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Robert Reich writes that more Americans should be able to share in the nation’s economic prosperity, as they did during the last century.
Do you recall a time in America when the income of a single school teacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family?
Robert is chancellors professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Clinton. Time Magazinenamed him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including The Work of Nations, his latest best-seller Aftershock: The Next Economy and Americas Future,” and a newe-book, Beyond Outrage.He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.
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I remember. My father (who just celebrated his 100th birthday) earned enough for the rest of us to live comfortably. We werent rich but never felt poor, and our standard of living rose steadily through the 1950s and 1960s.
That used to be the norm. For three decades after World War II, America created the largest middle class the world had ever seen. During those years the earnings of the typical American worker doubled, just as the size of the American economy doubled. (Over the last thirty years, by contrast, the size of the economy doubled again but the earnings of the typical American went nowhere.)
In that earlier period, more than a third of all workers belonged to a trade union giving average workers the bargaining power necessary to get a large and growing share of the large and growing economic pie. (Now, fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized.)
Then, CEO pay then averaged about 20 times the pay of their typical worker (now its over 200 times).
In those years, the richest 1 percent took home 9 to 10 percent of total income (today the top 1 percent gets more than 20 percent).
Smuggling. Labor abuses. Environmental degradation. Money hoarding. These words bring to mind images of the struggling nation. But in reality, these terms perfectly describe the situation in places outside of national borders international space, the final bastion of lawlessness.
There is a widespread notion that globalization and the free flow of capital and goods around the globe should mean positive gains for everyone. In fact, fewer restrictions may be contributing to increased inequality and decreased well-being around the globe. Unforeseen consequences to loosening border restrictions have turned the international space into something resembling the wild west. Rather than fostering greater clarity among nations, ease of movement between borders has spawned a murky shadow world that thrives on human trafficking, polluting, illegal trawling, sickening labor conditions, smuggling and tax evasion. It is a true example of a tragedy of the commons, out of sight and unscrutinized.
International spaces offer a veil for everything our society deems unacceptable. But why should we care about international space and the consequences of the increased flow of capital around the world? All of this occurs in a no mans land that few of us will ever actually encounter. If for purely dispassionate reasons, we should care because it hits us hard in the pocketbook. This aspect of globalization has been a growing problem for decades and has managed to remain mostly out of sight and mind. Over 10 percent of Americas largest companies store all their money in offshore havens and pay a zero percent tax rate. It is estimated that there is between $8 and $32 trillion in private global wealth that is squirreled away offshore where it hides untaxed in places spattered throughout the oceans.
Some of these money transfers are legal. American citizens are allowed to move their money overseas as long as they report their account information to the Internal Revenue Service. However, many transfers are not reported, depriving governments of billions of dollars worldwide. Shrouded in secrecy and opacity, the system offers wealth protection and beachfront destinations to the super rich while starving the rest of society. It is now rare for large corporations like Verizon Communications, News Corp and Apple Inc. not to move their money offshore, leaving the little people on land to pay taxes. This trend of offshoring not only hurts governments, it also makes it tough for small- and medium-sized companies to be competitive in the global market.
In spite of massive popular opposition to these practices, little has been done to remedy the problem. Recently, individual states have been taking measures into their own hands, implementing laws that require companies to report funds going abroad and pay taxes on a portion. Granted, this only recovers money lawfully transferred, but the gains are still substantial. The states who have taken this action expect an uptick of over $18 million in revenue this year alone. Rhode Island is not among the states that have closed these loopholes. Our state should follow suit and implement laws to stop corporations from bleeding it of its rightful tax dollars.
Beyond this, individuals suspected of abusing legal offshoring practices should be aggressively pursued by the Justice Department. Recent Senate investigations have found that the US government has failed to do just that with many Swiss bank accounts the values of which total $12 billion. Using all manner of illicit methods, American individuals have managed to spirit their treasure across the sea to vaults that let them avoid contributing their share to their community. We must demand better from our government. This much money cannot be allowed to slip through the cracks, and the affluent cannot get away with this sort of greed.
According to James Henry, the author of a recent study on tax transparency, the increased phenomenon of offshoring has not been the result of tax hikes onshore. In fact, the offshoring industry has been exploding in a period when taxes have been cut. This means the shadow world of offshore tax havens and ungoverned international space is a symptom of increased global movement. It reflects problems that will become more dire as we become more interconnected. It will be up to our generation to confront the negative consequences of globalization financial, humanitarian and environmental.
