What does it mean to Make America Great and Debt Free Again?

Donald Trump claims as president he will ‘Make America Great Again’, but he never defines what that means. The Huffington Post reports that it means ‘Make America White Again’ to explain what era in this country’s history Trump is nostalgic about.

Then Time Magazine’s cover for April 26, 2016 shouts ‘Make America Solvent Again’ and says each American man woman and child owes $42,998.12 to pay off the U.S. (federal) debt.

The fact is that the United States government has never been debt free. Even the American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783) left the United States in debt. In 1790, thanks to the costs of fighting a revolution, the U.S. was more than $71 million in debt and has never been debt free since.

War is expensive. The American Revolutionary War inflicted great financial costs on all of the combatants, including the United States of America, France, Spain and Great Britain. France and Great Britain spent 1.3 billion livres and 250 million pounds, respectively. The United States spent $400 million in wages for its troops. The War of 1812 cost the U.S. around $105 million. In 1860, the year before the American Civil War started, the U.S. Government debt was $64.8 million. Once the war began, debt grew quickly. The financial cost of the war was significant, totaling an estimated $5.2 billion.

The U.S. also spent $27 billion fighting in World War I.

Keep in mind as I go on that this is not a complete list of all the wars the U.S. has fought. If you are interested, click the following link to see more: Congressional Research Service (CRS)

World War II cost the U.S. $296 billion. In 2011 dollars, according to the CRS, that’s more than $4 Trillion. Vietnam cost $738 billion in 2011 dollars. Then there was the Persian Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Iraq and Afghanistan, alone, have cost the U.S. more than $2 Trillion in 2011 dollars.

But what about that $42,998.12 share of the national debt for every man woman and child in the United States? I found the answer at About News.com.

“The U.S. Treasury manages the U.S. debt through its Bureau of the Public Debt. It’s broken out the debt into two broad categories: Intragovernmental Holdings, at $5.329 trillion, and Debt Held by the Public, at $13.751 trillion (Source:  Debt to the Penny, U.S.

Treasury, as of February 29, 2016.)

“Intragovernmental Holdings – Nearly 30% of the Federal debt is owed to 230 other Federal agencies. Why would the government owe money to itself? Some agencies, like the Social Security Trust Fund, take in more revenue from taxes than they need right now. Rather than stick this cash under a giant mattress, they buy U.S. Treasuries with it.

“By owning Treasuries, they transfer their excess cash to the general fund, where it is spent. Of course, one day they will redeem their Treasury notes for cash. The Federal government will either need to raise taxes or issue more debt, to give the agencies the money they will need.”

Before I go on, I want to point out that working Americans pay into the Social Security Trust Fund through a special tax.  Social Security is an earned entitlement, and the average worker works for 45 years before being old enough to collect from the Social Security Trust Fund that the average workers paid into.  Social Security is NOT welfare.

Back to About News.com

Which agencies own the most Treasuries? Social Security, by a long shot. Here’s the detailed breakdown (as of December 31, 2015):

Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) – $2.786 trillion

Office of Personnel Management Retirement – $873 billion

Military Retirement Fund – $601 billion

Medicare (Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) – $267 billion

All Other Retirement Funds – $187 billion

Cash on Hand to Fund Federal Government Operations – $508 billion. (Source: Treasury Bulletin, Monthly Treasury Statement, Table 6. Schedule D-Investments of Federal Government Accounts in Federal Securities, December 2015)

Fact: More than half of the national debt is held by the public and every man, woman and child in the United States is the public. Other countries own $6.175 Trillion of the $13.9 Trillion U.S. debt that Time Magazine mentions on its cover.

In conclusion, if every man woman and child in the United States paid $42,998.12 to pay off the debt that Time Magazine says we each owe, does that mean we are paying ourselves for 55.6% of that debt or $23,906.95, because that’s what the U.S. government owes every man woman and child in the United States.  Now, if we only want to pay off other countries that own 44.4% of the debt, then the real cost to each man, woman and child in the U.S. (more than 323 million people today) would be about $19,000 each after we all paid ourselves back for what the feds owe us so why not apply what the federal government owes us to pay off our share of the national debt held by foreign countries? Then the feds would only owe every man woman and child $5,000 each.

