobs-creating and infrastructure legislation, among others. We will see how effective an evasive campaign can be, since it opens the door to being challenged; eventually, he will have to say something. 

I’m Tired of…

"Sitting on their butts, enjoying their entitlements!"

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?

"Make the Rich pay their fair share!"

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!

Bank Too Big To Fail???

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!

"We need to lower taxes for those "job creators" on the Boardwalk in Ocean City!"

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?

The 99%’s Deficit Proposal: OccupyDC Presents A Plan!

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.

The 99% In DC!

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[1] 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.

  • Tax the highest income households: From 1960 to 2004, the top 0.1 percent of U.S. taxpayers — the wealthiest one in one thousand — have seen the share of their income paid in total federal taxes drop from 60% to 24.3%. America’s highest income-earners — the top 400 people who have wealth equal to 154 million Americans — have seen their federal income tax drop from 51.2% in 1955 to 18.1% in 2008. If the top 400 paid as much of their incomes in personal income tax as the top 400 of 1955, the federal treasury would have collected $50 billion more in revenue from just those 400 taxpayers. If the top 0.1% of taxpayers — Americans with incomes that averaged $4.4 million — had paid total federal taxes at the same rate as the top 0.1% paid these taxes in 1960, the federal treasury would have collected an additional $250 billion in revenue.
  • Merely not extending the Bush tax cuts would add nearly $500 billion each year in tax revenue. Thus in just over two years the goal of the deficit committee would be met. This would be insufficient to correct the wealth divide and does not go as far as Occupy Washington, DC advocates.
  • A tax of a half of a percent or less on Wall Street speculation could raise over $800 billion in a decade. The Speculation Tax on the purchase of stocks, bonds and derivatives would be a tiny tax with a big impact. People in the U.S. pay much higher taxes on purchases of food and clothing; it is only fair that the wealthy pay taxes on purchasing wealth instruments.
  • A fair tax on capital gains, treating it as ordinary income would raise $1 trillion over a decade. Wealth-based income and work-based income should be treated equally under the law as it used to be. Warren Buffet has received a great deal of attention for pointing out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary or anyone who works for him. The reason for this is that investment income is taxed at a much lower rate than income from labor. The United States needs to tax wealth more and work less.
  • Congress should enact a “pure worldwide” tax system, in which all profits of U.S. corporations, whether they are generated in the U.S. or abroad, would be taxed by the U.S. This would end “deferral,” i.e. where taxes are deferred until money is brought back into the United States. U.S. corporations would continue to receive a credit against any taxes they pay to a foreign government (the foreign tax credit) so that profits are not double-taxed. Under a pure worldwide tax system, corporations would have little or no tax incentive to move jobs offshore because the U.S. would tax profits of corporations no matter where they are generated. The Treasury estimates that deferral of U.S. taxes on offshore corporate profits costs close to $50 billion each year, and many experts think this estimate is substantially understated.
  • Ending deferral does not even address the hundreds of billions lost through tax havens. Tax havens should be shut down through the passage of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act. In fact, the U.S. Treasury estimates this costs $100 billion each year. In 2006 the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported that Americans now have more than $1 trillion in assets offshore and illegally evade between $40 and $70 billion in U.S. taxes each year through the use of offshore tax schemes.
  • Closing corporate tax loopholes would return the fair share of taxes paid by corporations to the funding of government. Declining corporate taxation is another prime factor in increasing deficits. Corporate income taxes have fallen from roughly 4.8% of GDP in the 1950s to only 1.8% of GDP over the past decade. Ending just two large breaks, deferral of overseas revenue and accelerated depreciation would raise about $114 billion over a decade. The Treasury Department lists $365 billion in corporate tax breaks being gifted annually — that’s $3.65 trillion over the next 10 years. Due to tax loopholes, corporations pay record low tax rates — they actually pay 21% on average. Indeed, a recent report by Citizens for Tax Justice found that Wells Fargo received $18 billion in tax breaks, while both Verizon and General Electric paid negative taxes. Earlier Citizens for Tax Justice reported that 12 major companies which together made $171 billion in profits from 2008-2010 paid a negative $2.5 billion in taxes, thanks to $62 billion in tax subsidies.

