Inequality of Wealth

GETTING WORSE ALL THE TIME

In America today, 10% of the population owns 76% of the wealth. There are seven members of the Walton family who made their fortune by being born to Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. These seven people, all whom are on Forbes list of the 400 richest people in the US., combined, have more wealth than the bottom 130 MILLION (40%) of Americans.

There was a time when, as American prosperity grew, everyone benefited. From 1935 to 1980, 90% of Americans received 70% of the growth. The introduction of the now infamous theory of “trickle down economics” fundamentally changed everything. While our GDP has continued to grow, the reduction of taxes on corporations and millionaires, and the resulting cuts to infrastructure spending and education, has resulted in an ever widening gap (canyon more like it) between the rich and everyone else. From 1980 to 2015, the top 10% of the population received 100% of all income growth. The government softened the blow somewhat with an explosive growth in the food stamp program. Guess we didn’t want the rest of the world to see starvation become an issue in the USA. Might make us look bad. To summarize the facts about the success (or lack of it) from trickle down economics, the International Monetary Fund, the Roosevelt Institute, and the non-partisan Tax Policy Center all conclude tax cuts DID NOT build opportunities for our children nor produce jobs (Source: E. Warren – This Fight Is Our Fight).

In 1930, United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can’t have both”. In those days, there were great fights to break up powerful trusts such as the Standard Oil Corporation but, democracy won. Today, the trusts are winning. The stock pundits even have a name for it. They call it “Monday Merger Mania”, as it seems the mergers are always announced on Monday. Giant corporations now dominate the markets. Five banks now control 40% of the market. Remember the discussion about breaking up banks too big to fail? Well, they are all bigger now. US airlines have dropped from 9 to 4. Explains that great service and cheap fares, doesn’t it? Two beer companies now control 70% of the US market. Three drug store chains – CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid – control 99% of all pharmacies. One company, Monsanto, holds patents for 93% of all soybeans and 80% of all corn planted in the US. Four companies control 85% of the beef market, and three companies produce 50% of all chickens. We have a lot of ranchers in our district. Consumers are paying more for meat, ranchers are earning less, and the companies have record profits. Is that fair? And then we have Giant cable companies who have managed to almost completely divvy up the markets so they do not have to compete with each other, thereby guaranteeing poor service, continually rising rates, and huge profits.

If you think people like Greg Walden are going to do anything about this I have some beachfront property in Arizona I would like to sell you. Trump won the presidency by promising his supporters he was going to “drain the swamp”. Sure, he drained it alright. Because his collection of billionaires did not want to get mud on their Italian shoes.

Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State), millionaire oil man who, as CEO of ExxonMobil, invested billions with Russia’s oil companies.
Steve Mnuchin (Secretary of Treasury), bought the bank IndyMac from Countrywide Financial, changed its name to OneWest Bank, and became known as the “foreclosure king” during the housing crisis.
Andy Puzder (Secretary of Labor), as CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, became a millionaire on the backs of minimum wage workers.
Wilbur Ross, billionaire auto parts CEO, made his money by buying distressed auto parts companies, closing down US operations and shipping the production overseas.
Betsy Devos (Secretary of Education), billionaire daughter-in-law of the founder of Amway, who likely never saw the inside of a public school until Trump appointed her to head of Education.

Yes, middle class America, you can be assured these people have your back.

When the press talks about oligarchs, perhaps they should pay less attention to Russia and more to what is happening in our own back yard.