I’m sure that every American would love to get a check in the mail for $5,000. For a family of four that would be about $20,000.  The more children a family had, the bigger the check. Then the federal government would be debt free, but what would the media, like Time Magazine, do without that debt to kick around to scare us with?

Maybe what every man, woman and child in the U.S. should do is bill the federal government for what is owed them and if the feds don’t pay up add penalties and interest on that debt. Imagine how much the federal government would owe each U.S. citizen at the end of another ten years. Of course, the government could file bankruptcy and default on what they owe every man, woman and child in the United States.

If that happened, do you think the U.S. government would stop paying corporate welfare that adds up to more than $1 Trillion every decade — a lot less than what they pay America’s working poor so they don’t starve or end up homeless?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Will the U.S. Cultural Revolution Rival Mao’s in Suffering and Loss?

Revolution Rival Mao’s in Suffering and Loss?The only difference between the Cultural Revolution in the United States and Mao’s in China (1949 – 1976) is that this unique American Revolution is from the top down instead of the bottom up. In China the majority of the people supported the Chinese Communist Party against the Nationalist Party in a Civil War that raged for decades (1927 – 1950).

But in the United States, the revolution is being led by the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans: for instance, Bill Gates, two of the four Koch brothers, the Walton Walmart family, Rupert Murdock, Wall Street, Corporate America, Hedge Funds, recently Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who was recruited into the Gates Cabal, and a few other poorer billionaires, for instance Eli Broad in California, a billionaire who made his money in real estate and who is currently funding a campaign to take half the children in the public schools in Los Angeles and move them into private sector, autocratic, opaque, often fraudulent, for profit corporate charter schools that are often worse than the public schools they replace according to more than one study out of Stanford. “75 percent of charter schools showed either no significant difference or were significantly weaker than traditional schools.” – Desert News

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the end goal was to end capitalism and support socialism to reduce the suffering of the majority of China’s people. In America’s current Cultural Revolution launched by President Ronald Reagan with his failed trickle down economic theory, the goal has been to privatize and/or weaken the government by eliminating the public sector: public education, health care,  public police, health care for veterans through the Veterans Administration (VA), the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Military, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, etc.

The most recent incident of crimes against humanity in this U.S. Cultural Revolution that has been slowly gaining steam since Reagan: 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy, but I Will By Michael Moore.

Moore starts with, “While the Children in Flint Were Given Poisoned Water to Drink, General Motors Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water.” Click the link in the previous paragraph to read the details and to discover the other nine crimes.

The Washington Post reports, how do states support their public schools? Badly, a new 50-state report card shows. The highest grade was a C average (2.5 GPA), and only three states earned it: Iowa, Nebraska and Vermont.

Mother Jones says, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid, and then explains what’s wrong with America in eleven charts. “A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now makes an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.”  Click the link in this paragraph to discover the horrid but true details.

Global Research asks, The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery? “Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.”

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street.

When President Richard Nixon declared his war on drugs, the average prison population in the United States for decades was about 250,000 or less. Today that number is approaching 2.5 million, the largest prison population on the planet, and China is #2 with almost five times the total population.

This American Cultural Revolution that is being led by the wealthiest and most powerful Americans has also waged war against labor unions since the 1960s and as union membership rates declined, middle class incomes shrunk.

Union Membership shrinks along with middle class incomes

The Military Times reports that veterans are against “plans to replace VA health care with a voucher system, an idea backed by some Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.”

The United States was once proud to have an all-volunteer army but that isn’t true anymore. Foreign Policy.com reveals The New Unknown Soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq and asks, “Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one?”

“Indeed, since 9/11, private contractors have been deployed at roughly the same — or even higher — rates as U.S. troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hard to detail, because the U.S. military has never adequately tracked contractor personnel deployed in support of overseas operations, according to various Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports. (To give one highly disturbing anecdote demonstrating this, while in September 2011 the GAO found that the military could not reliably determine the number of contractor personnel that had been killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, over the same time period, the Pentagon had accurately been tracking the number of combat dogs killed in both countries.)”

