Culture Of Corruption-- Enough Yet?
It's futile trying to claim one state is the most corrupt instead of another state. No doubt, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Illinois are on anyone's short-list. Wisconsin always prided itself on being one of the least corrupt-- until the advent of Scott Walker, who has turned the state into an ethical cesspool. This week Reid Wilson ran a state of the states corruption column in the Washington Post and found Oregon to be the most corruption-free and Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas on the other end of the spectrum-- although his data is based on convictions, which doesn't give the full picture. Corrupt conservative governors Chris Christie (NJ), Andrew Cuomo (NY), Nathan Deal (GA), Rick Scott (FL), Scott Walker (wi), Rick Perry (TX), and Bob McDonnell (VA) are all intwined in the criminal justice system but none have been convicted and it's probably that only one or two even will be.
Our ruling elites get off easy-- very easy. And not just the political elites. The Big Business elites do as well. David DeGraw has been publishing a series of edifying excerpts from his new book, The Economics of Revolution, making the case that "the systematic exploitation of a majority of the population will continue without redress." Is that corruption? "An extensive analysis of economic conditions and government policy reveals," he wrote, "that the need for significant systemic change is now a mathematical fact. Corruption, greed and economic inequality have reached a peak tipping point. Due to the consolidation of wealth, the majority of the population cannot generate enough income to keep up with the cost of living. In the present economy, under current government policy, 70% of the population is now sentenced to an impoverished existence."
To see how corrupt the United States government has become, just follow the money. According to the most recent Federal Reserve Flow of Funds report, US households currently have an all-time high $82 trillion in overall wealth. If that wealth were spread out evenly, every US household would now have $712k. However, as of the end of 2013, the median household only had $56k in wealth. From 2007 – 2013, overall wealth increased 26%, while the median household lost a shocking 43% of their wealth. If median wealth continues to decline at this rate, over 50% of US households will be bankrupt within the next decade. The fact that the majority of households are losing so much wealth in a time of record-breaking overall wealth demonstrates how systemically corrupt the economy has become.Quiescent too long? Chosing between Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz isn't going to move the ball down the field-- not in the direction it needs to go, that's for sure.
…If you are struggling to get by and running up debt to make ends meet, it is not your fault. It is the intentional outcome of government policy and economic central planning. In the present economy, it is impossible for 70% of the working age population to earn enough income to afford basic necessities, without taking on ever-increasing levels of debt, which they will never be able to pay back because there are not enough jobs that generate the necessary income to keep up with the cost of living.
For every 3.4 working age people, there is only one that can generate an income high enough to cover the cost of living without taking on debt. In total, only 20% of the overall population currently generates enough income to sustain the cost of living. As a result, poverty and declining living standards are much more prevalent throughout US society than the government and corporate media report… The bottom line, in a nation of 318.6 million people, with a working age population of 213 million people, there are now only 118 million full-time jobs and 28 million part-time jobs, according to the BLS. However, also according to the BLS, there are currently only 106.6 million full-time workers. In other words, it is impossible for half of the working age population to get a full-time job. On top of that, of the current 118 million full-time jobs, 47% of them generate annual salaries below $35k per year.
…Beyond unemployment and underemployment, the percentage of full-time working poor has grown significantly. US workers are presently producing twice as much wealth per work hour than they were in 1980. Instead of median incomes doubling since then, they have stagnated. The gap between wealth production and median income is now at an all-time high.
Based on the latest available individual level income data, 40% of workers make less than full-time minimum wage workers made in 1968, roughly $20k per year according to the suppressed CPI inflation rate. More realistic adjustments for inflation will reveal a much higher total. For example, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If minimum wage had kept pace with overall income inflation since 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16, which means a full-time minimum wage worker would now be making $44k a year. However, the median annual wage is only $27,519. Based on income inflation, only 22% of the working age population and 15% of the overall population currently have an annual income higher than a full-time minimum wage worker had in 1968.
The average person needs to generate $35k in annual income to cover the cost of basic necessities. Looking at the actual spending habits of the average worker, you need to generate an income of $42k to cover annual expenses. If we use $35k as our threshold for a living wage, only 30% of the working age population and 20% of the overall population generate an annual income over $35k. For every 3.4 working age people, there is one that generates an income high enough to cover the cost of basic necessities without taking on debt.
…[T}o get a more complete understanding of how corrupt the global economic system is, we also need to factor in wealth that is hidden from public view. Disregarding trillions of dollars in hidden wealth just because the wealthy have the ability to illegally hide it is an absolute injustice. It is completely ignoring a critical aspect of what is now the greatest theft of wealth in human history.
