IT’S ABOUT ECONOMIC INJUSTICE: America was born fighting the kind of inequality and imperial government — secretive, tyrannical, and catering to the whims of an elite few — that today distinguishes the United States. Over the last 35 years, wages have fallen or stagnated for the vast majority of workers, while 90% of wealth has been gobbled up by the top 1%. Entire industries have relocated to lands with captive workforces, degrading labor conditions everywhere. The pensions of yesterday’s American workforce and the public institutions they built are being relentlessly sabotaged and pillaged.
IT’S ABOUT ECONOMIC VALUES: Farms, shops, foundries, universities, and factories have been replaced by usurious and reckless financial giants, extortionate insurance monopolies, mass surveillance and data mining, for-profit incarceration, government-corrupting lobbies, and war profiteering. The resulting wealth gap has yielded an unambiguous OLIGARCHY. Titanic economic powers now dictate policy to our government regardless of the wishes of THE PEOPLE, the majority of whom clearly want: the rich taxed; the crimes of the powerful to be punished; the wars and assault on our civil liberties ended; the trade pacts to be renegotiated (with worker and environmental protections, leveling the playing field); universal healthcare; strong schools; and our elections, especially our campaign finance system, reformed.
WHEN THE “MAINSTREAM” MEDIA ASKS WHY YOU IDENTIFY WITH THE 99%, HERE ARE SOME FACTS YOU MIGHT WANT TO SHARE WITH THEM:
1. According to the Government Accountability Office, the true cost of the bailout of Wall Street has topped $16 TRILLION;
2. Per Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, the collapse of the global financial system due to Wall Street shenanigans has eliminated $40 TRILLION of wealth worldwide (and now they’re imposing austerity, which aside from the cruel injustice of it, ignores the primary economic lesson of the Great Depression: we SPENT our way out of a deeper hole than the one we’re in today);
3. “The wealthiest 1% of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90%, based on Federal Reserve data” (6/5/11, Nicholas Kristof, NYT);
4. Nine months after it was revealed that the big banks were ILLEGALLY “robo-signing” Americans out of their homes, the Obama administration had failed to open a single serious investigation into the practice (7/17/11, Paul Krugman, NYT);
5. The Securities and Exchange Commission ILLEGALLY destroyed “at least 9,000 files” related to 20 YEARS of investigations into wrongdoing on Wall Street, without taking any of those investigations past the initial inquiry (8/17/11, NYT);
6. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, a single-payer healthcare system would save America over $400 billion annually and erase our annual budget deficit – and Pres. Obama is too busy cutting backroom deals with AHIP to even consider such a program;
7. Per the Government Accountability Office, TWO-THIRDS of U.S. corporations paid ZERO taxes from 1998 to 2005 (8/12/08, CNN);
8. The Roberts Court in “Citizens United” has ruled that corporations can influence elections from the shadows, making our campaign finance system as opaque as any in the world;
9. The American Society of Civil Engineers says our infrastructure is crumbling (overall grade of D for our roads, dams, bridges, and waterworks), desperately in need of $2.2 TRILLION in investments – and all our politicians can propose is MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH;
10. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the price tag of the Iraq War will exceed over $3 TRILLION (in addition to recruiting thousands for al-Qaeda);
11. From 1979 to 2005, income growth for middle-income Americans rose just 21%, while income growth for the top 100th of 1% grew 480%, according to the CBO, thanks to a massive shift of taxation, sparing WEALTH and taxing WORK (9/22/11, Paul Krugman, NYT);
12. Barack Obama has cut (with the ACA) and proposed to cut a total of over $800 BILLION from Medicare & Medicaid (9/19/11, NYT), while extending the regressive Bush tax cuts (at a cost of $4 TRILLION over ten years unless Obama stops giving the GOP 98% of what they want).
13. Per Simon Johnson (1/9/11), former Chief Economist at the IMF and co-author of the acclaimed “13 Bankers,” SIX BANKS went from 17% of GDP in 1995 to 64% of GDP in 2010, thanks to the financialization of our economy;
14. Between 1980 and the early 2000s, CEO pay went from 42 to 531 times average worker pay, and 80% of income growth went to the top 1% (11/6/10, Nicholas Kristof, NYT);
15. The average cost of winning a seat in the U.S. House went from $56,500 in 1974 to $1,250,000 in 2006, as our elections have become auctions (“13 Bankers” by Johnson & Kwak);
16. The privatizing predators destroying public education with over-testing and charter schools have also set the U.S. Postal Service up for failure, getting a law passed in 2006 that forces the USPS to fill a 75-year pension fund over ten years (9/27/11, DemocracyNow).
17. Outsourcing to private contractors costs taxpayers more than twice as much as the government using its own resources, per the Project on Government Oversight (9/13/11, NYT);
18. According to Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett, federal taxes are at a 60-year low; and our current large deficits can largely be attributed to “trickle down” or “voodoo” economics (5/31/11, NYT);
19. Per CNN (4/16/10) General Electric made nearly $11 BILLION in profits in 2009 and paid ZERO in taxes (like many others on the Fortune 500, including Bank of America); and
20. According to billionaire Jimmy Buffet, he is taxed at a rate of 17% while the working-class people in his office are taxed at an average rate of 36%.