What happens when for-profit corporations take over fighting America’s wars, and who do you think will end up doing the fighting?

 _______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Tis the season for donating and contributing your money to scam artists and frauds

The Internet has created a golden opportunity for charities, nonprofits and crooks alike. In the last week alone, if I had contributed even $5 to each of the e-mails that flooded my in-box asking for money, I’d eventually end up broke, homeless and starving.

For instance, just today, the last day of the Year, December 31, 2015, another deluge of e-mails asking for donations flooded in, and I’m not counting the petitions that ask for my signature or advertisements that make life altering promises to bless your life with whatever they want you to buy.

For instance, in one e-mail, Nancy Pelosi was asking for a $5 or $10 dollar donation to help beat the Republicans at the voting booth in 2016. I’m not a Democrat. I’m an independent voter. Pelosi sends several e-mails like this every week. Sometimes I reply and tell her what I really think about both of the corrupt major political parties. She never replies, but she does keep sending endless requests for contributions.

In another e-mail, Tammy Baldwin begged me to donate, so the (power hungry, greedy, never have enough) Koch brothers could be defeated in their attempt to buy America. She asked for $5, $10, $25 or another amount.

In a 3rd e-mail, someone called John Seller via the Other98% wrote that the “Other98 is just a few thousand bucks short of our fundraising goal for the year!”  John said, “Can you chip in $3 or more before the year is over?”

No, John, I will not chip in. When I scrolled through John’s e-mail, I discovered that my $3 or more would have helped keep dirty oil, gas, and coal in the ground, and fight for fair wages and clean jobs for all, etc.

  1. Diana Aviv, who claims to be the CEO of Feeding America, asked for a tax-deductible contribution and said the “need is urgent and the clock is ticking down.”

I thought: Wait, my federal income taxes already held fund SNAP (federally funded food stamps) so I’m already helping to feed Americans who don’t earn enough to feed their families.

Five ended in my Spam folder, and five asked me to rush $20 or more – or whatever you can afford – to Soldiers’ Angels? They said, Dear Friends, “Any last minute donation you can give will go far to ensure that our military service members, veterans, wounded warriors, and military families also have a strong start in 2016.”

But I’m a veteran, and the troops are paid monthly for their service to their country and the job comes with free room and board, and most wounded warriors disabled in combat earn disability payments for life through the Veterans Administration.

  1. Oprah, who is a billionaire, sent a newsletter, that I never open or read, except for this post, and she said “Let’s do this together – join me,” but Weight Watchers is not free. The plans start at $4.61 and go up from there depending on the plan you sign up for. I wonder how much Weight Watchers pays Oprah to advertise for them so underpaid and overweight workers will hand over their money to lose weight.
  2. National People’s Action asked me to donate so they could meet their goal of raising $5,000, and if I gave them $25, they’d send me an NPA T-shirt as a special thank you. They claimed they would use the money to fight for social change.

I asked myself, what kind of social change—would my money be used to support the right to life movement that wants to make abortions illegal or the right for a woman to make the legal choice for herself if she wants an abortion?

  1. In another e-mail, End Citizens United.org suggested that I support them with $5.00, and that I should rush my donation by midnight to become an “Early 2015 Member and we’ll send you a limited-edition membership card in the mail.”

Wow, I thought, what an offer—a limited edition membership card!

  1. Lindsay Wildlife wrote in their e-mail, “Until the clock strikes midnight, you may still support Lindsay in 2015 by making a gift. Your dollars benefit education and respect for wildlife, both now and in the future.”
  2. Brig. Gen. John I. Pray, Jr (ret) asked for $60 to $250, claiming it was “a much-needed donation to help support our military, veterans and their families. … Every dollar helps us support the brave military and their families who work so hard to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily.”

