Top 10% in 1989: $2.5M
Top 10% in 2019: $6.4M
Bottom 25%, 1989: $0
Bottom 25%, 2019: -$11K
Eat the rich
Boss made a dollar
I made a dime,
That was a poem
From a simpler time.
Now boss makes a thousand
And gives us a cent
While he’s got employees
Who can’t pay the rent.
So when boss makes a million
And the workers make jack
Then that’s when we riot
And take our lives back.
If your anarchy doesn't include the protection of disabled ppls rights then I don't fucking want it. If it puts poor people struggling to survive on the front lines because they have no other choice then I don't fucking want it. Be aware that without safety nets in place for those most at risk you are telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps just like capitalists. You can't destroy a system without something to fall back on so get into mutual aid! Don't be an armchair anarchist! Create the foundation for a better world before you rip out the broken foundation we have now. Be angry, but put it to good use.
Barbara Ehrenreich, the author, activist and self-described “myth buster” who in such notable works as “Nickel and Dimed” and “Bait and Switch" challenged conventional thinking about class, religion and the very idea of an American dream, has died at age 81.
Ehrenreich died Thursday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, according to her son, the author and journalist Ben Ehrenreich. She had recently suffered a stroke.
“She was, she made clear, ready to go,” Ben Ehrenreich tweeted Friday. “She was never much for thoughts and prayers, but you can honor her memory by loving one another, and by fighting like hell.”
She was born Barbara Alexander in Butte, Montana, and raised in a household of union supporters, where family rules included “never cross a picket line and never vote Republican.” She studied physics as an undergraduate at Reed College, and received a PhD in immunology at Rockefeller University. Starting in the 1970s, she worked as a teacher and researchers and became increasingly active in the feminist movement, from writing pamphlets to appearing at conferences around the country. She also co-wrote a book on student activism, “Long March, Short Spring,” with her then-husband, John Ehrenreich.
A prolific author who regularly turned out books and newspaper and magazine articles, Ehrenreich honed an accessible prose style that brought her a wide readership for otherwise unsettling and unsentimental ideas. She disdained individualism, organized religion, unregulated economics and what Norman Vincent Peale famously called “the power of positive thinking.”
A proponent of liberal causes from unions to abortion rights, Ehrenreich often drew upon her own experiences to communicate her ideas. The birth of her daughter Rosa helped inspired her to become a feminist, she later explained, because she was appalled at the hospital's treatment of patients. Her battle with breast cancer years ago inspired her 2009 book “Bright-Sided,” in which she recalled the bland platitudes and assurances of well wishers and probed the American insistence — a religion, she called it — on optimism, to the point of ignoring the country's many troubles.
“We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking," she wrote.
“Positive thinking has made itself useful as an apology for the crueler aspects of the market economy. If optimism is the key to material success, and if you can achieve an optimistic outlook through the discipline of positive thinking, then there is no excuse for failure. The flip side of positivity is thus a harsh insistence on personal responsibility.”
For “Nickel and Dimed,” one of her best known books, she worked in minimum wage jobs so she could learn firsthand the struggles of the working poor, whom she called “the major philanthropists of our society.”
“They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high,” she wrote. “To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone.”
Ehrenreich wrote for The New York Times, The Nation, Vogue and many other publications, and her other books included “The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed,” "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War" and “Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class.”
The Real Reason the Economy Might Collapse
Skyrocketing wealth inequality isn’t just wrong. It’s also weakening our economy.
70 percent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. So American consumers need to spend enough money to buy most of the goods and services Americans are capable of producing.
This means that over the long term their incomes need to keep pace with their productivity.
But their incomes haven’t. Over the past 40 years, most people’s wages have basically stagnated, while worker productivity has soared.
Where did the economic gains go? Mostly to the top. The wealthy now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s.
Here’s the economic problem: The wealthy spend only a small percentage of their income and wealth. Their spending is not enough to fulfill the consumer demand that keeps the economy churning.
Lower-income people, on the other hand, spend almost everything they have – which is becoming very little. Most workers aren’t earning nearly enough to buy what the economy is capable of producing.
The result is a gap between potential output and potential consumption.
To fill the gap, the economy depends on people going deeper and deeper into debt so they can buy. Even in 2018, when the economy appeared strong, 40% of Americans had negative net incomes and were borrowing money to pay for basic household needs.
The Fed has had to keep short-term interest rates lower and lower to accommodate this buying. And the government has to spend more and more to fill the remaining gap.
None of this is sustainable. At some point, widening inequality causes the economy to collapse.