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.

Calling On Congress...the 99%

Cutting Spending for Economic Security

  • Military spending, found in the Department of Defense and other departments, has increased dramatically during each year that George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been president, roughly doubling during the past decade both as measured in real dollars and as a percentage share of discretionary spending. Military and related “security” spending is now at over $1 trillion per year and comprises well over half of federal discretionary spending. It is also very nearly equal to the military spending of all other nations on earth combined. Ending our two most costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before the 2013 fiscal year budget would save $1.8 trillion, as compared with ending those wars on the currently planned schedule, with savings of $108 billion per year.
  • The Sustainable Defense Task Force recommended modest cuts of $1 trillion over the next decade, not counting savings from ending the current wars. U.S. military spending could be cut by 80% and still be comfortably well ahead of any other nation’s military spending. See Creating Jobs and Restarting the Economy below on how these funds could be used to create jobs, restart the economy and provide much-needed services and infrastructure to the country.
  • Corporate tax subsidies through tax breaks and giveaways are a form of spending that needs to be cut.[2] The U.S. needs to end corporate tax subsidies and repatriate overseas funds. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the 280 most profitable U.S. corporations received tax subsidies amounting to $222.7 billion from 2008-2010. These companies sheltered half their profit from taxes. The result: 30 companies paid less than 0 taxes despite $160 billion in pre-tax profits; 78 of the 280 companies enjoyed at least one year in which their federal income tax was zero or less; weapons maker’s paid a mere 10.6 percent rate in 2010; financial services received the largest share (16.8 percent) of all federal tax subsidies over the last three years.
  • Negotiating better prices with Big Pharma would save more than $200 billion over ten years in pharmaceutical costs. Reforms of Medicare could offer much larger savings. Expanding to an improved Medicare for all system would control the cost of health care spending while covering all in the United States reducing significant financial burdens often resulting in bankruptcy and foreclosure.

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.