But I already think that our taxes supports the largest bloated defense budget in the world that is supposed to also pay our troops enough to help support their families. If U.S. military families are so destitute and poor, where is that $800 billion going every year that funds America’s huge military machine?

  1. General (Ret.) Wesley Clark asked me to contribute $3 to VoteVets before midnight. Retired General Clark mentioned the Koch brothers and Donald Trump to stir fear that might motivate me to give them what little money I have left.
  2. Writer’s Digest generously offered 30% OFF Digital Products and made sure that I knew the offer ends December 31, but these Writers Digest offers arrive almost every day in my in-box, so in a few days or weeks, the same offer will probably arrive again. I delete most of them without opening.
  3. Sherrod Brown, another politician like Pelosi and Baldwin, threw out the names of the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove to strike fear in my heart, and then asked me to donate from $5, $10, $25 or more. Brown said, “The Koch brothers and Karl Rove are here to stay. Luckily, so are we. We beat these groups back in 2012 by coming together, one small donation at a time, and organizing for the things that matter to us. We can’t stop that now.”
  4. Elizabeth Warren for Senate asked for a donation in another e-mail, but no suggested amount was mentioned. Curious, I clicked the link to donate and discovered that the starting donation was $5 and it goes up from there to $500 or more. Warren, if it was really Warren, said, “If we’re going to step up our fight for America’s middle class, Democrats must take the majority in the Senate in 2016. It’s that simple.”
  5. In the next e-mail that I opened, Steve Anderson said this would be his last email. And then he asked me to donate to OpenMedia to help protect Net Neutrality. In the PS, Anderson, whoever he is, asked me to give monthly. Anderson said, “Don’t let this opportunity slip away—please chip in now so we can continue defending your rights in 2016.”

I had to stop listing all the desperate pleas for money, and I still had twenty-one more that I hadn’t opened that I could have added to the list—with eight more hours left until the birth of 2016.

ALERT: Be careful who you donate your hard earned money to, because Consumer Affairs.com reports that there are many charity scams and it has been revealed that these telemarketers or e-mail marketers pocket most of the funds they solicit for charities and nonprofits. In fact, for-profit fundraisers keep 52 cents of every dollar they raised.

For instance, remember those retired generals who asked me for money to help needy military families and veterans. Well, it helps to be informed when donating to veterans charities. Consumer Affairs reports, “There are a number of legitimate charitable organizations working to help veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals capitalize on consumer patriotism to perpetuate fraud and make a quick profit. The AG’s office says it has received reports of potentially fraudulent activities.”

In addition, James Limback, a Washington D. C. reporter for more than thirty years, writes, “’Tis the season for many consumers to open their hearts and wallets to a variety of charities. But National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization, has issued an alert to consumers that con artists may take advantage of their generosity this time of year with bogus charities posing as legitimate ones.

“It’s that time of year again when we begin to hear from consumers about crooks’ attempts to take advantage of the holiday giving season for their personal gain,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “If you’re thinking of giving to a charity this season, good for you! But be careful — some scammers out there may be looking to take advantage of your generosity.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

 

 

The Hostile Corporate Takeover of Democracy

Between 1969 and 2014, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded 46 times to 75 Laureates, and Milton Friedman was only one of those 75 award winners, so why has he been crowned, even in death, as the godfather of modern American economics—is it because he said greed was good and the other winners didn’t?

Milton Freedom gave the greed of the 1% legitimacy with his Noble Prize in Economics in 1976 with his claim that greed is good. Then President Reagan—arguably America’s Mao for the 1%—launched his U.S. Cultural Revolution to privatize government and the public sector (in China between 1949 – 1976, Mao was the enemy of the 1% and about a million were tried by the people and executed).

Forbes reported, “Ronald Reagan was elected in the US in 1980 with his message that government is “the problem”. In the UK, Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979. These leaders preached “economic freedom” (translation: greed is good) and urged a focus on making money as “the solution”. As the Michael Douglas character in the 1987 movie, Wall Street, pithily summarized the philosophy, greed was now good.