Hidden wealth estimates vary widely. Many of them only take a partial look at the most basic methods of offshoring wealth. Given the unprecedented growth of wealth over the past generation, the secretive methods used to hide it have evolved far beyond well-known tax havens in Switzerland and small-island jurisdictions such as the Bahamas. While estimates based on banking secrecy and tax havens help to give us a more accurate picture of overall wealth, they do not give a total view.
Research by Gabriel Zucman, which analyzed banking secrecy, estimated that “around 8% of the global financial wealth of households is held in tax havens.” If we correlate this 8% with the $82 trillion in accounted for wealth reported by the Federal Reserve, that would be an additional $6.6 trillion for the wealthy, bringing the richest 1% up to roughly $39 trillion in overall wealth.
However, to get a more complete understanding of the reality of the situation, the most wide-ranging look into hidden wealth was done in 2012 by economist John Henry in partnership with the Tax Justice Network (TJN). They estimated that there was $21-$32 trillion hidden globally at the end of 2010. As shocking as that sounds, that estimate still did not give a complete view of hidden wealth. As they put it, “We consider these numbers to be conservative. This is only financial wealth and excludes a welter of real estate, yachts and other nonfinancial assets owned via offshore structures.”
…After we factor in estimated hidden wealth, the top 1%’s share of overall wealth increases from 39.8% to 46.9%. To glimpse the scale of theft, if hidden wealth were spread out evenly over every US household, that would be an extra $111k per household, increasing average household wealth to $823k. That is approximately 15 times greater than the 2013 median household with only $56k in wealth. Also consider that the estimated $12.4 trillion that the wealthy have stashed away is roughly equivalent to the $12 trillion in total household debt.
After revealing the 1%’s $32.6 trillion in accounted for wealth, estimating that they have another $11.9 trillion in hidden wealth may seem like an unnecessary risk that will invite attacks to undermine the credibility of this analysis. That is an understandable reaction. However, in the grand scheme of things, that reaction is based on a dangerously naïve understanding of the global economic system. In reality, if we ever get a full look at hidden wealth, the top 1% could more realistically own 50% of overall wealth. It would not be surprising if the top 1% actually has $50 trillion in wealth, with $18 trillion of that held by the .01%.
…[T]here is overwhelming evidence proving that the Federal Reserve, global central banking system and the US government are a front for the ultra-rich. In short, we know that the biggest players on Wall Street engaged in trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity and the Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air, mostly in secrecy, to cover it up and continue the looting of wealth. Instead of holding people accountable, the US government bailed them out.
The stock market is now a blatantly rigged wealth extraction operation. To name just a few of the more well known rigging operations; high frequency trading, dark pools, Quantitative Easing (QE) and the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP), which gives interest free money to a select handful of “primary dealers” on Wall Street. All of these highly corrupt schemes enrich the .01% at the expense of the overwhelming majority of the population.
…A public understanding of how much wealth the ultra-rich truly have will create a critical mass of people who are aware that the global economy and US government have zero legitimacy. The essential elements that keep this scam going are the extensive propaganda system that paid off and uninformed mainstream media pundits uphold, and a military, intelligence and police complex that protects the perpetrators of the greatest theft of wealth in human history. As far as the corrupt government is concerned, the theft of trillions is too big to reveal. If the people have to suffer as a consequence, so be it.
…From the “monied aristocracy” to the “Gilded Age” and the “Roaring 20s,” extreme wealth inequality has always threatened freedom and democracy. Many of the most respected US presidents have highlighted the fight against concentrated wealth as the first priority of a free society. Even in times of war, presidents have referred to bankers as being a bigger threat to the country than enemies on the battlefield.
…The .01% “economic royalists” hand down their dictates through centrally planned economic policy and government legislation designed to keep the population economically insecure, subservient and enslaved in debt. Through their ownership of mainstream media companies they keep the masses in ignorance, wholly unaware of the paradigm shift in technology and wealth creation that should have provided economic security and made life much more enjoyable for everyone well over a generation ago.
We now live in a neo-feudal society. The evidence is undeniable. The indentured servant is now the indebted wage slave. A recent scientific study revealed that the United States government is subservient to the whim of the .01%. Political office is now merely a stepping-stone and initiation process that politicians go through to be accepted into the aristocracy.
The .01% aristocracy is exactly what the first American Revolution was against. It was Thomas Jefferson’s understanding of the aristocracy’s ability to consolidate wealth and subvert government that led him to believe that every generation required its own revolution. Here are two prophetic quotes from Jefferson:
“Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.”In discussing “the spirit of the people” and the need to “nourish and perpetuate that spirit,” Jefferson also said, “I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”
“I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
Peer passed propaganda and you will see that the aristocratic “spirit of fascism” has conquered the “spirit of the people.” As wealth and power have been consolidation in unprecedented fashion, the overwhelming majority toils in “servitude” and “perpetual debt.” Economic tyranny is the new normal.
|Not the pedophile priest Bob McDonnell is living with|