  • One million jobs could be created annually by writing down all underwater mortgages to market value. Correcting housing mortgages to the real value of homes would inject $71 billion per year into the economy and save families $6,500 per year on mortgage payments. This would also fix the housing crisis which is an anchor holding back any recovery, according to a new report by The New Bottom Line. One in five mortgage holders owe more on their mortgage than their home is actually worth. Banks should not continue to be able to profit from housing bubble prices – a bubble they created with their poor and unethical lending practices. Adjusting mortgages to the real value of homes is a fair way to fix the housing market.
  • Failure to stop the foreclosure crisis will ensure a stalled economy. It is an essential step to economic repair. This could be done without Congress as Fannie and Freddie together hold $1.5 trillion in housing loans or mortgage-backed securities which could be directed to fix the mortgages. The Federal Reserve has just under a trillion and could unilaterally correct loans to reflect real value. And, the banks could be pressured. Last year, the nation’s top six banks paid out more than twice the cost of re-writing mortgages to make them fair, ($71 billion per year), in bonuses and compensation alone ($146 billion in 2010). The nation’s banks are sitting on a historically high level of cash reserves of $1.64 trillion.
  • fundamental reason for job stagnation is relying on the private sector to create jobs and refusing to engage in direct government job creation in the public sector. According to Business Week, “Since the end of the recession, government employment–including federal, state, and local jobs–has fallen by roughly 600,000. State and local governments have particularly felt the pain, according to a report released this week by the Census Bureau, which shows that there were over 200,000 fewer state and local government jobs in 2010 than in 2009.” The most recent jobs report shows a continued downward trend in government jobs. State deficits and federal inaction ensure these job losses will continue.
  • In addition to our need to rebuild the nation’s physical infrastructure, there is an even more urgent need to rebuild its human infrastructure. The drastic rise in inequality and joblessness has torn apart the social fabric, destroying countless individual lives, families, urban neighborhoods, and rural communities across our country. For more than a generation, the major “growth industry” in impoverished communities has been the illegal drug industry. Persistent, trans-generational poverty is directly responsible for the fact that the U.S. now leads the world in imprisoning its own people: 2.5 million, by the latest count, with more than 5 million more under some form of court supervision. (China, with its 2.5 billion people, runs a poor second.) Although most of the prison population is white, people of color are disproportionately represented, leading many analysts to declare that the mass incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos has created a new caste of unemployable “untouchables.” Only a massive public works, community development, and job training program can end the destruction of American communities and stop the shameful criminalization of poverty.
  • As public sector jobs are created, the country must also strengthen the public sector in ways that will require new democratic reforms to put publicly owned or financed enterprises under popular control. A long-term goal should be to democratize the economy so the people of the United States share in wealth and ownership as well as influence over the economy. See below Democratizing the Economy, Shifting Economic Power, Wealth and Ownership to all in the United States. There is a desperate need for a mass public works program, not only to create jobs, but also to meet the urgent needs of the country.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that failure to fix the nation’s infrastructure has created serious damage so extensive that $2.2 trillion will be required by 2014 just to meet current demands. The ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of “D.” Its report cited cracking levees, a quarter of the nation’s existing bridges sagging, leaking pipes losing billions of gallons of drinking water per day, aging sewers releasing human waste into rivers and lakes, horrendous traffic congestion and air and water pollution. This is not “make work” but urgently needed work. A public works program modeled after the depression era Works Progress Administration would create 15 million jobs and build the infrastructure needed to create a sustainable economy.
  • Spending on the military is a drag on the economy, not just because it makes up 55% of federal discretionary spending, but because more jobs would be created by spending on education, infrastructure, green energy, or even on tax cuts for non-billionaires. Converting a fraction of current military spending to other industries and tax cuts could produce 29 million new jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed person in the United States, even after finding new employment for everyone displaced during the conversion.
  • Putting in place improved Medicare for all would provide a major stimulus for the U.S. economy not only by controlling the cost of health care and reducing deficits but by creating 2.6 million new jobs, and infusing $317 billion in new business and public revenues, with another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy.
  • Erasing student loan debt would have an immediate stimulating effect on the economy. As Mychal Smith writes: “[C]onsider the potential impact on the economy if all of a sudden 35 million people were able to add to their monthly budget anywhere between $400 and $1000 that they no longer needed to satisfy exorbitant student loan repayments. . . . Debt free degree holders would allow for more risk taking and innovation.” As Robert Applebaum, an advocate of forgiving student loans writes: “the ‘educated poor’ are not buying homes, not starting businesses or families, not inventing, investing or innovating and otherwise engaging in economically productive activities.” And, as Cryn Johannsen, of All Education Matters, points out, this would be a long-term stimulus because college debts are multi-decade in length. Johannsen describes a “crisis that is affecting millions of educated Americans. We are indebted for life. Most of us will never be able to pay off our loans for college.” Education is a critical building block for the economy and going forward the United States must develop a system of higher education that does not require students to go into debt just to receive an education. Rather than a loan-based system the U.S. needs a system based on grants, scholarships and public funding.

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.”

Patriotic Americans...the 99%

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.

  • The funding of Social Security is easy to fix. Currently, the tax on wages subject to the tax is capped at $107,000. The upward redistribution of income over the last three decades has caused a large share of wage income to escape taxation. If all wage income were subject to the tax, then it would leave Social Security fully solvent for its 75-year planning period.
  • The Social Security tax has not kept up with the wealth divide. In 1983, the Social Security tax ceiling was set so the tax would hit 90% of all wages covered by Social Security. That 90% figure was built into the 1983 Greenspan Commission’s fix of Social Security. Requiring the ceiling to rise with inflation was expected to result in the Social Security tax continuing to hit 90% of total income. But, in 1983 no one predicted the extreme wealth divide that exists today. The richest 1% of Americans got 11.6% of total income in 1983. Today the top 1% takes in more than 20% of total income and as a result the Social Security payroll tax hits only about 83% of their total income. The tax should go back to covering 90% of income. That would mean the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax would need to be raised to $180,000.
  • Social Security should be strengthened in ways that increase the retirement security of people in middle-and working-class. Particular attention should be paid to improving the living standards in retirement of workers in poorly compensated jobs, who typically have little or no retirement savings outside of Social Security. The average Social Security benefit of $14,000 is only about 30% above the poverty line. Indeed, 21% of Social Security beneficiaries receive Social Security benefits that fall below the poverty line. In 2011, the Commission to Modernize Social Security proposed increasing benefits for all retirees by a uniform amount equal to 5% of the average benefit, about a $700 annual increase for beneficiaries today; that workers who have worked at least 30 years should receive benefits equal to 125% of the poverty threshold when they retire at the full retirement; providing at least five years of dependent care credits through Social Security as women (and some men) spend part of their working years caring for children and elderly parents; reinstating the post-secondary student benefit that existed until 1983 and allowed students who were receiving Social Security due to a parent’s death, disability, or retirement to continue until they were 22 years old if they were in college; and increasing the survivor’s benefit for widowed spouses to ensure that they receive at least 75% of the benefit amount they received when their spouse was still alive.