Global integration is a new theater for class warfare, and it is a war the ultra-rich are winning through offshoring and corruption. Because so much capital is hidden away from scrutiny, there is no way to truly say how great the wealth disparity has grown. But there is hope for civilizing the high seas and the transoceanic flow of capital. The Global Oceans Commission is currently engaging in talks with Interpol about the deployment of a global ocean police force to ensure transcontinental vessels are conforming to international laws. The Justice Department has received a proper scolding from Congress for its ineptitude in prosecuting tax evaders.
Beyond borders the wealthy and powerful drift in an anarchic paradise devoid of government and regulation, while everyone else is left derelict. Increasing regulation, along with tightening tax loopholes and pursuing criminal offshoring can help ensure that our international spaces are healthy and licit for the future. Pay attention to the ongoings in these nowhere lands. Urge your government leaders to take action against those who seek to harm our communities.
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Government, academia, Internet companies, cultural and community institutions, mental health groups as well as business have and continue to create a culture that is sanitized, monochrome, monotone, one-dimensional, uncontroversial and downright boring. Dissent, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are all under attack in the United States
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Government, academia, Internet companies, cultural and community institutions, mental health groups as well as business have and continue to create a culture that is sanitized, monochrome, monotone, one-dimensional, uncontroversial and downright boring. Dissent, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are all under attack in the United States.
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Kentuckys attorney general said Tuesday he would not defend a Kentucky anti-gay marriage law struck down last month. But the governor said the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal.
Just moments after Kentuckys attorney general said he would not appeal a federal judge’s order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, the states governor announced plans to go forward with the appeal, regardless.
Elizabeth Barber is a staff writer at The Christian Science Monitor. She holds a masters degree from Columbia Journalism School and a bachelors degree in International Relations and English from SUNY Geneseo. Before coming to the Monitor, she was a freelance reporter at DNAinfo, a New York City breaking news site. She has also been an intern at The Cambodia Daily, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and at Washington D.C.s The Middle East Journal.
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Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) said on Tuesday that Judge John Heyburn got it right last month in striking down states legislation that had barred state recognition of same-sex couples wed in states where gay marriage is legal. He said that he would no longer defend the states ban in any further legal action on the issue.
The United States Constitution is designed to protect everyone’s rights, both the majority and the minority groups,” Mr. Conway told reporters, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. In the final analysis, I had to make a decision that I could be proud of for me now, and my daughters’ judgment in the future.”
But, just minutes later, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) issued a written statement that he would pursue an appeal anyway, hiring outside attorneys to bring the case before the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
The unfolding political scene in the bluegrass state pitting governor against attorney general over gay marriage has become a familiar one in recent months, as attorney generals begin to leverage their powers to fight back against their states anti-gay marriage legislation.
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TOLEDO As long as Palestine-Hutsonville wasnt putting Windsor away at the free throw line, the Blue Devils head coach Silas Pogue thought his team had a chance.
I thought, Here we go, Pogue said. It was fun.
The Tigers were 5-for-14 in the final 1:25 of Tuesdays game, until Trent Newlin became the first Pal-Hut player, during that stretch, to make both free throw attempts, giving the Tigers their last two points of a 72-65 regional win.
Windsor got within five points, 68-63, on two Alex Allen free throws with 23 seconds left, but that would be as close as the Blue Devils got.
Tristan Warner was called for an intentional foul on the ensuing inbounds pass, sending Pal-Huts Graham Alspach to the line. He made 1-of-2, but the Tigers got the ball back and Alspach added another free throw.
It was too late for the Blue Devils, even though Allen scored the last two of his 18 points on the next possession, with 10 seconds left.
The Blue Devils dug themselves into a hole twice in the second half, one at the beginning of the third quarter and again at the start of the fourth.
Pal-Hut used a quick 4-0 run to take a seven-point lead in the third quarter, which was its biggest at the time. The Tigers led by nine points after three.
We hit a cold spell in the third quarter, Pogue said. We got rattled. I thought we were tired.
Windsors nine-point output in the quarter was its smallest of the game, but Pal-Hut added to the lead from the start of the final quarter.
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NO WALL FREE PALESTINE dancing dabka flashmob in Venice – P.zza San Marco 2012
By: Franca Bastianello