We’ve seen this before. Years ago, Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1934 to 1948, explained that the Great Depression occurred because the buying power of most Americans fell far short of what the economy was producing.
He blamed the increasing concentration of wealth at the top: “A giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. As in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.”
While the wealthy of the 1920s didn’t know what to do with all their money, most Americans could maintain their standard of living only by going into debt. When that debt bubble burst, the economy tanked.
Fast forward 100 years and we see the same pattern. While the typical Americans’ wages have barely budged for decades, adjusted for inflation, most economic gains have gone to the top, just as Eccles’s so-called “giant suction pump” drew an increasing portion of the nation’s wealth into a few hands before the Great Depression.
The result has been an economy whose underlying structure is far more fragile than it may seem.
Remember the housing and financial bubbles that burst in 2008? We avoided another Great Depression then only because the government pumped enough money into the economy to maintain demand, and the Fed kept interest rates near zero. Then came the pandemic.
The Fed has had to keep interest rates near zero. And the government has had to pump even more money into the economy. While these programs have been crucial to staving off a pandemic-induced depression, they're only temporary.
Over the long term, the real worry continues to be on the demand side. Widening inequality means not enough demand.
America’s wealth gap is now more extreme than it’s been in over a century. Until this structural problem is remedied, the American economy will remain perilously fragile.
It will also be vulnerable to the next demagogue wielding anger, racism, and resentment as substitutes for real reform.
Closing our staggering wealth gap is crucial to the survival of both our economy and our democracy.
Time for a reality check, folx. The US federal minimum wage is $7.25 right now, and it's been that way for over a decade. Minimum wage was created, believe it or not, to be a living wage for one individual to support a family, classic "American Dream" style. Call me crazy, but uhhh... NEVER in my life could you do that on $7.25 an hour. It's not selfish to simply ask to live.
Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell. One half of the world, according to the saying, do not know how the other half lives. Accordingly, nothing is so rare in fiction as a good delineation of the poor. Though perpetually with us in reality, we rarely meet them in our reading.
- Walter Bagehot, editor of the Economist
A curious comment, this, from one who greatly admired George Eliot and visited her regularly in St. John’s Wood, where they would discuss the money markets and the pain she felt in composing her novels.
The emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined share of the poorest 50%. Compliance with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement would require the richest 1% to reduce their current emissions by at least a factor of 30, while per-person emissions of the poorest 50% could increase by a factor of about three.
United Nations Environment Programme (2021)
A homeless man rummages through trash cans for something to eat, ca. 1950. In the background, three women cross the road carrying laden shopping bags.
Photo: Ernst Haas via Getty Images
King Charles III has ascended to the U.K. throne, but he won't have to pay the U.K.'s inheritance tax on the massive wealth he inherits from his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II. That's because of a deal the royals made with the government nearly 30 years ago.
Regular citizens must pay the standard inheritance tax rate of 40% on any part of an estate that's valued above a threshold of 325,000 pounds (about $374,000). There are common exceptions, such as money left to a spouse or a charity.
But under an agreement with the monarchy that then-Prime Minister John Major announced in 1993, assets passing from a sovereign to their successor aren't subject to the inheritance tax.
As Charles becomes king — at a time when the U.K. government and its constituents are struggling to cope with an energy crisis, soaring food prices and a troubled health care system — the arrangement is now under fresh scrutiny.
At the time, Major warned of "the danger of the assets of the monarchy being salami-sliced away by capital taxation through generations, thus changing the nature of the institution in a way that few people in this country would welcome."
In the 1993 deal, both Queen Elizabeth II and Charles agreed to pay a personal income tax, after reaching out to the government to ask how they might voluntarily pay taxes.
The queen would pay her taxes in "precisely the same way as every other taxpayer," Major said. But he also stated, "In the unique circumstances of an hereditary monarchy, special arrangements are needed for inheritance tax."
Queen Elizabeth II's death does more than trigger Charles becoming king. It also sets in motion two lucrative holdings that generate millions in income each year: the late queen's Duchy of Lancaster, which now goes to Charles, and the Duchy of Cornwall, which transfers from Charles to Prince William.
The two portfolios have been linked to the reigning sovereign and his or her heir since the 1300s. They stand apart from the queen's personal fortune, which is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Duchy of Lancaster includes prime real estate in London, along with 10 castles, swaths of farmland and an airfield. It was recently valued at $750 million and delivered a net surplus of about $27.6 million for the queen. As an expert on royal finances has noted to NPR, the monarchy forcibly seized most of the land holdings hundreds of years ago.