Improving Medicare and Expanding it to Provide Health Care to All in the United States

  • Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes “Medicare isn’t the nation’s budgetary problems. It’s the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. Medicare offers a means of reducing these costs.”
  • Medicare bears the burdens of existing within an insurance-based health care that fails to control costs and creates tremendous bureaucracy. While there are short-term fixes to Medicare, what is needed is an end to the current insurance-based approach. The United States spends the most per capita per year on health care yet a third of the population is either uninsured or underinsured so that they face financial ruin if a serious accident or illness occurs. Health care spending in the U.S. is rising 2.5% faster than GDP.
  • Expanding and improving Medicare so it covers all in the United States is a key component to controlling health care costs and government spending; as well as ending the deficit problem of state and federal budgets. Estimates of how much would be saved on administrative costs alone by extending Medicare to cover the entire population range up to $400 billion a year. This savings plus the inherent cost-controls of a single payer health system would offset the cost of providing everyone in the United States with access to lifelong, comprehensive, quality health care. Controlling health care costs would sharply reduce the long-term budget crisis, as well as foreclosures and bankruptcy.
  • Even without improving and expanding Medicare to cover all, the program is not in crisis. The Medicare Trustees say that the program faces a modest shortfall over its 75-year planning horizon. The projected shortfall is around 0.3% of GDP or less than one-fifth of the amount that annual military spending was increased since September 11th, 2000.
  • Economist Jack Rasmus points out that all it takes to cover the Medicare shortfall is a mere 0.25% increase in the Medicare share of the payroll tax for the next ten years and another 0.25% starting in the eleventh year. The Medicare tax rate is currently 2.9% for the employee and the employer. These tiny tax increases would make Medicare secure.
  • In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculates that the Medicare system in its current form is far more efficient than the privatized system advocated by a bi-partisan consensus of political elites. CBO’s projections show that switching from Medicare to a privatized system would add $34 trillion to the cost of buying Medicare equivalent policies over the program’s 75-year planning period.
  • Medicare provides efficiency. Reich reports: “Medicare’s administrative costs are in the range of 3%. That’s well below the 5% to 10% costs borne by large companies that self-insure. It’s even further below the administrative costs of companies in the small-group market (amounting to 25% to 27% of premiums). And it’s way, way lower than the administrative costs of individual insurance (40%). It’s even far below the 11% costs of private plans under Medicare Advantage, the current private-insurance option under Medicare.”

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:

  • What is the next evolution of the economy?
  • What can be done to reduce economic insecurity and economic unfairness?
  • How can it be reshaped so that people gain greater control of their lives and greater influence over the economy?
  • What new forms of ownership can be developed to shift economic power to the people?

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 ownershipdemocracy 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 bankingdemocratizing 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 12 members of the super committee have received at least $41 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector during their time in Congress.
  • They have received nearly $900,000 from three of the top U.S. banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo
  • Since 2000, the industry has spent over $4 billion lobbying elected officials.
  • Nearly 30 former aides to the 12 members work as lobbyists for financial industry interests.

The Not-So-Super Committee

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.


[1] 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.

[2] 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/.

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Top 13 Reasons To Leave Bank of America!