The results: starting at zero in 1979, the share of income of the top 1% after taxes grew by almost 150% by 2007, and the share of income for the top 20% grew by almost 30%, but for the rest of us—the other 80%, we saw a decline in the share of our income by as much as –30%. … Wall Street’s profits increased 720%, the unemployment rate grew by 102% and Americans’ home equity dropped by –35%. … Payroll tax revenue increased from 10% in 1950 to more than 40% by 2007, but the share of corporate taxes went from about 28% to less than 10%. – WordPress.com

Can this hostile takeover of the U.S. democracy be reversed?

Maybe, because more people vote during presidential elections so we should expect that to happen again in 2016, and I think the GOP has shot itself in the foot with its first majority in both Houses of Congress in more than 70 years by using that as a false mandate to come out against Social Security (75% of both Republicans and Democrats endorsed a plan to fix Social Security—not destroy it.  – The Christian Science Monitor), Medicare (Over half of Americans support single-payer health care, Improved Medicare for All – Medicare for  All), public pensions (Seventy-one percent oppose reducing pension benefits that are currently being paid to already-retired public employees, while 27 percent favor a reduction in benefits to these retirees. Fifty-three percent of Americans oppose reducing current public employees’ future pension benefits, while 44 percent favor reducing the pension benefits of current government employees who have not yet retired – Reason.com), public schools (47 percent of the public gave their local public schools a grade of “A” or “B,” while 18 percent gave them a “D” or “F.” – Brookings.edu), teachers (70% of Americans trusted grade school teachers – Gallup), etc.

The GOP is even going after veterans’ benefits and the Veterans Administration to continue the spread of the privatization movement there too. Concerned Veterans for America (always the use of misleading titles for these organizations) is calling for the Veterans Health Administration — the wing of the VA that oversees health care — to be turned into an “independent, government-chartered nonprofit corporation.” – Stripes.com

What about the growth of private, for-profit prisons?

Global Research asked if “The Prison Industry in the United States was Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?”

Private security guards have outnumbered police officers since the 1980s, predating the heightened concern about security brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. What is new is that police forces, including the Durham Police Department here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, are increasingly turning to private companies for help. Moreover, private-sector security is expanding into spheres — complex criminal investigations and patrols of downtown districts and residential neighborhoods — that used to be the province of law enforcement agencies alone. – Washington Post.com

The only way the Democrats cannot win back enough seats in at least the Senate and/or Congress and take the majority back from the GOP during the 2016 election season is if the party refuses to return to their Progressive grass roots that supported the 99% for decades starting with President Wilson.

But if both parties continue to be led by the 1%, then we might see another low voter turnout like we saw in 2014 (the lowest voter turnout in more than seven decades).

Back to Milton Friedman, who, even in death, is still the economic-greed-is-good-god of the 1%.  After Friedman’s death in 2006, Keynesian Nobel laureate Paul Krugman (who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2008) wrote that Friedman “slipped all too easily into claiming both that markets always work and that only markets work. It’s extremely hard to find cases in which Friedman acknowledged the possibility that markets could go wrong, or that government intervention could serve a useful purpose.”

And in her book The Shock Doctrine, author Naomi Klein criticized Friedman’s economic liberalism, identifying it with the principles that guided the economic restructuring that followed the military coups in countries such as Chile and Indonesia. Klein is an award-winning journalist who is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics.  If Klein is right, the hostile takeover of America’s republic and democracy by the 1% will continue until most U.S. citizens have lost many of the freedoms they take for granted.

To read more about the threat from within to the U.S. republic and its democracy, I suggest clicking Paul Horton: Common Core = Corporate Control. One pull quote from that post:

“The idea that the Common Core Standards are the product of a democratic process is simply misrepresentation of fact—a big lie that GMMB, our education secretary, Bill Gates, Pearson Education, and the Fordham Institute propagate. What many rightfully be called corporate-education reform has bypassed the democratic process.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal . His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 3 of 3

What about other union benefits. The AFL-CIO reports 88 percent of workers in unions participate in pension plans versus 49 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy-seven percent of union workers have guaranteed pensions, compared with 17 percent of nonunion workers. Roughly 84 percent of workers in unions have paid sick leave compared with 62 percent of nonunion workers.

