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Peter Lemkin
12-21-2013, 06:13 PM
Class Warfare Today, and How the Working Class Has Been Robbed Over the Past Half Century By Richard Clark (http://www.opednews.com/author/author8235.html)




In the late1960s, a full-time job at minimum wage could (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/business/economy/dwindling-tools-to-raise-wages.html?_r=0) almost lifta family of four above the poverty line. By the late '80s, however, it left them 40%below it. And that's about where thingsstand today.


Likewise withthe stingy payments of Aid to Families with Dependent Children: The value of such payments (between 1974 and 1995, when Clintonabolished the program) went down (http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/1995/rn13.htm)by 60%,in purchasing power.
As to the question,"can the minimum wage be raised without causing wholesale layoffs," that hasnot really been controversial for many years. Every time the minimum wage has gone up, both federally and locally, theproto-fascist "reicht' has screamed that it's a job killer; but not once havetheir dire predictions been borne out --and that doesn't stop them from falsifying figures and screeching about everynew proposal, including a recent rise (http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/media-center/entry/victory-for-workers-as-voters-approve-minimum-wage-raises-in-albuquerque-sa) in the min wage in Albuquerque, San Jose andLong Beach that has not adversely affected businesses.
InAustralia, which has an economy comparable to that of the States in terms ofits economic footprint, the minimum wage is now (http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10553)$16 an hour,and is the only rich country -- perhaps as a result? -- that was able to dodgethe global recession. McDonalds inAustralia had to raise their price for a Big Mac by the astounding sum of 20cents.
In order toregain the purchasing power it had fifty years ago, the minimum wage in the USwould today have (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/01/3007011/minimum-wage-percent-leave-workers/) to be around$22 an hour. And the piddling amounts ofincrease now being proposed would hardly put a dent in the gigantic profits ofAmerica's great chain stores.
Thisindicates that the opposition is not on purely economic grounds: Rather, the corporate plutocracy is so used to having its way that it issimply unthinkable that their upstart "serving class" could successfully demandan increase, however paltry, in their below poverty-level compensation.
It is, as inOrwell's classic '1984,' "the principle of the thing," and the principle isthat the ruling classes are not happy with merely taking (http://currydemocrats.org/american-pie/) homevirtually all of the increase in productivity benefits since 2010. No, that's apparently not enough, for itseems equally important to them that they grind the faces of the proles intothe dirt and then sneer at their ruined visages. Quite appropriately then, their symbol, in"1984,' is a boot grinding the face of the human race into the dirt, forever.
For this firstpage or so, on class warfare, we must thank Ron Reed over at the New Cafe (http://www.opednews.com/populum/www.NewCafe.org), from whom I lifted much of whatyou've just read.
Tounderstand more about what Ron describes, check out this eye-opening YouTube interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6unS2JF8TA%23t=1312%20) about thePathology of the Rich. Chris Hedges is interviewed by Paul Jay.
Three Ways the Super-Rich Suck Wealth Outof the Rest of Us
The factsare indisputable, the conclusion painful. The wealthiest people in the U.S. and aroundthe world have used the stock market and the deregulated financial system to layclaim to the resources that should belong to all of us. And this is not a matter of productive peoplesimply benefiting from their great contributions to society. This is a relatively small number of peopleextracting massive amounts of money, through the financial system, in return forpersonally contributing almost nothing.
1. They've Taken $1.6 Million Per Family inNew Wealth Since the Recession
It isnoteworthy that most of their windfall came from stock market gains rather thanfrom job-creating business ventures. Thestock market has, once again, been forming an overblown bubble of wealth thatdoes not reflect the relative degrees of productivity of workers aroundAmerica. The market has more than doubledin value since the recession, and the richest 5% own about 80% of all non-pension-basedstocks.
2. They Create Imaginary Money That TurnsReal
Thespeculative, non-productive, and fee-generating derivatives market hasincreased to an unfathomable level of over $1 quadrillion -- a thousandtrillion dollars, twenty times more than the monetary value of the worldeconomy.
3. They've Cheated the Most ProductiveAmericans

As the "rent-seeking"behavior of the financial industry extracts ever more massive amounts of wealthfrom society, the working class has not been properly compensated for its risingproductivity. As a result, our medianinflation-adjusted household wealth has dropped from $73,000 to $57,000 in alittle over 25 years. We've lost another5% of our wealth just since the beginning of the recession.
Link
(http://www.alternet.org/economy/3-ways-super-rich-suck-wealth-out-rest-us)
Correspondingly,the poverty rate (among the poorest half of those who live beneath the povertyline) continues to grow in the USA, evenas worker productivity continues to climb. In fact, the percentage of US homes spending less than the World Bank's povertythreshold of $2 per person per day has doubled since 1996! Our poverty rate is 3-times that of Finland, ourincarceration rate 7-times that of Holland.
Read more here.
(http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/12/americas-descent-third-world-status-tropical-diseases-rise-among-poor.html%23zD8YF7b50T4Bxj1E.99)
Where Has All That Money Gone, That HasBeen Stolen From Us?
As ThomHartman has recently reported, by funneling money into and out of varioustrusts and other legal structures, the wealthy have managed to eliminate taxeson money they pass down to their heirs, and even make a tax-free profit whiledoing so. Basically, billionaires likeShelly Adelson and the Walton family set up special trust funds, like theWalton-created "grantor-retained annuity trust" or GRAT, in whichthey stash millions of dollars-worth of stock. Once those GRATs expire -- typically after twoyears -- the billionaires cash out the stock, keep their original investment,along with a profit, and pass on the balance to their heirs, all the whileavoiding taxes on the whole scheme.
By usingthese completely legal, but highly unethical, tactics, the super wealthy havestashed away $100 billion in a little over a decade. That amount is enough to pay for every childin our nation to go to preschool for ten years, and it could wipe out theentire first round of sequester cuts. Onehundred billion could have provided a substantial benefit to our nation, andit's only one of many tax loopholes that the super-rich use to get out ofpaying their fair share.
Republicansand the super-rich like to call estate taxes "death taxes," but, asthis new report shows, it's trust-fund schemes like this that are actuallykilling investment in our nation.
Ifbillionaires want to do business in our great nation, it's about time theystart contributing their fair share to the commons that make it possible.