The Coalition of Eastern Shore Progressives (CESP) will be staging a protest this Saturday, November 5th, at 11am.  The group is targeting the local Bank of America branch, located at 1145 S. Salisbury Blvd, across from Salisbury University.

Bank Too Big To Fail???

This action is being held in conjunction with MoveOn.org’s National Event, urging members to move their money out of the Big Banks that were responsible for the financial meltdown and continuing attacks on their customers and the American taxpayer.  There will be hundreds of protests across the country, at local branches of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citigroup and other Banks Too Big To Fail.  It is hoped that the action will generate changes at banks, and additional government regulations that will prevent the same type of financial debacle as the country suffered in 2007, including the massive unemployment, foreclosures and loss of $20 trillion in Middle Class wealth.

Here are some of the many reasons why Bank of America is being targeted:

1. BoA Announced They Are Backing Down From Their Shocking New Debit Card Fee After HUGE Protests: Despite dropping a $5 debit card fee, BoA has other fees beginning in ‘12. Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Illinois) response to customers: “Vote with your feet. Get the heck out of that bank.” 

2. BoA, Despite Being Bailed Out By Taxpayer Money, Paid No Taxes. BoA paid NO federal taxes in ‘10 (or ‘09), by posting a pre-tax loss of $5.4 billion. It also cited a tax benefit of $1 billion!

3. BoA Has Spent Millions Lobbying To Gut Reforms With Your Tax Dollars. Despite being bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars by the federal government, BoA still has the gumption to spend millions in DC, battling new reforms meant to prevent another financial meltdown.

4. BoA’s Practices Are At The Nexus Of The Foreclosure Crisis. BoA CEO Brian Moynihan raised eyebrows recently when he excitedly cheered for faster foreclosures of Americans’ homes.

5. BoA Has Announced That It Is Laying Off 30,000 People. The 30,000 job cuts are double what any other U.S.-based employer has announced so far this year, even after billions in bailout money.

6. Despite A Poor Economy, BoA Continues To Reward Executives With Multi-Million Dollar Salaries & Bonuses. Despite blaming the economy for layoffs & its new fees, BoA continues to deliver huge paydays to its executives.

7. BoA Rejects The Right Of Customers To Protest. CEO Brian Moynihan has been quoted as saying that protesting customers will not be allowed in the local branches!

8. BoA Takes Advantage of American Soldiers. BoA entices soldiers to take out loans at usuriously high rates. Personal loans to soldiers for a few thousand dollars can keep them indebted for the rest of their lives. Last May, BoA paid $22 million to settle charges of improperly foreclosing on active-duty troops.

  9. BoA’s Lawsuits.BoA is charged (with JP Morgan Chase & Wells Fargo) with conspiracy, along with 2 credit card companies, Visa & MasterCard, to keep ATM fees high; in other words, “price-fixing.”

"Let Them Eat Cake! I'll take their homes!"

 10. BoA’s Derivatives Position Keeps Rising. The total derivatives in the FDIC-insured portion of BoA, mid-year, was $53.7 trillion, up 10% from $48.9 trillion in 2010. The bank has $5 trillion of credit derivatives, nearly double its $2.7 trillion pre-Merrill amount.

11. BoA Got the Most AIG Money Of The Big Depositor Banks. Buying Merrill’s AIG-related portfolio, BoA got to kept $12 billion worth of Federal AIG bailout funds. Its ’08 bailout included $15 billion for the bank & $10 billion for Merrill, plus an extra $20 billion in Jan ‘09. Former BoA CEO Ken Lewis’ personal take, a $63 million retirement plan.

12. Even After Lawsuits & Customer Outrage, BoA Still Pleases Investors Over Customers. Investors won part of the $8.5 billion settlement, but were upset that BoA was servicing loans, instead of foreclosing them. The bank has $30+ billion in residential mortgage loans in default, which will become foreclosures for thousands of American families.

13. BoA Leads the Big Bank Fraud Lawsuit Settlement Tally. BoA is being sued by State & Federal regulators for its foreclosure practices. One of 17 US financial institutions being sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for billions in mortgage-securities losses that may require BoA to repurchase $50 billion in fraudulent securities.

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