Stop and imagine what life would be like for most Americans if all workers belonged to labor unions, and then answer this: Who benefits when workers are earning $200 less a month—the workers, bosses or billionaires?

Let me help you with the answer: There are 536 billionaires (0.00016% of the population) in America; 9.63 million (3%) with a net worth of $1 million or more leaving more than 138 million (almost 44% of the population) working Americans with a net worth that’s less than $1 million who rely on that weekly or monthly pay check. Note: About 23% of the population is children and 14.5% are over the age of 65.

Let’s put that another way: There are almost 123 million households in the United States. In 2010, the poverty threshold was $22,314 for a family of four.

In 2013, 12.7% (15.6 million) of households earned under $15,000; 22.3% (27.4 million) earn $15,000 – $24.999; 20.4% (25 million) earn $25,000 – $34.999; 13.6% (17.7 million) earn $25,000 – $49,999; 17.6% (21.6 million) earn $50,000 – $75,999; 11.9% (14.6 million) earn $75,000-$99,999; 12.4% ($15.2 million) earn $100,000 – $149,999; 5.3% (6.5 million) earn $150,000 – $199,999, and 4.8% (5.9 million) earn $200,000 and over. – census.gov (2013)

In addition, Mother Jones.com reported that the top 0.01% (12,300) families in the United States earn almost $25 million each on average annually compared to $29,840 for the bottom 90% (110.7 million families).

In conclusion, the evidence strongly suggests that there are NOT enough union workers in the United States to be a factor that would lead to higher unemployment rates or real estate values just because they get paid a few hundred more a month on average—no matter what the millionaires or billionaire oligarchs claim through their puppets, politicians and propaganda. Don’t forget, union workers earn more and have better benefits, because they have someone fighting for them—evidence that unions are doing their job.

Food for thought: In 1900, before there were strong labor unions and the Robber Barons ruled over most of America with corporate monopolies, 40% of Americans lived in poverty. And what about countries that have high labor union membership—for instance, three countries with the highest labor union membership in the world: Sweden and Denmark with 95% union membership and Finland with 85% membership. What do these countries have in common?

The answer: Sweden, Denmark and Finland all made the world’s 10 happiest countries list (the U.S. isn’t on this list) , according to this year’s World Happiness Report, that looks at earnings, living standards, employment, mental health and family stability. The report surveyed 158 countries

Return to  Part 2 or start with Part 1

– or View As Single Page

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 2 of 3

If you are interesting in a detailed report on What’s Happening in Wisconsin Explained, click this link to Mother Jones.com. As for Scott Walker’s popularity in Wisconsin: in the last election, he won with 1.259 (53% of the vote) million votes versus 1.114 million (almost half of the 4.4 million eligible voters in the state actually voted)—it wasn’t a landslide.

Another argument on Writer Beat.com was that the unions must go because they are corrupt, but there was no mention of corruption in the private sector or the government. To be fair, if one must go for corruption, they all must go.

In the private sector, Transparency.org reports, “Hefty fines, damaged reputations and jail sentences – recent scandals prove that corruption in business doesn’t always bring profits. Yet bribery persists. Almost a fifth of executives surveyed by Ernst & Young claimed to have lost business to a competitor who paid bribes. More than a third felt corruption was getting worse.

“Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition. Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships. Or they seek to influence political decision-making illicitly. Others exploit tax laws, construct cartels or abuse legal loopholes. Private companies have huge influence in many public spheres. These are often crucial – from energy to healthcare.”

As for corruption in the government, Transparency.org says, “At the federal level, the recently completed 2014 midterm elections confirmed the ever-increasing role that wealthy individuals, corporations, and organizations play in financing political campaigns. Much of this money if funneled through and to various groups that are not obligated to publically report the sources of their funding, thereby making it impossible for the public to know who is financing various campaigns. While political corruption is a problem in all countries, it is notable that many of the countries that score higher than the US on the CPI impose donation and/or expenditure limits on political campaigns.”

The Fiscal Times.com asks, “Lying, Cheating, Stealing: How Corrupt is America? Corruption is as American as apple pie, or so it would seem. A casual survey of the political and corporate landscape in recent weeks alone provides a troubling reminder that corruption is endemic to our way of life …”

I think it also helps to take a look at the numbers to see just how many Americans belong to labor unions and if those numbers are enough to affect the economy to the degree the millionaire and billionaire oligarchs and their puppets and pet politicians like Scott Walker claim.

The Bureau of Labor Statics at the U.S. Department of Labor reports (BLS) that there are about 148.3 million civilians employed in the United States, and the BLS says that public-sector workers only had a union membership rate of 35.7 percent—more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers at 6.6 percent.

There are 22 million public sector workers in cities, counties, states and the federal government (only 2.7 million work for the feds or 12%—the lowest figure since 1966), and within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government (41.9 percent), which included employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. That means in 2014, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions and 14.8 million did not.

BLS also reports that of the 126.3 million private sector workers, only 7.4 million belonged to labor unions meaning almost 119 million didn’t belong to a union—sixteen times the number of workers that belong to unions.

What’s interesting is that the BLS reported, “Earnings In 2014, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $970, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $763.”

Explain how less than 6% of the private sector work force earning about $200 more a week is responsible for any increase in unemployment or real estate prices.

Continued in Part 3 on May 10, 2015 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 1 of 3

Over on Writer Beat.com, I left a few comments for a post bashing labor unions, because I’m pro-union and proud of it, and I don’t care if the union is public or private. I was born into a family that lived in poverty with parents struggling to make ends meet working for poverty wages until my father joined a labor union with help from my godfather. After my dad joined the union, our lifestyle improved dramatically and my family joined the middle class. As a public school teacher, I also belonged to a union, and I know for a fact that without that union’s support, I would have been fired when I put the interests of my students first over high stakes tests and corporate education reform.

There is a lot of misinformation by the writer of the Writer Beat post bashing unions. For instance, he claimed that when Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin and limited the freedom of the labor unions, the teachers got a raise—but that’s FALSE, because how does cutting nearly $2.6 billion from public education equal a raise? Instead of a raise, 1,446 teachers lost their jobs and a similar slaughter took place the year before. – wisdems.org

The Writer Beat Post also claimed that what happened in Wisconsin when Scott Walker won the election for governor was proof that national public polls are wrong about the public supporting public employee unions—Gallup conducts an annual poll to see if the public approves or disapproves of labor unions, and since 1936, the majority has approved of labor unions even though labor unions only represents about 14% of the country’s workforce. In August 2014, Gallup reported that 53% of Americans approved of labor unions versus 38% that disapproved, and 10% that had no opinion.

Although support for labor unions has declined from 72% in 1936 to 53%, it helps to be aware that for decades there has been an ongoing propaganda war in the media that has consistently attacked both public and private sector labor unions.

Source Watch.org reports that a right-wing political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, supported the election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin when AFP purchased $700,000 worth of television ads in that state in addition to spending almost $3 million on TV ads in 2012.

Republic Report.org “broke down the figures for the last election and found that Koch groups alone spent more than double the combined political spending for the top ten unions combined.”

It’s also no secret that one of the wealthiest families on the planet are strongly anti-union—the Walton family. You may learn more from a report in The Nation that said, “Always Low Wages: Meet the Billionaires Who Run Walmart.”

In fact, the Waltons have gone as far as to close Walmart stores where the employees voted to bring in a labor union.” – Zero Hedge.com

What is the result of Walmart workers having no union? Forbes reports, “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing …” Walmart provides 1.4 million jobs. The fast food industry, another non-union sector that often pays poverty wages (over half of all fast food workers are on government assistance—$7 billion annually Kitchenette & Poverty nation), employees almost 4 million.

Continued in Part 2 on May 9, 2015

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”